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Is your favorite Linux desktop Cinnamon, MATE or Xfce? Or are you longing for something different and potentially better?

Then one of your best options is the upgrade to Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa” released on July 30th. It comes in a choice of Ubuntu- or Debian-base flavors.

It is an important step for me to make this recommendation. Once my daily Linux driver, I had a major fallout with this distribution several years ago, when an upgrade caused some troubling issues, leading to unpleasant reactions to — and no solution at all — Linux Mint tech support. from the community.

I then jumped into Linux Mint, a near-clone of Phaeron OS, and was a happy user until the distro’s developers made a radical design change and moved away from the traditional Cinnamon desktop.

So I jumped to distros again. I had reviewed the then new Cinnamon Remix distro released by an independent Linux developer. My go-to Linux distro became Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix, later renamed Cinabuntu. I’ve been very happy with its performance and usability options since then.

The ability to pick and choose operating system and configuration options is one of the shining beads you can polish your way to with Linux. It is not possible with Windows or macOS to be able to quickly install a replacement OS with the same look and feel.

However, with the release of Linux Mint 21 my Linux reviewer got the best of me. I was curious what I was missing.

I have detected some features that are not available in my current Cinnamon version. Those new features are in the MATE and Xfce versions as well. LM 21 versions include the latest versions of the three supported desktop environments: Cinnamon 5.4, Xfce 4.16, and MATE 1.26.

Read on to see what’s pulling me back to Linux Mint. Since Cinnamon is my favorite desktop, I focused on that version for this review.

hello old friend

The Vanessa release rekindled my appreciation for how tightly knit Linux Mint is as a computing platform. From the initial loading of the live session DVD to the impeccable installation, I was up and running in less than 30 minutes.

The welcome screen is becoming a standard setup routine for Linux installations. They can all take lessons on how to do this correctly using Linux Mint as an example. Even for experienced Linux users, Linux Mint’s approach is fast and convenient to perform all first-run tasks.

The left column panel of the panel provides general information, documentation, and a great index for completing the first steps. This is especially useful for new users who are unfamiliar with Linux in general – and LM in particular.

The main window area walks you through each step of updating system components and basic desktop configuration. Each section briefly describes what is included. The green themed launch button sets each part of the process in motion.

Steps include desktop color selection, choosing a traditional or modern panel layout, updating drivers and system components, setting up system settings, and software manager. The process also includes activating the built-in firewall, which is an item that many users overlook.

Linux Mint 21 Welcome Screen

The Linux Mint 21 welcome screen guides you through all the setup steps after installation, and it’s also a handy reminder that updates need to be made from time to time.


desktop difference

Design and usability features are one of the reasons I favor the Cinnamon desktop. It has one of the most detailed and organized configuration panels of any Linux distribution.

The System Settings panel keeps all the configuration options in one place. But unlike other desktop layouts with very few options, Linux Mint organizes all system controls into four general categories. In total, 40 icons hide related subcategories until you click an icon to open it.

KDE Plasma is the only other desktop with such an amount of configuration options. But that design is a series of separate settings panels that scatter controls and user options across a lot of menu locations.

While the configuration options available in the MATE and Xfce versions are less extensive, they still offer the ability to customize the look and feel to suit your computing needs.

Linux Mint does a better job than other desktops in how it handles the screen design and usability aspects. It has a wide range of quick access tools called desktops that reside on the desktop screen. Its use of applets that reside on the lower panel adds flexibility.

lm also provides a collection of extensions that provide even more usability options (similar to those available in the KDE Plasma desktop). This combination of features is a solid reason to try this distro.

Linux Mint 21 Desktop Configuration Options

The desktop configuration options available in the MATE and Xfce versions are less extensive than in Cinnamon. They still offer the ability to have the same look and feel as your computing needs.


under the hood

Linux Mint 21 is based on Ubuntu 22.04 and provides a full WIMP display like Windows, Icon, Menu, Pointer. This is a Long Term Support (LTS) release supported until 2027.

Vanessa, which continues the LM’s imagination for naming all releases with female names ending in the letter “A”, is packed with notable improvements in performance, compatibility, and stability. It ships with the Linux kernel 5.15 LTS.

