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5 Cool things Canonical does with Go

We had the recent news that Google’s Go was awarded programming language of 2016 by TIOBE! One of the main reasons for winning is the ease of learning and pragmatic nature. It’s less about theoretical nature and more about hands-on-experience, which is why more and more customers are adopting go in Industrial settings. At Canonical we’re doing the same! As supporters of Go, here are 5 cool things we’ve done with Go:

1. Juju. Juju is devops distilled. Juju enables you to use Charms to deploy your application architectures to EC2, OpenStack, Azure, HP your data center and even your own Ubuntu based laptop. Moving between models is simple giving you the flexibility to switch hosts whenever you want — for free. Code is at https://github.com/juju/juju.

2. The snapd and snap tools enable systems to work with .snap files. Package any app for every Linux desktop, server, cloud or device, and deliver updates directly. See snapcraft.io for a high level overview about snap files and the snapd application. Some great go code is at https://github.com/snapcore/snapd.

3. The LXD container hypervisor enables you to move your Linux VMs straight to containers, easily and without modifying the apps or your operations. Canonical’s LXD is a pure-container hypervisor that runs unmodified Linux operating systems and applications with VM-style operations at incredible speed and density. It’s open source, you can see how it’s done at https://github.com/lxc/lxd.

4. snapweb is a beautiful and functional interface for snap management. It’s a cross html/css/javascript and golang excellent web application whose code can be looked at on https://github.com/snapcore/snapweb.

5. We also do some advanced demo code to demonstrate our technology. We love Go so much that we did write face-detection-demo, which enables to detect and count faces based on time. Using the go-opencv binding, we even did some fixes for it to compile on arm architecture! Have a look at https://github.com/ubuntu/face-detection-demo.

Learn more here at the TIOBE index.

Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE Gets a Beta Release, Ships with KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS

The KDE Edition is the last in the new Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” stable series to be published, and it was delayed a little bit because Clement Lefebvre and his team wanted it to ship with the latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment from the Kubuntu Backports PPA repository.
Just like all the other official flavors from the Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” and Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” series, the KDE Edition is based on Canonical’s Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, using the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel. This Beta release also ships with linux-firmware 1.157.5 and numerous other updated components.
With the exception of the fact that Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE is using the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment by default, which was ported from the Kubuntu 16.04 LTS backport repositories, the distro only brings various enhancements to the in-house built Software Sources and Update Manager utilities.
Clement Lefebvre confirms in the release notes that Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” will be a long-term supported release, which will receive security patches and software updates for four more years, until 2021.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/linux-mint-18-1-serena-kde-gets-a-beta-release-ships-with-kde-plasma-5-8-lts-511888.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Mir: 2016 end of year review

This is a guest post by Alan Griffiths, Software engineer at Canonical. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please contact ubuntu-devices@canonical.com

2016 was a good year for Mir – it is being used in more places, it has more and better upstream support and it is easier to use by downstream projects. 2017 will be even better and will see version 1.0 released.

Uses of Mir
Mir support and development has continued on the two graphics stacks used by Ubuntu phone and desktop (i.e. “android” drivers and “freedesktop”). In the course of 2016 the Mir based Unity8 shell has been released as a “preview”; and, the Mir based miral-kiosk has also been enabled on the snap-based Ubuntu Core.

For the “preview” of the Unity8 Mir server on desktop – see here.

For Mir on Ubuntu Core – see here.

Developing with Mir
There are three ways which developers might wish to work with Mir:
1.Enabling a client-side toolkit, library or application to work on Mir
2.Creating a Mir based system compositor or shell
3.Enabling Mir on a new platform

Initially each of these ways of using Mir has been the province of Canonical developers. Partly because Mir is developed by Canonical, but mostly because it has been a moving target.

But that isn’t the long term goal, we want all of these uses to be possible for downstream projects. And we have been making progress: most of what we want to deliver to support the first two categories is ready and will ship in Ubuntu 17.04.

Enabling a client-side toolkit, library or application to work on Mir
In July 2015 we released Mir 0.14 which was the point at which we stabilized the “toolkit” ABI needed to work on client-side toolkits etc. Since then we’ve extended the API, but have maintained ABI compatibility.

