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Today, August 25, is the 30th anniversary of Linux!

It was 30 years ago that Linus Torvalds announced the operating system, just a hobby!

Hello everybody out there using minix-

I’m doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones. This has been brewing since april, and is starting to get ready. I’d like any feedback on things people like/dislike in minix; as my OS resembles it somewhat (same physical layout of the file-sytem due to practical reasons)among other things.

I’ve currently ported bash (1.08) an gcc (1.40), and things seem to work. This implies that i’ll get something practical within a few months, and I’d like to know what features most people want. Any suggestions are welcome, but I won’t promise I’ll implement them :-)

Linux is a family of open-source operating systems based on the Linux kernel. The Kernel now has more than 31 million lines of code. And there are almost one thousand Linux distributions exist.

100% of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run on Linux. It’s trusted by NASA and JPL to run a helicopter on Mars.

And Linux is getting better and better on desktop with the power of GNOME, KDE, X11, Wayland, Ubuntu, Fedora, and the open-source communities!

Join us in celebrating 30 years of Linux

The Linux Foundation has some great images for the 30th anniversary. Get one and help celebrate Linux’s birthday on either social media or your mobile device.

The GNOME image viewer and organizer app, gThumb 3.11.4 was released! PPA updated with Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, and upcoming Ubuntu 21.10 support.

Thanks to libheif library, the new release introduced HEIF file format support, so it can now handle photos imported from your iOS devices. Also AVIF, an image file format specification for storing images or image sequences compressed with AV1 in the HEIF file format is supported, and you can save file as AVIF.

There’s a performance improvement for browsing directory with thousands of images, so users will get a smoother experience. The file list now starts more thumbnailers in parallel, status bar has a button to show the progress dialog. And the color picker tool shows colors in two more formats: rgb in % and hsl.

Other changes include:

  • Allow to set shortcuts to activate filters.
  • Added a template editor to edit text values with special codes: script commands, rename templates, print header and footer, etc.
  • Allow to mount unmounted volumes.
  • Allow to keep browsing while executing long-running external tools.
  • Show the properties in a single column to save horizontal space.
  • Bug-fixes and translation updates.

How to Install gThumb 3.11.4 in Ubuntu:

The software lacks a repository for Ubuntu packages. Besides building from the source tarball, I’ve made the packages into the unofficial PPA for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 21.04, Ubuntu 21.10, Linux Mint 20 and derivatives.

The Ubuntu 18.04 package is build without AVIF/HEIF support since it requires updated FFmpeg library (as dependency of libheif) that might break other packages in your system.
1.) Add the PPA

To add the PPA, open terminal either from the ‘show applications’ menu or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When terminal opens, run command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntuhandbook1/apps

2.) Install / Upgrade gThumb

You can then either upgrade the image viewer from an old version via Update Manager (Software Updater), or run command in terminal:

sudo apt install gthumb

NOTE for Linux Mint, you have to run sudo apt update to refresh package cache first.

Uninstall gThumb & the Ubuntu PPA

To remove gThumb image viewer, run command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove gthumb gthumb-data

To remove the Ubuntu PPA, either run the apt-add-repository command with --remove flag, or use Software & Updates -> Other Software.

For those looking for a lightweight Linux Desktop Environment, MATE is a good choice besides XFCE and LXDE.

MATE is a free open-source fork of the classic Gnome 2 desktop. It also forked a list of core applications, e.g., Caja file manager from Nautilus, Pluma text editor from Gedit, MATE Terminal from Gnome Terminal.

Though it’s Gnome 2 continuation, MATE fully supports the GTK 3 application framework. And by releasing version 1.26, it introduced initial Wayland support.

MATE desktop is NOT specifically designed for older computers, but it’s really lightweight and works fast in low-cost computers, including Raspberry Pi.

What’s New in MATE 1.26

The new 1.26 release features Wayland support for its core applications, including Atril document viewer, System Monitor, Pluma text editor, MATE Terminal, MATE Panel and other components of the Desktop.

The text editor, Pluma, got a new mini map allows that gives you instant overview over the content. New grid background pattern can be toggled in Preferences. And you can press Ctrl+Y to show or hide the line numbers.

MATE Pluma Text Editor Grid pattern

The release also introduced a new indicator applet to toggle ‘Do Not Disturb‘ mode. The applet defaults to green and turns to white once you enable the function. As well, it offers options to change the theme, position of notification bubbles, and control which monitor to display.

The Caja file manager now supports adding current location into left pane as “Bookmark”. And you can format an external device via the context (right-click) menu. By right-clicking on the desktop, there’s an option to lock the desktop icons position.

The Atril document viewer is greatly improved, so it works faster and use even less memory. And the Engrampa archive now supports EPUB and ARC, as well as encrypted RAR archives.

