Article from Issue 239/2020

In the news: LibreOffice 7 Now Available; Microsoft Brings Procmon to Linux; New KDE Slimbook Available; PinePhone Now Offers a Convergence Package; Flutter Is Coming to Linux; and SUSE Rolls Out Service Pack 2 for SLE

LibreOffice 7 Now Available

A new major release of the most popular open source office suite, LibreOffice, is now available for download. The new release includes numerous improvements across the suite. Although most users won't notice anything obvious, there are numerous file compatibility improvements, which should go a long way to make interoperability between LibreOffice and other suites even better.

The first major compatibility improvement is that LibreOffice includes support for ODF 1.3. Along with this update comes digital signatures for documents and OpenPGP-based encryption of XML documents.

MS Office compatibility has been greatly improved with LibreOffice's handling of DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX files. With this new release, DOCX files now save in native 2013/2016/2019 mode (instead of the outdated 2007 compatibility mode). Along those same lines, XLSX sheet names longer than 31 characters are now supported, as well as the exporting of checkboxes in XLSX.

Tool-specific improvements include semi-transparent text support and better handling of quotes and apostrophes in Writer; new functions for non-volatile random number generation, keyboard shortcuts for autosum in Calc; semi-transparent text, subscripts return to default 8 percent, and PDFs larger than 500 cm can be generated in Draw.

New features across the suite include:

  • Skia graphics engine and Vulkan GPU-based acceleration.
  • A new icon theme.
  • New shapes galleries.
  • Glow and soft edge effects for objects.

For more information about the release, read the official LibreOffice announcement (

Microsoft Brings Procmon to Linux

The Microsoft process monitor tool has arrived for Linux. Process Monitor (otherwise known as Procmon), is a reimagined version of the tool for Linux. For those that have worked with Procmon, you know it's a convenient tool to view real-time file system activity. And for developers, Procmon makes it easy to trace syscall activity on a given system. Procmon also supports logging information to file (so you can analyze data at a later time), is highly configurable, supports non-destructive filters, capturing thread stacks and process details, and boot logging.

Although the addition of Procmon to Linux might not be terribly exciting to the average Linux desktop user, for developers, Procmon could be a serious game changer.

At the moment, Procmon is limited to Ubuntu 18.04 systems running a kernel between release 4.18 and 5.3. You will also need cmake greater than or equal to 3.1 and libsqlite3-dev greater than or equal to 3.22. Microsoft plans on adding more configurations in later builds, so look for Procmon to be available to a wider range of distributions soon.

To find out exactly how to build Procmon on the supported systems, head over to the official GitHub page ( for the project.

New KDE Slimbook Available

Linux fans everywhere now have more choices than ever. With distribution-specific laptops popping up left and right, it was only a matter of time before a desktop environment received the same treatment. So when the KDE Slimbook arrived, it was not only the first laptop to focus on the KDE desktop environment, it was a well-spec'd thing of beauty.

And with the rise of popularity of the AMD Ryzen CPU, it makes perfect sense that the makers of the KDE Slimbook ( would migrate their laptops to AMD's processor.

This new laptop easily falls into the Ultrabook category. With a magnesium case that's less than 20 millimeters thick and either a 14.1" or 15.6" display, the new laptops weigh only 1.1 kg (for the 14.1" option) and 1.5 kg (for the 15.6" version). The display is a full HD IPS LED panel and covers 100 percent of the sRGB range, so colors will be accurate.

As for the CPU, the new Slimbook features an AMD Ryzen 7 4800 H processor (which includes 8 cores, 16 threads, and up to 64GB of DDR4 RAM running at 3200 MHz), which makes the KDE Slimbook Ryzen edition the first of its kind for Linux pre-installed laptops.

The KDE Slimbook includes 3 USB ports, a single USB-C port, an HDMI socket, an RJ45 network port, and support for the new WiFi 6 standard. The 14" unit starts at EUR899 (about $1063) and the 15" unit starts at EUR929 (about $1099). You can order a KDE Slimbook from the online store at

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