OMG! Ubuntu! http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk Ubuntu Linux News, Apps and Reviews Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:44:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2 Released, Ready for Download http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/download-ubuntu-15-04-beta-release http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/download-ubuntu-15-04-beta-release#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 23:29:37 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97146 1504You can now Download Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2, the latest release in the Vivid Vervet release cycle.

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ubuntu-desktop

Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2 is now available for download and testing

The release is the second and final beta in the Ubuntu 15.04 development cycle and will be followed by a Release Candidate build on April 16, ahead of the final release on April 23. 

Beta 2 is of particular interest as it is the first milestone release that the regular Unity-using version of Ubuntu takes part in.

What’s New in Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2

Now, before anyone gets too giddy about seeing what’s new, remember that Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is a ‘maintenance release’ and will be largely similar to the 14.04 LTS and 14.10 releases made last

Bug fixes, polish and small usability improvements are the Vivid Vervet’s calling card. Even the most significant change to take place in Ubuntu for a few years, the move to SystemD as the distribution’s init system, is largely imperceptible.

Unity 7.3

Ubuntu’s default desktop shell Unity receives a fresh round of refinements this release cycle.

Locally Integrated Menus (LIM) are enabled by default in Ubuntu 15.04, embedding app menus inside the window border rather than placing them at the top of the screen — though it’s only with this beta that locally integrated menus show up on unfocused windows.

A small change as it may be it is, as we noted when the ‘Always Show Menus’ option arrived in January, one that addresses the concerns some users had over the disappearing mouseover menus discoverability for newcomers.

If you don’t like locally integrated menus you don’t have to use them. A switch in the System settings > Appearance > Behaviour allows menus to go back to the old behaviour, so anyone who prefer their menus tucked neatly at the top of the desktop can quickly revert to their preferred way of working.

The Dash, HUD and logout/shutdown dialog now show up correctly over fullscreen windows, and minor adjustments to the animations on login and logout should make for a faster startup and shutdown experience.

Compiz 0.9.12

The well-worn Compiz window manager gains a much-needed fix from nVidia that solves issues of blank or black windows for users with the Nvidia proprietary driver enabled.

Compiz now supports the MATE desktop fully, complemented by a refresh of the gtk-window-decorator for Gnome2 support.

Application Updates

Beta testers will also find updated versions of Ubuntu’s core default app set, including the Firefox web-browser, Thunderbird e-mail client and Rhythmbox music player.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Beta

To download Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2 (and bearing in mind all the usual caveats that come from running beta-quality software) head over to the official downloads page.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2

Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2 — Flavors

Shipping their own beta wares alongside Ubuntu proper is the family of official flavors, including the newly appointed Ubuntu MATE.

The change logs for a few of these, Lubuntu and Xubuntu in particular, are fairly minimal with only a few package updates, misc improvements and bug fixes between them.

Other members are packing more substantive changes this cycle.

ubuntu mate 15.04

Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 2 balms the teething issues that blighted its inaugural beta, with a few minor changes introduced as a result.

The latest versions of Folder Color and Caja (the MATE file manager) actions are both now installed by default and there’s a new lock keys applet for keyboard aficionados to get acquainted with. The MATE Menu applet is also now available as is improved support for those wanting to use Compiz desktop effects.

On the application side the Cheese webcam app has been replaced with the lighter and less fancy guvcview, but an app still great for snapping a quick desktop selfie and the new drop-down Terminal app Tilda. 

Download Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 2

kubuntu 15 04

Kubuntu 15.04 Beta 2 continues to impress visually with the new Plasma 5.2 desktop enabled by default, while the suite of KDE Applications 14.12.2 offers a solid and reliable set of core apps. LibreOffice 4.4 and Firefox 36 also come preloaded.

Download Kubuntu 15.04 Beta 2

GNOME Weather & Maps in 3.14

Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Beta 2 ships with last October’s GNOME 3.14 desktop shell and associated apps out of the box. While not as shiny as this weeks GNOME 3.16 release (schedules are to blame) it offers a broader set of improvements over the mix of GNOME 3.10 and 3.12 used for its 14.10 release.

As with other community flavors, Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 also comes with the latest versions of popular apps and features a new default wallpaper.

Download Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Beta 2

Remember: beta releases are intended for testing and feedback purposes rather than daily use. They are not production-ready. You may encounter bugs, find missing or broken functionality and experience quirks will using them.

You can keep yourself and the rest of the world up to speed on Ubuntu’s release plans by sharing our handy graphic on Twitter.

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GNOME 3.16 Released — This Is What’s New And Improved http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/gnome-3-16-released-new-features-screenshots http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/gnome-3-16-released-new-features-screenshots#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:25:57 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97151 gnomeGNOME 3.16, the latest stable update of the popular open-source desktop environment, has been released.

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gnome

GNOME 3.16, the latest stable update of the popular open-source desktop environment, has been released. 

And what a release it is coming packed with more polish than a shoe shop and filled with shiny features, GNOME 3.16 sees the desktop environment level up once again to take on its critics and meet the evolving needs of Linux desktop users.

GNOME 3.16 features over 33,000 changes both big and small and all contributed by more a thousand willing and able developers, designers and volunteers.

The changes, both large and small, present in GNOME 3.16 add up to make an impressive whole; this is a release that strikes the right balance between being the GNOME we know and love and being the GNOME the world needs in 2015.

We run down our favourite new features in an accompanying article, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

What’s New in GNOME 3.16?

Gnome 3.16 new theme

When you think of GNOME Shell (the desktop section of GNOME) you tend to think of black. Black menus, translucent-y black dock, black buttons, black login screen pods and so on.

Not any more.

For the first release in a while, GNOME has made major changes to the default look of the shell. The black of earlier releases has been swapped for a tonally softer color palette based around a rich grey (disclaimer: I am colorblind) and a darker blue slider accent.

White icons and text are still overlaid on the new charcoal background to create a more pleasing contrast.

GNOME calls the new look “contemporary” — but most will call it “about time”! Importantly, the new look chimes well with the thoughtful transitions and animations introduced into the activities overlay in the previous stable release.  

overlay-scrollbars in gnome 3.16

A less superficial design change in this release is the introduction of overlay scrollbars (these are scrollbars that only show when you scroll or hover your mouse near them). GNOME say the new wheezy grab bars will help to create a “cleaner, less distracting view, which helps [you] to focus on window content.”.

Better Notifications

calendar-notifications

GNOME 3’s notifications system has been overhauled for 3.16.

Firstly, notifications (also called ‘banners’ in GNOME speak) now show at the top of the screen not the bottom, meaning you’re less likely to miss an incoming e-mail or IM alert.

As before, some notifications let you interact and ‘action’ an alert directly from its banner, so you can snooze an alarm, reply to an IM message or undo a deleted file.

notification-bubble in gnome 3.16

The old Message Tray has been dismissed and a new message list introduced as part of the ‘calendar menu’ applet. This list plays keeps a history of recent notification toasts from popular apps and services which can be helpful for seeing notifications you missed whilst off feeding your pet barracuda.

The “calendar” part of the drop down is also improved, now showing event reminders and world clocks. GNOME say they plan to add birthday reminders and weather information here in a future release.

GNOME 3.16 Apps

Every major stable update to GNOME comes touting new and improved applications and GNOME 3.16 is no exception.

files gnome 3.16

Files (aka ‘Nautilus’) comes bundled with some small improvements over earlier builds, not least of which is the addition of a dynamic pop-over menu.

Both the grid and list views have been improved with better sizing and spacing of files for easier scanning, while the old ‘delete’ key behaviour sorely missed from earlier builds is restored (yes: no more Ctrl+Del!).

image-viewer

The Image Viewer app has been redesigned and features a new layout that minimises the amount of “window chrome” around the app, giving more room to the actual photo you’re viewing.

boxes

Boxes, the virtual machine tool, is another app getting a fresh new look in this release, with improved ‘properties’ dialog and creation assistant. Better display handling and resource usage management also feature.

gnome 3.16 maps app

Maps now features Foursquare check-ins, integrates contacts search and adds new information bubbles.

The new pop-over bubbles show relevant information on a given location, such as Wikipedia links, address details, markers for grabbing travel directions and more.

Preview Apps

gnome 3.16 books app

As we previewed earlier this year, GNOME ships with three new “preview apps” as a taste of whats to come in a future stable release.

These apps are perfectly useable “as is” but may be rougher around the edges or lack in features than regular core apps, so do bear the ‘preview’ label in mind if you plan on using them.

These preview apps this release are:

  • Calendar — easy to use desktop calendaring app with Online Accounts integration
  • Characters — a new character map application with ‘type to search’ features and ‘recently viewed’ section
  • Books — a new e-book viewer that allows viewing of comic book archives (.cbr, etc). ePub support is planned

Other changes

privacy

Speedier versions of core apps Photos and Music features, with the latter now offering ‘smart playlists’ for airing loops of ‘frequently played’ and ‘recently added’ tracks.

The GNOME set-up tool now features a privacy controls section to ensure user desktops are better tuned to users needs.

Lastly, remember USB MultiWriter? This useful tool, which allows a single .iso to be written to multiple USB sticks simultaneously, is now part of GNOME’s developer tools.

Wayland Port In ‘Final Stages’

wayland

GNOME’s earlier and, in hindsight, wildly optimistic ambition was to shipping GNOME on Wayland by default  in 2013, then 2014. Now, in 2015, it is still not quite there, but it is closer to a realist than ever.

3.16 sees additional progress made on the Wayland front, including key support for input configuration and seeing big strides in general input handling.

“The port to Wayland is now approaching its final stages,” say GNOME.

Getting GNOME 3.16 on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.04 due next month won’t include GNOME 3.16 by default or as an officially supported upgrade. Timing is, as always to blame, with GNOME’s latest release coming past Ubuntu’s feature freeze deadline.

Vivid Vervet users will, however, finally be able to play with GNOME 3.14 and assorted goodies for the first time.

Don’t reach for the Fedora install disc just yet: it’s likely that a series of GNOME 3.16 PPAs will, as in the past, offer  an unsupported upgrade to Ubuntu users running 15.04. We’ll be able to tell you more nearer April 23.

If you don’t want to wait and have a spare USB stick to hand you can download a live image (based on Fedora) that comes jam-packed with all GNOME 3.16 has to offer, direct from the GNOME website.

Download GNOME 3.16 Live USB Image

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Latest Intel Linux Graphics Drivers Now Available for Ubuntu 14.10 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/latest-intel-linux-graphics-drivers-now-available-for-ubuntu-14-10 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/latest-intel-linux-graphics-drivers-now-available-for-ubuntu-14-10#comments Tue, 17 Mar 2015 23:43:53 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97141 intel logotypeA new release of the Intel Graphics Installer is available for download, giving Ubuntu users an easy way to update their graphics drivers.

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intel-driver-update-utility-unity

Intel…Graphics

Intel has announced a new release of their Graphics Installer for Linux utility, which gives users an easy way to upgrade Intel graphics drivers on supported operating systems. 

This time around Ubuntu 14.10 (and Fedora 21) are formally supported, with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (and Fedora 20) entering ‘deprecated’ status.

Deprecated status allows users to use the tool to remove or install an older version of the graphics stack.

Not that Ubuntu 14.04 users will want to.

Those running the most recent Long Term Support release are warned off using the latest version of the tool entirely. Under “known issues” the Intel Open Source Group notes:

“Packages installed by the Graphics Installer for Ubuntu 14.04 “trusty” may no longer function properly …therefore, we discourage use of the Graphics Installer on Ubuntu 14.04.”

Yesh!

Utopic users aren’t left in the blush and can make full use of the tool to upgrade to the Intel 2014Q4 graphics stack.

Released in late December, the 2014Q4 stack brings a number of improvements to the standard Intel Linux 2D and 3D drivers, including:

  • Improved support for Broadwell and CherryView CPUs
  • Prearations for Skylake processors
  • Backlight and power sequencer fixes
  • Revamped Vblank handling

The tool no longer performs major xserver-xorg upgrades as part of its update process, a change introduced in the previous release.

Installers and further information on the ins’  and outs of this latest release can found at the official Intel Open Source Group project.

Download Intel Linux Graphics Installer 0.8

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Meet Blueberry, Linux Mint’s New Bluetooth Setup Tool http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/linux-mint-bluetooth-set-up-tool-blueberry http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/linux-mint-bluetooth-set-up-tool-blueberry#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 03:04:04 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97113 mintbox 2What do you do when the default Bluetooth confirmation utility is less than ideal for your users? Why you dive in and improve it! This is Linux after all!

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What do you do when the default Bluetooth configuration utility is less than ideal? Why you dive in and improve it — this is Linux after all!

That is precisely what the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint has done.

Not quite convinced by the standard bluetooth tools on offer in their various releases, Linux Mint has created a brand new Bluetooth setup tool called Blueberry. It will ship in the upcoming Linux Mint Debian Edition 2 release and replace the varying approaches in use in other Mint flavors in due course (yes, including in Cinnamon).

The utility has been designed to be simple and to run outside of Linux Mint just as easily (e.g., in Cinnamon on Fedora) It will allow Linux Mint users to set up and manage their Bluetooth mice, keyboard and other extras quickly and easily and offer smarter integration with the underlying system and desktop environment.

mint bluetooth

What Blueberry is not is a new Bluetooth stack. It is a new front-end to ‘gnome-bluetooth’ and will be accessed from the system tray only on devices that support Bluetooth or have Bluetooth enabled.

For further details read the blog post announcing the new feature.

By having one standard config tool across its distributions Linux Mint is not only able to offer a consistent and better user experience for its fervent fans but lessen the development burden for itself.

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Ubuntu at Mobile World Congress (Video) http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-at-mobile-world-congress-video http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-at-mobile-world-congress-video#comments Fri, 13 Mar 2015 18:09:54 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97132 Ubuntu Core for IOTCanonical has uploaded a short video recapping their booth at this year's Mobile World Congress 2015.

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Canonical has uploaded a short video recapping their booth at this year’s Mobile World Congress 2015.

At just over a minute the short clip covers their pitch promoting Ubuntu for Phones, convergence between tablets and PCs, their ongoing cloud successes and its extension into the Internet of Things technologies.

“As the lights go down on Mobile World Congress 2015, we’ve taken a bit of time to reflect on what has become one of our favourite events in the conference calendar. And what a week it was,” the video caption reads.

“Congress touched nearly every part of the company and so here’s a bit of insight into what we did there.”

You can see the video below.

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The New Ubuntu 15.04 Default Wallpaper Is Here http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-15-04-default-wallpaper-and-it-may-surprise-you http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-15-04-default-wallpaper-and-it-may-surprise-you#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:59:38 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97064 suru desktop wallpaper ubuntu vividThe Ubuntu 15.04 default wallpaper has been revealed. It once again uses origami folds over a purple gradient but has a distinct feel, too.

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Ubuntu 15.04 will ship with a brand new default wallpaper based around the Ubuntu Phone “Suru” design concepts.

The refreshed design, which can be seen below, marks the first major change to the default background of Ubuntu since the April 2014 release of 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’.

Trusty was first to introduce a backdrop using Canonical’s ‘Suru’ design language for Ubuntu Phone/Unity 8 and the same wallpaper was used in the subsequent release, Ubuntu 14.10.

While not a massive switch in design, still using the “origami style folds over a purple-y orange gradient”, the new drape will help give the upcoming release of 15.04 a refreshed look.

suru desktop wallpaper ubuntu vivid

The New 15.04 Wallpaper (note: this image has been compressed)

For reference, this is the current background:

14.04 & 14.10 Default Wallpaper

14.04 & 14.10 Default Wallpaper

Alternative Version

Canonical’s Will Cooke, who uploaded the new design to a bug issue on Launchpad, also added an alternative greyscale version. Canny Ubuntu Phone developers may notice a similar riff to the light Scopes background used on the Ubuntu Phone.

The alternate greyscale version

The alternate greyscale version  (note: this image has been compressed)

Both versions can be downloaded directly from Launchpad using the links below.

Bear in mind that, as we saw with Trusty, there may be a few minor tweaks or alterations made between this first glance and the version that ships “on disc” in Ubuntu 15.04.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Default Wallpaper

Download Ubuntu 15.04 ‘Alternate’ Default Wallpaper

Neither wallpaper is yet to be packaged up and uploaded to Vivid itself. So if you’re already running a daily build and don’t see it…that’s why.

Lastly, don’t break in to a sweat if the new design isn’t quite your thing. The default wallpaper can, as always, be easily changed to anything you like, be it a photo of a TARDIS, some cute kittens in a hand crafted basket or a solid block of canary yellow.

Are you a fan of the refreshed look? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Will Ship With Nifty Tilda Terminal App http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-mate-15-04-tilda-terminal-app http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/ubuntu-mate-15-04-tilda-terminal-app#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:59:38 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97045 ubuntu mate remix logoThe Ubuntu MATE team, fresh from going official community flavour status, have been busy detailing some of the handy new features shipping in Ubuntu MATE 15.04.

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The Ubuntu MATE team, fresh from going official community flavour status, have been busy detailing some of the handy new features shipping in Ubuntu MATE 15.04.

Among them is the addition of Tilda. Tilda is a ‘dropdown’ terminal application that’s similar to popular alternatives like guake but with a smaller memory footprint – something important for a distribution like Ubuntu MATE.

Dropdown terminals aren’t for everyone but have advantages. For one, they don’t require you to open an app, instead letting you hit a hot key (in Ubuntu MATE this will be F12) to open and close it.

Like other related terminal tools Tilda has a wealth of customisation and configuration options. And yes, it supports multiple tabs!

Explaining more about the feature, and demoing it in action on the Ubuntu MATE 15.04 desktop, is project lead Martin Wimpress.

How to Install Tilda in Ubuntu

Like the look and feel of Tilda? The good news is that you don’t have to be on Ubuntu MATE 15.04 to use it.

Tilda is available to install on most versions of Ubuntu (and related flavors) straight from the repositories.

Click to Install Tilda from the Ubuntu Software Center

To install Tilda using the command line open a new terminal window and run:

sudo apt-get install tilda

After installation has completed you can launch it from your desktop’s app menu.

The first time you run Tilda you’ll see a setup guide that will let you choose a keybinding. By default Tilda uses Super + F1.

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CompuLab Utilite2 Is a Tiny ARM Desktop PC Running Ubuntu http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/compulab-utilite-2-is-a-tiny-arm-desktop-pc-running-ubuntu http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/compulab-utilite-2-is-a-tiny-arm-desktop-pc-running-ubuntu#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 17:58:15 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97017 Utilite 2 by CompulabCompuLab, best known in Linux circles for making the popular MintBox PCs, has launched the Utilite2 — a super small ARM PC running Ubuntu or Android.

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CompuLab, best known in Linux circles for being the manufacturer of the popular MintBox PCs, has launched the Utilite2 — a super small ARM PC running Ubuntu or Android.

Housed inside a tiny 3.4-inch by 2.3-inch aluminium casing is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, a quad-core CPU running at 1.7GHz, 2GB RAM and 4GB eMMC storage.

The base model of the Utilite2 costs $192. An additional model is also available for $229 that bumps the internal storage to 32GB.

Utilite 2 by Compulab

This thing is tiny. Seriously tiny.

All models of the Utilite2 come with HDMI out, Gigabit Ethernet, built-in dual-antenna Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

Buyers also have access to audio in/out jack, micro USB/OTG and four USB 2.0 ports for connecting mice, keyboards an other compatible peripherals.

The Utilite2 is capable of powering a display with a max resolution of 1920×1080.

Choice of Ubuntu 12.04.3 for ARM

Compulab also saves buyers the hard work of finding a compatible Ubuntu for ARM build by offering its own version based on Ubuntu 12.04.3. An Android 4.3 image preloaded with Google Play is also available.

While not intending to be a mainstream device (CompuLab largely targets industrial use cases) the Utilite2 is sure to find some fans among the Linux on ARM enthusiast crowd.

The smaller, cheaper and more powerful $89 Intel Compute Stick may be better suited to anyone looking for a low-cost, low-power way to run more recent versions of Ubuntu and as much of the Linux software catalog as possible.

If you’re interested in buying head on over to the official product page for more details, including shipping dates and lead times.

Compulab Utilite2 Product Page

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New App Brings Android Notifications to The GNOME Desktop http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/new-app-brings-android-notifications-to-the-gnome-desktop http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/new-app-brings-android-notifications-to-the-gnome-desktop#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:18:52 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=97009 GNOME Notification Shade in 3.16You'll shortly be able to view your Android notifications on the GNOME desktop thanks to a new application in development.

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GNOME Notification Shade in 3.16

Fancy seeing your Android alerts here? You can.

You’ll shortly be able to view your Android notifications on the GNOME desktop thanks to a new application in development.

The new project is called ‘Nuntius’ and lets notifications received on an Android phone appear on the GNOME desktop. It’s with GNOME 3.16 and its (wonderfully) redesigned notification system that the app and its features will be used by more.

The app, which developers are hoping will be ready in time for this month’s release of GNOME 3.16, will work over Bluetooth to ensure that nothing is passed to external servers or stored online. This does mean that your phone will need to be in a certain proximity to your GNOME desktop for the feature to work.

It also isn’t yet possible to reply to a text message or act on a news alert.

The development team do caution that this is an early release and those planning on diving in to use it should expect minimum functionality for now.

The mobile app required to see Android notifications in GNOME’s new notification shade is already available from the Google Play Store and the GNOME application is already available in the Fedora repos.

The developers have open-sourced both the Android app and the GNOME application receiver and hosted them (where else) on GitHub.

A similar tool has been available for KDE desktops – ‘KDE Connect’ – for a year or two, while the ever-gaining Pushbullet offers similar features on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops for iOS and Android platforms using Google Chrome.

Nuntius for Android & GNOME on GitHub

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BBC to Le Monde: Ubuntu Phone Press Round-Up http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/bbc-to-le-monde-ubuntu-phone-press-round-up http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/bbc-to-le-monde-ubuntu-phone-press-round-up#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 05:16:22 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96996 Screen Shot 2015-03-05 at 00.26.35The BBC was among several well-known press outlets to cover the Ubuntu Phone showing during Mobile World Congress 2015.

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meizu mx4 ubuntu phone

The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition

The BBC was among several well-known press outlets to cover the Ubuntu Phone showing during Mobile World Congress 2015.

