NEWS

Gnome 40 Available on openSUSE

Gnome 40 is the latest iteration of the vaunted desktop but has yet to reach the majority of Linux distributions. Fortunately, those anxious to give the desktop a try need to look no further than openSUSE Tumbleweed, which is the rolling-release distribution that includes the latest and greatest software updates. Although Fedora 34 will also default to Gnome 40, that release is still in beta.

What's the hype about? Although the latest release of Gnome isn't exactly mind-blowing, it does deliver a much more efficient workflow, thanks to a horizontal flow within the Activities overview. The workspaces are now at the top of the overview, making it much easier for users to drag application windows to a specific space. Gnome 40 also makes it easier for you to open the Applications launcher and then open an app directly to the workspace you want to use. Again, thanks to the horizontal workflow, this is a significant improvement over the previous iterations of the Gnome desktop.

Other features found in openSUSE Tumbleweed include the 5.11 kernel, Audacity  3.0, and the latest FWUPD (the firmware updater tool).

Read the official announcement from openSUSE (https://news.opensuse.org/2021/04/16/gnome-40-kde-frameworks-plasma-update-in-tw/), and then download a copy of openSUSE Tumbleweed (https://get.opensuse.org/tumbleweed).

Apple M1 Hardware Support to be Merged into Linux Kernel 5.13

Hector Martin has merged the initial support for Apple M1 hardware into the Linux system on a chip (SoC) tree. Martin is the founder of Asahi Linux (https://asahilinux.org/about/), a project to port Linux to Apple Silicon Macs. The project was started in 2020, using the M1 Mac Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro hardware. The Asahi goal is "not just to make Linux run on these machines but to polish it to the point where it can be used as a daily OS."

Now that M1 support has been merged into the tree, it should make it into the Linux kernel for the 5.13 release (which should come out sometime this summer). That does not mean, however, you'll be able to run Linux on Apple Silicon this summer. In fact, at the moment there is no timetable for full support. The reason for this is that porting Linux to Apple Silicon is a daunting task. Because Apple doesn't release any documentation for the M1 hardware, everything must be reverse-engineered and drivers must then be written.

But as of April 8, 2021, the arm/apple-m1 branch has been merged into Linux-next (the holding area for code expected for the next kernel merge window. To view the code that has been merged, take a look at this SOC commit (https://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/soc/soc.git/commit/?h=for-next&id=0d5fe4b31785b732b71e764b55cda5c8d6e3bbbf). Although the Asahi Linux environment will now boot on the M1 hardware, it only provides serial and frame buffer console access. In other words, there's a long way to go. And, according to Martin, "we absolutely do not recommend buying M1 hardware for that purpose unless and until the Asahi project gets much, much farther down the road than it has managed so far."

KDE Launches the Qt 5 Patch Collection

At the end of 2020, Qt 6 was released to serve as the next-generation Qt application framework. This new iteration has made it possible to deliver more modern software and KDE has every plan to fully adopt this new release for the entire software stack.

However, KDE still very much relies on Qt 5 for both desktop and applications. With KDE's goal of migrating to Qt 6, they had to do something to ensure nothing falls by the wayside. To that end, KDE has decided (until Qt 6 adoption is finalized), to maintain a collection of patches for the Qt 5.15 release. These patches will include both security and standard fixes to make sure KDE continues to remain secure and stable.

In regards to this, Aleix Pol, KDE e.V. President, said, "To transition to great future technologies like Qt 6 we need to have the peace of mind that our current users are catered for. With this patch collection, we gain the flexibility we need to stabilize the status quo. This way we can continue collaborating with Qt and deliver great solutions for our users."

As for Qt 6, the plan is to have support sometime in 2021.

To find out more about the KDE Qt 5 Patch Collection, read the official initiative (https://community.kde.org/Qt5PatchCollection). To find out where KDE stands with Qt 6, check out the Phabricator (https://phabricator.kde.org/project/board/310/).

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