In the course of 2016 we’ve built on this and upstreamed Mir support into GTK3, Qt, SDL2 and kodi. (Ubuntu also carries a patch for SDL1.2.)

The testing of toolkit work has been facilitated in 2016 by the development of miral-shell example server. This supports the testing and debugging of basic window management facilities. There’s a brief introduction to testing with miral-shell here and debugging here.

In the process of this work we have identified some potential improvements to the API. We are in the process of landing the improved APIs and deprecating the old ones. At some point this year we will be removing the deprecated APIs (and consequently breaking ABI for hopefully the final time).

Creating a Mir based system compositor or shell
The mirserver ABI causes problems for downstreams because ABI compatibility been broken routinely. At a minimum downstream projects have needed to rebuild for each Mir release and often also needed code changes to adapt to API changes.

In October 2016 we released MirAL to provide a stable ABI for developing Mir servers. Because MirAL depended upon some fundamental types created in Mir there was initially some ABI instability (in libmircommon).

That smaller ABI instability has now (December 2016) been addressed with the Mir 0.25 release. Mir 0.25 moved these “fundamental” types to a new library (libmircore) for which we can and will maintain ABI compatibility. At the same time we also released MirAL 1.0 (also breaking ABI) to clean up a few small issues. We intend the libmircore and libmiral server ABIs to retain ABI compatibility going forwards.

The QtMir project that Unity8 uses as an abstraction layer over Mir has also been migrated to libmiral to benefit both from the ABI stability and the basic window management defaults provided by libmiral.

There’s a starter guide to writing a Mir-based “Desktop Environment” here.

Enabling Mir on a new platform
There are at least three categories of “new platform” where developers might try to enable Mir.
1. New phone hardware/android drivers
2. A non-Ubuntu mesa distribution
3. A new graphics API

For all three categories the support is a “work-in-progress” and not yet ready for use downstream. That should change this year.

Enabling Mir on new phone hardware/android drivers
Diagnosing and fixing problems found with running Mir on android based hardware typically need debugging the driver interaction and updating the Mir “graphics-android” plugin module to accommodate variations in the way the driver spec has been interpreted by the vendor. Patches are welcome.

Enabling Mir on a non-Ubuntu mesa distribution
Ubuntu currently carries a “distro patch” for mesa to support Mir. Work is planned for this year to update and then upstream this patch. We’ve not done so yet as we know there are changes needed to support current developments (such as Vulkan).

There are instructions available for getting the current version of the Mesa “distro patch” here.

Enabling Mir on a new graphics API
To enable Mir on a new graphics API (such as Vulkan) requires the development of a Mir plugin module. We are working on Vulkan support and that work has led to a better understanding of how these plugins should integrate into Mir.

The APIs needed to develop platform plugin modules are currently neither stable enough for downstream developers, nor available as published headers in a Mir package that would support out-of-tree development. That should change this year.

Looking forward to 2017
As mentioned above, 2017 will see a cleanup of our “toolkit” API and better support for “platform” plugin modules. We will then be working on upstreaming our mesa patch. That will allow us to release our (currently experimental) Vulkan support.

We’ve also been working on reducing latency but the big wins didn’t quite make the end of 2016. There’s a snapshot of progress here.

As we complete these changes, 2017 will see a Mir 1.0 release.

Ultimate Edition 5.1 Linux OS Is Out, Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and Kernel 4.4

Ultimate Edition 5.1 is the flagship edition of this GNU/Linux distribution, on which the rest of the official flavors are based, and it was built upon Canonical’s long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, thus shipping with the Linux 4.4 LTS kernel and all of its internals.
The GNU/Linux distribution has been created using Tmosb (TheeMahn’s Operating System Builder) 1.9.7, which anyone can use to create his or her own Ubuntu-based flavor, and being based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, it is supported with security fixes and updated packages for two years, until 2019.
However, the default desktop environment used in Ultimate Edition 5.1 is KDE Plasma 5.5.5, along with the KDE Applications 15.12.3 and KDE Frameworks 5.18.0 technologies, which are pretty old considering the fact that KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS, KDE Applications 16.08.3, and latest KDE Frameworks are available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/ultimate-edition-5-1-linux-os-is-out-based-on-ubuntu-16-04-lts-and-kernel-4-4-511850.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE – BETA Release

This is the BETA release for Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE Edition.