The veteran British broadcaster published a two minute video  on Canonical’s pitch at MWC on the technology section of its news website.

In the clip auntie’s resident technology reporter Rory Cellan-Jones gives the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition a quick paw before asking Canonical CEO Jane Silber if Ubuntu has a chance of going mainstream in a mobile world dominated by apps, Android and other emerging alternatives.

Silber — who, incidentally is one of the nicest people you could ever meet — walks Cellan-Jones through the key proposition of the Ubuntu Phone concept (i.e., Scopes) and explains the advantages the technology brings.

BBC: ‘Hands-on with an Ubuntu phone at MWC’

Other Recent Ubuntu Phone Coverage

The BBC wasn’t the only well-known news outlet to stop by the Canonical stand in Barcelona during the three-day long event, nor was MWC the sole concern of some of the articles that went live during it.

Le Monde

French newspaper Le Monde published an online review (Fr) of the Bq Ubuntu Phone, currently being sold in flash sales.

‘ the “radical choice of interface” left him cautious to recommend it to anyone other than enthusiasts’

Reviewer Damien Leloup spent some time with the €169 device and found the hardware to be okay for the price, though notes that the gesture-heavy navigation does take a while to get used to — even for a Linux user!

The OS’ frequent updates and customisation options were listed by Leloup as things he ‘likes’ about the phone, while the ‘complexity of the interface’ and the frequent bugs and crashes he experienced during his time with the handset were listed as things he didn’t like.

Ultimately, the “radical choice of interface” left him cautious to recommend it to anyone other than enthusiasts, surmising it is best suited to Le Monde readers who already like Ubuntu, who use few apps and are looking for a low-cost phone. He adds that it’s not for (their) readers on the hunt for an ‘easy to use’ phone, or who rely on popular apps, or want a device that’s powerful enough to play lots of games.

Tom’s Hardware

Bq Ubuntu Phone multitasking

Bq Ubuntu Phone in multitasking

Popular hardware enthusiast site Tom’s Hardware published its own relaxed article on the Bq Ubuntu Phone, too.

The article walks through the key gestures and pre-installed Scopes but focuses on Canonical’s plan to launch an as-yet-unannounced device from an as-yet-unannounced OEM in the US later this year.

The Verge & Engadget

Back to Mobile World Congress and The Verge shared their thoughts in a lengthy article calling the Ubuntu mobile project ‘an audacious attempt to take on Android’.

After recapping the key features of the OS (i.e., gestures and scopes) it finishes up by stating that both Bq and Meizu Ubuntu Phones offer a ‘simple, fresh experience that could be more than serviceable for those with reason to believe’.

Finally, Engadget’s Nick Summer also had some MWC booth hands-on time with the Meizu MX4, and wrote up his thoughts in an article titled: ‘Ubuntu’s answer to Android is finally here, but it still needs work’.

Summer describes the OS as ‘refreshing’ thanks, in part, to the fact it’s not Android or iOS, but noted that, to him, the software on show at MWC felt rough around the edges and a little ‘beta’ like.

“The adapted Meizu MX4 and BQ Aquaris E4.5 represent a huge milestone for Ubuntu on mobile. But it’s difficult to imagine Canonical attracting any significant market share in the near future — in fact, the staff I spoke to in Barcelona said they had already accepted this fate. These devices are for the Ubuntu fans, first and foremost. It’s a niche proposition and will remain so until Canonical improves the software and attracts new hardware partners. It’s not the most exciting state of affairs, but at least the company is being realistic.”

Interesting stuff!

The real test for Ubuntu on Phones isn’t what reviewers think but that of real, everyday users. Folks like you. Do you plan on buying an Ubuntu Phone?

Thanks to dstaubsauger for helping with Le Monde translation

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Popular German Website ‘Spiegel Online’ Reviews Ubuntu Phone http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/popular-german-website-spiegel-online-reviews-ubuntu-phone http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/popular-german-website-spiegel-online-reviews-ubuntu-phone#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:08:50 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96975 spiegel with ubuntu phoneThe popular German news website Spiegel Online has published a hands-on review of the Bq Ubuntu Phone, which is due to ship to successful Flash Sale buyers later this month.

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German Spiegel Review

Image: Der Spiegel

The popular German news website Spiegel Online has published a hands-on review of the Bq Ubuntu Phone, which is due to ship to successful Flash Sale buyers later this month.

The publication gives its thoughts on the mid-range handset in a review subtitled (and likely badly translated): ‘Ubuntu? For many it is the Windows alternative for PCs. But now the first Ubuntu Smartphone has come on the market. Can it compete with iOS and Android devices? We find out.’

‘A Phone For Enthusiasts’

Thanks to the power of online translation tools (and a nice tipster who summarised the main points) the Speigel Online review is a balanced, if mixed, overview.

Ubuntu Phone

Image: Der Spiegel

The Ubuntu Phone’s gesture-heavy UI concept was considered novel though they admitted it took some time to get used to, accidentally triggering the ‘multi-tasking’ view on a number of occasions, and they seemed fairly impressed with the concept of Scopes overall.

Bonus points were also given for the ‘smooth, sufficient’ performance of the device, the Dual SIM slots and ‘good colour reproduction’ on the 4.5-inch display.

The 8GB internal storage caused some consternation as only around 5GB is actually free, and the reviewer also noted he wasn’t able to connect the phone up to a non-Ubuntu PC to transfer music to it, instead having to use an SD card.

They were less smitten by the app catalog on offer, writing that:

“[The Ubuntu Phone has] a lack of apps. There is not much to choose from and much of what is offered [turns out to be a] link to the mobile web page, like the eBay app or Here Maps app.”

