Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 beta 1 is ready for testing

The Ubuntu Budgie team has released Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 Zesty Zapus beta 1, first beta release of upcoming Ubuntu based GNU/Linux distribution featuring elegant and efficient budgie desktop developed by Solus project. This is first beta release since official status of Ubuntu Budgie and the release 17.04 will be first official release of the project.

Being a development release, Ubuntu Budgie team warns regular users and people looking for a stable system from using this release. There is a good amount of possibility for this release to break as it includes a lot of development  and testing packages. This release is meant for people who are interested in hunting bugs and rough edges of the distribution.

Courtesy : Ubuntu Budgie project
Some of the significant highlights of Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 beta 1 can be summarized as follows:
  • latest budgie-desktop stable release v10.2.9.
  • Latest GTK+3.24 applications (in beta) together with GTK+3.24 window manager
  • latest budgie-welcome app with our browser ballot screen
  • AppIndicator support is now default
  • Terminix is the default terminal
  • Many new GNOME based applications are included by default compared to previous budgie-remix releases
  • 17.04 Community Contest Winning Wallpapers
  • This Zesty Zapus snapshot includes the v4.9 kernel
Ubuntu Budgie team has published a release notes in Ubuntu Wiki pages and for more details on Ubuntu Budgie itself, you can visit projects official website

KaOS 2017.02 snapshot released with latest Plasma desktop

Following the monthly release schedule, KaOS project has announced release of KaOS 2017.02, latest monthly snapshot for us based, independently developed rolling GNU/Linux distribution delivering most modern bleeding edge KDE Plasma experience.

KDE components packed with this monthly snapshot includes KDE Frameworks 5.31.0, Plasma Desktop 5.9.2, KDE Applications 16.12.2 and some other KDE applications which are still under development. All these packages are build against Qt 5.8.0.

Most notable major updates to the base of the system are Qt 5.8.0, Readline 7.0, Bash 4.4 Perl 5.24.1, Systemd 232, Xorg-Server 1.19.1, Linux 4.9.10, Glibc 2.25, GCC 5.4.1, Binutils 2.27 Protobuf 3.2.0, Libwebp 0.6.0, Gstreamer 1.10.3 and a move to qtwebkit-tp replacing no longer maintained qt5-webkit.

KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4. It is a good three years ago that development for Qt 4 stopped, late 2015 all support including security fixes ended. Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit.
For more details, see release announcement in KaOS website.

Zenwalk 22.02.2017 rolling snapshot is available now

The Zenwalk team has announced availability of Zenwalk 22.02.2017, latest stable snapshot of Slackware based desktop operating system offering lightweight, small and modern desktop experience.

Some of the notable highlights of this release includes Firefox web browser which was held back earlier. It is built against multi-threading enabled GTK3 library and it is quick and responsive as Chromium even with multiple tabs open simultaneously. It has also much improved memory foot print. Other highlights includes ffmpgg, and MPV which is set as default media player in Zenwalk. Gstreamer plugin is removed from installation image, however it can be installed from projects repositories.

Current seems stable enough for a rolling ISO release, so here it is. The main change is the comeback of Firefox, built with GTK3 and multithreading enabled by default : This build of Firefox starts and react nearly as fast as Chromium, and with many tabs opened : scales much better in terms of responsiveness and memory footprint. You will also notice some improvements around ffmpeg, and MPV which is from now the main media player in Zenwalk. Gstreamer has been dropped from ISO but is still available from Slackware repositories. Of course this ISO contains many updated packages
You may also find official release announcement and complete list of updated packages in projects blog.

Rebellin Linux v3.5 released with Whatsapp client

The Rebellin Linux team has announced release of Rebellin Linux v3.5, latest stable release of Debian sid based GNU/Linux distribution with a fair amount customization to deliver a delighted users experience to end users. This release comes with several updated packages and a refined look and feel.

One of the key highlight of this release is Whatsapp client which is not too much fancy but it just works. This client application developed by Rebellin Linux team can also be used with other GNU/Linux distributions.

