KDE Plasma 5 Desktop to Become a Solid and Reliable Workhorse That Stands Out

On October 18, 2016, long time KDE software developer Sebastian Kügler published an in-depth story about what’s coming to the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment in the next couple of years.

It appears that KDE’s Plasma team had their traditional kickoff meeting on Monday, October 17, to discuss the upcoming features of the next KDE Plasma 5 release, which will be versioned 5.9, and whose release schedule has been already published, as reported earlier right here on this space.

However, the Plasma team also discussed new ways to improve the quality of the popular desktop environment, as well as to make it faster, more stable and reliable than existing versions. Their aim is to bring KDE Plasma to an unprecedented level of quality that will blow the competition away.

“Our general direction points towards professional use-cases. We want Plasma to be a solid tool, a reliable work-horse that gets out of the way, allowing to get the job done quickly and elegantly. We want… (read more)

Canonical Brings Its Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph Offerings to 64-bit ARM Servers

Canonical informs Softpedia about their latest collaboration with ARM, industry’s leading supplier of microprocessor technology, to bring the company’s OpenStack and Ceph offerings to 64-bit ARM-based servers.

Canonical is the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system, which is currently the leading platform for cloud, container, and scale-out computing. Ubuntu is also very popular on desktops and severs, and now Canonical’s extended partnership with ARM bring it to the 64-bit ARM v8-A hardware architecture.

In other words, Canonical’s Ubuntu OpenStack and Ceph offerings, along with Ubuntu Advantage support, are now commercially available and supported on 64-bit ARMv8-A processors and servers by both companies, and the focus will be on direct customer use cases.

“We have seen our Telecom and Enterprise customers start to radically depart from traditional server design to innovative platform architectures for scale-out compute and storage. In partner… (read more)

Treasure Hunter | Attack of the Zombie Sprouts

Take part in the epic battle of two vegetables for the chance to earn wings, a zombie sprout pet and XP.

Dev Diaries: Episode 1 – Mining & Smithing Rework

This new video series is designed to involve you in the Mining & Smithing rework early and to include your feedback from the ground up.

KDevelop 5.0.2 Open-Source IDE Adds Many UI Improvements, 32-bit Windows Build

The KDevelop open-source, cross-platform and free integrated development environment (IDE) software has been updated the other day, October 17, 2016, to version 5.0.2.

KDevelop 5.0.2 appears to be a regular maintenance update and arrives approximately one week from the announcement of the first point release to the KDevelop 5.0 series, which is currently the most advanced version of the project adding a port to the latest KDE Frameworks 5 and Qt 5 technologies, improved C/C++ support, QMake support, QML/JavaScript support, per-project widget coloring, as well as CMake support.

Sixteen bug fixes, UI enhancements, more

A total of sixteen bug fixes and improvements landed in the KDevelop 5.0.2 update, patching multiple crashes and annoying issues reported by users since KDevelop 5.0.1 and KDevelop 5…. (read more)

Wine Staging 1.9.21 Lets You Run Steam Web Browser in Windows 7 Mode on Linux

Today, October 18, 2016, the Wine Staging development team announced the availability for download of a new version of their Wine Staging open-source alternative to the popular Wine software.

Based on the recently released Wine 1.9.21 development build, Wine Staging 1.9.21 promises a bunch of goodies for those interesting in running the latest Windows games and applications on their GNU/Linux operating system, among which we can mention improvements to the Vulkan wrapper.

Furthermore, an initial version of the GIF encoder was implemented in the windowscodecs component, there’s support for METHOD_OUT_DIRECT ioctls, queued xaudio2 AL buffers are now automatically ignored after Stop, and it looks like the SetFileCompletionNotificationModes feature is now available for running Steam’s Web browser in Windows 7 mode.

“… (read more)

Solus Enables OpenGL 4.5 for Intel Broadwell, MATE Edition Coming Along Nicely – Exclusive

It’s been a great week for users of the unique and independent Solus operating system, and while you’re waiting impatiently for the Solus 1.2.1 release, we’d like to tell you a little bit about what landed in Solus during the past week.

