Ruminations on the Digital Realm

Jan Stedehouder

Ubuntu W2L Renaissance RC

We are working on a book about Ubuntu Linux that aims at Windows users who want to migrate to Linux or are considering it. The book is a step-by-step migration guide, but also want to provide a wide overview of what Linux has to offer for office applications, multimedia (audio, video, graphics and webdesign) and communications (chat, blogging, e-mail, newsgroups, peer2peer, voip and browsing). We made the decision not to use the default Ubuntu CD or create a multiboot Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu DVD, but to integrate the three desktop environments and add about 80 more programs. In this way no install or download is needed to follow all that is discussed in the book. We use the perspective of the Windows user (the graphical interface) as a starting point and go deeper into the system from there on. We don’t shun the commandline, but introduce it gradually and provide more information later in the book. Sorry (and I don’t want to spoil things here) but the book will be in Dutch and it will be in the stores late August, early September.

Why “Renaissance? For some time I am attracted to the concept of the ‘Renaissance man‘. No, I am not talking about the movie with Danny Devito, but the concept that describes someone who is educated in multiple fields. I truly believe that developing multiple skills and gain wide and deep knowledge makes someone more complete. Linux is about empowering people in the field of computing, but it also gives them access to a wide collection of specialized software to develop other abilities, only being hindered by their own choices. The Ubuntu W2L edition comes with a wide variety of software, so the nickname “Renaissance” seemed appropriate.

Between the beta 2 and the RC a few things have changed. We cleaned up some errors and annoyances in the sources.list, removed just about everything that would give the publisher possible heartaches (mostly because of license issues) and updated all packages as to June 22, 2007. Reconstructor 2.6 was used to build this custom version Ubuntu Feisty Fawn.

What will you find:

– the following repositories in the sources.list: universe, multiverse, restricted, medibuntu, canonical commercial, seveas and opera
– kubuntu-desktop, xubuntu-desktop, edubuntu-desktop and ubuntustudio-desktop
– ubuntustudio-audio (without the low latency kernel), ubuntustudio-video and ubuntustudio-graphics
– ubuntu-devel (metapackage from the seveas repository)
– language packs (Dutch)
– koffice, korganizer, gnome office, gnucash, kmymoney2, grisbi, amsn, kmess, blogtk, drivel, gnome-blog, azureus, skype, banshee, exaile, streamtuner, streamripper, kstreamripper, lastfm,, kaudiocreator, lame, wine, amule, pan, knode, liferea, mplayer, mozilla-mplayer, istanbul, gtkpod-aac, acidrip, p7zip-full, rar, unrar, zip, unzip, amaya, anjuta, gnome-art, beryl-manager, beryl-settings, beryl-settings-simple, bluefish, bum, krusader, gnochm, devede, dosemu, gcompris, etherape, firestarter, gdesklets, hubackup, jpilot, multisync, libmultisync-plugin-all, kerry, kpilot, kwifimanager, bcm43xx-fwcutter, ntfs-config, planner, qcad, quanta, kompare, kxsldbg, kimagemapeditor, cervisia, rawstudio, rsibreak, scite, screem, taskjuggler, ttb, ndisgtk, xaralx, xchat, abiword-plugins-gnome, tuxpaint, gnumeric-doc, gnumeric-plugins-extra, msttcorefonts, beagle-backend-evolution, vlc, mozilla-plugin-vlc, googleearth, ffmpeg, lives, smbfs, opera
– Picasa, Kompozer and Frostwire (installed via dpkg -i)
– OpenOffice.org for Windows added (which you will see when mounting the DVD under Windows)

Since “Renaissance” is tied to the book that aims to be an introduction to Ubuntu and Linux in general we didn’t change the Ubuntu artwork. You will find the default Human theme, with the default Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu and UbuntuStudio themes close at hand. For those who wish to play: in the examples folder you find GNOME2Vista, which contains all you need to change the GNOME desktop into a Vista look-a-like (only cheaper, faster, more stable and -combined with Beryl- much better looking). Of course, kudos and thank you’s to all developers, maintainers and artists that made the materials available which make up this customized version of Ubuntu. For questions concerning “Renaissance” there is a forum on my website.

From this point forward there will be one final release of “Renaissance” for the book. Then it will serve as a basis for another version of “Renaissance” as part of the OpenSourceLearning project. In that project we want to create rich content, multimedia e-learning materials. Those materials are to be integrated into “Renaissance”.

The DVD can be downloaded via bittorrent through LinuxTracker.

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3 thoughts on “Ubuntu W2L Renaissance RC

  1. Note that Beryl is merging with Compiz to form “Compiz Fusion”.

  2. My first impressions are very positive. I think you are achieving your aims with this distro in that I didn’t have to run off and find out how to install flash. OK, I have to go and find lame for audacity, but I would expect that.
    I plugged my MP3 player in and was able to play MP3s immediately. Also I was able to open a simple spreadsheet for a quick bit of work without having to load all the resource sucking packages of OpenOffice.
    It doesn’t have LYX nor NVU but looking at the list, I anticipate that alternatives are readily available.

    I had a bit of a problem during install as I didn’t want to install over the whole of the available space on the disk, and managed to freeze the installation twice on 2 different computers, but those are just teething troubles.

    I did try to register for the forum, was taken to mybloglog.com, but that registration didn’t work here. It would be good to see the forum build for such an interesting project but maybe others are having the same registration problem? Greg

  3. Hi Greg, thank you for testing this version of Ubuntu. The forum you are looking for is here: http://opensourcelearning.info/blog/?page_id=349&forum=2&page=1 . There is no need to register, you can add comments and suggestions as guest.

    I can see where the link to mybloglog comes from and i will fix that. I am glad you pointed that out.
    NVU was replaced by Kompozer. A kind of a workaround, since Kompozer = NVU, but NVU is updated or available in the repositories yet.

    Again, thank you for your kind comments.

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