Desktop environments Archive

COSMIC improves its application store, display mirroring, and more

As its first alpha release is closing in, we have another monthly update about COSMIC, System76’s new Linux desktop environment written in Rust. This month, they’ve further polished and shored up their application store, imaginatively named COSMIC App Store, and it’s supposedly incredibly fast – something I can’t say for its GNOME and KDE counterparts, which tend to be so slow I’ve always just defaulted to updating through the command line, mostly. The file manager now has support for GVfs (GNOME Virtual file system) for making external storage like USB drives work properly, and Greeter login screen, Edit text editor, drag and drop, and copy/paste have been improved in various ways as well. Theming has seen a lot of work this month, with support for icon themes added to the App Library, fixed applet sizes, and more tweaks, while light themes have been disabled for now to fix a number of issues with colour selection being too dark. There’s also display mirroring now, which even works when the individual displays have different resolutions, orientations, and refresh rates. Pop!_OS is now also being built for ARM64, which makes sense because System76 is now also selling ARM servers. There’s also a bunch of work being done by the community as the alpha release nears.

How to install the COSMIC desktop environment on Fedora 40

COSMIC Desktop Environment (DE) is a new project by System76, the company behind the popular Linux distribution Pop!_OS. In this tutorial, we will give you an overview about COSMIC DE and its features, and then we will walk you through the steps to install COSMIC Desktop Environment in the latest Fedora 40 Linux system. ↫ Senthilkumar Palani at OSTechNix A very easy way to try out the current pre-alpha state of COSMIC. I’ll definitely be waiting on a more official release later this year, but man, does COSMIC ever seem way more polished and complete than it has any right to be at this point in time.

COSMIC continues march towards alpha release

COSMIC, System76’s Rust-based desktop that’s going to replace GNOME in Pop!_OS, is nearing its alpha release, and the Linux OEM has published another blog post detailing the latest progress it’s made. First and foremost, theming support has been further refined by adding support for theming GTK applications (both GTK3 and 4) and flatpak applications. If the user has enabled global themes, these themes will be applied automatically whenever selecting a theme to apply. Support for custom icon packs has also been added. COSMIC now also has an application store, much like GNOME Software and KDE’s Discover, which also takes care of updating installed applications. You can now also drag windows from anywhere inside the window by holding down the super key, which is both a nice addition in general as well as a usability feature. The Settings application has also seen work, and gets a new keyboard settings panel, as well as various other smaller additions. COSMIC also now implements on-screen display toasts for things like changing volume and brightness, and plugging in power. System76 isn’t the only one working on COSMIC – community members have implemented things like window snapping, touchpad gestures, thumbnail previews in the dock, and more. The community is also working on things like an emoi picker, and a fan control graphical user interface. There’s a lot more in the blog post, so be sure to give it a read. I’m genuinely excited for COSMIC to hit the shelves, because I’m dying to try it out.

LXQt 2.0.0 released, completes move to Qt 6

LXQt, the lightweight Qt desktop environment, has released a major new version, which brings with it a whole slew of very important changes and upgrades, with two main focal point. First and foremost, the desktop environment is now using Qt 6 across the board, meaning the transition from Qt 5 to Qt 6 is now complete. To support themes and the LXQt File Dialog for Qt5-based apps you can install libqtxdg-3.12.0, lxqt-qtplugin-1.4.1, and libfm-qt-1.4.0 alongside the new Qt 6 variants for backwards compatibility. One exception here is QTerminal, whose Qt 6 port ran into some issues, so a separate Qt 6 release will come later. The second major upgrade that’s still in progress is support for Wayland. LXQt 2.0.0 brings Wayland support for PCManFM-Qt, LXQt Runner, and LXQt Desktop Notifications, and for LXQt 2.1.0 they plan to make everything else available under Wayland as well. This means that more popular desktop environment like Cinnamon and Xfce are starting to feel a little out of step when it comes to Wayland. One of the major user-facing new features is a new default menu for the panel which supports favourites, a new and improved search feature, and more.

Hyprland crash course

For the past week I have been configuring hyprland and using it as my daily driver. Coming from major Desktop Environments like KDE or Gnome, this was definitely quite challanging, specially when implementing features that we take it for granted on these DEs, like screen sharing or screenshot annotating. In this post I will be going through all the tools and scripts I have been creating to configure this amazing Window Manager to my liking. ↫ xd1.dev Like I mentioned in my MNT Reform review, I’m not a fan of these “build your own desktop environment” window managers and related tools, but there’s no denying they’re quite popular. This article is a good introduction to hyprland, one of the more popular window managers of this genre.

