Sep 28, 2012

Unity WebApps Available In The Ubuntu 12.10 Official Repositories

The Unity WebApps feature has been available in Ubuntu 12.10 for some time, but besides the Amazon and Ubuntu One Music Store webapps, no other webapps were available for installation.

Today, the webapps that were available in the preview PPA are available in the official Ubuntu 12.10 repositories, but as separate packages so you can install only the webapps you want and use.

Using these web applications, you get tight desktop integration for popular websites like Gmail, Google Plus, radio, Facebook, Google Docs and many others. By desktop integration, I mean not only notifications and an icon on the Unity launcher, but also HUD, ALT+TAB, quicklists, Sound or Messaging Menu support. So, for instance, using these webapps, you can:

  • Control radio or Grooveshark from the Ubuntu Sound Menu

  • See how many unread emails you have in your Gmail or Yahoo Mail inbox from the Ubuntu Messaging Menu

  • Get native desktop notifications for Facebook, Gmail, Google+

Check out this quick video I've recorded, demoing the Unity WebApps desktop integration:

(direct video link)

Right now, the following webapps are available in the Ubuntu 12.10 repositories: Amazon Cloud Reader, Angrybirds, BBC News (UK), Cut The Rope, Facebook Apps, Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Plus, Google Plus Games, Grooveshark, Hulu,, Launchpad,,, Live Mail,, Newsblur, Pandora, QQ Mail, Reddit, Tumblr, Twitter,,, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, Yandex Music, Yandex News and YouTube.

In my test, some webapps didn't work, like Yahoo News or Gmail for instance. So don't expect everything to work as this feature is still work in progress.

Install Unity WebApps In Ubuntu 12.10

Note: if you've added the Unity WebApps Preview PPA, you should purge it because it's most probably not compatible with the new webapps from the repositories (which are now separate packages instead of just one package):

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge

sudo ppa-purge ppa:webapps/preview

To install a webapp for a site, search for the site name in Ubuntu Software Center, or search for "webapps" in Synaptic to see all the available webapps (searching for "webapps" in Ubuntu Software Center doesn't work for some reason).

Or, if you wish to install all the available webapps, use the following command:

sudo apt-get install unity-webapps-*

By default, the Unity webapps work with Firefox, but you can also get them to work with Chromium, by installing an extension available in the repositories:

sudo apt-get install unity-chromium-extension

For now, only Firefox and Chromium browsers are supported.

Please note that you need to use the Chromium version available in the Ubuntu 12.10 official repositories (version 20 at the time I'm writing this post; in my test, it didn't work with Chromium 23).

Once installed, log out and log back in.

Using Unity WebApps

Open Firefox or Chromium and visit one of the supported websites. A popup should be displayed, asking if you want to integrate that website with Ubuntu:

Click "Yes" and you're ready to go. If you don't want a website to integrate with the desktop, simply don't click the Yes button or select to never ask again.

The Firefox extension lets you disable the desktop integration prompt by going to Edit > Preferences, on the General tab, under "Desktop Integration":

Here, if you click "Exceptions", you can select some websites to ignore. A similar feature exists in Chromium too, under Advanced Settings.

You can set allowed domains and domains for which the browser shouldn't prompt you through Dconf-editor ("dconf-tools" package), under: com > canonical > unity > webapps:

via Web Upd8 - Ubuntu / Linux blog

Sep 27, 2012

Ubuntu 12.10 Beta 2 Available For Download

Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2 has been made avaialble for download today.

There are quite a few changes in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, including a new Unity version which brings some more polish and tweaks along with 3 new Unity lenses, Amazon and Ubuntu One Music store webapps installed by default, a new default wallpaper, but also some LightDM and Messaging Menu changes. Read on to find out more!

Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 video

As usual, we'll start with a video in which you can see some of the changes available in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel or like us on Facebook)

Also see: Ubuntu 12.10 beta 1

Changes in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 since beta 1

A new Unity version is available in Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, which brings new gradients, new ordering for the home lens, as well as some new animations for Dash Previews and window minimize.

You can see these new animations in the video above. It's worth mentioning that the minimize animation is slow at first, but gets faster as the user minimizes more windows.

