Eight trends in today's Linux desktop

In today's open source roundup: Trends in today's Linux desktop. Plus: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic now runs on Linux. And is Linux Mint 17.2 this year's best Linux desktop?

Eight trends in today's Linux desktop

The Linux desktop has changed considerably over the years, and today's desktop developers have a considerably different mindset than in years gone by. Datamation takes a look at eight trends happening in today's Linux desktop.

Bruce Byfield reports for Datamation:

Desktop environments are supposed to be yesterday's technology, gradually being replaced by mobile devices. Yet someone apparently forgot to tell the developers of Linux desktops. At a time when desktops are supposed to be obsolete, Linux offers more alternatives than ever. Apparently, Linux users are not prepared to give up their workstations and laptops for tablets or phones.

Of course, the modern Linux desktop is not the Linux desktop of five years. If you look at the Linux desktop today, at least seven development trends are visible, including several that are reversals of popular past trends:

1. Offering Choices

2. Thinking About Design and Usability

3. Slowing the Pace of Innovation

4. Returning to the Icons

5. Choosing the Classical Desktop

6. Retreating from Mobile Interfaces

7. Making Customization the First Priority

8. Back to Basics

More at Datamation

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic now runs on Linux

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is not exactly a new game, but a recent update has breathed new life into it. And the update also lets the game run on Linux.

Sam Machkovech reports for Ars Technica:

Bioware's acclaimed Star Wars RPG series, Knights of the Old Republic, has long suffered a major pockmark in the form of the original game's sequel having a buggy, rushed launch on PC in 2005. KOTOR II was left for dead for so long, fans took it upon themselves to fix its problems, at which point they discovered whole swaths of cut content within the game—and famously modded the game to bring those cut bits back.

Even after the mod's launch and continued development, neither the game's publisher Bioware nor the game's original developer Obsidian bothered officially patching the PC version since April 2005—until Tuesday, that is. With no official Web or social media announcement, KOTOR II received its first official patch in over 10 years exclusively on Steam, and the update is crazy huge.

Most importantly, the game now includes direct Steam Workshop mod support, meaning players can download and install the Sith Lords Restored Content Mod with greater ease. Additionally, the game now runs on Linux, OS X, and SteamOS; natively supports PC gamepads; includes achievements and cloud save support; and can be viewed in both widescreen modes and resolutions up to 5K.

More at Ars Technica

Is Linux Mint 17.2 this year's best Linux desktop?

Linux Mint has long been one of the most popular desktop distributions available. A ZDNet writer actually think it's the year's best Linux desktop. Do you agree with him?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols reports for ZDNet:

I currently have nine desktops running in my office. They're running Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 10 Build 10240, OS X Yosemite, OS X El Capitan beta, Ubuntu 15.04, Chrome OS, Fedora 22, and Linux Mint 17.2. Which one do I use on my main production desktop?

It's not that much of a contest. Even though I run many different desktops, Linux Mint has been my favorite for years now. This latest long-term-support release, which will be supported until 2019, is the best yet.

Unlike some Linux distributions, Mint doesn't object to some proprietary software. It comes with some proprietary software, such as Adobe Flash and programs that enable you to play MP3 music and DVDs. Free software purists may object, but when I want to watch a DVD on my laptop I don't want to have to jump through hoops to do it.

...Mint comes with the usual favorite desktop programs. These include Firefox for web browsing, LibreOffice for an office suite; and GIMP for photo-editing. If you'd rather use other programs, such as Evolution, instead of Thunderbird, for e-mail, Mint's Software Manager makes it as easy as pie to find and load new applications.

Every time that Mint, a community supported Linux without any commercial parent, comes out with a new distribution, I'm impressed. They've done it again. Led by French developer, Clement Lefebvre, Mint is proof that an open-source community can create great software.

More at ZDNet

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