Closing in on a COSMIC alpha

We’re on approach towards an alpha version of the new COSMIC desktop environment for Pop!_OS and other distros. Meanwhile, COSMIC testing has expanded to more users around the office. This month, we’re providing updates to the checklist we published in January on remaining tasks for releasing the alpha. ↫ System76’s official blog COSMIC is feeling very close now, and this update has a ton of new things and improvements in it, and COSMIC being new, it’s a lot of stuff that’s table stakes. There’s a screenshot utility now, you can tab various windows together, kind of like Haiku can, the design for the on-screen display notifications has been finalised, there’s new animations, and so much more. I’m very excited to try this out.

RubyWM: an X11 window manager in pure Ruby

It’s a minimalist (currently <1K lines) pure Ruby (including the X11 driver) X11 window manager. It is focused on tiling, but allows you to choose to assign a tiling layout to specific desktops or leave them floating. Currently whether or not you use tiling or floating layout there is no window decoration and windows are not draggable or resizable by pulling on borders (but you can do that with Windows key + left/right mouse button) Like bspwm, which was an inspiration, the wm supports no keyboard handling – all keyboard handling is deferred to separate tools like sxhkd. Unlike bspwm this WM has no dedicated IPC mechanism. Instead, so far, all communication happens via X11 ClientMessage events, which means any tool, like xdotool etc. that can produce those events can control the WM. ↫ Vidar Hokstad on RubyWM’s GitHub page In the blog post announcing RubyWM, the author makes it very clear that while he uses this WM full time, he is also willing to work around its bugs, and that certain tools will simply break if you use it. He considers it more of a tech demo, and that you really shouldn’t rely on this for any serious work.

COSMIC: the road to alpha

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2024! We’re on the home stretch putting together COSMIC DE, the new desktop environment made for Pop!_OS and other distros. Basically, it’s the look, feel, and customizations. The goal for the COSMIC DE alpha is to feel like a complete product, albeit with features still to come. With a more stable alpha, we can better collect feedback on usability and focus on completing the Settings panels. From here, we can work towards an eventual 24.04 release over the summer. ↫ System76’s blog I’m very excited to try this out once it’s available.

Enlightenment 0.26.0 released

The venerable Enlightenment project has pushed out a new release, one mainly focused on bug fixes. There are a few new features, too, however, such as a watchdog thread, enabled by default, to detect mainloop hangs, bigger task previews, an API to play sounds for notifications, a DDC option in backlight settings, and a lot more.

Fvwm3 1.0.9 released

Fvwm3, the successor to fvwm 2.6, has a new version, 1.0.9. This highly customisable and lightweight window manager for X has been around for a very long time, since 1993, and has been in development ever since. This new release, as the version number suggests, does not have the longest changelog. If you’re a user of fvwm, you already know exactly what 1.0.9 will mean for you.

Cinnamon 6.0 arrives with initial Wayland support

Cinnamon, the desktop environment mostly associated with Linux Mint, has released its sixth version. It also adds support for AVIF images, a new option for notification screen selection, a new gesture for desktop zoom, a new menu details option, color picker support in the screenshot service, and an xdg-portal configuration file. Various improvements are present as well to fix missing thumbnails for windows that are created while the Menu applet is open, enable window resizing in the Cinnamon Menu Editor, fix a bug causing the Menu applet to be partly behind the panel, fix the Power applet’s battery status, fix reloading of desklets after an update when multiple instances are running, and ensure the Settings window fits the toolbar when expanded. Cinnamon 6.0’s biggest new feature is an experimental Wayland session, marking the first steps towards fully supporting Wayland in the near future.

Ubuntu Budgie switches its approach to Wayland

While Elementary OS commits to Wayland, the development team of the Budgie desktop is changing course and will work with the Xfce developers toward Budgie’s Wayland future. There is general consensus now that the future of graphical desktops on Linux lies in Wayland rather than X11, but the path is still not a smooth and easy one. While in Latvia for the Ubuntu Summit, the Reg FOSS desk met with the developers behind Ubuntu Budgie, who told us that the Budgie project is charting a new course toward the brave new Wayland world. It seems that using EFL – the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries – wasn’t the right choice for Budgie, and so they’re now exploring working with Xfce on their Wayland efforts, instead. Considering Enlightenment’s desktop Linux presence is negligible, at best, joining forces with Xfce so that both Xfce and Budgie can make progress on Wayland faster seems like the more optimal choice for the wider desktop Linux community.

