Thursday, July 11, 2013

Charting a Safe Course in Times of Uncertainty with Netrunner 13.06 Enigma

by Dietrich Schmitz

I get surprises every day.  Some are good and some less than good.

The other day I came across a really good surprise: Netrunner 13.06 Enigma, released on July 5, 2013, turned up just when I needed it.

One of the LA private community members asked, what has happened with Fedora 19 Xfce?

Well, to that I say: Life is subject to change.

And changed it has.  Here's my assessment of the current state of affairs:

Technology Check List

Will Fedora be around in 5 years: Yes
Will Debian/*buntu derivatives be around in 5 years: Yes

Which package manager is best (YUM vs. APT):  YUM

Which repository system has the most diverse set of applications: Debian/Ubuntu

What is the best Desktop GUI: KDE

Which Distro has the best out of the box KDE experience: Netrunner 13.06 Enigma
Is there a trend for moving applications and Desktop GUIs to Qt: YES

Is KDE Qt-based: YES

Blue Systems KDE Brain Trust

However, the thing about Netrunner that is most interesting and unique is that it is developed by Blue Systems, who also do development for Kubuntu and Mint.  +Martin Gräßlin is a key 'brain trust' of Blue Systems and lead developer for KDE with a focus on core development, namely KWin.  The work of Blue Systems is clearly evident in Netrunner.  The 'fit and finish' is silky smooth and quite reminiscent of early days of Ubuntu.  KDE is most likely to be embraced by those with Windows experience.  It is feature-complete and intuitive.

Beware of Quick Sand XMir/Mir

Also, now that Canonical shifted their policy away from Wayland to using XMir/Mir in Ubuntu 13.10, KDE is the safer course as +Aaron Seigo and Team plan to support way into the future as well as Wayland.  They will not be supporting Mir as it is a 'one-off' display driver (Ubuntu Unity only).

A Shift to Qt Development

Kubuntu and Lubuntu's lead developers have already opted-out of support for XMir as it is deemed to be a 'shim' emulation layer which will slow down the responsiveness of the Desktop appreciably.  LXDE project has begun a new project, LXDE-Qt, to port LXDE code to Qt.  See a preview of the desktop here.

So, you see, never say 'never'.  Keep a close watch on the Linux eco space.  It changes like the weather.  ;)

Given all of the rapid change, Netrunner today is the safe choice.

That is my assessment.

-- Dietrich
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