It looks like the Solus devs have been quite busy lately adding a bunch of goodies for your enjoyment, starting with Linux kernel 4.8.2, full disk encryption, which will be available in the Solus 1.2.1 installer, OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel Broadwell, promising boost in gaming performance, and continuing with the latest Nvidia 370.28 graphics drivers, along with the 32-bit ones, and the ability to install the Yarn Package Manag… (read more)

KDE Plasma 5.9 Desktop Launches January 31, 2017, Next LTS Arrives August 2018

After announcing earlier today, October 18, 2016, the release of the second maintenance update to the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment, KDE published the release schedule for the upcoming major versions of the project.

That’s right, we’re talking here about KDE Plasma 5.9, whose development will start first thing next year, in 2017. The upcoming desktop environment will enter Feature Freeze stage on January 12, when we’ll also be able to download the Beta pre-release and take it for a test drive on our favorite GNU/Linux operating systems.

The final release of KDE Plasma 5.9 is hitting the streets on January 31, 2017, and will be a normal branch with five maintenance updates. The first one, KDE Plasma 5.9.1 should land on February 7, followed one week later by KDE Plasma 5.9.2, on Valentine’s_Day. Two weeks later, on February… (read more)

Parted Magic 2016_10_18 Disk Partitioning Live CD Is Out with Nearly 800 Updates

Today, October 18, 2016, Parted Magic LLC announced the release and general availability of a new, updated version of their once free Parted Magic disk partitioning Live CD.

Based on recent GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies, the Parted Magic 2016_10_18 release is here more than three months after the previous version, namely Parted Magic 2016_07_12, which introduced the GParted 0.26.1 partition editor, Linux 4.6.3 kernel, DDRescue-GUI 1.6 data recovery tool, and Mozilla Firefox 47.0.1 web browser, but also a bunch of other new and updated packages.

Here’s what’s new in Parted Magic 2016_10_18

Therefore, Parted Magic 2016_10_18 brings three month’s worth of updates and improvements, and, according to the official announcement, approximately 800 packages have been updated. Also, it looks like new artwork, including new desktop theme and icons, was implemented to spice things up a little bit for existi… (read more)

Tor Project Releases Tor (The Onion Router) with New Security Fixes

Tor Project informed the Tor (The Onion Router) community about the immediate availability of the Tor stable update, which adds a few important security fixes to keep your Tor installation reliable at all times.

Tor is here three weeks after the release of Tor in an attempt to backport a fix for a security flaw discovered in previous versions of the software, which could have allowed a remote attacker to crash the Tor client, authority, relay, and hidden service. It appears to be an important security fix, so you’re urged to update your Tor installation to version as we speak. Patches will be available soon for older versions of Tor as well.

“Prevent a class of security bugs caused by treating the contents of a buffer chunk as if they were a NUL-terminated string. At least one such bug seems to be present in all currently used versions of Tor, and would allow an attacker to remotely crash most Tor instances, especially those compiled… (read more)

Fedora 25 Linux OS to Officially Offer Support for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 Devices

Just a few moments ago, Fedora Project proudly announced that support for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computers is finally coming to the Fedora Linux operating system.

As you might know, the Beta of the upcoming Fedora 25 operating system has been released, and it brought numerous new GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software projects, including, but not limited to Linux kernel 4.8, GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS, and LibreOffice 5.2.2. One thing was missing though, and that’s support for ARM devices like the popular Raspberry Pi.

“The most asked question I’ve had for a number of years is around support of the Raspberry Pi. It’s also something I’ve been working towards for a very long time on my own time. The eagle-eye watchers would have noticed we almost got there with Fedora 24, but I got pipped at the post because I felt it wasn’t quite good enough yet. There were too many minor issues around ease of use,” says Peter… (read more)

Canonical Now Offering Live Kernel Patching Services, Free for Up to Three PCs

Today, October 18, 2016, Canonical informs us, through Dustin Kirkland, about a new interesting feature for Ubuntu Linux, which users can enable on their current installations.

