Archive for the 'ubuntu' Category

Sugar development needs funding

My contract with OLPC hasn’t been renewed due to financial reasons. I’ve added myself to the rather obscure Professional Services Sugar Labs page – look for more of us to appear there in the near future, as almost all the Sugar developers are in a similar position.

We either need funding, or a way to provide contract services developing and supporting Sugar.


Sugar git repository change

There’s a shiny new instance of gitorious on, the new home of the upstream repositories for Sugar.

The following modules have moved over from

  • sugar
  • sugar-base
  • sugar-toolkit
  • sugar-datastore
  • sugar-presence-service
  • sugar-jhbuild
  • read
  • chat

sugar-jhbuild has moved over as well, and updated to use the new repos. Some of the module names have been changed at the same time, for example presence-service is now sugar-presence-service, and chat-activity is now just chat.

If you’re using sugar-jhbuild, the old repo is up to date as of now with the new repos, but I recommend a completely clean build, cloned from the new repo, unless you have the git-fu to change it in place.

Anyone who could commit/push to the old sugar-* repos is welcome to ask for commit rights on the new repos – we can’t add you until you register on In the mean time, it’s trivial to clone a personal repo in the web interface and push to that and request a merge.

Nvidia twinview and xrandr

AJ, I agree that GUI tools for multihead are lacking. I recently got my nvidia twinview working much easier with some fiddling.

Inspired by smcv’s setup, I also have my external monitor above my laptop screen, and it’s only slightly wider than the laptop screen so I run them at the same width. Since my laptop has an Nvidia Geforce Go 6200, I’ve generally used nvidia-settings to set twinview mode on and off. Since that’s a GUI app, I’ve had to click several times to turn twinview on and off. Turning twinview off automatically moves all the windows to my laptop display, and turning twinview back on moves the ones which were on the external display back to it, so I can undock and redock from my CRT albeit with a whole lot of mouse clicking.

Now on Intrepid (not sure if this could have been done on Hardy, but anyway) I found a command line way to toggle twinview on and off. I had used nvidia-settings to write to my xorg.conf, which had produced the following:

Section “Screen”
Identifier    “Screen0”
Device        “Videocard0”
Monitor        “Monitor0”
Defaultdepth    24
Option        “TwinView”    “1”
Option        “TwinViewXineramaInfoOrder”    “CRT-0”
Option        “metamodes”    “CRT: 1280x1024_85 +0+0, DFP: nvidia-auto-select +0+1024”

This at least allowed me to boot into twinview if the CRT was connected at the time.

I have added a metamode now, so that the line above reads:

Option        “metamodes”    “CRT: 1280x1024_85 +0+0, DFP: nvidia-auto-select +0+1024; CRT: null, DFP: nvidia-auto-select +0+0”

This lets me run “xrandr -s 0” to select the twinview (CRT at 1280×1024 85 Hz and DFP below it) and “xrandr -s 1” to turn off twinview.

I then discovered that my Fn+F7 combination automagically does the latter, so I only need to use xbindkeys to enable turning twinview on, so my .xbindkeysrc contains the following:

“exec xrandr -s 0”
Mod4 + F7

That binds it to the combination of Super_L (my Windows key) and F7, so I can undock with Fn+F7 and redock with Win+F7.

This is so much easier than using the nvidia-settings app! It’s going to save literally hours of my life to spend on other things… hope it helps someone else too.

OLPC Give 1 Get 1 2008

One Laptop Per Child resumed the Give 1 Get 1 program on Monday, via Amazon, available in the USA and 30 countries in Europe. USA orders can be shipped overnight, so buyers get the XOs much faster than last year. You pay $399, get an XO, and help fund OLPC deployments in developing countries – see where the laptops from last year’s G1G1 went.

The XO rose quickly to #1 on Amazon’s “Bestsellers in Computers and PC Hardware” and is still there.

There are videos on OLPC’s Youtube channel, introducing the XO laptop, OLPC’s mission and how the laptops are used for education.

The XO laptop runs Sugar, a platform and user interface designed for learning. You can run Sugar on various GNU/Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora.

