Sunday, June 29, 2008

Intrepid Ibex Alpha 1

Alpha 1 of Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex is out. The first thing I noticed during the upgrade(I did a distro upgrade instead of a fresh install) is that there has been a massive jump in the included packages. Applications such as Compiz Fusion have gone from .74 to .77 and the new kernel version ending with 26. Amid all the new changes was the inclusion of a new dark theme. This was a drastic change from the soft brown colors to a more darker palette. Overall things looked good but one thing made me revert back to Hardy and that being my graphics card not getting detected, forcing me to stay in 800x600 resolution.

I really liked the strides the Ubuntu team is taking and seeing that this is only a Alpha 1 release, the bugs are understandable.

And of course, a screenshot!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FBO, Stencil and the 'Blur Plugin' in Compiz Fusion.

For the past 1 year I have been endlessly trying to get the blur plugin to work in my laptop. I'm among the many people who suffer with this problem. Here's what I have understood till now after considerable amount of research.

I have an Intel GMA 950 card which comes as a default on the i945 chipset. In previous versions of CF i.e. <.7 builds, the plugin never worked due to a bug in the Mesa driver namely in the fragment_environment_variables section. Now in the new build (post .7), a new plugin with the name of 'Workarounds' attempted to provide a fix with the name 'AIGLX fragment program fix'. This helped in many ways by enabling effects like Water, Reflections to work properly on IGMA cards but the 'blur' system still had a problem.

Enabling the plugin caused the Mesa driver to kick compiz in software mode and effects fell to less than 1 FPS. Also, only the 4xBilinear filter(among the Gaussian & Mipmap filters) worked because a lack of FBOs (Frame Buffer Objects). Another small thing I noticed that while running compiz via terminal, is that a message 'Warn: No stencil buffer. Region based blur disabled', shows a faulty implementation of Mesa thus creating the problem in blur. Blur requires the stencil buffer system to work.

Many attempts are underway to port implementations such as 'Fake Blur' and 'BlurFx' into CF from the old Beryl system. Also, users are still sitting patient for the fixes in Mesa to come. Till then, no blur for IGMA users.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

100 posts

Well after some long time spent at Ubuntu Forums, I have finally reached 100 posts. Well it took its time but now I feel very comfortable in the forums and feel its not only a place for geeks but for all kinds of people who want to help a community and at the same time, be a part of it. Long live the Ubuntu Community!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Release of the fox!

Firefox 3 has been released. After a long development time and 3 consecutive release candidates, the Mozilla team has released it today. Calling it the "World download day", they are trying for a maximum downloads for today to get June 17 into the Guinness Book of Records. Get it here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Experiencing Banshee

Just tried Banshee and have to say, what a player! I used to use Amarok but moved to Exaile. Exaile was good but lacked 'that' touch. After trying Banshee yesterday, I feel I have found the player which fills all my needs. Its got everything... a media browser, cover art support, device compatibility, an awesome media browser etc. Seriously, it auto downloaded the cover art for my albums as it was importing my media.

This player combines all of the best features of all media players in a simple, elegant and beautiful package.Well done Banshee Team!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 2008 Desktop

Just feel like sharing my current desktop design for June. I have always liked to keep things simple. Following extra themes and icons have been added:

GTK: Nodoka Link
Metacity: Nodoka Metacity Link
Icon Set: gTango Link
Wallpaper: Linux Glass Link

Friday, June 13, 2008

Firefox 3 - Around the corner

Firefox 3 is just around the corner with a release date of June 17. People already have been trying out the Release candidates and RC3 just got released. I personally was very pleased with its all round performance especially in being Acid 2 compliant. Also some of the notable features being "native skins" for respective OSes. It seems the guys at Mozilla have gotten the 'bling bling' in this feature quite nicely laid out.

I also liked the very nice and informative search bar. It provides a feature not yet available in browsers I have used till now.

On a last note, I came across some nice "easter eggs" in FF3. Try these by entering them in the address bar. You will like em'

  • about:mozzila
  • about:config
  • about:robots

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Banshee 1.0 out!

First informative post, well this to mark the release of one of the leading media players in GNOME. Banshee 1.0 is out with a lot of improvements and feature. The developers have really out done themselves. Well done guys! Get the most of it here:

As of course, a screenie from their website:

Welcome to mmaptonull

A strange name but one goal, to provide a view into open source/security or anything interesting. Long story short, welcome to mmaptonull.