Solus ships updated Brisk Menu with super key shortcut

In weekly news letter (22nd May 2017), Solus project announced availability of an updated Brisk Menu for MATE Desktop. This updated version comes with several improvements and bug fixes. The most important highlight is ability to toggle menu using super key shortcut. It was one among the most demanding features for a modern application menu.

A file picture of Solus Operating System
Other highlights in updated brisk menu includes ability to change menu label, dynamic adoption to vertical menu layout, and also Control Panel applications is now listed in both Preferences and Administration categories. There were also some implementation changes in Brisk Menu, which can be found in original blog post.

Other updates from Solus project over the past week includes:
  • update Kernel and NVIDIA GLX Driver
  • availability of MariaDB
  • user experience improvement in Solus Software Center
  • minor improvements on project website
  • other regular package updates.
For more detailed information, see This Week in Solus (22nd May 2017), weekly news letter of Solus project.

Solus gets support for Plasma Destkop; though not official at the moment

Increasing the amount of diversity, Solus project now supports Plasma Desktop, a full featured modern desktop developed by KDE community. Currently, Plasma Desktop can be installed from Solus Software Center, however it is not officially supported at the moment.

Peter O’Connor,a core member of Solus project is working on KDE project maintenance for a long time. Over the time, he was able to pack  many demanding KDE projects like Krita, KDEnlive, K3b ..etc for Solus. Maintaining these packages brings a lot of dependencies including Qt stack. Peter is doing a good work by maintaining all these dependencies to provide a fair experience for KDE applications in Solus.

KDE Desktop in Solus Software Center (Courtesy : Solus Project)
Currently, Peter is working closely to provide more support Plasma Desktop in Solus. Once it is mature enough, it will also come as on officially supported desktop environment for Solus. This will add up to officially supported desktop environments at the moment, which are Budgie, MATE and GNOME.
For the sake of clarity, please note that the Plasma Desktop from KDE is not officially supported at this moment in time. It is however a project that Peter is working on, and slowly building up to be something useful. This in itself was enabled by the vast amount of KF5 (KDE Frameworks) software required in the repositories already for the “Big Items” (Kdenlive, etc).

Peter’s ambition is to eventually support a full Plasma stack on Solus, and through his long standing commitments to this work already, and to Solus as a project, he will be the official maintainer for KDE items in the distribution. The argument of stack complexity is already met and nullified.
For more information, see original announcement published on Solus project blog.

ROSA Fresh R9 is a good operating system with a few rough corners

Latest issue of Distrowatch weekly (22nd May 2017) features a review of ROSA Fresh R9, a recent release of Russian based GNU/Linux distribution which was initially started as a fork of Mandriva Linux. Over the years, this distribution has grown as a mature independent distribution.

The distrowatch review observes that ROSA is a success in providing modern applications on a stable and reliable platform. However the default configurations makes Plasma to under perform. This issue can be fixed though. Other than that, ROSA combines two configuration tools from Mandriva to single ones and provide an easy option to customize the system. In short, this distribution is very much reliable as a workstation operating system and it's look and feel can be appealing to new users.

ROSA is a desktop distribution that was originally forked from Mandriva Linux, but now is independently developed. While the company which produces ROSA is based in Russia, the distribution includes complete translations for multiple languages. The ROSA desktop distribution is designed to be easy to use and includes a range of popular applications and multimedia support. ROSA R9 is available in two editions, one featuring the KDE 4 desktop and the second featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop. These editions are scheduled to receive four years of support and security updates.
You may read complete review in Distrowatch weekly.

Tails 3.0 RC1 is available for testing

The Tails project has announced release of Tails 3.0 rc1, first development release of upcoming stable GNU/Linux distribution aiming to deliver a secure, anonymous GNU/Linux distribution that values privacy of individuals while browsing internet.