In all, while calling it ‘fun’ to play with, the Spiegel Online ultimately concluded in their Ubuntu Phone review that the first device is one for enthusiasts and fans (which just so happens to be exactly who Canonical and Bq is targeting this limited run of devices too). Paraphrased, translated:

“The Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu is [for enthusiasts] …it has no real advantages over the [Android version of the same model].”

You can read the full article (in German) on the Spiegel website.

Any native German speakers among you: do feel free to nudge me with more accurate translations of the quotes above if you feel they’re needed. I have paraphrased in parts. 

H/t Philippe

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VLC 2.2 Released, Here’s How To Install It in Ubuntu http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/new-features-vlc-2-2-ubuntu-ppa http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/new-features-vlc-2-2-ubuntu-ppa#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 00:16:23 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96966 vlcThe go-to media player of millions, VLC 2.2 'Weathermax' was released this weekend and brings some nifty new features to the desktop.

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VLC in Ubuntu 12.04The go-to media player of millions, VLC 2.2 ‘Weathermax’ was released this weekend and brings some nifty new features to the desktop.

As teased previously, the desktop release now includes a built-in extension gallery. Adding extra features to VLC is now no more than a few clicks away (Tools > Plugins and Extensions).

Playback resume is another handy feature long requested. The ‘Continue Playback?’ prompt appears when re-opening a  video or audio file and sees the desktop build gain parity with its mobile kin.

The popular open-source media player adds a much needed fix for a real life bug: it auto-rotates videos recorded on a smartphone or tablet. 

There’s also the usual crop of codec updates including support for Ultra HD, VP9, H.265 and ‘compatibility’ fixes for a range of obscure file formats.

Other changes include GPU zero-copy decoding (a hardware-based tweak said to deliver much faster performance where applicable), support for ‘Digital Cinema Package’ used by movie theaters and experimental support for Interactive Blu-Ray menus.

Lastly, on the quirky side there are three new video filters to play with when you’re bored: ‘old movie’, ‘VHS effect’ and ‘freeze effect’.

Install VLC 2.2 in Ubuntu

VLC 2.2 is a free download for Windows, Mac, Linux and a slew of mobile platforms, including Windows Phone, Android and iOS.

Ubuntu users can install or upgrade to VLC 2.2 by using the official VLC PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install vlc

As exciting as this release may be it’s the upcoming VLC 3.0 that will really get people talking as, among other things, it promises to offer native Chromecast support and big improvements for use on Wayland displays.

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Xfce 4.12 Released After Almost 3 Years — And The Changes Are Huge http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/xfce-4-12-released-after-almost-three-years http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/03/xfce-4-12-released-after-almost-three-years#comments Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:02:18 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96964 xubuntu-trustyTwo years and ten months in development, this weekend saw the release of Xfce 4.12.

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Xfce 4.12

Two years and ten months in development, this weekend saw the release of Xfce 4.12.

The latest version of the light Xfce desktop and related software continues to use GTK2+ but adds plenty of new features, usability improvements and bug fixes to make it feel fresh.

Client Side Decorations in Xfce 4.12

Client Side Decorations in Xfce 4.12

Chief among the new features in Xfce 4.12 is initial support for Client Side Decorations (like those found in apps like Geary), a new Alt+Tab window switcher with window previews, a panel that can intelligently hide, support GTK3 applets and more.

Other notable changes include better support for HiDPI displays thanks to a new Xfwm theme, better support for multiple monitor setups, including per-desktop wallpapers, and better support for window tiling mode thanks to new features like zoom mode.

You’ll also find more tweaks and additions in the Thunar File Manager, which gains tabbed browsing, better loading times, keyboard shortcuts, and so on.

For a full rundown of all the new features do check out the comprehensive release notes and screenshot tour over on the Xfce website.

How To Install Xfce 4.12 in Ubuntu via PPA

Although probably not recommended just yet (early doors and all that) the Xubuntu Development PPA contains pre-release builds of Xfce 4.12 for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and 14.10 users to install from at their own risk.

Add the Xubuntu Dev PPA to Ubuntu’s Software Sources using a Terminal and the following commands (assuming the Xfce desktop is already installed):

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xubuntu-dev/xfce-4.12
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To remove the PPA and downgrade to the version of PPA in the main Ubuntu repos/other installed PPAs the ‘ppa-purge’ utility should be installed and used:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:xubuntu-dev/xfce-4.12

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Whether you try this latest version of Xfce out for yourself or just admire the screenshots, be sure to let us know what you think of the changes in the comments below.

H/T Adam Eveleigh

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New Video Demos Ubuntu Convergence on Tablet, Phone http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/new-video-shows-off-ubuntu-convergence-demoed-on-tablet-phone http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/new-video-shows-off-ubuntu-convergence-demoed-on-tablet-phone#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 04:16:08 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96950 convergence ubuntuA new video shows how far Canonical has come with the idea of convergence, both at the software level and on working hardware.

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convergence in a box

Canonical’s plans have come a long way

A new video shows how far Canonical has come with the idea of convergence, both at the software level and on working hardware.

Although long talked about, the Ubuntu Edge campaign exemplified the concept best with its “super phone” boast: your phone would hook up to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and become a fully functioning Ubuntu desktop PC. Phone apps would run on the desktop in an appropriate guise like responsive websites do on phones.

Today, ahead of Mobile World Congress next month, Ubuntu Desktop Manager Will Cooke has posted a three-minute video that shows how Canonical’s engineering team is progressing.

‘We’re now seeing the company’s plans for a seamless experience — in real working code’

Although short, we’re now seeing the company’s plans for a seamless experience across devices in real, working, usable code.

