15 popular open source applications for macOS

A real open source enthusiast will be always looking for open source alternatives in any platforms. It is not that difficult to get a free software for any platform. The Prism Break portal has a list of free software that can be used to save yourself from the notorious Prims surveillance program.

The macOS operating system is often considered as a platform for paid software only. However, there are hundreds of free applications available for the macOS as well.
Mr. Don Watkins has shared a list of free applications that he uses with macOS.
I use open source tools whenever and wherever I can. I returned to college a while ago to earn a master's degree in educational leadership. Even though I switched from my favorite Linux laptop to a MacBook Pro (since I wasn't sure Linux would be accepted on campus), I decided I would keep using my favorite tools, even on MacOS, as much as I could.

Fortunately, it was easy, and no professor ever questioned what software I used. Even so, I couldn't keep a secret.

I knew some of my classmates would eventually assume leadership positions in school districts, so I shared information about the open source applications described below with many of my MacOS or Windows-using classmates. After all, open source software is really about freedom and goodwill. I also wanted them to know that it would be easy to provide their students with world-class applications at little cost. Most of them were surprised and amazed because, as we all know, open source software doesn't have a marketing team except users like you and me.

The list published by Watkins includes LibreOffice, Handbrake, Firefox, Audacity, VLC, OpenShot ..etc.
You can read the original article and learn more on the listed in applications in OpenSource.com portal

Mir is a powerful display server that can meet your IoT display requirements

IoT is one among the hot discussion topic in these days. It changes the way in which we communicate with the devices surrounding us. The majority of IoT devices use sensors and other actuators to interact with people. While there is a class of devices which requires a graphical display to communicate with people.

Linux is the most popular operating system chosen by IoT manufacturers and researchers to build IoT devices.  When we use Linux on IoT devices, we have handful choices. It includes selecting a complete display server to custimizing a simple toolkit. The Mir server is a display server that can be used a variety of devices.

In a blog post, Mr. Jamie Bennet explores the pros and cons of Mir server as a graphical solution for IoT devices.
The IoT promises to bring about a revolution in the way we interact with devices around us. While many IoT devices will be hidden away, from sensors that measure manufacturing tolerances in a factory to hubs that control lighting around the home, there are a class of devices that need to provide some sort of graphical output or display to the user. Some examples include digital signage, interactive kiosks, automotive in-car entertainment gateways, smart meters, and the plethora of display screens seen on everything from washing machines to smart thermostats. All of these examples need some way to output graphics to a screen display but in an embedded environment that is not always easy.

Linux is one of the most popular OS choices for manufacturers and solution providers to use in IoT devices and with it there are a few options available for graphical environments. From custom software to drive the display, through direct frame buffer access with toolkits such as QT, to a full X windowing server. All of these options have their pros and cons and often it is a trade-off between custom software and off-the-shelf components to speed up development. Custom software takes time and requires developers to continue to maintain a code base for the lifetime of the device, while using a graphical toolkit such as QT requires less code but comes with commercial licencing. The open source X windowing server is a popular choice but, being over 30 years old, has some shortcomings. It has been well documented that the design of X windows, although revolutionary at the time, has some security risks especially around application isolation and privilege escalation which has led to efforts to replace it by redesigning the graphical server from the ground up. One such effort is Mir.
You can read the complete article in Ubuntu blog

A cloud optimized minimal Ubuntu image is available now

Continuing the support for cloud platforms, the Canonical has announced availability of a minimal Ubuntu image for cloud platforms and operations. The minimal Ubuntu images are 50% smaller comparing to standard server images and boots 40% faster than standard image.

The minimal Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04 images are now available for Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), LXD and KVM/OpenStack. While these images are smaller in footprint, it provides complete compatibility with the standard images. The 29MB Docker image for Minimal Ubuntu 18.04 LTS serves as a highly efficient container starting point, and allows developers to deploy multicloud containerized applications faster.
Today we are delighted to introduce the new Minimal Ubuntu, optimized for automated use at scale, with a tiny package set and minimal security cross-section. Speed, performance and stability are primary concerns for cloud developers and ops.

Minimal Ubuntu is the smallest Ubuntu base image for your cloud operations. These images are less than 50% the size of the standard Ubuntu server image, and boot up to 40% faster. Images of Minimal Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and 18.04 LTS are available for use now in Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine (GCE), LXD and KVM/OpenStack.

