Ubuntu 13.10 final beta and screenshot tour

Today in Open Source: Ubuntu 13.10 final beta released. Plus: An Ubuntu 13.10 beta screenshot tour, and will Valve's SteamOS change the PC gaming industry?

Ubuntu 13.10 Final Beta Released

The final beta of Ubuntu 13.10 has been released. You can download the current build of Ubuntu 13.10 from Ubuntu's daily build site.

ZDNet has coverage of some of the new features in Ubuntu 13.10.

Moving to the desktop, Ubuntu 13.10 is based on the 3.11 Linux kernel, jokingly known as Linux for Workgroups. It will include the usual Linux desktop programs: Firefox 24 for the Web browser; LibreOffice 4.1 for the office suite; Thunderbird for email; and Rhythmbox will be the default music player.

So much for the basics. Where things get interesting, and controversial, is with Ubuntu's new graphics stack and its built-in search options: Smart Scopes.

To make Ubuntu truly one operating system on tablets, smartphones and PCs, and just to improve graphics performance, Ubuntu has introduced its own display server, Mir, to replace the venerable and slow X Window.

More at ZDNet

ZDNet also notes the importance of the Ubuntu Touch release that is coming with Ubuntu 13.10. While I'm not optimistic that there's much room for yet another mobile platform, I'll be very happy if I'm wrong.

I'd like users to have more choices than just iOS, Android or Windows Phone. If Ubuntu Touch turns out to be a compelling mobile OS then it will a very good thing indeed for consumers.

Ubuntu 13.10 Screenshot Tour

The Coding Studio has a screenshot tour of the Ubuntu 13.10 beta. Check it out if you want a sneak peek at what Ubuntu 13.10 has to offer

More at The Coding Studio

SteamOS and the PC Gaming Industry

Ars Technica is wondering if Valve's SteamOS really can change the PC game industry by swinging it over to Linux and away from Microsoft Windows.

Today, Valve said we should watch for "announcements in the coming weeks about all the AAA titles coming natively to SteamOS in 2014." There is one AAA announcement in particular, though, that would be bigger than all the others combined. It could instantly get millions of gamers to seriously consider making the jump (or at least adding on) a Linux-based OS for their gaming needs. That announcement would be a SteamOS-exclusive version of Half-Life 3 (or, somehow, another Valve sequel or franchise with HL3-levels of buzz).

It might sound crazy to release such a highly anticipated game on an entirely new OS rather than on the established OS already in use by 95 percent of gamers. It's important to note, though, that requiring SteamOS wouldn't technically cut off any of the millions of gamers currently locked in to their Windows or Mac boxes. Those users could still install the free, Linux-based SteamOS on their systems to play the game, after all. They could even set it up as a secondary, dual-boot OS without affecting their current set up much. Installing a second operating system is a technical and onerous process that's not really of much interest to a mainstream audience. But if there's anyone that can make the process simple and streamlined, it's Valve. The company set the standard for streamlined game and update downloading through Steam.

Valve could also try to sell the SteamOS requirement as a way to squeeze every bit of power out of your PC gaming hardware by eliminating the overhead required for Windows or Mac OS. It already made a similar argument when noting that the Linux port of Left 4 Dead 2 was the best-performing version of the game.

More at Ars Technica

I'm not sure if Valve would make Half-Life 3 exclusive to SteamOS or not. But at this point I'm willing to go along with just about anything that will put an end to Windows' domination of the gaming industry. It's been very bad for gamers and game developers for years, so anything that breaks Microsoft's stranglehold is welcome indeed.

What's your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.

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