For enthusiasts, early adopters and users Cooke cautions that the code shown here – i.e., to enable the convergence features – will only land in the Mir and Unity codebase once the quality is considered up to par.

Buggy or not it is impressive. In one instance Cooke takes an Intel-based tablet running the Unity 8 version of Ubuntu in tablet mode and pairs a mouse. The UI then ‘transforms’ into a more traditional pointer-led windowed mode.

Microsoft debuted a similar ‘Continuum’ feature for Windows 10 tablets above 8-inches earlier this year. Like Ubuntu for Tablets it too switches to ‘windowed’ mode when a keyboard and mouse are attached.

If You Weren’t Convinced Before, You Will Be Now

While plenty more work remains, as you can see, the video is still proof that Canonical hasn’t been idle and that work on getting the lauded convergence functionality working on Mir, Unity and devices is now progressing at pace.

“We’re still not quite satisfied with XMir, there is more work to do around the input stack, so please bear with us while we get the bugs ironed out and then we’ll get the alpha version ready for you to try on your own devices,” Cooke adds.

Canonical will likely demo some of the features of the single device convergence in the video at Mobile World Congress in March. Also there will be the Bq Ubuntu device launched earlier this month and the forthcoming eight-core Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Phone.

If you weren’t already excited about the Ubuntu for Devices project, this video could help.

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Ubuntu MATE Is Now An Official Ubuntu Flavor http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/ubuntu-mate-is-now-an-official-ubuntu-flavor http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/ubuntu-mate-is-now-an-official-ubuntu-flavor#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:14:50 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96896 MATE Ubuntu 14.04 DesktopThe Ubuntu MATE Linux distribution is now an official Ubuntu flavor, joining the likes of Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin.

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MATE Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop

The Ubuntu MATE Linux distribution is now an official Ubuntu flavor, joining the likes of Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin.

With two well received releases under its belt, Ubuntu MATE has garnered praise from users and reviewers alike over the past year or so thanks to a seamless blend of the latest Ubuntu base and the classic MATE desktop environment.

Moves to make the distro an official Ubuntu flavor have been discussed for some time. Recently approved, the distro announced the news alongside its first beta in the Ubuntu 15.04 development cycle.

What Does It Mean?

‘Official status gives Ubuntu MATE access to Canonical’s huge infrastructure…’

Gaining “official” flavor status won’t cause too many user facing differences — at least not at first. The most noticeable change (for now) is that Ubuntu MATE download images are now being hosted on the main Ubuntu image server rather than the project’s own website.

Behind the scenes and the benefits of official community flavor status are more substantial.

Ubuntu MATE now provides the Ubuntu MATE team access to Canonical’s huge infrastructure for automated building, testing and distributing, including the creation of live daily images and PowerPC spins.

The move could offer some extra promotion, media coverage and community attention, all of which are sure to be richly welcomed.

Ubuntu MATE 14.04 LTS and 14.10 will, remain “unofficial” releases despite the approval, with the former of these releases supported until 2019.

Do you use Ubuntu MATE? Are you happy to see Ubuntu MATE welcomed in to the Ubuntu family? Share your enthusiasm in the space below.

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Ubuntu 15.04 Beta Available to Download, Ubuntu MATE Is Now An Official Flavor http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/ubuntu-15-04-beta-downloads-now-live-ubuntu-mate-made-an-official-flavor http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/ubuntu-15-04-beta-downloads-now-live-ubuntu-mate-made-an-official-flavor#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:11:12 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96871 1504The Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet beta is now available to download, with most community flavors taking part.

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1504

How Vivacious

The first Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet beta is now available for download. with most community flavors taking part.

As has been the case for some years the mainline Ubuntu release, that is the version that uses Unity as the default desktop, does not participate in this development milestone.

Not that you’ll miss it. Alongside beta downloads for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, the China-focused Ubuntu Kylin and Ubuntu GNOME is a new build of Ubuntu MATE — which becomes an official flavor as of this milestone.

It is the first new spin to be added to the Ubuntu family since 2013 with Ubuntu Kylin.

Ubuntu MATE Is Now An Official Ubuntu Flavor

Today’s news will be remembered less for the changes in the distributions themselves and more for who they are joined by. As of today Ubuntu MATE is an official flavor of the Ubuntu project.

With two well received releases under its belt Ubuntu MATE has garnered praise from users and reviewers alike thanks, in part, to its seamless blend of the latest Ubuntu base and the ever-improving ‘classic’ GNOME desktop.

‘Official status gives Ubuntu MATE access to Canonical’s huge infrastructure…’

The newly gained “official” status doesn’t result in too many user-facing differences — the most noticeable change for now is that Ubuntu MATE download images are now being hosted and distributed on the main Ubuntu image server.

Behind the scenes and the benefits of official community flavor status are more substantial.

Being welcomed into the official flavor fold now provides the Ubuntu MATE team access to Canonical’s huge infrastructure for automated building, testing and distributing, including the creation of live daily images and PowerPC spins.

The move could offer some extra promotion, media coverage and community attention, all of which are sure to be richly welcomed.

Ubuntu MATE 14.04 LTS and 14.10 will remain “unofficial” releases despite today’s announcement.

What’s New in Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 1

ubuntu mate logo

Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 1 itself makes for a somewhat rough debut.

The MATE 1.8 series desktop currently has a number of issues with Ubuntu’s glibc. An additional PPA needs to be added to the system’s Software Sources so pending fixes can be delivered.

Elsewhere you’ll find improvements to the MATE Tweak utility, which gains a session interface layout switching option, fixes for multi-monitor under GTK2, the addition of ‘folder-colors’, and plenty more.

Testers hopping aboard can also expect a few extra packages to filter down in the coming month, including Caja (file manager) actions installed by default and a new lock keys applet.

