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Xubuntu: Xubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 18:44

The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 14.04 Alpha 2!

As often expected with very early cycle releases, this release has some issues which we will be working to resolve before the final release.

Notably, it is impossible to successfully use the Alpha 2 to set up an auto-resized system automatically. You will not be able to set the partition sizes.

Thanks to the 12 who tested and reported to the tracker for Alpha 2:

  • gridcube
  • irihapeti
  • j-bardales
  • jjfrv8
  • lderan
  • lyz
  • paulw2u
  • sergio-br2
  • slickymaster
  • texadactyl
  • wkrekik
  • elfy

We always need more testers so please consider contributing to our daily builds or to the next milestone! Learn more about testing here: Help us test Xubuntu 14.04 LTS

Known Issues
  • Top ruler missing from Abiword: 1261203
  • Keyboard Input Method closing unexpectedly: 1258751
  • Ubiquity window spans monitor width: 1260396
  • Desktop items have background: 1270261
  • Thunar not always automounting USB: 1210898
  • Resize bar missing when running autoresize install option: 1260473


Stuart Langridge: Saving the current state of your Ubuntu SDK app, with no effort

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 18:14

Earlier today I gave an example of how to use U1DB to save the state of your Ubuntu app. Now, U1DB is useful for actually storing actual data, right enough. But if you want to save state — which tab was showing, what was being typed into a text field, what was chosen in a dropdown, where a list was scrolled to — then that’s built right in 1 to the Ubuntu SDK.

It’s called StateSaver.

This isn’t used to store data, long term. It’s used to make your app automatically remember what position things were in. So quitting the app and restarting it, or switching to another and then switching back, means the app doesn’t reset to the front screen, doesn’t forget what you were halfway through typing in, doesn’t forget where you’d scrolled to.

To use it, just add to the Item you want to save things for. So, for example, if you want your ListView to remember the position it was scrolled to, do this:

ListView { id: mylistview model: someModel delegate: ListItem.Standard { text: "row " + model.index } "contentY" }

Just that one thing. Now your ListView remembers where it was scrolled to after a restart. You can do the same with a set of Tabs (just add "selectedTabIndex") or a TextField ( "text").

NB: this isn’t really for data saving. It might, or might not, be appropriate to use it for whether a switch is flipped or not. That’s a setting; when the switch is changed, you ought to be doing something with that information. Ideally you could drive everything, declaratively, off of whether the switch.checked is true, and if you can do that then StateSaver is the ideal place to have that info. But if you run a function when a switch is changed, then don’t use StateSaver to remember its state: use U1DB, and store the other stuff that changed alongside it. It’s about saving state, hence the name.

Saving the state of your app like this is an idea so good that other ideas gather at its feet to pray. I think that this should be turned on automatically for the “relevant” properties of each type of Ubuntu SDK widget, and if for some reason you don’t like it you can turn it off. Not for every single property, but for the ones where state makes sense: the scroll position for a ListView, the entered text for a TextField, the visible tab for Tabs. Small things like this are what make the difference between great apps and merely good ones. Any one individual app isn’t particularly harmed by not remembering this stuff; so many apps do not, on other platforms, that people are used to the idea of having their state thrown away. But if almost all the apps do do this, then the ones that don’t get called out on it and then it gets fixed, and that makes the whole platform better. It’s really important that we create a culture of desire for finished, polished apps for Ubuntu. If your app throws away where I was scrolled to, I want the developer to feel a bit embarrassed about that and immediately go to fix it. That’s what will make our platform feel consistent, feel tight, feel together, feel fun to use; the culture of pushing back on unfinished and unpolished and half-ready apps. Open source has historically not had that culture, but I’d really like to use a platform which does.

Importantly, though, for it to be reasonable for we users to require this of app developers, it has to not be really hard for app developers to do. This, taking complicated things and making them easy for app developers to implement, is what the platform is for. And StateSaver is a great example of it; the platform provides! I’m really impressed that this exists and is part of the SDK. (I’d be even more impressed if it did it automatically, as noted.) Good work, Ubuntu SDK team. This stuff needs more publicity!

Longer code example, which remembers which tab you were looking at, where the list is scrolled to, and what was typed in the text field:

import QtQuick 2.0 import Ubuntu.Components 0.1 import Ubuntu.Components.ListItems 0.1 as ListItem MainView { id: root width: height: Tabs { id: tabs "selectedTabIndex" Tab { id: t1 title: "StateSaver, 1" page: Page { id: pg ListView { id: lv model: 40 clip: true anchors.fill: parent "contentY" delegate: ListItem.Standard { text: "This is row " + model.index + ". Scroll to wherever." } } } } Tab { id: t2 title: "StateSaver, 2" Column { width: parent.width id: col2 spacing: anchors.centerIn: parent Label { text: "Enter your favourite pie" horizontalAlignment: Text.AlignHCenter anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter } TextField { id: tf width: parent.width - "text" anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter } } } } }


  1. how did I not know this existed! Big thanks to Florian for cueing me in

Stuart Langridge: Using U1DB in ListViews in Ubuntu SDK apps

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 16:24

After explaining how to use U1DB to store simple bits of information in Ubuntu SDK apps, and saying that that caters for 80% of my need for data storage, I should explain the other thing I do, which is to store dynamic data; documents created from user data.

To understand more about how to retrieve data from U1DB through Indexes and Queries, you can read the core U1DB documentation. Its code examples are for the Python implementation, and QML works differently for creating documents (as we’ve seen, QML is declarative; there’s no code to write, you just describe a document and it all works), but indexing and querying documents have the same underlying philosophy regardless of implementation, and the core docs explain what an index is, what a query is, and how they work.

