Ubuntu Desktop Weekly Update: August 11, 2017

GUADEC

The GNOME conference happened last week with good representation from Ubuntu. The spirit was good and the discussions constructive. Decisions were made, details can be read on https://didrocks.fr/2017/08/03/ubuntu–guadec-2017-and-plans-for-gnome-shell-migration/

GNOME Shell

We’re preparing to make the changes described above in the coming weeks, that means that the GNOME Shell Ubuntu session is going to transition to this design in the next few days. Didier will be posting a series of blog posts next week on how this all works as they are landing. The vanilla upstream GNOME session will also emerge from this work. And we’ll link to the posts in next week’s newsletter, but keep an eye on social media for up-to-date information.

We’ve resurrected the “power off” option when the power button is pressed.  This will appear in GNOME Control Center 3.25.90.

Video, Audio, Bluetooth, Networking

You might have seen this screenshot earlier in the week:

We’re testing some patches to Chromium 60 in Artful to enable video acceleration and we’re seeing roughly a 50% saving in CPU overhead when using VA API.  In the screenshot above playing the video without acceleration is on the left and playing with acceleration is on the right.  The CPU is Haswell.  There are still more bugs to fix, but we’re making progress.

In Pulse Audio we’ve dropped some more patches for Android support (from Ubuntu Touch) bringing us more inline with upstream.  This will make maintenance easier and should reduce the chance of bugs cropping up from our patches.

Our patches to add enabling and disabling of the Network Connectivity Checker are in review upstream.  This will eventually add a toggle switch in the privacy settings of Control Center to allow you to turn on/off the connectivity checker.  We should be able to distro-patch these into Ubuntu soon before they appear upstream, and then drop the patches once they are available upstream.

We’re including the Rhythmbox “Alternate Toolbar” by default in 17.10, this brings a tidier user interface

Updates

  • Updated Chromium stable to 60.0.3112.78, pending validation.  The next Chromium stable update is 60.0.3112.90, already lined up in a PPA.  Updated Chromium beta to 61.0.3163.31, Chromium dev to 62.0.3175.4.
  • Updating LibreOffice Snap to 5.4.0.
  • Merged upstream Ghostscript version 9.21 from Debian into Ubuntu.
  • Synced newest versions from Debian for hplip, cups-bjnp, ippusbxd.  System-config-printer updated to a new snapshot from upstream GIT.
  • GNOME got a stack of updates to 3.25.90 (evolution, games, font viewer, online accounts, tweak tool, map, log, disk, calculator, cheese, todo)

 

In The News

  • We’re planning a Fit And Finish hackfest in London at the end of August to find and fix all the niggly little bugs and theming issues. If you’ve got skills to offer and would like to get involved please see Popey’s blog post.
  • Softpedia also covers this topic here.
  • Linux Action News discuss the changes to the default session in 17.10.
  • 16.04.3 was released last week.  OMG covers the release here.
  • OMG also have articles on the dock and the Rhythmbox plugin
  • Softpedia discuss Didier’s blog post about the changes coming to the default session

About the author

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Will leads the team working on the Ubuntu desktop at Canonical. He has a diverse background originally specialising in data networks and global communications systems and has provided consultancy to clients such as BT, Verizon, Inmarsat and Schlumberger. Will has been using and contributing to Ubuntu since 2005 and in 2015 he was recognised as an Ubuntu Member. He has three kids, plays golf badly and is a member of The Royal Institution of Great Britain.

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