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Why prominent 'hobbyist' operating systems face an existential crisis

Filed under
OS
GNU
Linux

Do you think Linux is an alternative, hobbyist operating system? Ha! Linux is mainstream. If you're looking for the next niche OS, you'll need to dive deep into the cracks and crevices: passion projects worked on by a handful of developers in their spare time.

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First Firefox OS Smartphones Available in the Philippines

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OS
Moz/FF

Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, is happy to announce that Cherry Mobile will launch the first Firefox OS smartphone in the Philippines in the coming days. Cherry Mobile will offer the customizable and affordable Firefox OS smartphone – ACE – to their customers providing unique Web experiences through its open source mobile OS. Moreover, key app providers including Easy Taxi and OLX will partner with Mozilla to enrich Firefox Marketplace and expand the Firefox OS ecosystem in the Philippines.

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OpenELEC 5.0 Beta 2 Is a Bleeding Edge Distro That Runs on Almost Any Hardware

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OS

The OpenELEC operating system used to be based on XBMC, but that is changing right now. The old XBMC is being renamed to Kodi and a new major version is in the works. For now, Kodi is still under development, but it's making great progress and it should arrive pretty soon in its final form.

This also means that OpenELEC is looking to integrate the latest Kodi version, just as it did with XBMC, and is following closely all the improvements that are made to the media hub. On the other hand, the developers of this distro have to worry about various other packages as well, not just about XBMC. There is the Linux kernel to be considered, the drivers, and all the other critical components.

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ToAruOS: A Hobby Kernel & User-Space, Runs Mesa & GCC

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OS

ToAruOS is a hobby kernel and user-space that can form a working operating system with some common open-source third party libraries. ToAruOS has been in development for nearly four years and was born at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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elementary OS Freya Features a Beautiful Notification System

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OS
Linux

The Linux distros have all kinds of system notification mechanisms. Some are better than others, but for the most part they function the way they should. On the other hand, some developers, like the ones from the elementary OS team, go a little bit further and they are able to provide a much better experience for the end users.

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Trisquel 7.0 LTS Belenos

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OS
GNU
Linux

Version 7 of the Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution, codenamed Belenos after a Celtic sun god, has been released. Belenos is a Long Term Support release that will be maintained until 2019. Relevant new packages and features include:

Kernel Linux-libre 3.13 with lowlatency and bfq scheduling by default.
Custom desktop based on GNOME 3.12 fallback.
Abrowser 33 (a free Firefox derivative) as default browser.
GNU IceCat 31 available as single-click optional install from Abrowser's homepage. Complete with many extra privacy features.
Electrum Bitcoin Wallet preinstalled.
Moved to DVD format, now with 50+ languages and extra applications.
Improved accessibility by default.

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Manjaro Works To Make Calamares A Distribution-Independent Installer

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OS

The Arch-based Manjaro crew has been developing Calamares, an open-source installation framework they hope will basically lead to being a universal Linux distribution installer.

The Manjaro camp has been developing Calamares as a distribution installer framework they'll be using for Manjaro 0.9+ and they also hope other Linux distributions will adopt it so it can become somewhat of a universal Linux installer so each distribution camp no longer keeps needing to write their own installer.

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Neptune OS 4.2 Features a Refreshing KDE Desktop

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OS
KDE

ZevenOS-Neptune 4.x branch is called "It's all about you" and it was initially made available back in June. This is the second update for the distribution and the devs have refined some of the features and have added some new packages into the mix.

The system is based on KDE, but don't expect to find a regular stock version implemented. It's clear that the devs have put a lot of effort into making the DE experiences unique. Users can immediately recognize what distribution they are looking at just with a glance, and that's always a good sign.

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Parsix OS Is an Interesting GNOME and Debian 7.0 "Whezzy" Blend

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OS
GNU
Linux

The Parsix operating system uses only the GNOME and Debian packages from the stable branches. The developers aim to provide a complete and bug free Linux distribution, at least as much as humanly possible. The fact that the OS is based on Debian "Wheezy" helps a lot, especially because it's now a Long Term release and it comes with all the latest security updates.

The developers seem to be follow a specific schedule and this latest version comes just a month after the previous Test. It's not clear just how many of these Testing releases will have, but it does look like the system is getting more stable.

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IPFire 2.15 Core 84 Firewall OS Gets Fixes for Shellshock and Other Issues

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OS
Linux

A developer of the ipfire.org team, Michael Tremer, has announced that the IPFire 2.15 Core 84 Linux-based firewall distribution has been released and comes with a long list of fixes, some of them for the latest security issues.

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More in Tux Machines

An introduction to Joplin, an open source Evernote alternative

Joplin is an open source cross-platform note-taking and to-do application. It can handle a large number of notes, organized into notebooks, and can synchronize them across multiple devices. The notes can be edited in Markdown, either from within the app or with your own text editor, and each application has an option to render Markdown with formatting, images, URLs, and more. Any number of files, such as images and PDFs, can be attached to a note, and notes can also be tagged. I started developing Joplin when Evernote changed its pricing model and because I wanted my 4,000+ notes to be stored in a more open format, free of any proprietary solution. To that end, I have developed three Joplin applications, all under the MIT License: for desktop (Windows, MacOS, and Linux), for mobile (Android and iOS), and for the terminal (Windows, MacOS, and Linux). All the applications have similar user interfaces and can synchronize with each other. They are based on open standards and technologies including SQLite and JavaScript for the backend, and Terminal Kit (Node.js), Electron, and React Native for the three front ends. Read more

Open Source OS Still supporting 32-bit Architecture and Why it’s Important

One after the other, Linux distributions are dropping 32-bit support. Or, to be accurate, they drop support for the Intel x86 32-bit architecture (IA-32). Indeed, computers based on x86_64 hardware (IA-64) are superior in every way to their 32-bits counterpart: they are more powerful, run faster, are more compact, and more energy efficient. Not mentioning their price has considerably decreased in just a few years. If you have the opportunity to switch to 64 bits, do it. But, to quote a mail I received recently from Peter Tribble, author of Tribblix: “[… ] in the developed world we assume that we can replace things; in some parts of the developing world older IA-32 systems are still the norm, with 64-bit being rare.” Read more

KDE Applications 17.12 Lands with Dolphin Enhancements, HiDPI Support for Okular

KDE Applications 17.12 has been in development for the past several months and it's now available as a drop-in replacement for the previous series of the software suite, KDE Applications 17.08, which reached end of life in early November. As expected, several of the included apps received various enhancements and new features in this release. Among these, we can mention that the Dolphin file manager is now capable of saving searches, can limit the search only to folders, makes renaming of files easier by allowing the user to simply double-click on the file name, displays extra information about files like origin URL of downloaded file or modification date, and introduces new Bitrate, Genre, and Release Year columns. Read more Also: KDE Applications 17.12 Brings HiDPI Improvements, Rest Of KDE Games Ported To KF5 KDE Ships KDE Applications 17.12.0

Stable kernels 4.14.6 and 4.9.69

Two new stable kernels have been released by Greg Kroah-Hartman: 4.14.6 and 4.9.69. As usual, they contain fixes all over the kernel tree; users of those series should upgrade. Read more See: Linux 4.14.6 and Linux 4.9.69