elementary weekly #12


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Sorry for the gap last week, I have to admit that I had no time, but here’s the next one with recent topics.

Chat integration reimagined

with-chat-bubbleWith the latest cycle, the elementary developers decided to drop Epiphany Empathy, a GNOME oriented chat program with support for many networks and protocols, out of the preinstalled software collection, because of integration and design issues. This week, we’ve seen ideas, plans and mockups for a new way of integrating chat functionality. A community member named “SuperScript” abridged earlier plans made by Daniel Foré and put the chat access into plank for the first time in its concept. Later on Sam Hewitt improved the idea and cleaned up the mockup a bit (picture on the left). Voices in the comments were mostly amazed by that concept (don’t forget – it’s just a concept, still), though not everyone was happy about seeing a split Plank. I, personally, like that idea, would use and appreciate it often, and you wouldn’t have to use it, if you don’t like it. It’s hardly possible to get it in the near future, though it’s discussed internally in the elementary team. We’ll have to wait to see what happens.

Tip of the week – Use the On-Screen-Keyboard

Today I’ll show you how to find and use the on-screen keyboard, which is critical, if your actual keyboard is broken. It even just happened to me… As it’s important to know, how to find the necessary tools and ways to help yourself when you run into a problem, here’s how. Open the system settings and navigate to “Universal Access”. There you can switch to the category “Typing” and enable the on-screen keyboard. Just click the letters on GUI with your mouse-pointer to enter them. If you can’t even log in to your desktop, you’ll find it on the upper right edge in the human menu.

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  1. One of the things that makes elementary OS interesting to me is the software development being done by the team.

    I’ve used many different Linux distributions over the years, but never gave much attention to those “distros” that merely applied themes or a select toolset to a base system and called it something new. I chose distros that had development teams who actually brought something new to table. My favorites over the years have included: Mandrake/Mandriva, Red Hat/Fedora, Debian, Slackware, Arch, ALT, and more recently Zorin and now elementary.

    It’s clear to me that the elementary team, like the other OS teams I’ve mentioned above, are trying to do more that just take Ubuntu and re-package it with a fancy theme and choice of core applications. They are actually developing new applications and toolsets for their OS, attempting to improve upon the way people use their PCs. This is something that I can appreciate and support. And just like the Zorin OS, although elementary is using Ubuntu as it’s foundation, it doesn’t feel like Ubuntu to me – so I’m okay with it.

    I’m looking forward to seeing all of elementary’s innovative apps working together, as the project develops and progresses. I wish the team great success. From where I”m standing, their future looks bright.

  2. FTA “With the latest cycle, the elementary developers decided to drop Epiphany, a GNOME oriented chat program ”

    I’m on Gnome 3.14 and Epiphany is their Web Browser, did OP mean Empathy? If so, that’s no surprise. On all versions of Debian / Ubuntu / Elementary OS Empathy is broken to the point you can’t connect to Google Chat Network because of a Authorization change.

    Luckilly I switched to Arch and am enjoying Plank in my Gnome 3 Session just fine.

    I’m also using the Slingshot Launcher plugin for Gnome 3 which makes Gnome a dream. Hardest thing about eOS was how long it took them to do the betas, now that Ubuntu 15.04 is nearly out Freya Beta 1 hasn’t even stabalized on Ubuntu 14.04 which carries apps a whole year out of date.

    Arch is a Tier 1 distro in the sense that Packages don’t have to come through Ubuntu & Debian to get to the user. We all use Debian with a glut of PPAs like we wish that Ubuntu was Rolling Release, if all we cared about was stable and stale packages were okay none of us would ever use PPAs.

    I wish eOS would just abandon Debian for Arch, rolling release is a dream.

    • Thank you, corrected.
      They still have time to do great things with the Ubuntu 14.04 base. It’s a LTS release, which gets stability and security updates till 2019, which is better for the average user than having the latest and dealing with problems. The elementary development isn’t fast, and that also disappointing for some followers. That’s also the reason why I am going to start the monthly releases soon. But they take their time to do great things. Waiting is hard, I know… It’s great that we all can use, what we want.

  3. Will this work with things like Skype or (unlikely) Steam?

    • Yes, as elementary OS is based on Ubuntu these things will work.

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