Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

Ubuntu Developer Summit is a meeting where software developers gather to discuss the next Ubuntu version changes and features.

The Ubuntu Developer Summit (uds-1305) will start tomorrow, will last for 3 days and some major possible changes will be discussed, like "click packages", Chromium replacing Firefox as the default web browser, Unity 8 with Mir being available for testing on the desktop and more.

So here are the possible changes in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander (remember, possible, they may or may not happen) desktop as well as Lubuntu and Xubuntu 13.10.

The discussions start tomorrow and you can watch all the UDS sessions live (Google+ Hangouts) or recorded. See http://summit.ubuntu.com/uds-1305/ for a complete UDS-1305 schedule.

Ubuntu / Unity changes


In Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, Unity 7 should  get the 100 scopes / smart scopes feature that was supposed to land in Ubuntu 13.04, but was postponed, along with an in-dash payment system. Furthermore, Compiz will probably be updated to version 0.9.10 (trunk) with the performance improvement branches merged, so users should see an even faster Unity / desktop in the upcoming Ubuntu release.

Unity 8 which will be running on top of Mir might be available as an alternative session on the desktop in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander, for testing purposes. If this will happen, Unity 8 will be able to run in parallel with Unity 7 (the main shell used by default in Ubuntu 13.10). The expected minimal capabilities include accessing local content, working networking, using some phone core apps on the desktop and a good experience navigating the shell with a non-touch device such as a touchpad or mouse. There will be no desktop features added so this will only be a reflection of what already exists for the phone.

As for the default applications, it looks like there's only one change proposal, but a pretty major one: Chromium might be used as the default web browser in Ubuntu 13.10, replacing Firefox. According to the blueprint, "Chromium has matured to being as good or better than Firefox. It will be the foundation of a lot of Ubuntu Touch code and webapps code", this probably leading to considering it as the default browser on the desktop too.

A new feature that might be added to Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander is "click packages", a simplified package format and installer - we've already covered that so take a look at our initial article for details: Ubuntu Might Get A New Simplified Packaging Format And App Installer.

Update: locally integrated menus was initially in the Desktop Unity Polish for 13.10 blueprint, but was later removed, so it seems this feature won't make it in Ubuntu 13.10 either (it was firstly supposed to land in Ubuntu 12.04).

Other changes that might make it into Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander include:
  • support by default the latest Nvidia drivers that come with initial Optimus support (the patches are already available, there's little work required);
  • there might be some new indicators (e.g.: for Keyboard);
  • Saucy will probably ship with xserver 1.14 or even 1.15, mesa 9.2.x and Linux Kernel 3.10 or 3.11;
  • prime support, Radeon UVD support, proper radeonsi support as well as proper touch screen support for X.Org.

Possible Lubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander changes

Some interesting changes are expected to happen in Lubuntu too, the LXDE Ubuntu flavor. While Ubuntu might switch from Firefox to Chromium, Lubuntu considers the opposite: it might ship with Firefox by default instead of Chromium as the default web browser because Chromium uses too much memory for Lubuntu, which is supposed to be a lightweight Linux distribution.

Other possible changes in Lubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander include:
  • remove lxkeymap in favor of the keyboard applet of lxpanel;
  • Lubuntu Software Center might be replaced with something else;
  • Xscreensaver might be removed and replaced with the LightDM locking system;
  • some new games might be added by default;
  • artwork changes.

Xubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander

No Xubuntu session shows up in the UDS session list, but there are some sessions registered on Launchpad, though they don't give too much info about Xubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander. So far, it looks like Xubuntu 13.10 might get apt-offline by default and also, there's going to be a study to see if it's feasible to integrate HUD into Xubuntu. Xubuntu Saucy might also get a new keyboard shortcuts overlay, kind of like the one available in Ubuntu and some other minor tweaks, at least according to the current blueprints.

Also, since Xfce 4.12 was supposed to be released in March, but wasn't, it's still unsure if Xubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander will ship with Xfce 4.12 or continue with 4.10 like in Xubuntu Quantal.

There's little or no information for now about Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME or the other Ubuntu flavors, that's why I didn't add any info about them.