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Winners of the Ubuntu 17.04 Free Culture Showcase

March 26th, 2017

Spring is here and the release of Ubuntu 17.04 is just around the corner. I've been using it for two weeks and I can't say I'm disappointed! But one new feature that never disappoints me is appearance of the community wallpapers that were selected from the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase!

Every cycle, talented artists around the world create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. For Ubuntu 17.04, 96 images were submitted to the Ubuntu 17.04 Free Culture Showcase photo pool on Flickr, where all eligible submissions can be found.


UbuCon Summit Comes to Pasadena this Week!

February 26th, 2017

UbuCon SCALE 14x group photo

Once again, UbuCon Summit will be hosted by the Southern California Linux Expo in Pasadena, California on March 2nd and 3rd. UbuCon Summit is two days that celebrate Ubuntu and the community, and this year has some excitement in store.


We're looking for Ubuntu 17.04 wallpapers right now!

January 28th, 2017

Ubuntu is a testament to the power of sharing, and we use the default selection of desktop wallpapers in each release as a way to celebrate the larger Free Culture movement. Talented artists across the globe create media and release it under licenses that don't simply allow, but cheerfully encourage sharing and adaptation. This cycle's Free Culture Showcase for Ubuntu 17.04 is now underway!


UbuCon Summit at SCALE 15x Call for Papers

January 19th, 2017

UbuCon SCALE 14x group photo

UbuCons are a remarkable achievement from the Ubuntu community: a network of conferences across the globe, organized by volunteers passionate about Open Source and about collaborating, contributing, and socializing around Ubuntu. UbuCon Summit at SCALE 15x is the next in the impressive series of conferences.

UbuCon Summit at SCALE 15x takes place in Pasadena, California on March 2nd and 3rd during the first two days of SCALE 15x. Ubuntu will also have a booth at SCALE's expo floor from March 3rd through 5th.

We are putting together the conference schedule and are announcing a call for papers. While we have some amazing speakers and an always-vibrant unconference schedule planned, it is the community, as always, who make UbuCon what it is--just as the community sets Ubuntu apart.


UbuCon Europe 2016

December 7th, 2016

Nathan Haines enjoying UbuCon Europe

If there is one defining aspect of Ubuntu, it's community. All around the world, community members and LoCo teams get together not just to work on Ubuntu, but also to teach, learn, and celebrate it. UbuCon Summit at SCALE was a great example of an event that was supported by the California LoCo Team, Canonical, and community members worldwide coming together to make an event that could host presentations on the newest developer technologies in Ubuntu, community discussion roundtables, and a keynote by Mark Shuttleworth, who answered audience questions thoughtfully, but also hung around in the hallway and made himself accessible to chat with UbuCon attendees.

Thanks to the Ubuntu Community Reimbursement Fund, the UbuCon Germany and UbuCon Paris coordinators were able to attend UbuCon Summit at SCALE, and we were able to compare notes, so to speak, as they prepared to expand by hosting the first UbuCon Europe in Germany this year. Thanks to the community fund, I also had the immense pleasure of attending UbuCon Europe. After I arrived, Sujeevan Vayakumaran picked me up from the airport and we took the train to Essen, where we walked around the newly-opened Weihnachtsmarkt along with Philip Ballew and Elizabeth Joseph from Ubuntu California. I acted as official menu translator, so there were no missed opportunities for bratwurst, currywurst, glühwein, or beer. Happily fed, we called it a night and got plenty of sleep so that we would last the entire weekend long.


Winners of the Ubuntu 16.10 Free Culture Showcase

October 5th, 2016

It's an exciting time for Ubuntu fans because next week will see the release of Ubuntu 16.10 and some interesting new features. But today we're going to talk about one exciting user-facing change: the community wallpapers that were selected from the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase!

Every cycle, talented artists around the world create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. For Ubuntu 16.10, hundreds of such wallpapers were submitted to the Ubuntu 16.10 Free Culture Showcase photo pool on Flickr, where all eligible submissions can be found.


Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase submissions are now open again!

February 2nd, 2016

It’s time once again for the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase!

