elementary OS introduces cross desktop compatible System Settings App(Switchboard)

There are more than a dozen of desktop environment available for GNU/Linux distribution. One of the biggest challenge is to develop integrated applications compatible with all desktop environments. By overcoming this challenge, the elementary OS team has announced cross desktop compatibility of their system settings app which is popularly known as switchboard.

The elementary OS has made switchboard app cross compatible by removing all hard-coded commands to open applications. Instead they are adopting a cross desktop URL scheme specification beginning with 'settings://'. This specifications is closely similar to naming convention published by freedesktop.org and it can open application designated for a particular configuration instead of opening a particular application.

In the world of open desktops, many apps are cross-platform as a standard. However, as apps strive to be more useful and integrated in the desktop, they become siloed and start to break that cross-platform compatibility. As apps become more and more connected, it becomes useful for them to be able to direct their users to adjust system settings that may prevent them from completing their tasks, especially in the case of network or online accounts settings. Currently, to provide this functionality an app developer must hard code support for a single settings app. This leaves users frustrated when they want to use the app in a different desktop environment and find that this feature is broken.

Instead of hard coding commands to open a single app, we’re proposing the adoption of the cross-desktop URL scheme “settings://” to empower developers and ensure user freedom.

You can read more of this topic, on a blog post published by elementary team.

Currently elementary team has implemented cross platform compatible settings app, and in near future, they are planning to migrate all the applications using the same scheme.

Korora 25 Gurgle released in 5 different flavors

Mr ozjd of Korora project has announced availability of Korora 25 Gurgle, latest stable release of Fedora based GNU/Linux distribution that combines powerful Fedora core with usability improvements such as well tweaked themes, out of the box multimedia support, and additional repositories to provide various free/non-free packages. Korora 25 is coming in 4 different flavors which are GNOME, Plasma, Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce editions.
CREDIT : Korora Project

Korora 25 being a distribution based on Fedora 25, delivers all updated packages from Fedora 25. Following are notable highlights of this release.
  • Considering the popular demand, KDE Plasma release is brought back. Though due to work load on team, this release will be more like a vanilla Plasma experience. However, it will be benefited by additional Korora packages.
  • Cinnamon 3.2 - Latest stable release of Cinnamon till date. It brings several improvements.
  • GNOME 3.22 which offers more responsive user experience and also improved support for Wayland compositor.
  • MATE 1.16 - latest bug fix release of project.
  • Xfce 4.12 which mainly focus on polishing the desktop and improving the user experience in various ways.
  • Other updates from Fedora 25
  • This release only includes 64 bit images. Though existing 32 bit users can upgrade their system.  
You can find official release announcement in Korora Project website.

Deepin Terminal v2.1 released with numerous improvements

The Deepin team has announced release of Deepin Terminal v2.1, a maintenance release of Deepin Terminal v2.0 released earlier. This release brings numerous improvements including feature additions, optimizations and bug fixes over previous release.

Deepin Terminal is a custom made application by China based deepin project along with other applications like Deepin Movies, Deepin Music, Deepin Software ..etc. All these products offers smooth and more user friendly experience.

Deepin Terminal v2.1 is already available in project's repositories and existing users of Deepin Linux can get this release by performing regular system update operations. (apt update & apt upgrade).

CREDIT : deepin project
Major highlights of deepin terminal version 2.1 can be summarized as:
Feature additions
  • Shortcuts for scrolling to prev/next command after input a command
  • Local encoding changing function
  • Custom commands function
  • SSH certificate function
  • Acknowlegdements page
  • Optimized the right context menu when the system clipboard has no contents, the right context menu does not show `paste` option
  • Optimized the right context menu when the workspace shows two and more windows, the right context menu shows `close other windows` option
  • Optimized the search function, the keyword is case insensitive by default
  • Optimized the shortcuts input control
  • Optimized the command line startup arguments for window
  • Optimized the remote server add button UI
Bug fixes
  • Fixed the problem when both logged in from certificate and password, it cannot be logged out from remote server;
  • Fixed the problem that the terminal crashes by some certain operations;
  • Fixed the problem that the split window operation can cause crash in some special situations;
  • Fixed the problem that there is some blank area on the top of the dropdown menu of the remote management encoding field edit interface;
  • Fixed the problem that sometimes the last operation of the search function takes no effect;
  • Fixed the problem when there are some of the horizontal window, press Ctrl+Alt+Q continuously could shut down the application;
  • Fixed the problem when pressed down Ctrl+Shift+T, the tab does not show completely;
  • Fixed the problem when there are some window, click the `close window` on right context menu could exit the application;
  • Fixed the problem when username and server name are the same but the IP address is different, the newly added server could override the old;
You may also checkout official release announcement in deepin blog.