First, a simple code example.

import QtQuick 2.0 import Ubuntu.Components 0.1 import U1db 1.0 as U1db import Ubuntu.Components.ListItems 0.1 as ListItem MainView { width: height: /* ---------------------------------------------------- Set up the U1DB database Declare a named document ---------------------------------------------------- */ U1db.Database { id: db; path: "simpleu1dbdemo2.u1db" } U1db.Index { database: db id: by_type /* You have to specify in the index all fields you want to retrieve The query should return the whole document, not just indexed fields */ expression: ["things.type", "things.placename"] } U1db.Query { id: places index: by_type query: ["*", "*"] } Page { title: "U1DB ListModel" Column { id: col width: parent.width spacing: Label { width: parent.width text: "Enter a place to add to list" horizontalAlignment: Text.AlignHCenter } Rectangle { id: ta width: parent.width - color: "white" height: inp.height * 2 anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter radius: 5 TextInput { id: inp width: parent.width - anchors.centerIn: parent onAccepted: inp.adddoc() function adddoc() { /* Indexes do not work on top-level fields. So put everything in the document in a dict called "things" so that they're not top-level fields any more. */ db.putDoc({things: {type: "place", placename: inp.text}}) inp.text = "" } } } Button { text: "Add" width: ta.width anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter onClicked: inp.adddoc() } } ListView { col.bottom anchors.bottom: parent.bottom width: parent.width model: places clip: true delegate: ListItem.Standard { text: model.contents.placename control: Button { text: "x" width: onClicked: { /* To delete a document, you currently have to set its contents to empty string. There will be db.delete_doc eventually. */ db.putDoc("", model.docId); } } } } } }

You type in a place name and say “Add”; it gets added to the list. The list is stored in U1DB, so it persists; close the app and open it again and you still have your place names. Click a place to delete it.

This covers almost all the remaining stuff that I need to do with data storage. There are a few outstanding bugs still with using U1DB from QML, which I’ve annotated in the source above, and at the moment you have to work around those bugs by doing things that you ought not to have to; once they’re fixed, this becomes more intuitive to use.

David Planella: The Ubuntu Core Apps Hack Days are back!

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 12:39

Core Apps Hack days are an easy way for app developers to get started contributing to one of the most important and visible parts of Ubuntu, and learn and share knowledge with an exciting community of some of the best Open Source developers around. As core app developer Riccardo Padovani, puts it:

I started to contribute to Ubuntu Touch with a Core App Hack Day in July and I still have not stopped!

Driven by the success of previous editions, we’re thrilled to announce another week of Ubuntu Core Apps Hack Days starting tomorrow, Friday the 24th of January

The goals

In one month’s time, the Mobile World Congress will bring a unique opportunity to present the Ubuntu phone and tablet to some of the most influential names in the mobile industry. It is also an opportunity to showcase a truly free OS and the stunning work our community of core app developers (and many others!) have already achieved.

Thus we’d like to set the theme for these Hack Days to Sprinting to MWC, and use them to focus on convergence and finishing off the set of features agreed upon at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS).

The schedule

We’ll be running a week’s worth of Hack Days, online at the #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel, from 9:00UTC to 21:00UTC, focusing on two apps a day:

Get involved

There are many ways to making core apps even more awesome! If you want to contribute, choose the one that best matches your interests or skills. The first thing I’d recommend would be to run the apps on a device to get a feel for how they work. If you don’t have a real device to test, a good alternative is to use the Ubuntu emulator.

Once you’re familiar with them, here’s how you can start your journey to becoming a core apps contributor:

  1. Join the #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel and say hi! >
  2. Find something to work on or ask someone on the channel. Here are some examples to get started

To learn more about contributing, check out the Hack Days page >.

Looking forward to seeing the new faces in the core apps project!

The post The Ubuntu Core Apps Hack Days are back! appeared first on David Planella.

Marcin Juszkiewicz: Xulrunner/AArch64 on a way to upstream

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 12:03

I finally sent Xulrunner support for AArch64 upstream. From 76KB patch I went to 14 patches with 132KB in total due to other diff options like more context lines.

Will not bother with whole history of a patch. It involved three external projects:

  • libffi (merged upstream long time ago, xulrunner needs to update their copy)
  • double-conversion (see Qt/AArch64 post for details) also update needed
  • libevent got fix for deprecated syscalls which needs to be merged into xulrunner’s copy

Splitting patch went quite easy thanks to help from Xulrunner developers: mstange froydnj Tomcat Ms2ger glandium which told me how to submit my patch, which already existing bugs to update and who assign to code reviews.

And for patches please go to dependency tree of bug #962534.

And one note: AArch64 big endian was not fully covered. Endianness info was provided in most places for both little and big options.

All rights reserved © Marcin Juszkiewicz
Xulrunner/AArch64 on a way to upstream was originally posted on Marcin Juszkiewicz website

Related posts:

  1. The story of Qt/AArch64 patching
  2. AArch64 porting update
  3. AArch64 port of Debian/Ubuntu is alive!

Stuart Langridge: A simple U1DB example for Ubuntu SDK apps

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 11:42

On Reddit, Aaron Hastings said:

One of the features I’d really like to implement is for the app [a timetable viewer for trains] to save state upon exit. In other words, if a user selected the “Abbey Street” stop, then exited, the app should remember to load Abbey Street on next launch. I’ll have to look into how that’s implemented in Ubuntu.

