From the Canyon Edge -- :-Dustin

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Desktop Default Application Survey

Back in March, we asked the HackerNews community, “What do you want to see in Ubuntu 17.10?

A passionate discussion ensued, the results of which are distilled into this post.

In fact, you can see our progress so far this cycle.  We already have a beta code in 17.10 available for your testing for several of those:

And several others have excellent work in progress, and will be complete by 17.10:

In summary -- your feedback matters!  There are hundreds of engineers and designers working for *you* to continue making Ubuntu amazing!

Along with the switch from Unity to GNOME, we’re also reviewing some of the desktop applications we package and ship in Ubuntu.  We’re looking to crowdsource input on your favorite Linux applications across a broad set of classic desktop functionality.

We invite you to contribute by listing the applications you find most useful in Linux in order of preference. To help us parse your input, please copy and paste the following bullets with your preferred apps in Linux desktop environments.  You’re welcome to suggest multiple apps, please just order them prioritized (e.g. Web Browser: Firefox, Chrome, Chromium).  If some of your functionality has moved entirely to the web, please note that too (e.g. Email Client: Gmail web, Office Suite: Office360 web).  If the software isn’t free/open source, please note that (e.g. Music Player: Spotify client non-free).  If I’ve missed a category, please add it in the same format.  If your favorites aren’t packaged for Ubuntu yet, please let us know, as we’re creating hundreds of new snap packages for Ubuntu desktop applications, and we’re keen to learn what key snaps we’re missing.

  • Web Browser: ???
  • Email Client: ???
  • Terminal: ???
  • IDE: ???
  • File manager: ???
  • Basic Text Editor: ???
  • IRC/Messaging Client: ???
  • PDF Reader: ???
  • Office Suite: ???
  • Calendar: ???
  • Video Player: ???
  • Music Player: ???
  • Photo Viewer: ???
  • Screen recording: ???

In the interest of opening this survey as widely as possible, we’ve cross-posted this thread to HackerNews, Reddit, and Slashdot.  We very much look forward to another friendly, energetic, collaborative discussion.

Or, you can fill out the survey here:

Thank you!
On behalf of @Canonical and @Ubuntu

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Integrity of Amazon Consumer Reviews

Along with most red blooded Texans, I love to barbeque on the back deck. From smoking a brisket to grilling chicken, and any other fish, fowl, pork, or beef in between, there are few ways I’d rather spend a Sunday afternoon.

But we Texans are not the only ones inextricably attracted to the peppery, sweet, smokey aromas emanating from our back deck. No, unfortunately, bbq always means flies. And lots of them. Zipping around the grill, and inevitably, into our house.

And if my love of barbeque has an equal and opposite reaction, it’s my hatred of flies buzzing around inside of my house.

With that in mind, I was grilling some chicken on the back deck a few weeks ago, picking off flies with a Bug-a-salt (way more fun than it even sounds), and pulled out my phone, searching Amazon for 21st century solutions to the flies-in-my-house problem. Surely we’ve IoT-automated away our fly problem by 2017?

I immediately stumbled upon an unusually highly rated product — 4.5 stars over 2,621 reviews for the “Pest Soldier Electronic Plug Ultrasonic Pest Control Repeller for Insects — White, Set of 4”.

So I snapped it up, and figured, what the heck, I’ll give this a shot.

The result was underwhelming. Undetectable, even. There’s no difference, with or without these gadgets plugged in around my kitchen. It was worth a shot. Burned thirty-something dollars. Live and learn. Flies don’t respect ultrasonic annoyances. Ah well.

About a month later, I receive this email, which made me wrinkle my nose a little, asking me to review this product on Amazon, and receive a $25 gift card.

I ignored it.

Three days later, a “reminder”, which I also ignored.

And then, three days later, a third nagging email:

At which point, I did reply:

And I wrote this review.

At this point, things went from bad to worse. I was immediately offered a full refund, and an extra $40 to delete the review.

Wow. Simply, wow. Reading through the other negative reviews of this product, I see multiple reviewers saying they were offered money to delete their critical reviews.

Along with so many of you, we place our trust in the honest and integrity of Amazon’s customer review system. And yet it’s being systematically gamed by sellers such as this.

I’ve reported the product and the seller per Amazon’s instructions, but I for one am a bit more skeptical about Amazon reviews from now on.

Now, I just wonder…
How much will Pest Soldier offer me to delete this blog post?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Back on The Changelog, talking Ubuntu 12.04 ESM, Ubuntu on Windows, and Snaps!

I met up with the excellent hosts of the The Changelog podcast at OSCON in Austin a few weeks back, and joined them for a short segment:

That podcast recording is now live!  Enjoy!

The Changelog 256: Ubuntu Snaps and Bash on Windows Server with Dustin Kirkland
Listen on