LXQt 1.4.0 released

LXQt, the Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment, version 1.4.0 has been released, and this one marks an important milestone – it’s the last release based on Qt5, before the next release moves to Qt6. LXQt 1.4.0 is based on Qt 5.15, the last LTS version of Qt5. If everything goes as planned, this is the last Qt5-based release – we’ll do our best to port the next release to Qt6, even if we’ll have to delay it. It’s loaded with new features, bugfixes, and improvements, and, as always, will find its way to your distribution of choice soon enough.

TDE R14.1.1 released

The Trinity Desktop Environment, the KDE 3 fork, has released a new version. R14.1.1 comes with the ability to drag and tile windows to the display’s borders and corners, adds several improvements to keyboard shortcuts settings, a few new wallpapers, better support in SunOS/Illumos/DilOS and support for libxine2’s logarithmic volume settings. It also has some important fixes for tdepowersave’s display brightness control, arts sound server start up crash, TQt3’s recursive mutexes and for the high CPU usage detected on some RPM distros with R14.1.0. Behind the scenes, an effort to clean up and enhance TQt3 and tqtinterface code has started and will be going on across multiple releases. You can update to the latest version through your package manager, or install TDE for the first time using the project’s instructions.

Window Maker Live 0.96.0-0 released

Window Maker Live (wmlive) is an installable Linux live CD/ISO, and is based mostly on the recently released “Bookworm” branch of Debian Linux. It relies on the extensively preconfigured Window Maker window manager as its default graphical user interface. It can also be considered as an alternative installation medium for Debian/Bookworm. As such, wmlive is fully compatible with the official Debian/Bookworm repositories for security updates and bug fixes. We’re not a Linux distribution website, but I do like to highlight the ones that are doing something different. While Window Maker can be installed on pretty much anything that pulsates electricity, I always prefer to have a preconfigured experience with these less popular environments, if only to get a better idea of what veteran users like. Distributions such as these are an excellent way of doing that. So, if you’ve always wanted to try Window Maker – here’s a good option.

Scrollbars are becoming a problem

Scrollbars. Ever heard of them? They’re pretty cool. Click and drag on a scrollbar and you can move content around in a scrollable content pane. I love that shit. Every day I am scrolling on my computer, all day long. But the scrollbars are getting smaller and this is increasingly becoming a problem. I would show you screenshots but they’re so small that even screenshotting them is hard to do. And people keep making them even smaller, hiding them away, its like they don’t want you to scroll! “Ah”, they say, “that’s what the scroll wheel is for”. My friend, not everyone can use a scroll wheel or a swipe up touch screen. And me, a happy scroll-wheeler, even I would like to quickly jump around some time. Hidden, thin scrollbars are one of the many scourges of modern UI design. I’m glad more and more environments are at least giving users the option of enabling persistent scrollbars again, but more work is needed here to swing that pendulum back.

Budgie 10.8.1 released

Budgie 10.8.1 is the first minor release in the 10.8 series of our Budgie Desktop environment. This release adds dark style preference support, squashes some bugs around our new StatusNotifierItem implementation, adds keyword support for search, and more! The Budgie Desktop renaissance continues.

COSMIC gets new window-swapping mode, gesture support, and more

COSMIC, the Rust-based desktop environment System76, makers of Pop!_OS are working on, has seen another month of work, and it turns out that it’s already being used daily by the COSMIC team, which is always an important milestone. For instance, COSMIC continues its focus on keyboard users: Pop!_OS and COSMIC DE are built to stay out of your way so you can focus on getting things done. With Auto-tiling, new windows arrange themselves automatically on your screen to reduce the hassle. It’s important, then, that rearranging tiled windows manually feels as seamless as possible. COSMIC’s new window-swapping mode helps facilitate this seamlessness with, as the name suggests, an easy way to swap windows with your keyboard. They’re also added dynamic settings – meaning, changing a setting applies it right away, instead of having to hit apply – as well as gesture support for touchpads. Furthermore, settings for panels have been implemented, so you can arrange and change your panels to your heart’s content. Of course, there’s more, so be sure to read their monthly update.

Regolith Desktop 3.0 released

The Regolith Desktop 3.0 has been released for Ubuntu Focal, Jammy, Lunar, and Debian Bullseye and Bookworm. A new Wayland-based session is available (for Jammy, Lunar, and Bookworm) as well as the existing X11 session. Regolith Desktop is a keyboard-focused, tiling desktop environment, and this new release comes with tons of new features even aside from the Wayland work. There’s now fractional scaling for resolutions higher than 1920×1080, as well as a whole boatload of fixes and changes.