Zorin OS 12 is a smooth and impressively functional system : Review

Zorin OS is an Ubuntu based GNU/Linux distribution that offers familiar user experience to the users migrating from other platforms like windows and OS X and even from other desktop experiences like GNOME 2.x/MATE and GNOME 3.x. In addition to the default user experience, it also facilitate easy switch between different layouts. Though some of the layout switches may be made exclusively available in paid, ultimate edition.

Mr Mike Johnston, founder of CMSCritic portal has reviewed Zorin OS 12, a recent release of Zorin OS project. In his experiment, he is using Zorin OS 12 Ultimate edition which comes with added features like extra games and layouts over basic core edition. The review observes that Zorin OS 12 is an excellent distribution, and delivers a smooth user experience. The Ubuntu base provide it extra benefit of stability and availability of wide range of device drivers and applications.
Screenshot CREDIT : CMSCritic
ZorinOS is an up and coming Linux distribution based on Ubuntu that has begun to really catch on with users everywhere. With a visually attractive appearance and plenty of personalization options, it is quickly becoming the next best thing since Linux Mint hit the scene. Today, I'm going to take a look at ZorinOS 12 - Ultimate Edition from a user perspective.

Before I get into this review, let me just say that this is not intended to be a review from a system administrator point of view but rather that of a user. I've been using Linux for over 20 years but I am no sysadmin so I won't pretend to be one and I want to make that clear from the get go. If, however, you are looking to see what ZorinOS has to offer from a user perspective, read on.
See complete review in CMSCritic portal.

BackBox Linux 4.7 released with updated hacking tools

The BackBox Linux team has proudly announced availability of BackBox Linux 4.7, latest updated release of Ubuntu LTS based GNU/Linux distribution that can be used for security assessments and penetration testing.

The purpose behind release of BackBox Linux 4.7 is to provide a more stable and up-to-date system till release of BackBox 5, the  next planned major release of project. This release will help new users to save their bandwidth and time required for performing updates.

Important highlights of BackBox Linux 4.7 includes minor bug fixes, updated packages including Linux Kernel, base system and other hacking cum penetration tools.

We thought to release a new minor version to give our users the opportunity to have a stable and up-to-date sytem till the next official major release, i.e. BackBox 5, stilll under development.

In this release we have fixed some minor bugs, updated the kernel stack, base system and tools.

What's new
  • Updated Linux Kernel 4.4
  • Updated hacking tools: beef, metasploit, openvas, setoolkit, sqlmap, wpscan, etc.
You may read official release announcement in BackBox Linux website.

Download BackBox Linux 4.7

Fedora 25 is not perfect; But is good enough - Review

In terms of new features, Fedora 25 is a boring release. It does not have much new features to boast about except updated packages, migration to Wayland and a new media writer - Says a review featured in weekly news letter of distrowatch portal.

The review also remarks that Fedora 25 has plenty of software packages which can be installed easily using well polished GNOME Software. Most of the main highlights of this release are associated with version numbers such as GNOME 3.22, Firefox 49(50 is available), LibreOffice 5.2 ..etc. Considering different aspects, Fedora 25 is not a perfect distribution. You may also come across with some minor issues associated with Wayland. However, it can be considered mature enough to use as a day to day operating system. The basic installation can be used for normal activities like web browsing, document processing, email writing..etc. With the help of additional software packages you can turn your installation ideal to serve most of the users needs.

As someone who started their Linux experience with a Red Hat Linux retail box set and switched to Fedora after Red Hat transitioned to Red Hat Enterprise Linux as their commercial product, I have been using Fedora for a long, long time. The cumulative changes since the first Fedora release have been considerable, but the list of changes for Fedora 25 is really quite short. Basically, the key points in the change log are newer versions of all the packages, Wayland by default, and Fedora Media Writer as the method for creating installation media. Below, I focus on each of those new features as I detail my first week using the latest release of Fedora. 
Read complete review in distrowatch weekly.

