Feren OS
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Feren OS

Introducing the Feren OS April 2020 Snapshot

Well then, now that months have passed since the release of Feren OS January 2020 Snapshot, I think it’s time to release an all-new Feren OS snapshot, as goes with tradition. However, this isn’t any normal snapshot — this is potentially the final 18.04-based Feren OS Snapshot — so I’ve decided to finish the primarily 18.04-based Feren OS era with a bang. Today, I’m proud to announce the release of the Feren OS April 2020 Snapshot.

LibreOffice issues in January 2020 Snapshot

Before this announcement begins, let me get the elephant in the room addressed — LibreOffice package updates after installing January 2020 Snapshot. Due to ppa:libreoffice/ppa messing up packages, an error will occur when doing the first batch of Feren OS updates after installing Jan 2020 Snapshot, or its updated counterpart.

For those wondering, it’s easily fixed by just doing sudo apt-get -f install -y in Terminal / Konsole after the error occurs. Nevertheless, an update was released shortly afterwards which means that from here on out the repository maintainer(s) of Feren OS now control the LibreOffice package updates, in an effort to stop this from affecting Feren OS users ever again, and therefore this snapshot no longer includes that PPA, and also comes pre-fixed.

With that out of the way, onto the update instructions and changes.

Updating from Feren OS January 2020 Snapshot

As always, updating to this snapshot is as simple as going into Update Manager, updating everything, running sudo apt-get -f install -y in Terminal or Konsole if then necessary, hitting ‘Refresh’ in Update Manager because the Feren OS repositories got renamed in this snapshot, and then finally updating the rest of the packages pending updates in Update Manager.

Once you’ve done all that, you should now be on the Feren OS April 2020 Snapshot.

Changes

New Wallpapers

As always, new wallpapers have been introduced into Feren OS to replace the existing January 2020 Snapshot wallpaper set. Some removals were also made, and most importantly the default wallpaper has been entirely changed in this snapshot, now lacking the older wallpaper styles and the Feren OS logo, and only consisting now of the default wallpaper and a ‘Dark’ edit of that wallpaper.

Default wallpaper change aside, new wallpapers have also been sourced from Unsplash, and one or two wallpapers were removed from the wallpaper set, including an alternative Feren OS wallpaper and a Pixabay wallpaper.

OEM Config’s New Main Use

However, the biggest change in this snapshot, by far, is a revamp of OEM Config, using a fork of Ubuntu’s Ubiquity-DM’s code to provide a much more streamlined OEM Config environment (the area containing Calamares when ‘setting up’ Feren OS) that no longer requires a restart to finish.

But, this revamp is not just for the purpose of improving the experience for users if anyone provides a user with a machine running Feren OS. The reason this change is such a big change is that it means that I can finally make it become the way that all installations of Feren OS are handled from now on.

In other words, when installing Feren OS April 2020 Snapshot (and newer), unless you’re installing the 32-Bit version of Feren OS Classic, you’ll now be taken into OEM Config to finish off the installation procedure on your first boot into Feren OS, before then being taken to the login screen or your desktop. This also, inadvertently, now allows Feren OS to get some, originally first-boot, tasks done during OEM Config instead of them having to be handled during the first boot of Feren OS.

OEM Config in action

Plasma 5.18

Another change in this Snapshot is the Feren OS debut of Plasma 5.18.X, bringing with it loads of exciting new features and improvements over Plasma 5.17.5, including the following changes:

  • New Desktop Layout System Settings area
  • Can now change GTK Applications Style on the fly itself
  • Proper integration of windows using GTK3 headerbars
  • New Emoji Picker application

For the full list of changes, go here: https://medium.com/feren-os/plasma-5-18-is-now-available-on-feren-os-efa167b8f333

(Feren OS Classic) Light Theme

For those still on Feren OS Classic, there is now a Light Theme option in Themes. This theme is just the default Cinnamon theme with a white panel, but its inclusion is only fair since Feren OS itself has a Light Theme option so why not Classic. Additionally, both Feren OS’s and Feren OS Classic’s default and light themes now sport a slightly more opaque panel.

New Classic Light Mode

New GRUB Theme

Another new change in this snapshot is the introduction of an official Feren OS GRUB Theme. Based on the GRUB Theme seen on the language selection screen of UEFI-booted Feren OS Live Sessions, this GRUB theme gives the essential controls on the bottom of the screen, and provides a simple list of options on the main part of the screen to boot into.

However, there is also now a new package, grub-modifications-feren, which makes extra tweaks to GRUB to allow it to correctly identify Feren OS, and Feren OS Classic, now by default, and even supply ‘nomodeset’ boot options by default in Advanced Options.

