back to article Facebook, Last.fm and pals to reach deep into Ubuntu

Websites will be able to hook into the Ubuntu desktop in the Linux distro's next release - allowing, for example, users to receive "new message" pings from webmail services. Canonical boss and spaceman Mark Shuttleworth announced the availability of "web apps" in Ubuntu 12.10, due in October, at OSCON, Canonical marketing veep …

COMMENTS

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Ru
Facepalm

'"new message" pings from webmail services'

Why is it that years and years of perfectly reasonable client-server application design seem to have been forgotten? Web application development just seems to recapitulate early internet technology, only in a less useful fashion.

I swear, every few months there's another bit of 80s, 90s technology reinvented with the aid of javascript. Seriously folks, what's wrong with IMAP?

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Joke

Re: '"new message" pings from webmail services'

I want a Sony Walkman made entirely out of JavaScript!

Actually joking aside, one piece of 80s technology recreated from JavaScript and HTML was a Nintendo NES emulator that ran in a browser window - pretty much fully functional apart from sound but I expect that's now changed thanks to HTML 5 - I don't have linkage do your own googling if you are nerdy enough to care!

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Bronze badge

Re: '"new message" pings from webmail services'

Well, the fact that normal people - the bulk of faceboooks userbase have never heard of or care about IMAP. I have, but have never used it or care about it. I prefer like most people to do things online via the web. Email clients are for businesses and dinosaurs.

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Ru
Unhappy

Re: "Email clients are for businesses and dinosaurs."

Well, I won't get into a pissing match over underlying technologies for the moment, but I will observer that the technology being discussed here is effectively a desktop application using a protocol that is currently tied to a single operating system.

I'm all for technology marching on, but in a wonderful example of 'if you don't hearn from history you are comdemned to repeat it' we seem to get a whole lot of lousy reimplementations of perfectly good tech, plenty of it centred about javascript and HTML5. We're going to end up with a complete reimplementation of a windowing system all written in javascript one of these days because "people prefer to do things online" and all the same old mistakes that were made with X will be made all over again. See also, the "cascade of attention deficit teenagers" software development pattern.

Incidentally, the fact that most people have not heard of IMAP is quite irrelevant. Most people wouldn't know what an AsyncHttpRequest is for either, but it doesn't stop them benefitting from its existence.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Re: '"new message" pings from webmail services'

"that normal people - the bulk of faceboooks userbase"

If you think using facebook makes you "normal" then I've got news for you sonny.

"I prefer like most people to do things online via the web"

Which most people? Your teenage peer group?

"Email clients are for businesses and dinosaurs."

Dinosaurs? You mean anyone over 30 and who actually appreciates functionality over hipster kudos?

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Silver badge

re "the bulk of faceboooks userbase..."

Facebook is the internet for thickos.

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Anonymous Coward

Seriously folks, what's wrong with IMAP?

Not patentable.

Not coverable by IT comics as new shiny technology.

Why should anyone be interested?

Except for the few people that want cost effective tried tested and proven, but by definition those people won't be wanting to spend on new and shiny, therefore they are uninteresting to advertisers or vendors or journalists.

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Re: Seriously folks, what's wrong with IMAP?

What's wrong with IMAP in this case is that it's a client server protocol and you'd need to have a session open from your client (desktop) to each possible source of notifications.

To make this work efficiently across lots of web apps, you need some sort of push protocol and possibly aggregation of notifications from different sources by an intermediary (like Canonical). And indeed if that's what they were planning to do, it might be worthy of a bit of puff.

However, as far as I can tell, all it is is a JavaScript API that can be called from within a web application to add notifications to the Messaging Menu in the Unity UI. How that particular application gets to run and where it gets it's information from does not seem to be part of the big announcement. So it might just be using IMAP after all...

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Silver badge

Re: Seriously folks, what's wrong with IMAP?

"you need some sort of push protocol"

If its simply has to receive messages from any random host then there are a number of instant messaging protocols that could be used or IRC or even SMTP.

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Silver badge
Trollface

Ping aling ding dong

Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!

Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the facebook-o!

User Foo, jolly Foo, Foo the User Oh!

Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My darling!

Light goes the browser touch and the desktop hooking!

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Linux

This could be the killer app!

Watch out Windows, 2012 is the year of Linux on the desktop. Well, if it's not out 'til October, 2013. For sure. Yep, mark it in your calendars folks; next year is the year that Linux takes over the desktop. This is the biggie!

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Bronze badge

Re: This could be the killer app!

yeah, the desktop of 3 or four nerds.

Everyone else will ever move to Lion if they can afford it or use which ever version of Windows comes with their next laptop.

