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Linux

Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Linux Laptop? 184

Long-Time Slashdot reader sconeu is finally replacing his 10-year-old Toshiba Satellite laptop, and needs suggestions on the best current laptops for running Linux. I'm looking to run some flavor of Linux (probably KDE-based UI, but not mandatory) while using a virtual machine to run Windows 7 (for stuff needed for work). For me personally, battery life and weight are more important than raw power. I'm not going to be running games on this. I've been considering an XPS 13 Developer Edition, or something from System76, ZaReason or Emperor Linux. What laptop do you use? Do you have any suggestions?
It's your chance to share useful information, recommendations, and your own experiences with various brands of laptop. So leave your best answers in the comments. What's the best Linux laptop?
GNU is Not Unix

KDE Turns 20, Happy Birthday! (softpedia.com) 127

prisoninmate writes from Softpedia: Can you believe it's been 20 years since the KDE (Kool Desktop Environment) was announced on the 14th of October, 1996, by project founder Matthias Ettrich? Well, it has, and today we'd like to say a happy 20th birthday to KDE! "On October 14, KDE celebrates its 20th birthday. The project that started as a desktop environment for Unix systems, today is a community that incubates ideas and projects which go far beyond desktop technologies. Your support is very important for our community to remain active and strong," reads the timeline page prepared by the KDE project for this event. Feel free to share your KDE experiences in a comment below! You can read the announcement "that started the revolution of the modern Linux desktop," as well as view the timeline "prepared by the KDE team for this unique occasion."
KDE

KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS Desktop Officially Released (softpedia.com) 72

prisoninmate writes from a report via Softpedia: KDE will celebrate 20 years of activity on October 14, 2016, and they've just released the first LTS (Long Term Support) version of the KDE Plasma desktop environment. Prominent new features of KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS include support for desktop widgets, a new system-wide search functionality that promises to let users easily search their KDE desktops for everything they want, including apps, music, videos, files, folders, etc., a new tool to get hot new stuff for your KDE Plasma desktop, such as wallpapers, widgets, desktop effects, or window styles, and infinite customization possibilities. Moreover, KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS comes with a unified look for the default Breeze theme so that, no matter what type of application you're using (Qt4, GTK2, GTK3, or Qt5), it will look the same, mobile phone notifications, along with the ability to use your smartphone as a PC remote, transfer files or mute music during calls, all with the new KDE Connect plasmoid. There's also Right-to-Left (RTL) language support, simplified global shortcuts, improvements to many applets, and much better Wayland support. KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS will receive nine point releases until 2018. "Today KDE releases its first Long Term Support edition of its flagship desktop software, Plasma," reads the announcement. "This marks the point where the developers and designers are happy to recommend Plasma for the widest possible audience be they enterprise or non-techy home users. If you tried a KDE desktop previously and have moved away, now is the time to re-assess, Plasma is simple by default, powerful when needed."
Debian

LinuxScreenshots.org Closes. All Screenshot Tours Released For Downloading (linuxscreenshots.org) 46

A new announcement on their web site reads: LinuxScreenshots.org is closed. An archive of all screenshot tours from this site has been made freely available to the community, which consists of 2300 releases from 580 distributions. You may download this archive for fun, or to start your own Linux screenshots website. Please help seed torrents. I contacted the site's owner, who confirmed the news, saying their goal is to let the community take control of the screenshots. The archives are available on Dropbox and BitTorrent.
KDE

Linux Mint 18 KDE Now Available (betanews.com) 54

Clement Lefebvre, otherwise known as the man behind Linux Mint, announced on Friday the release and immediate availability of the final version of Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" KDE Edition OS. Sarah KDE has been available in beta for a few months now, but you can get the Live ISO images from the company's website. The new version is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) distro, Lefebvre said. The new version comes with Plasma 5.6 desktop environment and associated apps. BrianFagioli writes: If you have at least 2GB of RAM, the Linux-based operating system could bring your aging computer into 2016 and beyond. Plasma offers plenty of options to 'make it yours', but it can sometimes be confusing -- there can be such a thing as too much choice. If after installing it you find it overwhelming, I would suggest going with the tried and true Cinnamon desktop environment instead. That seems to be the major focus of the Linux Mint team too. The Mint team is also including the Kubuntu backports ppa, which it promises will provide newer updates to KDE Plasma. Fans of the desktop environment should enjoy this immensely.
KDE

