GNOME turns 20 year old, Happy Birthday GNOME

On 15th August 2017, GNOME project has completed 20 years in it's journey. The project was founded by Miguel de Icaza and Federico Mena Quintero on August 15, 1997. Over the years, GNOME has become an inseparable part of free software community.

GNOME (Initially, acronym for GNU Network Object Model Environment was started as independent window manager for GNU/Linux and other Unix like operating system. Initially, it was a part of GNU (GNU is Not Unix). Later it has evolved as independent GNOME Foundation with support from different people. The GNOME Foundation has full time employees and volunteers from community to run it's day to day activities.

The GNOME 1.x was a pretty basic window manager which was looking very ugly, when we look back today. Though it was able to serve the purpose of a graphical user interface. GNOME 2.x made an evolution by introducing Human Interface Guidelines (HIG). In GNOME 2.x all of the applications were adhering to consistent design standards to support productivity. GNOME 2.x ruled the desktops for more than 10 years. GNOME 3.x / GNOME shell was another phase of evolution. It introduced a modern GUI to the GNU/Linux world. Initially, it was criticized owing to it's lack of functionality and features. Later, GNOME shell has improved a lot and has captured a larger user base.

There have been 33 stable releases since the initial release of GNOME 1.0 in 1999. The latest stable release, GNOME 3.24 “Portland,” was well-received. “Portland” included exciting new features like the GNOME Recipes application and Night Light, which helps users avoid eyestrain. The upcoming version of GNOME 3.26 “Manchester,” is scheduled for release in September of this year. With over 6,000 contributors, and 8 million lines of code, the GNOME Project continues to thrive in its twentieth year.
For participating in GNOME birthday celebrations or to organize your own celebrations, follow links given in GNOME blog.

Budgie Desktop 10.4 released; Implements long awaited features

Along with release of Solus 3, the Solus project has also released Budgie Desktop 10.4, latest stable release of independently developed desktop environments that is compatible with GNOME application stack. This release implements various long awaited features in Budgie Desktop.

When the previous Budgie 10.3 was released, it was told as final release in Budgie Desktop 10.x series. The next expected release was Budgie 11, a completely rewritten version of budgie using C++ and Qt frameworks. However, considering the demand from community, budgie team was working on various features in 10.x series itself and it ended in release of Budgie 10.4. Comparing to previous releases, budgie 10.4 has enjoyed more contribution from the community which is a promising trend. The release announcement of Solus 3 has specially appreciated various contributions of community in development of Budgie 10.4.

Improved Budgie Menu in Budgie 10.4
Following are various long awaited features implemented as part of Budgie Desktop 10.4 release:

  • Support for Vertical Panels : In budgie 10.4 release, you can vertically place your panels on right of left of the screen. In addition to required adjustment for various components in panel, it also shows popover direction in correct location. Popover direction and jumping menu problem were long standing issues with budgie desktop. Hopefully no more worries about it.
  • Panel dock mode : There is no need to use 3rd party dock applications now. You can set your panels as dock and can be placed at any side of the screen. This dock provides options for custom theme.
  • Panel Transparency : Now, there is no need to hack around CSS files to get transparent panels. You can use budgie settings app to set the transparency of panels.
  • Budgie Settings : Instead of filling Raven with various configuration options, Budgie 10.4 introduces a stand alone settings application. It includes option to configure panels, widgets and 3rd party developed applets.
  • Introduces Budgie.Popover : The Gtk.Popover has been replaced with Budgie.Popover to avoid various animation and consistency issues with the former. It enables granular position regardless of it's origin. Say, top, bottom, left or right.
  • Improved Budgie Menu : Based on experiences with Brisk Menu for mate desktop, the budgie team has redesigned application menu. It provides a better search mechanism with intelligent prediction, no - duplicate entries, ..etc. All these improvements are available in classic mode as well in compact mode.
  • Updated Alt + Tab switcher : The Alt + Tab switcher has been updated to use native icon theme instead of standard icons from X11. It also provides support for Shift + Alt + Tab for switching applications in reverse order.
  • Night Light Applet : Inspired by GNOME Night Light extension, budgie also ships a Night Light Applet for providing a more pleasant light during night time. This makes less stress and pain for eyes when computer is used during night time.
  • And various other bug fixes.  
For more information and illustrations, read Solus 3 release announcement Solus blog. In official budgie website, there is no announcement yet. Though an announcement is expected soon.

Solus 3 released with Budgie Desktop 10.4; Ships with support for snap packages

Mr Joshua Strobl on behalf of Solus project has announced release of Solus 3, 3rd iteration of independently evolved rolling GNU/Linux distribution. This release brings various under the hood optimizations and visual improvements to make it the best operating system for laptops and desktop computers.