Tails 3.0 rc1 as the name suggests, is a development release and not meant for day to day use. This release is mainly targeting testers who are interested to contribute to the project by exploring this release and reporting possible issues, bugs and vulnerabilities.

Tails 3.0 is going to first stable release of project based on Debian 9.x Strech series and hence it will include all updated packages from upstream. Other highlights of this release are -
  • mportant security fixes!
  • Upgrade to current Debian 9 (Stretch).
  • Upgrade tor to
  • Upgrade Tor Browser to 7.0a4.
  • Migrate from Icedove to Thunderbird (only cosmetic).
For more information, you may read release announcement and detailed changes log published by Tails development team.

Download Tails 3.0 RC1

Parsix GNU/Linux project is planning to shutdown

Parsix GNU/Linux team has announced their plan to shutdown the project, 6 months after release of Debian 9.0 Stretch. Thus Parsix will join hundreds of other GNU/Linux distributions died in their young ages.

Most of the GNU/Linux distributions in the past used to shutdown due to lack of financial and human resources or due to lack of upstream support. Though Parsix team has not mentioned explicit reason for shutting down the project.

The main purpose of Parsix was to provide an optimized desktop experience on top of stable Debian release in combination with latest GNOME release. The project was a success in accomplishing it's mission.
Parsix GNU/Linux project is going to shut down six months after the release of Debian GNU/Linux 9.0 a.k.a Stretch. Parsix GNU/Linux 8.15 (Nev) will be fully supported during this time and users should be able to upgrade their installations to Debian Stretch without any significant issues. We will make all necessary changes, and updates to ensure a smooth transition to Debian Stretch. We take this moment to thank all users and community members who supported this project throughout the years by using Parsix, making donations or spending their time to improve it. A more accurate time line will be announced once we have more information in regards to the official release date of Debian Stretch.
See original termination plan announcement in Parsix news page.

elementary OS 0.4.1 Loki released based on Ubuntu 16.04.2

Combining all package updates and other feature refinements since release of elementary OS 0.4, elementary OS team has announced release of an updated snapshot in 0.4.x Loki series. This snapshot makes use of all package updates from Ubuntu 16.04.2 and other user experience improvements made by elementary OS team during last 6 months.
Brand new AppCenter in elementary OS
One of the key highlights of elementary OS 0.4.1 is brand new AppCenter integrated with AppCentre Dashboard, a system developed by elementary team to enable 3rd party app developers to directly publish their app in AppCentre. In addition to usability improvements, updated AppCentre comes with increased stability and reliability. The AppCentre development was mainly driven by Denver AppCentre Spring.

Another notable highlight in elmentary 0.4.1 release Linux Kernel 4.8 inherited from Ubuntu 16.04.2 release. This kernel update will enable better hardware support, especially modern hardware like intel i7 processors.
We’re proud to announce the release of a major update to elementary OS Loki: version 0.4.1. This release brings a new hardware enablement stack, all of the updates to Loki thus far, plus a brand new AppCenter.

Notable updates include a significant upgrade to Epiphany, several fixes in Files, a redesigned metadata sidebar for Photos, new Bluetooth settings, a microphone indicator and bluetooth device controls in the sound indicator, a brightness slider in the power indicator, the ability to start an AppCenter search from the applications menu, Look & Feel updates, better support for CJK input methods, better translations, and more. if you’ve kept up to date, there’s nothing exclusive to 0.4.1, but it does mean fewer updates to download on new installs and a better experience out of the box. 0.4.1 isn’t just a minor bug fix release with a few bumped packages; this release includes a ton of new features that represent 8 months of solid development work.
For more information & screeenshots see original release announcement published in elementary blog.

Download elementary OS 0.4.1

Neptune Plasma 5 Edition gets another updated snapshot

The Neptune OS team has announced availability of another updated snapshot for project's rolling operating system featuring Plasma 5 desktop environment. The Neptune Plasma 5 20170512 comes with several updated packages and other improvements to provide a more reliable and stable Plasma desktop experience.