Other changes include:

  • Display settings now has option for scaling.
  • Hyperlinks support for notifications.
  • Option to disable mouse scrolling in Window List applet.
  • Add history support for the Calculator.
  • Option to reduce keyboard backlight when on battery.
  • And much more other changes, see release note for details.

How to Get MATE 1.26 in Linux:

For apt-based systems, Ubuntu MATE is a good choice to try out the MATE desktop. The Ubuntu flavor will update to mate 1.26 soon.

For Arch Linux and Manjaro based system with MATE, a single command will update the desktop environment to the latest:

sudo pacman -Syu

And for Fedora 34 users, the MATE 1.26 is now in the build system, tagged with f34-updates-candidate. I don’t know how the Fedora repository works, it may/might be published in next few days.

Zorin OS 16 was officially released! Features Ubuntu 20.04 LTS package base, Kernel 5.11, and modified Gnome Desktop 3.36.

Zorin OS is an open-source Linux distribution for personal computers. It provides an user friendly desktop appearance based on Gnome. With built-in utility, it allows to single click changing UI layout to original Gnome, classic or modern Windows style.

A lightweight version is also available for old computers based on XFCE desktop environment. And it features “Zorin Connect”, GSConnect / KDE Connect similar implementation to link your Android phone and computer together.

What’s New in Zorin OS 16:

The new release introduced a revamped and refined desktop appearance, along with new wallpaper changes automatically according time of day.

The lock screen now displays a blurred version of desktop wallpaper, just like what it does in Ubuntu 20.04 LT. Follow GNOME 40, Zorin OS now has multi-touch gestures out-of-the-box for laptop users. The finger gestures are however a little different, and I prefer the way in Gnome and Elementary OS 6.

Touch-pad gestures:

  • 4 fingers up/down to switch workspaces.
  • Pinch with 3 fingers to trigger activities overview.

The Pro edition introduced a Windows 11 style desktop layout, though this edition need to play for downloading.

Other changes include:

  • Support flatpak and snap out-of-the-box.
  • New sound recorder app.
  • Redesigned Zorin Appearance
  • New Jelly mode to toggle wobbly window effect.
  • Better fingerprint reader support with simpler setup
  • Fractional scaling for high-resolution displays

Short overview of Zorin OS 16 via YouTube video:

And to get Zorin OS dico image, go to its website.

SMPlayer media player released version 21.8.0 with official dmg package for macOS, and more binary packages for Linux users.

SMPlayer is a free open-source video player for Windows and Linux. By releasing v21.8.0, it finally adds macOS support officially. It uses MPV and/or MPlayer multimedia engine, so it can play virtually all video and audio formats.

The player remembers the settings of all files you play, so when you open an unfinished movie it will be resumed at the same point you left it, as well as the same settings. It also has built-in YouTube browser, allows to search for and click to play YouTube video directly in the media player.

I always keep SMPlayer in my system as an alternative media player, because it has some useful features that I need. They include:

  • ability to fetch subtitles from internet.
  • cast to smart phone and chromecast.
  • rotate video and change aspect ratio while playback.

What’s New in SMPlayer 21.8.0

Besides the macOS package, Linux Appimage, Flatpak, and Snap support, the release also include following changes:

  • Better automatic resizing of the main window, trying to prevent black borders.
  • Add option to rotate the video by 180 degrees.
  • Add some predefined speeds (0.25x, 0.5x, 1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x).
  • Prevent a one second delay when using play prev/next.
  • The installation of YouTube support is now optional on Windows.
  • Disable power saving on Linux Wayland during playback.
  • And some bug-fixes.

How to Get SMPlayer:

The media player now is available at Github. All the binary packages as well as source tarball are available to download at the link below:

For Linux, since Appimage is a non-install executable, Flatpak and Snap are universal package formats need separate daemons to run in sandbox, native .deb / .rpm package may still be preferred.

To install and keep SMPlayer native packages up-to-date, you can either use the official OBS repository for Arch Linux, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE.

Or use the official Ubuntu PPA for all current Ubuntu releases, Linux Mint, and derivatives.

1. Add Ubuntu PPA.

Open terminal either from start menu (click top-left ‘Activities’, search for and open terminal), or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command to add the PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rvm/smplayer

Type user password, no asterisk feedback, and hit Enter to continue. So for, it supports Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Ubuntu 21.04.

2. Install / Upgrade SMPlayer:

After adding the PPA, you can either install it via command:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install smplayer smtube

or upgrade the player via Software Updater (Update Manager) if an old release was installed.

Uninstall SMPlayer in Ubuntu:

To remove the PPA, either open “Software & Updates”, go to “Other Software” line and remove the relevant repository line, or run command:

sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:rvm/smplayer

To remove the media player, run command:

sudo apt remove --autoremove smplayer smtube