Author: Chris Woollard

Ubuntu Manual Project Progressing… Slowly.

Ubuntu Manual Header Image

It is now almost the middle of December and the Ubuntu Manual Project has yet to release the Maverick edition of the manual. The project leader has stepped down. I guess there are a lot of people who are questioning whether this project is dead? Personally I can understand why anyone would think that. I have even wondered that myself.  Yet, the project is still here, it is still moving forward, albeit slowly.

It seems the biggest problem that the project is facing is the lack of time. As this is a community driven project, it effectively takes a back seat to everything else that is going on in people’s lives. Personally, I do not know what can be done to change the situation. I too have limited time as well, but I do my best, as do many others involved in the project. Thank you to all those people. Your help is greatly appreciated.

So, what is the current status of the project…

All the writing is complete and now the proof reading is being finalised. After that, we need to begin collecting new screen-shots. Hopefully it won’t be that much longer until we can get the Maverick manual out.

There are still a few outstanding questions with the project. Who is going to take charge of the project? How often are we going to release new versions of the manual? How can we make things better with the next version?

Only time will tell…

…if you have suggestions, please let us know. If you would like to help, please let us know.

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Ubuntu 10.10 Released

Another 6 months have passed and now another iteration of Ubuntu has been released. There have been a great number of changes. Apart from the usual array of package upgrades there are a number of key features in this latest release.

What’s New

  • The Ubuntu Font – In Ubuntu 10.04 all the artwork received a makeover. Most of the logos were created with a new typeface. In 10.10 this typeface has been made available to everybody. For more information on the Ubuntu Font take a look here.
  • Music Streaming to your phone – The Ubuntu One Music Store has been improved and now includes some new features. You can now stream music from your Ubuntu One file store direct to you iPhone or Android phone.
  • Ubuntu One on Windows – Another new feature that is coming soon is the ability to sync files with your Windows pc’s as well as your Ubuntu pc’s. This is a feature that brings Ubuntu One closer to the functionality of Dropbox.
  • Sound Indicator – The sound indicator has been improved and now includes music player controls. This means that you no-longer have t switch back to Rhythmbox to Play, Pause, skip tracks or adjust the volume. The menu even includes an image of the album cover.
  • Software Centre – The Ubuntu Software Centre has also been improved. Now there includes an additional menu that enables you to purchase non-free software. There is not much there at the moment, but I fully expect to see this market place grow.

For more information take a look at the new features pages on the Ubuntu Website.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Released

Finally, after 6 months of development the next iteration of Ubuntu has finally been released. Much has changed in that period. This is not just your average version of Ubuntu. This is the next long-term support (LTS) version. It has been 2 years since the last LTS version of Ubuntu.

What’s New

  • Social from the start: The new ‘Me Menu’ in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS consolidates the process of accessing and updating social networks including Facebook, Digg, Twitter and The Me Menu also integrates with instant messaging clients so users can talk with friends on Google Talk, MSN, IRC and various other networks.
  • Software Centre 2.0: The Software Centre has been improved and now includes software from partners.
  • Ubuntu One Music Store: The Ubuntu One Music Store is a new plug-in that is integrated into Rhythmbox that allows you to purchase DRM free music. It integrates with the Ubuntu One service to ensure that you always have a backup of your music.
  • Boot Speed: Improvements have been made to the boot-up speed of Ubuntu.
  • Ubuntu Manual: The Ubuntu Manual project has been working on a getting started with Ubuntu guide for new users to Ubuntu.

For more information take a look at the new features pages on the Ubuntu Website.

Lucid changes default Firefox search provider to Yahoo!

It has come to light that in the next release of Ubuntu (Lucid), the default search provider in Firefox will change to Yahoo!

My first thought on this matter was to shout Noooooo!!!!

This might have been a little extreme, but not expected on my part. I don’t like it when things that I like, change. Especially when it is my default search provider. I am quite fond of the Google search and I want it to stay.

After my trauma had subsided, I thought about it for a moment. Why shouldn’t companies  make money in this way. It was only last week that we heard that Bing was going to be the default search provider on the iPhone after a deal with Microsoft. The change in Ubuntu is not vastly dissimilar. I am sure that the extra cash will be welcomed by Canonical.

I wonder what the future has in store? How many more distributions will change their default search for some cold hard cash.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx Release Schedule

On the 14th January the second alpha of the next long term support version of Ubuntu Linux will be released.

I thought I would post the current release schedule for all the milestones of Lucid Lynx.


  • Alpha 1 – 10th December 2009
  • Alpha 2 – 14th January 2010
  • Alpha 3 – 25th February 2010
  • Beta 1 – 18th March 2010
  • Beta 2 – 8th April 2010
  • Release Candidate – 22nd April 2010
  • Final Release – 29th April 2010

For more information on this upcoming release look at the following links.

Wiki –

Lucid Testing –

Happy Christmas!

Just a quick message to thank all those people that have been reading my blog over the past year.

I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

God Bless you all.

Chris Woollard

Opera 10.5 pre-alpha review

A couple of days ago Opera released a new labs version of their Opera browser.

I was incredibly eager to try the latest version of Opera’s browser. For quite a long time I have been using Opera 10 as my primary browser. It may not be the fasted browser out there, but it does a good job, is very stable and comes feature packed. It is also one of the few browsers that scores a perfect 100/100 on the Acid 3 test.

Opera 10.5 Running on Windows 7

What’s New

  • There is a new JavaScript engine called Carakan. This said to be 7x faster than the Futhark engine in Opera 10.10.
  • The Vega graphics engine now handles everything that appears on screen. Vega also supports hardware acceleration.
  • Opera 10.5 visually integrates better with the operating system. This means that in Windows 7 there is support for Aero Peek and Jump lists. The theme is similar to that of Google Chrome, so as to reduce the amount of space wasted to menus and buttons. For the Mac the browser has been re-written on Cocoa, and supports multi-touch gestures.
  • Private browsing is now supported within Opera as in many other browsers. However something different from other browsers, is the ability to have private tabs.
  • Non-Modal dialog boxes. This allows you to switch tabs or windows while the dialog is still displayed.
  • Better HTML 5 support.

Issues (This is a pre-alpha browser so it is understandable)

  • Opera Unite is disabled by default.
  • No Linux version.
  • Creating hyper links on this article in WordPress did not work (CSS pop-ups).
  • Opera Link does not work.
  • Memory usage is very high.
  • Random Crashes.


I know this is an unstable development build, so should not be relied on for everyday use. It is however a great show case for what is to come in the not too distant future. This browser has more features than any other, except maybe for the number of extensions of Firefox.

Opera has come a long way. It doesn’t have a particularly large market share at the moment. I do wonder if it can compete with the might of Microsoft, Google and Mozilla. Only time will tell.

Apple voids warranties over cigarette smoke

Earlier today The Register ran an article about Apple voiding warranties over people who smoke.

Way back in the mists of time, I used to fix the odd home user’s pc. I have seen first hand the mess that cigarette smoke makes to the insides of a computer so I can understand why Apple would consider this.

Obviously it will upset the pro smoking lobby, but it is probably for the best.

Just imagine how much money Apple will save on warranty repairs. I looked at statistics (2007) from Cancer Research and found that in the uk approximately 22% on the population smoke. Then take into account the rest of the world. That is a lot of money saved through warranty repairs. I wonder if that saving will be passed on to consumers? The other question i have is if this works, will other hardware vendors follow suit?

If Apple wants to do this, fine, but they do need to make it clear in the terms and conditions. Whatever the case it will probably be challenged in court.

Only time will tell what happens.

Subversion Submitted to Become a Project at The Apache Software Foundation

Today I have discovered that the version control system, Subversion, has submitted a request to become one of the Apache Software Foundation’s  Top-Level Projects.

For further information you can read the press release for yourself.



Ubuntu 9.10 Release Candidate Review

Today I read a blog on the BBC website by Rory Cellan-Jones. He had been comparing Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) to Microsoft Windows 7.

Personally I have been running Windows 7 on my notebook for quite some time now. I was impressed by it right from the beginning. It feels fast, stable and way better than Vista ever was. I think that is actually quite a compliment considering I would class myself and a Linux and Ubuntu evangelist. This has prompted me to update my netbook to the latest version of Karmic that is available.

Look and Feel

Included with the beta release of Karmic is all the graphics and eye candy that is to ship with the full release. It really appears that Canonical has spent a great deal of time working on the look and feel of Ubuntu. This was also confirmed when I randomly bumped into one of the graphics designers from Canonical while cycling through central London.

It really does feel that Canonical has put its all into this release. They have even removed all the beta logos from Ubuntu One and given it a brand new white interface as well as including a collection of different desktop wallpapers if you don’t like brown (slightly more yellow this time).

The netbook remix interface has also had an overhaul. Now it has moved from being a three column interface to a two column interface. This really feels a lot nicer an definitely less cramped.

Software Centre

With this release of Karmic and new package managment tool has been added. “Ubuntu Software Centre”. This is quite a nice tool and does aid package management. I did note that Adobe Reader is buried in a Canonical partner repositry that is not enabled by default. Adobe flash was easier to find, so it didn’t take long to get the BBC iPlayer to work. I even tried the iPlayer Desktop and was prompted to install Adobe Air.

Intel Video Driver Architecture

I am very happy to see that the Intel video drivers included have been updated. This now means that the additional visual effects (Compiz) work properly on my Asus Netbook. This meant that visual effects were unusable for me in 9.04.


Ubuntu 9.10 has come on leaps and bounds since 9.04. It is a release that is really worth looking at. It is very easy to use and looks amazing. Rory Cellan-Jone from the BBC tried it for a day. I say, try it for a week, at least. It is different from Windows, but it is more than capable of delivering everything you require.

For further information on what is new in the latest release of Ubuntu. Have a read through the release notes.