Welcome to the 29th issue of Softpedia Linux Weekly!
This one was definitely an Ubuntu week for us here at Softpedia Linux. On Monday, Paul W. Frields announced that Fedora 11 would also be known as Leonidas. On Tuesday we decided to test the EXT4 filesystem on Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha and we've discovered that it boots a lot faster than the current release of Ubuntu, with the EXT3 filesystem. On Wednesday, the KDE community announced a double release, for KDE 4.1.4 and the release candidate of the upcoming KDE 4.2.0. Alexey Rusakov announced on Thursday the immediate availability of ALT Linux 4.1.1 Desktop, which now provides a DVD with English as the default language. Canonical released on Friday night the third alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, Ubuntu Server, Xubuntu and Mythbuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) and we offered you yet another detailed "screenshot tour." The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the latest Linux distributions released/updated last week and the development releases... at the end of the article!
Among the features that will be present in the final version of Fedora 11, we can notice improvements to the boot and shutdown processes, KDE (K Desktop Environment) 4.2, Python 2.6, TightVNC as the default VNC viewer client, DeviceKit, DNSSEC (DNS SECurity) to prove the authenticity and integrity of the DNS data, support for fingerprint readers enabled by default (as secondary authentication method), multi-seat support (multiple mice, keyboards and monitors can be connected at the same time on a single host system), more intuitive and easy-to-use volume control, cross-compiler for Windows application (allows users to build and test full-featured Windows applications directly from Fedora (Windows OS not required)) and many more to come.
On January 13th we decided to test the boot times of an Ubuntu installation with the EXT4 Linux filesystem. EXT4 will be available in the Ubuntu Installer (Ubiquity), if you choose manual partitioning (see the screenshot below for details). The bad news is that EXT4 will not be the default filesystem for the Ubuntu OS until version 9.10, due for release in late October this year.
We've tested the boot process of a default Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04 Alpha (Build 20090112.1) installation on two machines, an AMD Sempron 1.8 Ghz, 80 GB IDE hard drive with 512 RAM DDR and an Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 running at 2.2 Ghz, 250 GB SATA hard drive with 4 GB RAM DDR2. The boot times were calculated from the moment the GRUB boot loader appeared on the screen and until the login manager was displayed. The results showed that there was an approximately 8.7 second difference between an Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) installation and an Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha (Jaunty Jackalope) one on the first system and 5.4 second difference on the second system. However, this does not stop us from hoping that the boot times will decrease even more until the final version of Ubuntu 9.04 hits the streets.
Also on January 13th, the KDE community announced the immediate availability of the fourth maintenance of KDE 4.1 and the release candidate of the upcoming K Desktop Environment 4.2.0. The KDE 4.1.4 release is dubbed "Cod" and it brings many bug fixes and improvements, especially for the Okular, KMail and KGpg applications. On the other hand, the KDE 4.2 RC release brings lots of new features and thousands of bug fixes, it is dubbed "Cilense" and it is the final version until KDE 4.2.0 will hit the streets, in late January.
Currently, the KDE 4 desktop environment ships with many packages, including web development applications, educational tools, administrative programs and more, all of which are available in over 50 languages. Everyone currently using KDE 4.1.3 is advised to update to the most recent version. Moreover, similar updates of the 4.1 generation will follow in the next months, culminating with a new feature release, KDE 4.2.0, expected at the end of January or the beginning of February 2009.
Download KDE 4.2 RC right now from Softpedia. Remember that this is a development release and it should NOT be installed on production machines. It is intended to be used for testing purposes only.
On January 14th, Alexey Rusakov announced the immediate availability of the desktop edition of ALT Linux 4.1.1 DVD, a general purpose GNU/Linux distribution designed to be used on workstations, laptops and netbooks. Besides the usual bug fixes and improvements, ALT Linux 4.1.1's most important feature is the inclusion of an installation DVD ISO image with English as the default language. Here are the highlights of ALT Linux 4.1.1 Desktop:
· OpenOffice.org was updated to version 184.108.40.206 (contains many bugfixes);
· Compiz Fusion will work out-of-box now and it can be activated from the menu;
· NetworkManager received a couple of fixes for PPPoE operation and it is now more stable;
· Fixed CPU frequency issues;
· The printer management and settings were fixed in the default KDE installation;
· Added English-based DVD ISO image;
· Fixed various minor bugs.
On January 16th, Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) Alpha 3 was uploaded on the official mirrors and, as usual, we've downloaded a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 9.04 development. To please our readers, starting with this third alpha, we also listed the new features brought by the Kubuntu edition, as well as the screenshot tour.
Also on January 16th, Philip Newborough announced the second revision of the third release of his lightweight Linux distribution, CrunchBang 8.10.01. CrunchBang is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) and powered by the Openbox window manager. It includes applications such as Epiphany, The GIMP, Pidgin, Audacity, Gwibber or Abiword. On January 16th, CrunchBang 8.10.02 introduced the following features since the previous release:
· Thunar was replaced by PCMan File Manager, as the default file manager;
· Brasero was replaced by Xfburn;
· Gdebi is now installed by default;
· Claws Mail received a new icon theme called Tango Icon Theme;
· In order to provide a unified look and feel to the desktop, QT4-based applications such as Skype and VLC are styled with the qgtkstyle software;
· Added an alternate text editor, Leafpad;
· Totem was replaced by VLC, as the default media player;
· LXDE replaces most of the XFCE4 components;
· Improved support for Atheros-based wireless cards;
· NdisWrapper is now installed by default;
· Orange was replaced by OSMO, as the default personal organizer;
· Added new system updater tool;
· Added new shortcut key, to easily manage virtual desktops;
· The "Places" menu was replaced by a new Openbox pipemenu;
· The "Help" menu was replaced by a new Openbox pipemenu;
· Added gPodder, as the default podcast catcher;
· Added "Terminal Apps" menu, which includes the following applications: Vim, Midnight Commander, rtorrent, MoC, Newsbeuter, elinks, MUTT, irssi, nalm, htop.
Video Clip of the Week: Ubuntu Advertisement · For this week, our search for an interesting video clip stopped at a quite professional and attractive advertisement made for Ubuntu Linux. The video is 2:11 long and it was posted by simplythebestmovies. Enjoy!