Vertical panels in Solus 3 Budgie Edition
Unlike previous snapshot releases of Solus, Solus 3 follows an hybrid release model. In addition to package updates expected in a rolling snapshot, it ships various new features and enables support for modern hardware stack by providing a recent version of Linux Kernel.

The main highlights of Solus 3 can be briefed as:

  • Finally supports snap packages. The Solus 3 release provides complete support for snap packages, a universal packaging format for GNU/Linux distribution. This was made possible by seamless collaboration between snapcraft, Solus team and Ubuntu developers. Solus is the first non-canonical distribution to provide complete support for snap packages.
  • Budgie 10.4. This is one among most notable highlight of Solus 3. Budgie 10.4 was expected to be a bug fix cum maintenance release in 10.x series. But is more than that. Budgie 10.4 brings various new features such as support for vertical panels, minimize-maximize animations, completely redesigned application menu based on experiences with Brisk Menu for Mate Desktop ..etc. All highlights of budgie desktop 10.4 is topic for a separate post.
  • Solus 3 GNOME Edition is using latest GNOME stack available till date. It uses GNOME Shell 3.24.3, Mutter 3.24.4, and Nautilus 3.24.2, ..etc and continues to use various extensions to provide delighted user experience. It also includes Plotinus a searchable command pallet for Gtk3 applications.
  • There is no much visual changes in Solus 3 MATE edition. Though you can avail all the under the hood improvements in MATE edition as well.
For more detailed information on each feature and corresponding illustrations, see original release announcement published in Solus blog

Linux Mint 18.2 stands out as best desktop Linux

It is not a secret that, Linux Mint is highest ranked GNU/Linux distribution in distrowatch. It attracts beginners and advanced users with it's smooth and traditional desktop experience. It can be easily used by anyone, even one without any knowledge of Linux boxes.

The zdnet portal has published a review on recently released Linux Mint 18.2 stable release. It remarks that, even after years, Linux Mint is continuing as best desktop based GNU/Linux distribution. With Cinnamon 3.4.3, it presents a very crisp and pleasant desktop with improved performance. Also, other features under the hood updates, improved update manager, cinnamon spices ..etc makes it to stand out of the crowd.
Once more, Mint's Cinnamon interface with its classic windows, icons, menus, pointers (WIMP) interface is simple and easy to use even if you've never touched Linux in your life. Cinnamon 3.4.3's look and feel has a crisp, clean appearance with easy to read fonts and colors that you can easily adjust to your heart's content.

While the new Cinnamon interface looks and works the same, under the hood it has many speed improvements. These include splitting the settings daemon and the Nemo file manager into multiple processes. In addition, the Cinnamon JavaScript Interpreter (CJS) has been re-based on a newer version of GJS, Gnome's JavaScript binding, for improved performance and memory usage. The result is a faster, more stable, and easier to debug desktop.
You may continue reading original review in zdnet portal.

Deepin Package Manager 1.0 released - A brand new package manager for .deb files

The deepin project has announced arrival of new member in deepin application family. The Deepin Package Manager V1.0 is first release of simple and efficient package manager developed by deepin project. It facilitate easy installation and management of .deb packages which are not shown in deepin software center.

Application description in deepin package manager (courtesy : deepin blog)
The deepin package manager comes with various features like batch installation, auto detection and installation of dependencies,  a detailed overview of each package(as provided by package maintainer) and intelligent state detection of packages.


  • If you are an existing deepin user, you can avail deepin package manager using deepin software
  • In some cases, it is possible that deepin package manager is not getting listed in deepin software center. In that scenario, it can be installed using command line
    sudo apt-get install deepin-deb-installer
Deepin application family welcomes its new member – Deepin Package Manager V1.0. It is a management tool for deb package, and is developed for users to easily install customized applications that are not categorized in Deepin Store. With an easy-to-use interface as well as functions like batch installation, version detection and auto-completion of dependencies, you can quickly get the software installed on deepin once you get the right deb package.
For more information and screenshots, see original announcement published in deepin blog.

GhostBSD 11.1 Alpha 1 released in MATE & Xfce flavors

Mr Eric Turgeon of GhostBSD project has announced availability of GhostBSD 11.1 Alpha 1 for testing. This is first development release prior to upcoming stable GhostBSD 11.1 release. It is available in both MATE and Xfce flavors for i386 and x86_64 architectures.

When sharing a development release with community, GhostBSD is expecting some volunteers to step in for testing the installation image. So that the final release can be made more reliable and robust by incorporating as many bugs as possible.

