Seamlessly integrated web apps for Ubuntu

Posted in Linux, Ubuntu on April 18th, 2010 by Andy
Blue sky and clouds

Why lug around a massive fat office suite when you can pull one down from the sky when you need it?

The soon to be released new version of Ubuntu contains some nifty new features that have been quietly snuck in. One of these is the ability to seamlessly use web-based  mail and office apps as if they were locally installed.

Simply install the packages desktop-webmail and webservice-office-zoho to get your machine all clouded up. For webmail you can choose to use Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo or Zoho. Once installed, all mailto links will open in your webmail instead of Evolution.

For office apps it will use the Zoho online office suite. Zoho was chosen over Google Docs because it doesn’t require you to log in. The integration is pretty good. Any local file will open in Zoho when clicked, and you can save new files locally or online in a range of formats.

This really shines on netbooks with small drives, where ditching 300MB of Open Office lard can make a big difference.

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The Lucid Lynx is sneaking up on you

Posted in Ubuntu on April 5th, 2010 by Andy

Gosh, is it that time already? Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx” is due out 29 April, and it’s looking good!

Lucid Lynx countdown

I’ve been testing Lucid a little bit, and it’s looking to be a great release. Some highlights:

  • Integration of instant messaging, Twitter, and Facebook chat into the desktop. Say goodbye to having tons of apps open just to stay in touch. Gwibber and Empathy are both in the default install.
  • Ubuntu One can now sync any folder to your online storage, and has an mp3 download store built right into Rhythmbox. Nice!
  • Boot speed is even better. Great news for laptops and netbooks, you can power down to save battery life instead of using suspend or hibernating.
  • New minimaltastic splash screens.
  • New default themes, no more brown! (but, er, quite a lot of purple…)
  • GIMP photo editor is out, PiTiVi video editor is in! GIMP is of course still available in the repos.
  • The open source Nouveau driver for Nvidia cards, which sucks less than nv. But at least you can now have a composited desktop while you’re waiting for the proprietary drivers to download.

If you can’t wait until the 29th and are feeling game, grab the beta and help with squashing the last few bugs.

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Microsoft to fund Ubuntu (sort of…)

Posted in Computers, Ubuntu on March 14th, 2010 by Andy

Three of the Microsoft dollars that could soon be in the hands of freetards

Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) released in April contains a small but interesting tweak. The default search engine and home page in the bundled Firefox browser will be set to use Yahoo instead of Google.

Seems like a small enough change, but what makes it interesting is that Yahoo and Microsoft have recently announced that Yahoo’s search engine will actually be powered by Microsoft’s Bing. Whenever an Ubuntu user types a search into their Yahoo search box, they’re actually using Microsoft’s search engine, and Yahoo pays Canonical for bringing them a customer. The exact nature of the deal between Yahoo and Microsoft is secret, but at least in a broader sense some of the money Microsoft is throwing at Yahoo is eventually making it’s way into Canonical’s pockets.

I don’t think anybody has set out to do this deliberately, but i’ll bet Canonical are laughing their arses off.

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