QtCon Opens In Berlin (qtcon.org) 38

Long-time Slashdot reader JRiddell writes: A unique coming together of open source communities is happening in Berlin over the next week. QtCon brings together KDE, Qt, VLC and FSF-E to discuss free software, open development, community management and proprietary coding. Live streams of many of the talks are available now. The opening keynote spoke of open data and collaborative coding freeing accessibility information. 13 tracks of talks cover Community, Web, Best practices, Automotive, Mobile and Embedded, Let's talk business, Tooling, QtQuick, Multithreading, OpenGL and 3D.
Debian

Penetration-Testing Distro Kali Linux 2016.2 Released (kali.org) 54

prisoninmate writes: What's Kali Linux 2016.2? Well, it's an updated Live ISO image of the popular GNU/Linux distribution designed for ethical hackers and security professionals who want to harden the security of their networks, which contains the latest software versions and enhancements for those who want to deploy the OS on new systems. It's been quite some time since the last update to the official Kali Linux Live ISOs and new software releases are announced each day, which means that the packages included in the previous Kali Linux images are very old, and bugs and improvements are always implemented in the most recent versions of the respective security tools. Best of all, the new Kali Linux 2016.2 release comes in KDE, MATE, Xfce, LXDE, and Enlightenment E17 flavors.
Their blog also points out that Kali recently appeared in an episode of Mr. Robot.
KDE

KDE Edition Beta Released For Linux Mint 18 'Sarah' (fossbytes.com) 36

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from fossBytes: Linux Mint 18 'Sarah' KDE Edition Beta is now available for download and testing. This release is based on the long-term supported Linux 4.4 kernel and KDE Plasma 5.6 desktop environment. The final release of this widely popular distro is expected to arrive in September... Just like MATE, Cinnamon, and Xfce releases, the KDE release is a long term release that will remain supported until 2021.

Linux Mint 18 'Sarah' KDE Edition ships with Mozilla Firefox as default web browser and LibreOffice as the default office suite. The Linux distro also features a wide range of popular KDE apps like Kontact, Dolphin, Gwenview, KMail, digiKam, KTorrent, Skanlite, Konversation, K3b, Konsole, Amarok, Ark, Kate, Okular, and Dragon Player.

"Unlike other Linux Mint editions, the KDE edition will ship with the SDDM display manager," reports the Linux Mint blog. Distrowatch notes that it's based on Ubuntu 16.04, and suggests "Mint's 'KDE' flavour might turn out to be the most interesting of the bunch, especially if the project's usually excellent quality assurance is applied to this edition in the same manner as in its 'MATE' and 'Cinnamon' variants."
KDE

Ask Slashdot: Is KDE Dying? 515

A long-time loyal KDE user "always felt that it was the more complete and integrated of the many Linux desktop environments...thus having the most potential to win over new Linux converts." And while still using KDE exclusively without any major functional issues, now Slashdot reader fwells shares concerns about the future of desktop development, along with a personal opinion -- that KDE is becoming stale and stagnant: KDE-Look.org, once a fairly vibrant and active contributory site, has become a virtual ghost town... Various core KDE components and features are quite broken and have been so for some time... KDEPIM/KMail frankly seems targeted specifically at the poweruser, maintaining over many years its rather plain and arguably retro interface. The Konqueror web browser has been a virtual carcass for several years, yet it mysteriously remains an integral component...

So, back to my opening question... Is KDE Dying? Has innovation and development evaporated in a development world dominated by the mobile device? And, if so, can it be reinvigorated? Will the pendulum ever swing back? Can it? Should it?

The original submission has some additional thoughts on Windows 10 and desktop development -- but also specific complaints about KDE's Recent Items/Application Launcher History and the KDE theming engine (which "seems disjointed and rather non-intuitive".) The argument seems to be that KDE lacks curb appeal to fulfill that form-over-function preference of the larger community of users, so instead it's really retaining the practical appeal of "my 12 year old Chevy truck, feature rich for its time... Solid and reliable, but definitely starting to fade and certainly lacking some modern creature comforts."

