November 27th, 2012
· Salix Xfce 14.0 is ready! With Xfce 4.10 being the centerpiece of this release, iso images for i686 and x86_64 architectures are available for immediate download.
· Apart from Xfce 4.10, the software that comes installed includes Linux kernel 3.2.29, Midori 0.4.7 is the default web brower, Claws-Mail 3.8.1 is the application to use for accessing your e-mail accounts, LibreOffice 3.6.3 for all your office needs, Gimp 2.8.2 for everything that has to do with image editing and manipulation, Viewnior 1.3 is the default image viewer, Parole 0.3.0.3 is the default movie player, Exaile 3.3.0 is the application to use for managing your music collection and more. Additionally, the Salix repositories already hold a great number of software packages that can be additionally installed using the Gslapt package package, or slapt-get from the command line, in a Salix or even a Slackware 14.0 installation. Yet even more software choices are available in the form of SlackBuild scripts and users can have automated access to these SlackBuilds using either slapt-src from the command line or our own Sourcery graphical management tool.
· The number of changes compared to the previous 13.37 Xfce-based release are numerous. Xfce itself has been given a bump from version 4.6 to version 4.10, bringing along many great new features and bug fixes. In packaging terms, the most important change is that the huge single Xfce package has been split in several small packages, which will make it easier to furthter customize an Xfce installation and install separate Xfce applications in non-Xfce environments.
· One of the most obvious changes is that the default browser is now Midori, a webkit-based browser that is very light on resources and very fast, while being feature-rich and as standards compliant as any webkit-based browser is. Midori also happens to be the browser that is suggested as default by the Xfce project, so it fits very nicely in our Xfce edition. Midori might not have the number of extensions that Mozilla Firefox has, but the functionality that it provides out of the box is certainly superior; it is already translated in many languages without the need of separate language packs and it comes with lot of bundled plugins that can be enabled by the user at any time. There are plugins for cookie managemenet, ad blocking, even for keyboard shortcuts that make it function in a similar fashion to the popular Vimperator Firefox plugin and more. Other than the webkit engine having been much improved during the latest releases, the most important reason behind dropping Firefox for Midori, is that the development model used for Firefox continually introduces incompatibility issues and constant changes to the way settings are supposed to be stored are being applied with every new version. In any case, Mozilla Firefox is still available through the package management for anyone still wanting to use it.
· Other important changes to the default selection of applications were dictated by the fact that we had some GNOME applications in the default installation and now these applications require GTK+3. As Xfce still is a GTK+2 environment (and hopefully, with the mess that GTK+3 is, will continue to be in the future), we have decided to stay only with GTK+2 applications for the default installation and GNOME applications have been replaced by their MATE and Xfce counterparts. So, file-roller has been replaced by mate-file-archiver (engrampa) and evince by mate-document-viewer (atril), while Brasero has been replaced by Xfburn. GTK+3 itself plus some GTK+3 applications, like Brasero, are available as software downloads from our packages repository.
· Another change is that the 32-bit iso image only supports CPUs following the i686 architecture or newer, which also include support for PAE. The decision was made due to size constraints. It was decided that the benefits of keeping the iso image inside the CD size limits while also keeping the release feature complete are more than supporting those very old CPUs. However, other future editions of Salix 14.0, that are smaller in size, such as the LXDE edition, will keep supporting even those very old CPUs, by also providing the Slackware non-smp non-PAE i486 kernel.
· A full installation of Salix now includes support for 3G mobile internet connectivity. Sakis3g, a versatile script that makes connecting to the internet with mobile broadband as easy as possible has been included for that purpose. Wicd is as always the graphical configuration tool for local wireless and wired network connections.
· OpenJRE 7 is included in full mode installation and OpenJDK 7 is available through the repositories for people that want to develop Java software. The icedtea-web browser plugin has also been included, so Java applets can work inside the browser without a problem.
· With this release, the number of programming languages that are available in the repositories has grown considerably and we're making it a point to have Salix as a stable development environment for programmers. The C and C++ compilers provided by the GCC project are already installed by default, along with Python 2.7.3 and Perl 5.16.1. But many more options are available as software downloads from the repositories, including Ruby 1.9.3, Python 3.3.0 (which can be installed alongside Python 2.7.3), Go 1.0.3, the D programming language, Haskell, Vala, Fortran, Objective C, Ada...
· Our mirror of the slackbuilds.org repository now includes limited dependency support. It uses only the data in each SlackBuild's .info file and these are written with the assumption of a full Slackware installation, so some dependencies may be missing in some cases. Software that is already present in either the Salix binary repositories, or the Salix SLKBUILD repository, will not be visible through our slackbuilds.org mirror to avoid confusion with same packages being available in both gslapt/slapt-get and sourcery/slapt-src (although the respective scripts are there for anyone that wants to download them manually).
· The installer, as always, provides the option of installing Salix in Full, Basic and Core modes. The default and recommended Full mode installs all available software in the iso, which includes one application per task and should cover most users' needs. The Basic mode installs only Xfce, along with the Gslapt package manager, the Salix system tools and the Midori web browser. It is intended for advanced users that would like to customize their own Xfce installation to their own liking. The Core mode, is intended only for expert users and installs only a command-line environment, that is however feature complete and should provide a nice base for people that want to install Salix on their servers or install a graphical environment of their own choice on top of it.
· The default filesystem is now XFS, but as always, users doing a manual install, instead of selecting the autoinstall option, can choose between Btrfs, ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, JFS and XFS filesystems.