Linux Mint 18.1 Serena KDE Edition

Linux Mint 18.1 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop even more comfortable to use.

New features:

This new version of Linux Mint contains many improvements.

For an overview of the new features please visit:

What’s new in Linux Mint 18.1 KDE“.

Important info:

The release notes provide important information about known issues, as well as explanations, workarounds and solutions.

To read the release notes, please visit:

Release Notes for Linux Mint 18.1 KDE

System requirements:

  • 2GB RAM.
  • 10GB of disk space (20GB recommended).
  • 1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don’t fit in the screen).


  • The 64-bit ISO can boot with BIOS or UEFI.
  • The 32-bit ISO can only boot with BIOS.
  • The 64-bit ISO is recommend for all modern computers (Almost all computers sold in the last 10 years are equipped with 64-bit processors).

Upgrade instructions:

  • This BETA release might contain critical bugs, please only use it for testing purposes and to help the Linux Mint team fix issues prior to the stable release.
  • It will be possible to upgrade from this BETA to the stable release.
  • It will also be possible to upgrade from Linux Mint 18. Upgrade instructions will be published next month after the stable release of Linux Mint 18.1.

Bug reports:

  • Please report bugs below in the comment section of this blog.
  • When reporting bugs, please be as accurate as possible and include any information that might help developers reproduce the issue or understand the cause of the issue:
    • Bugs we can reproduce, or which cause we understand are usually fixed very easily.
    • It is important to mention whether a bug happens “always”, or “sometimes”, and what triggers it.
    • If a bug happens but didn’t happen before, or doesn’t happen in another distribution, or doesn’t happen in a different environment, please mention it and try to pinpoint the differences at play.
    • If we can’t reproduce a particular bug and we don’t understand its cause, it’s unlikely we’ll be able to fix it.
  • Please visit https://github.com/linuxmint/Roadmap to follow the progress of the development team between the BETA and the stable release.

Download links:

Here are the download links for the 64-bit ISO:

A 32-bit ISO image is also available at https://www.linuxmint.com/download_all.php.

Integrity and authenticity checks:

Once you have downloaded an image, please verify its integrity and authenticity.

Anyone can produce fake ISO images, it is your responsibility to check you are downloading the official ones.


We look forward to receiving your feedback. Many thanks in advance for testing the BETA!

Intel Haswell GPUs Now Support OpenGL 4.2 for Ubuntu Gamers in Padoka/Oibaf PPAs

Ubuntu gamers relying upon their Intel Haswell graphics card series to play various games that support these GPUs will be happy to learn that the open-source Intel drivers now support OpenGL 4.2.
Until today, the Intel i965 graphics drivers offered by the well-known Padoka and Oibaf PPAs for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) operating systems exposed only OpenGL 4.0 for Intel Haswell GPUs, thus support for some demanding games just wasn’t there.
Last week, we told you that the Mesa team decided to change the versioning scheme of the devel branch to Mesa 17.0.0 from 13.1.0, a change that, apparently, will happen at the beginning of every year, and that developer Juan A. Suarez Romero announced new patches that implement support for Intel Haswell 64-bit vertex attributes.
Since then, we’ve been monitoring the Padoka and Oibaf PPAs, and only today, January 14, 2017, are these patches available in both of them for the Intel i965 open-source graphics drivers, along with the latest Mesa 17.0.0-devel series, of course.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/intel-haswell-gpus-now-support-opengl-4-2-for-ubuntu-gamers-in-padoka-oibaf-ppas-511848.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Linux Kernel 4.4.41 LTS Update Comes With Improved Radeon, Nouveau And Power PC

Greg Kroah-Hartman, the Linux kernel maintainer for the stable branch gives us the impression that he doesn’t need any sleeps whatsoever as he is delivering update after updates at a timely interval. The latest update is the Linux 4.4.41 kernel and has brought Linux OS users a wide array of interesting features.
Linux 4.4 is one of the longest term supported branches which has been serving distributions which include the likes of Canonical’s Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Alpine Linux and Arch Linux. Some bad news came from the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS as developers have announced that it will be completely replaced by Linux 4.8 due to the fact that January the 19th will be the date when Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS will make its appearance.
Being released just a week after Linux 4.4.40 LTS maintenance update, Linux kernel 4.4.41 LTS came in rather quickly as it consists of just a minor update patch. The attached shortlog states that only 78 files were subject to change, 187 deletions were accommodated and 605 new insertions have been delivered.

