Bangarang The new KDE media player

Most KDE4 users know the default KDE media player Dragon player. It is simple and easy. In this post I will introduce you a new media player for KDE4 which intends to be simple in stylish way, more integration with KDE4 technologies like phonon and Nepomuk, and has more features than Dragon player. It is Bangarang.
The word Bangarang comes from Jamaican Patois language and it means noise, chaos, or disorder. Bangarang media player has many features like:

  •  Play your media (Media files, CD and DVD).
  •  Restrained interface that puts your media front-and-center.
  •  Media library functions that allow you simple, effective browsing and categorization for all your media including: Music, Audio streams, Audio clips, Movies, TV Shows, and Video clips
  •  Rating and play count tracking
  • Search functions
  • Saved media lists including:
    • Save media lists for any media type
    • Save media list “views” – Save any view while browsing, including search results. Views are “live” – when you add that new Muse album to your library, your saved media list view will automatically reflect it.
  •  Employs core KDE4 technologies including:
    • Nepomuk – Uses and shares media data with the rest of your desktop.
    • Phonon – Whatever the phonon backend plays, Bangarang plays.

Bangarang is currently in a beta stage. The latest beta version, 1.0~beta3, can be downloaded from opendesktop.org. For OpenSUSE 11.2 user you can use this 1-Click Install
The version 1.0 of Bangarang aims to introduce a basic functionality feature set.  New features will be considered after the 1.0 release.
Bangarang is open source software licensed under GPLv3.  If you would like to participate or even just submit a one-time bugfix, see the Bangarang project page at gitorious.org. The wiki page there contains information on project goals, design and hacking guidelines.

My experience with Google Chrome

I would like to share with you my short experience with Google Chrome on openSUSE 11.2.  Although it is in a beta stage, it is stable and fast. I like many things in it and I even tried to emulate them in Firefox (thanks to Firefox add-on). In this post, I will state my personal thoughts about Google Chrome and I will refer to Firefox in any comparison. I am using version 4.0.249.43.

Installation

Installing Google Chrome on openSUSE 11.2 is very easy. I downloaded the rpm package from Google website and then I clicked on it. The Installer asked me to install lsb (Linux Standard Base Core) package. After I installed lsb, everything went smoothly.

As you know Google Chrome is a close-source (although Chromium is an open source). This issue can cause inconveniences to distributions and end user. First, from Google Chrome Terms of Service “Subject to section 1.2, you may not (and you may not permit anyone else to) copy, modify, create a derivative work of, reverse engineer, decompile or otherwise attempt to extract the source code of the Software or any part thereof, unless this is expressly permitted or required by law, or unless you have been specifically told that you may do so by Google, in writing.” which means that you cannot distribute Google chrome. Therefore, do not expect to see Google Chrome as the default web browser in any Free GNU/Linux distributions. However, Chromium will be there.

Speed

If you look for a fast web browser, Google Chrome is the answer to you. The start-up speed is amazing comparing to Firefox. The Google developers did a very well job in this regard. the reason behind its speed is that Google Chrome does not use a cross-platform framework unlike Firefox which uses XUL. Google Chrome in GUN/Linux uses GTK+ directly without any layer in between.  It uses also a different GUI library for each operating system it supports.

GUI Design

I can summarize the GUI design of Google Chrome with three words: simple, clean and effective. I like the way Google Chrome puts tabs in the title bar. I enjoy also how Google Chrome populates the speed dial page with time. There is no status bar.

Things that I missed in Google Chrome

Extensions, extensions, extensions. The main thing that makes Firefox better than Google Chrome is extensions. In Firefox you can do everything using extensions. If you use a lot of extensions (like me), you will know why I consider Firefox superior to Google Chrome.

The second thing is complex scripts support (like Arabic). Although there is a basic support, there are serious bugs which will prevent  many users from using Google Chrome. I hope these bugs will be ironed out with time.

An early look at VLMC

It is OK, if you don’t know what is VLMC because it hasn’t been released yet. VLMC (VideoLAN Movie Creator) is a free video editing software, offering features to realize semi-professional quality movies, but with the aim to stay simple and user-friendly.

VLMC is being developed with the support of the VideoLAN organization (the house of the famous VLC Media Player). The pre-release version will be available soon.

It took me a while to install vlmc from the source code and I can say it is not so easy. However, vlmc is currently under heavy developing and doesn’t offer advanced tools for video editing.
After playing with vlmc, I feel that it is simple, use-friendly, and stable (believe it or not ). Although, vlmc is under an early developing stage, It offers basic tools like resizing, trimming, render and history.

What’s new in KDE SV 4.4?

In this post, we will try to collect all the topics which talk about next KDE SC version. The KDE SC 4.4 will be released on February 9th, 2010.

Window Tabbing

Oxygen Animations

Taskbar

Aero Snap, Highlight Window, Clickable Task Preview

Plasma Netbook Shell

General KDE SC 4.4 Preview

In this video, you will see these features:

  • New Desktop Setting Dialogue.
  • Plasma Themes in System Settings.
  • New Window Decoration Options.
  • Aero Snap like Feature.
  • Consistent Animations.
  • New Add Widgets Dialogue.
  • Drag and Drop Images as Wallpaper.
  • Widgets in The System Tray.
  • New Device Notifier Features.
  • New Krunner Features.

 

General KDE SC 4.4 Preview

In this video, you will see these features:

  • Search and Launch Containment
  • Desktop Grid
  • Clickable Task Tooltip Previews
  • Mouse Actions

 

20 features of mandriva 2010

We love Ubuntu and we are Ubuntu users a long time ago but the next version Ubuntu 9.10 seems to focus on wallpapers and themes. We don’t like Ubuntu’s way of development because it is just focusing on themes and ignoring important projects like PulseAudio and X.org.
In this article we will talk a little about the new features that will be in Mandriva 2010. The final version is expected to be available on the 3rd of November.

