This is a simple, final goodbye of sorts. SUSE Studio closed down in early 2018, and the end of SUSE Studio brought an end to the Newt OS project. Certainly, it could be continued with some effort, but for me, it served its purpose: it was an exploration into the inner workings of a Linux system, and grew my personal understanding of what makes software work. I am leaving this website up for the curious reader to enjoy. I am excited to see what the future brings for the open source world, and hope that this spot of history may inspire that excitement in others.
As 2017 approaches, it's almost time for Newt OS 17. Here are some changes to expect:
Newt OS 17 will use the Calamares installer, in place of the now-unsupported YaST live-installer. Calamares has done well in testing, and is better suited to Newt OS. Many thanks to the Gecko Linux project for working with Calamares and making it usable with openSUSE systems.
Rolling Release, LTS, and release model
Newt OS will continue to offer both a rolling-release and LTS build, based on openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap respectively.
While Loki was a fun project this past year, I have decided to effectively end it. Maintaining a Frankenstein desktop environment is not easy, and as I do not have the capabilities to maintain all the required components, Loki will no longer be the default. Those with installations already running Loki will get any updates for both Mate components and Vala-Panel as they are released, but Newt OS 17 will no longer ship with Loki. I have opted instead to use LXQt, customized to what I consider good and sane defaults. LXQt, like Loki and LXDE, is quite modular, and I will be taking advantage of this in the future.
Newt OS 17 will ship sometime before January. This initial release will likely only be for the Leap-based release. Both releases will be available by the end of January, and will contain much of the software that Newt OS 16 currently does. This software is designed to be a curated collection of the best creative and productive software available for Linux. One downside of including this software is that the download size for the ISO file is rather large. If there is demand for a minimal ISO, I can spin one up, but I don't plan to unless there is a demand.
As I'm transitioning to a new release model, with a more direct focus, I think it's time to do some (spring?) cleaning. Within the next week I will be removing download options for all Newt OS releases based on openSUSE 13.2. While I intended to keep these available until 13.2 end of life, I don't see any point in doing so. Releases based on 42.1 will be available for a while yet, and I will announce my plans as they become relevant. So, as the title says, if you desire a copy of any old release of Newt OS, now is the time to get it.
Shortly after this post is published, I will be publishing several updates to this website. As I wrote in an earlier post, Newt OS Studio is going to become the main focus of Newt OS. The changes to this site will reflect that, making Newt OS Studio into Newt OS. The standard Newt OS LXDE and Gnome downloads will still be available for a while, as will Newt OS Studio LXDE. Eventually though, these will all be unpublished. My goal is to have two main options for download; a rolling and LTS release of Newt OS with the Loki desktop, that come with the creative software found in Newt OS Studio. I may also maintain a basic build with just basic software to have a smaller download size.
So yeah, that's my plan. Enjoy the new site!
Today I have released the latest build of the rolling release of Newt OS Studio. This release incorporates the 7/9/2016 Tumbleweed updates, and has proven to be quite stable. I have had no issues on my machine, which successfully installed this round of updates. You can download the release here.
So what's changed in this release? Mostly updates. This release is based on the 7/9/2016 release of Tumbleweed, which notably fixes issues with Thunderbird. KDE framework is now at 5.23. Some Mate and Gnome components have received minor updates. The Linux kernel is now at 4.6.3. Audacity is now at 2.1.2.
I will be updating this website in the near future to reflect this new release. It is likely that this will become the main release of Newt OS, with a more stable Leap-based appliance also available. That will mean some remodelling of the site, so please bear with me while I get it done.
I have released a build of Newt OS Studio based on the Tumbleweed repositories. (Link)
This version has the same software selection as the standard Newt OS Studio builds, but uses the Tumbleweed repositories. This makes this appliance a rolling release, eliminating the need for yearly upgrades, as system updates are installed progressively along with application updates.
In addition to the switch to Tumbleweed repositories, the Loki desktop in this appliance uses Mate session and several Mate applications, replacing LXsession. While this slightly increases memory usage, it will be beneficial in regards to future-proofing, as LXsession and related applications are largely unmaintained, as development has shifted to LXQt.
To reiterate, this is an experimental release. My machine running this system has not had any issues, but I would like to wait until after the next big round of updates for Tumbleweed to ensure that nothing breaks as a result of updating.
As I finish up another year of school, and begin to have more time, I thought it appropriate to make some plans for the remainder of the year.
