Article from Issue 270/2023

In the news: Gnome 44 Release Candidate; Flathub Vying to Become the Standard Linux App Store; Debian 12 to Ship with KDE Plasma 5.27; Planet Computers Launches ARM-Based Linux Desktop PCs; Ubuntu No Longer Shipping with Flatpak; openSUSE Leap 15.5 Beta; Linux Kernel 6.2 Released with NewHardware Support; Kubuntu Focus Team Releases NewMini Desktop; and US National Cybersecurity Strategy Released.

Gnome 44 Release Candidate Now Available

Gnome 44 is upon us. Many Gnome fans have tested the beta version and found it to be the perfect next step for the open source desktop environment. And with the projected release, at the time of writing, of March 22, 2023, this release candidate arrives at the perfect time.

Surprisingly, however, the development team has added a few changes to the desktop. No, these are not new features but more bug fixes and cleanups.

For example, the team has added a bit more polish to the Epiphany web browser. There is also direct support for Wayland's fractional_scale_v1. What this means is that you'll be able to set fractional scaling for multiple monitor setups.

You'll also find new options in the Quick Settings menu, such as a list of currently connected Bluetooth devices. As well, the Quick Settings menu will now include a Screenshot button and a background apps list.

The expanding folders feature was removed in Gnome 43, but, thanks to a demanding community, it was added back for the Gnome 44 release candidate.

Other changes include: The Gnome Settings Daemon goes to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity, the Gnome Control Center mouse and touchpad section has been slightly revamped, a good amount of code cleanup was done for the GDM login manager, Gnome Boxes now allows the creation of virtual machines without first selecting an operating system info entry, and Gnome Music now uses less memory when running in the "Songs" view.

Read more about the Gnome 44 release candidate here:

Flathub Vying to Become the Standard Linux App Store

Linux has a plethora of package managers and app stores. There's Apt, DNF, Yum, Zypper, Pacman, Gnome Software, Discover, and Synaptic.

For modern Linux distributions, however, you can also add Snap and Flatpak into the mix. Those last two have, for some time, struggled to gain much traction. However, over the past couple of years, those universal package managers have finally gained considerable popularity.

But only one of those tools is vying to become the de facto standard app store for Linux.

Flatpak has secured $100,000 in funding and is aiming for $150,000 more. Their goal is to prepare for higher operating costs and to bring in another full-time staffer.

This comes on the heels of Canonical announcing all official Ubuntu spin-offs will no longer ship with Flatpak installed by default.

Recently, Robert McQueen (Endless CEO and president of the Gnome board) penned a blog ( to not only state how strong the Flatpak growth is (with more than 700,000 app downloads a day) but to state that they plan on establishing an independent legal entity to own and operate Flathub (which is currently hosted by Gnome).

McQueen says in his blog, "Flatpak has, in my opinion, solved the largest technical issue which has held back the mainstream growth and acceptance of Linux on the desktop … namely, the difficulty for app developers to publish their work in a way that makes it easy for people to discover, download (or sideload, for people in challenging connectivity environments), install and use." He adds, "Flathub builds on that to help users discover the work of app developers and helps that work reach users in a timely manner."

As far as what the future holds, the plan is to launch a new Flathub web experience, add verification features, turn on Flatpak repo subsets to enable users to select only verified and/or Flos apps, enable direct app uploads as well as donations and payments, and create Flatpak focus groups and an advisory board.

Debian 12 to Ship with KDE Plasma 5.27

In a break from tradition, Debian is opting to go with the newest version of the KDE Plasma desktop for the testing branch. This goes against their previous method of exhaustive testing before a piece of software is released with a distribution.

Debian is well known for shipping applications that seem to be out of date. The reason behind this is that the focus of the "mother of all" distributions is primarily on stability. To that end, the developers have always ensured each release includes only software that can be trusted to run without problems.

For those who prefer to use more up-to-date software, you can always install it manually, but in some instances – such as with a desktop environment – that can get a bit tricky.

So, if you prefer Debian with an up-to-date KDE Plasma desktop environment, you'll be able to enjoy that very thing by using the Debian testing branch.

That version is Debian 12 (Bookworm). And given that Bookworm is already in a soft freeze state, it's pretty certain KDE Plasma 5.27 will wind up being the official release once Bookworm is out of testing.

KDE Plasma 5.27 includes the new tiling window manager, a much-improved Discover app store, tons of bug fixes, and top-to-bottom refinements of the desktop. This release also ships with KDE Frameworks 5.103 and KDE Gear 22.12.3.

To find out more about the Debian 12 release, read the official release plan ( At the time of writing, Bookworm is scheduled to hit the hard freeze state around March 12. The full freeze and release dates have yet to be announced.

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