Linux Top 3: KDE 4.9, Linux 3.6 and Fedora's New MATE
There has been some debate lately about whether or not GNOME has gone off the deep end into an abyss. Whether or not that's true is debatable. What is certain though, is that on the Linux Planet the Linux desktop is not an endangered species with no shortage of viable, sustainable options.
1) KDE 4.9
This past week, KDE 4.9 was released providing new stability, performance and feature enhancements for the open source KDE desktop.
Improvements include lots of incremental updates in Plasma Workspaces to the Dolphin File Manager, Konsole X Terminal Emulator, Activities, and the KWin Window Manager.
"KDE's powerful file manager Dolphin now includes back and forward buttons and in-line file renaming is back," the Plasma Workspace release notes state. "Dolphin can show metadata such as ratings, tags, image and file sizes, author, date, and more as well as grouping and sorting by metadata properties. The new Mercurial plugin handles this versioning system in the same convenient way git, SVN and CVS are supported, so users can do pulls, pushes and commits right from the file manager."
Throughout KDE 4.9, there is a particular emphasis this release around quality. It's an emphasis driven by the focus of the KDE Quality Team. The quality team was started at the beginning of 2012 with the goal of making quality a priority for KDE releases.
"Special attention was given to identifying and fixing regressions from previous releases," the KDE 4.9 release announcement states. "This was a top priority because it ensures improvement with each release."
2) Fedora MATE
Fedora has long been the poster child for GNOME support. Fedora's GNOME support is not surprising given the large number of strong Red Hat committers involved in the GNOME project overall.
What is surprising however is the Fedora Project's embrace of MATE - a fork of GNOME 2.
"Many users have expressed interest in this feature since Fedora 15 in which Fedora was switched from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3," Fedora's MATE feature wiki page states. "For the advanced user that doesn't want a cutting edge desktop and just wants to keep it simple this is perfect for them. The popularity of MATE Desktop is very high. It is one of the 2 choices of DE's for Linux Mint which is one of the most popular Linux distros out right now."
The MATE desktop is currently scheduled for inclusion in Fedora 18, due for release later this year.
Fedora's embrace of MATE is not the only news from MATE this week. Though the GNOME desktop, as far (as the GNOME Foundation is concerned) is dead, MATE is continuing to develop the interface. MATE 1.4 was released this past week, providing multiple bug fixes and a number of incremental feature improvements. Among the improvements is a new bluetooth based file sharing capability.
3) Linux 3.6
Barely two weeks after the Linux 3.5 kernel release, and the merge window for Linux 3.6 has now closed. This past week, Linus Torvalds pushed out the first release candidate to the Linux 3.6 kernel.
"As usual, even the shortlog is too big to usefully post, but there's the usual breakdown: about two thirds of the changes are drivers (with the CSR driver from the staging tree being a big chunk of the noise - christ, that thing is big and wordy even after some of the crapectomy)," Torvalds wrote in a mailing list post. "Of the non-driver portion, a bit over a third is arch (arm, x86, tile, mips, powerpc, m68k), and the rest is a fairly even split among fs, include file noise, networking, and just "rest"."