Other changes include a new NTFS file system driver that simplifies interaction with Windows partitions, improvements to the default EXT4 file system, as well as improved hardware support, security patches and bug fixes.

A major Bluetooth change to the LM Blueman circuitry replaces the Blueberry app, which relies on GNOME-desktop plumbing. Like Blueberry, Blueman is desktop-agnostic and integrates well across all environments. It depends on the standard bluez stack and works universally, including from the command line.

Blueman Manager and Tray Icons have features that were not previously available in Blueberry. It handles more information for connection monitoring or troubleshooting Bluetooth issues and brings better connectivity to the headset and audio profiles.

Linux Mint 21 Cinnamon Desktop

Linux Mint 21 classic Cinnamon desktop design sports a favorites column, application category list, and a changing sublist of installed titles.


pain point solution

Welcome to Vanessa. Its lack in earlier releases was a usability issue. To address this, a new XApp (Linux Mint Exclusive Application) project called xapp-thumbnailers was developed for Linux Mint 21.

Process Monitor is a pain point solution for me. It places a special icon in the system tray when automated tasks are running in the background. Such tasks can slow down the performance of the system until it is completed. This new monitor is a silent alert that explains computer slowdowns.

Timeshift was an independent project for backing up and restoring OSes. The producer abandoned the application. LM took over the maintenance of Timeshift prior to the release of the LM 21. Timeshift is now an XApp.

One immediate benefit is the change in the way rsync mode works. It now calculates the space required for the next OS snapshot storage. If there is less than 1 GB of free space on the disk when the snapshot is executed, it quits proceeding.

Another pain point remedy is how LM21 now handles package removal. This prevents removal from the main menu (right-click, Uninstall) if the evaluation shows that other programs will be affected. This triggers an error message and stops the operation.

If no damage is found to major system components, uninstalling an application from the main menu also removes dependencies for applications that were installed automatically and are no longer needed.

Linux Mint 21 Scale and Expo Window View

Scale and Expo window views in Cinnamon are triggered by heated corners and applets on the lower panel.


ground level

The computer hardware requirements for Linux Mint 21 have not changed. You need a modern computer because LM is not as light on system resources as it used to be. That means a box with a 64-bit processor, at least 2GB of RAM, and 15GB of free space.

If you need help installing Linux Mint 21, the Linux Mint website has a comprehensive installation guide. But that shouldn’t be a possibility. Installation Engine is well polished. Most of my computers run multiple partitions, which usually forces manual intervention.

The LM 21 installer does not stumble. It simply asked where to put the OS. The installer handled all the splitting and adjustments in the background.


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Is there a Linux software application or distro that you would like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

Email me your thoughts and I’ll consider them for future columns.

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As IT workers continue their arduous job of protecting network users from the bad guys, some new tools could help stem the tide of vulnerabilities that continue to add up to open source and proprietary software.

Canonical and Microsoft reached a new agreement to keep their two cloud platforms running well together. Meanwhile, Microsoft apologized to open-source software developers. But BitLocker made no apology for shutting down Linux users.

Let’s take a look at the latest open-source software industry news.

New open-source tool helps devs spot exploits

Vulnerability software platform firm Resilien announced on August 12 the availability of its new open-source tool MI-X from its GitHub repository. The CLI tool helps researchers and developers quickly know whether their containers and hosts are affected by a specific vulnerability to shorten the attack window and create an effective treatment plan.

Yotam Perkal, director of vulnerability research at Resilion, said, “Cyber ​​security vendors, software providers, and CISA are issuing daily vulnerability disclosures alerting the industry to the fact that all software is built with mistakes, which are often immediately detected. should be addressed.”

“With this flow of information, the launch of Mi-X provides users with a repository of information to validate the exploitability of specific vulnerabilities, creating greater focus and efficiency around patching efforts,” he added.

“As an active participant in the vulnerability research community, this is an impressive milestone for developers and researchers to collaborate and build together,” Perkle said.

Current tools fail to factor in exploitability as organizations grapple with critical and zero-day vulnerabilities, and scramble to understand whether they are affected by that vulnerability. It’s an on-going race to figure out the answer before the threatening actor.

To determine this, organizations need to identify a vulnerability in their environment and find out whether this vulnerability is indeed exploitable, for which there is a mitigation and treatment plan.

