Tuesday, November 18, 2008
2008 was without doubt a very exciting year. Open Source keeps stirring the (until recent years) still waters of IT industry, which is the best things for all Computer users. Competition has risen to profound levels, which gave all commercials programs a run for their money. Any program that stands still faces the danger of being overtaken by an Open Source competitor (See what happened with IE & Firefox).
So, let's see which major applications made major releases this year:
You have read dozen reviews about Firefox 3 & you probably know about the Guiness world record. Much faster, much lighter, more secure than the previous version & with more extensions than all other browsers combined. What else can we ask for?? Download here
OpenOffice 3 brings many improvements, such as import of MS-Office 2007 documents & Pdf, native version for MAC and better extension management. I don't believe that extensions in an Office application are as important as in a browser, but it is a very welcome improvement nontheless. Download here
KDE 4 received a profound amount of bashing when it came out because a lot of bugs existed and it did not offer a gazillion customizations like KDE 3.5. Does it sound a little like Vista?? Yet, only 6 months after the initial release, many bugs were squashed, customization options are beginning to return and programs like Amarok & Koffice are perparing to be ported. And after another 6 months, the benefits of KDE 4 will be clear: Version 4 is faster than ver.3, it is multi-platform (can be ported to BSD, Solaris, cell phones & Windows) and more importantly it has a very clean codebase with clear seperation of back-ends & front-ends. This may sound irrelavant to end users, but makes the work of developers very easy, which will allow for much creativity in the near future.
PackageKit is a very promising approach to the issue that every new Linux user faces; how do i install a program? What the f&*k is a tar.gz file and why does it not install when i double-click it?? With Packagekit all distributions can have a unified GUI for program installation, while keeping the back-end of their choice (dpkg, yum, apt, zypper, whatever...) This way all Linux users will see the same GUI for package management and a newbie will be able to help other newbies on this subject! Diversity & choice will finally come at no cost. Learn more here
It will be used in Fedora 10 and as stated in Ubuntu Brainstorm, there is an effort to integrate it in Ubuntu 9.04.
The new version 4.6 (currently in rc1) of the package management of RPM-based distros is featuring cleaned up codebase, bugfixes and several new features such as support for large packages. Full list here
And ofcourse we should mention the succesful new releases of popular Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva and many others that achieved better hardware compatibility, more user-friendliness, more features. In one word, improved & with no setbacks.