GhostBSD 10.1 MATE Desktop (Courtesy : Wikipedia)
GhostBSD 11.1 Alpha 1 release comes with some feature updates and fixes for various bugs. It can be summed up as follows:
  • A self hosted repository for GhostBSD
  • Updated packages
  • Whisker Menu as default Application menu of XFCE
  • Various fixes associated with:
  • XFCE and MATE live-session shutdown/suspend/hibernate
  • xf86-video-intel
  • MATE desktop fails on initial boot for install/li>
  • Clicking 'GhostBSD Bugs' item in the Main menu -> 'System Tools' brings up 'Server not found' page
  • XFCE installation - incorrect keyboard layout
  • ZFS setup appears to be incomplete
For more information, see original release announcement published in GhostBSD blog.

Tails 3.1 released with important security updates

Tails GNU/Linux team has released Tails 3.1, latest update in Tails 3.x series. This release fix various critical bugs observed in previous releases and it is highly recommended to use updated system to ensure anonymity and privacy while browsing internet.

There has been several package updates since release of Tails 3.0.1. The major updates includes Linux Kernel 4.9.30 and Tor Browser 7.0.4. It has also incorporated updates in Debian security advisories.

Following problem were fixed in Tails 3.1 release:
  • Make sure that Thunderbird erases its temporary directory, containing for example attachments opened in the past. #13340
  • Fix translations of the time synchronization and "Tor is ready" notifications. #13437
For more information, see original release announcement and git change log.

You can grab the copy of Tails GNU/Linux from official download link or update your existing image using regular system update command.

Ubuntu based budgie-remix 16.04.3 is available now

The Ubuntu Budgie team has announced release of budgie-remix 16.04.3, 3rd maintenance release of Ubuntu LTS based unofficial community flavor featuring budgie desktop. This release comes with latest version of budgie desktop environment and several bug fixes and enhancements.

It should be appreciated that, Ubuntu Budgie team has spared their time and effort to prepare a maintenance release for an unofficial release, when they are busy with preparing upcoming Ubuntu Budgie 17.10. This clearly shows their commitment to the users who prefer to stay with long term supported releases of Ubuntu.

A preview of budgie-remix 16.10 - (Courtesy : distroscreens)
The Ubuntu Budgie team has improved the installation image based on user feedback and their experience with previous releases. Existing users of budgie remix 16.04.x can enjoy all the updates from new maintenance release using regular means of system update.

As per original release announcement, following are some notable highlights of budgie-remix 16.04.3.
  • Installation in any language – we have finally resolved how to install in any language supported by the installer
  • Latest hardware enablement stack (HWE) Linux kernel 4.10
  • Latest HWE Mesa and XOrg graphics
  • Latest stable Budgie Desktop - v10.3.1
  • Updated budgie-welcome helping you make the most of your new installation.
  • budgie-welcome now is translated with many languages and locales
  • Easy to use budgie-applets section to enable you to browse and easily install budgie desktop applets
  • Many more theming makeover options
For more information and installation images, see original release announcement published on Ubuntu Budgie blog.

4MLinux 22.1 STABLE released with better support for WiFi and ethernet

The 4MLinux developers has announced release of 4MLinux 22.1 STABLE, a minor release in 4MLinux 22.x series. This release brings various updated packages and full set of Linux Firmwares to provide better support for modern ethernet devices and WiFI cards.

Xarchiver in 4MLinux 22.1 STABLE release (Credit : 4MLinux blog)
4MLinux team provides a direct update path from releases in 4MLinux 22.x series. The automated update process can be triggered with zk update command, the regular package update command used in 4MLinux.
This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.40. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.27, MariaDB 10.2.7, and PHP 7.0.21 (see this post for more details). Additionally, some popular programs (Chromium, Java, PeaZip, SMTube) have been updated, too.

The 4MLinux ISO is about 100 MB bigger (than it used to be) due to the changes in the 4MLinux initrd image, which now includes the full set of the Linux firmware to provide better support for modern Ethernet and WiFi cards.
You may find original release announcement in 4MLinux blog.

Integrating Global Application Menu with GNOME Shell

The concept Global AppMenu was first introduced by Canonical's unity shell in GNU/Linux world. Despite of several negative opinions on unity shell, Global AppMenu was a widely accepted feature. It was bless for people migrating from other operating systems like macOS because it is already a familiar feature for them. It was also accepted by people who appreciate efficient use of screen space, especially those who own netbooks and small sized displays.

Since the inception of Global AppMenu in unity shell, there has been several attempts to introduce this idea in other desktop environments. Vala AppMenu developed by rilian-la-te(github id) is one of the notable extension/plugin for Global AppMenu integration. It works with Vala panel, xfce4 panel, mate panel and even with budgie panel. This makes it a popular extension for enabling Global AppMenu.

