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Desktop Linux: Ready for the mainstream

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Linux

It's been a decade since Linux proponents first argued their OS was ready for mainstream adoption. Yet for all intents and purposes, Linux remains nonexistent on "regular" people's desks. Sure, developers and other tech experts use Linux, but that's about it.

So when my colleague Neil McAllister, author of InfoWorld's Fatal Exception blog, made the case for desktop Linux, I snorted, "Give me a break! Desktop Linux is nowhere." He challenged me to try it myself. He had a point: It had been a decade since I fired up any desktop Linux distro. So I accepted his challenge.

My verdict: Desktop Linux is a great choice for many regular Joes with basic computer needs. And not just on netbooks.

In fact, I found that it makes a lot of sense to standardize office workers on desktop Linux. I now understand why governments in Asia and Europe say they want to get off the Microsoft train and shift to Linux. I thought these were empty threats meant to get better licensing deals or to blunt some of Microsoft's monopolistic power, but as it turns out, desktop Linux is a worthwhile option for both public organizations and private companies.

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today's howtos

Software: LibreELEC 8.0.1 (Kodi), MKVToolnix 10.0.0, Claws Mail 3.15)

  • LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.0.1 MR
    LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.0.1 MR is available bringing Kodi v17.1, hardware support for the Raspberry Pi Zero W, improved software HEVC decoding on RPi3/CM3 hardware, driver support for Fe Pi audio cards, and support for Cirrus Logic DAC audio cards (thanks to @HiassofT). The bump to Kodi v17.1 resolves several upgrade and user-experience issues we have seen with the initial Kodi v17.0 release, and happiness is enhanced for users wearing an official LibreELEC tee-shirt or hoodie.
  • LibreELEC 8.0.1 Is Out Based on Kodi 17.1, Adds Support for Raspberry Pi Zero W
    LibreELEC developers announced the release and general availability of the first maintenance update to the major LibreELEC 8.0 stable series of the Linux-based operating system built around the Kodi open-source media center.
  • NetworkManager 1.8 to Support Handling of PINs for PKCS#11 Tokens as Secrets
    Lubomir Rintel announced that the development of the NetworkManager 1.8 major release has kicked off with the availability of the first snapshot, versioned 1.7.2, for public testing.
  • MKVToolnix 10.0.0 Open-Source MKV Manipulator Improves H.264 and H.265 Parsers
    MKVToolnix developer Moritz Bunkus released a new major branch of his popular, open-source and cross-platform MKV (Matroska) manipulation software, versioned 10.0.0.
  • Claws Mail 3.15.0
    Claws Mail is a GTK+ based, user-friendly, lightweight, and fast email client.
  • Claws Mail 3.15 Open-Source Email Client Brings New Hidden Preferences, Bugfixes
    Claws Mail, the lightweight and open-source GTK+ based email client for Linux, UNIX, and Windows operating systems, was updated recently to version 3.15.0, a maintenance update that adds new functionalities and addresses a lot of bugs. Claws Mail 3.15.0 comes more than four months after the first point release to the 3.14 series of the application, and among the new features implemented we can mention a bunch of options that should help users configure Claws Mail when opening a selected message, such as checkboxes on the Display and Summaries page of Preferences.

Games for GNU/Linux

  • It looks like we may be getting a Planescape Torment Enhanced Edition
    Back in January Beamdog was looking for testers on a new game. Now the Planescape website has a countdown timer. It's legitimate too, as tweeted by the Beamdog and the D&D twitter accounts.
  • RTS game 'Deadhold' could come to Linux, considering an experimental Beta
    The developers of Deadhold [Steam, Official Site] want to support Linux and they are thinking about releasing an experimental Linux Beta.
  • Ten amazing Linux games you can play without WINE
    Those of us who have taken up the mantle of a Linux gamer know that our path is rarely easy. For a long time, few games were released for our chosen platform. Those that were shipped riddled with bugs, compatibility issues and rarely worked out of the box. Getting games to work require using WINE and deeply complex almost arcane workarounds to force windows games to work on our quirky systems. Unfortunately, games rarely worked well and usually required hours of complex tweaking in order to get them to function properly. To top this all of, there were graphics driver problems, optimization issues, peripherals rarely worked out of the box and our lives were generally difficult.

Ubuntu-Based LXLE 16.04.2 Gets an RC Build, Promises to Be the Best Release Ever

LXLE 16.04.2 is on its way to becoming the best release ever of the Ubuntu-based distribution built around the lightweight LXDE desktop environment, and it just received a Release Candidate (RC) build. Continuing to get all the goodies from Ubuntu 16.04.2 LTS (Xenial Xerus), LXLE 16.04.2 Release Candidate is here only two weeks after the last Beta milestone, and adds quite a bunch of improvements and bug fixes. These include a reconfigured menu layout to be less cluttered for navigation, and a revamped Control Menu to act as a dynamic Control Panel. Read more