I’d use U1DB to do that. A simple example:

import QtQuick 2.0 import Ubuntu.Components 0.1 import U1db 1.0 as U1db MainView { width: height: /* ---------------------------------------------------- Set up the U1DB database Declare a named document ---------------------------------------------------- */ U1db.Database { id: db; path: "simpleu1dbdemo.u1db" } U1db.Document { id: lastPlace database: db docId: "lastPlace" create: true defaults: { placename: "" } } Page { title: "Simple U1DB demo" Column { width: parent.width spacing: Label { width: parent.width text: "Enter a place" horizontalAlignment: Text.AlignHCenter } Rectangle { width: parent.width - color: "white" height: inp.height * 2 anchors.horizontalCenter: parent.horizontalCenter radius: 5 TextInput { id: inp width: parent.width - anchors.centerIn: parent /* ---------------------------------------------------- Important part number one Retrieve the value from the declared U1DB document ---------------------------------------------------- */ text: lastPlace.contents.placename || "" /* ---------------------------------------------------- Important part number two Save a changed value back to the U1DB document ---------------------------------------------------- */ onTextChanged: lastPlace.contents = {placename: text} } } } } }

This mechanism fulfils about 80% of my data storage needs for Ubuntu SDK apps. You declare a database and a named document; you use the values in that document (documentQMLid.contents.fieldname) declaratively, and to save values, just set documentQMLid.contents.

Of course, you could do this with QML LocalStorage, but do you really want to be constructing SQL statements all day? I don’t. And if you use U1DB now, it keeps the door open for more complicated things later, such as syncing this data between devices, or storing more dynamic data and then querying it, which I should probably write another blog post about if there’s interest.

Sean Davis: LightDM GTK+ Greeter 1.7.1 Released

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 11:40

Progress continues on the development of the LightDM GTK+ Greeter.  The second release of the 1.7 development series adds even more customization options and stability to an already great product.

What’s New?

These new features build on top of what was recently added in 1.7.0.  For more information about that release, please see this post.

New Features
  • The “border-radius” property for the login window and power dialogs is now themeable with CSS.
  • Widgets now support a themed alpha channel for “fake” transparency.
  • Sessions are now represented by a graphical badge, similar to Unity Greeter
  • Languages are now represented by a country-code label.
Bugs Fixed
  • LP #1266449: greeter crashes on empty username
  • LP #1264563: switch-to-greeter does not set lock hint
  • LP #1264771: Password entry box is not defined as invisible in glade definition
  • LP #1267742: Screen artifacts appear after restart and cold boot
  • LP #1270530: Login screen has boxes instead of text when font is not set
Other Improvements
  • Improved username tooltips
  • Fixed memory leak in clock feature
  • Improved xscreensaver timeout functionality
  • Login button is now the “default” widget
  • Windows can no longer be positioned off-screen
Screenshots Download and Installation

The source code for LightDM GTK+ Greeter can be obtained from the downloads page.  Ubuntu users (Quantal through Trusty) can also install it from the Stable PPA using the following commands.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lightdm-gtk-greeter-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install lightdm-gtk-greeter

If you find any bugs, please report them on the bugs page.

Jono Bacon: On Accountability

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 01:12

Every so often I see a scenario play out that I find rather disappointing.

It works like this: someone posts a topic to their blog that is critical or controversial. This person can either be a community member, commentator, employee or otherwise; it doesn’t matter who the person is. Then what happens is a series of comments are posted to that blog entry from readers that are critical of the post, thus challenging the author on their views. The author then either deletes the blog entry or disables the comments based on the feedback. In other words, a viewpoint is shared, an invitation for comment is provided, but that invitation is then revoked when the author of the blog post is dissatisfied with the response from their readers.

I have seen this happen countless times over the years and I don’t like this.

I believe we should all be accountable for our words. Our words have the ability to inspire, to entertain, to challenge, but to also hurt. Actions have consequences, and so do words.

As such, when I see someone openly share their thoughts on their blog and invite their readers to provide comments, I see that as a wonderful demonstration of accountability and engagement; debate is a beautiful thing when executed with politeness and respect. To then close that door, seemingly because people disagree with you, is in my mind the equivalent of walking out of a room in the middle of a debate. The excuse when folks are criticized of this behavior is typically “it is my blog and I can run it how I like“.

This is true: it is your blog, and you can run it how you like, but the true measure of a person is not just in what they say, but also in the conversation and discourse that follows.

Now, there are two very important caveats to my view here. Firstly, abusive, threatening, or otherwise offensive content is a perfect candidate for removal and the commentator for banning. We should never tolerate this. Secondly, I can understand the removal of a blog post if there is a legal requirement to do so. In the majority of cases where I have seen posts removed or comments disabled though, it has been for neither of these reasons.

Speaking personally, I have never, ever, switched off comments on my blog posts or deleted posts. Even when the Internet has seemingly come to get me, or when the press pick up on something and are critical, or when I have made a mistake and felt embarrassed at the outcome…I have never switched off comments and never deleted a blog post. This is because I feel I should be and I am accountable for my words.

For me, this is an ethical issue; in the same way I won’t go and re-write or edit a blog post if I get criticism for it (outside of minor grammatical/spelling fixes). My posts are a time-capsule of my thinking at that point in my life. For me to go and edit them would be me re-writing history. A blog is not a regularly updated record of your views (like a book), it is chronological diary of your views and progression as a person. Consequently, my blog is filled with moments from my past that don’t reflect my views, experience, or ideas of today. Some of those posts are even embarrassing. But you know what, those posts stay unchanged, and I am proud that I have never compromised on this accountability.

