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Ubuntu 10.04 to Integrate Social Networking into System Panel

Posted on December 21, 2009 7:50 AM by Rob Williams
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A couple of weeks ago, I reported on an upcoming feature in KDE 4, the popular Linux desktop environment. It’s called “Tabbed Applications”, and acts just as it sounds. A simple description would be the “combining of multiple applications to a single window”. Today, I’m still unsure if I’d personally ever take advantage of such a feature, but it seems likely that it’s one that would eventually brand out into other OSes, because it could have use for many people.

An article I noticed over the weekend introduced me to arguably even more interesting plans in the Linux world, or at least with Ubuntu specifically. And once again, I have to wonder if it’s something we’ll begin to see spread out into other OSes in the near-future. “Social Networking Menu”… do I even need to explain? Probably not, but I’ll do so anyway.

Beginning in Ubuntu 10.04, the developers are going to continue building off of an idea that was introduced in a recent version of the distro, which is the integration of social features in the main system panel. In today’s Ubuntu, if you minimize Pidgin, for example, it won’t be found as an icon in the system tray, but rather nestled in a separate menu for messaging. The refining of this idea would integrate a new applet called “Me Menu” to support services like Facebook, Twitter, among others.

Picture, for example, being logged into your Facebook account without ever opening a Web browser. You’d be able to control it all from this applet, and either chat to friends online, or post to your wall. The same idea could be added for other popular Web services, of which there are obviously many. Whether or not such a feature would come directly pre-configured with specific services is unknown, but it would seem unlikely to me, since promotion of commercial applications or Web services in general isn’t something I remember ever seeing in a Linux OS. However it works, we can imagine it’d be easy to configure, and I have to admit… I’m intrigued.

Much like the current presence menu, it will offer tight integration with the Empathy instant messaging client, allowing users to control their status and availability settings. It will also integrate with the Gwibber microblogging client to make it possible for users to post status messages to Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook, and other services directly through a textbox in the Me Menu.

Source: Ars Technica

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