The road to Nitrux 1.1: Release Day!, version 1.1.0 is available.

Uri Adonay Herrera
Oct 27, 2018 · 11 min read
Image for post
Image for post

Nitrux is a Linux distribution suitable for laptops and desktop computers with a focus on portable, redistributable application formats like AppImages, convergent software, and atomic updates.

Today we’re proud to release Nitrux 1.1.0 officially.

Nitrux 1.1.0 is the first version of our 1.1 series of releases. This new series introduces fundamental changes in the way our Linux distribution works.

New Additions to Nitrux

With Nitrux 1.1.0 we’re introducing two new components: znx and MauiKit. znx is our Operating Systems manager tool, and MauiKit is our UI Framework that uses Qt Quick Controls 2.

znx

Using znx, you can:

  • Deploy multiple operating systems on the same device, without the need of partitioning it.
  • Perform atomic (safe) updates on the deployed operating systems.
  • Perform rollbacks on the images after an update.
Image for post
Image for post
znx running in Konsole

Any system should be easy to use for the user (or, at least, that way it should be), and this is the primary goal of znx.

Image for post
Image for post
znx-GUI is a graphical interface for znx made with KDialog

With znx, we’re doing things a bit differently from our competitors. First, znx is open source because we firmly believe in the world-changing power of freely-licensed code and open source software. Second, znx is a considerable leap in the way that both developers deliver their operating systems and users use them.

MauiKit

Maui stands for Multi-purpose Application User Interface. Maui is a project that aims for convergence, it makes use of the KDE community technologies and brings to the mix our HIG (Human Interface Guidelines), a set of templated controls and widgets and a set of apps that work across different platforms and devices.

All the Maui Apps that we include in Nitrux 1.1.0 are available for Linux desktop, Android and Plasma Mobile.

VVave

VVave manages your music collection by retrieving semantic information from the web.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Index

Index is a file manager that works on Linux and Android. Index Incorporates features such as a terminal and compact sidebar.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Buho

Buho is a note-taking app. Buho will let you take quick notes, save links, add books and pages for taking classes notes.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

Pix

Pix is an image gallery and image viewer. Made using Kirigami it’s a cross-platform application for Linux and Android.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

The Maui applications are included as a preview of the work that it’s being done with MauiKit. For the moment we have not replaced the default KDE counterparts. Both KDE apps and Maui apps are available from the menu.


Image for post
Image for post

Major Changes in Nitrux

We recommend reading all of our previous articles to get up to speed with how Nitrux works from this point forward.

Hardware Requirements

The hardware requirements remain unchanged from our previous versions except for the support of Legacy BIOS motherboards and storage devices using an MBR partition table which has been dropped.

Initializing a storage device with znx means that it will be using a GUID Partition Table (GPT) with the storage device, so only UEFI/EFI systems are compatible with znx, please refer to your motherboard manual to check for EFI compatibility.

Neither MBR or Legacy BIOS systems are supported with znx.

Writing ISO to a USB

T̵o̵ ̵f̵l̵a̵s̵h̵ ̵t̵h̵e̵ ̵I̵S̵O̵ ̵f̵i̵l̵e̵ ̵t̵o̵ ̵a̵ ̵U̵S̵B̵ ̵d̵r̵i̵v̵e̵,̵ ̵w̵e̵ ̵o̵n̵l̵y̵ ̵r̵e̵c̵o̵m̵m̵e̵n̵d̵ ̵u̵s̵i̵n̵g̵ ̵I̵m̵a̵g̵e̵U̵S̵B̵ ̵f̵o̵r̵ ̵W̵i̵n̵d̵o̵w̵s̵ ̵a̵n̵d̵ ̵u̵s̵i̵n̵g̵ ̵t̵h̵e̵ ̵c̵o̵m̵m̵a̵n̵d̵ ̵d̵d̵ ̵i̵n̵ ̵L̵i̵n̵u̵x̵ ̵a̵n̵d̵ ̵B̵S̵D̵ ̵a̵n̵d̵ ̵s̵i̵m̵i̵l̵a̵r̵ ̵U̵n̵i̵c̵e̵s̵.̵ ̵F̵o̵r̵ ̵M̵a̵c̵ ̵O̵S̵ ̵u̵s̵e̵r̵s̵ ̵w̵e̵ ̵r̵e̵c̵o̵m̵m̵e̵n̵d̵ ̵t̵h̵i̵s̵ ̵g̵u̵i̵d̵e̵.̵

UPDATE: We have received many messages asking us why they couldn’t boot the ISO even when the hardware supports UEFI. We have published a new article explaining why we only support EFI and UEFI.

TL:DR, Our ISO is a standard ISO-9660 bootable image. However, our ISO dramatically differs from other conventional Linux ISO files in that ours is not a hybrid-ISO image and this means that the ONLY way to use Nitrux is deploying the ISO image using znx.

You can deploy the ISO in an existing Linux environment by downloading the AppImage and initializing the device.

Flashing the ISO file raw to a storage device will result in a standard Live system, for example using ImageUSB, Etcher or dd. However, this will ONLY work on pure-UEFI platforms, for example, Intel FCLGA1151 and AMD AM4.

Writing the ISO raw to a USB device and booting in hardware that is older than the mentioned platforms will not boot the ISO at all even if the hardware does support UEFI, for example in AMD AM3+ motherboards.

