MATE desktop 1.16 released with improved GTK3+ compatibility

Bring an end to 6 months of development efforts, MATE community has officially announced availability of MATE 1.16, latest stable release of traditional desktop environment that make use of modern technologies. It may be a coincidence that, MATE team and GNOME team has announced new releases on consequent days.

The MATE desktop project was started as a continuation of well established, stable and productive GNOME 2.x desktop. Over the years MATE team has worked to make it more user friendly and to ensure that, it make use of modern technology instead of using legacy codes from GNOME 2.x. With the same goal, mate team is working to port mate desktop from GTK2+ to GTK3+. Current release of MATE has ported several applications and utilities to work completely with GTK3+ and offers more compatible experience. Also, by this release, mate is using several new libraries and has fixed problems while migrating to this libraries.

The main highlights of MATE 1.6 can be summarized as follows:
  • Improved GTK3+ support across the entire MATE Desktop.
  • Application and theme support for GTK+ 3.22.
  • More applications build against GTK3+ only:
    • Engrampa
    • MATE Notification Daemon
    • MATE PolKit
    • MATE Session Manager
    • MATE Terminal
  • Some applications have been decoupled from libmate-desktop:
    • Engrampa
    • MATE Applets
    • MATE Netbook
    • MATE Power Manager
    • MATE Terminal
    • Pluma
  • Work has started to port applications to GApplcation:
    • Engrampa
    • MATE Applets
    • MATE Netbook
    • MATE User Share
  • Many bugs and deprecations are fixed.
  • Translations are updated
For more technical details and other information, you can read release announcement published in projects blog.

GNOME 3.22 released with major new features

The GNOME community has announced official release of GNOME 3.22, latest stable release of modern desktop environment for GNU/Linux and other BSD operating systems. This release marks a culmination to 6 months of development effort carried out by project members and numerous contributors around the earth. GNOME 3.22 introduces several major features and also fixes numerous bugs and issues reported in previous release.

Announcing release of GNOME 3.22, Matthias Clasen said: “This six-month effort wouldn’t have been possible without the whole GNOME community, made of contributors and friends from all around the world: developers, designers, documentation writers, usability and accessibility specialists, translators, maintainers, students, system administrators, companies, artists, testers and last, not least, users. GNOME would not exist without all of you. Thank you to everyone!”.

Preview of GNOME 3.22

The major highlights of GNOME 3.22 release can be summarized as follows:
  • GNOME Software, can now support flatpak, a new generation package and distribution manager to make same package work on different platforms. GNOME's developer technologies also make use of full security features of flatpak.
  • The Files has got several updates and enhancements. This includes a powerful feature to rename multiple files at once. Also, it has got several
    usability and user interface refinements to provide better experience.
  • Other major new features for GNOME 3.22 include a new Photo sharing feature, redesigned keyboard settings, NickServ integration in Polari (GNOME’s IRC application), enhanced support for the Wayland display server, and a much improved Software application.
  • GNOME’s interface toolkit, has introduced a new stable release series which will make it easier for application developers to use the many enhancements introduced during the 3.x series. GLib and GTK+ now provide transparent access to Flatpak “portals”, which allow isolated sandboxed applications to be developed. Builder, the GNOME IDE, has a range of enhancements, including a new built-in profiler. Other improvements include the introduction of CSS blend modes in GTK+, support for OpenGL for Embedded Systems (known as OpenGL ES or GLES) in GtkGLArea and a comprehensive upgrade to GLib’s logging functions.
For more information, you can see release announcement and release notes published by GNOME project.

If you don't want to wait for GNOME 3.22 packages to appear in your distribution, you can straight away download Fedora 25 Alpha and update to get full GNOME 3.22  experience.

