UberStudent 3.0 Release Notes
UberStudent is a Linux distribution for learning, doing, and
teaching academic success at the higher education and advanced
More than just an operating system, UberStudent aims to be a
complete, ready-to-go, and "out-of-the-box" Learning Platform
for education that facilitates not only immediate user-friendly
productivity but long-term cross-platform computer fluency
among its users.
Researchers, other knowledge workers, lifelong learners, and
anyone who just wants a highly-polished computing platform will
equally benefit from UberStudent.
Visit http://uberstudent.com for more information.
A Wikipedia article about UberStudent is at:
Stephen Ewen, M.Ed.
* 08 June 2013 - 64-bit Xfce Edition
* 08 June 2013 - 32-bit Xfce Edition
(c) Copyright 2013 by UberStudent EdTech (uberstudent.com) and
Stephen Ewen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
* All licenses under which UberStudent is released are
available to read within the distribution.
* Most of UberStudent is released under the GNU Free
Documentation License, which can be read at
* Some parts are under a variety of other open content
* A few components are proprietary and under the licenses of
their respective authors. View the documentation of the
respective software for details.
* The UberStudent name and logo is trademarked and may not be
used without express written permission, except as described
in the UberStudent Edtech UberStudent Trademark Policy,
which may be downloaded along with official artwork from
* 64-bit or 32-bit PC or Intel-based Mac with at least 1 GB of
* DVD drive for installation or a USB port with a 3 GB drive
into which the UberStudent ISO has been placed with a
program such as UNetBootIn, available at
* The Live System may be run entirely from a DVD or USB drive.
* The UberStudent ISOs may be run in a virtual machine, such
as VirtualBox, available at https://www.virtualbox.org. When
configuring the UberStudent ISO in VirtualBox, select Ubuntu as
the base machine. For your convenience, VirtualBox appliances
(OVA files) of UberStudent with guest additions pre-installed
are available for download. Simply import the appliance (OVA
file) by following the directions at http://tiny.cc/r1zfyw.
See the accompanying README at the download page for the OVA
files for additional important information.
* Ubuntu 13.04 base
* Linux 3.8 Kernel
* XFCE 4.10
* Dedicated UberStudent repository (http://uberstudent.net)
DOCUMENTATION and HELP
* Forums - http://uberstudent.com/phpBB
* Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/uberstudent
* Twitter - https://twitter.com/UberStudent_OS
* Translations are scant. A crowd-sourced solution is in the
CHANGES FROM PRIOR EDITIONS
* Dedicated Repositories! This represents a major step forward
for UberStudent's maturity as a Linux distribution. Updates
and fixes will be quick and seamless.
* 3.0 is a dividing line between itself and prior editions of
UberStudent. Most will agree that it is the most polished
Xfce desktop available anywhere, period, full stop. New
Linux users will experience a very smooth transition.
Meticulous attention to their experience has been given top
priority. A goal in developing 3.0 has been to fix common
Linux desktop annoyances so as to improve the user
experience and reduce support requests, while facilitating
intellectual curiosity about open source computing. Seasoned
power users will be equally delighted.
* It's cliché, but there are really too many changes to list.
Following are highlights:
* Dedicated UberStudent repository
Any needed fixes will be quick and easy. No PPAs
are used--none. Besides the UberStudent repository
(http://uberstudent.net), the official Google, Oracle,
Dropbox, and Medibuntu repositories are part of the
default repository configurations. As a distribution
downstream of Ubuntu, UberStudent in most cases remains
dependent upon, but in some cases overrides, packages
in the Ubuntu repositories. The remaining packages are
specific to UberStudent. Probably the singular most
important package in the UberStudent repository is
uberstudent-xfce-default-settings-enduser. 50 MB
of very important files in the package fix common Linux
and Xfce annoyances, and give much of UberStudent its
polish and unique functionality.
* A lighter ISO
Version 3.0 is 1 GB smaller than prior versions. This
was accomplished primarily by avoiding QT dependencies.