The 29MB Docker image for Minimal Ubuntu 18.04 LTS serves as a highly efficient container starting point, and allows developers to deploy multicloud containerized applications faster. For modern Docker workflows with Kubernetes, the minimal Ubuntu image provides a balance of compatibility, familiarity, performance and size. This is the standard Ubuntu 18.04 LTS image on the Docker Hub.

While the footprint of Minimal Ubuntu is greatly reduced, it preserves full compatibility with standard Ubuntu operations. Any Ubuntu package can be installed on Minimal Ubuntu. Get exactly the image you need by simply adding your required packages, with dependencies, to a Minimal Ubuntu base image.
For further information, see the Minimal Ubuntu release announcement in Ubuntu Blogs.

GIMP 2.10.4 released with async font loading and other improvements

Mr Alexandre Prokoudine, on behalf of GIMP project has announced the release of GIMP 2.10.4, second stable update in GIMP 2.10.x series. This release brings bug fixes and feature enhancements like asynchronous font loading and simple horizon straightening.

Earlier, it was quite tedious to straighten the tilted images in GIMP. The GIMP 2.10.4 brings an easy way to this task. With this, we just need to mark the angle of inclination and click on the Straighten button. This will automatically straighten the image.

Image straightening feature in GIMP 2.10.4
Another improvement with GIMP 2.10.4 is the asynchronous loading fonts. Earlier, the startup time was suffered in Windows and macOS due to loading of all fonts at the beginning. GIMP 2.10.4 introduces asynchronous loading of fonts. GIMP now performs the loading of fonts in a parallel process, which dramatically improves startup time. The caveat is that in case you need to immediately use the Text tool, you might have to wait till all fonts complete loading.

Other updates in GIMP 2.10.4 includes:
  • Michael Natterer introduced some internal changes to make fonts taggable. The user interface is the same as for brushes, patterns, and gradients.
  • Ell added several new features to the Dashboard dockable dialog that helps debugging GIMP and GEGL or, for end-users, finetune the use of cache and swap.
  • While we cannot yet support PSD features such as adjustment layers, there is one thing we can do for users who just need a file to render correctly in GIMP. Thanks to Ell, GIMP now can load a “merged”, pre-composited version of the image, that becomes available when a PSD file was saved with “Maximize Compatibility” option enabled in Photoshop.
  • GIMP 2.10.x for macOS builds are available now
You can read the complete list of changes in GIMP 2.10.4 in official release announcement.

elementary OS JUNO Beta 1 is available now

The elementary OS team has announced the availability of elementary OS Juno beta 1. It is a developer preview targeting app developers, testers, and other elementary OS contributors.

With this release, App developers can test their apps against the upcoming elementary ecosystem to make sure that, their apps are working well with Juno when it is ready. The AppCenter in Juno is currently empty. The team will add Apps as they get mature enough to work on Juno.

The elementary team also expects highly technical users to perform regression tests on non-production systems.
If you have an app published in AppCenter for Loki or would like to publish an app for Juno, this pre-release is for you!

If you haven’t already, we highly recommend you read about Houston CI and enable this for your repo. Houston CI builds and tests your app against Juno and will let you know about issues even if you’re not running the Beta.

We’ll have a follow-up post shortly detailing the major changes you should know about when updating your apps, but until then you can always join the Community Slack to get help with app development.

For now, the most important changes to worry about are those to Gtk+ and Gtk.CSS in particular. If your app uses custom CSS, you’ll want to run it in the Beta to make sure it still looks as it should.
For further details, see release announcement published on elementary blog.

Linux Mint 19 provides an above average performance with friendly interface

Last week, Linux Mint team has announced the release of Linux Mint 19. It is a stable release of popular GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Linux Mint 19 comes with a handful of changes and improvements over previous releases. It provides 3 flavors featuring Cinnamon, MATE & Xfce Desktops.

The Latest issue of DistroWatch weekly (2nd July 2018) features a review of Linux Mint 19. This review observes Linux Mint 19 as an above average distribution, that exhibits a decent memory footprint with a friendly interface. The reviewer also expresses his positive experience with the Linux Mint 19. During one week of experiment time, he could n't find any serious issues with this distribution. On the positive side, the reviewer counts the hardware support, revamped Software Manager with Debian & flatpak support, and decent set of visual effects. Linux Mint 19 also ships a decent set of applications by default. Nothing more and nothing less.