First off, we’d like to remind you that the Linux 4.0 kernel, which was released a year and a half ago, brought with it a new functionality that would allow users to patch/update their kernel packages without restarting. The feature is called kernel live patching and, until today, no GNU/Linux distribution offered it for free to their users. It was only available in commercial offerings like SUSE Enterprise Linux or Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

“Kernel live patching enables runtime correction of critical security issues in your kernel without rebooting. It’s the best way to ensure that machines are safe at the kernel level, while guaranteeing uptime, especially for container hosts where a single machine may be running thousands of different workloads,” says Dustin Kirkland, Ubuntu Product and S… (read more)

Raspberry Pi (2 and 3) support in Fedora 25 Beta!

This article comes courtesy of Peter Robinson, member of the Fedora release engineering team. Peter has worked for several years on the general release and also hardware architectures such as ARM and Power. Here, Peter announces some big news for Raspberry Pi hackers.

So support for the Raspberry Pi in Fedora has been a long time coming and yes, it’s FINALLY here with support landing just in time for Beta!

The most asked question I’ve had for a number of years is around support of the Raspberry Pi. It’s also something I’ve been working towards for a very long time on my own time. The eagle-eye watchers would have noticed we almost got there with Fedora 24, but I got pipped at the post because I felt it wasn’t quite good enough yet. There were too many minor issues around ease of use.

Why has it taken so long?

Basically it comes down to four things:

  1. Decent upstream kernel/userspace hardware support without binary drivers.
  2. Firmware redistribution.
  3. The ability to be able to support it in Fedora ARM without adding vast extra workload to the small group supporting/QAing Fedora.
  4. Time — It’s been a pet project, but like many things, it’s relied upon getting open drivers done, and kernel support upstream. All of this has been out of our hands and takes time.

What’s supported?

We support everything you’d expect from a device supported by Fedora. We have a proper Fedora supported upstream userspace and kernel, with all the standard Fedora features like SELinux support. It receives the usual array of updates so no need to exclude kernel updates! The kernel supports all the drivers you’d expect, like various USB WiFi dongles, etc. You can run whichever desktop you like (more on those below) or Docker/Kubernetes/Ceph/Gluster as a group of devices — albeit it slowly over a single shared USB bus!

Raspberry Pi 2

The hardware support here is pretty good. I’ve been testing a minimal install, Workstation, and XFCE. We have the usual MMC/USB/network, as well as fully accelerated graphics with an open driver, as well as lot of the other on board hardware. You’ll want to invest in a good quality Class 10 micro SD card, though, for best results.

Raspberry Pi 3

The hardware support here is very similar to that of the Raspberry Pi2 in terms of standard device support. We don’t currently support the onboard WiFi/Bluetooth, so at the moment it’s a faster version of the RPi2. We’re working to enable the WiFi soon, now the firmware is able to be distributed. There’s a few other quirks documented well in the upstream Raspberry Pi3 support summary here.

We currently only support this as a ARMv7 device like the upstream Raspberry Pi Foundation. I realize that aarch64 support is now upstream. We’ll eventually support it too, but there’s quite a bit of extra work to support it well. Given the Raspberry Pi3 has a limitation of 1Gb RAM, the 64 bit support provides less advantage than a single set of images to support both devices.

What’s not supported (yet!)

The state of various components, such as WiFi, sound, media decode, and HAT support, is well documented in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Fedora Raspberry Pi wiki here, with lots of detail. It’ll be updated as the status of various components change.

What will never be supported

Basically this is purely the old ARMv6 Raspberry Pis. This currently includes the Zero, Model A, older “v1” Raspberry Pi model B, and the current generation “compute module.” For these, use Pignus (note I’ve not tested it).

We’ll support the announced newer compute 3 module when it’s available. Similarly any new future device support will be reviewed as information becomes available.

Getting started

So enough of me dribbling on here you say? Just GET IT WORKING NOW!! Well here you go….

There detailed options for setting up a SD card for Linux, Windows and MacOS detailed on the Fedora Raspberry Pi wiki page. Details of the latest images are there too but you can get Fedora 25 Beta images for Workstation, Server and various Spins and Minimal image directly.

To write the image to the card you can use a terminal with the following command. Remember to use the correct /dev/XXX for your card and to update the image name!

xzcat Fedora-IMAGE-NAME.raw.xz | sudo dd status=progress bs=4M of=/dev/XXX

There’s other options documented in the wiki. You’ll also have to resize the root filesystem (we shrink it to minimise the download). The easiest way to do this is with gparted before you plug it into your Raspberry Pi.

