Looking Forward to 2013

Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new year and refreshed expectations of what’s to come from the free software world. What can we look forward to, and what will I work on?

Ubuntu: Games, TVs, Smartphones, and Surprises

By 14.04 LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud.

Mark Shuttleworth

2012 has been a whirlwind year for Ubuntu.  With the announcement of (and even progress towards) Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu TV, and Ubuntu across multiple platforms, 2013 will set the stage for a unified platform across all devices.  And with the latest countdown, time will only tell what else Ubuntu has in store for 2013.

The other huge news that came out of 2012 was the Value and Ubuntu partnership to bring Steam and many popular games to the Linux platform.  This was something often alluded to, leaked, and denied, and then it happened.  Now Steam for Linux is available as an open beta for anybody to try out.  As this becomes more stable and more games come to Ubuntu, more gamers may as well.

Finally, 2013 also means two more Ubuntu-family releases (Raring Ringtail, anyone) featuring the latest and greatest of Linux and open-source software.  Now that’s quite a bit to look forward to, and I’m only getting started!

Xfce 4.12

Xfce 4.12 will be released this year, bringing all sorts of new goodies.  The developers have been working hard to fix bugs and introduce new features to the Xfce family of applications.  Development releases of Thunar, Mousepad, Xfce Settings, Terminal, and more offer great new features while maintaining minimalism in appearance and memory usage.

The development branch of Thunar, the Xfce file manager, introduces tabbed browsing (a long-requested feature), gphoto integration (offering better support for Android devices and digital cameras), and additional improvements all around.  The latest versions of Exo and Tumbler further improve Thunar and Xfdesktop.

There’s plenty more to write about, but I can imagine that most people aren’t as excited about this stuff as I am… moving on!

My Current Projects

Finally, I’m caught up on my own projects.  I’ve been increasingly busy as of late, further refining Parole Media Player, Catfish, and MenuLibre.  Each application is becoming increasingly more stable and feature-full.  And with each commit, I get fired up to add, tweak, or fix something else.

Parole Media Player is (probably) lines of code away from a new release.  We’ve fixed all long-standing bugs, further refined the interface, and added some awesome new features.  Screensaver support is finally fixed, so you can enjoy a full-length movie without wiggling your mouse.  Missing codecs can now be easily found and installed from Parole.  We’ve added an excellent new audio widget that shows album art and track details.  CDs and DVDs can now be quickly and easily navigated by the playlist as well.  If you’re interested, please check out the latest code from the git repository and test it out!  Report any bugs you find here.

The new Audio Box widget.
Audio CDs and DVDs now have playlist support.

I’ve been hard at work rewriting Catfish from the ground up to be leaner, faster, and more easily extended and maintained.  The experimental code is still private, but here’s a sneak peek!


Finally, MenuLibre is being reworked to add classic menu editing capabilities (useful for Xfce, LXDE, and other desktop environments).  Hopefully we’ll see this new feature sometime soon in the coming days.  As always, if you’re interested in helping out with any of these projects, let me know.

Happy New Year!

So yeah, 2013.  It’s going to be huge.  You should do all you can to start it off on the right foot and have a good time with friends, family, or strangers.  There’s a lot coming up, and it will get here when it gets here, right?  Though, if you’re impatient, most of this upcoming software is available online, even in its early development stage.  So, why wait?

Do you have any big plans for 2013? Are you looking forward to the next year and everything that’s to come? Let me know in the comments!


Featured image, available under a Creative Commons license from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bayasaa/2693171833/