So with this in mind, I have a simple suggestion for those of you who run blogs: either switch your comments off entirely or always leave them on, but don’t turn them off when you don’t like the reaction from your readers. Polite and respectful debate helps us grow as human beings, helps us evolve our ideas and perspectives, and makes us better people. Let history be our record, not our edited version of history.

Ubuntu Women: Evaluating Call Number Two!

Planet Ubuntu - Thu, 2014-01-23 00:30

So far, only two people left feedback and more would help us to evaluate if it is needed or not.  This why Call Number Two is being posted.

Several years ago the Harvest project was launched.

Harvest makes it easy to find low-hanging opportunities in Ubuntu. It aggregates the mass of todo lists we use every day so it’s simple to find and coordinate work.

Unfortunately in spite of efforts by Daniel Holbach and others on the project, it never really took off.

It is still a priority for us even a few months later since some of the major take-aways from our survey results and identified that a lot of folks still struggle on the technical side to find something small to work on. Silvia Bindelli remembered the Harvest project and in collaboration with me launched Project Harvest, an effort to evaluate the running harvest site. Once the evaluation is complete we will have a better idea of whether it will fit our needs and work to improve it.

Our current plan is as follows for evaluation stage:

  1. Find several people who are interested in getting involved and willing to be test subjects
  2. Have them visit and start browsing
  3. Once they’ve had a look through, have them report back about whether they find it intuitive to use and useful for finding things to work on
  4. Bugs (from “I can’t figure out how to use it” to “this feature would help a lot!”) can be reported to the Ubuntu Women mailing list (please sign up), in the Feedback section of the wiki page or directly to the bug tracker at

Please sign up and contact us on the mailing list or by adding your name to the wiki if you wish to get involved and join the discussion. We also often hang out in #ubuntu-women (unlogged) and #ubuntu-women-project (logged) on freenode.

Stuart Langridge: Notes on footnotes

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2014-01-22 16:53

I use footnotes quite a bit in my posts. Normally for snarky asides, I grant you, but I picked that habit up from Terry Pratchett.

They’re easy to add to WordPress; I use Andrew Nacin’s Simple Footnotes WP plugin, and then all you have to do is drop [ref]footnote text here[/ref] into the text of your post 1 and it takes care of numbering the footnote, displaying it at the bottom of the page, allowing you to link back and forth.

However, as Jake Archibald pointed out on Twitter, footnotes at the bottom of the page feel rather like a print media sort of thing. That’s useful, if someone prints your page out, or if they run it through some sort of “easy reading” service such as Readability or iOS Reader, or if your page gets turned into an ebook — we don’t want to remove that capability. But, as noted, scrolling down to the bottom of the page to read a footnote and then scrolling back up again is stupid. The Simple Footnotes plugin gets half a point for this by making the footnote number (a superscript 1, or whatever) be a link which jumps to the footnote for you, and each footnote has its own “return” link which takes you back to where you were. That’s great on a touch device. If you’ve got a pointer, we have the ability to hover, and this is what tooltips are for, so if we add title="text of the footnote" to the footnote number link, you can see the text of the footnote without having to click and jump around the page at all by just mousing over the number.

Footnotes with a properly-sized hit target

That superscript 1 is a pretty tiny target though, either to click or to hover over. It would be nice if the mouse target were bigger, but we don’t want a bunch of white space around the number. So, a little CSS:

a.simple-footnote { text-decoration: none; position: relative; color: rgba(255,0,0,0.7); /* cater for WP putting too much left spacing in before footnote numbers */ margin-left: -.2em; } a.simple-footnote::after { content: " "; position: absolute; display: inline-block; padding: 1em; margin-left: -1.3em; margin-top: -.3em; border: 1px solid transparent; border-radius: 2px; } a.simple-footnote:hover::after { background: rgba(0,0,0,0.2); border: 1px solid rgba(0,0,0,0.4); }

which I added to Admin > Appearance > Edit CSS in WordPress. Now you get a nice large hit target for your mouse, which lights up when you’re over it, and a tooltip, but your page still contains its footnotes properly when run through Readability or printed (which it might not if you were to use some sort of JavaScript popover library rather than the stuff that’s just built in to the browser and understood by accessibility tools).


  1. like this!

Aurélien Gâteau: What to do after the last image?

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2014-01-22 14:58

If you have used Gwenview before KDE SC 4.11 you might be familiar with the following situation: you are running Gwenview in fullscreen mode, pressing Space to go through a folder full of images. At one point, pressing Space does not do anything anymore... What's wrong? A quick move of the mouse to bring up the fullscreen bar reveals that you are on the last image.

A first solution

This would happen to me quite often, so during KDE SC 4.11 development period I decided to do something about it.

I initially wanted to show an on-screen notification to the user when trying to go past the last image, but it turned out to be complicated to do. If you are familiar with Qt development, you know behaviors such as going to the next image are centralized using QAction. You define the QAction once and then plug it in the menubar and toolbar. The QACtion also lets you define a keyboard shortcut. Why is it a problem? Because when you reach the last image, the action to go to the next image (let's call it goToNext) is disabled, which means its shortcut (rightfully) does not trigger anything, making it impossible to be notified of user attempts to go past the last image.

In 4.11 I settled for an alternative: the goToNext action would always be enabled, triggering it while on the last image would go to the first image and show an on-screen notification to let the user know he was now looking at the first image.

Not satisfied

After using this setup for a while, I was not satisfied with it: I realized I never want to go back to the first image, I just want to know I reached the end. Still it was nevertheless better than not getting any feedback at all, so I let it in. A post on Gwenview forum made me think about that again. The behavior change of the previous and next action broke user "bob p" workflow because the next and previous buttons were now always enabled.

