NetBSD 8.0 RC1 is available now

Mr Martin Husemann on behalf of NetBSD project has announced the availability of NetBSD 8.0 RC1, first release candidate for upcoming NetBSD 8.0 stable release. NetBSD is an independently developed, BSD like operating system that support a wide variety of architectures.

NetBSD 8.0 RC1 being a development release is most likely to contain bugs and stability issues, hence it is not recommended to use in production systems. The main audience of a release candidate is the community testers and curious users who are eager to see the new features. This release candidate will give a clear idea on what we can expect from the final release.

NetBSD 8.0 RC1 banner

What is new in NetBSD 8.0 RC1?

There are several changes in NetBSD 8.0 since the launch of NetBSD 7.0. These changes can be summarized as:
- USB stack rework, USB3 support added
 - In-kernel audio mixer
 - Reproducible builds
 - PaX MPROTECT (W^X) memory protection enforced by default on some
   architectures with fine-grained memory protection and suitable
   ELF formats: i386, amd64, evbarm, landisk, pmax
 - PaX ASLR enabled by default on:
   i386, amd64, evbarm, landisk, pmax, sparc64
 - MKPIE (position independent executables) by default for userland
   on: i386, amd64, arm, m68k, mips, sh3, sparc64
 - added can(4), a socket layer for CAN busses
 - added ipsecif(4) for route-based VPNs
 - made part of the network stack MP-safe
    NET_MPSAFE kernel option is required to try
 - WAPBL stability and performance improvements
 - On i386/amd64 cpus:
    Meltdown mitigation: SVS (separate virtual address spaces)
    Spectre mitigation (support in gcc, used by default for kernels)
    SMAP support
    (U)EFI bootloader
 - Various new drivers:
   nvme(4) for modern solid state disks
   iwm(4), a driver for Intel Wireless devices (AC7260, AC7265, AC3160...)
   ixg(4): X540, X550 and newer device support.
   ixv(4): Intel 10G Ethernet virtual function driver.
   bta2dpd - new Bluetooth Advanced Audio Distribution Profile daemon
 - Many evbarm kernels now use FDT (flat device tree) information
   (loadable at boot time from an external file) for device configuration,
   the number of kernels has decreased but the numer of boards has vastly
   increased
 - Lots of updates to 3rd party software included:
   GCC 5.5 with support for Address Sanitizer and Undefined Behavior Sanitizer
   GDB 7.12
   GNU binutils 2.27
   Clang/LLVM 3.8.1
   OpenSSH 7.6
   OpenSSL 1.0.2k
   mdocml 1.14.1
   acpica 20170303
   ntp 4.2.8p11-o
   dhcpcd 7.0.3
   Lua 5.3.4
For more information and download links, refer NetBSD 8.0 RC1 announcement published in project's announcement mailing list. 

Finally, Trisquel 8.0 Flidas is here with MATE Desktop

Finally, the Trisquel team has announced the release of Trisquel 8.0 Flidas, latest stable release of Ubuntu based GNU/Linux distribution that strictly follows free software foundation guidelines. This release brings an end to the long standing uncertainties in Trisquel community regarding Trisquel 8.0. It will be the first release of project featuring MATE as default desktop environment.

Trisuel 8.0 is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and will provide critical bug fixes and security updates till 2021. It has been almost two years since the availability of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. Considering the history of trisquel releases, there will be a gap of 6 months between an Ubuntu release and it's corresponding Trisquel release. But Trisquel 8 release has broken this schedule and has reached till the next Ubuntu LTS release. In order to avoid this kind of delay future, Trisquel team will immediately start working Trisquel 9.0 and it will be released after 6 months of it's base release.

A preview of Trisquel 8.0

Delayed release means more stability

Trisquel 8.0 testing images were ready for more than one year now. It has undergone through testing by the team and the volunteers. Also, the Free Software Foundation is using it for LibrePlanet conferences since last year. Their new server infrastructure is also powered by Trisquel 8.

What is new in Trisquel 8.0?

Trisquel 8.0 brings all crucial package updates from Ubuntu 16.04 which ranges from minor applications to Kernel modules. It includes an updated Kernel and related components to provide a better support for modern hardware resources.