(Comes with GNOME 3.21.x, can be updated to GNOME 3.22.x)

Linux Lite 3.0 - A user friendly system that really works : Review

Linux Lite is an Ubuntu LTS based GNU/Linux distribution targeting old and low resource computers. It combines stable Ubuntu base with well customized Xfce desktop to provide best user experience. Also, the project ships several in house built apps like lite tweaks, lite software ..etc to make things easier. Linux Lite 3.0 is latest release of distribution which is based on Ubuntu 16.04. It brings numerous updates and new features and the key highlights are Lite Software and stunning look and feel.

The Everyday Linux User has published a review of Linux Lite 3.0. This review observes that Linux Lite 3.0 is a user friendly system that is capable of serving all day to day needs of ordinary computer users. It easy also offers familiar user experience and is easy to use. As a downside, the review points unavailability of UEFI support which is common requirement for 64 bit architectures nowadays.

I am going to admit now that I had previously thought about reviewing Linux Lite 3.0 when it first came out but there was a reason I didn't which I will come to later. The EFI bootloader has been around for a long time now and it isn't going away any time soon. Linux Lite 3.0 still does not ship with the ability to boot into an EFI system therefore you have to switch to legacy mode in order to boot into the DVD or USB drive. Linux Lite is stable. I haven't seen any errors since I have started using it except when I tried playing MP3 audio in SilverJuke before installing the "Restricted Extras" package. The target audience for Linux Lite is clearly the average computer user but it is at an immediate disadvantage to Linux Mint which is easier to install and just as easy to use.
You can read detailed and elaborated review in Everyday Linux Users portal.

Tails 2.6 released with several security fixes

The Tails developers has announced availability of Tails 2.6, latest bug fix cum maintenance release of Debian based GNU/Linux distribution that offers tools and services to keep anonymity and privacy while browsing web and using other web services. This release of tails ships fixes for numerous bugs reported in previous releases and hence it is highly recommended to update to this release.

Tails 2.6 comes with address space layout randomization in the Linux kernel (kASLR) which help the distribution to provide better protection from buffer overflow attacks. Also, rngd is installed to increase entropy of random numbers on computers having hardware random number generator.

Tails 2.6 also brings numerous bug fixes and updated packages which can be summarized as follows:
  • Upgrade Tor to
  • Upgrade Tor Browser to 6.0.5.
  • Upgrade to Linux 4.6. This should improve the support for newer hardware (graphics, Wi-Fi, etc.)
  • Upgrade Icedove to 45.2.0.
  • Upgrade Tor Birdy to 0.2.0.
  • Upgrade Electrum to 2.6.4.
  • Install firmware for Intel SST sound cards (firmware-intel-sound).
  • Install firmware for Texas Instruments Wi-Fi interfaces (firmware-ti-connectivity).
  • Remove non-free APT repositories. We documented how to configure additional APT repositories using the persistent volume.
  • Use a dedicated page as the homepage of Tor Browser so we can customize it for our users.
  • Set up the trigger for RAM erasure on shutdown earlier in the boot process. This should speed up shutdown and make RAM erasure more robust. 
  • Disable the automatic configuration of Icedove when using OAuth. This should fix the automatic configuration for GMail accounts. (#11536)
  • Make the Disable all networking and Tor bridge mode options of Tails Greeter more robust. (#11593)
For more information, see release announcement and change log published in projects website.

Zorin OS 12 beta released with Zorin Desktop 2.0

The Zorin Group has announced availability of Zorin OS 12 beta, development release of upcoming Zorin OS 12. The Zorin OS 12 is expected to be the biggest release in projects history so far. This release completely renovates zorin desktop using latest technologies to provide a powerful user experience.