We DO NOT recommend that you flash the ISO raw to a storage device AT ALL, please use znx.

Deployment

znx is the only method to use our ISO file since there’s no installation involved.

Once Nitrux is deployed the distribution will be an immutable system, which means that only changes to the user home directory will be persistent across reboots.

Booting in VirtualBox

To boot the ISO file in VirtualBox first enable EFI in the configuration of your virtual machine.

Image for post
Image for post

Updating and Upgrading Nitrux

With the introduction of znx, we have made the Debian package manager dpkg and its accompanying collection of tools found in APT unnecessary for managing the operating system.

znx now is responsible for updating and upgrading Nitrux when a new release is available this can be performed using Konsole with sudo znx update or by using znx-GUI.

znx will automatically apply the delta update to the deployed ISO file.

User Creation

The creation of new user accounts is no longer part of the “installation” process (since there’s no installer). New users can be added from System Settings using the User Manager module.

Image for post
Image for post
User Manager KDE Control Module in System Settings

Adding New Software to Nitrux

Since we’re no longer building everything around the use of a package manager (in our case dpkg) the primary method of obtaining new software is through AppImages.

Adding new AppImages can be done in one of the two following ways. First, by using the NX Software Center.

Image for post
Image for post
AppImages can be downloaded from the Software Center

Or you can also download new AppImages from these sources

https://appimage.github.io/apps/ — AppImage Developers

https://www.appimagehub.com/ — openDesktop.org

After downloading the AppImage file, you can double-click it, and this window will appear

Image for post
Image for post
AppImage Desktop integration Utility

Here you can choose to Deploy the file or Run it. Deploying the AppImage file will move the AppImage to ~/Applications or /opt/Applications (on nonimmutable systems) where it will add a launcher to the application menu. Clicking Run will execute the AppImage file in the current directory but won’t integrate it with the desktop environment.

Moving the AppImage files to these directories has the added benefit of using firejail which will sandbox the AppImage files.

Tip: In the off chance that the application that you’re looking for is not in available from these sources a quick search on your preferred web engine will yield results. If you are still unable to find an AppImage please contact the developer of the software and ask for an AppImage file or support those who create AppImages in their spare time.

Updating AppImages

AppImage files can be updated using the Software Center, if you download the file using it or if you downloaded the AppImage file from an external source you can use AppImageUpdate.

Third-party Repositories (PPA)

Since we are not using dpkg anymore as a central part of our distribution, adding Debian packages from a PPA is no longer an option. We never supported using PPAs in the past, but it was possible to add them due to the way that our previous releases were still supported by the use of dpkg to manage the operating system.


But wait, there’s more

Nomad Welcome Wizard

We’ve added a welcome wizard utility to Nitrux that will help new users to get to know their latest desktop operating system. Nomad Welcome Wizard is a utility that keeps it simple. It doesn’t aim to act as an application installer, wallpaper downloader or setup service. It shows the user an introduction to Nitrux and links to the Software Center, our support channels and System Settings.

Image for post
Image for post
Nomad Welcome Wizard

Nomad Simplemenu

While not new, Nomad Simplemenu has a pretty cool feature that’s been mostly under the radar, app folders.

Nomad Simplemenu does not categorize applications using the traditional structure found on most menus; instead, it allows the user to create their categories.

Image for post
Image for post
Nitrux 1.1.0 Ships with app folders by default
Image for post
Image for post
Left pane; clicking the + button will add a new folder
Image for post
Image for post
Right pane; click the + button will let the user pick from the available applications to add to a folder
Image for post
Image for post
To change the name of a folder click in the text field and click Apply

Kvantum

We disabled transparency from our themes by default since version 1.0.2 (released on the 28th of July 2017) over performance concerns in virtual machines (Nitrux uses OpenGL hardware accel. by default). However, both themes Nomad and Nomad Dark support translucency.

To enable it open Kvantum Manager and click on Compositing & General Look, then check the checkbox Translucent windows and Blurring for translucent windows.

Image for post
Image for post
Kvantum Manager

And make sure to select the Blur effect in System Settings too.

Image for post
Image for post
Blur desktop effect in System Settings

Updates from 1.0.16 and Next Release

Nitrux 1.1.0 will launch with

  • Plasma 5 version 5.14.2.
  • KDE Frameworks version 5.52.0.
  • Qt version 5.11.2.
  • Linux Kernel version 4.19.0.
  • Built upon Ubuntu 18.04.1 LTS.
Image for post
Image for post

Our next release Nitrux 1.1.1 is scheduled for the 30th of November 2018. We make releases every last Friday of a month.

NX Software Center

The included version of the Software Center is using Plasma UI components and will be eventually phased out in favor of the new version that uses MauiKit. We do not include this new version by default, but we are making it available as a preview.

Click the link here to download it.

Image for post
Image for post
NX Software Center using MauiKit
Image for post
Image for post

Download Nitrux

You’ve made it all the way here! Nitrux 1.1.0 is available right now to download at nxos.org. For installation instructions, recommended system specifications, and more, see our Installation Guide.

Thank You

Last but absolutely not least, we’d like to thank every single person who has supported Nitrux in one way or another.

Every single contribution helps make all of this possible, and we wouldn’t be here without you.

Nitrux

We’re a thriving company making dreams come true.

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store