Ubuntu switches to systemd in 15.04 beta

In today's open source roundup: Ubuntu follows in the footsteps of Debian by switching to systemd. Plus: Ars reviews the Chromebook Pixel 2, and Blizzard won't release native Linux games


Ubuntu switches to systemd

Systemd has generated lots of heated discussions online, with many Linux users expressing their anger and fears about it on various sites. Now Ubuntu, one of the biggest and most used desktop distributions, has switched to systemd in the beta version of Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet.

Chris Hoffman reports for PC World:

Whatever your thoughts are about the systemd project, nothing changes for you today. Your Ubuntu system won’t suddenly get an update that causes it to start running the controversial init system instead of Upstart.

Seasoned Linux geeks will notice that this is awfully late in the Ubuntu 15.04’s development process to be making such a big change, which is true. Ubuntu’s normal point releases have become more experimental, which is why Canonical recommends most people should stick with the LTS releases and skip the once-every-six-months releases.

Currently, it’s even possible to switch back to Upstart if you have problems with systemd. I wouldn’t be surprised to see systemd become more intertwined with the Ubuntu base system going forward, however. Switching back to Upstart may eventually cause problems.

As Debian chose systemd, Ubuntu followed. The entire Linux ecosystem is moving in this direction, and attempting to cling to Upstart while most other Linux distributions and software projects focus on systemd is a losing battle.

More at PC World

Chromebook Pixel 2 review

Google's Chromebooks have been perennial favorites on Amazon's list of best selling laptops. Many users prefer them to more expensive Windows and OS X computers. But the latest version of the Chromebook Pixel won't come cheap since it sells for $1000. Ars Technica has a full review of the Chromebook Pixel 2.

Andrew Cunningham reports for Ars Technica:

The new Chromebook Pixel is an improvement over its predecessor in every important way—it’s the best kind of upgrade, the kind that keeps what worked about the previous model and upgrades everything else.

It’s still the same kind of computer the first Pixel was, though. Its quality is excellent, but its operating system combined with its price makes it a nonsensical purchase for most people. This is doubly true in the price-sensitive education and low-end PC markets where Chromebooks are the most popular. The big question is still “who is this for” and the answer is still “die-hard Chrome developers, people who get them for free at Google I/O or whatever, and tinkerers who like the design and buy Chromebooks to put Linux on them.”

The good

Outstanding build quality and an attractive if boxy design.
Great keyboard and trackpad.
Sharp, bright, colorful screen.
Excellent battery life.
The price comes down while the specs go up.
Two USB Type C ports mean you can plug your power brick and your monitor in on either side, a small but handy upgrade.

The bad

Chrome OS, while always improving, is still limited compared to Windows or OS X. That’s not a big deal at $300, but it’s harder to justify for $1,000.
Chrome OS doesn’t do much to take advantage of the excellent trackpad or touchscreen.
Don’t forget your USB Type C dongles.

The ugly

The target audience for a $1,000 Chromebook is small, by Google’s own admission.

More at Ars Technica

Ars readers shared their thoughts in a discussion thread:

Marlor: "I use a basic Chromebook as a "field test" computer. Chrome OS is fine for monitoring device status via web pages and taking notes.

But if I have a pressing need to do any coding, I've got a full Linux development environment sitting there in the Crouton install. When away on site visits, I've managed to get serious work done on the tiny, lightweight machine that cost about 10% of what I paid for my "real" computer."

SovereignTech: "To be fair, this is a subjective review of a product. I am sure Google fans would love Google's desktop initiative to be applauded, but the fact is, pandering such as that has no place in a product review such as this. I want to know how good the product is, not how good the intentions of the maker of the product are. As an impartial reader, I think he did a great job in pointing out why Chrome is attractive OS option, and why it probably won't work for most people on a device in this price range."

Kinpin: "It's a good thing ChromeOS is not picking up steam , I hope it stays that way . The idea behind ChromeOS is a flawed one , it's basically an OS created to feed Google's big "ad machine ". Heck they wouldn't even allow a third party browser...This is coming from a company that reported Microsoft to the European Commission for not allowing 3rd party browsers on windows RT. This is a very well designed laptop!"

Wheels Of Confusion: "...hardware-wise it's amazing that this Chromebook seems to do things better than the resurrected Macbook. Given the lack of ports you'd expect the latter to be the cloud-computing machine, right? Plus you can probably put Linux on this Pixel also. The biggest drawback is that Pixels aren't really amenable to upgrading with aftermarket SSDs."

Adamacuo: "This expense niche product is more powerful, offers better resolution and specs than the new MacBook for $500 less. Didn't see that in the story."

More at Ars Technica

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