The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is a way to celebrate the Free Culture movement, where talented artists across the globe create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. We're looking for content which shows off the skill and talent of these amazing artists and will greet Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users.


Beginning Ubuntu for Windows and Mac Users

October 1st, 2015

book cover

Where do I begin? That’s the challenge ahead of anyone who tries something new. And the first step of any new experience. Sometimes this can be exciting, like when you sit down to try food at a new restaurant. Other times the question is paralyzing. Taking the first step is difficult when the path is unclear or unmarked.

Ubuntu is the world’s third most popular operating system. It powers twenty million desktop computers, and untold servers. But for even more people who grew up using Windows or OS X, their operating system is the computer. Ubuntu’s Linux and Unix heritage are no longer its greatest strength, but its biggest drawback. But it doesn’t have to be.


Writing and Publishing a Book with Free Software

September 23th, 2015

I’ve been a technology enthusiast since I was very little. I’ve always been fascinated by electronics and computers, and from the time I got my first computer when I was 10, I’ve loved computers for their own sake. That’s served me very well as a computer technician, but it can lead to narrow-sightedness, too. The one thing that doing computer support at my college campus drove home is that for most computer users, the computer is simply a tool.

Over the last year, I’ve been thinking a lot about Ubuntu in terms of getting specific tasks done. Not only because I was writing a book that would help Windows and Mac users get started with Ubuntu quickly, but also because Ubuntu development and documentation work best when they address clear user stories.


Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase submissions are now open!

August 23th, 2015

Ubuntu 15.10 is coming up soon, and what better way to celebrate a new release with beautiful new content to go with the release?

The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is a way to celebrate the Free Culture movement, where talented artists across the globe create media and release it under licenses that encourage sharing and adaptation. We're looking for content which shows off the skill and talent of these amazing artists and will great Ubuntu 15.10 users.


Making Hulu videos play in Ubuntu

August 23th, 2015

A couple of weeks ago, Hulu made some changes to their video playback system to incorporate Adobe Flash DRM technology. Unfortunately, this meant that Hulu no longer functioned on Ubuntu because Adobe stopped supporting Flash on Linux several year ago, and therefore Adobe’s DRM requires HAL which was likewise obsoleted about 4 years ago and was dropped from Ubuntu in 13.10. The net result is that Hulu no longer functions on Ubuntu.

While Hulu began detecting Linux systems and displaying a link to Adobe’s support page when playback failed, and the Adobe site correctly identifies the lack of HAL support as the problem, the instructions given no longer function because HAL is no longer provided by Ubuntu.

Fortunately, Michael Blennerhassett has maintained a Personal Package Archive which rebuilds HAL so that it can be installed on Ubuntu. Adding this PPA and then installing the “hal” package will allow you to play Hulu content once again.


Reintroducing the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase

August 15th, 2015

In the past, we’ve had the opportunity to showcase some really fun, really incredible media in Ubuntu. Content creators who value free culture have offered beautiful photography for the desktop and entertaining videos and music.

Not only does this highlight the fantastic work that comes out of free culture on Ubuntu desktops worldwide, but the music and video selections also help show off Ubuntu’s fantastic multimedia support by providing content for the Ubuntu live images.

The wallpaper contest has continued from cycle to cycle, but the audio and video contests have fallen by the wayside. But Ubuntu is more popular than ever, and can now power phones and tablets as well as desktops and laptops. So as we move closer towards a goal of convergence, we’d like to bring back this opportunity for artists to share their work with millions of Ubuntu users around the world.


Ubuntu Installfest with OCLUG

June 2nd, 2014

Nathan Haines and Stephen Ingram

Last Saturday, Ubuntu held an installfest along with the Orange County Linux Users Group (OCLUG) in Fullerton, California. Thanks to the enthusiasm of OCLUG and its members, and the assistance of volunteers from the Ubuntu California Local Community Team, the event was a success.

OCLUG used to hold Linux installfests all the time, but has been fairly dormant the past couple of years, with meeting attendance small but consistent. Late last year, they considered holding an installfest as a way to get more interest from students and the community. The LUG agreed that it was best to promote a single distribution to reduce confusion and that teasing or jokes about other software—even though good-natured—was to be avoided during the event. A simple majority agreed that a default Ubuntu install was the best distro to offer to new users and it was agreed that anyone who came in wanting to install specific software would be welcomed as well. This was a compromise that everyone was happy with and it allowed the installfest to be a focused event.