Porteus Kiosk 4.2.0 released

Mr Tomasz Jokiel of Porteus Kiosk development team has announced release of Porteus Kiosk 4.2.0, latest updated release of special purpose GNU/Linux distribution developed for embedded systems like ATM systems, display boards, digital advertisements ..etc. This release of Porteus Kios comes with updated packages like Linux kernel 4.4.36, Xorg Server 1.18.4, Mozilla Firefox 45.5.1 ESR and Google Chrome 54.0.2840.100. Other package updates are tagged on 3rd december 2016.

In official release announcement, Porteus Kiosk team has published a change log which lists notable highlights in this release.
  • All files utilized by the clients (wallpaper, screensaver slideshow images, browser preferences, proxy pac config) can be hosted directly on Porteus Kiosk Server - no need to use 3rd party web hosting service anymore.
  • If multiple browser tabs were set during instalaltion then its possible to toggle between the tabs at specific time interval. This is useful for digital signage purposes.
  • Screensaver slideshow can display images in random order instead of alphabetic order.
  • Recompiled xf86-video-intel driver without DRI3 support as it causes issues on older Intel Alviso (gen3) GPUs.
  • 'C++' and 'C--' keyboard shortcuts are deactivated when 'disable_zoom_controls=yes' parameter is used.
  • Added conky application to monitor Porteus Kiosk Server resources: CPU, RAM, storage and network utilization.
  • Server logs can be rotated more than once in a day.
  • Remote config can be edited directly on the Server through the Administration Panel.
  • Other bugfixes and improvements.
You may also see a detailed change log shared in projects website.

Trisquel 8.0 Flidas Alpha1 is available now

Mr Ruben Quidam of Trisquel development team has announced immediate availability of Trisquel 8.0 Flidas Alpha1 for testing. Trisquel is a Ubuntu LTS based GNU/Linux distribution that is 100% compliant with free software policy of Free Software Foundation.

Trisquel 8.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and it comes with Linux-Libre 4.4 based kernel. Beginning from this release, Trisquel will be using MATE 1.12.1 as default desktop environment against GNOME 2.x/GNOME 3 fallback environments used in previous releases. The decision to replace GNOME with MATE was made after observing that, GNOME 3.x requires additional 3D acceleration even in fallback mode. So, after taking opinion community the team has decided to go with MATE Desktop.
Before exploring this release, it should be kept in mind that, this is just a development release and there are several rough edges to smoothen. However, this release can be used to learn what we can expect from upcoming stable release.

Preliminary steps for the development of the next release are finished, including continuous-integration build jails, a Linux-Libre 4.4 based kernel, a bootstapable system and now functional Live images available at http://jenkins.trisquel.info/makeiso/iso/

The image has many of the basic components that will be the base for Flidas. The default desktop environment will be MATE 1.12.1, a fork of GNOME 2 that brings back all the functionality and quality level of previous Trisquel releases. The panel, file manager and control center are already looking polished. This decision comes from the current editions of GNOME requiring 3D acceleration even in fallback mode, a requirement that in many cases forces the user to choose between a degraded user experience and performance, or the usage of non-free graphics drivers. Instead, we aim to provide a fully functional, highly performing desktop for all users.
For more information, see the forum post and further discussions on this release. 

Peppermint 7 Respin released

The Peppermint Linux team has announced availability of Peppermint 7 Respin, a maintenance cum update release for Peppermint 7 released on June 2016. This respin comes both in 32 and 64 bit flavors.
This release of Peppermint OS comes with several updated packages and bug fixes over v7 announced earlier. Main highlights of this release includes:
  • Updated packages (including the 4.4.0-51 kernel)
  • Fixed multimedia keyboard function keys
  • Fixed browsing for smb network printers
  • Fix for Google Chrome keyring prompt
  • Added hplip for HP Printer support out of the box
  • Added pulseaudio-module-bluetooth for bluetooth headsets
  • Update manager will not prompt to upgrade to next “Ubuntu LTS” version by default.
  • “Firefox Themer” name changed to “Firefox Theme Lock” to remove confusion over its function.
  • Redesigned artworks like plymouth splash screen, ubiquity installer slide show, GRUB theme and a default wallpaper
For more details on Peppermint OS 7 Respin, see release announcement published in projects website.

Download Peppermint OS 7 Respin

Manjaro 16.10 community edition released; Includes Cinnamon, MATE, GNOME and Budgie Editions

The Manjaro community has announced availability of 4 community editions in a row. Manjaro community editions are community contributed GNU/Linux flavors built on top of Manjaro Core.