A preview of Global Application Menu extension with GNOME shell

In this tutorial, I would like to demonstrate installation of a Global AppMenu extension in GNOME Desktop environment. For this, I'm planning to use GNOME Global AppMenu extension developed by lestcape(github).

Option 1 : Install from Github repository (Advanced users only)

You can download GNOME Global AppMenu extension from github and install it. If you are an advanced user, I don't have to tell you how to install an extension. You can do it yourself.

Option 2 : Install from GNOME Extensions portal (Older versions of GNOME Shell)

GNOME Global AppMenu extension currently supports versions ranging from 3.18 - 3.24. 

If you are using GNOME 3.18 or 3.20, you can go to gnome extensions website and search for GNOME Global Application Menu.  

GNOME Global Application Menu extension in GNOME extensions website. See ON/OFF toggle button shown in website. It won't be visible in unsupported websites.

Open the resulting extension and click ON/OFF toggle button. It will automatically download and install app menu extensions on your system.

Once installation is done, you will be notified to restart system. You don't have to restart the system. A simple restart is sufficient enough.

For restarting gnome shell, press ALT + F2 key combination, and type 'r' in resulting dialog window. Then press enter. Your shell will be restarted with newly installed AppMenu extension.

Option 3 : Install from GNOME Software (Newer versions of GNOME Shell)

For newer versions of GNOME Shell, GNOME Extension website will be disabled by default. In that case, you can search for GNOME Global Application Menu in GNOME Software and install from there.

I have not tried this step myself. So can not guarantee whether it will work or not. Sorry for that.

If it is not working, you can goto Github repository as mentioned in option 1 and install extension from there.

If you need any help or clarifications please let me know in comment box.


Ubuntu 16.04.3 released with hardware enablement stack

The Ubuntu release engineering team has announced availability of Ubuntu 16.04.3, 3rd stable minor release in Ubuntu 16.04.x LTS series. This release announcement includes Ubuntu desktop, server and cloud editions and also various official community flavors of Ubuntu.

Following the predecessors, Ubuntu 16.04.3 also brings hardware enablement stack to provide better support for newer hardware components. This support is available for various architectures except 32 bit power pc's. The Ubuntu desktop image will be installed with HWE stack by default. While on server image, explicit configuration is required to enable HWE. It will be defaulting to GA kernel.

Ubuntu 16.04.3 brings numerous bug fixes and updated packages. It provides a direct update path from Ubuntu 16.04.x installations. A simple apt update command would be sufficient enough to get all features from updated snapshot. The purpose of providing an updated image is to save bandwidth and time requirement for post installation update task.
The Ubuntu team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS(Long-Term Support) for its Desktop, Server, and Cloud products, as wellas other flavours of Ubuntu with long-term support.

Like previous LTS series', 16.04.3 includes hardware enablement stacksfor use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architecturesexcept for 32-bit powerpc, and is installed by default when using one ofthe desktop images.  Ubuntu Server defaults to installing the GA kernel,however you may select the HWE kernel from the installer bootloader.

As usual, this point release includes many updates, and updatedinstallation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need tobe downloaded after installation.  These include security updates andcorrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintainingstability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
For more details and download links see official release announcement and release notes for Ubuntu 16.04.3.

Fedora 24 reaches end of life

Serving 13 months of support period, Fedora 24 is approaching it's end of life. This release is officially scheduled to hit it's support period end on 8th August 2017. After this, the packages in Fedora 24 repository won't get any security updates and no more packages will be added to the repository.

Unlike many other distribution, Fedora does not keep hard dead lines for releases. The general rule is, a release will go out of support in a small time after release of it's second successor. Following this rule, Fedora 24 is ready to leave it's support period with recent release of Fedora 26. If there is anyone still using Fedora 24, it is highly recommended to upgraded to recent releases such as Fedora 25 and Fedora 26.

Fedora 24 was officially released on June 2016. It was shipped with Linux Kernel 4.5 and GNOME 3.20. Over the 13 months, it has received around 10500 updates.

Fedora Magazine has published one official blog post on Fedora 24 end of life.
With the recent release of Fedora 26, Fedora 24 officially enters End Of Life (EOL) status on August 8th, 2017. After August 8th, all packages in the Fedora 24 repositories no longer receive security, bugfix, or enhancement updates. Furthermore, no new packages will be added to the Fedora 24 collection.

Upgrading to Fedora 25 or Fedora 26 before August 8th 2017 is highly recommended for all users still running Fedora 24.

Fedora 24 was released in June 2016. During this time the Fedora Community published over 10 500 updates to the Fedora 24 Repositories. Fedora 24 released with version 4.5 of the Linux kernel, and Fedora Workstation featured version 3.20 of GNOME.