A biggest change in Trisquel 8.0 is use of MATE as default desktop environment. Earlier versions of Trisquel used to ship a tweaked version of GNOME 2.x. When GNOME foundation discontinued GNOME 2.x project in favor of GNOME shell, Trisquel also adopted GNOME 3 fallback in Trisquel 7. Since it requires some proprietary drivers to work properly, Trisquel team opted to use MATE Desktop. It is an ideal choice because it retains all good characteristics of GNOME 2.x. The team has nicely tweaked it to retain the user experience in previous releases.
The next most important component is Abrowser 59 (based on Mozilla Firefox), which is not only fully-featured and quite faster than before, it has also been audited and tweaked to maximize the user's privacy without compromising on usability. Abrowser will not start any network connections on its own (most popular web browsers connect for extension updates, telemetry, geolocation and other data-collection as soon as you open them, even if you haven't even typed an address yet!) and it has a list of easy to set, privacy-enhancing settings that the user can opt-in depending on their needs. As a companion to it, and based on Mozilla Thunderbird, the IceDove mail client is also fully updated and set up for privacy.
For more information, read Trisquel 8.0 release announcement published in project's website.

ReactOS 0.4.8 released with improved user experience, stability & NT6+ support

The ReactOS project has announced the release of ReactOS 0.4.8, latest tri-monthly release of windows binary compatible, open source operating system. This release brings various user experience improvements, kernel stability fixes, and better NT6+ software support, especially for games.


The power of open source

Beginning from 0.4.7 release, ReactOS team has migrated most of the development activities to Github. This has significantly helped the project to get contributions from the enthusiastic community out there. Within this short span, ReactOS project was forked 248 times. The project has received 209 pull requests and 1094 commits in this period, which is summed up in ReactOS 0.4.8.

Refining the user experience

One of the prime concern of ReactOS is improving the user experience. Towards this goal, ReactOS 0.4.8 brings some crucial improvements on Taskbar configurations to fix *always on top*, auto-hide, and toggle lock features. Also, now balloon notifications are behaving properly and support notification queue. The notifications from killed or terminated applications will be automatically removed from the queue.

Multiple icon selections on the desktop were impossible prior to 0.4.8 release. Now, it has been fixed and also the renaming and deletion of files and folders work reliably.

Other user experience related improvements includes shell autocompletion support, ability to unmount network drives directly from explorer, and the eject and disconnect item is implemented on the context menu.

"From the visual point of view, several glitches related to the redrawing of static text elements, scrollbars, button captions, fonts and text background colors were fixed in this version. As a bonus, now ReactOS also detects more themes and is much faster when rendering big amounts of text" - mentions the release announcement.

Improved NT6+ Software support

As a part of leaving NT5 behind, ReactOS is expanding its target to NT6+ platforms which include Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10. The required logic for this is getting implemented in NTDLL and LDR. Kernel32 is now capable to support NT6+ applications and the shim compatibility layer is also getting improved. Although these changes are in the experimental state, ReactOS 0.4.8 can provide support for recent applications with NT6+ dependency.

For more information on ReactOS 0.4.8, read release announcement published on project's website.

Sabayon 18.05 is available now, brings a user friendly Gentoo experience

The Sabayon Linux team has announced the availability of Sabayon Linux 18.05 final release. This rolling snapshot includes various package updates, thoroughly updated bug fixes and enhancements which is a result of continuous discussions held within the team.

Sabayon 18.05 banner

What is Sabayon Linux?

Sabayon is a Gentoo based GNU/Linux distribution that is oriented towards beginners and advanced users alike. It follows a rolling release model so that, users don't have to worry about the massive system update or reinstallation once the system is installed. The ultimate aim of Sabayon is to provide a simple working environment to the users without additional configurations.

What is new in Sabayon 18.05?