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Silver badge
Thumb Down

Afford?

You might like to think your expensive shiny shiny marks you out as someone worthwhile, but I was spending more than the cost of today's Macs on my PCs back in the 90s and I earn far more now than I did back then. I choose the cheaper stuff because it's better. Affordability is nothing.

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Silver badge

Or ...

You could use a variation of Linux that wasn't kitchensinkware.

Ubuntu (and clones) have all the issues that Cupertino & Redmond based OSes have, and for all the same reasons. Trying to make one desktop OS that works for all users, everywhere, inevitably makes for a bloated, buggy code-base.

I'm just sayin' ...

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Linux

Yet another reason...

...to ditch Ubuntu in favour of Mint or Debian or Red Hat or...

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Linux

Re: Yet another reason...

... or even Bloody Stupid Linux!

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Pirate

Re: Yet another reason...

Love Red Hat, OpenSuse, and pretty much all Linux distros...

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Anonymous Coward

Not everyone is social

Ubuntu development has got to the tipping point in an OS's life whereby gimmicky features are added solely to try and keep people interested and show that the developers are active. Just like the last few versions of MS windows, changes to the desktop environment in a bid to modernize it for the sake of it, has made the latest Ubuntu less appealing and user friendly.

I switched to Mint linux but still prefer earlier versions of Ubuntu.

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Thumb Up

No kidding!

In my case, though, I went upstream and switched to Debian stable.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: less appealing and user friendly

I avoided Unity when I started using Ubuntu 12.04 (previously 10.04, 8.04) but when a couple of workarounds weren't brilliant I decided to take the plunge and stick with the default desktop setup - it's really not so bad when you get used to it, in fact Gnome2 desktop seems a bit awkward now. ClassicMenu Indicator is a handy add-on for those occasions when I wish I still had traditional menus, but it's not much used.

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Anonymous Coward

Or, alternatively

they could fix the mouse-focus bug that crept in 9.04, and according to odd posts on the Ubuntuforums is still there as of May.

It's why I stopped using Linux on my home desktop.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or, alternatively

I've used Mandriva, and now Mageia, and have no such "mouse focus bug", so clearly nothing at all to do with Linux as such, just some immature distro.

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Gold badge

Re: Or, alternatively

Or, alternatively, the bug does not occur on your hardware. But that's just silly talk. Everyone knows that if a bug doesn't occur on your machine then it isn't a real bug.

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Linux

Re: Or, alternatively

And that's the biggest issue with desktop Linux... User encounters problem, and rather than an open,inded response (like Ken's) we get told we're obviously idiots ... So stop trying to compile an OS and hit install on something else and go back to our lives.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or, alternatively

Sounds like you're the sort of person who reinstalls Windows at the drop of a hat rather than fixing problems within it that require just a little digging around.

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FAIL

Re: Or, alternatively

I see you've deleted your follow-up rant but, from the sounds of it, either you've never heard of Alt+Tab or you're not very good at describing bugs.

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Gold badge

Re: Or, alternatively

Er, exsqueeze me? I was *replying* to the silly response of "It doesn't happen on my system, therefore you are an idiot.".

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Gold badge

Web Apps

This is a shockingly bad article. The journalist has made it look like Canonical are re-inventing Active Desktop, which is a terrible slander on a fine group of innovators.

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Anonymous Coward

``receive "new message" pings from webmail services''

Time to nitpick, quite apart from Ru's comment (that I agree with, but I digress): This wording implies action by some other party, and that would be sending to some listening programme on the receiving desktop machine a notification that some "new message" is available. I think you'll find that's not quite how the technology works. Instead what'll happen is that once every N seconds some "any news yet from the email front?" inquiry gets sent to wherever, probably with lots of volume-increasing buzzword-y crud, possibly times the number of webmail services you're "receiving notifications from".

They might even improve efficiency somewhat by multiplexing multiple users per service and/or multiple services per user through a de/muxing middle service, but I strongly doubt they will.

As such this phrasing is misleading. Of course, I'm nitpicking, but in computer techie techie land, this sort of distinction is quite vital to quick fault finding and correcting, a few among other things. Thus, correct terminology is important. This quite clearly is not the right terminology, despite superficially seeming to be good enough. I leave figuring out better terminology to the creative juices at the el reg wordy words desk.

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Happy

I'm so glad

That canonical's idiotic decisions like disabling hibernate, on 12.04 and the ham-fisted forum censure by one of the ubuntu forum admins finally pushed me to drop kubuntu and try arch linux. At least there people won't censure your posts if you try to make it easier using a closed source driver, and stupid decisions won't be taken to remove features because some users might be 'tards.

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