Credit : Zorin blog
The major changes planned/implemented in Zorin OS 12 can be summarized as follows:
  • Introduces Zorin Desktop 2.0 which make use of latest and great technologies. It will be using GNOME shell under the hood and it will be extremely customized to make it more comfortable. It will make use of GNOME shell features like multitasking overview, universal search and improve notification messages.
  • Zorin Desktop now comes with advanced display features. It can automatically adjust for different devices such as desktops, laptops and high resolution monitors.
  • Improved support for touch screens. Introduces special touch shortcuts to perform different actions.
  • Ease of use and familiar look and feel. Even though, new zorin desktop is based on GNOME shell, it won't sacrifice core value of providing a familiar, user friendly desktop for windows and OS X users. The desktop will be customized to provide familiar user experience as in past.
  • New zorin desktop comes with a refreshing look and feel. A lot of elements have been revisited to offer consistent and user friendly experience.
  • New icon theme based on Paper - A material inspired icon theme.
  • Zorin Look Changer and Zorin Theme Changer are integrated to one app called Zorin Appearance which provide several options to customized look and feel.
  • Chromium is used as default browser.
  • Better integration with google accounts and other web based apps from google.
  • Brings new apps like map, weather, photos and videos.
  • and much more.
For more information and screenshots, see release announcement published in projects blog.

Download Zorin OS 12 beta

FreeBSD 11.0-RC3 released

Continuing the development of upcoming FreeBSD 11.0 STABLE, FreeBSD project has announced availability of FreeBSD 11.0-RC3, latest development build prior to stable release. This release brings some updated packages to fix some bugs reported in previous development releases.

FreeBSD 11.0-RC3 is available for different architectures including widely used 32 bit and 64 bit processors, and other specialized processors like powerpc, ARM, sparc, aarch ..etc. The arm64 and aarch64 system might require a modified EFI loader file for qemu-system-aarch64 to boot in virtual machines.

Major changes in FreeBSD 11.0-RC3, comparing to previous release candidate can be summarized as follows:
  • A boot issue affecting booting from large volumes has been fixed.
  • A boot issue affecting powerpc/powerpc has been fixed.
  • Debugging options have been turned off for arm64/aarch64.
  • The libarchive(3) library has been updated.
  • The cron(8) utility has been updated tinclude a bug fix.
  • An ipfw(4) 'set enable/disable' bug has been fixed.
  • The arm64/aarch64 kernel has been updated tprint a warning when running on pass 1.1 hardware.
For more details, you can read release announcement published in FreeBSD development mailing list. Also, there is one release notes which lists the changes since release of FreeBSD 10.0 STABLE.

Download FreeBSD 11.0-RC3

Lubuntu 16.04.1 - A good distribution with a few drawbacks

Lubuntu is a lightweight, official community flavor of Ubuntu for people who are looking for a less resource hungry and efficient operating system. It can give power to low resource notebooks and old computers with less amount of resources.

The DarkDuck blog has published a review of Lubuntu 16.04.1, first minor update release in 16.04.x series. This review remarks that, Lubuntu is a good distribution with less resource usage. It is very compact and fast. However, there are some down sides such as crash of guvcview utility and lack of choices.

It is difficult to believe, but Linux notes from DarkDuck blog has never published a review of Lubuntu.

The reason? I am not so fond of an LXDE desktop environment that isn't an integrated desktop environment per se, but rather a collection of different small tools under the same roof.

But anyway I thought there should be a review for this distribution, especially because it is in the Top-20 of Distrowatch rating.

As happened multiple times before, the trigger was a request from my customers. One of them ordered a disk with Lubuntu 16.04 operating system. You can order your personal copy of Lubuntu operating system too!
You can read complete review in DarkDuck's blog.

KaOS 2016.09 released with latest KDE commits

The KaOS team has announced release of KaOS 2016.09, latest monthly build of independently evolved, rolling GNU/Linux distribution that offers a keen, cutting edge KDE experience. Beginning from this release, KaOS makes use of latest source code from KDE project repositories instead of latest stable release tar balls. This will help the project to ship latest KDE features, but at the cost of stability.

A new addition for KaOS is a First Run Wizard. It will run on the newly installed system and enables with just a few clicks to adjust mouse behavior, menu launcher, desktop theme, used wallpaper, color scheme, widget style, window decoration and virtual desktops used. With one click this Wizard will also link to KaOS Documentation and all contact info.

