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Article from Issue 251/2021
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In the news: Elementary OS 6 Odin Now Available; Kubuntu Announces High-Performance Focus XE; Solus 4.3 Available for Download and Installation; Steam Deck Linux-Powered Gaming System Set to Take Over the Handheld World; Paragon NTFS Driver On Track For Linux Kernel; and LemonDuck Malware Targets Linux Systems.

Elementary OS 6 Odin Now Available

Elementary OS has always been a Linux distribution that takes the user experience seriously. And with the latest release (version 6, aka Odin), they take that to a new level. Users will now be able to more easily select between light and dark themes and even choose the accent colors to make the UI even more personal. In fact, version 6 is the most customizable release from the elementary designers and developers. This was made possible by a complete redesign and rewrite of the system stylesheet.

But this new release isn't all about style – there's plenty of substance. One of the many things the developers have done is leverage cutting-edge sandboxing technology to better enforce privacy and security. This release also makes use of Portals, which allows you to control how applications interact with one another (and your data). Within the Settings app, you'll find an Applications Permissions section, where you can control which apps have permissions for things such as the Home Folder, System Folders, Devices, Network, Bluetooth, Printing, Secure Shell Agent, and GPU Acceleration.

In addition, elementary OS 6 has gone all-in on Flatpak (a modern container format for application distribution). Many of the default elementary OS apps are now distributed as Flatpaks.

Finally, elementary OS enables multi-touch gestures out of the box, a feature that's long overdue and very welcome.

Find out more about elementary OS 6 from the official blog (https://blog.elementary.io/elementary-os-6-odin-released/) and download (https://elementary.io/) your copy of one of the most user-friendly Linux distributions available.

Kubuntu Focus Team Announces High-Performance Focus XE

From the makers of the Focus M2 (one of the hottest KDE-specific laptops on the market), comes the new Focus XE. And although it's focused on those looking for something small in form factor, it's certainly big in performance.

Sporting 11th generation CPUs and high-speed audio/data ports, this machine isn't an entry-level, budget-friendly laptop. The specs of the XE include a 4-core processor (Intel Core i7), up to 64GB of 3200 MHz RAM, up to 2TB NVMe storage, and Intel IRIS Xe Graphics. Other features include dual-band 5 GHz wireless, RJ-45 Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth dual version 5.2, and Thunderbolt v4. You'll also find two USB-A 3.2 GEN1 ports, and one USB-C 3.2 GEN2 port. An illuminated keyboard with 4mm of travel, a generous trackpad, a 1.0 MP HD webcam, and a 49 Whr Li-ION battery with FlexiCharge Battery Optimization (available in the BIOS), are all housed in a composite aluminum and plastic chassis.

The base model XE will run you USD $1,195, so this isn't a laptop that budget-minded users are going to seek out. But if you're looking for a sleek mobile workstation, that can be specced out to "beast mode" for $2,290 and enjoys the KDE desktop environment, the Focus XE might be just the machine for you.

Purchase your Focus XE from the Kfocus website (https://kfocus.org/).

Solus 4.3 Available for Download and Installation

Solus is the Linux distribution dedicated to the Budgie desktop. And this time around Budgie has received plenty of bug fixes and updates that add up to much-improved performance and reliability. These changes to the desktop environment also include new themes, window customizations, improved notifications, screen tracking, and more.

But the big additions come by way of the Linux 5.13 kernel. By shipping with this new kernel, Solus introduces support for Apple's M1 chipset, Intel's Alder Lake S Graphics, AMD's FreeSync/Adaptive-Sync, and a generic USB display driver. These additions mean Solus can run on even more hardware and will benefit from the performance gains offered by those chipsets and features.

If you opt to install Solus with the Gnome desktop, you'll be treated to version 40.2, which offers several new additions, such as tap-drag-release, horizontal workflow, improved gesture support for trackpads, and better keyboard shortcuts. Mutter (the window manager for Gnome) has also received numerous improvements, such as support for clipping (during background drawing) as well as scroll button locking. The Gnome developers have also resolved several X11 issues, such as unwanted position changes and window resizing during moving.

For those who opt to go the KDE route, you'll find the beautiful Plasma 5.22.2, which adds plenty of enhancements to the experience.

To get your copy of Solus 4.3, head over to the official download page (https://getsol.us/download/).

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