Other Unity changes include:

  • coverflow is no longer used for the music available for purchase in the Music Lens

  • new artwork for missing album covers in the Music Lens

  • "unity --reset" has been removed

  • the workspace switcher and removable devices icons can now be moved on the launcher

  • new gradient, tweaked highlight box and shadows

  • lots of bug fixes

Three new lenses are installed by default with Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal beta 2: a "social" (Gwibber) lens, a photo lens and a shopping lens:

- The social lens can display results from Twitter, Facebook and, nicely organized in various categories: Messages, Replies, Photos, Videos, Links and Private:

The Dash Previews feature works with the new social lens, and it doesn't just allow the user to preview the tweets or Facebook posts, but you can also like a post, retweet, open it and so on:

- The new photo lens displays images from various accounts you've enabled in Online Accounts, like Picasa, Facebook or Flickr as well as local photos. You can filter the results by date or source and that's about all the photo lens can do. And of course, the preview feature works with this lens too:

- Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 ships with a shopping lens which displays commercial content into Dash search results and is only visible when the user performs a global search from the Dash home screen and there are matching suggestions to show. The shopping suggestions differentiate from the rest of the items by using a badge which displays the price:

The shopping lens isn't the only way Canonical tries to make more money - there are also two new webapps pinned to the Unity launcher in the latest Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, for Ubuntu One Music Store and Amazon:

The new social and photo lenses are very slow on my computer and it takes minutes to display some results and sometimes nothing loads at all. The weird thing is, the shopping lens results load instantly, even though it's also an online feature. Mmm. This, hopefully, will be fixed by the time the final Ubuntu 12.10 version will be released, but even so, is it worth having so many online features in Dash? There are many users with a limited Internet connection which I'm sure won't appreciate these new features, but luckily, an option turn off at least some of these online results should land soon.

Another Unity change is the addition of a close button as well as the window title in the window spread (on hover):

This isn't "The Spread", as announced a while back, but the regular spread, and it looks like the new implementation which is supposed to improve Unity task switching won't make it into Ubuntu 12.10.

As for the new "WebApps" technology, the feature is available by default, but there are no webapps preinstalled besides Amazon and Ubuntu One Music but hopefully they will be available soon, at least via Ubuntu Software Center.

The Messaging Menu has received a minor, but useful change: the status icons are now displayed as emblems on the envelope icon:

With Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2, there's a new default wallpaper which continues to use the same colors as the previous wallpapers - not a popular choice among the Ubuntu users it seems:

LightDM has gained support for remote desktop logins which is currently done through the Ubuntu Single Sign On service. Supported protocols are for now: RDP, ICA and VMWare View:

Default applications

Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2 ships by default with Nautilus 3.4.2, Firefox 15.0.1, Thunderbird 15.0.1, LibreOffice 3.6.1 (now with built-in global menu support), Ubuntu Software Center, Deja Dup 24.0, Shotwell 0.13.0, Rhythmbox 2.97, Gwibber 3.5.90, Gedit 3.5.3, Totem 3.4.3, Brasero 3.4.1, GNOME Control Center 3.4.2 and Empathy 3.5.92 on top of Unity 6.6.0 and GNOME 3.5.92 (some 3.6 components have landed already).

Quantal beta 2 uses the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.5.0-15.23 based on the v3.5.4 upstream Linux kernel, Xorg server 1.13.0 and mesa 9.0.

As for those who do not want to use Unity, GNOME Shell 3.6 is now available in the Ubuntu 12.10 official repositories.

LiveCDs dropped

With Ubuntu 12.10, there are no more CD-sized images available. The new ISO size is 800MB, so it won't fit on a CD anymore, so users will have to rely on DVDs and USB to install the latest Ubuntu version.

Download Ubuntu 12.10 beta 2

Ubuntu 12.10 is pretty stable, but there are some known issues! For instance, on systems using ATI Radeon 9200 graphics, you'll get a black screen on boot (a work-around is to add "nomodeset" to the kernel command line). So make sure you check out the official release notes before installing / upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10.

If you've installed a previous Ubuntu 12.10 milestone (like alpha 3 or beta 1) or a daily build and you've updated the packages through the Update Manager (now called "Software Updater"), you already have beta 2 so there's no need to reinstall it.

Up next:

  • Final Ubuntu 12.10 release - October 18th

via Web Upd8 - Ubuntu / Linux blog

Steam For Linux Beta Testing Starting In October

Valve has announced they will be testing internally their new Valve for Linux starting next week and a private external beta will be available sometime in October.

The external beta will only be available for 1000 users who will be provided with a sign up page that will be announced in a future post:

For existing Linux users, the external private beta is a good release for seeing where we are in running our games on Linux. We will be using a sign up page for the external beta. Information about the sign up will be announced in a future post.

The external beta will only include one game, which will probably be Left 4 Dead 2, although the post doesn't mention the game name. No additional Valve games will be included in the external beta and there will be no Big Picture mode. They also mention that only Ubuntu 12.04 and above will be supported.

via Web Upd8 - Ubuntu / Linux blog