Source: http://neurogadget.net/2017/01/14/linux-kernel-4-4-41-lts-update-comes-improved-radeon-nouveau-power-pc/52436
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Welcome the new Ubuntu-based Precision line-up

This is a guest post by Barton George from Dell. If you would like to contribute a guest post, please contact ubuntu-devices@canonical.com

Today I am excited to announce the next generation of our Ubuntu-based Precision mobile workstation line. Not only have we revamped the current line-up but we have also added the Precision 5720 All-in-One. This follows the introduction back in October of the 6th generation XPS 13 developer edition.

How did we get here

Four and a half years ago a scrappy skunk works project by the name of “Project Sputnik” was kicked off at Dell to gauge interest in a developer-focused laptop. The project received an amazing amount of interest and support from the community and as result, nine months later this project became an official product — the ultra-mobile XPS 13 developer edition.

While the XPS 13 was a big hit the team soon started getting a steady stream of requests to add a bigger, beefier system. This caught the attention of team member Jared Dominguez (on twitter) who decided to work on his own time to get Ubuntu running on the Dell Precision M3800 mobile workstation. Jared documented his work and then posted the instructions publically.

Jared’s efforts got so much interest from the community that a little over a year later it debuted as an official product. A little over a year after that, one Ubuntu-based Precision workstation became four and today we are announcing the next generation of this line-up along with the new Precision 5720 All-in-One.

Key Features for Dell™ Precision 3520

  • Affordable, fully customizable 15” mobile workstation
  • Preloaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • 7th generation Intel® Core™ and Intel® Xeon™ processors
  • 15.6” HD (1366×768), FHD (1920×1080) and FHD touch
  • Up to 32GB of memory and 2TB of storage
  • ECC memory, Thunderbolt 3 and NVIDIA graphics
  • Availability: worldwide

How do I order a 3520 today?

In the case of the US, you can get to the Ubuntu-based version of the Dell™ Precision 3520, mobile workstation by going to the landing page. Once there click on the green “Customize & Buy” button on the right. This will take you to the “Select Components” page where under “Operating System” you choose Ubuntu 16.04 and away you go!

With regards to availability for the rest of the line-up, watch this space!

Original post can be found here.

Mint 18.1 review: Forget about Wayland and get comfy with the command line

I knew it as soon as I crowned Fedora 25 the best distro of 2016—I was going to hear about it from Linux Mint fans.
How could I proclaim the best distro of the year before the latest version of Mint arrived? There’s nothing like some guy on the Internet overlooking your favorite distro to make the hairs in your neckbeard start twitching angrily [/sarcasm]. I understand, it happens to me every time someone fails to recognize that Arch is the best distro of every year.
But I digress. There is a very simple reason I didn’t pick Mint as the best distro of 2016, and I didn’t even have to wait to test it: the reason is Wayland.
For better or worse, the Wayland graphics stack is the future of Linux and will undoubtedly be the big story of 2017 (unless the Mir display server actually ships, in which case it might share the spotlight). What’s more, once you’ve used Wayland in my experience, you’ll want it everywhere. Sadly, only one of the major distros has Wayland today: Fedora.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/exlight-lets-you-create-your-own-ubuntu-with-enlightenment-0-20-and-linux-4-9-511720.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht

Scientific Linux 7.3 to Launch of January 25, First Release Candidate Is Out Now

Scientific Linux’s Pat Riehecky reports on the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) development build of the upcoming Scientific Linux 7.3 open-source operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3.
Now that Red Hat launched the latest Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3 enterprise-ready operating system, it was just a matter of time for CentOS, Scientific Linux, and other forks to up their game and announce new, updated versions of their GNU/Linux distributions, based, of course, on the freely distributed sources of the former.
A first Release Candidate is already available for Scientific Linux 7.3, if you want to be an early adopter and a sport to report bugs, but if no critical ones are being reported during the testing period of two weeks, this RC build will be re-released as the final version of the operating system later this month, on January 25, 2017.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/scientific-linux-7-3-to-launch-of-january-25-first-release-candidate-is-out-now-511756.shtml
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht