Article from Issue 254/2022

In the news: System76 Developing a New Desktop Environment; Hetzner Opens New Location in the USA; KDE Plasma 5.24 Introduces Fingerprint Reader Support; Ubuntu 21.10 Released and Finally Includes Gnome 40; Hive Ransomware Hitting Linux and FreeBSD Systems; and SUSE Reaches Beyond the Edge with SUSE Linux Enterprise Micro 5.1.

System76 Developing a New Desktop Environment

System76 is never one to settle. Consider what they've done to the Gnome desktop environment with their COSMIC treatment. Effectively, the company has made Gnome their own. But that wasn't enough, so the developers have set out to create a brand new DE, from scratch, using Rust.

Why? Michael Murphy, Pop!_OS maintainer for System76, said, "There are things we'd like to do that we can't simply achieve through extensions in Gnome. Extensions in general feel like a hack. And what we want to do with our desktop differs from Gnome, so it's not like the option to merge pop-shell and COSMIC into Gnome Shell would be a welcome thing."

Although the new desktop will not be a fork of Gnome, the developers do plan on reusing some of the current Gnome tooling, such as Mutter, KWin, and Wlroots. On this issue, Murphy said, "We're already using gtk-rs for all of our stuff. My assumption is that it's likely to see some components in GTK for the foreseeable future." Murphy continues, "The shell itself though is lower level than a traditional desktop GUI toolkit. It'll use primitives from the window manager it builds upon. If a mature Rust GUI turns up, then it could be used in the future of course. I'd generally like to use the best tools where possible."

The System76 desktop will also be distribution-agnostic, so it won't require Pop!_OS to run. Additionally, the developers plan on sticking to (when possible) the standards set by FreeDesktop.

Don't expect this new desktop environment to appear any time soon. Because this is a brand new project, it'll take some time. Keep a close watch on the System76 blog for more updates (

Hetzner Opens New Location in the USA

Hetzner has been well known in both Germany and Finland as a powerful cloud solution that benefits users with low latency and a price/performance ratio that doesn't put it beyond the reach of individuals and small businesses. With a user-friendly interface that can be spun up in seconds, developers can get to work quickly with virtualized Linux instances.

The new US location in Ashburn, Va., is in the heart of one of the most important data center capitals in the world, named Data Center Alley. The new Ashburn facility is available for all Hetzner cloud servers and offers the full array of Hetzner cloud features leveraging AMD EPYC 2nd Gen processors.

With more than 100,000 servers, Hetzner is one of the largest web hosting and data center providers in Europe. In addition to their well-established cloud products, Hetzner's portfolio includes dedicated root servers, web hosting packages, and colocation services. With a combination of reliable tech solutions, attractive pricing, expert support, and an ever-expanding array of services, Hetzner Online has been able to strengthen its market position both nationally and internationally.

Read more about the products Hetzner has to offer (

KDE Plasma 5.24 Introduces Fingerprint Reader Support

KDE Developer Nate Graham announced last week ( that KDE Plasma would be receiving fingerprint reader support in the upcoming 5.24 release. The added support has been a work in progress for some time, but Devin Lin (the primary developer on the feature) finally merged it into 5.24 (

As of now, the fingerprint reader support will allow you to enroll and unenroll fingerprints. Any enrolled fingerprint can then be used to unlock the screen, provide authentication for an app, and authenticate for sudo usage.

The developers have created a user-friendly GUI for onboarding fingerprints, which can be found in System Settings but will (obviously) require either a built-in or external fingerprint reader to use. The one caveat is finding an external fingerprint reader that is fully supported by Linux. Most all laptop fingerprint readers should, however, work as expected.

On top of fingerprint reader support, KDE 5.24 will also include Wayland support for DRM leasing (on VR headsets), as well as support for the NVidia driver's GBM back end, new screenshot features in Spectacle, a default blurred background effect for the Overview, and plenty of bug fixes and performance improvements.

The 5.24 release is scheduled for February 2022.

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