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December 2019

Ubuntu: 10 Years, 10 Defining Moments

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With the leading desktop Linux distribution about to enter a brand new decade — along with the rest of it — it’s sure to face new challenges and new opportunities.

So taking a look backwards, to appreciate how far Ubuntu has come in past ten years, feels rather appropriate.

From the successes that helped Ubuntu’s popularity balloon, to the controversies that nearly punctured it irreparably.

Wherever you are and whichever distro you’re now running, pop open a can of Ubuntu cola and scroll down to relive ten of Ubuntu’s most defining moments.

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Interview with Eka Icydust

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I have a HUGE problem in picking favorites, copy others’ styles when I’m lazy (hehe)Big Grin, ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO DRAW, play Minecraft, BlockstarPlanet, extra extra, horrible at controller, all my friends have a TV or TVs and I dont Sad, hate Roblox but can still play it in Roblox banned countries and I basically love dark and creepy AND I’m not girly or boyish.

Birthday on November 30th so now I’m 12.

I have a lot of books (I love reading).

I also hate putting the signature after I draw cause it seems annoying in my bad handwriting.

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And the best distro of 2019 is ...

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Another year comes to a close. Another year of distro testing, surprises, illusions, disillusionment, some happiness, some sadness, and most of all, not the year of Linux after all. But while the dream may be fading, there's still reasons to be jolly. Or at least content. Because some pretty nice and solid Linux distros did come out in 2019, and we need to crown the bestest of them.

Last year, the winner was MX Linux MX-17 Horizon. It delivered a good, whole desktop experience. A pleasant twist, one sorely needed in the lethargy-bound world that is home Linux nowadays. Which makes for an interesting little competition this year, because it's not just about boring technical details, it's also about giving users something they can proudly run and enjoy, beyond the rudimentary point-and-click essentials. I've already given you my take on the Plasma, Gnome and Xfce winners, so now we need to put all that together, and see what comes out. Let's do it.

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Who Will Succeed the Current Free Software Leaders

Most FOSS leaders came into prominence during the 1980s and 90s and are now approaching, or have passed, the age when most people retire. Are free software organizations ready for the change that appears to be just around the corner?

Richard Stallman’s recent resignation raises issues that nobody likes to talk about: what happens when the current leaders of free software need to be replaced? What mechanisms are in place to find a new leader? Who, if anyone, should succeed? What provisions should be made? Answers to these questions are especially needed in projects where the idea of the Benevolent Dictator for Life prevail. Moreover, in coming years the urgency can only increase.

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Software and Games: subdirmk, PeaZip, Gallivm, Urtuk: The Desolation

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  • subdirmk 0.3 - ergonomic preprocessing assistant for non-recursive make

    Peter Miller's 1997 essay Recursive Make Considered Harmful persuasively argues that it is better to arrange to have a single make invocation with the project's complete dependency tree, rather than the currently conventional $(MAKE) -C subdirectory approach.

    However, I have found that actually writing a project's build system in a non-recursive style is not very ergonomic. So with some help and prompting from Mark Wooding, I have made a tool to help.

  • PeaZip 7.0.1

    PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It's freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

  • Gallium3D's Software Rasterizers Are Close To Having OpenGL Tessellation Support

    Mesa 20.0 continues getting more interesting with the infrastructure around the Gallium3D LLVM "Gallivm" and TGSI IR now supporting tessellation.

    Thanks to Intel's Jan Zielinski, tessellation shader support was wired up for the TGSI IR with Gallivm code. This is one step away from enabling OpenGL tesselation shader support within their OpenSWR software rasterizer.

    It's also then just a stone throw away as well from having OpenGL tessellation support flipped on too for LLVMpipe, when using TGSI over its new NIR code-path.

  • Dark open-world turn-based RPG 'Urtuk: The Desolation' launching on Steam in February 2020

    After launching on while still in development, the impressive dark fantasy open-world RPG, Urtuk: The Desolation, is launching into Early Access on Steam next year.

    In the announcement on their itch page, they've set a date for February 14th. This is after it's already been in development for 4 years, with it being live on itch in First Access and now pushing forwards onto Steam to take development even further.

  • Of NUCs and Bastions

    I have two NUCs – a NUC5i5RYH and a NUC5i5RYK. The YH runs Fedora 31 and the YK Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8. Both have now been updated with the latest BIOS. Updating them was a trivial exercise of first downloading the ZIP file which happens to contain the needed file for the BIOS and fortunately is the same for both the NUCs. Second, copy the unzipped file on to a USB drive and plug that into the NUC and reboot. Hit the F7 button to pick the file from the USB device and proceed. That’s about it. Very easy and as simple as can be.

    Now both of the NUCs have the latest BIOS and latest and best operating systems running on them. The two NUCs provide a host of services for the family – a Nextcloud instance, a ssh host, ssh bastion host and as a gateway between my primary broadband provider – the one that I pay for – MyRepublic and a “free” broadband from Starhub which could just as well not be there.

OSS and Openwashing

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  • CNBC Reports Open Source Software Has Essentially 'Taken Over the World' [Ed: CNBC speaks to too many Microsoft people and omits the fact GitHub is proprietary software with racist censorship and surveillance; but then again, corporate media should be expected to do revisionism for someone's gain.
    Free software is everywhere, but most of us still have no software freedom because of paradigm changes like DRM, so-called openwashing ('Open Source') and 'clown computing'.]

    CNBC Explores released a 14-minute documentary this month called "The Rise Of Open-Source Software." It's already racked up 558,802 views on YouTube, arguing that open-source software "has essentially taken over the world. Companies in every industry, from Walmart to Exxon Mobile to Verizon, have open-sourced their projects. Microsoft has completely changed its point of view, and is now seen as a leader in the space. And in 2016 the U.S. government even promised to open-source at least 20% of all its new custom-developed code."

    The documentary does mention the 1990s, when Microsoft "even went so far as to call Open Source 'Unamerican' and bad for intellectual property rights." But two and a half minutes in, they also tell the famous story of that 1970s printer jam at MIT which led to the purchase of a proprietary printer that inspired Richard Stallman to quit his job to develop the GNU operating system and spearhead the free software movement. And at three and a half minutes in, they also describe how Linus Torvalds "unceremoniously released" Linux in 1991, and report that "By the turn of the century, NASA, Dell, and IBM were all using it." And at 4:18, they mention "other open source projects" gaining popularity, including MySQL, Perl, and Apache.


    Here's a list (in order of appearance) of the people interviewed:
    Nat Friedman, CEO of GitHub
    Devon Zuegel, Open-Source Product Manager, GitHub
    Chris Wright, CTO of Red Hat
    Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation
    Feross Aboukhadijeh, Open-Source Maintainer
    Chen Goldberg, Google's Director of Engineering

  • New Alliance to Bring Order to Smart Homes [Ed: "Alliance" of surveillance with openwashing]
  • The Ecosystem is Moving

    In his presentation, Marlinspike basically states that federated systems have the issue of being frozen in time while centralized systems are flexible and easy to change.

    As an example, Marlinspike names HTTP/1.1, which was released in 1999 and on which we are stuck on ever since. While it is true, that a huge part of the internet is currently running on HTTP 1.0 and 1.1, one has to consider that its successor HTTP/2.0 was only released in 2015. 4 / 5 years are not a long time to update the entirety of the internet, especially if you consider the fact that the big browser vendors announced to only make their browsers work with HTTP/2.0 sites when they are TLS encrypted.

    Marlinspike then goes on listing 4 expectations that advocates of federated systems have, namely privacy, censorship resistance, availability and control. This is pretty accurate and matches my personal expectations pretty well. He then argues, that Signal as a centralized application can fulfill those expectations as well, if not better than a decentralized system.

  • Linux Application Summit 2019 – retrospective

    I wanted to pen something before the year is gone about the recent Linux Application Summit 2019. This is the 3rd iteration of the conference and each iteration has moved the needle forward.

    The thing that excites me going forward is what we can do when we work together between our various free and open source communities. LAS represents forming a partnership and building a new community around applications. By itself the ‘desktop’ doesn’t mean much to the larger open source ecosystems not because it isn’t important because the frenetic pace of open source community expansion have moved so fast that these communities do not have organizational history of foundational technologies that our communities have built over the years that they use every day and maintain.

    To educate them would be too large of a task instead we need to capitalize on the hunger for technology, toolchains, and experience that build and possess. We can do that by presenting ourselves as the apps community which presents no prejudice to the outside community. We own apps, because we own the mindshare through maturity, experience, and communities that spring around it.

    From here, we can start representing apps not just through the main Linux App Summit, but through other venues. Create the Apps tracks at FOSDEM, Linux Foundation events, Plumbers etc.

Adriaan de Groot on KDE, FreeBSD and His Project Calamares

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  • FreeBSD end-of-year

    Since I wear many hats, there’s multiple end-of-year retrospectives to have.

    Huh, it seems like I’ve been a FreeBSD (ports) committer for a little over two years now. Time flies when you’re having fun and/or doing soul-crushing administrative busywork.

    It depends on how you see packaging and tool support – what does it mean and what is your relationship with upstream.

    The kde@ team maintains a bunch of C++ and toolkit infrastructure – CMake and Qt to name two – and that means that we have a lot of consumers that are not directly maintained by us. Changes in the infrastructure often affect other packages in some way – CMake no longer finds a specific package, or Boost gets away from us again, or changes in default C++ warning flags cause unmaintained code from 2002 to fail to build. All that is par-for-the-course when participating in a giant group project to maintain over 30000 packages.

  • Calamares end-of-year

    As 2019 draws to a close, I’d like to use a blog entry to look back at what happened in Calamares in this year. I’m not doing this on the Calamares website itself, since this is more of a personal-retrospective than anything else.

    In this year, there were 16 Calamares releases. There was at least one release every month except march (that one took a long time, and prompted a switch to “short cycle” later) and september (bracketed by august 30 and october 1 releases). I have tried to switch to “short cycle” releases (starting with Calamares 3.2.6) so that there’s faster turn-around on bugfixes and small features can be delivered more easily.

    The short-cycles are about three weeks, and that’s held up reasonably well. What I do notice is that the number of small things remains constant and a couple of big-ticket items are still languishing. That’s still something I don’t know how to deal with.

Some Of The Workloads Still Seeing Lower Performance On Linux 5.5 Git

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Last night I shared the results from what's causing one of the performance regressions in Linux 5.5 but sadly more regressions remain that are currently being tracked down.

Later today I hope to have the results to publish on a bisect of a second regression in Linux 5.5 Git. But overnight I did complete a run to rule out the workloads still affected even when disabling the kernel's AppArmor support per yesterday's article. These tests were done on the dual socket Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake server on Linux 5.5 Git as of yesterday.

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Why is there so much fragmentation and division in Debian?

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Many people noticed Debian Developers have started making wholesale leaks of material from debian-private.

This finishes off the same year where we saw the death of Lucy Wayland, the cover-up of a controversial $300,000 donation from Google and the blackmailing of Norbert Preining.

What these divisions demonstrate is a maturity gap. The cabals running the project have never really grown up. Like a 15-year-old who receives a Ferrari for his birthday, the Debian Account Managers are not mature enough to handle the power associated with their positions.

Anybody familiar with the content of debian-private can see this is true: some leadership figures who have been in the project for decades are still behaving the same way that they did in the nineteen nineties yet we are about to begin 2020.

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Programming: Outreachy, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), Red Hat, Knuth Lecture and Python

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  • Sonja Heinze: First milestone, GStreamer pipelines and range requests

    This is the second blog post about my Outreachy internship at Fractal. The project I’m working on is the integration of a video player in Fractal.


    A pipeline in GStreamer seems to be one of those concepts whose basic idea is pretty easy to grasp, but that can get as complicated as you want. As its name suggests, a pipeline is a system of connecting pieces that manipulate the media in one way or another. Those connecting pieces are called elements. The element where the media comes from is called source element and the one(s) where it’s rendered is/are called sink element. An example is shown in the drawing in . As you can see there, every element itself again has a source and/or one or more sinks, that connect the elements among each other. The phenomenon, just described, of finding the same concept at the level of elements and at the level of the pipeline is not uncommon. I’ll give two more examples.

    The first example is about buffering. On one hand, when pushing data through the pipeline, an element step by step gets access to the media by receiving a pointer to a small buffer in memory from the preceding element (buffers on the level of elements). Before receiving that, the element cannot start working on that piece of media. On the other hand, one can add a buffer element to the pipeline. That element is responsible for letting bigger chunks of data get stored (buffers on the level of the pipeline). Before that’s done, the pipeline cannot start the playback.

    The second example concerns external and internal communication. The way a pipeline communicates internally is by sending events from one element to another. There are different kinds of events. Some of them are responsible for informing all pieces of the pipeline about an instruction that might come from outside the pipeline. An example is wanting to access a certain point of the video and playing the video from there, called seek event. For that to happen, the application can send a seek event to the pipeline (event on the level of pipeline). When that happens, that seek event is put on all sink elements of the pipeline and from there sent upstream, element by element (events on the level of elements), until it reaches the source element, which then pulls the requested data and sends it through the pipeline. But events are just one example of communication. Of course, there are other means. To mention some more: messages the pipeline leaves on the pipeline bus for the application to listen to, state changes and queries on elements or pads.

    So I find the concept of pipelines quite interesting. But to practically get media processed the way I want, I’d have to set up a whole pipeline correspondingly. Creating an adequate pipeline and communicating with it and/or its elements can get complicated. But luckily for me, the audio player in Fractal is implemented using a concept called GstPlayer, so that’s what I’ve also used for video. It’s an abstraction of a pipeline that sets up a simple pipeline for you when creating it. It also has a simple API to manipulate certain functionalities of the pipeline once created. And to go beyond those functionalities, you can still extract the underlying pipeline from a GstPlayer and manipulate it manually.

  • The Debate Over GCC's SVN-to-Git Conversion Approach Won't Be Settled This Year

    The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) plans for transitioning from SVN to Git over New Year's Day looks like for sure now that goal will not be realized. There still is no firm consensus over which SVN to Git conversion approach to utilize.

    On Christmas Eve, Eric S Raymond announced his Reposurgeon software should be ready for a full and correct GCC conversion of the SVN source tree to Git. Since then, various minors bugs have been pointed out and tweaking to Reposurgeon has continued.

  • Serverless Kafka on Kubernetes

    DevNation tech talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions and code and sample projects to help you get started. In this presentation, you’ll learn about the serverless developer experience on Kubernetes with Knative and Apache Kafka from Matthias Wessendorf.

    Apache Kafka has emerged as a leading platform for building real-time data pipelines and for high-throughput/low-latency messaging. With its scalable and distributed design, Apache Kafka is a good fit for platforms like Kubernetes. Knative, on the other hand, is a Kubernetes-based platform that comes with a set of building blocks to build, deploy, and manage modern serverless workloads.

  • 8 must-read DevOps articles for success in 2020

    I am an avid reader, but I go through periods where I'm so busy that it's hard to find the time to keep up with my reading list. Even during my busiest times, I try to stay up to date on DevOps news since it's one of my areas of focus.

    Here, I've summarized key takeaways from the top eight DevOps articles published this year so you can increase your knowledge even if you don't have time to read all of them. Since DevOps is about people, processes, and tools, I've categorized the top eight articles around those themes.

  • Donald Knuth’s 2019 ‘Christmas Tree Lecture’ Explores Pi in ‘The Art of Computer Programming’

    But for this year’s lecture, Knuth did something special. He showed the audience how, throughout the last half of a century, he’s whimsically worked the digits of pi into various exercises in his book — again, and again, and again. Knuth tells the audience that he’s searched the entire text of his own book, The Art of Computer Programming, using the Linux tool egrep, and he’s found a whopping 1,700 occurrences of the word pi, “which mean pi occurs maybe twice every five pages in the book so far.” He feels that using pi in his examples assures readers that the algorithms really will work, even on an arbitrarily chosen cluster of digits.

  • The best resources for agile software development's six-part guide to Small Scale Scrum (which I helped co-author) advises smaller teams on how to bring agile into their work. The traditional scrum framework outlined in the official Scrum Guide recommends a minimum of three people for the framework to realize its full potential. However, it provides no guidance for how teams of one or two people can follow scrum successfully. Our six-part series aims to formalize Small Scale Scrum and examines our experience with it in the real world. The series was received very warmly by our readers—so much such that the six individual articles comprise 60% of our Top 10 list. So, if you haven't already, make sure to download them from our Introduction to Small Scale Scrum page.

  • Namespaces are the shamash candle of the Zen of Python

    Modules are namespaces. This means that correctly predicting module semantics often just requires familiarity with how Python namespaces work. Classes are namespaces. Objects are namespaces. Functions have access to their local namespace, their parent namespace, and the global namespace.

    The simple model, where the . operator accesses an object, which in turn will usually, but not always, do some sort of dictionary lookup, makes Python hard to optimize, but easy to explain.

    Indeed, some third-party modules take this guideline and run with it. For example, the variants package turns functions into namespaces of "related functionality." It is a good example of how the Zen of Python can inspire new abstractions.

  • How to use Pandas get_dummies to Create Dummy Variables in Python

    The post How to use Pandas get_dummies to Create Dummy Variables in Python appeared first on Erik Marsja.

    In this post, we will learn how to use Pandas get_dummies() method to create dummy variables in Python. Dummy variables (or binary/indicator variables) are often used in statistical analyses as well as in more simple descriptive statistics.

More in Tux Machines

Games: Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle and Much More

  • The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle is live with lots of Linux games and all going to charity

    The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle has arrived to help in the fight, with tons of games (and lots for Linux) and 100% of the proceeds of this will go to charity.

  • You can build you own bundle of Codemasters racing games over on Humble Bundle

    Got the need for speed? Codemasters might possibly be able to help with that, as they have a new bundle over on Humble Bundle where you pick what games you want. A good time to complete your racing game collection perhaps, there's quite a few of them here. The way it works is that if you pick at least three, your discount gets bigger. The same happens if you pick 4 and 5 titles with each again giving you a bigger discount in total. There's various DiRT games, lots of F1 titles and others.

  • Legend of Keepers from Goblinz Studio manages to sell over 33K copies in less than a month

    Always nice to see an indie developer doing reasonably well! Goblinz Studio, creator of Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master, have announced a pretty great start for it. Releasing only on March 19, they said on Twitter how they were going to do a special message about it hitting a 30K milestone but they hit over 33K before being able to to do so. It's important to note that this is across Humble, GOG and Steam together. They also mentioned in another Twitter post about 4 days after release, that it had sold 1.3K copies on GOG alone in that time.

  • Paradox to give players a lot more guidance in Crusader Kings 3 - new overview video

    Crusader Kings is a complicated grand strategy series and not particularly accessible to new people. Crusader Kings 3 aims to change that as they've said before and over this month they gave more detail on what they're doing. Through March they put out new developer diaries focusing on tutorials, governments, war, civil war and more. Paradox is paying particular attention to making the interface of Crusader Kings III much easier to understand, with a full guided tutorial that runs through various parts of the interface and the gameplay mechanics. One of the major differences will be Tooltips, a great many of them and once you get through the guided tutorial you then get special mini-tutorials to follow along so you don't get overwhelmed.