On the first boot you’ll get presented with the standard initial setup to create a user. Similar to the LiveCDs on x86 we don’t have default users and passwords due to security.

Getting help

So where can you get help if it’s not working? The usual Fedora support forums are:

Technical Advisory Committee formed to modernize developer tools

Workflow iconAt DrupalCon Dublin, I spoke about The Association’s commitment to help Drupal thrive by improving the contribution and adoption journeys through our two main community assets, DrupalCon and Drupal.org. You can see the video here.

One area I touch on was my experience as a new code contributor. Contributing my patch was a challenging, but joyous experience and I want more people to have that feeling—and I want to make it as easy as possible for others to contribute, too. It’s critical for the health of the project.

At the heart of the Drupal contributor community are our custom development tools, including the issue tracker, Git repositories, packaging, updates server, and automated testing. We believe there are many aspects of Drupal’s development workflow that have been essential to our project’s success, and our current tooling reflects and reinforces our community values of self-empowerment, collaboration, and respect, which we seek to continue to uphold.

It’s time to modernize these developer tools. To support the Association with this objective The Drupal Association created a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC consists of community members Angie Byron, Moshe Weitzman, and Steve Francia, who is also our newest Drupal Association board member. The TAC acts in an advisory role and reports to me.

Building off of the work the community has already done, the TAC is exploring opportunities to improve the tools we use to collaborate on Drupal.org. The crux of this exploration is determining whether we should continue to rely on and invest in our self-built tools, or whether we should partner with an organization that specializes in open source tooling.

Our hope is that we will be able to bring significant improvements to our contribution experience faster by partnering with an organization willing to learn from our community and adapt their tools to those things we do uniquely well. Such a partnership would benefit both the Drupal community—with the support of their ongoing development—and potentially the broader open source community—by allowing our partner to bring other projects those aspects of our code collaboration workflow.

The TAC will use a collaborative process, working with staff and community to make a final recommendation. The TAC has already begun the process and has some very positive exploratory conversations. The TAC and staff will be communicating their progress with the community in upcoming blog posts.  

Distribution Release: Parted Magic 2016_10_18

Parted Magic is a live distribution commonly used to partition hard drives, rescue data and clone partitions. The commercial distribution has as been upgraded to feature new versions of many packages along with new artwork. “This release is by far the most aggressively upgraded version in the history….

Joomla! 3.6.3 Released

joomla 3 6 3 teaser

Joomla! 3.6.3 is now available. This is a bug fix release for the 3.x series of Joomla. This release fixes a Backwards Compatibility Break we made in 3.6.2 with the article ordering. In addition there are a large number of minor improvements and bug fixes.

What’s in 3.6.3

Joomla! 3.6.3 comes with more than 350 merged PR and small improvements in many areas. We have also updated the wysiwyg editors:

  • TinyMCE to 4.4.3
  • CodeMirror to 5.18.0

For known issues with the 3.6.3 release, see the Version 3.6.3 FAQ in the documentation site.

The Production Leadership Team’s goal is to continue to provide regular, frequent updates to the Joomla! Community. Learn more about Joomla! development at the Joomla! Developer Network.

Meet Maui 1, the Slick New Hawaiian Netrunner

Maui 1 “Aurora,” which launched this summer, is one of the latest newcomers in the continuously changing list of Linux distributions. Maui Linux, with its new Hawaii desktop environment, is a replacement and rebranding of the discontinued Netrunner project. Its developers are attempting to continue the Kubuntu-based heritage, while adopting some of the latest technologies impacting other Linux distros in varying stages. The demise of Netrunner and the birth of Maui 1 occurred simultaneously.

KDE Plasma 5.8.2 LTS Desktop Environment Out Now for GNU/Linux with Bug Fixes

Today, October 18, 2016, the KDE project proudly announced the general availability of the second bugfix release for the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment, version 5.8.2.

KDE Plasma 5.8.2 LTS is here to bring a week’s worth of improvements and bug fixes submitted by various KDE contributors and developers for the long-term supported KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment, keeping it stable and reliable. This second point release arrives only a week after KDE Plasma 5.8.1 LTS’ announcement on October 11, 2016.

