LWDW 151: Desktop Linux In 2019

Mozilla revives Mozilla Labs! Chrome OS tests GPU support for apps, 24-core bananas, and what does 2019 have in store for the Linux desktop.

Special thanks to:
Kim O


Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday
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A weekly dose of all thing Linux and open source with a slice of Pi for good measure.



Colour key – Venn Jill Pedro

State of Desktop Linux 2019

  • Can 2019 be the year of realizing the desktop as a whole is a dying beast?
  • I know you don’t want to hear that but it’s true.
  • This is a very thoughtful and insightful article written by Bryan Lunduke, and he did a very good job in asking some of the key questions pondering Linux today to the leaders of Debian, Fedora and Elementary OS.
    • What do you see as the single biggest challenge currently facing both your specific project—and desktop Linux in general?
    • Is there value in the major distributions standardizing on package management systems? Should that be done? Can that be done?
  • Decided lack of Canonical in the article.
  • Love or hate they are 500lb gorilla of Desktop Linux.


My dear Watson

  • That’s a bold claim there, Cotton!
  • Though considering how neither Mac or Windows let you customize the desktop in any easy fashion, I can certainly see that side of the argument.
  • Though, making the claim that this limited an environment is Linux’s best hope for mainstream, is taking a pretty big dump from atop your ivory tower on what a great deal of people like about Linux.
  • Still, if Chrome’s adoption and subsequent success is anything to go by, maybe that is what people want.
  • Though given the choice of current DEs, I’d probably vote for the deepin desktop enviroment or Budgie, if they dropped the b0rked mess that is mutter as a compositor.
  • Elementary OS has gotten a lot of good press lately and has been introduced to a lot of new Linux users because of Jason Evangelho’s well written Forbes articles on Linux.
  • Elementary OS is very easy to use, and uses its own Pantheon DM which is loved for its Mac like interface.


Bedrock Linux 0.7.1 (RTheren)

  • Roll your own nightmare!
  • Can you imagine submitting a bug report if you’re a Bedrock Linux kinda person?
  • The ultimate modular Linux distro combining elements from any of the distros.
  • Imagine Debian stability with the latest Arch packages!


Accelerated Chrome OS

  • Good!
  • I’d like to try some Steam games on my Acer R11.
  • GPU support for containerized Linux apps in Chrome OS is so needed to increase speed and productivity.
  • The Chrome OS VM needs to catch up to Wine in terms of GPU support.
  • This is to help with rendering, not gaming.
  • Another upcoming feature is blocking the USB ports on locked Chromebooks.



  • After the Snowden leaks the internet is not only justified to distrust the NSA, we’re right to do so.
  • Someone hand me a tinfoil hat but, as someone who lives in the UK, the threat of an overbearing government authority is very much real.
  • What’s wrong with encryption designed by NSA that the NSA refuses to answer questions about?
  • Support for the Pine64 LTS and a bunch of Banana and Orange Pi boards are a very welcome sight.
  • HDMI 2.0 support in nouveau is interesting, but good luck driving 4K at 60FerPS with the opensauce NVidia drivers.
  • We got a Holiday present from Linus.  Linux Kernel 4.20 has been released with lots of new updates!
  • Support for the latest AMD Picasso and Raven 2 APUs.
  • Yeah!  Support for more sound cards including the higher end Creative Sound Blaster ZxR and AE-5 sound cards.
    • Now you can use an LED lit sound card on Linux for more bling!



  • Very good news for skilled people in need of some extra monies!
  • PuTTY and DRUPAL swinging in with bounties up to $90k and $89k, respectively.
  • Keep an eye on Intigriti and HackerOne for the results.
  • EU to fund bug bounties for open source projects including PuTTY, Notepad++, KeePass, Filezilla and VLC, ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 per bug!
  • Its part of their Free and Open Source Software Audit (FOSSA) project.
  • As we talked about last week, in big business environments where the utmost security is needed, small independent developer code should not be used unless it is vetted and supported.
  • This is a great solution to the problem, and encourages the community to help fix open source bugs and create “vetted” software.


Moz labs

  • Back from the dead, with a new domain.
  • Projects focusing on virtual reality, speech and voice, and the Internet of Things.
  • Moz labs will continue to focus on all things not browser.
  • Like Google X but with actual products.
  • The Firefox Reality virtual reality web browser is under the Mozilla Labs umbrella.
  • One of my favourite discontinued Mozilla Labs projects that I was following was the Gladius 3D game engine, written entirely in JavaScript, and designed to run in the browser.
    • The CubicVR game engine is the basis for Gladius and Mozilla Labs WebGL projects.


Top Snaps

  • You know what I don’t see and it still irks me to no end?
  • A change from that stupid lowercase folder snaps put in the root of your $HOME directory.
    • Yes, having /snap in my home directory has caused me countless hours of anger and confusion.
  • Also, Notepad++? WAT?!
  • Have people not heard of geany?
  • Or nano with syntax highlighting?
    • These are the type of people who get software from a snap repo.
  • The Shortcut video editor snap is really quite nice and updated regularly.
  • Xonotic, cool!
  • I love the fact that Alan Pope and Martin Wimpress have been working on linux gaming snaps.
    • And Wine emulated apps and game snaps, such as TrackMania Nations Forever!
  • 18.04 don’t know how to Snap.



  • You can pay an extra $10 for “advanced features”
  • If you want to try it in Solus, here’s a link with the dep list: https://dev.getsol.us/T7001
    • Install the dev packages for all those if you want to build it from sauce.
  • Polo has a very clean and modern user interface, and reminds me a bit of well, almost every other modern file manager available, such as Nautilus, Dolphin, Thunar, Caja etc.
  • The support for cloud storage via Dropbox, Google Drive, Amazon Drive etc. is a nice feature and easy to setup.
  • The paid version includes the ability to write ISOs to flash drives, image optimization and adjustment tools, PDF editing tools and video downloading via youtube-dl.
    • All of which I already do with external applications which I link to in the file managers I already use, like emelFM2, PCManFM, Thunar etc.

Slice of Pi

24 banana

  • 24-core Arm Cortex A53 processor with 32GB RAM (29.4GB seen by the OS) running Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS with MATE desktop.
  • SATA ports and support for NVME.
  • Priced in the “if you have to ask” category.
  • Tested TensorFlow and Nextcloud under Docker, Raspbian and The Robot Operating System (ROS) framework Melodic Morenia.
  • I am curious as to how big a hole one of these would punch in one’s wallet!






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