To start, here's a vague, quickly-assembled timeline of the next 6 months or so:
It is currently the last weekend of May, and school will be done early next week. I hope to get some things done over the summer, both with Newt OS and with my other hobbies. Once school starts again, I'll lose a lot of free time, so if you have any questions, comments, etc, the next three months would be the best time to contact me.
As far as OpenSUSE is concerned, the next release of Leap is tentatively scheduled for the first week in November. This is about when 42.1 was released, so not much of a surprise there. Going by what happened with Newt OS 16, the next major version of Newt OS can probably be expected sometime in December of this year, though it could happen earlier or later within the range of a month or so.
Speaking of Newt OS 17, I have a rather ambitious and possibly un-smart idea for the next release. As you probably know, Newt OS started with the Gnome desktop environment, and I have something of an emotional attachment to it. However, it just doesn't work great under Newt OS; it's difficult to configure, and has issues with YaST. For this reason, I will not be building a Gnome flavor of Newt OS 17. If you want a Gnome desktop, there are many other distro's out there, including openSUSE, that will better fit your needs.
In addition to retiring Gnome, I've been considering focusing solely on the Loki DE for both standard and Studio releases. The benefits of Loki have begun to outweigh the benefits of LXDE; GTK2 is being depreciated across most distributions, and will likely be obsolete within the next year or two. Additionally, LXDE as a desktop is being superseded by LXQt. While LXQt is an awesome project, it has not yet reached the level of maturity of LXDE or XFCE. In the future, there may be an LXQt flavor of Newt OS, but for now, that is not an option.
So where am I going with this?
When all is said and done, I am aiming for making Newt OS a GTK3-based distribution, featuring a unique desktop environment (Loki) that offers something others do not. It will be available as either a standard install or as a studio install, which includes the best Linux software out there.
I also recognize the importance of stability, and understand that Loki still has some kinks to work out. I have considered making a Maté spin, as a more stable and modern replacement for both Gnome and LXDE. The Maté desktop has made some impressive progress over the last couple of years, and it offers the benefits of both Gnome and LXDE without the problems.
I know this is kind of long, so here's a TL;DR for you:
openSUSE Leap 42.2 is out in November, Newt OS 17 soon after that
Newt OS Gnome and LXDE are getting the ax - Gnome doesn't work, LXDE is depreciating
Loki will be main focus of development
Might do a Maté spin for a more stable desktop
And school's almost done :)
This is just a quick public service announcement. Earlier today I consolidated several Newt OS packages into a single repository. This is to make my life easier as far as maintaining packages, however, you may find that some packages are suddenly missing (like Moka icons). If you are in this situation, run the following command in the terminal to add the new repository.
sudo zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/Newt:/Newt-OS-Common/openSUSE_Leap_42.1/ Newt-OS-Common
I apologize if my changes caused any issues. I didn't really think about the affects it might have until I was halfway done.
This morning, I released an update for the Loki build of Newt OS Studio. This update isn't so much an update as it is a modification. What I mean by that is, this release changes the software selection to improve the user experience, and to ensure the software used in Newt OS is actively developed.
Late last year, Yorba, the company behind Geary and Shotwell, closed its doors. You can read their announcement here.
As Yorba is no longer active, their projects have been inactive for close to a year now. Geary has been taken up by the elementary OS team directly as Pantheon Mail, which has replaced Geary in Newt OS in order to reflect this transition.
However, Shotwell has not been directly adopted by any project. It is officially a Gnome project, but there has been no development on their part. While it is still a wonderful program, it will show its age as time goes on. This has lead me to look for an alternative to replace Shotwell in the future. Luckily, the elementary OS team maintains a fork of Shotwell as Pantheon Photos. Photos will replace Shotwell in the next major release of Newt OS, and has replaced Shotwell in the latest release of Newt OS Studio Loki.
Below you can find a screenshot of the new Photos app.
While Photos has many improvements over Shotwell, removing Shotwell meant removing the default image viewer for Newt OS. The Gnome image viewer has also been included to fill this role.
You can install these applications in your current Newt OS installations by running the following command:
sudo zypper install pantheon-photos eog eog-plugins
Let me know what you think about this latest change. I think it is for the better.
Just a short notice that you can now find the configuration files used in Loki on Github. At this point, you will have to download the software components separately (links are available in the Readme on Github) If you encounter any problems, please submit an issue via Github.
Link to Github page: https://github.com/Newt-OS/Loki