Current vulnerability scanners take too long to scan, don’t factor in exploit potential, and often miss it entirely. This is what happened with the Log4j vulnerability. According to Resilien, a lack of equipment gives threat actors plenty of time to exploit a flaw and do major damage.

The launch of Mi-X is the first in a series of initiatives to foster a community to detect, prioritize and address software vulnerabilities.

Linux thrives along with growing security crisis

Recent data monitoring of more than 63 million computing devices across 65,000 organizations shows that the Linux OS is alive and well within businesses.

New research from IT asset management software firm Lensweeper shows that even though Linux lacks the more widespread popularity of Windows and macOS, a lot of corporate devices still run the Linux operating system.

Scanning data from more than 300,000 Linux devices in approximately 26,000 organizations, Lensweeper also revealed the popularity of each Linux operating system based on the total amount of IT assets managed by each organization.

The company released its discovery on August 4, noting that around 32.8 million people worldwide use Linux, about 90% of all cloud infrastructure and nearly all of the world’s supercomputers are dedicated users.

Research by Lensweeper showed that CentOS is the most widely used (25.6%) followed by Ubuntu (20.8%) and Red Hat (15%). The company didn’t break down the percentages of users of many of the other Linux OS distributions in use today.

Chart showing Linux devices by company size


Lensweeper suggested that businesses exhibit a disconnect between using Linux for their enhanced security and proactively putting security processes in place.

Two recent Linux vulnerabilities this year — Dirty Pipe in March and Nimbuspun in April — plus new data from Lensweeper show that businesses are going blind when it comes to the security under their roof.

“It is our belief that the majority of devices running Linux are business-critical servers, which are desired targets for cybercriminals, and the logic suggests that the larger the company, the more Linux devices that need to be protected. ,” said Roel Decnett, chief strategy officer at Lensweeper.

“With so many versions and ways of installing Linux, IT teams are faced with the complexity of tracking and managing devices as well as trying to keep them safe from cyberattacks,” he explained.

Since its launch in 2004, Lensweeper has been developing a software platform that scans and inventory all types of IT equipment, installed software and active users on a network. It allows organizations to centrally manage their IT.

BitLocker, Linux Dual Booting Together Isn’t Perfect

Microsoft Windows users who want to install Linux distributions to dual boot on the same computer are now between a technical rock and a Microsoft hard place. They can thank the increased use of Windows BitLocker software for the worsening of the Linux dual-booting dilemma.

Developers of Linux distros are facing more challenges in supporting Microsoft’s full-disk encryption on Windows 10 and Windows 11 installations. The Fedora/Red Hat engineers noted that the problem is made worse by Microsoft sealing the full-disk encryption key, which is then sealed using Trusted Platform Module (TPM) hardware.

Fedora’s Anaconda installer cannot resize BitLocker volumes with other Linux distribution installers. The workaround is first resizing the BitLocker volume within Windows to create enough free space for the Linux volume on the hard drive. This useful detail is not covered in the often vulnerable installation instructions for dual-booting Linux.

A related problem complicates the process. The BitLocker encryption key imposes another deadly restriction.

To seal, the key must match the boot chain measurement in the TPM’s Platform Configuration Register (PCR). Using the default settings for GRUB in the boot chain for a dual boot setup produces incorrect measurement values.

According to the discussion of the problem in the Fedora mailing list, users trying to dual boot when attempting to boot Windows 10/11 are then left at the BitLocker recovery screen.

Microsoft, Canonical: A Case of Opposites Attract

Canonical and Microsoft have tightened the business knot connecting them with the common goal of better securing the software supply chain.

Both software companies announced on August 16 that native .NET is now available for Ubuntu 22.04 hosts and containers. This collaboration between .NET and Ubuntu provides enterprise-grade support.

Support lets .NET developers install the ASP.NET and .NET SDK runtimes from Ubuntu 22.04 LTS with a single “apt install” command.

Check out the full details here and watch this short video for updates:

Microsoft reverses open-source app sales ban

In what could be the latest case of Microsoft opening its marketing mouth to stumbling blocks, the company recently rattled software developers by banning the sale of open-source software in its App Store. Microsoft has since reversed that decision.

Microsoft had announced new terms for its App Store, effective July 16. The new terms state that not all pricing may attempt to profit from open source or other software that is otherwise generally available at no cost. Many software developers and re-distributors of free- and open-source software (FOSS) sell installable versions of their products at the Microsoft Store.

Redmond said the new restrictions would address the problem of “misleading listings”. Microsoft claimed that FOSS licenses allow anyone to post a version of a FOSS program written by others.

However, the developers pushed back, noting that the problem is easily solved in the same way regular stores solve it – through trademarked names. Consumers may disclose the actual sources of the Software Products from third-party re-packers with pre-existing trademark rules.

Microsoft has since accepted and removed references to open-source pricing restrictions in its store policies. The company clarified that the previous policy was intended to “help protect customers from misleading product listings”.

More information is available in the Microsoft Store Policies document.

A collaboration between Linux computer and software firm System76 and HP, is pushing for commercial adoption of open-source software and hardware optimized for Linux.

System76 and HP on Thursday announced a new premium computer line designed to attract a wider audience to the developer-focused HP Dev One laptop computer.

HP’s new Dev One, System76’s popular Pop! _OS Powered by the Linux distribution, enables developers to create their ideal work experience with a range of tools to help them function at peak efficiency not available on other computing platforms.

The Pop!_OS platform features auto-tiling, workspaces and easy keyboard navigation. This flexibility allows software developers to create unique customized workflows, freeing up their coding capability.

Typically, Linux users install their preferred Linux platform as a replacement for the default Microsoft Windows on the computers they purchase. Relatively few OEMs create their own hardware line and tune it for specific Linux offerings.

Denver-based System76 developed its own customized version of the GNOME desktop environment to help propel Linux as the future of computing. The company developed Pop!_OS when Canonical decided to stop development of the Unity 8 desktop shell in 2017 and replaced its default desktop with GNOME 3.

“By bringing together our engineering, marketing and customer support, System76 [and] HP is introducing HP Dev One to combine powerful hardware with Pop!_OS optimized for the app dev community,” announced Carl Richel, CEO, System76.

hp dev one laptop

HP’s Dev One laptop has a strikingly classic appearance that thwarts Linux hardware and software optimizations designed for developers.


targeting coders

Software developers want devices optimized for the way they code, added Tylitha Stewart, vice president and global head of consumer services and subscriptions at HP.

“By working with System76, we are meeting this need and delivering a premium experience with Linux Pop!_OS pre-installed to deliver the new HP Dev One. The device has important features for developers including an optional Linux keyboard tuned with a Super key and designed to be more efficient at the core,” offered Stewart.

The companies hope the collaboration will accelerate the usefulness of Pop!_OS, pushing its limits beyond normal mainstream use for home and office computing. Pop! _OS development and innovation has always been a top priority for System76, says the renowned Jeremy Soler, System76’s lead engineer.

“We are working at a much faster pace than ever before to develop new features and adapt existing features to Pop!_OS,” he said.

Unique plan has potential

This interesting announcement shows HP realizes that there are enough markets for developers to focus on specific products, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

“Although the company has certified its laptops for Linux for many years and has offered Ubuntu as an option on some high-end mobile workstations, it leaves the installation and configuration work mostly to end-users. This new AMD-based solution and the partnership with System 76 changes that,” he told LinuxInsider.

The bigger question, however, is how much of the market there is for HP-branded developer laptops, given the long and deep involvement of other vendors in this area. Consider that Dell has been providing developer-focused Linux solutions for more than a decade, King observed.

Provides Dell XPS 13 and Latitude laptops and fixed and mobile Precision workstations with Ubuntu Linux pre-loaded and certified for Red Hat Linux. In 2020 Lenovo expanded access to its Linux-ready solutions that were previously only available as a special order to enterprise customers. The expanded product range includes more than two dozen ThinkPad laptops, ThinkStation PCs and ThinkStation Workstations.

A handful of specialty OEMs, including System76, are full in this space, King observed.

“Overall, it qualifies as HP moves from twirling its toes to its ankles in the developer endpoint market. Depending on how it finds water, HP may eventually take a deep breath. may and may dive,” predicted the king.

about hardware

The HP Dev One is a premium laptop built for coding. It is not designed for casual computing.

HP’s new Linux-based laptop is built for the way software developers work. It is equipped with 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U Processor 1 and AMD Integrated Radeon Graphics.

The Dev One’s internal specifications provide much more power than laptops developed for casual and business computing tasks in general. It is packed with 16 GB RAM memory provided by DDR4 @ 3200MHz and offers 1TB PCIe NVMe 3×4 NVMe M.2 2280 solid state drive storage. Its Full HD display shines with 1,000 nits brightness.

Multicore processors are designed to improve the performance of certain software products. Although not all customers or software applications will benefit from the use of this technology, HP said. Performance and clock frequency vary depending on application workload, hardware and software configuration. AMD’s numbering is not a measure of clock speed.

HP Dev One Ports Side View

The Dev One maintains HP’s classic layout with ample ports on both the left and right sides of the 3.24-pound lightweight 14-inch mineral silver-colored clam shell.


For software developers, however, multicore performance allows coders to seamlessly multitask between the IDE and photo editing software while testing their releases. The 16 GB memory supply provides transfer rates of up to 3,200 MT/s of speed and response for developers.

Greater storage size and speed means developers can spend less time managing their files. High speed sequential transfer – up to three Gb / s – makes it possible to experience very fast loading and saving of files.

The Dev One laptop measures 12.73 x 8.44 x 0.75 inches (32.34 x 21.46 x 1.91 cm).

Giving birth to a collaboration to develop Linux

A group of HP engineers contacted System76 about the possibility of installing Pop!_OS on one of their laptop computers. According to a spokesperson for System76’s public relations department, after some initial discussions, the two companies saw the potential for a real win, if they made Pop! _OS and Linux work together to bring a wider audience and allow HP to break into a whole new segment.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” the spokesperson told LinuxInsider.

But even casual coders and non-professional users can download a free open-source operating system without spending cold cash for a top-end laptop. The version of Pop!_OS that comes with the HP Dev One is the version that will be available for download on the System76 website.

There is no specially modified software version available. Users can freely download and install any Linux distribution. Linux runs on a variety of hardware configurations. It breathes new life into older computers, especially those that can no longer run current versions of Microsoft Windows.

The added advantage of Pop!_OS is its optimized User Interface (UI) which makes it simple and exceptionally intuitive to use.

“There is no doubt that HP has a far reaching reach in terms of its audience. By bringing Linux into its portfolio as a viable option for its customers, it also wants Linux and Pop!_OS to reach a larger audience. Allows, ”said the spokesperson.

Matter of time

Only time will tell how successfully the HP-System76 partnership will drive Linux adoption. History shows that the lack of coordinated advertising and some of the major OEM providers of hardware preinstalled with Linux have slowed mainstream Linux desktop adoption.

“At this point in time, it is too early to say. We think this is definitely linked to the above question, however, a larger audience learning about the benefits of Linux will lead to greater adoption of the platform in time, ”According to System 76.

But the collaboration with HP has actually greatly expanded the potential of the System 76, offered the spokesperson.

Pop!_OS Edge

System76 POP!_OS is not a skinned version of Ubuntu GNOME as a replacement. It includes much more.

System76 has an impressive track record in pioneering this optimized Linux operating system. This created a uniquely branded GNOME-based desktop environment designed for the company’s own hardware.

The collaboration with HP fixes both the hardware and the software so that the computing platform isn’t available anywhere else. Seasoned Linux users have many reasons to be attracted to the POP!_OS integration of the GNOME desktop.

Selecting this unique Linux desktop System76 emphasizes continuous improvements to the GNOME UI. Optimized special features can make this collaborative effort a winning proposition for coders and related industry settings.

Pop!_OS version 22.04 LTS is designed to have a minimal amount of clutter on the desktop to eliminate distractions. The layout lets users focus completely on using it more productively.

The latest POP!_OS System76, released prior to the Dev One announcement with HP, added the ability to assign applications to run on a specific graphics card. In addition to switching between Intel and Nvidia graphics, users can choose a hybrid graphics mode. In this mode, the computer runs on a battery-saving Intel GPU and uses only the Nvidia GPU for user-specified applications.