The negative points are, however, very much personal opinion. The reviewer is unhappy with the changes made in update manager. Earlier, update manager used to classify packages based on their stability and priority. Now, update manager provides the complete update option and relies on Timeshift backup tool to maintain the stability of the system. Timeshift tool fails to works on an encrypted home directory and with the brtfs file system.
Mint 19 is based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and will receive approximately five years of security updates. The new version also features a number of changes and improvements. For instance, Mint now includes a welcome window that runs when the user logs in and guides the user through steps that should be performed immediately after the operating system has been installed. The Mint update manager now installs all software updates by default. Previously the update manager could be used to filter out risky software upgrades, but that has been phased out in favor of operating system snapshots. Speaking of snapshots, Timeshift, a snapshot manager is included by default and I will talk about it later. The project's documentation also points out that MATE now includes HiDPI monitor support. 
You can read the original Linux Mint 19 review in distrowatch weekly. 

Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 release candidate released

The Bodhi Linux team has announced the release of Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 RC, latest development of upcoming Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 release. This release candidate is almost free from major issues and showcases what we can expect from upcoming stable release. The team will tag this release as stable in this summer itself.

Default Wallpaper in Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 RC
In addition to integrating rock solid Moksha Desktop on top of Ubuntu 18.04, Bodhi Linux 5.0.0 includes a fresh theme created using Arc Dark with a bit of Bodhi green color. This release also features a fresh default wallpaper, login screen and boot screen.

Quoting from release announcement published in Bodhi Linux website:
Today I am very pleased to share the hard work of the Bodhi Team with our latest 5.0.0 pre-release disc which we are tagging as a “Release Candidate”. These disc images have no major issues that our team has been made aware of and will likely be fairly close to the images we will tag as a stable release later this Summer. Past providing our rock solid Moksha Desktop on an Ubuntu 18.04 base, these disc images are the first to feature our fresh new look which is a modified version of the popular “Arc Dark” theme colorized in Bodhi Green. Also included are a fresh default wall paper, login screen, and splash scenes as your system starts up.
You can read the original release announcement in Bodhi Linux official website

Nitrux 1.0.13 released with improved Nomad Desktop

The Nitrux community has announced the release of Nitrux 1.0.13. It brings various updated packages like Linux Kernel 4.17, Plasma Desktop 5.13.2 ..etc.

Nitrux is a user-friendly operating system based on Ubuntu. It comes with a well-customized Desktop called Nomad. Nomad is a project that extends the capabilities of Plasma Desktop.

Nitrux Desktop
Announcing the availability of Nitrux 1.0.13, Nitrux team writes in Google Plus,
Today is the day! — Nitrux 1.0.13 is available to download. 

What's new:
- This release is based on Cosmic repositories.
- Updated kernel to version 4.17.3.
- The latest version of Plasma 5 (5.13.2), KDE Apps (18.04.2), KF5 (5.48.0) and Qt 5 (5.11.0).
- Improved Nomad Desktop and Software Center. 

Known issues:
- AppImages not showing icon in the menu. This is a known issue and we're working with the AppImage team on a solution. Logging out and logging in solves it.
- VirtualBox has problems with mouse integration. We recommend trying out the distribution in real hardware.
- if you experience DNS resolving problems open Konsole and enter: sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf; sudo ln -sv /run/systemd/resolve/resolv.conf /etc/resolv.conf
You may find the Nitrux 1.0.13 release announcement in project's Google Plus community. 

Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon, Xfce & MATE editions released

The Linux Mint team has announced the immediate availability of Linux Mint 19 Tara. This release includes Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce editions of the project. All these releases are built on top of Ubuntu 18.04 but feature different desktop environments as the name suggests.

Linux Mint 19, is a release distribution based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, will be supported till 2023. In the meantime, users can enjoy serious package updates and security fixes for this release.
A preview of Linux Mint 19 Xfce Edition
The main highlights in Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon include:
  • Timeshift - A backup tool to backup your files and configurations. Although this tool was introduced in Linux Mint 18.3 and backported into other releases, it acts as a strategy center in Linux Mint 19 updates.
  • The Update Manager won't categorize updates based on their stability & reliability. Instead, the system will completely rely on timeshift to maintain the stability of the system.
  • Linux Mint 19 brings a brand new welcome screen for introducing operating system to the users.
  • Linux Mint 19 comes with a much-improved Software Manager, which also includes integrated support for flatpak applications.
  • Cinnamon Desktop 3.8, MATE 1.20, Xfce 4.12
For more details on Linux Mint 19 flavors, read separate release announcement of each Linux Mint flavor.
Linux Mint 19 Xfce release announcement
Linux Mint 19 MATE release announcement
Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon release announcement

Open Source IDE Eclipse Photon released

Mr. Thabang Mashologu, Marketing Head at Eclipse Foundation has announced the release of Eclipse Photon. It is the 13th annual release popular open source IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

The main highlights of Eclipse Photon include built-in support for Java 10 and Java 8 EE applications. It also features an improved dark theme with better background, text and popup message colors.

