Version 7 of the Trisquel GNU/Linux distribution, codenamed Belenos after a Celtic sun god, has been released. Belenos is a Long Term Support release that will be maintained until 2019. Relevant new packages and features include:
- Kernel Linux-libre 3.13 with lowlatency and bfq scheduling by default.
- Custom desktop based on GNOME 3.12 fallback.
- Abrowser 33 (a free Firefox derivative) as default browser.
- GNU IceCat 31 available as single-click optional install from Abrowser's homepage. Complete with many extra privacy features.
- Electrum Bitcoin Wallet preinstalled.
- Moved to DVD format, now with 50+ languages and extra applications.
- Improved accessibility by default.
Trisquel on a Sugar TOAST
Editions published today include the GNOME based standard edition, the LXDE mini edition, and the now officially supported Trisquel on a Sugar TOAST edition, designed for kids 0 to 12. It features the Sugar Learning environment and a preselection of educational activities.
The improvements don't stop at the software. We are also unveiling a new website theme, cleaner and more modern, to match the streamlined style of the release. This is just the first change in a series of improvements that will focus on giving the users a better community experience.
New development process
We are also making big changes to the development process, to make it easier for the community to contribute. The new code management website allows users to clone the code, hack and request their changes to be reviewed and merged. This is connected to a whole new continuous integration build system that will keep the distro up to date with less manual intervention.
Help sustain this effort
This is an incremental upgrade release which includes all of the maintenance updates and bugfixes since the publication of Trisquel 6.0. Users that already have 6.0 installed don't need to reinstall. Just use the update manager or apt-get dist-upgrade.
This long awaited release is based on Ubuntu Precise, and as usual comes full of free software goodness. We continue to provide an easy to use classic desktop experience complete with full featured browsing, office, communications and social networking utilities. Download it while it is hot!
- Linux-Libre 3.2
- Abrowser 19
- GNOME 3.4
- LibreOffice 3.5
A better browser
Our web browser without a name (Abrowser, a Firefox derivative that does not recommend non-free software) now comes with shiny new features, like full html5 video support (webm, h264 and other formats) that allow to use sites like Youtube without a flash plugin. This version can also show pdf files without a plugin, and implement instant messaging web applications based on WebRTC.
Accessible by default
In the quest for an improved experience for disabled users that we started some releases ago we used to make an special version (the International live DVD) that came with the digital ramps turned on by default. In this release we took that idea one step further and now all the images are equally accessible for visually impaired users: if while booting the live cd you don't touch any key and let the 30 seconds countdown finish, the screen reader will be on when the desktop is launched.
This release is a Long Term Support one, meaning that bugfix and security updates will be published until 2017. Along with this we have decided to change our release schedule from this point on: we will no longer publish short term support versions every 6 months, but focus on giving the best possible support to the LTS release, providing backported improvements to core packages like the kernel, the browser and the xorg server among others. We will also make it easier for volunteers to provide newer versions of extra packages through an optional community-backports repository.
We will publish point releases every 6 months including all improvements done to the system in that time.
How to update
If you are running Trisquel 4.0 or 5.5, a system upgrade will be available in the system updater application (if you run a server use "sudo do-release-upgrade"). If you use Trisquel 4.5 or 5.0 you need to apply each update step (4.5, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0) or upgrade manually. Ask for instructions to an experienced user to do so, in our forums, mailing lists or IRC channels.
How to help
With this release we are maintaining enough sources to produce over a thousand packages adapted to Trisquel to either improve their freedom, user privacy, usability and accessibility among other features. We run all our main resources ourselves (compilation, distribution and web servers) and all our online services run on our own machines to make us completely self contained. This is a big effort, and we would like you to take part in it. We are improving our development services to make room for volunteer hackers to join in a community effort to improve the system, but if you don't know how to debug or maintain packages you can still contribute by improving the wiki, help others in the forums, translating, or finding and reporting bugs. And if you don't have time for it you can help by making donations, joining our membership program, or buying gifts in our stores.
Trisquel 5.5 STS "Brigantia" is finally here! This release took us some extra time but it was well worth it, as even if we went through a lot of changes in core components we achieved many improvements while preparing the system for the forthcoming long term support release. As a sort of compensation (many thanks for your patience!), and due to the importance of our next release, we will start hacking on it sooner than usual, in about a month.
Many new technologies, same user experience
This release is our first to be based on GNOME 3, GTK 3 and also Linux-libre 3.0.0. GNOME 3 was a big challenge, because as it is designed by now, it is not usable for our community. The new default interface of GNOME 3 is GNOME Shell, a program that requires 3D acceleration to work, as it relies on graphics composition. Sadly, many graphics cards today still lack a libre driver providing acceleration, so many users who would choose free drivers will be redirected to a fallback desktop environment. We think that this way many users could feel compelled to install non-free drivers to be able to use the new desktop, so we decided to use the fallback environment as default, and improve it when possible. Luckily this fallback is a GTK 3 implementation of GNOME panel 2x, and not only is it very usable, and even more stable than the original, but it is also accessible, something GNOME Shell is currently lacking.
One other advantage of using the fallback as default is that we were able to use it to provide the same desktop layout that many Trisquel users have become attached to. You can of course adapt and customize it with panels and applets as usual.
This release features, among many others:
- Linux-libre 3.0.0
- GNOME 3.2
- Abrowser 11
- LibreOffice 3.4.4
Better accessibility, a better project
Continuing with our commitment to accessibility we have managed to improve the integration with the Orca screen reader and other universal access software. It was not easy, as it was affected by the changes in core libraries underneath, but the results were worth it. If you use the i18n DVD the screen reader will be started by default, allowing visually impaired users to install it by themselves, and the login manager in the installed system will then be accessible. It is still far from perfect, but we will keep working on it.
Another improvement is that many NVIDIA graphic cards are now supported with 3D acceleration using the free Nouveau driver, which was moved from experimental into the preinstalled set of packages. Also, we can announce now that those packages, and all the +300GB of sources and binaries in our archive servers are now accessible through new official mirrors in the Netherlands and India, thanks to Jason Self and the KMEA Engineering college respectively. Many thanks!