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10 Best Linux Desktop Environments And Their Comparison

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Linux is all about what you want and having it from the ocean of free and open source software. The same applies while performing a comparison of desktop environments as they comprise of different applications and a GUI via which the user interacts with the operating system. Just like a plethora of Linux-based free operating systems, are many options available and our list of best Linux desktop environment and their comparison includes the likes of KDE, Cinnamon, Xfce, GNOME, etc.

The Linux world is full of open source software. You have the option of choosing from hundreds of distributions and customize them as per your will. No one slaps you with a copyright even if you change the source code of a distro to fork your Linux distro and release it with a new name. That’s the beauty of free software and open source. Only one thing the creators may ask you is to give them proper credits because they have also invested their efforts and time. Well, that’s a different story.

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Elementary OS Juno will be version 5.0, not 0.5

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A new version of elementary OS arrives in the spring, and when it does it’ll have a number of significant new features and changes on offer.

Among them a small yet appreciable bump to the version number. Yes elementary OS 0.5 Juno will actually be elementary OS 5.0.

Previous releases of elementary OS are numbered 0.1, 0.2 and so on, with 0.4 being the most recent release. That trend won’t continue hereon-in; the next elementary OS release will in fact be version 5.0, and not 0.5 as many had expected.

Why the switch?

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GNU: FreeIPMI 1.6.1 and GNU Hurd Update

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  • FreeIPMI 1.6.1 Released With Performance Improvements, Better IPv6 Support

    Albert Chu of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announced the release this weekend of FreeIPMI, the GNU project implementing Intelligent Platform Management Interface v1.5/2.0 support.

    This in-band/out-of-band IPMI software features many improvements with its v1.6.1 milestone.

  • GNU Hurd Hardware Support Remains In Very Rough Shape For 2018

    Yesterday at FOSDEM 2018 Hurd developer Samuel Thibault talked about the work done on this GNU kernel for a PCI arbiter to allow different user-land drivers to access PCI devices concurrently. During this PCI arbiter talk he also went over the current state of the hardware support and recent achievements for GNU Hurd.

    Sadly, the hardware state is pretty much the same as what he summarized two years ago at FOSDEM. GNU Hurd remains mainly focused on i686 kernel support, their 64-bit kernel can now boot but overall is in rough shape, their layer for getting network cards working remains based off the Linux 2.6.32 drivers, there is IDE and AHCI driver support for SATA, preliminary sound support through the userland Rump, etc.

GNOME/GTK: Librsvg, BuildStream, GTK, GStreamer

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  • rsvg-bench - a benchmark for librsvg

    Librsvg 2.42.0 came out with a rather major performance regression compared to 2.40.20: SVGs with many transform attributes would slow it down. It was fixed in 2.42.1. We changed from using a parser that would recompile regexes each time it was called, to one that does simple string-based matching and parsing.

    When I rewrote librsvg's parser for the transform attribute from C to Rust, I was just learning about writing parsers in Rust. I chose lalrpop, an excellent, Yacc-like parser generator for Rust. It generates big, fast parsers, like what you would need for a compiler — but it compiles the tokenizer's regexes each time you call the parser. This is not a problem for a compiler, where you basically call the parser only once, but in librsvg, we may call it thousands of times for an SVG file with thousands of objects with transform attributes.

    So, for 2.42.1 I rewrote that parser using rust-cssparser. This is what Servo uses to parse CSS data; it's a simple tokenizer with an API that knows about CSS's particular constructs. This is exactly the kind of data that librsvg cares about. Today all of librsvg's internal parsers work using rust-cssparser, or they are so simple that they can be done with Rust's normal functions to split strings and such.

  • BuildStream Hackfest and FOSDEM

    I also wanted to sum up a last minute BuildStream hackfest which occurred in Manchester just a week ago. Bloomberg sent some of their Developer Experience engineering team members over to the Codethink office in Manchester where the whole BuildStream team was present, and we split up into groups to plan upcoming coding sprints, land some outstanding work and fix some bugs.

  • builders

    An idiom that has shown up in GTK4 development is the idea of immutable objects and builders. The idea behind an immutable object is that you can be sure that it doesn’t change under you, so you don’t need to track changes, you can expose it in your API without having to fear users of the API are gonna change that object under you, you can use it as a key when caching and last but not least you can pass it into multiple threads without requiring synchronization.
    Examples of immutable objects in GTK4 are GdkCursor, GdkTexture, GdkContentFormats or GskRenderNode.

  • GTK+ hackfest, day 2

    The second day of the GTK+ hackfest in Brussels started with an hour of patch review. We then went through scattered items from the agenda and collected answers to some questions.

  • GTK+ 4.0 Targeted For Its Initial Release This Fall, GTK+ 5.0 Development To Follow

    A few days back I wrote about how GTK+ 4.0 is being talked about for release this year and now a bit more specific timeline is in place.

    The past few days prior to FOSDEM in Brussels was a GTK+ hackfest. Among the items discussed when not banging on code was a GTK+ 4.0 road-map and coming out of this event in Belgium is a more solid understanding now that the initial GTK+ 4.0 release will be targeted for the fall of this year. There isn't any firm release plan at this time but at GUADEC (taking place in Spain this summer) they will revisit their plans to verify they can still ship this fall.

  • GStreamer has grown a WebRTC implementation

    Late last year, we at Centricular announced a new implementation of WebRTC in GStreamer. Today we're happy to announce that after community review, that work has been merged into GStreamer itself! The plugin is called webrtcbin, and the library is, naturally, called gstwebrtc.

    The implementation has all the basic features, is transparently compatible with other WebRTC stacks (particularly in browsers), and has been well-tested with both Firefox and Chrome.

  • GStreamer Lands A WebRTC Plugin

    The GStreamer multimedia framework now has mainline support for WebRTC.

    WebRTC is the set of protocols/APIs for real-time audio/video communication over peer-to-peer connections. WebRTC is supported by all major web browsers and more while now there is support within GStreamer too.

Glibc 2.27 and everything you didn't know about FSFE in a picture

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  • Glibc 2.27 Released With Many Optimizations, Support For Static PIE Executables

    Being released right on time is Glibc 2.27, version 2.27 of the GNU C Library.

    As we have been covering the past few months, exciting us a lot about Glibc 2.27 are many performance optimizations with a number of functions receiving AVX/FMA tuning and other performance tweaks particularly for x86_64. But even on the ARM64/AArch64 side are also some performance optimizations as well as for POWER and SPARC.

  • GNU C Library 2.27 released

    The GNU C Library version 2.27 is now available.

    The GNU C Library is used as *the* C library in the GNU system and in GNU/Linux systems, as well as many other systems that use Linux as the kernel.

  • Everything you didn't know about FSFE in a picture

    As FSFE's community begins exploring our future, I thought it would be helpful to start with a visual guide to the current structure.

    All the information I've gathered here is publicly available but people rarely see it in one place, hence the heading. There is no suggestion that anything has been deliberately hidden.

Purism Librem 5 Update

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  • Purism Might Develop An X11-Free Wayland Compositor Aligned With GNOME

    Yesterday we heard of Purism's plans to support desktop diversity but by default for their Librem 5 smartphone they will likely be using GNOME in order to maintain a unified experience across their devices. The latest now is they might develop a new Wayland compositor in line with GNOME.

    Purism's mobile development lead, Nicole Faerber, posted a new blog entry today about their latest progress... It mostly comes down to saying the Cortex-A53 CPU cores as used by the NXP i.MX8 SoC isn't affected by Spectre/Meltdown, they still are committed to the i.MX8 plan, they are trying to acquire i.MX6QuadPlus developer boards for early use until i.MX8 availability, they are engaging with both KDE and GNOME, and Qualcomm's possible acquisition of i.MX owner NXP isn't of concern at this point to Purism.

  • Librem 5 Phone Progress Report

    Lately, news headlines have been packed with discussions about critical CPU bugs which are not only found in Intel CPUs, but also partially in AMD CPUs and some ARM cores. At the same time, some of our backers have voiced concerns about the future of NXP in light of a potential acquisition by Qualcomm. Therefore you might be wondering, “Will the Librem 5 be affected by these bugs too?” and “will the Purism team get the i.MX 8 chips as planned?”, so let’s address those questions now.