Showing Ubuntu Pride

February 27th, 2014

Ubuntu name badges by Nathan Haines

I take a lot of pride in the work I've done for Ubuntu. I've met so many wonderful people, made incredible friends, been to unique shows, run booths, been featured at conventions, published magazine articles, and even been on the radio.

I've always enjoyed being a public face for Ubuntu; someone you can come up to and ask questions and have discussions about the operating system, its goals, and computing in general. I haven't always enjoyed the lack of design work done for the community after the Ubuntu branding changed in 2010. While Canonical designed sleek and modern-looking branding assets, the design team was never given the resources to make sure that the community had the most basic materials. The brand asset guidelines are spectacular but they are also difficult to apply fully. I've been very vocal about the need for name badges or business cards, and while I was touched by the efforts of certain persons to get new business card templates out to the community, it was eventually for naught. I worked on creating new ones in time for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS but I burned out along the way. I did manage to print cards for SCALE11X in 2013 but they didn't come out right.

There's a funny thing about community, though. It's something you belong to but it's also something that gives back. This year at SCALE12X I worked hard to get the Ubuntu booth in a shape that I was proud of and worked with volunteers from the Ubuntu California LoCo to show off Ubuntu. While some were interested in the Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Lubuntu computers we had on display, the cell phones we had running Ubuntu was even more popular than the year before. Canonical was kind enough to provide two Nexus 4s running Ubuntu, and myself and another volunteer also had phones running Ubuntu. And while the expo floor was busy and exciting, I was really struck by the enthusiasm and generousity of various community members who were at SCALE.


Getting organized: Accountability, time management, and Ubuntu

February 14th, 2014

Time management forms designed by David Seah

Everyone loves making excuses. When a new year rolls around, one day is much like the next. But people actually use a new year as an excuse to take stock, stop making excuses, and resolve to do things differently. For many, 2014 is a new start and I think that another January is as good an excuse as any to make plans.

I spent the last weekend of 2013 doing major cleaning. I straightened up the half of my bedroom that counts as my home office, got my printer set up in its rightful space on top of the end table/bookshelf by my computer desk so I can use the scanner, bought new ink cartridges, moved around inspirational and educational books to the office bookshelf, and mounted my whiteboard again. I also bought a check holder rail to mount under my whiteboard. With a clean desk, easy office supply access, and a big whiteboard with a ton of dry-erase markers, I was ready to plan for the year.


Which version of Ubuntu do I install?

January 3rd, 2014

Every two years, the Ubuntu community works really hard to produce a stable, solid version of Ubuntu that we can be really proud of. A bit conservative, but ready to be reliable for the next 5 years, each Long Term Support (LTS) release is a technical and logistical triumph that everyone associated with Ubuntu can be proud of. And when businesses or novice users are looking for a way to use Ubuntu for everyday and production systems, a release such as Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is a solid place to start. When the next LTS is released, upgrades are easy and reliable.

Ubuntu releases major updates every six months. Now known as “interim” releases, these non-LTS updates are supported for only 9 months after each release. This is enough time to join the next interrim release a bit later when any bugs have settled down. Upgrading is easy and graphical, and is a fairly pain-free process in most instances. For any expert or enthusiast desktop user, this is where new software and new features are and is always a tempting and useful choice for everyday desktops and development systems.

When it comes to recommending Ubuntu to friends and family and at installfests, the question of which version to use is simple. When a new LTS is released, that's the version to install. And the question needn't be asked for another year. Anyone who wants a stable system to become familiar with should definitely use the latest LTS release. But the question gets a little harder as a year and a half starts to go by. LibreOffice is always getting better. Unity has continuously improved since 12.04 LTS and only shows signs of continuing as convergence work brings intriguing new features like Smart Scopes and HUD improvements.

As 2014 dawns, there are fantastic opportunities ahead for Ubuntu and new users. But the question looms large: