The year 2020 holds a lot ahead for everyone. With equal days and number of hours ahead, let not the fury of activities blur your vision and drown your goals. This article is meant to assist you to choose a Linux distribution that you can settle with while doing your work this long year. It focuses on the best Linux distributions together with their respective features and qualities and therefore helps to cover you as far as your desktop is concerned.
As you prepare to shine in the year, let your magic out of the closet and make a difference. You can grab any of the following new Linux distribution releases.
Deepin 15.11 – Better Never Stops
As an open-source GNU/Linux operating system, based on Linux kernel, the new Deepin 15.11 preinstalls Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) and nearly 30 Deepin native applications, as well as several applications from the open-source community to meet users’ daily learning and work needs. When you hear about a new version, what automatically lands in your mind is new features, better performance, and a new experience. True to that, compared with Deepin 15.10, Deepin 15.11 comes with new features – Cloud Sync in Control Center and disc burning function in Deepin File Manager. The community that supports Deepin’s development offers about a thousand other applications in Deepin Store.
New features in Deepin 15.11
According to Deepin’s website, Deepin 15.11 presents an operating system with many known glitches fixed and optimization of the existing functions.
Can you imagine the flexibility of having most of your desktop system settings backed up in the cloud? Deepin has that served hot. After Signing in Deepin ID in Control Center, you can sync system settings to the cloud automatically, including network settings, sound settings, mouse settings, update settings, power settings, corner settings, theme, wallpaper, launcher, and dock. You can choose to turn off the specified options or all of them. With this feature, you can move to and work on another computer seamlessly
The mantra here is to Sync the system settings at one click
Disk burning in File Manager
Deepin 15.11 includes disk burning in the file manager. When there is an optical drive, insert the CD/DVD, and right-click the files to start burning right away.
Drag and drop to load subtitles in Deepin Movie
For the enthusiasts, now you can just drag and drop the subtitle files to Deepin Movie, and load the subtitles directly. Pretty efficient there.
Auto recognize your region in Deepin Store
After you sign in to your account, your region you are in will be determined according to your Deepin ID location or according to your IP address location.
A better dde-kwin
Since it is the first screen you see after you are logged in, dde-kwin has been improved prominently with dozens of bug fixed, more light, beautiful and compatible. All to make your life smarter
Dock now Shows the capacity and the remaining time
Hovering on the battery icon, you can see the tooltip showing the capacity, the remaining time or the charging time needed.
Deepin 15.11 comes with a heavy load of fixed bugs that had been experienced and raised in the previous versions. Some of the applications whose bugs have been fixed include the following.
- Deepin Terminal
- Deepin Voice Recorder
- Deepin Screenshot
- Deepin Music
- Deepin Movie
- Deepin Image Viewer
- Deepin Store
- Deepin File Manager
Find out more about the new Deepin 15.11
Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa)
As you might have noticed, Ubuntu releases its new LTSs accompanied by a codename to make the juice sweeter. Ubuntu 20.04 has been baptized with the name Focal Fossa. Even though you can download and use the daily builds, Focal Fossa is yet to be released in the latter part of April this year.
Even though it is not finally released to change the world, we can make informed speculations about the features that this new LTS release will have. They include:
- New desktop GNOME 3.36
- A minimum of Linux Kernel 5.5
- Enhanced ZFS install support
- A bunch of revamped wallpapers
- Smaller .iso image
- Lightning extension added to Thunderbird
- Multi-monitor support in GDM
- Fractional scaling in Xorg session
- For those who love gaming, there might be gaming-related improvements
- We can also expect new icon styles and themes
- New aesthetics to make your eyes happy
- And much more to be updated as we patiently await
What is more, Ubuntu launched a survey that targets feedback related to how its users would wish Focal Fossa to be like. This will help them tailor this new release not only to their tastes but also in accordance with what the multitude of users would wish to have as their desktop.
After working so hard with zeal and passion from thousands of Fedora community members and contributors, Fedora celebrated another release in October 2019.
As a user-friendly, reliable and powerful FOSS operating system, Fedora can be wonderful for your laptop or desktop computer. As this article is being written, Fedora supports a wide range of developers, from hobbyists and students to professionals in corporate environments.
The following are new features that this new release of Fedora can afford to its audience
Better GNOME 3.34 UI
Fedora 31 slid into the world with GNOME 3.34. GNOME 3.34 in Fedora 31 Workstation includes many updates and improvements. They include the following
Refreshed Background Chooser
Custom Application Folders
Introduction of CgroupsV2
CgroupsV1 was irrefutably a successful implementation v2 solves a lot of its shortcomings. Among many others, v2 offers consistency across the controllers for easier configuration. Even though CgroupsV2 has not been embraced in all distributions, this is the future. RedHat is working to make sure that the container engines they support such as Podman, Buildah, and Skopeo all work well on cgroup v2.
Other hot features that will make your life amazing include the following.
- RPM version 4.15.0.
- Linux 5.3 Kernel
- Golang version 1.13
- GlibC version 2.30.
- Gawk updated to version 5.0.1.
- Erlang version 22
- MinGW environment and toolchain update
- Mono version 5.20.
- Node.js available by default starting from version 12.x
- Other desktop environments available such as DeepinDE 14.11, Xfce 4.14, KDE Plasma 5.15, and LXQt 0.14.1
- Sphinx version 2.
- Python 2 removed after it reached the end of life
- 32bit (i686) is no longer supported
Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia”
It has been known that most users who switch from other operating systems such as windows to Linux almost always choose Linux Mint to begin with. This is major because Mint has many user-friendly tools and a good look that will cause them to feel comfortable pretty fast. Now Mint is a distribution that is based on Ubuntu as the base. This Mint 19.3 is a long term support release which will be supported until 2023.
Linux Mint 19.3 features Cinnamon 4.4, a Linux kernel 5.0 and an Ubuntu 18.04 package base.
Cool new and improved features include:
New Drawing Application
GIMP has been removed from Linux Mint 19.3 and replaced with Drawing. Indeed, GIMP has a steep learning curve and since most people choose mint when switching to Linux, they made Drawing to be as simple as possible for them and for other users.
If you were used to Tomboy to take your notes, then you have something new in place of it. Do not worry because Gnote provides the same functionality as Tomboy but it is built on modern technology.
Cinnamon updated to 4.4
Linux Mint 19.3 comes with the new Cinnamon 4.4. The reason this is amazing is that it feels snappier since it has been developed to be faster and more efficient at launching applications and rendering new windows.
HiDPI support is almost complete: It is supported in all Linux Mint 19.3 editions and, with the exception of Hexchat and Qt5Settings, by all the applications which are included by default.
“Hardware Detection Tool” was added to the BIOS menu of the ISO images.
All the Xplayer lovers will have to get used to the new Celluloid multimedia player but for a better experience. Celluloid is based on the excellent MPV backend which provides much better performance and hardware accelerated playback. It can handle much larger resolutions than Xplayer on the same computer.
After you install Mint 19.3, you will enjoy getting information on your system tray about issues that are going on behind the scenes. It detects potential issues in your computer and warning icon tries to catch your attention and indicates there are a few things for you to review. In case there is an issue with your drivers or any anomaly that it can detect, then be sure to receive these warnings.
Manjaro 18.0.1 ‘Juhraya’
Manjaro has managed to stay among the top list of Linux distributions for a long time now on trusted sites and this tells more of good news than bad about the distribution.
As a new user, you can download either GNOME, KDE, Xfce, Manjaro-i3 and many other editions that are available in the community for example Mate, Budgie and Cinnamon among others. Anyhow, whether it deserves to be your distribution of choice depends on you based on the following features.
The desktop environment
One of the things that are so impressive about KDE on Manjaro 18.1 is the sleek and beautiful look it was designed for users to enjoy. In case you will not be impressed with the settings you will encounter, there is an armory of widgets that you can use to tweak your environment to befit your preference and unique taste.
There is a collection of applications that come with Manjaro by default which aid in the immediate usage of the OS. Some already mentioned include Firefox browser which comes without flash support, Libre Office and Thunderbird email app. Moreover, the Pidgin messaging app, the HexChat IRC client and the Guayadeque music player are included in the distribution.
LibreOffice or FreeOffice
With the latest stable version 18.1 of the operating system, you can opt for the no-cost Office suite FreeOffice 2018 from the German software developer SoftMaker, still, go for LibreOffice or even skip to install any Office Suite at all.
Xfce 4.14 and Plasma 5.16
Manjaro 18.1 comes with the new Xfce 4.14, GNOME 3.32, redesigned KDE with Plasma 5.16
Manjaro 18.1 includes the new “Matcha” theme of the Xfce Edition.
New software store
Manjaro 18.0.1 ‘Juhraya’ includes its new software store known as “bauh” and integrated support for FlatPak and Snap packages.
MX Linux 19
According to mxlinux.org, “MX Linux is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS communities, using the best tools and talents from each distro.” MX Linux 19 is a huge jump from its previous version 18. So much has been shaken and re-arranged to make your experience better if not best on your desktop.
Based on Debian 10 ‘Buster’
The new MX-Linux has its base as Debian 10 which in itself has many new features as will be seen in this article below.
New Xfce Desktop environment
MX Linux 19 ships with the latest Xfce Desktop 4.14
Debian 10 has been upgraded to include Kernel 4.19. This makes it the default Kernel in MX Linux 19
MX-Apps have been updated
Bugs have been fixed, performance improved and other issues resolved in the new MX-Apps. Firefox 69, VLC 3.0.8, Clementine 1.3.1, Thunderbird 60.9.0, LibreOffice 6.1.5, GIMP 2.10.12 and MESA 18.3.6.
Read more details about MX Linux 19
Debian 10 Buster
Even though Debian 10 Buster is not yet released, some of the features that may be found on it are hereby delivered. Please read on.
The GNOME desktop has been upgraded to 1.3.30 in Buster. Gnome-todo, tracker instead of tracker-gui are some of the packages added to Buster. Dependency against gstreamer1.0-packagekit hence automatic codec installation for playing movies and much more. The big move has been all packages being moved from libgtk2+ to libgtk3+.
Buster uses NFtables instead of iptables
Unlike iptables, nftables provides better and easier syntax and better support for dual-stack ipv4-v6 firewalls
Buster ships with the new Bash 5.0 by default. Bash 5.0 comes with new features and hence buster is cleaner and better.
New Nodejs 10.15.2
Linux Kernel 4.19.0-4
The new Buster ships with Kernel 4.19.x
Solus 4 Fortitude
Solus is an operating system that is designed for home computing. It is built from scratch and uses a forked version of the PiSi package manager, maintained as “eopkg” within Solus, and a custom in-house developed desktop environment called “Budgie”. Every tweak enables Solus to deliver a cohesive computing experience.
What is new in Solus 4 Fortitude?
Solus 4 comes with the following default applications:
- Firefox 65.0.1
- LibreOffice 188.8.131.52
- Rhythmbox 3.4.3 with the latest release of the Alternate Toolbar extension
- Thunderbird 60.5.2
Hardware and Kernel
This version of Solus comes with Linux kernel 4.20.16. This means that Solus enables you to provide support for AMD Picasso and Raven2 APUs, AMD Vega20 and broader Vega10 enablement, as well as improved support for Intel Coffee Lake and Ice Lake CPUs. Linux kernel 4.20 expands support for other hardware devices, which includes touchpad support for the Lenovo IdeaPad 130-15IKB and 330-15ARR.
Solus 4 comes with the brand new release of the Budgie 10.x series, Budgie 10.5, as well as complimenting this release by shipping Solus 4 out-of-the-box with the Plata (Noir) GTK Theme. Separate editions with GNOME and MATE desktop environments are also available.
Budgie 10.5 provides a massive upgrade to the IconTasklist applet
Solus 4 ships with ffmpeg 4.1.1, the latest of the 4.x series. This delivers improved VAAPI MPEG and VP8 decoding as well as support for AOM AV1 encoding, decoding, and parsing. There is enabled support in VLC for dav1d, an open-source AV1 decoder.
Elementary OS 5.1 Hera
As the name openly suggests, elementary OS is founded on the philosophy of simplicity. That should not be confused with a lack of elegance. Based on Ubuntu, elementary OS has made it easier for many users having Windows background to transition as smoothly as possible. It is simply a distribution you should be eyeing in case you do not need the technical aspects of Linux. elementary 5.1 was finally released and brings the following to your buffet.
Greeter & Onboarding
The newly redesigned login and lock screen greeter looks sharper, works better, and fixes many reported issues with the previous greeter including focus issues, HiDPI issues, and better localization.
New Onboarding app
This new app introduces key features to users and handles common first-run tasks like managing privacy settings. Moreover, when a major new feature lands in elementary OS, Onboarding can also be used to introduce it to existing users. Due to its maturity over the years, the elementary team decided to commit to a Flatpak future for their AppCenter ecosystem.
Flatpak is an open-source technology that enables developers to ship apps to different desktops in a way that is more secure and privacy-respecting for users.
There are some Apps out there that will not meet the strict requirements that elementary OS AppCenter has set. For this reason, they may be shipped in a different location that may be insecure. To mitigate this risk elementary OS team developed this utility called Sideload to make it extremely easy to sideload Flatpak apps. Sideload explains the implications of installing an app including potential download size and if it will add a remote that might contain other apps.
The headlining feature is Flatpak support: updates to sideloaded apps will appear in AppCenter alongside all other updates, and apps from any user-added Flatpak remotes will show up in AppCenter as uncurated apps.