For example, although the eBook reader FBReader is less
versatile than Calibre, Calibre is no longer installed
by default. As well, large programs like Skype and
Google Earth are no longer installed by default and have
been replaced in the menu with an entry you can click on
to install the programs. Once installed, the entry to
install the program gets removed automagically from the
* Applications menus
3.0's menus are even more tidy and well-organized. Some
people disliked that prior versions contained webapps in
the normal menus. Now, in each application category,
WebApps, Documentation, and Resources have their own
subcategory in the menu. Using about 3,000 lines of code
the menus in UberStudent exploit the full range of
freedesktop.org specifications, compensate for the
shortcomings of those developers who fail to sub-
categorize their applications, and then push the matter
into current times without waiting around for upstream
specification changes. For example, a Streaming
subcategory is used in the Multimedia menu to reflect a
now-common sub-category of application. Additionally,
the System entry on the task bar is now called Settings
and runs the Xfce Settings Manager. An overwrite of its
startup script allows only one instance to run at a time.
WebApps in each category have separate packages that can
be removed and installed at will from the UberStudent
* New-user helps
Not everyone is a geek yet. :-) Accordingly, UberStudent
contains thoughtful and very helpful assistance for new
users in strategic places and ways. Some examples
* Whenever a program lacks good documentation by default,
it is added in to a Documentation submenu of the program's
menu entry. If I missed any program, please file a bug
report and suggestions for documentation resources.
* The UberStudent Documentation Wiki is growing. You can
help! A link in the menu points to it.
* When you use LibreOffice Writer the second time you boot
up, a dialog will display asking if you wish to go to a
brief tutorial about interoperability between word
processor file formats. Keep in mind that Windows
literally hides file extensions by default, thus
facilitating user ignorance. New LibreOffice users need
to know about saving and sending word processor files
* Imagination files are not portable across computers. Many
a user, myself included, has had to find this out the
hard way, with miserable consequences and a sleepless
night right before a presentation. A script runs the
first time the user runs Imagination, informing them of
the non-portability issue and asking if they wish to be
taken to a brief tutorial about the matter and how to
work around it. This is essential knowledge for new users
* The version of Impressive in UberStudent is no longer a
command line-only application. It instead opens a small
GUI from which you navigate to a PDF presentation file
and display it with the default Impressive settings. This
makes the program accessible to new users and easier to
use for all.
* Update dialogs, such as in GDebi and Synaptic, have been
changed to show what is going on by default, rather than
hiding it--simple Glade tweaks. A few yet remain to do.
The point here is to facilitate intellectual curiosity
about Linux. People have to first see what is going on
before they can wonder about it.
* KeepNote Example remains, as in prior versions. It is an
example usage of using KeepNote during an entire semester
of academic work that students can use to get a good idea
of how they might use KeepNote to organize their own
* Much more!
* UberStudent Update Manager amd Software Sources
Version 3.0 has dispensed with Ubuntu's update manager.
The update manager and software sources configuration
tools in UberStudent have been forked from Linux Mint's
Update Manager and Software Sources tools and undergone
some redesigning. The Update Manager takes a very
conservative approach to updating your system so as to
favor a stable, smooth-running system that is less
subject to negative upstream issues or just doing
updates for the sake of updates. The Software Sources
tool is designed to make it very difficult for you to
break your system. One click restores the default
Synaptic is still installed by default but configured to
discourage doing updates from it in favor of the Update
Manager. Traditional apt methods on the command line for
updating and installing packages of course remain in
their upstream state.
The Ubuntu Software Center is installed and has been
configured to pick up the UberStudent repository.
The lsb-release is UberStudent. You won't see Ubuntu
in grub, ubiquity, etc.
* UberStudent Welcome Screen
The Welcome Screen is a small program that runs at
startup until the user decides her or she no longer
wishes it to. It contains links to help, etc.
