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Why I Like Ubuntu’s Roadmap

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, on user interface and user experience, and looking at desktop user interfaces holistically:

In the open source community, we celebrate having pieces that “do one thing well”, with lots of orthogonal tools compounding to give great flexibility. But that same philosophy leads to shortcomings on the GUI / UX front, where we want all the pieces to be aware of each other in a deeper way.

It’s only by looking at the whole, that we can design great experiences. And only by building a community of both system and application developers that care about the whole, that we can make those designs real. So, thank you to all of you who approach things this way, we’ve made huge progress, and hopefully there are some ideas here for low-hanging improvements too 🙂

This approach is why I find myself most aligned with where Ubuntu is taking the Linux desktop. The changes they have introduced to the UI over recent versions have been controversial — sometimes even breaking with revered Unix-y traditions — but I broadly think they are the right decisions to move the platform forward.

With mobile computing taking the lion’s share of industry attention, who is doing the thinking on innovating the traditional desktop? Ubuntu.

I will readily acknowledge that this kind of traditional desktop computing will probably be less important in the future than it has been in the last decade.

I don’t think that means no-one will want to use a desktop. I certainly don’t think it is a reason to stop innovating.

Automatic Update Script for Flash Player for Mac

Since version 10.3 of Flash Player for the Mac, there has been an automatic update feature for the plugin, as part of a System Preferences pane. Unfortunately, I have not had much luck with it actually doing updates automatically!

I have, then, found it necessary to either check for updates manually, or devise a custom script to do an automatic check for updates.

Based on this MacOSXHints post, here is the script I am using to keep Flash Player on Mac OS X up-to-date. Combined with an OS X LaunchAgent to check every two hours, this is an automatic update solution that actually is automatic!

Download Flash Player Automatic Update Script
Download Flash Checker Script

Installation

  • Copy the ‘Flash Checker’ folder into /Library/Application Support.
  • Make sure the execute permissions are set on /Library/Application Support/Flash Checker/flash_checker.
    (From Terminal, run: sudo chmod +x /Library/Application\ Support/Flash Checker/flash_checker.)
  • Copy the ‘uk.org.upfold.FlashChecker.plist’ file into ~/Library/LaunchAgents.
  • Optionally, edit the RunAtLoad directive in the plist to true to check for updates each time you log on, or edit the StartInterval to check more or less frequently than the default of two hours.

Disable without Uninstalling

  • Set the Disabled directive to true in the ~/Library/LaunchAgents/uk.org.upfold.FlashChecker.plist.

Uninstallation

  • Remove the ‘uk.org.upfold.FlashChecker.plist’ file from ~/Library/LaunchAgents.
  • Delete the folder /Library/Application Support/Flash Checker.