As Sabayon follows a rolling release model, the main purpose of providing a new release to include up-to-date package and save the time and bandwidth required for update process after installation. Towards this goal, Sabayon 18.05 also includes recent package updates from Gentoo world. The main highlights of Sabayon 18.05 release can be listed as:
  • Linux Kernel 4.14. Beginning from this release, Sabayon is planning to provide Long Term Supported (LTS) releases only with the release, so that users can enjoy a more reliable experience.
  • GNOME 3.24
  • KDE 5.12. The team has also dropped support for Qt4 in this release as it has already reached its end of life in 2015.
  • MATE 1.18
  • Xfce 4.12

What are future plans?

It is very difficult for small teams to have a vivid plan and perform operations as per plan. However, Sabayon has listed a few plans after the announcement of 18.05 stable release.
  • Next release will be made available in this year only.
  • Maintain a single display manager across all variations.
  • Replace anaconda installer with Calamares
  • Improve Entropy, the package manager.
  • ..etc
For more information, see Sabayon 18.05 release announcement published on project's website.

Manjaro 17.1.7 celebrates the diversity with 12 preconfigured images

The Manjaro Linux has achieved a lot within a short span of time. It is a distribution that makes the geeky Arch Linux accessible for the masses who don't know or don't want to play with the messiness of Arch. Manjaro distributions are well known for providing a reliable experience for it's user ranging from absolute beginners to experts. Now, there is one more reason to choose Manjaro as your default operating system. The latest release of Manjaro, Manjaro 17.1.7 provides 12 preconfigure images to install the operating system.

When Arch provides the base installation image and asks the users to install packages as per their requirements, Manjaro provides several preconfigured editions to attract users from diverse backgrounds. Each Manjaro edition features a desktop environment and provides a set of applications to satisfy users basic needs. Some of the editions are officially maintained by Manjaro team itself, while some other editions are maintained by the community members. Instead of providing a vanilla desktop experience, most of the Manjaro editions will be shipped with a branded theme and icons.

A preview of Manjaro Editions (Courtesy : Manjaro Project)

Manjaro Official Editions.

Manjaro team officially supports are maintains 3 different flavors, Xfce Edition, Plasma Edition and GNOME Edition.

Manjaro Xfce Edition - As the name indicates, Manjaro Xfce edition features lightweight, yet versatile desktop environment. It is mainly developed for old and low resource machines, while it works well on latest machines also. The Manjaro Xfce edition ships Xfce desktop without compromising the visual aesthetics and user experience.

KDE Edition - This edition features KDE Plasma desktop environment and provides a modern user experience. While very user-friendly and certainly flashy, KDE is also quite resource heavy and noticably slower to start and use than a desktop environment such as XFCE.

GNOME Edition - This is a new member in official manjaro flavors. It features GNOME shell with several applications and tools.

Manjaro Community Editions

In addition to the official editions, there are some manjaro editions maintained by the community. Depending on the interest of users and availability of resources to work with, some of these editions provides regular updated images while some other provides updated images in a while. At the moment, all of these flavors provides Manjaro 17.1.7 images.

The manjaro community flavors can be listed as follows:
  • Awesome
  • Bspwm
  • Budgie
  • Cinnamon
  • Deepin
  • I3
  • Lxde
  • Mate
In addition to these 11 flavors, Manjaro also provides a special image called Manjaro-Architect. It helps you to install the operating system as you wish.

Download Manjaro 17.1.7

You can download Manjaro 17.1.7 images from project's official download page or from new download partner - OSDN.

SparkyLinux 4.8 RC released, final release will come on mid of May

The SparkyLinux team has announced the availability of SparkyLinux 4.8 RC, latest development release in project's 4.x series. The final release is expected to arrive on middle of may after thorough testing of current release candidate.

What is new in Sparky 4.8 RC?

As a member in 4.x series, Sparky 4.8 is also based on Debian 9.x Stretch branch. It includes various package updates from base project and also includes various bug fixes and improved localization support. The main highlights in this release can be summarized as:
  • Complete set of updated packages from Debian Stretch repositories till 11th April 2018.
  • Linux Kernel 4.9.82
  • Calamares installer 3.1.12 which provides option to install OS on encrypted disk.
  • added new option of live system booting which lets you choose a localization (via kernel parameter) and keyboard layout (via a new script)
  • sparky tools which need the root access use pkexec now instead of gksu/gksudo/kdesudo/etc.
  • added packages: xinit (provides startx command) and bleachbit (for cleaning the system)
  • temporary removed gscreenshot and replaced with sparky-screenshot
  • sparky advanced installer features 4 localizations now: Brazilian, English, German and Polish (more translations needed!); fixed removing partitions from the partition list after choosing and used them;

Future plans

The SparkyLinux 4.8 final release is scheduled to release on middle of May 2018. This release will provide a full version with LXDE environment, Minimal GUI edition with OpenBox and a minimal CLI for advanced users.

Get Sparky Linux 4.8 RC

Sparky 4.8 RC images can be downloaded from project's development page or you can also make use of following links.

SparkyLinux 4.8 RC MinimalGUI
line
32 bit (i686 non-pae)64 bit (x86_64/amd64)
SourceForge
ISO imageISO image
Linux Tracker
TorrentTorrent
Package List
PackageList.txtPackageList.txt
md5/sha sums
AllSums.txtAllSums.txt
Signature
SignatureSignature
ISO size
814 MB811 MB

Trisquel 8 Flidas release candidate is available for testing

Mr David, on behalf of Trisquel team has announced the availability of Trisquel 8 release candidate for testing. This release comes with all features and changes that we can expect in final release. Trisquel 8 Flidas is scheduled to release on 16th April 2018 if there is no major blocking bugs found during the testing period.

Trisquel 8 Flidas Preview

Trisquel 8 Flidas is arriving after two years of it's base release, ie, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. In earlier days, Trisquel releases used to come within one year after base releases. This tradition is broken by Trisquel 8 and it is justified by lack of human and financial resources required for development and testing activities.

Why Trisquel is important?

Trisquel is one among the few distributions that adheres to the free software guidelines issued by Free Software Foundation. It is shipped by removing all proprietary components and drivers from upstream projects. Trisquel is apparently the most active distribution in this series. So if a beginner user want to stick with 100% free software, he should go with Trisquel releases and a delayed release is not a happy news for them.

However, for advanced users, they have options like Parabolla Linux, or they can install a Linux Libre - Kernel in their existing system, which will ensure their base system is free from proprietary blobs and drivers.

What is new in Trisquel 8 Flidas?

Trisquel 8 Flidas is a distribution based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release. In addition to all benefits from Ubuntu release, Trisquel 8 have following features.
  • Trisquel 8 is the first release from the project that ships MATE Desktop. Earlier releases used to ship GNOME 2.x and GNOME 3.x classic mode after discontinuation of GNOME 2.x project. The MATE Desktop is customised to look like the DE in previous releases and it provides a familiar user experience.
  • Removed all proprietary blobs and components from Ubuntu
  • Fixed all USB boot related issues reported with previous daily images.

Download Trisquel 8 RC

Trisquel 8 release candidate images can be downloaded from project's official download page.

Krita 4.0.0 released with major features and improvements

The Krita development team has announced the release of Krita 4.0.0, the latest major release of free, cross platform supported, digital painting program developed by a group of artists who want to provide affordable art tools for everyone. This release introduces several new feature and improvements to take digital painting experience to the next level.

Krita 4.0.0 banner (Courtesy: Krita Website)
Krita 4.0.0 banner (Courtesy: Krita Website)

What is new in Krita 4.0.0 release?

Krita 4.0.0 is the major stable release of the project. Hence, it includes several cool improvements which include but not limited to better vector tools, SVG support, a new text tool, support for python scripting ..etc.

Some of the other notable changes in Krita includes
  • A new splash screen created by Tyson Tan which shows Kiki among the plum blossoms. Of course, splash screen not an improvement in the productivity perspective, but it helps to create a really good impression on the product.
  • The easy coloring of line arts with new Colorize Mask Tool
  • Now, you can add masks to the brush tips which provides a better lively effect.
  • The entire brush set has been redesigned in Krita 4. It also includes the brush set from Krita 3, however, it is kept as a separate package and is disabled by default.
You can read a detailed list of changes in Krita 4.0.0 release notes published by the project.

Where can I get Krita 4.0.0?

Being a cross platform supported application, Krita is available for Windows, GNU/Linux and macOS operating systems. 

For windows, Krita provides an application installer and a stand alone, portable alternative. Both these downloads are currently available for 64 bit systems only. Currently, there is no 32 bit alternative for windows.

LibreOffice 5.4.6 released with more than 60 bug fixes

The Document Foundation has announced the immediate availability of LibreOffice 5.4.6, sixth minor release in LibreOffice 5.4.x series. This release made more robust and stable with over 60 bug fixes and is an ideal choice for main stream users and enterprises.

What is new in LibreOffice 5.4.6?

LibreOffice 5.4.6 is a maintenance release in LibreOffice 5.4.x series. The purpose of this release is to make the productivity suite more robust and reliable to deploy on enterprise ecosystems. To serve this purpose, the team has fixed almost 60 bugs in this release.

If you are looking for LibreOffice suite with latest features, the you should probably go for LibreOffice 6.0 release.

Following are some of the notable bug fixes shipped in LibreOffice 5.4.6 release.
  • Fixed the issue of losing parent child relation ship while saving and opening documents.
  • Resolved some unexpected crash while opening LibreOffice.
  • Fixed shrinking of images when image size is greater than slide size in impress.
  • Fixed libvisio issue that generates svg:fill-rule attribute which is round-tripped to a non-well-formed XML document by LO
  • Fixed issue of missing content in presentation mode.
  • MS visual Foxpro created *.DBF files can be opened now.
  • Fixed the issue of rendering a white rectangle around content in impress presentations.
  • LibreOffice 5.4.6 is configured to install in parallel with LibreOffice 5.3 in GNU/Linux and macOS. However, both can't be run simultaneously.
For a detailed list of changes, refer LibreOffice 5.4.6 RC1 and RC2 release notes.

Where can I get LibreOffice 5.4.6?

LibreOffice 5.4.6 can be downloaded from project's download page. There are multiple installation images for RPM based systems, DEB based systems, Windows and macOS.

If you are planning to use LibreOffice in a business environment, it is highly recommended to get support from certified LibreOffice partners. It will also give you long term supported versions of LibreOffice.

ArchLabs 2018.02 released with redesigned AL-Hello, obmenu and other imrovements

Mr Dobbie03,  on behalf of ArchLabs project has announced the release of ArchLabs 2018.02, a stable snapshot of Arch based, rolling GNU/Linux distribution featuring openbox desktop environment.

Preview of obmenu in ArchLabs 2018.02
Preview of obmenu in ArchLabs 2018.02
In addition to various updates from base repositories, ArchLabs 2018.02 brings some important changes. The main highlights in ArchLabs 2018.02 release can be summarized as follows:
  • The GoRice package is removed from the installation image as it created no purpose to the regular users.
  • The AL-Hello applications has undergone major changes. One of the notable change includes the transformation of `additional installation options` as a multi-choice screen instead of existing paginated multiscreen.
  • The obmenu has been updated to include most popular applications. The team is open to accept suggestions on apps to be included in future releases. Also, there is on option in obmenu to directly open the package manager pacli and install any available application. Obmenu generator is retained in AL-Hello, so that curious users can make use of that.
  • The AL-installer (based on ABIF installer) has undergone some minor changes and bug fixes.
  • The default wallpaper has been modified a little bit.
  • The ArchLabs Geany theme has had a tidy up also.  A few visual glitches have been cleaned up
For more information on ArchLabs 2018.02 release, see original release announcement published in projects blog.

Tor Browser 8.0a2 is released

The Tor Project has announced the release of Tor Browser 8.0a2, latest development release of secure and open source web browser dedicated to protect anonymity and privacy of users while surfing internet. This release comes with various updated components and bug fixes to take another foot step towards the mission of this project.

Tor Browser Banner
Tor Browser Banner

What is Tor and Tor Browser?

Tor is a software that protect users by channelling communications through a distributed network of relay servers run by volunteers around the world. It prevent people and software from understanding the browsing habits of users by analyzing the origin of request and the sites visited. It also helps to overcome the censorship endorsed by govt and authorities.

