Monday, July 26, 2010

TeamViewer 5 for Linux released!

TeamViewer extends its multiplatform solution to Linux .

This allows cross-compatibility between Windows, Mac OS, iPhone / iPod Touch and Linux for desktop sharing, remote support and online-presentations.

If you are already familiar with Teamviewer and would like to download it for Linux, use the link below:

TeamViewer for Linux

If you are not familiar with Teamviewer and would like to know more about it, read on...

What is TeamViewer?

TeamViewer is our solution for easy and friendly desktop sharing. You can remote control a partner’s desktop to give online assistance, or you can show your screen to a customer - all without worrying about firewalls, IP addresses and NAT.

  • One solution for everything:
    While most competitors offer different packages for remote support, remote administration, training and sales (and also charge for them...) TeamViewer is the one-stop solution for everything you need: TeamViewer includes all modules in one simple and very affordable package.
  • Remote support without installation:
    With TeamViewer you can remotely control any PC anywhere on the Internet. No installation is required, just run the application on both sides and connect - even through tight firewalls.
  • Remote administration of unattended servers:
    TeamViewer can also be used to control unattended computers and servers. System service installations even allow remote reboot and reconnect.
  • Remote presentation of products, solutions and services:
    TeamViewer allows you to present your desktop to a partner. Share live demos, products, and presentations over the Internet within seconds.
  • File transfer:
    TeamViewer comes with integrated file transfer that allows you to copy files and folders to and from a remote partner - which also works behind firewalls.
  • Works behind firewalls:
    The major difficulties in using remote control software are firewalls and blocked ports, as well as NAT routing for local IP addresses.If you use TeamViewer you don't have to worry about firewalls: TeamViewer will find a route to your partner.
  • Highest security standard:
    TeamViewer is a very secure solution. All versions feature completely secure data channels with key exchange and AES (256 Bit) session encoding, the same security standard used by https/SSL.
  • Browser based access:
    On the road and need to control a remote computer? Why don't you use TeamViewer Web Connector? The purely html and flash based solution can be used from nearly any browser and operating system.
  • Online status display:
    Are your team members in many different locations? Need to present your desktop or collaborate on a document? In the TeamViewer partner list you can see who is available and connect with them in one mouse click.
  • Very competitively priced, free versions available:
    TeamViewer offers great value for low prices. TeamViewer even offers a free version for non-commercial use.
  • Optimized performance:
    Whether you have a LAN or dial-up connection, TeamViewer optimizes display quality and speed depending on your network connection.

Once again, you can download Teamviewer for Linux from:

TeamViewer for Linux

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ubuntu Linux 10.04 Lucid Lynx

CANONICAL'S UBUNTU has a lot of hype to live up to. First released in 2004, Ubuntu has established itself as one of the most intuitive and accessible Linux distributions and has never shied away from giving both Microsoft and Apple a run for their money. Ubuntu 10.04, dubbed Lucid Lynx, builds on previous iterations by integrating social networking and cloud services directly into a slick looking and responsive desktop.

Slick and responsive doesn't however preclude some questionable choices visually. There was much rejoicing upon the announcement Canonical would be updating Ubuntu's design from the earthy tones that had featured on previous releases. Unfortunately, as if to provide further proof of their all-inclusive nature, Ubuntu's apparently daltonic design team came up with a violet theme unlikely to be everyone's cup of tea, unless the tea is laced with hallucinogens.

Surrounding the purple haze are dark taskbars and window frames, which make the desktop feel noticeably smaller. In a polemic move that further exacerbates this claustrophobic feel, buttons have been moved to the top left corner, opening up vast amounts of unused space on the right hand side.

Canonical has said the change is a preemptive move, and that the resulting no-app's land will be filled with innovative features in future releases, but it all sounds a bit like selling a car with no wheels in the hope future models will fly.

One of the big calling cards for Lucid Lynx is the integration of social applications into the desktop's new Me Menu. This essentially comprises three apps - Empathy, Evolution and Gwibber for chat, email and microblogging respectively. All three blend in nicely with the desktop and share an indicator applet in the taskbar, removing much of the clutter of running the processes individually.

While integrating application suites has many benefits, problems arise when any one of the provided services is just not good enough. Empathy seems like a solid alternative to Pidgin. Evolution is unlikely to be a very popular choice among a userbase most likely using Thunderbird, Claws or Mutt already. Gwibber feels slow, and might seem overly simplistic when compared to other microblogging clients. Changing any of these applications as your default messaging client will immediately render your desktop a little less pleasant to use.

Hopefully with time applications might be integrated interchangeably in Gnome, but for now you're stuck following online hacks which might or might not be of use six months down the line. Fortunately, unlike using Outlook on Windows or on Mac OS X, there is no reason competing applications cannot work as seamlessly as those provided by Ubuntu.

In parallel, Ubuntu 10.04 provides tighter integration with Canonical's cloud-based efforts. Despite having a multimillionaire benefactor, Canonical has no doubt heeded Yahoo's warnings on the need for diversification by developing Ubuntu One, a service which provides both 2GB of free Dropbox-like storage and an online music store.

Alas the online music store, while potentially providing some much needed revenue for Canonical, will likely remain unused by most users. To distance itself from the many anonymous online music stores, Canonical provides the same limited catalogue in the same proprietary format.