The Plasma Desktop includes Frameworks 5.26.0, Plasma 5.7.90, KDE Applications 16.08.1 & not yet released ports of KDE Applications. All built on Qt 5.7.0. Changes in Plasma 5.8 include much improved support for multi-screen setups and docking stations, support for modifier-only shortcuts (default: Meta to open launcher menu), global shortcuts for launching applications and their jumplist actions, KWin now supports the llvmpipe driver for OpenGL, compositing removal of unredirect-fullscreen, replaced by compositing blocking and a rewritten Pager using less CPU and memory, shared back-end processing with the Task Manager.
A detailed release announcement is available in projects website.

Deepin 15.3 released with new file manager, image viewer and revamped terminal

The deepin project has unveiled deepin 15.3, latest stable release of Debian based, elegant, user friendly GNU/Linux distribution developed in China. This release of deepin includes deepin file manager, deepin image viewer and revamped deepin terminal which will provide improved user experience.

The dock used in deepin 15.3 is highly customizable, and it also offers improved wallpaper configuration options. Also, this release is made compatible with high end MI notebook devices which is first footstep of project to enable cross-platform support.

Source : deepin blog
Following section lists some notable highlights of deepin 15.3 release. Further details and demos can be found in official release announcement.
  • New dock and its interface background is more simple and generous. System tray is optimized and its size can be fit with the application contents automatically.
  • The access of wallpaper setting is changed to desktop context menu. Also, real time preview is available for wall papers.
  • Update details can be seen in glance.
  • Introduces new applications like Deepin Terminal 2.0, Deepin Image Viewer and Deepin Calendar
  • Combined power plugin and shutdown button on dock
  • Optimized network, sound, mounting and other plugins are available for dock
  • Improved system tray management
  • Fixed the issue in network module that new users are required to identify when logging in to use network
  • Fixed the issue that desktop file location is reset after rebooting
For more details, see release announcement published in projects blog.

Download deepin 15.3 ISO

NethServer 7 beta 2 released with NextCloud 10

The NethServer community has announced release of NethServer 7 beta 2, latest development release for upcoming, stable CentOS based GNU/Linux operating system targeting small and medium enterprises. The NethServer 7, which is associated with the code name Bruschetta, is under active development for last few months and the team had requested help from community members to make this release a big foot step in the history of project.

NethServer 7 beta 2, current development release includes numerous updated packages and good features such as NextCloud 10, advanced static routes, new bandidthd and pop3 connector module. Also, NethServer can now work from USB like a charm. This will be a good news for people who uses computer without any CD-ROM. This release also enables SC(Software Collection) repository of CentOS be default, which will enable users to install newer versions of packages like PHP, Python, Ruby ..etc.

Source : NethRunner blog
The major feature changes and other highlights in NethServer 7 beta 2 can be summarized as follows:
  • NethServer has switched to Nextcloud from version 7 and developers have built the software packages for the community to easy install and update the app.
  • now it’s possible to implement routes with specific selection of device and metric to force a default gateway. This improvement make your firewall more versatile especially in a VPS environment
  • BandwidthD - A simple tool to track bandwidth usage. It is solid tool that has a proven trackrecord, widely adopted and better integrated in NethServer WebUI.
  • replaced Fetchmail with the much more promising Getmail application.
  • We have improved the Installation of NethServer from USB, now it works like a charm and it will become a mandatory feature for servers without cdrom reader.
  • Software Collections, also known as SCLs, allow you to run the default software version of major applications (like php, python, etc..)
  • and more..
To understand a complete list of new features in this release of NethServer, see official release announcement.

Download NethServer 7 Beta 2 (784 MB)

Apricity OS 07.2016, an easy to use rolling distribution - Review

Apricity OS is another Arch based rolling GNU/Linux distribution that offers, user friendly installer, pre-installed GUI environments, and other day to day applications. After several development releases, Apricity project has announced their first stable release, Apricity 07.2016, on last month.