Extended keyboard shortcuts create a fluid experience. It’s a refreshing way to navigate the desktop without emptying the keyboard rows to perform mouse actions. These new keyboard shortcuts let you launch applications and switch between them, toggle settings, and more. It should work well for coders.

get it and more

HP Dev One is now available with a starting price of US$1,099.

This laptop comes with full-disk encryption, hall sensor and ambient light sensor. It also gets a dual-point backlit spill-resistant premium keyboard with a glass click pad and gesture support by default.

Wireless connectivity includes Realtek RTL8822CE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2×2) Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 combo. There is no fingerprint reader in this device.

Audio configurations include dual stereo speakers and two multi-array microphones. The power supply is a HP Smart 65W External AC Power Adapter. Battery type is an HP Long Life three-cell, 53 watt Li-ion.

Ports and connectors include two SuperSpeed ​​USB Type-C 10Gbps signaling rates (USB Power Delivery, DisplayPort 1.4); two SuperSpeed ​​USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rates (one charging); a headphone/microphone combo; One HDMI 2.0; One AC power (HDMI cable sold separately).

It also includes a 720p HD camera.

For more information or to order visit hpdevone.com.

POP!_OS Distro is available for free download in two versions. An ISO is for Intel and AMD systems. The second ISO is for the Nvidia graphics system.

Both installation ISOs boot the computer in a live session that does not change the current operating system or the computer’s hard drive. It is set up with the click of a button from the live session.

Titan Linux is not an operating system that casual Linux users – especially new adopters – should have installed on their primary or only computer. But seasoned Linux distribution hoppers in search of a pleasant new Linux experience shouldn’t pass up the new offering.

Titan is a new distro built on the Debian stable branch. The developers first announced its arrival on April 24. This is a very early beta release, so it’s mostly bare bones. Nevertheless, it is surprisingly very stable given this stage of its development.

I looked at version 1.2 and found little things about its performance. The new distro’s two-person developer team has a growing community of testers for such new projects; Around 60 on the last count.

Usually, such small start-up teams cannot keep up with the further progress and often Linux distros fall by the wayside. But I am impressed by the achievements of this team so far.

Project leader Matthew Moore readily admits that the success or failure of the new distro will depend on user acceptance and a supportive community. One of the biggest adoption challenges facing Titan Linux is that with no ads or reviews (so far), it’s difficult to attract the risk of potential users.

Progress and updates come almost daily. So I would expect Titan to mature more quickly than it usually does with fledgling releases.

This distro is a fully functional yet minimal KDE Plasma desktop experience with an emphasis on usability and performance. It already has a wide range of hardware support out of the box.

Titan Linux takes a unique approach to the Debian experience. This eliminates the dependency on certain meta-packages to make the system a more stable overall.

something old is turning into something new

KDE is a comprehensive desktop environment that offers users a plethora of customization options. It is also a Linux staple that is popular and reliable. However, KDE may put off new users due to its complexity and quirks.

I’ve used KDE Plasma with several distros over the years. I first tried it when the old KDE desktop turned out to be a revitalized KDE Plasma upgrade. Some of its user interface (UI) issues got in my way as a daily driver.

If I see Titan moving beyond beta releases, Titan Linux with KDE might make me a happy user again. It all comes down to usability.

work in progress

Until now, developers trimmed the fat from KDE Plasma to make it less complicated without endless customization options. That’s the point of this distro.

In addition to simpler, lighter means in the long run, the Titan could attract a larger user with aging and less powerful computers. Keeping KDE as streamlined as possible while offering full hardware support from the Debian catalog are welcome performance goals.

Titan Linux offers something a little more slim than the standard Debian. But according to Moore, it’s more useful than a standard Debian Net installation.

Customization is not a bad thing. Linux thrives on having the freedom to customize, tweak, and create a desktop environment suited to individual user preferences.

Part of the simplification is an innovative Titan Toolbox – a work in progress but very promising – by head developer Cobalt Rogue. This set of system management tools will let users maintain the OS with a single click. The toolbox will include a range of software apps hardwired to the Titan’s distinctive design, rather than a one-size-fits-all Debian Linux component.

sharing insider ideas

If you want to find out how Sausage is made, check out the developer’s website for links to both Moore and Cobalt Rogue’s YouTube videos on building Titan Linux. They both provide live stream discussion of their development efforts.

