Window Managers Archive

Exploring System76’s new Rust-based desktop environment

A few months ago, System76 announced that they would be developing a new desktop environment based on the Rust programming language called COSMIC. Their idea is to create a desktop environment that is similar to the one that is currently available for the Pop!_OS operating system, but with a different focus. System76’s objective is to create something that is faster, more customizable, and free of the limitations of the GNOME desktop environment, and let’s face it, we’re all curious how this desktop will look. This post will explore how this new desktop environment is shaping up. There’s not a ton to see here yet, and it’s clearly very early days. Still, it’s interesting to see the beginnings.

Maui Shell is a convergent shell for Linux on desktops, phones, and tablets

I’ve been keeping an eye on MauiKit for a while now, and over Christmas, they surprised us with their brand new convergent desktop environment – Maui Shell – targeted at both desktops, tablets, and mobile devices. After developing a whole set of applications, as well as a Linux distribution to use them, their next step is now a complete desktop environment. The objective of Maui Shell is to deploy a convergent desktop shell with different form factors, from mobile phones and tablets to desktop computers. Maui Shell will adapt to various form factors, and there’s no need for multiple versions targeting different form factors. Maui Shell is still in early development, but they’ve published a tight schedule with the first complete release scheduled for late 2022, with several preview releases in between then and now. In fact, the next release of Nitrux will include the first test release as an alternative shell for users to log into. If you’re interested in a modern take on the Linux desktop, phone, and tablet – these are the projects to follow. They’ve got some good stuff under their belt already, a proven track record, and a clear vision of what they want Maui Shell and its applications to be.

Enlightenment 0.25 desktop environment released

Enlightenment 0.25 is here more than one and a half years after Enlightenment 0.24 to introduce a flat look to match the new flat theme, new gesture recognition bindings for touchpads, fingerprint support in desklock via the libFprint library and a new tool to configure fingerprints, a new binding action that lets users switch profiles, as well as palette editor and selector tool to help you set up custom colors. There are a lot more changes in here, and I’m actually interested in trying it out – it seems more grown-up and less over the top than it has in the past, and I’m curious to see what else has improved over the years.

LXQt 1.0.0 released

LXQt, the lightweight desktop environment based on Qt, has hit its 1.0.0 release, with tons of changes and improvements. Going through the changelog, we can see it’s based on the final LTS release of Qt 5, Qt 5.15, and sports new features across all of its components. The file manager has seen a lot of work, there’s now a do-not-disturb mode, there’s the usual Wayland improvements, and a lot more.

System76 reportedly developing their own Rust-written desktop, not based on GNOME

System76’s Pop!_OS Linux distribution already has their own “COSMIC” desktop that is based on GNOME, but moving ahead they are working on their own Rust-written desktop that is not based on GNOME or any existing desktop environment. Stemming from a Reddit discussion over the possibility of seeing a KDE flavor of Pop!_OS, it was brought up by one of their own engineers they are working on their “own desktop”. With GNOME curling up on itself more and more, this was inevitable. I’m curious to see what System76’s developer come up with, because interacting with some of them on Twitter has taught me they’re good people with good ideas. Since I’m not a developer I’m not going to make any comments on their use of Rust – I’ll leave that to our readers – but I like that it’s indented to be distribution-independent.

The Common Desktop Environment (CDE) is still developed and modern in 2021

While playing around with the GUI on OpenVMS I was looking for CDE documentation and I found out CDE is still being developed and can be installed on modern linux. This quick post shows you how to install CDE on Debian 10 and includes a bit on compiling GENERIC TETRIS, the same program I installed on OpenVMS. I will forever stand by my article from 14 years ago and you can put on my gravestone that I truly think CDE is one of the best graphical user interfaces ever conceived. CDE was released as open source software about nine years ago, and is still being developed.

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.11 released

This release comes with improved support for user sessions on high resolution displays, new TWin styles (SUSE2 and DeKorator), some other new applications, improvements to ffmpeg support and video support in Kopete, a revamped weather bar for Konqueror, a working KNemo backend and various minor improvements and fixes to several long standing annoying bugs and crashes. It also adds support for Debian Bullseye, Ubuntu Impish, Fedora 34 and 35 and Arch distributions. We’ve been talking about Trinity for a while, but for the uninitiated – it’s a fork of the last KDE 3.5.x release, with upgraded bits, fixed bugs, and new features, made to run on modern distributions.

MATE 1.26 released

The theme for this release has been adding new functionality to the MATE Desktop while maintaining the look and feel that we all know and love. While all the added features are surely quite exciting we also did not forget to do tons of bugfixing, modernising the code base and optimizing the performance. MATE is one of the two great alternatives for people who find GNOME 3 and later unpleasant (the other being Cinnamon, my DE of choice).

CuteFish is a new Linux desktop environment

CuteFishOS’s stated goal is to “make a better experience desktop OS”. To do that they’re building a new desktop environment (‘CuteFishDE’) using KDE Frameworks, Qt, and KDE Plasma 5. This desktop will sit at the heart of a new Linux distro called CuteFishOS. The desktop experience caters to “beginners”, rather than power users. As such, the devs have no (current) plans to add complex, edge-case, or convoluted settings and features. Like Ubuntu, the aim is to provide a basic set of sane defaults that “just work” for most users. There’s room for a polished, stripped-down Qt alternative to KDE, but I’m not sure if this one is going to be it.