So leave your own thoughts in the comments. Does desktop development need to be reinvigorated in a world focused on mobile devices -- and if so, what is its future? And is KDE slowly dying?
KDE

KDE Plasma 5.7 Released (neowin.net) 111

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Neowin: Earlier today, the KDE project released KDE Plasma 5.7, its popular Linux desktop environment. The update brings improved workflows, better kiosk support, a new system tray and task manager, and further steps towards Wayland windowing system. New live images of KDE Neon have been spun which feature the all-new Plasma 5.7, and other distributions will get the new software sometime in the future based on their release model. Plasma 5.7 builds on the jump List Actions that were introduced in Plasma 5.6, which allowed users to use certain tasks within the application; now the feature has been extended and those actions are present in Krunner. Another change which improves workflow is the return of the agenda view in the calendar, providing users with a quick and easily accessible overview of upcoming appointments and holidays. The volume control applet in the system tray is now able to control volume on a per-application basis; it even allows the user to move application sound output between devices by just drag and dropping. The Wayland window manager -- which has been kicking around for at least half a decade -- still isn't the default window manager on many Linux distributions, mainly because desktop environment (DE) developers are still making their DE work properly with it. With KDE Plasma 5.7, support for the windowing system is greatly improved, especially when it comes to tear-free and flicker-free rendering, as well as security. The image can be found here via KDE.
GNU is Not Unix

Slackware 14.2 Released, Still Systemd-Free (slackware.com) 179

sombragris writes: Slackware, the oldest GNU/Linux distribution still in active maintenance, was released just minutes ago. Slackware is noted for being the most Unix-like of all Linux distributions. While sporting kernel 4.4.14 and GCC 5.3, other goodies include Perl 5.22.2, Python 2.7.11, Ruby 2.2.5, Subversion 1.9.4, git-2.9.0, mercurial-3.8.2, KDE 4.14.21 (KDE 4.14.3 with kdelibs-4.14.21) Xfce 4.12.1... and no systemd!

According to the ChangeLog: "The long development cycle (the Linux community has lately been living in "interesting times," as they say) is finally behind us, and we're proud to announce the release of Slackware 14.2. The new release brings many updates and modern tools, has switched from udev to eudev (no systemd), and adds well over a hundred new packages to the system. Thanks to the team, the upstream developers, the dedicated Slackware community, and everyone else who pitched in to help make this release a reality." Grab the ISOs at a mirror near you. Enjoy!
The torrents page can be found here.
KDE

KDE Bug Fixed After 13 Years (kate-editor.org) 118

About 50 KDE developers met this week in the Swiss Alps for the annual Randa Meetings, "seven days of intense in-person work, pushing KDE technologies forward and discussing how to address the next-generation demands for software systems." Christoph Cullmann, who maintains the Kate editor, blogs that during this year's sprint, they finally fixed a 13-year-old bug. He'd filed the bug report himself -- back in 2003 -- and writes that over the next 13 years, no one ever found the time to fix it. (Even though the bug received 333 "importance" votes...) After finally being marked Resolved, the bug's tracking page at KDE.org began receiving additional comments marveling at how much time had passed. Just think, when this bug was first reported:
-- The current Linux Kernel was 2.6.31...
-- Windows XP was the most current desktop verison. Vista was still 3 years away.
-- Top 2 Linux verions? Mandrake and Redhat (Fedora wouldn't be released for another 2 months, Ubuntu's first was more than a year away.)

GUI

Fresh Wayland Experiences With Weston, GNOME, KDE and Enlightenment 133

jones_supa writes: Software developer Pavlo Rudyi has written a blog post about his experiences with the various desktop environments currently supporting Wayland. The results are not a big surprise, but nevertheless it is great to see the continued interest in Wayland and the ongoing work by many different parties in ensuring that Wayland will eventually be able to dominate the Linux desktop. To summarize, Pavlo found Weston to be "good," GNOME is "perfect," KDE is "bad," and Enlightenment is "good." He also created a video from his testing. Have you done any testing? What's your experience?
GUI

Project Neon Will Bring Users Up-to-Date KDE Packages (cio.com) 42

sfcrazy writes: [Kubuntu founder Jonathan Riddell] is going to announce a new project at FOSDEM that brings the KDE experience to users. There is Fedora that offers latest from Gnome, but there is no such distro that offers the same level of integration with KDE software; yes, there is openSUSE but it offers KDE as an option. So Kubuntu based KDE Neon is a project to give KDE users and contributors a way to get KDE's desktop software while it's still fresh. It'll be providing packages of the latest KDE software so users can install it and stay up to date on a stable base.
GUI