So I set out to look at that annoyance again, and finally figured out a (hackish) way to get notified of shortcut presses when an action is disabled. This makes it possible to keep the goToNext action disabled while showing an on-screen notification to let the user know he reached the end of the image list.

The nitty-gritty details

To implement this I created a class named DisabledActionShortcutMonitor. This class monitors an action changes through an event filter. When the action is disabled, its shortcut is assigned to a QShortcut. When the action is enabled, the QShortcut shortcut is reset. It's not pretty, but it does the work.

disabledactionshortcutmonitor.h looks like this:

class DisabledActionShortcutMonitor : public QObject { Q_OBJECT public: /** * parent must be a widget because we need to create a QShortcut on it */ DisabledActionShortcutMonitor(QAction* action, QWidget* parent); ~DisabledActionShortcutMonitor(); Q_SIGNALS: void activated(); protected: bool eventFilter(QObject* object, QEvent* event); private: QShortcut* mShortcut; };

And here is disabledactionshortcutmonitor.cpp:

DisabledActionShortcutMonitor::DisabledActionShortcutMonitor(QAction* action, QWidget* parent) : QObject(parent) { mShortcut = new QShortcut(parent); connect(mShortcut, SIGNAL(activated()), SIGNAL(activated())); action->installEventFilter(this); } DisabledActionShortcutMonitor::~DisabledActionShortcutMonitor() { delete mShortcut; } bool DisabledActionShortcutMonitor::eventFilter(QObject* object, QEvent* event) { if (event->type() == QEvent::ActionChanged) { QAction* action = static_cast<QAction*>(object); if (action->isEnabled()) { // Unset the shortcut otherwise we get a dialog complaining about // ambiguous shortcuts when the user tries to trigger the action mShortcut->setKey(QKeySequence()); } else { mShortcut->setKey(action->shortcut()); } } return false; }

You use it like this:

QAction* myAction = /*...*/; // ... DisabledActionShortcutMonitor* monitor = new DisabledActionShortcutMonitor(myAction, QApplication::activeWindow()); connect(monitor, SIGNAL(activated()), SLOT(doSomething()));

doSomething() will be called whenever the user uses myAction shortcut while myAction is disabled.

That's it, I hope it helps you if you are in this peculiar situation. Comments on how to improve the current implementation are welcome.

PS: Code for this feature is currently in a review request on Gwenview reviewboard. If you are a KDE developer with a few minutes to spare, why not have a look at it?

Sean Davis: MenuLibre 2.0 Released, Trusty PPA Available

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2014-01-22 13:01

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had an update on the progress of MenuLibre.  Today, the advanced menu editor celebrates it’s 2.0 release.  Normally there’d be a change log after the break, but this really is a brand new application.  Read on to learn more.

The latest version of MenuLibre, 2.0!

What is MenuLibre?

MenuLibre is an advanced menu editor, similar to the Alacarte Menu Editor.  With MenuLibre, you can easily add, remove, and rearrange launchers, directories, and separators.  Powered by Python 3 and Gtk 3, it is the complete toolbox for editing menus in Linux.  It was developed to support every popular Gtk desktop environment, and has been verified to support Cinnamon, GNOME, LXDE, MATE, Unity, and Xfce.

  • Menu Management: Features expected of a “menu editor”
    • Easily rearrange menu items, submenus, and separators
    • Add new launchers, directories, and separators
    • Installed applications and directories can be hidden from the menu with the flip of a switch.
  • Adaptive Interface: A consistent look in any environment
    • In the GNOME desktop environment, the application menu is used to blend in as a typical GNOME application.
    • In Unity, the application can be controlled using the global menu and HUD.
    • Other environments will have basic application controls available within a “cog” menu.
  • Application Editor: Complete control over how your programs look and work
    • Includes each key outlined in the Desktop Menu Specification.
    • Tooltips provide additional information about each setting.
    • An easy to use icon selection dialog helps quickly customize each menu item.
Screenshots Getting MenuLibre

Ubuntu 14.04 users can install MenuLibre 2.0 from the Stable PPA using the following instructions.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:menulibre-dev
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install menulibre

For everyone else, the source package is available from here.  To install for a single user,

python3 install --user

To install system-wide,

sudo python3 install

Known Issues

There are a few things that haven’t quite been worked out yet.

  • Adding new launchers to the topmost menu level in Xfce
  • Certain combinations of gnome menu and python3.3 (such as the combo in Ubuntu 13.10) tend to crash after making a change.  It’s verified to be fully functional in 14.04

If you find any more bugs, please report them at the Launchpad Bugs page.

Mathieu Trudel: Call for testing: urfkill / Getting flight mode to rock on Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch

Planet Ubuntu - Wed, 2014-01-22 00:17
Last month, I blogged about urfkill, and what it's meant to be used for.

The truth is, flight mode and proper killswitch (read: disabling radios on devices) handling is something that needs to happen on any device that deems itself "mobile". As such, it's one thing we need to look into for Ubuntu Touch.

I spent the last month or so working on improving urfkill. I've implemented better logging, a way to get debugging logs, flight mode (with patches from my friend Tony Espy), persistence, ...

At this point, urfkill seems to be in the proper state to make it, with the latest changes from the upstream git repository, into the distro. There is no formal release yet, but this is likely to happen very soon. So, I uploaded a git snapshot from the urfkill upstream repository into Trusty. It's now time to ask people to try it out, see how well it works on their systems, and just generally get to know how solid it is, and whether it's time to enable it on the desktop.