Accessibility and System Settings
The team improved several areas in System Settings based on reported issues. They include improved Sound settings, improved Mouse & Touchpad settings, Redesigned VPN and Hotspot settings, New Desktop Appearance settings, Improved Displays settings, Improved Bluetooth settings with a pairing agent for PINs and passkeys, Refined Date & Time settings and much more.
Many Apps have been updated
Some of the updated applications include Calendar, Camera, Photos, Music, Files, Videos, Code and of course the terminal.
There is much more for you in elementary OS 5.1. Please check it out at Elementary Website.
Zorin OS 15.1 Ultimate
After getting all the feedback from its users, Zorin replied with a new release of Zorin OS. They have focused on making the desktop feel even more familiar and user-friendly to new users, especially those moving away from Windows 7 leading up to the end of its support. This new release promises the following good tidings to its community and users.
New LibreOffice version 6.3
This new LibreOffice comes with a multitude of improvements to make it even more compatible with Microsoft Office documents. In addition, documents now open and save up to 97% faster than before.’
Zorin Connect has been improved
Zorin Connect has been upgraded to make the experience between your computer and Android phone even more seamless.
Play your games faster with GameMode
Zorin OS 15.1 is now an even better platform for gaming thanks to the built-in GameMode, which makes games run faster than ever before. It allocates more CPU, GPU, and disk I/O resources to the game you’re playing, prioritizing its performance on demand.
Linux Kernel version 5.0
Zorin OS 15.1 is now powered by Linux Kernel version 5.0, which works with even more hardware and introduces performance enhancements and security improvements.
Have more details at Zorin Site
CentOS 8 Stream
New features of CentOS 8 from upstream Release Notes include:
Kernel and OS
CentOS 8 is based on Fedora 28 and upstream kernel 4.18.
Cockpit web console
Cockpit is now part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux default repositories. You will get your web console automatically installed in the GUI version of CentOS 8.
Your Desktop Environment
The GUI version of CentOS 8’s GNOME Shell has been rebased to version 3.28.
The GNOME session and the GNOME Display Manager use Wayland as their default display server. If you are a XORG person then do not panic, the X.Org server, which is the default display server in CentOS/RHEL 7, is available as well.
The networking part of CentOS 8 has been revamped with the following new changes:
- CentOS 8 is distributed with TCP networking stack version 4.16, which provides higher performances, better scalability, and more stability.
- The networking stack upgraded to upstream version 4.18
- Iptables has been replaced by the nftables framework as the default network packet filtering facility.
- The nftables framework is the designated successor to the iptablesip6tables, arptables, and ebtables tools. This provides a single framework for both the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols
- The firewalld daemon now uses nftables as its default backend.
- Support for IPVLAN virtual network drivers that enable the network connectivity for multiple containers.
- NetworkManager now supports single-root I/O virtualization(SR-IOV) virtual functions (VF). NetworkManager allows configuring some attributes of the VFs, such as the MAC address, VLAN, the spoof checking the setting and allowed bitrate
The YUM package manager is now based on the DNF technology and it provides support for modular content, increased performance, and a well-designed stable API for integration with tooling. Installing software is now ensured by the new version of the YUM tool, which is based on the DNF technology (YUM v4). CentOS 7 used YUM v3 and the following are enhancements made on YUM v4:
- Increased performance
- Support for modular content
- Well-designed stable API for integration with tooling
- YUM v4 is compatible with YUM v3 when using from the command line, editing or creating configuration files. Due to that, you can use the yum command and its particular options in the same way as on CentOS 7.
- Another thing worth mentioning is that CentOS 8 is distributed with RPM 4.14 which is different from the previous RPM 4.11 with more enhancements added.
Programming Languages in your new CentOS 8:
- Python 3.6 and limited support for Python 2.7 provided. No version of Python is installed by default.
- Dynamic programming languages: Node.js is new, PHP 7.2, Ruby 2.5, Perl 5.26, SWIG 3.0 are now available.
Database servers distributed with CentOS/RHEL 8
- MariaDB 10.3
- MySQL 8.0
- PostgreSQL 10
- PostgreSQL 9.6
- Redis 5
Apache HTTP Server 2.4 and introduction of nginx 1.14.
Squid has been updated to version 4.4, and a new Varnish Cache 6.0 proxy caching server is now included.
Thank you for reading through. As you navigate this even-numbered year of 2020, we wish you the best in your endeavors and wonderful adventure as you explore some of the Linux distributions we have managed to share. May it be a great experience.