Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

UDS Budapest Hungary Ubuntu Developer Summit

It would take me a week just to write a sketch of all the new things that were discussed on the Ubuntu Developer Summit that took place in Budapest this week (which has ended today), so I'll only write a short overview of what's to come in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

Off-topic: a recent Blogger outage (which also prevented us and a few million other users from posting in the last 24 hours) removed our last two posts from UDS so I've added a bit of info from those too. Hopefully the posts will be restored.

Applications to be removed from the CD in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

Some applications have been proposed for removal from the CD in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, the main reason being the lack of CD space, but not only.

Most (if not all) of those attending to the default app selection session today have agreed to remove Computer Janitor and PiTiVi. But not only for CD space: for instance, there wasn't anyone in the room (that's what I remember, if I'm wrong, please correct me) that was using PiTiVi .There were some other arguments against PiTiVi too: it's crashy and even though it's a decent application, people seem to agree that "it's not up to the Ubuntu standards".

As for Computer Janitor - Jorge Castro proposed it's removal and he was pretty quick to get everyone to agree with this. The main reason for removing Computer Janitor is that it's buggy (for instance, in a demo on the session, Computer Janitor wanted to remove "dkms" which is required if you install new drivers, etc.) and the users seem to agree - Computer Janitor has 2 stars in the Ubuntu Software Center. A review on the Ubuntu Software Center sums this up (Jorge Castro made me quote this :P):

Taking uselessness to a whole new level

Fun fact: when asked if Computer Janitor is default in Ubuntu 11.04, nobody was sure if it is or not.

What was very interesting about the default app selection - and totally unexpected I might add - was the proposal to remove LibreOffice from the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot CD because it takes way to much space (110 or 150 MB, I don't remember the exact size). The debate for this took over 30 minutes (so about half the session), but in the end, it seems LibreOffice won't be removed.

One idea was remove LibreOffice and pop up Ubuntu Software Center when the user clicks a file for which LibreOffice is required.

What can't be done is only remove some parts of it: for instance, someone proposed to remove Calc and keep the rest but that doesn't reduces the size too much because of the dependencies.

Will LibreOffice be available on the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot CD? Most probably yes, but it's not 100% sure.

And finally, Synaptic might also be removed from the CD but this is only covered in the session notes and no discussion about this was in the UDS session so we'll have to wait and see.

You can check out the default apps session notes here.


Ubuntu 11.10 will use GNOME 3. The GNOME 3 Natty PPA will be maintained with bug fixes for GNOME 3.0 and there will probably be an GNOME 3.1 PPA for Oneiric until 3.1 is ready to be included by default.

Deja Dup Backup Tool by default

Deja Dup will be made default in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot if the integration (Ubuntu One, etc.) gets done in time and if there's enough space on the CD.  The CD space issue can be solved by moving some functionality in additional packages which can be installed later on.

But Ubuntu One integration is not the only thing that's going to change in Deja Dup. The desktop integration also includes various notifications like for instance when you plug in a large external disk, you'd get notified that you can use it to back up your data and so on.

The backup tool might also get online accounts backup like Gmail or Flickr, backup the package list, a backup browser which will allow you to browse through all the files you've backed up as well as an option to backup specific applications. For example, you could backup your Evolution emails, Banshee data and so on.

There are still things for which the Deja Dup developer doesn't have an answer yet: should all applications recognized by Deja Dup show up in a long list or should applications add themselves to Deja Dup. Neither of those sounds like a good idea because it would clutter the preferences dialog so this needs further thinking.


According to the default email client session at UDS, Thunderbird has a big chance to become default in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, replacing Evolution, if the work to integrate it with the desktop (this includes Launcher and Messaging Menu integration, Contacts sync, theming and so on) gets done and if there's enough CD space.

Today, in the default apps session I've heard someone mentioning that Thunderbird will not be default because there's no way to get enough CD space for it. But no further details were discussed so this may or may not be true. We'll see.

Ubuntu Software Center improvements

In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, Ubuntu Software Center might get an web catalog from where you can install applications (using apturl). The web Ubuntu Software Center looks and behaves pretty much like the stand-alone USC but for now that's all the available info on this.

One of the major issues with Ubuntu Software Center is that the app descriptions are in English, no matter what language you use so that really needs to be fixed. To solve this, the Ubuntu Software Center might even allow the users to translate the app description from within the Software center.

One complaint was that Ubuntu Software Center doesn't include updates - like on Android for instance. The argument against this was that it's not as exiting getting updates in Ubuntu - you only get bug fixes updates (obviously, this doesn't include using PPAs - you can get cool updates via PPAs).

Another suggestion was made regarding the order in which applications should show up in categories or when performing a search: some applications might be outdated, some might not work properly so it was suggested to sort applications by ratings by default or at least highlight the applications that get high ratings.

The Ubuntu Software Center improvements list is huge so I've only talked about those features that are very likely to be added in Oneiric.

Other enhancements that we should see for Ubuntu Software Center in Ubuntu Oneiric:
  • faster startup times
  • larger icons / touch friendly GUI
  • And lots more. See the session notes for more info.


The AppIndicators might get some new features like middle clicking (which could be useful for example for muting the sound by middle clicking on the sound indicator).

There were also suggestions for moving the indicators or allowing tooltips but MPT requires some use cases for these to decide if they are going to be implemented.

LightDM to replace GDM

LightDM, a lightweight display manager will replace GDM as default in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. LightDM can be used by any desktop environment (the Lubuntu devs already expressed their intention on using it) and it's very easy to theme, using HTML, CSS and Javascript for this.

The main reason for switch to LightDM was to "get a new login experience" according to the UDS session. Users like to use themes so I guess many of you will agree with this. Also, the default Ubuntu login screen could use a better look too as it doesn't seem to look right compared to Unity.

For more info, screenshots and a quick how-to use on LightDM, see our previous post: LightDM To Be Default Display Manager In Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot [UDS]

We've already covered a few topics regarding Unity / Compiz (which have not been deleted by the recent Blogger outrage fortunately) so check those out too:

Lubuntu / Kubuntu 11.10 news

Lubuntu will most probably become an official Ubuntu flavor. However, according to the main Lubuntu developer, this is not official just yet:

Just to keep you informed, we are on track for official status. It will be technically official when the ISO will be available, and when I will do the official announcement. However, we are pretty confident that it will be OK soon (it's a question of weeks). All technical issues are identified and people are working on them.

I'm still at UDS, I'll do a complete review of the week when I will be at home :)

- Julien Lavergne

Kubuntu also had a few interesting sessions here in Budapest but sadly I only had time to attend to about two of them. The default Kubuntu apps sessions was particularly interesting as Firefox was proposed for becoming the default browser. But in the end it was decided not to set Firefox as default and instead, add a Firefox installer.


In the same session, Muon - a suite of package management tools - was proposed for being added to the Kubuntu 11.10 CD and basically everyone agreed to use it as default. Muon includes a really interesting tool called Muon Software Center which is inspired by the Ubuntu Software Center and shares most of its features: ratings and reviews, history and it looks more or less the same but it's "faster" (I'm quoting from the session here, I've never used Muon).

Well, that's it for now. There is a lot more to Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot than what I've covered in this post but we'll have a more in-depth look when each change lands in Oneiric.

Muon image credits: Jontheechidna