Beta 1 downloads released for Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME 14.04

In today's open source roundup: Ubuntu 14.04 beta 1 spin downloads and screenshot tours. Plus: The self-destructing Boeing Black Android phone, and 3D Linux printers

OMG! Ubuntu! reports that beta 1 of Kubuntu 14.04, Lubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 and Xubuntu 14.04 are available for download. Each Ubuntu spin has tweaks and new features in this release.

Ubuntu’s extended family have made their first beta releases of the 14.04 development cycle available for download.

Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Ubuntu GNOME are among the spins participating in this release. Regular Ubuntu is set to take part in the second beta, due March 27.

More at OMG! Ubuntu
Ubuntu 14.04 Spins Download
Image credit: Linux Screenshots

It sounds like Ubuntu 14.04 and its spins are humming right along. I'm particularly interested in checking out Xubuntu and Lubuntu since I lean toward the more minimalistic desktops. But KDE and Ubuntu GNOME are also worth a download if those desktop environments appeal to you.

It's great to see the Whisker Menu added to Xubuntu, it almost reminds me of Linux Mint's menu. The new wallpapers should spruce things up a bit as well. It's very cool that the Xubuntu folks decided to include the winners from the wallpaper contest.

I'm also interested in seeing the new version of the Muon Software Center in Kubuntu. The new Driver Manager in Kubuntu should be a big help to some users who have had problems with Wi-Fi and graphics cards.

The new weather, maps and photos apps included in Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 Beta 1 remind me of Google and Apple's apps. I guess those kinds of apps are just becoming standard on most desktops, including Ubuntu GNOME 14.04.

Here are the download links for the spins:

Download Kubuntu 14.04 Beta 1

Download Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 Beta 1

Download Xubuntu 14.04 Beta 1

Download Lubuntu 14.04 Beta 1

If you want to see screenshot tours of each spin, try these links courtesy of Linux Screenshots:

Kubuntu 14.04 Beta 1 Screenshot Tour

Xubuntu 14.04 Beta 1 Screenshot Tour

Ubuntu GNOME 14.04 Beta 1 Screenshot Tour

Lubuntu 14.04 Beta 1 Screenshot Tour

The self-destructing Android phone from Boeing

LinuxBSDos has coverage of a new Android phone for Boeing that deletes its data and software, and makes the phone inoperable if the casing is broken open.

According to official documents, the Boeing Black is designed from the outset to be secure and modular. A paranoid out-of-the-box security posture is made possible with disk encryption, hardware root of trust, a hardware crypto engine, embedded secure components, trusted platform modules, and Secure Boot. And a built-in modular expansion port ensures that the smartphone’s features can be extended by adding extra sensors, satellite connectivity, extra power capacity, and more.

Boeing Black specs:

Dual 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processors

Display:4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960 pixels)

Dual SIM cards

Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR

Unspecified onboard storage expandable with a microSD card

micro USB, PDMI (Portable Digital Media Interface), modular 24-Pin connector

More at LinuxBSDos
Boeing Black Android Secure Phone
Image credit: LinuxBSDos

It sounds like only the government will be able to get its hands on the Boeing Black phone. That's too bad because goodness knows that regular citizens could use some enhanced security on their smartphones.

I did some searching, but there's no information about the price of the Boeing Black phone. I have no doubt it will be much higher than regular Android phones. You can, however, read the product card in PDF format on Boeing's site.

3D Linux printers released

LinuxGizmos reports that Makerbot has released 3D printers with embedded Linux.

Brooklyn based 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot has launched pre-sales for the second of three Replicator models that appear to be the world’s first commercial 3D printer based on embedded Linux. Almost all 3D printers are compatible with Linux desktops, just as they are with Windows and the Mac, and many, if not most, offer open source hardware and software designs. However, aside from some Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone hacks, the MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact appears to be the first to run embedded Linux.

Like text printers, 3D printers are essentially peripherals — you create a design on the PC and hit print. Consequently, Linux and the pricier processors it requires have been deemed overkill. Yet, we’re likely to see more Linux-based 3D printers for the same reason there have been a growing number of advanced text printers that run Linux or Android: connectivity. There’s a growing need to connect to the web and the growing ecosystem of 3D printing cloud services, as well as to extend the systems with wired peripheral connections.

More at LinuxGizmos
3D Linux Printers
Image credit: LinuxGizmos

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

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