Being a rolling distribution, existing users of Neptune OS can make use of system update utility to get all updated packages and improvements. While, the updated snapshot is meant for fresh installs. Since this snapshot comes with recent updated packages, the bandwidth and time can be saved while updating the system after installation.

Some of the key highlights in updated Neptune OS snapshot can be listed as:
  • The Excalibur application menu has been updated and improved it to support scrolling through your favorites and showing more than 3 sysactions(?).
  • KDE Frameworks 5.33 is the base for this new release which includes several fixes and improvements.
  • KDE Applications has been updated to 17.04. This includes updates for applications like Dolphin, Konsole,  Ark, Kate and Kdenlive. 
  • Okular - pdf reader and Gwenview - image viewer is also included from KDE Applications.
  • The default login manager got changed from KDM to the newest version of SDDM including a Neptune like theming. 
  • The mailclient Icedove got replaced by Thunderbird 45.8.
  • Libc6 got an update to improve compatibility with newer software like VLC, mpv, X11, Mesa, E21 and more.
You can read the original announcement in Neptune OS blog.

Cinnamon Desktop 3.4 released with numerous improvements

Few days after release of github tarball, Linux Mint team has officially announced release of Cinnamon 3.4, latest stable release of traditional looking, modern desktop environment developed by Linux Mint team. This release includes numerous improvements to provide a more usable and reliable desktop environment.

Cinnamon Desktop in Manjaro
Some of the notable highlights in Linux Mint 3.4 release includes support for a wider range of Wacom devices, introduction of separate processes to handle nemo - the file manager and desktop, improved theme engine ..etc. Other changes includes:
  • Support for mozjs38 (CJS 3.4 uses mozjs38, CJS 3.2 uses mozjs24, Cinnamon 3.4 is compatible with either CJS 3.4 or CJS 3.2)
  • Support for additional Wacom devices (in particular, devices with no erasers or with only one button)
  • Multi-process Settings Daemon (each plugin now runs in its own separate process)
  • Cleaner session EXIT phase (this phase used to timeout after 1 seconds, it is now immediate)
  • Desktop grid
  • Separate processes for Nemo and the desktop handling
  • Simpler date formats for last-modified column in list-view
  • Wildcard support in file searches
  • Desktop actions in panel launcher
  • Ala Firefox support for middle-click and Ctrl key in Nemo navigation buttons to open new tabs
  • Theming engine improvements for systray and margins
  • Additional configuration options for the screensaver
  • New list widget for spices settings
  • More information shown in spices about dialogs
  • Support for lightdm-settings and manage-systemd-units in System Settings
  • File manager (inode/directory MIME handler) selection in Favorite Applications
  • Better support for the configuration of mice acceleration and sensitivity
For more information, see original release announcement published in segfault - official blog of linux mint project.

Manjaro 17.0 Gellivara gets another updated snapshot with version 17.0.2

Manjaro team is planning to ship another updated snapshot for Manjaro 17.0 Gellivara. The updated snapshot, ie, Manjaro 17.0.2 will be coming with minor bug fixes and a few updated packages.

Manjaro 17.0.2 will ship only x86_64 bit flavors for Xfce, Plasma and GNOME flavors. Though people using any Manjaro release can enjoy seamless updates using regular system update approach. The updated snapshots are mainly meant for new users.

Manjaro 17.0.2 Preview 2 - (Credit : scoopwoop)

Some of the notable highlights in Manjaro 17.0.2 Preview 2 can be summarized as follows:
  • 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 a more efficient way to handle libglx binaries
  • Some of our themes got updated and new got designed
  • updated to latest kernel, bluez, networkmanager and firefox
  • newest nvidia (long-lived) and gnome packages
  • plasma theme updates
  • fixes for pamac
  • fixed PXE boot
For more details and a preview video see original announcement in Manjaro Forums.

