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.
Desktop environments Archive
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.
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, 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.
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 (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. 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 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, 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.
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.
Budgie 10.8 is a brand new release series for Budgie Desktop, featuring improvements to Budgie Menu, adoption of StatusNotifier support in System Tray, Magpie v0.x support, and more! I’m quite happy Budgie is back on track after a few leaner years. Development has picked up, there’s a clear roadmap, and it’s fun to follow along with the changes and improvements.
It’s Back to School season, so grab yourself a brand new discounted computer and let’s get back to COSMIC class! Our new, not yet released Rust-based desktop environment for Pop!_OS and other Linux distros is filling out with some essential systems that cater the DE to both users and developers alike. Customization is one of our main focuses for COSMIC, and was a huge focus for us in August, too. There’s a lot of cool stuff in this update about COSMIC. First and foremost, customisation is important, so they’ve effectively implemented something similar to Android’s Material You theming engine, where the desktop environment will automatically determine derived colours that match the colour you’ve chosen as to maintain readability, contrast, and so on. You can also set the density of the interface, and how ’rounded’ everything looks. Sadly, there’s no word on actual theming in there, but they do mention that “nothing in the components of the design system is meant to be hard-coded”, so hopefully this means custom themes that radically alter the look of the UI are possible. There’s also a new API for application developers. We added an application API to the libcosmic widget library to provide a framework for developing applications and applets in COSMIC DE. It automates integration with COSMIC theme support, along with Wayland protocols, COSMIC’s configuration back-end, and common application elements like header bars and navigation. For application developers, this means convenient development without having to worry about managing the low-level desktop and window manager integrations. For us, this ensures consistency across COSMIC applications and applets. COSMIC is shaping up nicely, and I can’t wait to try it out.
After three years, there’s a new Window Maker release – version 0.96.0 – and it’s got some useful new features. First, the NeXTSTEP-inspired window manager now supports hot corners, so you can send your mouse to a corner of your display and have it execute a command. Second, you can now set keyboard shortcuts for various functions related to taking screenshots, which is a very welcome addition. On top of these, there’s a few smaller new features as well.
Speaking of fun little tools: Paginator is a desktop pager for EWMH-compliant X11 window managers. Paginator provides a graphical interface displaying the current configuration of all desktops, allowing the user to change the current desktop or the current active window with the mouse. Exactly what it says on the tin, and adds some usability to the desktop pager concept to something like Window Maker.
Beyond the dazzling sea of licensed fireworks and thunderclouds lies a cosmic array of ancient stars. It’s within our gaze upon these stars where we find the inspiration for COSMIC DE, our new desktop environment created for Pop!_OS and other Linux distros. Let’s get into the updates! COSMIC DE is System76’s in-progress Rust-based desktop environment. System76 has done some neat tricks while resizing windows in tiled mode, they’re splitting up the notifications subsystems into separate threads, they added fractional scaling, and more.
IceWM 3.4.0 might as well be called the Keybinding Update, since virtually all changes are related to them in some way. This release adds support for keybindings to literal Latin-1 characters, all UTF-8 code points in keybindings, and more.
LXQt, the Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment, has been updated today to version 1.3, a release that brings various improvements to the file manager, panel, terminal, and image viewer. For those of us who want a Qt desktop that isn’t KDE.
Budgie 10.7 is a brand new release series for Budgie Desktop, featuring major re-architectures, new APIs for extensibility, and polish to the user experience. For a point release, there’s a lot of changes, improvements, and new features in here, as the release notes detail. The changes are all over the place – from a brand new application indexer to replace libgnome-menus, to dual-GPU support, notification improvements, general UX improvements, and much more.
LXQt 1.2 is here about seven months after LXQt 1.1 and it’s a major update to the lightweight desktop environment that introduces initial support for the Wayland display server in an attempt to keep up with the times and the new technologies most GNU/Linux distributions are adopting these days. Still based on the long-term supported Qt 5.15 LTS open-source application framework, LXQt 1.2 also improves its file manager component with a new search history feature that offers separate lists for name and content searches. Users can search the maximum number of history items in Preferences > Advanced > Search. I’m glad Wayland support is spreading out to smaller, less popular desktop environments too. Once you go Wayland, you stay Wayland.
IceWM was released only a short while ago, and now we’ve got 3.1. IceWM 3.1 introduces a new window option “frame” to automatically group application windows with the same “frame” value as tabs within a single frame. IceWM 3.1 also now shows indicators for the presence of tabs on the title bar, clicking on the title bar tab indicators can change tabs, tray hints are now preserved across restarts, improved Alt + Tab handling, improvements to the CMake build system integration, and a variety of other changes. I’m glad to see development has truly picked up again.