Credit : Rebellin Linux MATE
Other highlights of this release can be summarized as;
  • Gnome Shell upgraded to v3.22.2 (New updates are available after download)
  • Mate Version upgraded to v1.16.1 (New updates are available after download)
  • Kernel upgraded to v4.8 Liquorix (New updates are available after download)
  • Brand new Material Design theme now completes the look!
  • Plenty of package and driver updates
  • MTP Support Added
  • Rebellin now works perfectly with AMD APUs. Tested on a tiny AMD A4-1200 (Temash, 1Ghz) processor and Rebellin just ploughs through!
  • Rebellin now uses Liquorix Kernel version 4.8. It’s more reliable than the kernel that was available from official Debian Repositories. And did I say it’s fast? It’s wonderful! Also, do upgrade your system after download to get the latest version of Liquorix.
  • VLC has been replaced by Totem.
For more information see Rebellin Linux blog.

Manjaro 17.0-rc1 Xfce & KDE flavors announced with Linux 4.9 LTS

After finishing release cycle for Manjaro 16.09 Gellivara successfully, it is time to finish another release cycle for Manjaro. Announcing the progress on this release cycle, Philip Muller, the manjaro project lead has announced Manjaro 17.0-rc1 first release candidate for upcoming manjaro release. As usual convention of project, this official release announcement is applicable for both Xfce and KDE flavors.

For those who are not familiar with Manjaro, it is an Arch based rolling GNU/Linux distribution that makes use of Arch principles such as rolling packages, simplicity and customizability and adds usability on top of it by integrating automated device detection & driver installation, graphical installer and pre-configured desktop environments.

The main highlights of both Xfce and KDE plasma flavors can be summarizes as:
  • We updated the stock kernel to linux49 4.9 LTS
  • We updated the Xorg-Stack to v1.19 series
  • We enhanced and improved our Manjaro Tools & Profiles
  • MHWD we adopted to handle a more efficient way to handle libglx binaries
  • Some of our themes got updated and new got designed
For more information, see separate release announcement for Xfce and KDE flavors.

ReactOS 0.4.4 released with basic printer support

Continuing its journey to be an ideal operating system, the ReactOS project has announced release of ReactOS 0.4.4, fifth release in 3 month evolutionary release cycle started by the project since release of v 0.4.0.

During the past release cycle, significant amount of effort was spent on improving overall stability and usability of operating system so that it will appear more appealing to the end users. Most of these improvements were showcased on FOSDEM convention held at Brussels on 4th and 5th of February.

Another notable highlight of this release is basic support for printers. Currently this supported is very primitive and can only work with parallel port printers. However, it is a good step moving ahead to support all types of printers.

Also, comparing to 0.3.x series there is a lot improvement in applications rendering. The weird misalignment issue with tool bars and icons in applications has been addressed by 0.4.x series. There are still some issues in rendering. However, there overall user experience is improved dramatically.
Today marks the fifth release of the ReactOS 0.4.x series, as well as the fifth following the 3 month release cycle started by 0.4.0 itself. Progress has continued steadily, with a great deal of work going on in the background to improve ReactOS' general usability and stability. Many of these improvements were on display at the FOSDEM convention in Brussels that took place on the 4th and 5th of this month. Certainly one of the more notable albeit less visible additions was the incorporation of basic printing support by Colin Finck. At present ReactOS is only capable of sending print commands to a parallel port printer, but this is the first step towards universal support and Colin should be applauded for his effort.
 You can also read original release announcement in ReactOS blog.

Ubuntu 16.04.2 released with improved hardware support

Mr Adam Conrad on behalf of Ubuntu release team has announced immediate availability of Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS, latest point release in Ubuntu 16.04.x Xenial Xerus series. As usual point releases of Ubuntu, this release also includes several updated packages and bug fixes, along with updated kernel stacks to provide better support for new hardware components.

The main purpose of providing a milestone release is to provide most recent updates to the people doing fresh installation so that, the don't have to download several updates just after the installation. While existing LTS users can avail these updates by running a mere apt update command or by using system update tool.

Customized version of Unity shell on Xenial Xerus (Credit : Distroscreens)

This release is also applicable for other actively maintained, community flavors of Ubuntu such as Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE ..etc and the updated installation images can be downloaded from respective websites.
Like previous LTS series', 16.04.2 includes hardware enablement stacks for use on newer hardware. This support is offered on all architectures except for 32-bit powerpc, and is installed by default when using one of the 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 updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
For more details and download links, see release announcement shared in Ubuntu Announcements mailing list.