  • Fates of Ort is an RPG where time stops until you move - it's absolutely great and it's out now

    We've got a lot of turn-based RPGs, a few real-time with pausing and a few entirely real-time but Fates of Ort still manages to make it all feel so new and interesting again. Think SUPERHOT as a retro pixel-art RPG and you get the idea. Not some gimmick either, as it works brilliantly. Also making it quite unique is the Magic system, which consumes your own life—as they say "Magic is powerful, but it is not free.". So you not only need to plan your moves, watching enemies move when you move but also plan how and when to use your magic and not overly so to cause your own death.

  • Valve's revamp of Artifact with a 2.0 Beta will start going out to players sometime soon

    Valve recently announced to expect news for their card game Artifact sometime soon, and now they're saying an Artifact 2.0 Beta will start trickling out to players. In the announcement on Steam, they made it clear that they've been working on revamping the core mechanics of Artifact. You will now be able to zoom out any time, to see and interact with all three lanes at once. However, the "majority" of effect still only work across one lane so they're all still important but a player is less likely to get shut out of a lane like they used to. Something better is that Valve will no longer sell cards, so there's no chance of facing an opponent with more money who has a completely stacked deck to steamroll over you. There's even a new "Hero Draft" mode, "that gives you a taste of constructing decks without all the pressure".

  • Imperator: Rome free to play until April 5, plus Archimedes update and Magna Graecia content pack out now

    Imperator: Rome from Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio today had a huge update release along with a new DLC content pack and you can play free until April 5.

  • Manage the flow of passengers in 'STATIONflow' - leaving Early Access on April 15

    STATIONflow is a game about managing a very busy underground train station that's currently in Early Access with Linux support, which is to officially release on April 15. Quite a complex-looking game that has you build 3D layouts, guiding passengers around to their destinations. You drag and drop corridors and platforms around, with a free-form layout system so that the flow of passengers is only as good as your imagination for planning. This also means you can constantly optimise and re-build, when you discover a better layout.

  • Get ready to play with renaissance paintings as 'The Procession to Calvary' releases in April

    The Procession to Calvary has such a brilliant idea with it bringing Renaissance Paintings to life in a point and click style adventure. I am genuinely excited to play this. Just recently announced for released on April 9, it brings together classic pieces from Rembrandt, Botticelli, Michelangelo and many more in a unique way to provide a special new world to explore.

  • Valve makes auto-update adjustments to help with managing Steam's bandwidth use

    After multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home, Valve have started speaking about their own ways to manage bandwidth too. In the blog post on Steam, Valve mentioned how they've now adjusted download priorities so that games you've not played recently will move from using off-peak timings for auto-updates to spreading them over multiple days. Only games you've played in the last three days will update immediately. This doesn't change you clicking on a game that needs an update, as it will begin to update as normal when you request it. They also said they're looking into "additional solutions to help on our side" so we might see more download options in the Steam client eventually.

Android Leftovers

5 Reasons Why This Linux Gaming OS Is Great For Your Living Room

Valve’s Steam Machines initiative has been retired and SteamOS is on hiatus, but Steam Big Picture mode is still an awesome way to transform your PC into a living room console experience. For those of us who like the idea of having a computer dedicated to couch gaming (read: not your daily driver OS), a boutique Linux distribution called GamerOS is worth checking out. Especially since it picks up the baton where Valve left off and adds substantial tweaks and improvements. In a nutshell, GamerOS is an Arch Linux-based operating system that’s streamlined to do one thing very well: run Steam Big Picture. In fact, that’s all it does. There is no desktop environment. Your first boot places you directly into Steam Big Picture and that’s where you’ll live on GamerOS. Read more

Linux Mint 20 Release Date & Features

Well, that’s what this post is here to tell you. We will keep this roundup of Linux Mint 20 features and updates up-to-date as development happens until June, its expected release month. What do we about Linux Mint 20 so far? Read more Also: Linux Mint 20 Doing Away With 32-Bit Support