You can also run a conventional GNU/Linux distribution on the XO, either by installing onto the built-in NAND flash storage, or from a USB drive or SD card – including Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. Amazon also lists Fedora 10 preinstalled on an SD card as a companion product to the XO (for preorder before F-10 is released). You do need a developer key, but then you can simply insert the SD card and boot Fedora without needing to install anything.

Microsoft also have a version of Windows XP for the XO, but this is not available for sale anywhere, as far as I can tell – so you’d need to be in one of two towns in Colombia to run it. “OLPC builds XOs with Linux. OLPC will continue to build XOs with Linux. OLPC has no plans to change this. None.

In addition to the comprehensive description on the Amazon listing, see OLPC News’s buyers guide for more information on buying the OLPC XO.

Ubuntu-ZA reapproved

As Nick Ali mentioned, the Ubuntu South Africa LoCoTeam went through the (now annual) review process with the LoCoCouncil and got reapproved.

As Nick says,

The yearly review gives LoCos a chance to take stock of how a LoCo is doing, what can be improved, and make plans for the future. The LoCo Council is here to make sure LoCos have the resources and help they need to support their areas.

I’m really energised by the increasing participation in ubuntu-za, and I’m looking forward to the coming year. Doing these reviews definitely helps put the focus on sustained activity.

Ubuntu South Africa release parties

Jonathan Carter already wrote about the Johannesburg release party. Here are his photos from that event.

I went to the Cape Town event which was held at Camps Bay High School’s tuXlab – an Ubuntu-powered school lab. We had about 30 people attending, which was awesome, considering that only a few signed up on the planning wiki page.

We distributed CDs, talked about hardware issues, and did several installs. I took some photos, and Reenen Laurie has posted his as well.

Thanks to:

  • Eleanor Lenders of Inkululeko for arranging the venue, posting signs, fetching pizza and going in search of balloons!
  • Rob Burger, the sysadmin of the CBHS tuXlab for spending the whole of Saturday upgrading machines to Intrepid so we could have some freshly installed machines to use – and for burning CDs.
  • Andy Rabagliati for organising the event and handling the complaints about bluetooth so well…
  • Everyone who attended! This community is about you!

It was great to have the event at a tuXlab, and it’s definitely worth holding our release parties at the same, or similar, tuXlabs in the future.

On that note, these school labs are largely supported by volunteers, so if you are available to help, please speak up on the ubuntu-za mailing list.

[ubuntu-za] Ubuntu 8.10 – the Intrepid Ibex is released!

The official release announcement is out – see if you aren’t on the ubuntu-announce list or didn’t see mail yet.

On behalf of Ubuntu-ZA, thanks to the developers behind this release – upstream, debian, ubuntu – you rock!

Thanks also to the many people involved in helping people to get Ubuntu, run it and fix problems. This is a distro for human beings, and we can all contribute to the end result.

Ubuntu-ZA is more than just a user community – because we do more than just use the software. This is the place to get involved, in whatever way you can. Here’s our 5 step plan to success!

1. Check out our website at This is a community site that anyone can edit and contribute to.

2. Join our mailing list: – you can keep up
to date with what’s happening in Ubuntu-ZA, find help, and get involved in Ubuntu-ZA projects.

3. Join Ubuntu-ZA by joining our team on Launchpad: Launchpad is Ubuntu’s infrastructure for support, bug tracking, translations, interfacing with upstream software, building packages from source, bzr repositories, source code mirror and many more things. If you want to contribute to Ubuntu, Launchpad is a key.

Our community team is up for review during November, and getting our members on launchpad is a great way to show that we are serious about being a local Ubuntu community. We’re up to 73 members on Launchpad, but there are 289 of us on the mailing list, so please join up!

4. Sign the Ubuntu Code of Conduct: – this makes you an Ubuntero and is the next step on the journey to Ubuntu Membership.

5. Get involved! lists some great ways to contribute, whether technically or not. Our own page lists ways to get
involved locally too. Consistent involvement leads towards Ubuntu membership:

A further reminder about our release parties on Saturday: – come along and meet fellow Ubuntu enthusiasts, get a copy of Intrepid, bring your system to install – let’s celebrate the new release.