Among the components that received improvements in the KDE Plasma 5.8.2 LTS update, we can mention KScreen, KWin, Plasma Desktop, Plasma Workspace, Plasma Networkmanager (plasma-nm), and kactivitymanagerd. The full changelog is attached at the end of the article for more details.

“Today KDE releases a Bugfi… (read more)

Development Release: openSUSE 42.2 RC1

The openSUSE project has released a new development snapshot for the distribution’s Leap edition. The new snapshot, openSUSE 42.2 RC1, features mostly minor updates to the KDE and GNOME desktop environments, along with a minor update to the Linux kernel. “RC1 delivers a professional version that includes OpenStack….

Community Week: QA – meet the team

LibreOffice Community Weeks

Having covered development and documentation, we’re now into our third LibreOffice Community Week: Quality Assurance (or just “QA” for short). QA is an essential element of the LibreOffice development process, and affects the suite in many ways. For the benefit of end users, QA helps to identify and fix bugs – whether they’re glitches in the behaviour of the office suite, or problems that arise when importing certain files, or just issues with the user interface.

But QA is an integral part of new feature development as well. When a LibreOffice developer adds something new to the office suite, QA processes ensure that it doesn’t impact other features, and that the rest of the software continues to be stable and robust.

LibreOffice has an active QA community that works on tracking, reproducing and fixing bugs, and The Document Foundation (the non-profit entity that backs LibreOffice development) recently hired a dedicated QA engineer, Xisco Fauli. We caught up with him to see how the QA process works and how newcomers can help out.


Xisco Fauli LibreOffice developer

What is your role in the QA team?

My role is to act as a middle-man between the QA community and other teams, such as participating in the Engineering Steering Committee (ESC) meetings for instance.

I’m also in charge of organizing the QA meetings, which take place every other Tuesday, and organizing the bug hunting sessions, the next one being on Friday October 21 for LibreOffice 5.3 Alpha. I also spend time maintaining Bugzilla, our bug-tracking tool, updating the wiki, helping other users on IRC, and triaging and reporting bugs. Lately I’ve been working on collecting stats from Bugzilla so that they’ll help us to analyze the status of bugs and users in the platform.


How did you get involved?

I started working for The Document Foundation just one and a half months ago, in the beginning of September, so I’m a newbie here. However, I had already contributed to the LibreOffice project in the past, mostly doing bibisections in QA or working on Easy Hacks and small fixes in development. Besides, I participated in the Google Summer of Code in 2011, converting some Java wizards to Python.


What does your typical workday look like?

So far I think no two days have been alike for me, so I’ll try to summarize it as much as possible! Normally, the first thing I do when I get connected is check the email and the IRC history. Then I take a look at the new changes in Bugzilla (new unconfirmed bugs, new bibisectRequest bugs, etc.) and eventually I work on the main task I have planned for the day. In case I have a meeting, I also spend some time getting things ready beforehand.


What areas in QA are working well, and what needs to be improved?

Definitely the best part of QA is the volunteers themselves, who expend their own time on the project, keeping the unconfirmed bugs low, triaging bugs, providing backtraces, etc. as this would be impossible without them.

I also find tools like the bibisect repositories really great for triaging regressions. On the other hand, as the amount of bugs in Bugzilla is quite high, I believe we need to improve how duplicated bugs can be identified more easily, as well as finding ways of attracting new volunteers to the team and encouraging them to stay in the project.


How can normal (non-developer) LibreOffice users help out?

One of the best ways a normal day-to-day Libreoffice user can help out is by reporting clear and detailed bugs when they find a problem, making the changes of getting the bug triaged, and subsequently fixed, much higher. A good bug report must have:

  • Operating system and LibreOffice version
  • Enumerated reproducible steps
  • Simple attachments where appropriate
  • Observed or expected results

Besides, they can also help to confirm bugs or retest bugs that might be fixed.

Finally, participating in the next Bug Hunting Session on Friday October 21 is a good way to start helping out. Newcomers can contact us on IRC (#libreoffice-qa on Freenode) or via the mailing list if they have any questions.


Thanks Xisco. So, that’s an overview of the QA team and what it does – later this week we’ll show you exactly how to get involved, confirm a bug report, and help to make LibreOffice stronger and more robust for everyone.