Tor Browser is a cross platform supported web browser that comes with preconfigured Tor. It helps users to anonymously browse the internet without downloading any additional software or package. Tor Browser is portable and can run on multiple platforms like Windows, GNU/Linux or macOS.

What are new features in Tor Browser 8.0a2

Tor Browser 8.0a2 is a successor of version 8.0a1 and it has following changes from the predecessor.
Common Changes
  • Based on Tor 0.3.3.2-alpha
  • Torbutton to 1.9.9 - which includes bug fixes and translation update
  • Tor Launcher 0.2.15 which fixes the issue of not escaping special characters in proxy password.
  • Updated HTTPS Everywhere to 2018.1.29
  • Noscript 5.1.8.4
  • meek 0.29
  • Revert bug 18619 (we are not disabling IndexedDB any longer)
  • Rip out optimistic data socks handshake variant (#3875)
  • Changes to `intl.accept.languages` get overwritten after restart
  • Add [System+Principal] to the NoScript whitelist
  • Disable Range requests used by pdfjs as they are not isolated
  • Make e10s/non-e10s Tor Browsers indistinguishable
  • Disable randomised Firefox HTTP cache decay user tests
  • Add a tbb_version.json file
  • Include git hash in tor --version
Also, there are some platform specific fixes like AF_INET/AF_INET6 related issues in macOS and GNU/Linux.

Where can I download Tor Browser 8.0a2?

Tor Browser 8.0a2 is available in projects official download page. This page will always include links to latest alpha release. Alternatively, you can make use of following direct links.

All these links are pointing to English version of Tor Browser 8.0a2.

For windows (32/64 bit , 64 bit)
For GNU/Linux (32 bit, 64 bit)
For macOS (64 bit)

elementary OS creates a brand new installer in collaboration with System76

In a recent blog post, Mr Daniel Fore, the founding member at elementary OS has shared the details on a brand new installer in collaboration with System76, a popular hardware vendor shipping GNU/Linux based laptops. For this installer, elementary team will be working on front end, while System76 will be working on back end.
A screen of proposed elementary OS installer

What is need for a new installer?

Traditionally, elementary OS and Pop!_OS are shipping Ubiquity, the Ubuntu installer, for installing the system. It is turned out that, Ubiquity has become bloated with a lot of code and functionalities and also, it requires significant effort to maintain a custom version to meet the requirement of different distributions.

The purpose of the proposed installer is to provide a simple, straightforward and easily customizable system that dumps the operating system to the disk in an efficient way. It will improve the user experience in both OS perspective and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) perspective.

What are the plans for proposed installer & how much is achieved so far?

In order to make the proposed installer a reality, elementary OS team will be working in collaboration with the System76. The elementary OS team will be working on the front end and the System76 will be working on the back end of the installer.

The initial idea for front end was to rewrite existing Ubiquity UI using Vala, by following elementary HIG principles. However, it was difficult due to the complexity of existing code written in python. It requires a lot of effort to make even a slight change in the UI. The System76 has also wanted to ship some brand information on installer without many changes.

Initially, the team has removed some unnecessary screens from the installer, like network configuration as it is not the primary goal. Later, the elementary team has worked continuously on specifications and designs and has finally agreed with System76 on the design. The team has started writing non-functional bits of UI on Gtk+ and Vala.

Before starting work on the back end, the team has analyzed various existing installers like Ubiquity, Anaconda, Calamares, ..etc to use it with the redesigned front end. Finally, the team has arrived at a conclusion that, existing installers are simply over functional, outdated or complicated. Hence, both teams agreed on building a very simple, open source, purpose-made installer library that just worked to get an OS onto a drive as quickly and simply as possible. This idea was implemented with a title distinst. This library lets users to dump the OS onto a drive extremely quickly and reports the relevant data back to the front-end. to the front-end.

When can we expect the brand new installer?

The System76 is planning to include the new installer as part of the upcoming Pop!_OS 18.04 release in April. While the elementary OS prefers to include the installer in upcoming Juno release if it is ready and mature enough. If the plan does n't go well elementary 5.0 Juno will also include Ubiquity as the default installer.

For further details on proposed elementary OS installer, read the official blog post published in elementary blogs.