In time, it would be nice to replace the current implementation we have of killswitch persistence (saving and restoring the state of the "soft" killswitches) currently in two upstart jobs — rfkill-store and rfkill-restore — with urfkill as a first step, for the 14.04 release (and to handle flight mode on Touch, of course). In the end, my goal would be to achieve convergence on this particular aspect of the operating system sooner than later, since it's a relatively small part of the overall communications/networking picture.

So I call on everyone running Trusty to try to install the urfkill package, and file bugs or otherwise get me feedback on the software. :)

Benjamin Kerensa: Now we do know know…

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 22:15

Some months back Mark Shuttleworth blogged “At least we know now who belongs to the Open Source Tea Party ;)” and it inspired Lennart a developer to print some shirts and I decided I needed one too and so I had some made. Although the shirt for me is tongue in cheek expression I think its disappointing and absolutely contrary to open source culture to ridicule people who share their opinions on free software.

If we all agreed on how things should be done or what the better stack is then we wouldn’t have so much great free and open source software. There would be no MariaDB because everyone would be content with MySQL there would be no Kubuntu because everyone would be satisfied with Ubuntu and so on.

Victor Tuson Palau: [Ubuntu Touch] Update to Logviewer

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 19:49

I am pleased to announced that Logviewer is now published in the Ubuntu Touch store.  The app no longer runs unconfined but users “read_path” pointing to “/var/log/” and “/home/phablet/.cache/”. If you think there is another interested log path let me know and I will try to include it.

Also, one feature that landed by popular request is submitting a selected section of a log to pastebin , thanks to Popey for the image:

Ubuntu Kernel Team: Kernel Team Meeting Minutes – January 21, 2014

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 17:15
Meeting Minutes

IRC Log of the meeting.

Meeting minutes.


20140121 Meeting Agenda

ARM Status

Nothing new to report this week.

Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs

Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:


Milestone Targeted Work Items

No new update this week.

Status: Trusty Development Kernel

No new update this week.

Status: CVE’s

The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:

Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Saucy/Quantal/Precise/Lucid

Status for the main kernels, until today (Nov. 26):

  • Lucid – Holding
  • Precise – Holding
  • Quantal – Holding
  • Saucy – Holding

    We are in a holding pattern waiting to see if any regressions show up that would cause us
    to respin before the 12.04.4 release goes out.

    Current opened tracking bugs details:


    For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:


    Note: Raring hit EOL and is no longer supported. However, the lts-backport-raring kernel
    *WILL* continue to be supported until the first point release of the next LTS (14.04.1).

Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized

No meeting next week due to the kernel team sprint.
The next meeting is scheduled for February 4th, 2014.

Mattia Migliorini: Melany 1.1: looking for new features

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 16:32

During the last months, Melany raised a great interest in WordPress users that look for a simple theme based on Twitter Bootstrap for their blog. Some of them contributed with translations, suggestions and bug reports. First of all I’d like to thank all of them (who, I hope, are reading this post).

But now, let’s bring it further. I’d like Melany to become a theme fully supported by the community, because we don’t need only to update Bootstrap, but also making it more complete. The first step to take in this project is to make it well structured. I’m working on it and Melany 1.2 will come with a complete documentation. But, before that, version 1.1 must come.

I already selected a list of features that have to be introduced in Melany 1.1, codenamed Silver Weiro. What I ask you is to propose new features. What you’d like to see in the next version of this Bootstrap-based theme? What you’d like to be changed or improved?

Head on to the official website to see a list of proposed features and suggest your own. I need you to serve what you really like. Are you ready to help yourselves?


Read the official announcement

David Planella: Announcing the first Ubuntu App Dev Schools

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 15:30

Following the call for volunteers to organize App Dev Schools across the globe, we’re excited to say that there are already events planned in 3 different countries. Every single App Dev School will help growing our community of app developers and drive adoption of our favourite free OS on all devices, everywhere.

Our LoCo community has got an incredible track record for organizing release parties, Ubuntu Hours, Global Jams, and all sorts of meet-ups for Ubuntu enthusiasts and folks who are new to Ubuntu. Ubuntu App Developer Schools are very new, but in the same way LoCos are, they’re going to become crucial in the new era of mobile devices and convergence. So we would like to see more of them and we need your help!

You can run an App Dev School too

If you’ve already organized an event, you already know the drill, but if it’s your first one, here are some guidelines on how you can put one together:

  1. Find a place to run an event and pick a date when to run it.
  2. Find some other folks in your LoCo who would be interested in helping.
  3. To promote it, remember to add it to the LoCo Directory
  4. Get the material and tune it for your event if needed.
  5. Promote the event locally and encourage people to join.
  6. Practice the material a few times before the big day, then show up, run the class and have fun.
  7. Take lots of pictures!

The ever awesome José Antonio Rey has made it even easier for Spanish-speaking LoCos to run events by having translated the materials into Spanish, so do get in touch with him if you’d like to use them.

And finally, for those of you who don’t have mobile devices to show Ubuntu on, the emulator is a nice alternative to use for app development and presentations. To help you get started, I’ve put together a quickstart guide to the Ubuntu emulator.

If you’re thinking about organizing one and you’ve got questions or need help, get in touch with me at

Looking forward to seeing all your App Dev Schools around the world!

The post Announcing the first Ubuntu App Dev Schools appeared first on David Planella.

Eric Hammond: Installing AWS Command Line Tools from Amazon Downloads

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 00:16

When you need an AWS command line toolset not provided by Ubuntu packages, you can download the tools directly from Amazon and install them locally.