Citing from the official release announcement,
The thirteenth annual simultaneous release of Eclipse projects is a huge accomplishment made possible by the tireless efforts of many committers, projects, and Foundation staff. There are 85 projects in the Eclipse Photon simultaneous release, consisting of over 73 million lines of code, with contributions by 620 developers, 246 of whom are Eclipse committers. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who contributed to this milestone achievement!

Here are some of the highlights of the Eclipse IDE, Photon Edition:

  • Full Eclipse IDE user experience for building, debugging, running and packaging Rust applications.
  • Expanded C# editing and debug capabilities, including syntax coloring, autocomplete suggestions, code diagnostics, and code navigation tools.
  • Support for building Java™ 10 and Java EE™ 8 based applications out of the box.
  • Dark theme improvements in text colors, background color, popup dialogs, mark occurrences, and more.
You can read the Eclipse Photon release announcement in the official website. The team has also published a complete list of changes incorporated in Eclipse Photon release.

FreeBSD 11.2 released with updated GNOME & Plasma Desktop environments

The FreeBSD release engineering team has announced the immediate availability of FreeBSD 11.2, the 3rd minor release in FreeBSD 11.x series. This release includes various updated packages including GNOME 3.18.0 and KDE 4.14.3.

FreeBSD 11.2-STABLE images are available for a wide range of devices and architectures. It can also be installed from a bootable ISO or via the network. Some architectures also supports installation via USB drives.

Some of the highlights in FreeBSD 11.2 release includes:
  • OpenSSH has been updated to version 7.5p1.
  • OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.0.2o.
  • The clang, llvm, lldb and compiler-rt utilities have been updated to version 6.0.0.
  • The libarchive(3) library has been updated to version 3.3.2.
  • The libxo(3) library has been updated to version 0.9.0.
  • Device driver updates to cxgbe(4), ixl(4), and ng_pppoe(4), and the new mlx5io(4), ocs_fw(4), and smartpqi(4) drivers have been added.
  • The dwatch(1), efibootmgr(8), and etdump(1) utilities have been added.
  • Various miscellaneous kernel, userland application, and library updates.
  • KDE has been updated to version 4.14.3.
  • Gnome has been updated to version 3.18.0.
For more details, read FreeBSD 11.2 release announcement in project's website.

KaOS 2018.06 released with Plasma 5.13.1

The KaOS team has announced the release of KaOS 2018.06, the latest stable snapshot of rolling GNU/Linux distribution offering a lean Plasma experience.  This release includes latest cutting-edge packages including Plasma Desktop 5.13.1.

A preview of KaOS 2018.06 Desktop
The main highlights of Plasma Desktop 5.13.1 include optimized startup, improved memory usage, and better runtime performance. It also ships multiple visual improvements along with experimental support for GTK global menu integration.
Also new is KaOS’ creation Croeso (Welsh for welcome) for helping with configuring a new install. It will run on the newly installed system and offers to adjust some 15 commonly used settings and replaces the formerly used, PyQt based first run wizard Kaptan. It also includes a custom Wallpaper selector, distribution info, and news. It is written in QML and fits well with the Welcome application used in the Live system. The latter now includes a fully rewritten (also in QML) Installation Guide.

As always with this rolling distribution, you will find the very latest packages for the Plasma Desktop, this includes Frameworks 5.47.0, Plasma 5.13.1, KDE Applications 18.04.2. All built on Qt 5.11.1.

The build server hardware sponsor Dezponia has provided KaOS with a new server. The old server was put into use August 2013, received a KaOS install at that time. It served as the main KaOS builder all that time, never needed a reinstall, even went through the KDE 4 to Plasma 5 transition remotely (always updated over ssh). That server had an 8 core CPU and 16 Gb of RAM. It is now re-purposed toward other duties for Dezponia.
For a detailed list of features & screenshots, see KaOS 2018.06 release announcement published on KaOS website.