KDE neon on xenial/16.04 EOL

KDE neon was rebased onto Ubuntu bionic/18.04 last year and upgrades have gone generally smooth. We have removed xenial/16.04 build from our machines (they only hang around for as long as they did because it took a while to move the Snap builds away from them) and the apt repo will remove soon. If you haven’t already upgrade now.

Month of KDE Applications Snaps

Snaps is a fancy new package format for Linux which allows applications to be shipped which run on pretty much any Linux distro. This nicely solves one of the headaches with shipping software for Linux, that you have to package it a dozen times using a dozen different methods to get anyone to be able to install it.

The format and host for Snaps is made using Ubuntu and developed by KDE patron Canonical.

We have been working on building Snaps from the KDE neon builders for some time and they’re now at a quality where we can move them into the stable channel. (Snap software gets hosted in channels depending on the risk you want to take, others being candidate, beta and edge.)

If you’re a Plasma user you can use Discover to install the Snaps, but of course they work equally well on other desktops with other package managers or using the snap command.

This month the Snap team are highlighting KDE’s stable Snaps on their Twitter and Facebook feeds. Here’s what we’ve seen so far:

There’s still plenty of KDE apps that need tweaks before they can go in the Snap stable channel. If you’re an app maintainer then come and talk to us (in #kde-neon probably) about how your app can be distributed. We plan on doing some automated QA so they don’t need manual review before publishing and before long hopefully we can move much of the build details into the app repo rather than the KDE neon repo.

Help Test KDE Plasma 5.15 Beta

KDE’s flagship project Plasma has a new beta out. There’s now three weeks to sort out the bugs to make the release a work of perfection.  We need your help.

Plasma has a new testing release out with a final release due in three weeks. We need your help in testing it and reporting problems.

KDE neon Developer Git-Stable Edition now has Plasma 5.15 beta and can be used for testing.

You can either download an ISO and install it or run it on a virtual machine. https://neon.kde.org/download

Or you can run the Docker image which should work on any Linux distro. https://community.kde.org/Neon/Docker

Please have a look over the new features and give them a try https://www.kde.org/announcements/plasma-5.14.90.php

You can report success or failure on the forum thread for Plasma 5.15 beta here or directly on the bug tracker at https://bugs.kde.org

Plasma 5.15 Beta in Virtualbox

Plasma 5.15 beta in Docker

16.04 EOL on Monday

Upgrades to 18.04 are working well but maintaining twice as many builds as normal is taking its toll on our time and team of guinea pig packagers. Neon on 16.04 (xenial) base will reach End of Life on Monday.  Please update to 18.04 base to continue receiving updates.

Almost Bionic

Maybe it’s all the QA we added but issues kept cropping up with Bionic.  All those people who had encrypted home folders in xenial soon found they had no files in bionic because support had been dropped so we had to add a quirk to keep access to the files.  Even yesterday a badly applied patch to the installer broke installs on already partitioned disks which it turns out we didn’t do QA for so we had to rejig our tests as well as fix the problem. Things are turning pleasingly green now so we should be ready to launch our Bionic update early next week. Do give the ISO images one last test and help us out by upgrading any existing installs and reporting back.  Hasta pronto.

KDE neon on Ubuntu 18.04 “bionic” Upgrade Open for Testing

We are continuing the work to rebase KDE neon on bionic and are now looking for people to test the upgrader.

KDE neon Bionic Upgrade instructions and report form

Our upgrader has been working for some time and many people have used it successfully, but as ever we wanted to prove it was correct and QA.  It uses the same upgrader as Ubuntu which was written over a decade ago and has seen not much attention since.  We wrote our own notifier and got translations for it.  Added to the upgrader is stopping Packagekit so you don’t get notified of updates while you are already updating.  We added translations to the upgrader. A test was added to make sure version numbers in bionic are greater than in xenial which turns out not to be the case for a few things so we had to add rules to deal with them and then make sure those rules got used by the upgrader. The release notes that get shown before an upgrade strangely have no translations but we edited them a bit so in English it is relevanto to neon. Stopping the screen locker during an upgrade is important too but surpringly faffy since the upgrader runs as root and the screen locker as user.

It’s ready for pre-release testing now, so let us know how it goes on the wiki or in the forums etc.

The KDE neon on Ubuntu 18.04 “bionic” ISOs are also still available as a preview for testing.

KDE neon on the $100 Pinebook

The KDE neon team has been working with the Blue Systems hardware enablement team and the Pinebook developers to create the KDE neon Pinebook Remix. It uses our Bionic images built for arm64 to create a full featured slick desktop that runs on the best value hardware.  The Pinebook comes at a low price but it’s a full laptop useful for watching videos, browsing the web or coding on KDE software.  This could open up whole new markets to getting KDE software, a school which previously could only afford a couple of computers could now afford enough for a classroom, a family which previously had to share one computer could now afford a laptop for the children to learn how to code on.  It’s quite exciting.  And with the KDE Slimbook, neon now covers all ends of the market.

Pinebook running KDE neon Pinebook Remix, full laptop functionality for $100

KDE neon Bionic Preview Images Available for Testing

Our QA tests have turned green which means we have switched on the preview publishing for the KDE neon Installable Images based on Bionic.

 Download installable ISO images

A reminder of what the different editions mean:

  • User: Packages continuously built from latest releases.  Use this edition if you are uncertain.
  • Developer Edition Git Stable Branches: Built continuously from Git beta and stable branches.  Use this edition to test beta and forthcoming code which has not gone through QA.
  • Developer Edition Git Unstable Branches: Built continuously from Git unstable branches.  Use this edition to test forthcoming feature code which has not gone through QA.

Remember this is still a preview in testing.  Upgrade testing will be announced shortly and final expected sometime after. Read the release notes. Give us feedback on the KDE forums or by filing specific bugs and keep and eye on the todo board to track us.