GRUB in Feren OS April 2020 Snapshot

Other Tweaks

Finally, other miscellaneous tweaks were also made in this snapshot:

  • System Settings — revamped layout a bit and split ‘Other’ into multiple ‘Advanced Settings’ areas for each section of System Settings
  • System Settings — items in System Settings that only affected Konqueror now disappear from System Settings unless Konqueror is installed
  • Web Browser Manager — text clipping on higher DPIs and browser name label alignment is now fixed
  • Pre-installed GDEBI as it was missing in January 2020 Snapshot
  • plasma-theme-feren — re-done panel and widget backgrounds using the latest Breeze Plasma Theme version (at the time)
  • Calamares Global Settings for Feren OS — Increased timeouts to unrealistic value for the step of installation that had the most reports of timing out for users
  • Theme Colouriser’s Plasma Module — Theme Colourisations are now saved in Global Theme
  • Desktop Shortcuts in Feren OS — Added ‘Desktop Layout’ shortcut
  • Feren OS Plasma Configurations — Added default value for current Desktop Layout
  • Welcome Screen — Updated Getting Started -> Customisation for Plasma 5.18 changes, and replaced the no longer working Reset Panel code (in Feren OS) that was designed for a way earlier build of ‘Feren OS KDE Experimental’ (Feren OS) with code that works in Feren OS
  • Unattended Upgrades Configuration — Removed ppa:libreoffice/ppa automatic updating
  • Feren OS PPAs Management — ppa:libreoffice/ppa is no longer added by default
  • Inspire Icon Theme — Changed glyphs for the standard symbolic close, minimise and maximise icon set icons to match the titlebar glyphs used in Feren OS
  • Feren OS Plasma Colour Schemes — Fixed the View Colour in Feren OS Default and Feren OS Default with Coloured Titlebars
  • Feren OS Cinnamon Themes — feren macStyle Cinnamon theme was removed
  • Feren OS Classic Default Themes — Added Feren OS Light and Feren Tablet Mode Light
  • Feren OS General Configurations — HOME/snap is now hidden by default on new users
  • Calamares Slideshow & Feren OS Theme — Completely new slideshow look and new sidebar look
  • Feren OS User Pictures — Fixed the paths used to check for installation process overrides
  • Feren OS Cinnamon -> Plasma — Fixed the confirmation dialog’s line usage, and added plasma-browser-integration to the list of packages installed during the transition process
  • Feren OS Repositories Management — feren-repositories has been renamed to feren-repositories-bionic and feren-repositories-neon to feren-repositories-neon-bionic to allow for split repositories for each Ubuntu base of Feren OS
  • Calamares Configuration — Unless there isn’t enough space on / for this to happen at that current point of installation, a swapfile equal to the size of RAM on that current machine is now created during installation

An update on Feren OS Classic’s future

As many might know, Feren OS Classic’s future has been a rather odd subject as of recently since the release of Feren OS December 2019 Snapshot. Recently, I’ve also decided to do a big poll on @Feren_OS on Twitter to ask all of you the important question — should Feren OS Classic be developed on an Ubuntu 20.04 base or not?

Suffice to say, everyone who participated in those polls said a very strong no in response both of those polls, meaning a Round 3 of 3 wasn’t necessary of the polls, and more importantly meaning that Feren OS Classic will no longer be available in Ubuntu 20.04 based Feren OS.

Where does that leave existing Feren OS Classic users?

Well, it depends on what architecture you are using of Feren OS Classic:

64-Bit

Feren OS Classic users on 64-Bit will be able to stay on Feren OS Classic, on an Ubuntu 18.04 base, for as long as they want until Ubuntu 18.04 reaches End of Mainstream Support in 2023, when support for Feren OS Classic will come to an end. Once 18.04 loses mainstream support, you’ll no longer receive Feren OS updates, and you will also no longer receive critical security and other updates from Ubuntu too by default.

If you choose to take the Major Update, once it’s made available for Feren OS users on Ubuntu 18.04, you’ll be given three options: Do the Major Update and be transitioned automatically to Feren OS, convert the installation into Linux Mint 20.0, or don’t do the major update yet.

Switching to Feren OS during the Major Update will do the Major Update as normal, however during the process it’ll also automatically transition to Feren OS from Feren OS Classic. Meanwhile, switching to Mint will restore all the Linux Mint packages, repositories, and configurations to your Feren OS install, followed by removing the Feren OS packages, theming and so on, after locally installing all the 3rd-party Extensions and Applets that are installed system-wide in Feren OS Classic to keep your panel configuration intact after the switch, followed by initiating mintupgrade to take you to Linux Mint 20.0.

You WILL NOT be able to reinstall Feren OS Classic specific packages via the default Feren OS repositories once you’ve done the Major Update.

32-Bit

Unfortunately, if you’re using Feren OS 32-Bit you won’t be offered the Major Update to Ubuntu-20.04-based Feren OS because Ubuntu 20.04 no longer supports 32-Bit hardware. However, you will be given backports of most, if not all, of the changes made to Feren OS in 20.04 via updates to the 18.04-based Feren OS repositories. This will last until the end of Ubuntu 18.04 mainstream support in 2023 when Feren OS Classic will no longer be supported.

Anyway, now that’s over and done with, I’ll be just updating a bunch of pages, the User Guide, and more in response to the release of this Snapshot.

Minor note: OEM Config was planned to have the ‘Finish’ page be skipped automatically, however KDE neon User Edition didn’t provide the latest Calamares version, which now supports doing that properly, in time, so the Finish page is present in this Snapshot’s OEM Config for now.

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