Mandriva Linux 2010 is aimed at improving the user experience for daily tasks. let’s have a look to what’s new :

1- New design for installer

To better user experience of installation, the Mandriva developers thought that installer design is quite old now and need to be refreshed to stay ahead of competition. The next screenshot shows the new design.

2- Live upgrade

Finally, Mandriva Online will be able to notify user about the  new version of the distribution and propose the system to upgrade it without using installer.

3- Moblin desktop

Mandriva 2010 will include the Moblin 2.0 environment designed for mobile desktop platforms, making Mandriva Linux the first distribution to integrate it in a free distribution.This environment has been designed for mobile desktop platforms. Netbooks are a given target but you can also use it when you want an ergonomic and simple environment for daily tasks.
Installing it is easy: install task-moblin package in rpmdrake and choose Moblin in connection manager.

4-  Guest accounts

Guest accounts, based on the xguest package, can now be established to offer safe temporary access to the system via gdm or kdm.

5- 3G features request

The next version will have better hardware support for USB 3G keys like download (and upload) quotas, PIN/PUK code management, operator selection.

6- Improve wireless support

As Mandriva 2010 is based on Linux 2.6.31, it will get the benefits of improving wireless support like enhancements for RTL 8187 wireless driver, include support for for RTL 8187 SE wireless driver and adopt Mesh utilities and test support for ralink, atheros and others.

7- Easier wifi key setup

This feature will allow to double check WEP/WPA keys. From Technical specifications for Mandriva Linux 2010: “ Typing wifi (wep/wpa) keys can be difficult, when entryfield are in password mode. Mac OS X allows to display keys (with a checkbox) so, you can be sure you didn’t make any typo, but can keep the key safe from other eyes around by default. To improve WEP keys filling, OK / Next button should be disabled when key length is not valid and warn if it is too long (this one is also valid for WPA).“

8- Improve boot time

Mandriva 2010 has  improved both real boot time and way to give user faster boot time impression.

9- Improve rpmdrake start up speed

Rpmdrake (packages manager )  was quite slow, due to rpm databases parsing. In Mandriva 2010, rpmdrake will start more quickly by caching some data.

10- Urpmi media auto configuration in version Free

This feature  will allow installer to auto configure installation media to make user life easier just like in One version.

11- Improve user information in rpmdrake

The Developers worked hard to improve user information in rpmdrake by moving general messages from bottom of rpmdrake and finding proper way to provide it. They also added support for screenshots.

12- Drakguard improvements

Drakguard will have the following features :
– Prevent launching specific applications
– block / allow network connection based on system time

13- krandr improvements

Krandr ( Desktop resolution dynamic changer ) will be more integrated into KDE4.

14- OpenOffice.Org 3.1 & KDE 4 integration

Mandriva 2010 will include OpenOffice.org 3.1 (based on the Go-OO branch) and that means more features like SVG support, 3D transitions ,VBA support, KDE 4 integration and Includes useful Extensions.

15- Switch to gcc 4.4

As all major distributions have switched (or are switching) gcc 4.4 because it allows better performance for generated code, faster compile time (specially on C++) and fixes some compilations bugs. Mandriva 2010 has switched to gcc 4.4.

16- Boost diskdrake

Diskdrake is ported to libparted to save time, money and add support for GPT partitions. The story behind that the venerable master boot record (MBR) partitioning scheme can’t fully handle disks larger than 2TB. With 1TB-hard disks now common and 2TB-disks becoming available, forward-looking individuals are thinking about alternatives to the MBR partitioning scheme.The heir apparent is the GUID Partition Table (GPT).

Another feature in Diskdrake is helping user in partitioning his disks
When user reaches partition step, he frequently do not even recall what is exactly on each of these
existing partitions. The new Installer will allow him to browse at least content for root of each partition. This feature will increase simplicity of general use of Mandriva 2010.

17- GNOME 2.28

Mandriva 2010 will have GNOME 2.28. It contains the latest version of GTK+ with client-side window. This feature should reduce window flickering. You will find in repository, GNote, a C++ port of Tomboy. Alpha versions of Mutter, Zeitgeist are also available. These will be the basis of the future version GNOME 3.0. A notable planned change will be improvements in GNOME Media with : Webcam support and Live streaming recording in sound-recorder or podcaster.

18- KDE 4.3.2

For KDE lovers Mandriva comes with KDE 4.3.2. This is the best version of KDE4. Lots of bug fixes and improvements that make us think we have now a really innovative and stable desktop.

19- Nepomuk: integration is improved

Mandriva 2010 comes with good Nepomuk integration. The target of the Nepomuk project is to provide the user with facilities to create, manage, query, and thus, exploit this metadata in powerful ways. This is a powerful tool and Mandriva developers introduce many features in Mandriva 2010 like:
– Files can be tagged and rated from Dolphin: this lets you get a transversal semantic view of your files, in addition to the classical folder view.
– Resources can be searched by tag, by hitting Ctrl+L in Dolphin and by typing the keyword  nepomuksearch:/  followed by one or several entries tag:xxx in the Dolphin address bar.
– Mandriva 2010 includes a plasmoid widget called Task switcher which makes it easy to create tasks and to select a current task meant to ease the linking of resources to a specific active task. The task switcher lets you see all your active tasks and choose one of them as the current task.
To get more information have a look here to check how to use this innovative and powerful new functionalities for desktop.

20- Plymouth boot splash

The Plymouth boot splash technology, which provides a graphical boot animation during the boot process, is now fully integrated, and replaces Splashy, which has been removed.

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