Article from Issue 227/2019

This month: Linux Mint 19.2 “Tina” Released; Gnome and KDE Coming Together; Fedora CoreOS Preview Released; SUSE Appoints New CEO; GitHub Blocks Access to Private Repositories in Certain Countries; and A New Ransomware Targeting Linux-Based NAS Devices.

Linux Mint 19.2 "Tina" Released

The Linux Mint project has announced the release of Linux Mint 19.2, codenamed Tina. It's an LTS release, which will be supported until 2023. The release comes with updated software and refinements. It also introduces some new features to desktop users.

Some under-the-hood improvements bring good news to those who play at the kernel level. The Update Manager continues to get better; it now shows the kernel life cycle. Also, if there are old kernels that you want to remove or update, you won't have to install or remove kernels one by one. Users can queue installations and removals and install and remove multiple kernels in one go. It also adds support for custom kernels. "If you've got a non-generic kernel installed, the Update Manager will show a combo box, so you can switch between flavors," said the project page.

In terms of performance, the new version of Cinnamon improves RAM consumption. "On a test VirtualBox virtual machine, Cinnamon 4.2 uses approximately 67MB RAM (compared to 95MB RAM for Cinnamon 4.0)," said the blog. Optimizations made to the Muffin window manager reduce input lag and make windows feel smoother and lighter.

Linux Mint 19.2 is available for free download. If you are running a previous version of Linux Mint, there is a relatively easy path to upgrade from one version to the next.

Gnome and KDE Coming Together

Linux dominates the world, except for the desktop. One of the problems associated with the Linux desktop is fragmentation. In an exclusive interview, Linus Torvalds told me that, "fragmentation of the different vendors have held the desktop back."

Primarily this fragmentation comes from competing and often conflicting desktop projects. The good news is that two major Linux desktop communities are working on joining hands to eliminate this fragmentation. The Gnome Foundation and KDE e.V. have announced Linux App Summit (LAS) 2019, which will be held in Barcelona from November 12-15, 2019.

LAS is the first collaborative event cohosted by the two organizations since the Desktop Summit in 2009. "With the joint influence of the two desktop projects, LAS will shepherd the growth of the FOSS desktop by encouraging the creation of quality applications, seeking opportunities for compensation for FOSS developers, and fostering a vibrant market for the Linux operating system," said the press release.

Fedora CoreOS Preview Released

The Fedora community has released a preview of Fedora CoreOS, a Linux-based operating system designed to run containers.

Red Hat acquired CoreOS, an open source company, last year and has been integrating CoreOS products and services with its own. CoreOS used to have a distribution with the same name, which was later renamed to Container Linux.

Benjamin Gilbert of Red Hat wrote on the mailing list that Fedora CoreOS is built to be a secure and reliable host for compute clusters. "It's designed specifically for running containerized workloads without regular maintenance, automatically updating itself with the latest OS improvements, bug fixes, and security updates," he said.

The initial preview release of Fedora CoreOS runs on bare metal, Qemu, VMware, and AWS, on x86_64 only. It supports provisioning via Ignition spec 3.0.0 and the Fedora CoreOS Config Transpiler, automatic updates with Zincati and rpm-ostree, and running containers with Podman and Moby.

The community will be adding more features and supported platforms to Fedora CoreOS. If you want to test Fedora CoreOS, you can download it from the official site, but keep in mind that this is a preview version that isn't approved for production.

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