Download Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Beta 1

Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Beta 1

adwaita-day

As with the previous alpha releases Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Beta 1 includes GNOME 3.14, GNOME Shell 3.14.2 and a handful of extra applications.

Adventurous users can try an experimental Wayland session, new to this beta. This requires the ‘gnome-session-wayland’ package to be installed, the “GNOME on Wayland” session selected at login and currently only works with open-source GPU drivers.

Testers will also find a new default wallpaper (above) and updated slides in the Ubiquity installer slideshow.

Download Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Beta 1

Kubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

Kubuntu logo

Kubuntu 15.04 Beta 1 is looking gorgeous now that the Plasma 5 desktop is enabled by default. It’s also more stable and more featured. It features refinements, bug fixes and feature tweaks thanks to the fast Plasma 5 releases, with Plasma 5.2.1 shipped in this beta.

Also bundled in is KDE Applications 14.12.2, which comes loaded with bug fixes and translation updates, and the new LibreOffice 4.4.

Download Kubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

Xubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

This latest beta of Xubuntu 15.04 features a new LightDM configuration tool, a developer-only wallpaper, and improved support for multiple monitor configuration.

The XFCE window manager can now handle window previews and client side decorations.

Download Xubuntu 15.04 Beta 1

Other Releases

As in earlier alpha releases, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin are sporting only modest changes, bug fixes, UI refinement and theme updates.

Beta means bugs

Beta releases of Ubuntu should not be installed as the primary OS on any system given the likelihood of bugs, breakages and other potential headaches.

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Eight-Core Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Phone Made Official http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/meizu-mx4-ubuntu-edition-is-official-will-be-at-mwc-in-march http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/meizu-mx4-ubuntu-edition-is-official-will-be-at-mwc-in-march#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 17:55:27 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96880 meizu ubuntu phoneThe Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition will make its debut at Mobile World Congress early next month.

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B-x2w4rUUAAX7tE.png-large

The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition will make its debut at Mobile World Congress early next month.

No longer a rumour but fact: Meizu has confirmed the news on its social media accounts this morning, just as the latest flash sale for the Bq Ubuntu Phone was getting underway.

The MX4 is a powerful bit of kit and with super thin form factor and needle thin bezels looks hugely high-end, too.

It has a 5.36-inch LCD IPS display with a FHD resolution of 1920 x 1152 at 418 pixels-per-inch. It’s powered by an eight-core MediaTek processor and paired with 2GB of RAM. There are two cameras, with the rear camera boasting a mammoth 20-megapixels and 2160p video recording at 30fps.

The massive 3100mAh battery should also keep it running for ages.

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition Specs:

  • 5.3-inch IPS LCD display (1920 x 1152, 418ppi)
  • Octa-core MediaTek MT6595 chipset
  • 2GB RAM
  • 20.7 MP rear camera, 2MP front-facing
  • 16GB built-in flash storage

It normally ships with FlymeOS and retails at roughly $300 for the 16GB model. At MWC, as part of Canonical and Meizu’s strategic partnership, an Ubuntu Edition of the MX4 will be shown off. Pricing and availability for the Ubuntu Edition is expected to be announced at MWC.

Meizu have said that the handset will be available “internationally”, though it remains unclear whether this includes the USA or not. We had previously heard that Meizu would offer the device in China and Europe only via an online store.

Would you buy the MX4? Let us know your thoughts and current excitement levels in the comments below.

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Samsung’s Linux-Based Tizen Phone Proves an Unexpected Success http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/samsungs-linux-based-tizen-phone-proves-an-unexpected-success http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2015/02/samsungs-linux-based-tizen-phone-proves-an-unexpected-success#comments Wed, 25 Feb 2015 18:16:12 +0000 http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/?p=96798 tizen clipThe unexpected success of its low-end Tizen smartphone will see Samsung launch a second version in the Indian market soon, rumours suggest.

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tizen clip

Linux Powered Tizen Phone

The unexpected success of its low-end Tizen smartphone will see Samsung launch a second version in the Indian market soon, rumours suggest.

The Samsung Z1 released in January to an unenthusiastic (admittedly Western) media response.

Criticism of the phone centered largely on the fact that it wasn’t Android, had a low amount of onboard RAM and featured a low-res 4-inch screen.

The Tizen OS it runs is backed by the Linux Foundation and is billed as an OS that ‘runs on everything’. It has already shipped inside cars, TVs and smartwatches. The Z1’s 756MB RAM is almost a luxury to it.

‘Exceeding Expectations’

Samsung has sold more than 100,000 Tizen phones in less than a month on sale in India. In Bangladesh some 20,000 Z1 devices have flown off the shelves in even less time.

That’s no mean feat for a smartphone most had assumed would fail hard.

Compared to Android devices that figure may, overall, be small. The low price (roughly $90), long battery life and, to a lesser degree, brand recognition of Samsung will have no doubt helped the Linux phone gain traction in a market dominated by Android.

Oh, and it has WhatsApp ;)

Samsung says the figures have ‘exceeded’ their expectations. So much so they are now said to be readying an improved model — dubbed the ‘Z2′ — with a better screen and a wee bit more RAM.

Release notes for the Tizen 2.3 SDK published last week note the addition of qHD (540×960) resolution support in the Tizen 2.3 emulator (where developers test their apps). The Z1 ships with a lowly 4-inch screen running a WVGA resolution. While not proof, it’s an indication (as seen with other SDKs over the years) that something sporting this feature is in gestation…

For now that’s literally it; there’s no rumoured release date for this supposed Samsung Z2 nor any firm confirmation of what specs it may bring.

But its success is encouraging – if not for fans of Tizen then for fans of a certain other Linux-based mobile operating system…

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