System76 and Pop!_OS to build GNOME-based desktop environment

We’re providing a honed desktop user experience in Pop!_OS through our GNOME-based desktop environment: COSMIC. It’s a refined solution that makes the desktop easier to use, yet more powerful and efficient for our users through customization. The new designs are developed from extensive testing and user feedback since the Pop!_OS 20.04 release, and are currently being further refined in their testing phase. As we finalize these new designs, read on for some preliminary info on a few of the major changes COSMIC brings to Pop!_OS. With some users deeply unsatisfied with GNOME 40, it makes sense for System76 to make this move now. One of the most basic changes in COSMIC compared to regular GNOME is that it will come with a dock – one of the most popular GNOME extensions. The fact you have to go into a special overview mode just to deal with running applications has always been a headscratcher to me and many others, and if System76 can do a good job listening to community input, this could be a real winner.

IceWM 2.0.0 released

IceWM, the venerable window manager, has finally seen a new release – IceWM 2.0.0. It seems development has been taken over by a new team. Today looks like a fine day to turn a page of history and do some long overdue system upgrades. To begin, here is IceWM 2.0.0. We have two major changes:We remove support for the old and obsolete _WIN_PROTOCOL properties.We add support for the Imlib2 image rendering engine as an alternative for the gdk-pixbuf-xlib rendering engine. The Imlib2 image rendering engine is now the default, but this can be set at configure time. IceWM’s website has more information.

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.9 released

This release comes with new styles providing better look and feel (Baghira, Domino, Ia Ora), new widgets (KoolDock and TastyMenu), new utilities (KXMLEditor, Mathemagics, Qalculate) and new applications (Codeine, TDEDocker, TDEPacman). It also adds support for Xine 1.2.10, improves compatibility with PulseAudio, fixes various bugs, adds support for brightness control from keyboard and integrates CVE-2020-17507 to prevent buffer overflow in XBM parsers. I both want and do not want to run the Trinity Desktop Environment. It harkens back to simpler times, but I’m not entirely sure that’s what people actually want.

Enlightenment 0.24.2 released

Even without the Samsung OSG support these days, the Enlightenment project continues making nice progress. Enlightenment DR 0.24.2 was released today and with it comes several fixes, much faster thumbnail loading for pager, fixed the preloading of icons, various BSD fixes, and a variety of other fixes. Enlightenment keeps on trucking.

Enlightenment 0.24 alpha released

Enlightenment 0.24 Alpha 1 is shipping with an improved screenshot module, support for external monitor backlight/brightness controls, an improved restart experience, a smoother start-up thanks to using an I/O pre-fetch thread, switching over to BlueZ 5 for Bluetooth, and various other changes. Enlightenment was never a massively popular piece of software, but it seems that it has really fallen by the wayside recently. I vividly remember how 15-20 years ago, Enlightement was what you loaded up if you wanted to show off what desktop Linux could do

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.8 released

The Trinity Desktop Environment, a fork of the KDE 3.x series, celebrates its tenth anniversary with a new maintenance release. R14.0.8 is the eighth maintenance release of the R14.0 series, and is built on and improves the previous R14.0.7 version.. Maintenance releases are intended to promptly bring bug fixes to users, while preserving overall stability through the avoidance of both major new features and major codebase re-factoring. Packages are available for Debian and Ubuntu.

LXQt 0.15 released

Friday marked the release of LXQt 0.15, the first big update to this lightweight Qt5-based desktop environment since January 2019. There comes a fair number of improvements with this desktop that was born out of the LXDE and Razor-qt initiatives. I feel like LXQt is to KDE as MATE/Cinnamon/XFCE are to GNOME 3. It’s good to have options.

NEXTSPACE: a NeXTSTEP-like desktop environment for Linux

NEXTSPACE is a desktop environment that brings a NeXTSTEP look and feel to Linux. I try to keep the user experience as close as possible to the original NeXT’s OS. It is developed according to the “OpenStep User Interface Guidelines“. I want to create a fast, elegant, reliable, and easy to use desktop environment with maximum attention to user experience (usability) and visual maturity. In the future I would like to see it as a platform where applications will be running with a taste of NeXT’s OS. Core applications such as Login, Workspace, and Preferences are the base for future application development and examples of style and application integration methods. NEXTSPACE is not just a set of applications loosely integrated to each other. It is a core OS with frameworks, mouse cursors, fonts, colors, animations, and everything I think will help users to be effective and happy. KDE, GNOME, Xfce, and later MATE and Cinnamon have sucked up so much of the Linux desktop space that there’s very little room left for anything else. You’re either mainly a Qt desktop, or mainly a GTK+ desktop, and anything that isn’t based on either of those toolkits will either waste time recreating lots of wheels, or accept that half – or more – of your applications are Qt or GTK+-based, at which point the temptation to run one of the aforementioned desktop environments becomes quite strong. This project, while very welcome and having my full support and attention, will have a very hard time, but that’s not going to deter me from being hopeful against all odds. Reading through the documentation and descriptions, it does seem the developers have the right attitude. They’re not claiming to take on the other players – they just want to make something that appeals to and works for them.

MATE 1.24 released

After about a year of development, the MATE Desktop team have finally released MATE 1.24. A big thank you to all contributors who helped to make this happen. This release contains plenty of new features, bug-fixes, and general improvements. That’s an impressive list. I prefer Cinnamon and GNOME 3 (after lots of tweaking!) over MATE, but I’m glad MATE exists as a no-nonsense, relatively conservative continuation of GNOME 2.

Trinity Desktop Environment R14.0.7 released

The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new TDE R14.0.7 release. TDE is a complete software desktop environment designed for Unix-like operating systems, intended for computer users preferring a traditional desktop model, and is free/libre software. TDA is a fork of the last KDE 3.x release, and looks the part. If you’ re looking for a maintained KDE 3 desktop – Trinity’s your jam. This particular release is a maintenance release, so don’t expect massive changes.