Furthermore with Jamendo, Magnatune and now Ubuntu One, Rhythmbox is quickly becoming more cluttered with stores than many local high streets. Disabling any of them is a case of unloading the appropriate plugin, but you can't help but think Canonical is needlessly investing time and effort on a feature likely to be met by resounding silence.

Where Ubuntu should shine is in providing access to Linux's endless software repositories. The Ubuntu Software Centre provides a visually attractive front-end for aptitude, which does all the heavy lifting interfacing with the APT package manager, but chip away at the veneer and you'll find Canonical has done very little beyond providing basic functionality. User ratings, ranking by popularity or suggesting similar packages to replace currently installed duds are all notably absent, making sifting through the immense catalogue cumbersome unless you know what you are looking for.

Admittedly, no other package management system provides all of these, but Ubuntu is squarely focused on the inexperienced. Furthermore, Canonical plans on providing paid apps through the Ubuntu Software Centre in the near future, in which case feedback on an application's quality will be essential.

Ubuntu evolved at a blistering speed. When you experienced the wealth of improvement from Breezy Badger to Feisty Fawn, it was hard not to wonder whether a Linux-based OS might finally usurp its commercial rivals as the ultimate desktop experience in the near future. Canonical has put a lot of effort into catching up with both Windows and Mac OSX and on many fronts has largely succeeded. However, as in Zeno's paradox of Achilles and the tortoise, merely closing the gap on each iteration is insufficient to overtake your rivals entirely.

Canonical has largely focused on toning down bleeding-edge applications to run smoothly in a stable, hassle-free operating system. The challenge facing Ubuntu is no longer merely attracting users from commercial rivals, but also to stem the loss of users to rival Linux distributions. The Me Menu is a good indicator of how Ubuntu can evolve, innovate and differentiate itself from internal competition such as Archlinux, Debian, Fedora, Suse, Mandriva and others, despite building on the same open source components.

Whether Ubuntu is the right distribution for you is largely down to personal preference. From the ivory tower of tech journalism most reviewers are quick to point out Linux is a pain to install and use, and Ubuntu has somehow overcome this crippling heritage to become an easy to install and usable OS. Most likely this condescending attitude derives from never actually having used Linux - most distributions now provide Live CDs and easy installers, with access to the same software through their own package management systems.

In Short
Ubuntu's one-size-fits-all nature makes it a good initial introduction to Linux-based operating systems. Visually, it keeps improving, but it is not quite all the way there yet. While many can argue whether Linux is ready for the desktop, there's little doubt that Canonical packages up Ubuntu better than the vast majority of distributions out there. The biggest compliment one can pay to Ubuntu is that it feels like a professional product in its installation, look and feel and above all updates. If nothing else, you should give Ubuntu a try to give you some perspective on how well your own OS suits you.

The Good
Maturity and popularity aid in usability, integration with cloud services, long-term support (LTS) release, painless update from previous version.

The Bad
Might be too Mickey Mouse for hardcore Linux users, strong branding and colour scheme.

The Ugly

BitTorrent Admin Monitored by US Government, Forced to Dump GNU/Linux

Scott McCausland (sk0t), the ex-administrator of the EliteTorrents BitTorrent tracker isn’t having much luck lately. Back in September 2006, he pleaded guilty to two charges – ‘conspiracy to commit copyright infringement’ and ‘criminal copyright infringement’. Both charges relate to him uploading ‘Star Wars: Episode III’ onto the internet hours before the theatrical release, earning him 5 months in jail and 5 months home confinement.

Sk0t has now been released from jail but this doesn’t mean that everything is back to normal.

Back on 17 July, sk0t had to see his Probation Officer for the first time and two days later he had to have a special ankle bracelet attached. This monitoring device is there to enforce the terms of his release: Monday to Friday 08:30 to 21:00 he is free to do as he pleases. Weekends are more restrictive – freedom is allocated between 08:30 to 17:00. The one good thing about this device is that it will be removed before Christmas (Dec 19th).

According to a post on his blog, following another meeting with his Probation Officer, it seems sk0t is having more trouble:

So, I am getting shafted by the Justice Department again…”

sk0t was informed by his Probation Officer that he has to have special software installed on his PC so that the government can monitor his online activities. However, what is a more bitter pill to swallow for him is that the monitoring software is Windows only and as sk0t is an Ubuntu user, the Justice Department is forcing him to switch operating systems.

I had a meeting with my probation officer today, and he told me that he has to install monitoring software onto my PC. No big deal to me, that is part of my sentence. However, their software doesnt support GNU/Linux (Which is what I use). So, he told me that if I want to use a computer, I would have to use an OS that the software can be installed on.

Sk0t is left with a tough choice. Give in to the evils of the monitoring software, format his hard drive and install Windows – or be barred from using a PC completely.

Sk0t told TorrentFreak: “I think that this whole situation is just one more way that they can impose their will onto me. I have contacted my attorney, and we are going to fight this. It isn’t the fact that I have to be monitored that bothers me, it is the fact that I have restructure my life (different OS, different software on that OS) and that they would require (force) me to purchase software while I a currently unemployed and relatively unemployable with the 2 felonies that they gave me. It is just a ridiculous situation. Why should I conform to them when I am consenting to the software… they should have software that conforms to me.”

Unfortunately, thanks to the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act, some BitTorrent users are considered criminals these days, which means these unusual measures can be forced upon them. In a society where ‘the punishment should fit the crime’, you can’t help but think that somewhere along the line there’s been a big miscalculation when regular citizens are turned into criminals for sharing files.