Solus gets better bluetooth support, project website has been revamped and other updates

Proving the constant commitment to provide a reliable operating system, Solus team has improved bluetooth support for Solus operating system. There were several reports regarding non-functioning of bluetooth A2DP audio in some systems. In order to address this, Solus team bouth one speaker and the bug was analyized in real time. The problem was identified as having root cause of a separate instance of pulseaudio started by GDM. This problem is hopefuly fixed by now.
Updated Solus Website
Another notable update from Solus project is redesigned website. The website addresses rendering issues on lower resolutions and chunky laptop vector design. Also, budgie related pictures has been removed from the website as budgie is established as a separate project.
We deployed the new website on Friday, listening to people’s feedback and addressing issues, such as some rendering bugs for lower-resolution displays and a chunky laptop vector design (we received a new vector design from a community member via our subreddit). Overall, the site has been well received and I look forward to applying the new, brighter aesthetic to various places on the site, such as the Blog, Help Center, and Press Center.

Ikey spent late Friday and the better part of Saturday moving our git repositories and patch management to Diffusion and Differential, applications within Phabricator, the development tracker we use.
For more updates from Solus project, see weekly news letter published in projects blog.

Solus 2017.04.18.0 is stable, fast and smooth; But how far it will go?

You can not see much negative comments about future of Solus despite of it's independent evolution. There were hundreds of Linux distributions which appeared in a morning and vanished in another. Even Solus OS, a predecessor of Solus is one among them. However, GNU/Linux enthusiasts apparently prefer to dream the long life of Solus, especially after considering the positive attitude shown by Ikey Doherty, core developer behind the project.

The DarkDuck blog has published a review on Solus 2017.04.18.0, an updated snapshot of Solus operating system. Though there are multiple desktops available (Budgie, GNOME and MATE) at the moment, the reviewer has considered the Budgie edition for the review, as it is expected to exhibit real nature of Solus being first member of Solus family. The review gives positive comments on aspects like boot time, minimal selection of packages, ability to customize budgie panel, out of the box multimedia support. The negative comment is mainly about memory. On first startup, gnome-sysetm-monitor is showing around 730MB memory usage, which quite huge for a desktop environment like budgie. Finally, the review praises the stability, smoothness and speed of the system, but discourages using it in production systems as it may go out of support at anytime, as many other awesome releases did.
The Live run of Solus was stable, fast and smooth. I especially liked the crispness of the fonts, windows and of all the elements.

At the same time, if you want to use Solus Budgie as a production OS, I'd recommend you to think twice. The main show-stopper for me would be the unknown format for supported packages. It locks down the number of available applications to whatever is available in official repositories, and there are already some gaps. Of course, there are some doubtful decisions on default set of applications and default desktop items, but that's easy to fix.
Read complete review in DarkDuck blog.

Arch based Apricity OS is discontinued

The short history of GNU/Linux operating systems has witnessed rise and fall of several distributions, ranging from giants like Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) and Mandriva Linux to hundreds of other small distributions. One more GNU/Linux distribution has joined the list of discontinued projects. It is none other than Arch based Apricity OS.

Apricity OS (formerly Cinnarch) was one of the emerging derivative of Arch Linux. Like the base distribution, it had also followed a rolling release model. The project was well known from it's beautiful and intuitive user interface built on top of GNOME shell. This project used to ship with a nice Gtk+ theme, icon themes and wisely chosen applications.

Credit : Apricity OS
Unfortunately, like many other distributions, Apricity OS was also compelled to discontinue, due lack of human resources to support the project. Announcing the retirement, Apricity OS team has made a small announcement in projects github page.
Like all good things, Apricity OS must come to an end. It has been our privilege to develop the operating system, and to be a part of a community as great as our own. But unfortunately, we no longer have time for its required upkeep. We hope that your time using our operating system has been enjoyable, and that you continue to explore using Linux in the future. You all, our users, have made this experience incredible for us, and we cannot thank you enough for the support.

The Apricity OS Team