Release Notes for siduction 2016.1 »Patience«

Today we present to you the first batch of siduction 2016.1, which consists of the flavours noX, Xorg, LXDE, Xfce and Plasma 5. We attempt to release a 2nd batch with the flavours Gnome, Cinnamon, Mate and LXQt as soon as possible in the new year. This release of siduction 2016.1 is named Patience, because that is what you and us both needed to find the right point in time to ship this to you.

The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2016-12-23. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, our own installer and a custom patched version of the linux-kernel 4.9, accompanied by X-Server 1.19.0-3 and systemd 232-8.

Changes that affect all flavours
In the wake of the upcoming Wayland display server, that will replace the old Xorg-Server, the way input devices are handled, has changed. The new way to handle devices like Mice, Touchpads, Wacom Tablets, and the like was developed by Red Hat developer Peter Hutterer and is called libinput If you look into /etc/X11/xorgconf.d/60-libinput.conf, you will see that we implemented a basic config, that supports some touchpad actions, but not all. If you miss anything, look at the above link, that has ways to set up other actions. Another change over all flavours is the use of SDDM as Display- and Login-Manager, which is the new default for Plasma, but suits the other flavours fine as well.

A brief look at the flavours

Plasma 5
Some still call it KDE, but to be correct, we want to call it Plasma 5, KDE Frameworks and KDE Applications. Plasma 5 is the part that we mostly interact with. Frameworks is the former kdelibs and Applications speaks for itself. Today we ship Plasma 5.8.4-1, Frameworks 5.28 and Applications 16.08-3

No other desktop environment was as keeping us from a release as much as Plasma 5. Transitions and lots of upgrades made it really hard to find a calm spot in time to release for us. Our friends from the debian-kde-qt team stayed very close to upstream releases (thanks for that!). That enables us to release a very uptodate KDE experience and it is not too far fetched to say this is the best release of KDE software ever. Latest changes include the use of single keys like CTRL, ALT or the super key to create actions that usualy needs a key combination. This new feature is not yet fully configurable, but one example that is already implemented is the super key, that will open the dashboard for you. Plasma 5.9, to be released in January 2017.

Another little x-mas candy is the integration of KDE Connect into siduction. This is a nifty little tool to connect your mobile devices with your desktop, including nice features like turning down the volume of whatever is playing when a phone call comes in or answering text messages (sms) from your phone on the desktop. To use KDE Connect, you need to install the android app on your phone and then configure the widget sitting in the system tray on your desktop.

There is a little tear mixed into the joy and that is wept because of KDEPIM. As most Plasma users know, the PIM-Suite was plagued with bugs for a long time. That has not really changed to a point where it just works out of the box. We put MySQL in place of sqlite for the Akonadi backend. Kmail works on the live media, but anything you set up for Kmail or Akonadi before installing to hard disk will be lost. The reason for that is that at install time we drop the database to make it Kmail work after install. Also, be carefull, should you use Kmail with pop3, mails marked as read might disappear. More improvement might come as soon as Applications 16.12 enters Sid. The PIM-Suite was split into 18 packages and that change is shipped with the latest update to Applications.

LXDE and Xfce
The lightweight flavour LXDE, which stands for Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment is shipped in the latest version 0.99.1, released in February 2016, with parts being updated throughout 2016. XFCE, which is a bit heavier, but still considerably leaner than Plasma, GNOME or Cinnamon, comes in version 4.12.3. Xfce is the last desktop environment that still builds from GTK+ 2, since MATE recently migrated to GTK+ 3.

noX and Xorg
These two flavours are for users who like to have custom build setups. noX has no Xorg-stack, so no desktop environment or window manager. Xorg is equipped with a Xorg-stack and the Fluxbox window manager. Besides that both flavours deliver the same full set of tools as the bigger flavours.

The images are, as always available on our website at Downloads

Known Bugs
The KDE splash, when it first shows, claims the release to be a alpha version. This is a small bug in the splash that we will fix asap.

Changes to our infrastructure from 2015, that you should be aware of
After long discussions that go back as far as two years, we have finaly made the decision to ship with contrib and nonfree enabled and nonfree-firmware preinstalled to enable the user to use his wifi chip or graphics card right from the start without the need to aquire software without being able to have an internet connection on the device you are installing on.

The following nonfree packages are installed as default:
amd64-microcode Processor microcode firmware for AMD CPUs
firmware-amd-graphics Binary firmware for AMD/ATI graphics chips
firmware-atheros Binary firmware for Atheros wireless cards
firmware-bnx2 Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII
firmware-bnx2x Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtreme II 10Gb
firmware-brcm80211 Binary firmware for Broadcom 802.11 wireless card
firmware-crystalhd Crystal HD Video Decoder (firmware)
firmware-intelwimax Binary firmware for Intel WiMAX Connection
firmware-iwlwifi Binary firmware for Intel Wireless cards
firmware-libertas Binary firmware for Marvell Libertas 8xxx wireless car
firmware-linux-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
firmware-misc-nonfree Binary firmware for various drivers in the Linux kernel
firmware-myricom Binary firmware for Myri-10G Ethernet adapters
firmware-netxen Binary firmware for QLogic Intelligent Ethernet (3000)
firmware-qlogic Binary firmware for QLogic HBAs
firmware-realtek Binary firmware for Realtek wired/wifi/BT adapters
firmware-ti-connectivity Binary firmware for TI Connectivity wireless network
firmware-zd1211 binary firmware for the zd1211rw wireless driver
intel-microcode Processor microcode firmware for Intel CPUs
Contrib packages installed on siduction
b43-fwcutter utility for extracting Broadcom 43xx firmware
firmware-b43-installer firmware installer for the b43 driver
firmware-b43legacy-installer firmware installer for the b43legacy driver
iucode-tool Intel processor microcode too.

You need to be aware that this new behaviour is not in accordance with the Debian Free Software Guide (DFSG). We offer an opt-out from this to go back to a DFSG-compliant installation. For the dev-release, apt purge $(vrms -s) shows you the installed packages. Running the command without the -s will remove them all. For the final release we will ship a more comfortable solution.

Changes to our release model
Besides that, we will slightly alter our release model. During the past release cycles we learned that with as many flavours as we have and with the ressources we can use, we find it very hard to release all flavours together in one release. That resulted in no release at all for 2016 so far, which leaves new users with growing first upgrades as the year moves on. To prevent that from happening again, in the future we will release flavours as soon as they are ready and benefit the user. We will still try to release more than one at a time, but not wait for a chance to release all of them together.

Credits for siduction 2016.1
Core Team:
Alf Gaida (agaida)
Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
Axel Beu (ab)
Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
Torsten Wohlfarth (towo)
J. Theede (musca)
Maintainers of the siduction Desktop Environments:
GNOME: Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
KDE: Ferdinand Thommes (devil)
LXDE: Alf Gaida (agaida)
LXQt: Alf Gaida (agaida)
XFCE: Torsten Wolfahrt (towo)
Cinnamon: J. Theede (musca)
noX: Alf Gaida (agaida)
MATE: J. Theede (musca), Angelescu Ovidiu (convbsd)
Art Team:
Hendrik Lehmbruch (hendriKL)
We need more contributors for siduction release art!
Code, ideas and support:
Hendrik Lehmbruch [hendrikL)
J. Hamatoma (hama)
Markus Schimpf (arno911)
Thank you!

Also thank you very much to all testers and all the people giving us support in any possible way. This is also your achievement.

We also want to thank Debian, as we are using their base.
And now enjoy!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and peace for the planet. On behalf of the siduction team:
Ferdinand Thommes

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