In a previous article I provided instructions on how to install AWS command line tools using Ubuntu packages. That method is slightly easier to set up and easier to upgrade when Ubuntu releases updates. However, the Ubuntu packages aren’t always up to date with the latest from Amazon and there are not yet Ubuntu packages published for every AWS command line tools you might want to use.

Unfortunately, Amazon does not have one single place where you can download all the command line tools for the various services, nor are all of the tools installed in the same way, nor do they all use the same format for accessing the AWS credentials.

The following steps show how I install and configure the AWS command line tools provided by Amazon when I don’t use the packages provided by Ubuntu.


Install required software packages:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install -y openjdk-6-jre ruby1.8-full rubygems \ libxml2-utils libxml2-dev libxslt-dev \ unzip cpanminus build-essential sudo gem install uuidtools json httparty nokogiri

Create a directory where all AWS tools will be installed:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/aws

Now we’re ready to start downloading and installing all of the individual software bundles that Amazon has released and made available in scattered places on their web site and various S3 buckets.

Download and Install AWS Command Line Tools

These steps should be done from an empty temporary directory so you can afterwards clean up all of the downloaded and unpacked files.

Note: Some of these download URLs always get the latest version and some tools have different URLs every time a new version is released. Click through on the tool link to find the latest [Download] URL.

EC2 API command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g ec2-api-tools-*/ /usr/local/aws/ec2/

EC2 AMI command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g ec2-ami-tools-*/ /usr/local/aws/ec2/

IAM (Identity and Access Management) commmand line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g IAMCli-*/ /usr/local/aws/iam/

RDS (Relational Database Service) command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g RDSCli-*/ /usr/local/aws/rds/

ELB (Elastic Load Balancer) command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g ElasticLoadBalancing-*/ /usr/local/aws/elb/

AWS CloudFormation command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g AWSCloudFormation-*/ /usr/local/aws/cfn/

Auto Scaling command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq AutoScaling-*.zip sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g AutoScaling-*/ /usr/local/aws/as/

AWS Import/Export command line tools:

wget --quiet sudo mkdir /usr/local/aws/importexport sudo unzip -qq -d /usr/local/aws/importexport

CloudSearch command line tools:

wget --quiet tar xzf cloud-search-tools*.tar.gz sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g cloud-search-tools-*/ /usr/local/aws/cloudsearch/

CloudWatch command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq CloudWatch-*.zip sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g CloudWatch-*/ /usr/local/aws/cloudwatch/

ElastiCache command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq AmazonElastiCacheCli-*.zip sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g AmazonElastiCacheCli-*/ /usr/local/aws/elasticache/

Elastic Beanstalk command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq AWS-ElasticBeanstalk-CLI-*.zip sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g AWS-ElasticBeanstalk-CLI-*/ /usr/local/aws/elasticbeanstalk/

Elastic MapReduce command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq -d elastic-mapreduce-ruby sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g elastic-mapreduce-ruby/ /usr/local/aws/elasticmapreduce/

Simple Notification Serivice (SNS) command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq SimpleNotificationServiceCli-*.zip sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g SimpleNotificationServiceCli-*/ /usr/local/aws/sns/ sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/aws/sns/bin/*

Route 53 (DNS) command line tools:

sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/aws/route53/bin for i in; do sudo wget --quiet --directory-prefix=/usr/local/aws/route53/bin \$i sudo chmod +x /usr/local/aws/route53/bin/$i done cpanm --sudo --notest --quiet Net::DNS::ZoneFile NetAddr::IP \ Net::DNS Net::IP Digest::HMAC Digest::SHA1 Digest::MD5

CloudFront command line tool:

sudo wget --quiet --directory-prefix=/usr/local/aws/cloudfront/bin \ sudo chmod +x /usr/local/aws/cloudfront/bin/

S3 command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo mkdir -p /usr/local/aws/s3/bin/ sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g s3-curl/ /usr/local/aws/s3/bin/ sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/aws/s3/bin/

AWS Data Pipeline command line tools:

wget --quiet unzip -qq sudo rsync -a --no-o --no-g datapipeline-cli/ /usr/local/aws/datapipeline/

Now that we have all of the software installed under /usr/local/aws we need to set up the AWS credentials and point the tools to where they can find everything.

Set up AWS Credentials and Envronment

Create a place to store the secret AWS credentials:

mkdir -m 0700 $HOME/.aws-default/

Copy your AWS X.509 certificate and private key to this subdirectory. These files will have names that look something like this:


Create the file $HOME/.aws-default/aws-credential-file.txt with your AWS access key id and secret access key in the following format:

AWSAccessKeyId=<insert your AWS access id here> AWSSecretKey=<insert your AWS secret access key here>

Create the file $HOME/.aws-default/aws-credentials.json in the following format:

{ "access-id": "<insert your AWS access id here>", "private-key": "<insert your AWS secret access key here>", "key-pair": "<insert the name of your Amazon ec2 key-pair here>", "key-pair-file": "<insert the path to the .pem file for your Amazon ec2 key pair here>", "region": "<The region where you wish to launch your job flows. Should be one of us-east-1, us-west-1, us-west-2, eu-west-1, ap-southeast-1, or ap-northeast-1, sa-east-1>", "use-ssl": "true", "log-uri": "s3://yourbucket/datapipelinelogs" }

Create the file $HOME/.aws-secrets in the following format:

%awsSecretAccessKeys = ( 'default' => { id => '<insert your AWS access id here>', key => '<insert your AWS secret access key here>', }, );

