Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

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Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2 Released

Along with the official Ubuntu flavors, Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Vivid Vervet alpha 2 was released yesterday. Read on to find out what's new.

Ubuntu MATE 15.04 Vivid Vervet

Ubuntu MATE is an unofficial (that will probably change in the future) MATE-based Ubuntu flavor. For those not familiar with MATE, this is a GNOME 2 fork introduced after GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell replaced the classic desktop metaphor. Currently, MATE only supports GTK2, but the plan is to add GTK3 support with MATE 1.12.

Ubuntu Flavors 15.04 Vivid Vervet Alpha 2 Available For Testing

The second alpha for the Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet flavors (Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin) has been released. Let's take a quick look at what's new.

As usual, Ubuntu (w/ Unity) doesn't take part in alpha releases. Also, the Ubuntu flavors not mentioned above (like Xubuntu) didn't take part in the Vivid alpha 2 milestone.

Lightbox-Style Image Viewer `PhotoQt` 1.2 Released

PhotoQt 1.2 was released recently and it includes some important improvements, like better SVG support, XCF support, better handling of large folders (15,000+ files), shuffle and loop options for the slideshow and much more.

PhotoQt 1.2

For those not familiar with PhotoQt, this is a fast, Lightbox-style Qt5 image viewer which uses GraphicsMagick under the hood (so it supports over 80 file types).

Besides its image viewing capabilities, PhotoQt can be used for some basic image manipulation (flip, rotate, zoom) and file management (rename, delete, move, copy).

`Caffeine` App Gets Its Indicator Back With New 2.8 Release

Caffeine is a tool used to temporarily prevent the activation of the screensaver / lock screen / sleep mode when using full-screen windows. The application is useful when using video players that don't do this automatically, when listening to music while not using the computer, etc.

With the 2.7.x release, Caffeine stopped using an Ubuntu AppIndicator, a feature that many considered essential, resulting in various forks being developed. 

Caffeine indicator

Well, there's no need for that any more because the latest Caffeine 2.8, released today, brings back the Ubuntu AppIndicator, which allows to inhibit the desktop idleness manually. You can continue to use Caffeine without an indicator: simply launch "Caffeine" from the menu / Dash. If you want to use the indicator, launch "Caffeine Indicator" instead:

Always Show Menus Unity Feature Lands In Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet

The option to always show the Unity menus, implemented by +Marco Trevisan, has landed in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet.

As you probably know, in the current stable Ubuntu releases (12.04, 14.04 and 14.10), the Unity (global) menus are displayed on mouse over for both the default menu that's displayed on the top Unity panel and LIM (locally integrated menu), which is displayed in the application titlebar.

With Ubuntu 15.04, there's a new option (not enabled by default) which allows setting the Unity menus to always be visible:

Unity always-show-menus Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet

Encrypt DNS Traffic In Ubuntu With DNSCrypt [Ubuntu PPA]

This article was posted a while back but I've decided to repost it because there's a new PPA that you can use to install dnscrypt-proxy in Ubuntu (14.10, 14.04 and 12.04) and also, some parts of the article needed to be updated.

DNSCrypt is a protocol for securing communications between a client and a DNS resolver, preventing spying, spoofing or man-in-the-middle attacks. To use it, you'll need a tool called dnscrypt-proxy, which "can be used directly as your local resolver or as a DNS forwarder, authenticating requests using the DNSCrypt protocol and passing them to an upstream server".

Fresh Player Plugin Sees New Release (Pepper Flash Wrapper For Firefox)

As you probably know, the latest Adobe Flash Player is available on Linux only via Google Chrome (it's bundled with it) while other browsers such as Firefox are stuck with an old 11.2 version.

The Adobe Flash Player plugin that's bundled with Google Chrome is in the form of a PPAPI (or Pepper Plugin API) plugin and Mozilla isn't interested in adding support for it. Because of this, Rinat Ibragimov has developed Fresh Player Plugin, a wrapper that allows Linux users to use Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Firefox and other NPAPI-compatible browsers.

https://github.com/i-rinat/freshplayerplugin

A new Fresh Player Plugin version - 0.2.2 -, has just been released, bringing various improvements and new features:

Ubuntu 15.04 To Get Global Menu And HUD Support By Default For Java Swing Applications

Quick Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet update:  JAyatana was uploaded to the main Ubuntu 15.04 repositories today (moved from proposed to release) and according to the changelog, it will probably be installed by default:

Drop dependency on java, so that we can integrate this package by default without dragging java on the default installed (as we did in the past with qt appmenu integration).

Update: JAyatana is now installed by default in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet.

Java Swing Ayatana (JAyatana) is a project that integrates Java Swing applications with Ubuntu's global menu (AppMenu) and HUD.