Black Lab Enterprise Server 11.52 and Black Lab Enterprise Desktop 11.52 released

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Today the Black Lab team is releasing a revamp of our OS projects. With the new year comes new changes. First of all, the entire management team has changed. Second, we trimmed down our solutions to two products. Desktop and Server. Third, our solutions are 100% completely free. You can download as many copies as you would like but since we are now a self funding community project so we do take donations and all of our products are available for a single price if users need it on LiveUSB, $19.99 USD plus tax.

Another change is there are no more desktop spins. We have one UI release and that is XFCE. We chose XFCE because many of our users and customers run this system on older systems and XFCE can run on first generation x64 systems as well as newer Intel and AMD processors. We have setup the system so users migrating from GNOME and our other releases will feel right at home and will have superior performance and resource management.

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4MLinux 23.3 released.

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This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.9.78. Desktop users can enjoy GIMP, which is now available out of the box. The 4MLinux Server includes Apache 2.4.29, MariaDB 10.2.12, and PHP 7.2.1 (see this post for more details). Important remainder: this is the last release supporting the 32-bit version of the 4MLinux LAMP server (more info available here).

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Also: “Lightweight” Linux Lite 3.8 & “Mature” openSUSE Leap 15 Beta Released: Download Here

Custom Embedded Linux Distributions

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In the past, many embedded projects used off-the-shelf distributions and stripped them down to bare essentials for a number of reasons. First, removing unused packages reduced storage requirements. Embedded systems are typically shy of large amounts of storage at boot time, and the storage available, in non-volatile memory, can require copying large amounts of the OS to memory to run. Second, removing unused packages reduced possible attack vectors. There is no sense hanging on to potentially vulnerable packages if you don't need them. Finally, removing unused packages reduced distribution management overhead. Having dependencies between packages means keeping them in sync if any one package requires an update from the upstream distribution. That can be a validation nightmare.

Yet, starting with an existing distribution and removing packages isn't as easy as it sounds. Removing one package might break dependencies held by a variety of other packages, and dependencies can change in the upstream distribution management. Additionally, some packages simply cannot be removed without great pain due to their integrated nature within the boot or runtime process. All of this takes control of the platform outside the project and can lead to unexpected delays in development.

A popular alternative is to build a custom distribution using build tools available from an upstream distribution provider. Both Gentoo and Debian provide options for this type of bottom-up build. The most popular of these is probably the Debian debootstrap utility. It retrieves prebuilt core components and allows users to cherry-pick the packages of interest in building their platforms. But, debootstrap originally was only for x86 platforms. Although there are ARM (and possibly other) options now, debootstrap and Gentoo's catalyst still take dependency management away from the local project.

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Also: Open-Source Adreno A6xx GPU Support Posted

No new batches of ColorHug2

GNOME and KDE in PureOS: diversity across devices

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PureOS, a Free Software Foundation endorsed GNU distribution, is what Purism pre-installs on all Librem laptops (in addition to it being freely available for the public to run on their own compatible hardware or virtual machines). It comes with a GNOME desktop environment by default, and of course, since we love free ethical software, users can use KDE that is also available within PureOS. This is the future we will continue to advance across all our devices: a PureOS GNOME-first strategy, with other Desktop Environments (DEs), such as KDE, available and supported by Purism.