Create a symbolic link for s3curl to find its hardcoded config file and secure the file permissions

ln -s $HOME/.aws-secrets $HOME/.s3curl chmod 600 $HOME/.aws-default/* $HOME/.aws-secrets

Add the following lines to your $HOME/.bashrc file so that the AWS command line tools know where to find themselves and the credentials. We put the new directories in the front of the $PATH so that we run these instead of any similar tools installed by Ubuntu packages.

export JAVA_HOME=/usr export EC2_HOME=/usr/local/aws/ec2 export AWS_IAM_HOME=/usr/local/aws/iam export AWS_RDS_HOME=/usr/local/aws/rds export AWS_ELB_HOME=/usr/local/aws/elb export AWS_CLOUDFORMATION_HOME=/usr/local/aws/cfn export AWS_AUTO_SCALING_HOME=/usr/local/aws/as export CS_HOME=/usr/local/aws/cloudsearch export AWS_CLOUDWATCH_HOME=/usr/local/aws/cloudwatch export AWS_ELASTICACHE_HOME=/usr/local/aws/elasticache export AWS_SNS_HOME=/usr/local/aws/sns export AWS_ROUTE53_HOME=/usr/local/aws/route53 export AWS_CLOUDFRONT_HOME=/usr/local/aws/cloudfront for i in $EC2_HOME $AWS_IAM_HOME $AWS_RDS_HOME $AWS_ELB_HOME \ $AWS_CLOUDFORMATION_HOME $AWS_AUTO_SCALING_HOME $CS_HOME \ $AWS_CLOUDWATCH_HOME $AWS_ELASTICACHE_HOME $AWS_SNS_HOME \ $AWS_ROUTE53_HOME $AWS_CLOUDFRONT_HOME /usr/local/aws/s3 do PATH=$i/bin:$PATH done PATH=/usr/local/aws/elasticbeanstalk/eb/linux/python2.7:$PATH PATH=/usr/local/aws/elasticmapreduce:$PATH PATH=/usr/local/aws/datapipeline:$PATH export EC2_PRIVATE_KEY=$(echo $HOME/.aws-default/pk-*.pem) export EC2_CERT=$(echo $HOME/.aws-default/cert-*.pem) export AWS_CREDENTIAL_FILE=$HOME/.aws-default/aws-credential-file.txt export ELASTIC_MAPREDUCE_CREDENTIALS=$HOME/.aws-default/aws-credentials.json export DATA_PIPELINE_CREDENTIALS=$HOME/.aws-default/aws-credentials.json

Set everything up in your current shell:

source $HOME/.bashrc Test

Make sure that the command line tools are installed and have credentials set up correctly. These commands should not return errors:

ec2-describe-regions ec2-ami-tools-version iam-accountgetsummary rds-describe-db-engine-versions elb-describe-lb-policies cfn-list-stacks cs-describe-domain mon-version elasticache-describe-cache-clusters eb --version elastic-mapreduce --list --all sns-list-topics --keyname default | xmllint --format - --keyname default | xmllint --format - --id default | xmllint --format - datapipeline --list-pipelines

Are you aware of any other command line tools provided by Amazon? Let other readers know in the comments on this article.

[Update 2012-09-06: New URL for ElastiCache tools. Thanks iknewitalready]

[Upate 2012-12-21: Added AWS Data Pipeline command line tools. May break Elastic MapReduce due to Ruby version conflict.]

Original article:

Sam Hewitt: Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

Planet Ubuntu - Tue, 2014-01-21 00:00

I make pizza fairly often and as such I feel that I have perfected my dough recipe –having said that I never know the exact measurements as I eyeball it nearly all the time.

As such, the pizza dough I make has that right amount of elasticity –that we know and love in pizza– with a hint of sweetness, so I add honey.


    This recipe yields enough dough for about three 30-centimetre-ish pizzas, depending on how thin you roll it of course.

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour (or a combination thereof)
  • scant 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ~1⅓ cup warm water, 40-45 degrees Celcius (104-113 Fahrenheit)
  • ~1 tablespoon dry inactive yeast
  • ~1 tablespoon sugar
  • ~1/4 cup olive oil
  • ~1 tablespoon honey (optional –for sweetness)
  1. If you have a stand mixer with dough hook: great. Otherwise mix, with another method, the salt and flour
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let stand until the yeast is activated (~10 minutes).
  3. Make a well in your flour-salt combination pour in the yeast mixture, olive oil and honey.
  4. Mix together until the dough has formed into a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch.
  5. Remove, shape into a neat ball and lightly oil it.
  6. Loosely cover the dough in a bowl with a dampish cloth and let rise until doubled in volume (1-2 hours depending on the environment).
  7. When risen, ideally divide, and knead*.
  8. Shape each smaller ball into a pizza shape for baking.
When kneading ensure to use a consistent folding motion –what you're essentially doing is aligning the gluten protein strands to achieve optimum elasticity.

I have come across an alternative method for making dough that I am now a huge fan of: in a food processor. Not only does it minimize mess, but the food processor does all the kneading for you.

    Alternative Method:
  1. Using a food processor (with the regular blade), combine the flour and salt.
  2. Like above, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water and wait ~10 minutes until the yeast is activated.
  3. Stir the honey and olive oil into the yeast solution.
  4. While the food processor is on and going, pour the liquid through the feeding tube of the food processor.
  5. Stop when the dough comes together into a sort-of ball
  6. Remove, roll into a neater ball and place in a loosely covered container to rise, until it has approximately doubled in size.
  7. When risen, divide and shape into pizza crusts(s) for baking.


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