Fedora 25 is not something worth to recommend : review

It has been a few months since release of Fedora 25. It was the first Fedora release to feature wayland as default window manager. Also it comes with latest stable release of GNOME, ie, GNOME 3.22.

Mr Gary Nevel, author at Everyday Linux User portal has revisited Fedora after two years. Despite of his love Fedora, he has reached in a conclusion that, it is not a distribution that can be recommended to others. He also remarks that Fedora 23 was a cool distribution. The major drawbacks of Fedora 25 listed in review includes, lack of support for multimedia files even after installing codecs, unavailability of popular proprietary packages such as steam and google chrome in GNOME Software - graphical front end for software installation. He also criticizes that, there many crashes and error notifications which is a serious question over usability of distribution.

I have always loved Fedora but I love music more and the amount of hassle and the amount of hoops I have had to jump through to try and get it working this time is just not worth the effort. The Google Chrome thing is also an issue for me. It works fine in openSUSE so why is it not working in Fedora?
Wayland seems to be performing well enough and I haven't experienced any problems that seem to be related to the graphical side of things.
Unfortunately I have witnessed far too many errors, notifications, application crashes and general pointless pain to be able to recommend Fedora 25. Fedora 23 worked great, 25 doesn't.
Read complete review on Every Day Linux User blog.

openSUSE Leap 42.2 GNOME flavor is better than Plasma counterpart : Review

By the time, openSUSE Leap is familiar to all GNU/Linux enthusiasts. It is a conservative, stable, enterprise quality GNU/Linux distribution funded and backed by SUSE Foundation, team behind SEL(SUSE Enterprise Linux).

Since it's inception, there has been multiple reviews on openSUSE Leap 42.2. Most of these reviews praises the stability of the distribution and power of YaST, tool for system configuration and administration. While these reviews also criticizes the difficulty to do the initial configurations. For some people it is related to hardware support such bluetooth, network and printer support ..etc. While for some others it is related to installation of packages such as multimedia codecs.

A customized version of openSUSE Leap 42.2 (CREDIT : dedoimedo)
The dedoimedo portal has published a review on openSUSE Leap 42.2 GNOME edition. The main point made out of the review is, GNOME edition is much better comparing to KDE Plasma counterpart. It provides some relatively easy options for customizing user interface. However, still there some inherent issues like initial configuration, hardware support etc. There are other issues like reduced power efficiency, repeated wifi password queries ..etc. The reviewer puts the blame of QA(Quality Assurance) team for these issues.
OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Gnome is a better product than its Plasma counterpart, and no mistake. It is more stable, it is faster, more elegant, more easily customizable, and most of the critical everyday functions actually work. For example, you can print to Samba, if you are inclined to fight the firewall, copy files to Samba without losing timestamps, use Bluetooth, use your Ubuntu Phone, and all this without the crippling effects of constant crashes. The entire stack is just more fully featured and better supported.

However, Leap is still only a reasonable release and nothing more. It struggles in many core areas that other distros do with more panache and elegance, and there are some big, glaring problems in the overall product that are a direct result of bad QA. At the very least, this lack of quality has been an almost consistent element with openSUSE these past few years. Now and then, you get a decent hatchling, but most of them are just average. That's probably the word that best defines openSUSE Leap. Average. You should try and see for yourself. You will most likely not be amazed. Such a shame, because for me, SUSE has a sweet spot, and yet, it stubbornly refuses to rekindle the love. 6/10. Have a go, play with your emotions.
Read complete review in dedoimedo portal

MX Linux 16 is very close to an ideal distribution

MX Linux is a nice experiment that combines MEPIS and antiX GNU/Linux distributions which were quite popular a while ago. It is based on stable branch of Debian and features a well customized Xfce desktop which is very productive, good looking and efficient.

MX Linux 16 was release on the middle of December and is based on Debian 8.x Jessy branch. Since it's release there has been multiple reviews and most of them, or I would say, all of them were approaching the distribution in a positive way. One of the main attraction of MX Linux 16 is a well functioning vertical panel, which is not that easy to achieve on an Xfce desktop.