At Purism we want a unified default desktop environment, and considering that we have chosen GNOME to be the default on laptops, we hope to extend GNOME to also be the default on phones. The ability for users to switch is also very powerful, and having a strong, usable, and supported alternative—that is, KDE/Plasma—for the Librem 5 offers the best of the “unified default” world and the “usable user choice” worlds.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • Zorin OS 12.3 Linux Distro Released: Download The Perfect Windows Replacement
    While listing out the best distros for a Linux beginner, the ease of use and installation are the most critical factors. Such qualities make distros like Linux Mint, Ubuntu, and Zorin OS the most recommended options. In case you’re also concerned about your privacy and security, a shift to the world of Linux becomes a more obvious option. Calling itself a replacement for Windows and macOS, Zorin OS has been established as a beginner-friendly option that offers a smooth ride while making the transition. The latest Zorin OS 12.3 release works to strengthen the basics of the operating system and polishes the whole experience.
  • Ramblings about long ago and far away
    I had originally run MCC (Manchester Computer Center Interim Linux) in college but when I moved it was easier to find a box of floppies with SLS so I had installed that on the 486. I would then download software source code from the internet and rebuild it for my own use using all the extra flags I could find in GCC to make my 20Mhz system seem faster. I instead learned that most of the options didn't do anything on i386 Linux at the time and most of my reports about it were probably met by eye-rolls with the people at Cygnus. My supposed goal was to try and set up a MUD so I could code up a text based virtual reality. Or to get a war game called Conquer working on Linux. Or maybe get xTrek working on my system. [I think I mostly was trying to become a game developer by just building stuff versus actually coding stuff. I cave-man debugged a lot of things using stuff I had learned in FORTRAN but it wasn't actually making new things.]
  • EzeeLinux Show 18.13 | Running Linux On Junk
    A talk about the advantages of running Linux on junk hardware.
  • Best 50 HD Wallpapers for Ubuntu
    Wallpapers are useful in many ways depending on the visual it contains for example if there is a motivational quote on it, it helps to motivate you. The images are the best type of wallpaper because they have an impact on the mind of a human being. So if you are a working professional and have to work continuously on a computer then your desktop cab be a source of inspiration and happiness. So today we are going to share 50 best HD Wallpapers for your Ubuntu which will keep your desktop fresh.
  • Ubuntu Tried Adding Synaptics Support Back To GNOME's Mutter
    GNOME developers previously dropped support for Synaptics and other input drivers from Mutter in favor of the universal libinput stack that is also Wayland-friendly. Canonical developers tried to get Synaptics support on X11 added back into Mutter but it looks clear now that was rejected. Canonical's Will Cooke reported in this week's Ubuntu happenings that they were trying to add upstream support for Synaptics to Mutter, complementing the libinput support. While it's great Canonical trying to contribute upstream to GNOME, Synaptics support was previously dropped as being a maintenance burden and with libinput support getting into rather good shape.
  • Long live Release Engineering
    y involvement in Fedora goes back to late 2003 early 2004 somewhere as a packager for I started by getting a few packages in to scratch some of my itches and I saw it as a way to give back to the greater open source community. Around FC3 somewhere I stepped up to help in infrastructure to rebuild the builders in plague, the build system we used before koji and that we used for EPEL(Something that I helped form) for awhile until we got external repo support in koji. I was involved in the implementation of koji in Fedora, I joined OLPC as a build and release engineer, where I oversaw a move of the OS they shipped from FC6 to F8, and laid a foundation for the move to F9. I left OLPC when Red Hat opensourced RHN Satellite as “spacewalk project” I joined Red Hat as the release engineer for both, after a brief period there was some reorganisation in engineering that resulted in me handing off the release engineering tasks to someone closer the the engineers working on the code. As a result I worked on Fedora full time helping Jesse Keating. When he decided to work on the internal migration from CVS to git I took over as the lead. [...] Recently I have accepted a Job offer to become the manager of a different team inside of Red Hat.

Linux 4.17 Spring Cleaning To Drop Some Old CPU Architectures and Recent Torvalds Interview

  • Linux 4.17 Spring Cleaning To Drop Some Old CPU Architectures
    Longtime Linux kernel developer Arnd Bergmann is working to drop a number of old and obsolete CPU architectures from the next kernel cycle, Linux 4.17. The obsolete CPU architectures set to be removed include Blackfin, CRIS, FR-V, M32R, MN10300, META (Metag), and TILE. Managing to escape its death sentence is the Unicore32 architecture with its port maintainer claiming it's still actively being used and maintained.
  • [Older] Linus Torvalds Interview by Kristaps

    Interviewer: we all know who Linus is, but not many people know he’s also a proficient diver. Why don’t we start at the beginning: where you first started diving, and when you started to take diving seriously.  

    Actually, it was related to open source, in some way. [...]

Software: KDE, DocKnot and More

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 10
    Today’s Usability & Productivity status is jam-packed with awesome stuff that I think you’re all really gonna love.
  • DocKnot 1.03
    This is the software that I use to generate documentation for my software. Currently, it just handles README,, and the top-level web page for the package.
  • Linux Release Roundup: Amarok Sees First Release in 3 Years
    The past 7 days have been pretty dang busy in Linux release land. We’ve taken a look at the best GNOME 3.28 features, recapped the latest Firefox 59 changes, and made ourselves comfortable with the latest changes to Linux audiobook player Cozy.

today's howtos/technical