It is practical to observe conversations that focus on the goals of the team. A leading man doesn’t want Titan Linux to be just another remix. Moore plans to grow its new distribution into a unique offering with meaningful features.

In a recent video, Moore explained why he decided to build Titan Linux on Debian instead of Arch, which he used to use before. This is because Debian’s longevity between stable releases is more conducive to rapid beta releases.

Debian has long release cycles – in the neighborhood of two years – so Titan’s development doesn’t break because the base components change frequently. Arch distros are very erratic with rolling releases which often break systems.

Leaner KDE Deployed

KDE is the moniker for the K desktop environment introduced in 1996. It is a reference to the organization sponsoring the development of the K desktop and the family of software that runs on its K desktop, as well as other desktops.

When the KDE community released a major upgrade from KDE 4, the developers dubbed the new desktop upgrade to KDE 5 under the name “Plasma”. That name reflected the radical redesign and functionality changes as a type of KDE rebranding.

Various Linux distros are built around the KDE project. For example, Kubuntu Linux is a version of the Ubuntu family of OSes that uses the KDE desktop. Other popular distros running the KDE desktop environment include KaiOS, Manjaro KDE, Fedora KDE Spin, MX Linux KDE, and Garuda Linux.

What makes this brand new Titan Beta OS so remarkable to me is the potential of what it offers. It can make K Desktop more productive with streamlined features and better usability.

However, offering a stripped-down version of the KDE desktop isn’t a unique idea in itself. Many other Linux developers have tried to turn KDE into a better working desktop. Some even gave it a new name.

Making a Better K Desktop, Again

Among the hundreds of Linux distributions I’ve reviewed over the years, some of the improvement efforts differ. Looking at literally hundreds of similar looking Linux distros, rebuilding KDE is rarely productive.

Few desktop environments – and Linux is both blessed and damned – can be inviting enough to meet the computing needs of all user scenarios. KDE attempts to do the same.

Consider these examples:

  • In late 2019 Feren OS switched from a Cinnamon desktop and a Linux Mint base to a KDE Plasma and Ubuntu base.
  • The KDE Neon distro – not called Plasma – is something unique. It has KDE components that have not yet been absorbed by other KDE-based distros. It is based on Ubuntu (which itself is based on Debian Linux).
  • The KaiOS Linux distro provides a UI-refreshed KDE-based computing platform. It provides better KDE experience without bloated software and cumbersome usability.
  • The Vector Linux family is a small, fast, and lightweight Slackware-based distribution that ships a customized version of KDE to be more user-friendly than other Slackware-style distros.

A glimpse of Titan’s potential

The early beta releases of the new Titan distro are like a partially loaded framework. Sectional headings and their supporting elements are enough to get a solid reading of the big picture.

The main parts are in place and working. But many vacancies are still to be filled. The OS works well with the space it has. It will work even better when more innovative parts are written in it.

This view of the Titan Linux desktop shows the two main KDE elements – access to the virtual desktop via the lower panel and the unique Activity layout accessed via a pop-out vertical left column that provides another kind of virtual computing space Is.


Widget Popup Panel Display of Screen and Panel Apps Adds a variety of services and features to the desktop layout.


Pictured in the top left is the information display of the Terminal window with the Command Line Interface (CLI). On the right is the Software Store window that provides the ability to add/remove a complete list of Debian Linux software, even in this early beta view.


Here the simplified system settings panel in Titan Linux is shown.


ground level

Beta versions of Titan Linux are releasing at a rapid pace. This development schedule heats up anticipation for the first stable release.

The KDE Plasma desktop design found in current Linux distros is not lightweight. Beta version 1.2 consumes 450MB of RAM, making this anticipated new distro much lighter. This means two things: More aging computers running Titan OS may get a revival; And newer computers may outperform the more standard KDE integration.

The Live Session ISO is upgraded several times per week as developers push the envelope to release the first stable version and beyond. The live session environment lets you try out Titan Linux beta releases without making any changes to your current OS or hard drive.

The beta version I tested is already performing surprisingly well. More features and UI changes appear with each new ISO download.

Check it out for yourself on the Titan Linux website.


suggest a review

Is there a Linux software application or distro that you would like to recommend for review? Something you love or want to know?

Email me your thoughts and I’ll consider them for future columns.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!