Debian Artwork, Not-so-FreeBSD, and Slack Updates

by Ostatic Staff - Jun. 09, 2016

Today in Linux news Niels Thykier, of the Debian release team, put out the call for Debian 9 Stretch artwork. The Register covered the announcement of a Microsoft FreeBSD release and Slackware-current received more updates today. Also, let's take a closer look at the new development structure for Firefox beginning with version 48.

Niels Thykier announced the official call for proposals desktop artwork and themes. "So, if you would like (or know someone who would like) to create a desktop look and feel that will be seen by trillions[3] of people, be sure to send in your artwork ASAP!" Artwork will be used for the boot screen, installer, desktop wallpaper, login screens, disk labels, matching websites/blog/wiki banner, t-shirts, and sticker. But you only need one to get started. You only have to create the rest if yours is the chosen one. Thykier said winning entries usually embody Debian - whatever Debian means to you, don't require patching core software, and are clean and well designed. More information is available on the wiki.

Slackware-current is still being hammered into shape with the latest updates landing June 7 and June 8. Aspell and all its word lists were rebuilt to "use a proper $ARCH," and pkgtools was rebuilt a couple of times to address little bugs. Smart Monitoring Tools, GNUtils, Samba, and Gkrellm were upgraded as were the kernel to 4.4.13 and Firefox to 45.2.

The Register today reported that Microsoft has now released a FreeBSD based on 10.3 so it would be available to Azure users. The Reg said this latest move was to remove the burden from the FreeBSD project. They also quote a Microsoft spokesman saying most of their work will be contributed back upstream - emphasis on the most I presume. As they said, "It's still just a little surprising to see Microsoft wade into development of FreeBSD."

Mozilla's Asa Dotzler blogged yesterday on the new development strategy of Firefox 48 and beyond. What they've decided to do is split Firefox into two main processes: a UI process and a content process. This is mainly to keep misbehaving web pages from freezing or crashing the entire application. They've been testing the new arrangement for almost six months and comparing performance with versions without. Dotzler said things are looking good for a larger roll-out with the final release of version 48. It's still a bit crashy right now, but versions with what they're calling E10S performed slightly better in some areas to 39-88% better responsiveness during page load. Application startup time is improved as well, but shutdown's a bit slower. Scrolling is another area in which performance is greatly improved but memory management and graphics performance netted mixed results. A beta should be available any day now and the final is expected in about six weeks.

Dotzler said this is the biggest change in Firefox's history and as such, they're planning on a careful roll-out. He said they'll start out by shipping it to about 1% of "eligible users" and, if that goes well, they'll allow most others to upgrade. If not, they won't. He also said "Windows XP users, users with screen readers, RTL users, and extension users" probably won't see the new structure in 48, but perhaps 49. "After that, we'll be working on support for multiple content processes. With that foundation in place, the next projects are sandboxing for security, and isolating extensions into their own processes. It's an exciting time at Mozilla."