The Linux Blog of DarkDuck portal has published a review on MX Linux 16 and it observes that, the distribution is almost close to in ideal GNU/Linux distribution and is stable and responsive. Though there are some negative points such as poor choice of colors and some font issues on application menu which is not a big deal as it can be easily customized. Also, the reviewer appreciates the MX Linux team for their efforts to develop such a nice distribution.
Once I selected the Live run, the bootloader started to search for existing persistence files and partitions on my laptop and obviously failed. Then it asked me about the location of the partition where I would want to keep the persistence information. The USB stick location was not an option at that time. I was not too sure about the way persistence is going to work, so I cancelled the persistence partition creation after some time so as not to risk data on my HDD. Nevertheless, I later saw a directory antiX created on one of the partitions of my HDD.
You can proceed to read complete review in Linux Blog of DarkDuck.

Kodi Media Center 17.0 Krypton with updated UI & other improvements

The Kodi team has announced immediate availability of Kodi 17.0 with code name Krypton. This release of Kodi Media Center brings several notable changes like updated default UI (User Interface), improved organization of settings, and many minor changes and thousands of small bug fixes on components like Video Player, Music Library, PVR, ..etc.

Credit : Kodi Project
Kodi Media Center 17.0 is made available for multiple platforms including Windows, GNU/Linux, macOS and even for android. There is a happy news for Ubuntu users. The official PPA for Kodi will be updated soon with v17.0, and existing users can make use of this.

Various highlights of Kodi 17.0 release can be briefed as:
  • The default user interface of Kodi has got major revision in v17.0. New default skin is Estuary and touch screen devices features a touch enabled skin called Estouchy.
  • Video engine used in Kodi is undergoing a series of changes. As part of this, Kodi 17.0 ships next phase of changes which offers improved stability, audio/video synchronization, refresh rate switching and encoding/decoding of videos. These changes will be reflected on all platforms.
  • Updated music library facilitates better tagging of music.
  • Kodi 17.0 has numerous improvements to Live TV and PVR functionality. Changes start in the user interface with widgets for Recent Recordings and Last Played Channels on the home screen, and the ability to choose showing the PVR guide or Channel window when Kodi starts. 
  • Kodi 17.0 is now standards-compliant with Android’s official Audio API and requires Android 5.0 or higher as the minimum version
  • Kodi 17.0 is first version of Kodi offered on Windows App Store and it has got a lot of downloads in a short span of time.
For more information on Kodi 17.0, see release announcement published on projects blog.

Solus 2017.01.01.0 is an impressive new comer

The Solus operating system developed by Solus project, founded and leaded by Ikey Doherty has received a lot of attention within a significantly short span of time. Unlike many popular distributions, Solus does not derive from any other main stream project. Instead it is an independently developed GNU/Linux distribution. Solus project offers a lightweight, simple yet productive desktop experience with it's flagship desktop budgie and mate desktop. Initially Solus was started with a regular release policy, later it was turned into a rolling distribution.

Latest issue of distrowatch weekly(06 February 2017) features a review on Solus 2017.01.01.0, latest stable snapshot of Solus operating system. As different from usual reviews in distrowatch weekly, this review examines different aspects of operating system and the comments are written with serial order. The reviewer goes through technical overview of operating system, budgie desktop, pre-installed applications, package management system, installation, resource utilization, theming, and also briefly reviews Solus mate edition which features a brisk menu developed by Solus project. Finally, it has been concluded that, Solus is a good choice for people who are bored with their existing operating system. It is clean, stable, fast and good looking. Although, presently this distributions lacks some popular packages which will be addressed by developers if there is adequate demand from users.
Installed on an old, dual core Intel Pentium with 4GB of RAM, Solus 2017.01.01.0 runs quite well, without lags or crash issues. If you are starting to feel bored with your current distro, Solus 2017.01.01.0 is an impressive alternative you can try. It's fresh, fast, good looking, and easy to use. The lack of some of the most popular Linux apps like the Chromium browser is an issue and I hope Solus developers will put it in Solus's official repository in the future releases. Overall, I could simply say Solus 2017.01.01.0 is impressive. It could be, in the future, a fair rival to the good looking elementary OS.
You may read complete review in distrowatch weekly.