Manjaro 16.10.2 Cinnamon edition ships complete stack of X-Apps, an independent stack applications developed by Linux Mint team. These applications includes text editor xed, document viewer xreader, image-browser pix, picture viewer xviewer and media-player xplayer.Also Manjaro settings manager with it's kernel notification settings has been integrated with cinnamon control panel.

Manjaro 16.10.x MATE comes in two different flavors. One standard edition and a core edition. The standard edition includes applications like VLC, steam, Thunderbird, LibreOffice ..etc.

Manjaro 16.10 GNOME editions comes with several customizations over vanilla GNOME desktop. It includes a colorful theme and other tweaks. In addition to standard GNOME applications, it ships some command line applications like MC(Midnight Commander), pacli ..etc.

Manjaro 16.10 Budgie Edition, community edition of Manjaro featuring elegant, traditional, full featured budgie desktop comes with latest budgie desktop 10.2.8 which includes several new applets and improvements.
For more information and screenshots of these releases, see release announcement published in Manjaro blog and discussions in Manjaro community flavors.

OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 - Difficult to get start with, smooth experience thereafter : Review

Recently, openSUSE release engineering team had announced public availability of openSUSE Leap 42.2, latest stable release of hybrid operating system that combines stable SEL(SUSE Enterprise Linux) core packages with community contributed packages to make an  extremely stable, secure and conservative operating system.

Latest issue of Distrowatch Weekly (27th November 2016) features a review of OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 as cover story. By concluding this detailed exploration of openSUSE, reviewer remarks that, during his experiments he faced a lot rough edges such as frequent bong sound on desktop, small fonts, and multimedia support ..etc. However, he was able to overcome all these issues using powerful configuration tool YaaST of openSUSE and also other KDE Plasma configuration tools. After resolving these issues he was able to enjoy a pleasantly stable, quite polished experience.

openSUSE is a community distribution which shares code and infrastructure with SUSE Linux Enterprise. The openSUSE distribution is available in two editions. The first is a stable, point release edition with a conservative base called Leap. The second edition is an experimental rolling release called Tumbleweed. The openSUSE project recently released a new update to the Leap edition, launching openSUSE 42.2 Leap in mid-November. Leap editions receive approximately three years of security updates and minor point releases are published about once per year. The new 42.2 release includes a long term support kernel (Linux 4.4) and KDE's Plasma 5.8 desktop which is also supposed to receive long term support from its upstream project.

openSUSE 42.2 is available primarily for 64-bit x86 computers. There are ARM ports available, but they need to be tracked down through the project's wiki and are not available through the main Download page. The new release is available in two builds, a 4.1GB DVD and a 95MB net-install disc. I opted to download the larger of the two ISO files for my trial.
See distrowatch weekly to go through the complete review.

Maui 2.1 released; Based on KDE Neon project

The Maui Linux team has announced immediate availability of Maui Linux 2.1, a maintenance release for Maui 2.0 Blue Tang released earlier. Maui Linux a GNU/Linux distribution based on KDE Neon project which comes with latest stable releases of KDE technologies.

Maui Linux 2.1, current stable release of project is coming with fixes for the bugs reported in previous release and also it brings some updated packages. The bug fix mainly addresses problems with installer.
CREDIT : Maui Linux
Since Maui Linux is based on KDE Neon project, which in turn is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS(Xenial), existing users of Maui 1.0 and 2.0 can directly update their system without any fresh installation. In fact, if they have enabled any backport channels and updated their system recently, it is highly likely that, they are using updates from Maui 2.1. The only time when an update is recommended is when based distribution changes from one LTS to another LTS release.

A release announcement published  in Maui Linux blog can be read as:
Maui Installation ISO has been updated to 2.1. This mainly focuses on fixing some reported Installer issues and comes with some newer package versions, otherwise is the same as Maui 2.

Note to Maui 1 and Maui 2 users:
Due to Maui being a Part-Rolling distro on Xenial, updating to Maui 2.1 is not only not required nor technically correct anyway: All versions of Maui share the same base (Xenial), so the Backports channels is the common shared source where updated packages from Maui and KDE Neon land after being tested for all Maui versions.

So if you installed from any Maui version so far and enable the Backports Channels and Update, you should have the same updated system. It is just that we release updated ISOs from time to time as a starting point, so that new users don’t need to update too many packages right from the start.

Download Maui Linux 2.1 (Blue Tang) LTS 64 BIT