KDE Plasma 5.5 Has Matured Past the Point of Plasma 4 (phoronix.com) 111

An anonymous reader writes: KDE's Plasma 5 desktop received a lot of early heat for being unstable, missing functionality compared to the older Plasma 4, and other changes that irritated Linux desktop users. Fortunately, with the recent release of Plasma 5.5, they have hit a stage where there's fairly wide agreement that Plasma 5 has now matured past the point of Plasma 4. Ken Vermette looked meticulously at the KDE stack for 2016, including how it's working on Wayland, the setup, widgets, various new features, and more.
KDE

Will You Be Able To Run a Modern Desktop Environment In 2016 Without Systemd? 785

New submitter yeupou writes: Early this year, David Edmundson from KDE, concluded that "In many cases [systemd] allows us to throw away large amounts of code whilst at the same time providing a better user experience. Adding it [systemd] as an optional extra defeats the main benefit". A perfectly sensible explanation. But, then, one might wonder to which point KDE would remain usable without systemd?

Recently, on one Devuan box, I noticed that KDE power management (Powerdevil) no longer supported suspend and hibernate. Since pm-utils was still there, for a while, I resorted to call pm-suspend directly, hoping it would get fixed at some point. But it did not. So I wrote a report myself. I was not expecting much. But neither was I expecting it to be immediately marked as RESOLVED and DOWNSTREAM, with a comment accusing the "Debian fork" I'm using to "ripe out" systemd without "coming with any of the supported solutions Plasma provides". I searched beforehand about the issue so I knew that the problem also occurred on some other Debian-based systems and that the bug seemed entirely tied to upower, an upstream software used by Powerdevil. So if anything, at least this bug should have been marked as UPSTREAM.

While no one dares (yet) to claim to write software only for systemd based operating system, it is obvious that it is now getting quite hard to get support otherwise. At the same time, bricks that worked for years without now just get ruined, since, as pointed out by Edmunson, adding systemd as "optional extra defeats its main benefit". So, is it likely that we'll still have in 2016 a modern desktop environment, without recent regressions, running without systemd?
SuSE

OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 Released (opensuse.org) 31

MasterPatricko writes: In what they're calling the first "hybrid" distribution release, the openSUSE project have announced the availability of openSUSE Leap 42.1. Built on a core of SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 SP1 packages but including an up-to-date userspace (KDE Plasma 5.4.2, GNOME 3.16, and many other DEs), Leap aims to provide a stable middle ground between enterprise releases which are quickly out of date, and the sometimes unstable community distros. DVD/USB or Network Install ISOs are available for download now. For those who do prefer the bleeding edge, the openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling-release distribution is also available.
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.10 'Wily Werewolf' Released (omgubuntu.co.uk) 191

LichtSpektren writes: Ubuntu 15.10 "Wily Werewolf" is now released and available, along with its alternative desktop flavors (MATE, Xfce, LXDE, GNOME, KDE, Kylin). This release features Linux 4.2, GCC 5, Python 3.5, and LibreOffice 5. The default version is still using X.org display server and Unity7; Mark Shuttleworth has said that Mir and Unity8 won't arrive until Ubuntu 16.04 "Xenial Xerus." Not much has changed beyond package updates, other than replacing the invisible overlay scrollbars in Nautilus with the GNOME 3 scrollbars.

Phoronix brings us the only bit of drama regarding this release: Jonathan Riddell, long time overseer of Kubuntu, has resigned with claims that Canonical has "defrauded donors and broke the copyright licenses."
Another reader adds a link to a Q & A session with Riddell.
KDE

KDE Turns 19 115

prisoninmate writes: Believe it or not, it has been 19 long years since Matthias Ettrich announced his new project, the Kool Desktop Environment (KDE). "Unix popularity grows thanks to the free variants, mostly Linux. But still a consistent, nice looking free desktop-environment is missing. There are several nice either free or low-priced applications available so that Linux/X11 would almost fit everybody needs if we could offer a real GUI," wrote the developer back in October 14, 1996.
GUI

New Release of the Trinity Desktop Environment 197

mescobal writes: A new release of the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) is out. TDE is "a computer desktop environment for Unix-like operating systems with a primary goal of retaining the function and form of traditional desktop computers" which translates into a fully functional KDE 3 style Desktop. Something is missing in the new generation of desktop environments, since some people (perhaps more than "some") feel at home with Gnome 2 or KDE i3. They have repositories for Debian and Ubuntu-based distros. I'm now using it on Ubuntu 15.04, amazed about how well-planned things were in the previous generation of DE. We may have gained some things with Gnome 3 and Plasma 5, but we lost a lot of good features too. TDE brings them back.

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