Importantly, there is an entry in the Welcome Screen for
installing a comprehensive set of multimedia codecs,
which draws in some packages from the Medibuntu
repository. After the codecs are installed, the
Welcome Screen no longer displays the option to install
them. The Welcome Screen was forked from Linux Mint,
reworked, and given a KISS redesign.
* UberOxygen Icons
The UberOxygen icon theme is believed to now be
comprehensively ported to GTK, stock, and Xfce--there
are no known gaps and no known fallbacks on to the GNOME
icon set. This has been accomplished primarily by a good
amount of symlinking, and a fair amount of remixing
Oxygen icon components wherever there was no equivalent;
in some cases I have designed new icons in the Oxygen
style, e.g., the ones that show the strength of your
wireless. If you do happen to find any gaps, please file
a bug report. If you install these icons into GNOME 3,
you will still find gaps, which I will not fix but will
be happy to incorporate GNOME fixes contributed by others.
* Zotero with LyX and/or LibreOffice and Chromium and/or
All of the needed Firefox and Chromium extensions are in
the UberStudent repositories, as is both Zotero
Standalone and Zotero Firefox. It was something of a
feat, but you'll find that everything is configured "to
just work" and share the same Zotero database. Only in
LyX must the user set a path in the program's
preferences, but there is documentation in a sub-menu
near LyX showing how.
* Academic templates
A script runs at first boot and places a set of
templates for academic work into the user's home
Template folder. These become available in the context
menu. The script currently only does this if the
language is English, but it is capable of detecting
any user language and placing templates for that
language. With user help, multiple languages can be
implemented in future versions.
* Default compositing by compton
3.0 disables Xfce native compositing by default in favor
of a much nicer set from compton. If you try to turn on
Xfce's native compositing, a warning box informs you of
a few steps to take to turn off the compton compositing,
which is done from a simple entry in the System > Look
and Feel > Compositing menu. In that menu, there are
four levels of compositing you can toggle between: Least,
Default, Most, and None. Using any of these menu entries
first smartly checks if Xfce's native or any other known
compositer is running and turns it off, to prevent more
than one compositer running at a time.
* Conky on your desktop
The UberStudent logo on your desktop is not part of a
desktop background. It's a conky script that runs at
startup. It discretely adds some system information, as
well. If you change the background image, the logo
remains. If you don't want the logo displayed, just turn
it off in the startup programs.
* Thunar Custom Actions
A very useful set of Thunar custom actions is installed
by default. You can "Quick View" or "Quick Play" every
type of file you're likely ever to encounter. Gloobus
Preview handles the mime types it can handle, while
Quick Play of odd media files are done in a command
prompt. You can move and copy files to specific
locations, and more. The overall goal has been to avoid
clutter and overload but add some very useful
functionality from the go. A set of Thunar custom
actions are installed for the root account but the
package may be removed, while another optional package
contains documentation for configuring your own custom
actions and making UberStudent use them on startup.
I packaged the latest version of DocFetcher, and with
assistance from the DocFetcher developer the issue of
high CPU usage should now be fixed. Please file a bug
report if there are any issues.
* Guake Terminal
The version of Guake terminal in UberStudent displays at
an 80% default width, rather than its upstream 100%, and
you can configure the percentage to your liking using
gonf-editor. Guake Developers: This should be the
default behavior of Guake, don't you think? The patches
are in the UberStudent repository for the taking. :-)
* Default programs not available in the Ubuntu repositories
Several programs are default in UberStudent that are
either not available in the Ubuntu repositories or
available in only older versions. They are contained in
the UberStudent repository. These include Anki, Autokey,
BootRepair, Dropbox, Format Junkie, Kazam Screen
Recorder, and a few others. Tools that have been
developed by UberStudent and that are contained in the
UberStudent repository include Audacious OMG!, DebCache
Cleaner, Disc Path Locater, GPACalc, Housecleaner,
Red Curtain, and a few others.
* A dedicated UberStudent repository
Did I mention that UberStudent now has its own