Mint 17.3 Announced, Ubuntu Wins, Spying SMARTs

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 05, 2015

Clement Lefebvre announced the releases of Mint 17.3 Cinnamon and MATE Friday evening with lots of improvements and tweaks. Being a long term support release, users can get updates until 2019! Elsewhere, the Free Software Foundation is having a donation drive and the Linux Foundation is urging all Website to get encrypted. Additionally, Robert Cringely cringed at the thought of his appliances spying on him and Dedoimedo said Zorin OS 10 is "looking even better."

Not too long after saying he couldn't release 17.3 just yet, Clem Lefebvre did just that. No update was given on the homepage or blog on the server issues, but the forums are down as I type this. However, the 17.3 update was officially released and said to be supported until 2019. Cinnamon and MATE versions were released today, with KDE to soon follow. The dist-upgrade option has yet to appear in 17.2 Software Managers, it usually takes a few days or so.

In 17.3 Software Sources got more tweaks in the continuing effort to have systems download from the fastest up-to-date mirror to it. Behind the scenes it now runs speeds tests for surrounding mirrors and fanning out until the best one is identified. Test are now more accurate and primarily verify each application is the latest available. The Update Manager now does the basically the same thing and allows users to switch to faster servers. The Driver Manager checks its status more often now as well and informs users if listed drivers are proprietary. It is also said to be much faster too.

The individual desktops got some refinements too, of course. Cinnamon and MATE got lots of interface tweaks, both visually and functionally. Some new little features enhance user experience, such as the new pager in Cinnamon now shows a representation of what each desktop looks likes. Rarely has that ever done me much good, but it looks cool. Cinnamon's system tray now supports indicators, which is extremely handy. Applets got a lot of tweaks and bug fixes too this time.

In MATE, the menu now looks "much better, thanks to the addition of a frame, borders and shadows." Lots of work was done to the graphic rendering for a smoother and prettier desktop experience. Check out the new help section in Desktop Settings as well the newly added features, such as more window manager choices. New desktop effects are on by default now for a "'wow' factor." There were just so many new features this time for both desktops, be sure to check out the What's New for each linked above.

Fabrizio Balliano switched to Mac a while back, but today decided to catch up on Linux (Ubuntu) and report his findings. After getting used to Mac, of Ubuntu he observed it's fast, has good memory management, great system management, and fine plug and play. He was disappointed in the power management, graphic drivers, and lack of apps. He then continued by saying, "But as a developer, Ubuntu (Linux in general) it's a heaven." He suggested Ubuntu chuck their current graphical interface and "go modern." He didn't really expand on "modern," so anyway, another fairly good report on Ubuntu overall.

Robert X. Cringely is fairly well known in tech sectors having written for some of the biggest publications out there as well as being a successful author and even appearing on television as a tech expert. Most of his stuff is out of my field, but I still keep a quick eye on his blog. Well, today he touched on an area in which I find a lot of discomfort. I'm not so sure I want my car, television, or refrigerator listening, recording, and uploading anything I say or do - but that's exactly what's happening. Those "smartphones" everybody just has to carry just so happens to report your exact whereabouts to various nosy parties, living and artificial, as well as any hacker or "human authority figure." And that's what Cringely was basically saying today, except he concluded too bad so sad, that's the way the world turns now.

In other news:

* Zorin OS 10 review - Looking even better

* Linux holiday gift guide 2015 (annoying slideshow alert)

* LF: Let’s Encrypt This Decade

* Free Software Foundation's Donation Drive

* Early Christmas; ‘Grid Racing’ for Linux!