Article from Issue 269/2023

In the news: KDE Plasma 5.27; SparkyLinux 6.6; Escuelas Linux 8.0; LibreOffice 7.5 Loaded with New Features and Improvements; The Next Major Release of Elementary OS; KDE Plasma 5.27 Beta; Netrunner OS 23; New Linux Distribution Built for Gamers; and System76 Beefs Up Popular Pangolin Laptop. 

KDE Plasma 5.27 Released

The next KDE Plasma desktop has arrived and promises to deliver a remarkable experience for one and all.

Most of the newness added to the desktop comes by way of improvements and bug fixes, so you won't find a plethora of new features, but there are some worth noting.

There is a new Flatpak Permissions Settings option in the System Settings tool and a new Welcome to KDE Plasma app that helps guide new users on how to set up online accounts and more.

In this release, however, new features are overshadowed by improvements and bug fixes. Some of the improvements include support for high-resolution scrolling in Wayland; the battery monitor now shows statuses for charging, discharging, and fully charged; Dolphin now selects the next file when you delete a file; and the Discover Flatpak backend is considerably faster.

In addition, the System Settings window decorations now use a more modern "frameless" style (as opposed to the previous tabbed view); the display configuration widget is now found in the System Tray and is inactive when you have only one attached monitor; a multi-monitor revamp has also been undertaken, to make working with multiple displays far more reliable; a Hebrew calendar has been added to the Digital Clock popup; and the KWin Tiling System can be launched with Meta-T.

You can find out more about what can be found in the new update from the official release notes ( If you want to experience the latest KDE Plasma, your best bet is via KDE Neon testing ISO (

SparkyLinux 6.6 Available for Installation

SparkyLinux still offers four different desktop editions, LXQt 0.16.0, Xfce 4.16, KDE Plasma 5.20.5, and Openbox 3.6.1, and benefits from all the upgrades found in those environments. The biggest addition to SparkyLinux is the change made to the Sparky Live USB Creator.

With the new release, it is now possible to create live USB installations with persistent storage. That means you can take a version of SparkyLinux with you, wherever you go, that will include any data you've saved to the USB drive.

SparkyLinux 6.6 is powered by the Linux kernel 5.10.166 LTS but does include support for kernel 6.1.

Because SparkyLinux is based on Debian, some of the installed packages may seem out of date, but that is not the case.

SparkyLinux uses the Debian repos, which include stable packages for the installed software. These software packages are the latest stable releases, which are installed from the Debian and Sparky stable repos (as of February 4, 2023). Some of the app versions found in SparkyLinux 6.6 include Firefox, Thunderbird 102.6.0, and LibreOffice 7.0.4.

You can read more about this point release for SparkyLinux on the official release notes ( and then download an ISO image ( for installation.

Escuelas Linux 8.0 Available

Escuelas Linux is a distribution aimed at the education sector, from preschool to high school, and includes a collection of educational software. This distribution can be installed on either 32-bit or 64-bit hardware and is based on Bohdi Linux.

The list of pre-installed educational software is impressive, with the likes of TuxPaint, GCompris, TuxMath, Scratch, WxMaxima, Geogebra, Kalzium, and many more. Along with the educational software, you'll also find standard packages such as LibreOffice, GIMP, Krita, Inkscape, Firefox, Chrome, Chromium, and more.

As far as the latest upgrade is concerned, the core of the 64-bit release is based on Bodhi Linux 7.0, which is based on Ubuntu 22.04. The 32-bit release is based on Bodhi Linux 6.0, which is based on Debian 11 "Bullseye." The kernel shipped with the 64-bit version of Escuelas 8.0 is 6.0.12, and the 32-bit version ships with kernel 4.19.

For new features, you'll find a brand-new installer, updated applications, and an upgraded Developer Pack, which includes the latest releases of Android Studio, Apache NetBeans, and the Eclipse IDE.

Make sure to read the full release notes for the 25th-anniversary release ( and then download an ISO for installation (

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