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today's leftovers

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  • Mike Hoye: Navigational Instruments

    A decade ago I got to sit in on a talk by one of the designers of Microsoft Office who’d worked on the transition to the new Ribbon user interface. There was a lot to learn there, but the most interesting thing was when he explained the core rationale for the redesign: of the top ten new feature requests for Office, every year, six to eight of them were already features built into the product, and had been for at least one previous version. They’d already built all this stuff people kept saying they wanted, and nobody could find it to use it.

    It comes up periodically at my job that we have the same problem; there are so many useful features in Firefox that approximately nobody knows about, even people who’ve been using the browser every day and soaking in the codebase for years. People who work here still find themselves saying “wait, you can do that?” when a colleague shows them some novel feature or way to get around the browser that hasn’t seen a lot of daylight.

    In the hopes of putting this particular peeve to bed, I did a casual survey the other day of people’s favorite examples of underknown or underappreciated features in the product, and I’ve collected a bunch of them here. These aren’t Add-ons, as great as they are; this is what you get from Firefox out of the proverbial box. I’m going to say “Alt” and “Ctrl” a lot here, because I live in PC land, but if you’re on a Mac those are “Option” and “Command” respectively.

    Starting at the top, one of the biggest differences between Firefox and basically everything else out there is right there at the top of the window, the address bar that we call the Quantumbar.

  • FFQueue – SparkyLinux

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: FFQueue

  • How to install the PurpIE Gnome Shell theme on Linux

    PurpIE (AKA Rounded-Rectangle-Purple) is a Gnome Shell theme that turns your Gnome desktop from the basic black/grey/blue colors to a refreshing purple. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install PurpIE and set it up as the default theme.

More in Tux Machines

Zotero: An Open Source App to Help You Collect & Share Research

Zotero is a completely open-source project that you can find on GitHub. It aims to help you easily collect, organize, add notes, and share your research. And, all of that without being a cloud-based service, it is completely offline. So, your research notes belong to you. Of course, unless you want to sync it for collaboration purpose, for which you may have to refer the documentation. To give you a head start, you can either opt for a WebDAV storage or just create a Zotero account to sync and share your research easily. Read more

GhostBSD 20.11.28 Release Announcement

I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.11.28. This release comes with a new live system that leverages ZFS, compression, and replication first introduced in FuryBSD by Joe Maloney. The 20.11.28 release contains numerous improvements, including OS fixes for linuxulator to improve Linux Steam performance, an updated kernel, and GhostBSD userland updates. Userland updates include a MATE desktop upgrade to version 1.24.1, Software Station performance improvements, and numerous application updates. Read more

Linux 5.10-rc6

For the first part of the week, it really looked like things were
calming down quite nicely, and I mentally already went "Ahh,
Thanksgiving week, this is going to be a nice small, calm rc".

And then Friday rolled around, and everybody sent me their pull
requests for the week, and it all looks very normal again.

But at least this week isn't unusually bigger than normal - it's a
pretty normal rc6 stat-wise.  So unless we have some big surprising
left-overs coming up, I think we're in good shape.

And the diffstat looks nice and flat too,  which is a sign of just
widespread small fixes, rather than some big last-minute changes. The
exception is a chunk of fixes to the new vidtv driver, but that is not
only a new driver, it's a virtual test-driver for validation and
development rather than something that would affect users.

That vidtv driver shows up very clearly in the patch stats too, but
other than that it all looks very normal: mostly driver updates (even
ignoring the vidtv ones), with the usual smattering of small fixes
elsewhere - architecture code, networking, some filesystem stuff.

So I'm feeling pretty good about 5.10, and I hope I won't be proven
wrong about that. But please do test,

                 Linus

Read more

Review: Trisquel GNU/Linux 9.0

Trisquel GNU/Linux is an entirely free (libre) distribution based on Ubuntu. Trisquel offers a variety of desktop editions, all of which are stripped of non-free software components. The project is one of the few Linux distributions endorsed by the Free Software Foundation and a rare project that attempts to both be entirely free and friendly to less experienced Linux users. The Trisquel website lists several desktop editions. The main edition (which is a 2.5GB download) features the MATE desktop environment while the Mini edition is about half the size and runs LXDE. There is also a KDE Plasma edition (called Triskel) along with Trisquel TOAST which runs the Sugar learning platform. Finally, there is a minimal net-install option for people who are comfortable building their system from the ground up using a command line interface. The release announcement for Trisquel 9.0 is fairly brief and does not mention many features. The bulk of the information is provided in this paragraph: "The default web browser Abrowser, our freedom and privacy respecting take on Mozilla's browser, provides the latest updates from upstream for a great browsing experience. Backports provide extended hardware support." Though it does not appear to be mentioned specifically in the release announcement, Trisquel 9.0 looks to be based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS packages, with some applications backported. [...] On the whole I found Trisquel to be pleasant to use, easy to set up, and pretty capable out of the box. I really like how fast it performed tasks and how uncluttered/unbusy the desktop felt. The one problem I had with Trisquel was the lack of wireless networking support. The distribution strives for software freedom (as defined by the Free Software Foundation) and this means no non-free firmware, drivers, or applications. This slightly limits its hardware support compared to most Linux distributions. It also means no easy access to applications such as Steam, Chrome, Spotify, and so on. This may make Trisquel a less practical operating system to some, but that is sort of the point: Trisquel takes a hard stance in favour of software freedom over convenience. If you are a person who does not use non-free software and doesn't need non-free wireless support, then Trisquel is probably the best experience you can have with an entirely free Linux distribution. It is painless to set up, offers several desktop flavours, and runs quickly. For free software enthusiasts I would highly recommend giving Trisquel a try. Read more