Blue Ocean was released, Ubuntu’s Unity8 was cancelled, Google released a report about Android security, and Apple pre-announces new pro hardware.
Blue Ocean Released
Blue Ocean, the new UI for Jenkins, has been released. In an interesting and unexpected1 move it is a separate UI that you install as a plugin next to the traditional Jenkins plugin. I fully expect that this is going to be changed later on to be the default and only interface as it’s a clear improvement.
It’s possible that for now they’ve opted to keep the old interface around to keep people from complaining, but it doesn’t even seem like you can set it as the default. Instead you install it as a plugin that gives you a button and URL that takes you to the new interface. I haven’t installed it yet myself (clients frown upon you suddenly changing the interface of their production systems with beta interfaces, which is likely the reason Jenkins didn’t make it the default) but as I mentioned before I am looking forward to having the improved interface and will try it out soon-ish.
Ubuntu Unity8 Cancelled
Several years ago, Ubuntu switched from using Gnome as their default desktop interface to their own system aimed at unifying the interface between different form factors. This system, called Unity8, has now been cancelled and they’re switching back to Gnome.
On a personal level I haven’t used Ubuntu’s desktop interface since before the switch, so I had limited experience with it. Once in a while I’d run it up on a VM or see it on somebody’s computer, although a lot of the people I know who use Linux on the desktop had switched to either a different distro or used a different desktop environment than Unity8. Ubuntu wasn’t the only OS to try this approach (Microsoft did the same thing with Windows), but they gave it a good try. However, it sounds there was very little demand for using it on phones or possibly even tablets.
Google released a brief summary of the effectiveness of their security improvements in Android. Looking through this, it seems like they’ve had some good improvements with only 0.05% of phones that only download their apps from Google Play having a “Potentially Harmful App”. This is down to a third of that number in 2015, but let’s be clear that this is still a massive number of infected phones. Even taking a fairly low number of 1 billion Android phones (keep in mind that China for example doesn’t count as they don’t have Google Play) that would still be 500.000 infected phones.
Still, while I might (perhaps unfairly) try to have everything be safe there is clear improvement. Google also highlights how the Pixel and Nexus devices received frequent security updates, but I’m sad to see that over half of the Android devices in use didn’t receive any update during the year. That means they are still vulnerable to all of the security flaws found last year2, and possibly even longer before.
Mac Pro lives
Many people had given up on the idea that Apple would release an update to the severely outdated Mac Pro, especially when it didn’t happen together with the MacBook Pro. It seems however that Apple did finally listen to all the complaints and not only admitted they’d made a mistake but pre-announced a new Mac Pro. To be released some time after 2017.
It turns out that they apparently designed themselves into a “thermal corner” with the previous model (which hadn’t been updated since 2013) and it took them a while to admit that. Plenty of people will say they admitted that too late (just like they’ll say that a similar mistake was made with the new MacBook Pro), but if you want to look at it positively at least something is happening now. Whether the end result is going to be worth another long wait is a different question. It sounds like they’ll move back to a more regular tower as well as their own monitor3, so hopefully that will fulfill the needs of those looking for it.
Aside from a Mac Pro, Apple also mentioned the upcoming release of an iMac geared towards Pro users. Again, no idea what that will mean, but for me it’s more interesting than a Mac Pro. I don’t need as powerful a machine as that (hopefully) will be, but if perhaps the iMac can come with a non-mobile graphics card that would be nice.