The new issue of distrowatch weekly(11th Sep 2016) includes a review of Apricity OS 07.2016, first stable release of project. Mr Jesse Smithe, the reviewer remarks, despite of being a new operating system, Apricity OS is stable enough to use. It has a nice collection of packages and tools which offers a single application per task, and there is no duplication of applications. This enables users to do almost anything just after installing operating system. Also, the reviewer observes, despite of some rough edges, Apricity OS is a good choice for newbies looking for a rolling operating system.

Apricity OS was added to the DistroWatch database earlier this year and the project launched its first stable release, Apricity OS 07.2016, at the beginning of August. Apricity is based on Arch Linux and features a rolling release model of software updates. The distribution is currently available in two editions, Cinnamon and GNOME, and is available for the 64-bit x86 architecture exclusively. Apart from up to date software, Apricity offers users the ICE site specific browser which makes accessing web apps more like working with locally installed applications.

All in all, I like what Apricity is trying to do. The project is relatively new and off to a good start. There are some rough edges, but not many and I think the distribution will appeal to a lot of people, especially those who want to run a rolling release operating system with a very easy initial set up.
You may continue reading review published in distrowatch weekly.

OpenSourceFeed : Weekly News Feed 69

Budgie desktop 10.2.7 released with numerous improvements
09/11/2016 08:47 AM

Mr Joshua Strobl, community manager of Solus project has announced availability of Budgie 10.2.7, latest and final release in Budgie 10.2.x series. This release of Budgie desktop comes with numerous improvements and bug fixes. Budgie is a lightweight, user friendly desktop environment built to be compatible with GNOME 3.x stacks. Instead of implementing a complete desktop from scratch, budgie

elementary 0.4 Loki stable released
09/10/2016 09:16 AM

After almost one year of development activities, elementary team has proudly announced release of elementary OS 0.4 with code name Loki. Loki is a successor of Freya - elementary OS 0.3 - and introduces numerous refinements to stand as a best alternative for people migrating from other proprietary platforms like Windows and OS X. The elementary OS is an Ubuntu based GNU/Linux distribution that

AryaLinux 2016.08 released with Linux Kernel 4.7
09/09/2016 08:55 PM

The AryaLinux project has unveiled AryaLinux 2016.08, latest stable release of bleeding edge GNU/Linux distribution built using Linux from Scratch(LFS). This release of AryaLinux is built with previously established stable release v2016.04 with core motive of standardizing distribution build procedure. In addition to updated packages and standardized build procedures, AryaLinux 2016.08 also

Linux Mint 18 KDE edition released
09/09/2016 08:29 PM

The Linux Mint community has announced release of Linux Mint 18 KDE edition, a community flavor of Linux Mint project featuring KDE as default desktop environment. Linux Mint 18 KDE is built on top of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and hence it can provide support till 2021. This release ships several updated packages and refinements to provide better user experience for people who prefer KDE desktop over

Solus released with GNOME 3.20.x components
09/07/2016 07:53 PM

Mr Joshua Strobl of Solus project has announced availability of Solus, a minor update ISO for Solus 1.2 release two months back. This release brings fixes for some critical bugs and ships numerous updated packages. The existing users of Solus do not have to freshly install updated release, instead they can rely on regular system update methods to get all bug fixes and updated packages

Porteus Kiosk 4.1.0 released with cloud and thinclient variants
09/05/2016 07:38 PM

Mr Tomasz Jokiel of Porteus team has announced release of Porteus Kiosk 4.1.0, latest stable update of Gentoo based, special purpose GNU/Linux distribution targeting embedded systems like ATM, display panels and advertisement displays. The Porteus 4.1.0 introduces two new spins which are cloud variant and thin client variant. The purpose of thin client variant is to provide an operating system