Documentation Desktop Beat
- When installing the "Graphical Desktop" software selection, an MDNS client is included. This allows out of the box discovery of devices on the local network. No private information is published via MDNS by default. (See Features/AvahiDefaultOnDesktop)
- Switching display managers is no longer done by editing /etc/sysconfig/desktop. Instead you "systemctl enable --force xyzdm.service" to enable the display manager of your choice, in case you have multiple installed. (See Features/DisplayManagerRework)
Fedora 18 includes the newest GNOME release, version 3.6. You will notice these changes:
- More Accessible User Interface: Previous GNOME 3 releases add accessibility features, such as the screen reader and on-screen keyboard. GNOME 3.6 enables these features by default. To use accessibility features, simply choose the "Universal Access" icon from the GNOME Shell. GNOME 3.6 also adds brightness, contrast, and inversion capabilities to Magnifier.
- Better Integration with Distributed ("Cloud-Based") Document Systems: The GNOME Documents application for file management already integrates with "Google Docs." GNOME 3.6 adds support for "Microsoft SkyDrive," for users with a "Windows Live" account.
- Support for "ActiveSync" Accounts: You can use GNOME's "online accounts" feature to connect your desktop with your online accounts. GNOME already includes a connector for Google accounts, and GNOME 3.6 adds a connector for "ActiveSync" (or "Microsoft Exchange") accounts.
- Improved Text Shaping: GNOME 3.6 uses an improved text shaping engine. You will notice higher-quality text rendering and memory savings. The new text shaping engine allows further improvements in future GNOME versions.
- More Efficient Input Source Selection: GNOME 3.6 uses only the "IBus" input method framework. You can choose an input device (like a keyboard) and the key layout, and all GNOME applications will use these settings.
- GNOME-Specific Initial Setup: When you acquire a new computer or install a new operating system, GNOME 3.6 will help you with the following important tasks:
- Connect to a network
- Make a user account
- Set your time zone and location
- Integrate with online accounts
- Learn basic information about GNOME Shell
- Improved Notification System: GNOME 3.0 included a new way for applications to send notifications to users, called Message Tray. GNOME 3.6 enhances the Message Tray to help users remain focused and know whether notifications are urgent. For more information, refer to the GNOME documentation at .
- Easier Printer Management: GNOME 3.6 includes improvements to the "Printer" panel in GNOME Control Center. You can more easily find and configure local and network printers, choose drivers, and set default options.
- More Useful Lock Screen: When you "lock" your desktop or return from the "Sleep" state, the lock screen in GNOME 3.6 offers more information and new abilities:
- See the date and time
- Control music and media players, and adjust the volume level
- View whether you have new message and notifications
- Change basic network connection settings
- Choose how to unlock your desktop
- Integrated Enterprise Login Information: Users connected to large ("enterprise") networks can view and potentially modify user account settings in the GNOME 3.6 Control Center. This feature integrates the Fedora 18 realmd feature so you can view and potentially manage "Active Directory" deployments.
KDE Software Compilation
Fedora 18 features KDE 4.9, with many new features and improved stability and performance. The KDE Project's Quality team has taken the initiative to ensure that this release is the best one yet. The KDE release notes reveal a number of exiting changes:
Today’s KDE Platform release includes bugfixes, other quality improvements, networking, and preparation for Frameworks 5.
Highlights for Plasma Workspaces include substantial improvements to the Dolphin File Manager, Konsole X Terminal Emulator, Activities, and the KWin Window Manager.
- Dolphin File Manager: KDE's powerful file manager Dolphin now includes back and forward buttons and in-line file renaming is back. Dolphin can show metadata such as ratings, tags, image and file sizes, author, date, and more as well as grouping and sorting by metadata properties. The new Mercurial plugin handles this versioning system in the same convenient way git, SVN and CVS are supported, so users can do pulls, pushes and commits right from the file manager. The Dolphin User Interface has seen several smaller improvements, including a better Places panel, improved search support and synchronization with the terminal location.
- Konsole X Terminal Emulator: The workhorse Konsole now has the ability to search for a text selection using KDE Web Shortcuts. It offers the 'Change Directory To' context option when a folder is dropped on the Konsole window. Users have more control for organizing terminal windows by detaching tabs and dragging them to create a new window with just that tab. Existing tabs can be cloned into new ones with the same profile. Visibility of the menu and tab bars can be controlled when starting Konsole. For those handy with scripting, tab titles can be changed through an escape sequence.
- KWin Window manager: KDE's Window Manager KWin has seen a lot of work. Improvements include subtle changes like raising windows during window switching and help for Window Specific Settings, as well as more visible changes such as an improved KCM for box switching and better performance with Wobbly Windows. There are changes to make KWin deal better with Activities, including the addition of Activity-related window rules. There has been a general focus on improving KWin quality and performance.
- Activities: Activities are now integrated more thoroughly throughout the Workspaces. Files can be linked to Activities in Dolphin, Konqueror and Folder View. Folder View can also show only those files related to an Activity on the desktop or in a panel. An Activity KIO is new, and encryption for private activities is now possible.
Workspaces introduce MPRIS2 support, with KMix having the ability to handle streams and a Plasma data engine for handling this music player control protocol. These changes tie in with MPRIS2 support in Juk and Dragon, KDE's music and video player. There are many smaller changes in Workspaces, including several QML ports. The improved Plasma miniplayer includes a track properties dialog and better filtering. The Kickoff menu can now be used with only a keyboard. The Network Management plasmoid has seen layout and usability work. The Public Transport widget has also seen considerable changes.
- Kontact Suite: The world’s most complete PIM suite Kontact received many bugfixes and performance improvements.
- KDE Education: KDE-Edu introduces Pairs, a new memory game. Rocs, the graph theory application for students and teachers, gained a number of improvements. Algorithms can now be executed step-wise, the undo and cancel-construction system works better, and overlay graphs are now supported. Kstars has improved sorting by meridian transit time / observation time and better Digital Sky Survey image retrieval. Marble received speed optimizations and threading support, and its user interface has been enhanced. Marble routing extensions now include OSRM (Open Source Routing Machine), support for bicycle and pedestrian routing, and an offline data model to manage offline routing and offline search data. Marble can now show positions of aircraft in the FlightGear simulator.
- KDE Games: KDE Games have been upgraded. There has been a lot of polish to Kajongg, KDE's Mahjongg game, including tooltip playing hints, improved robot AI and chat if players are on the same server (kajongg.org now has one!). KGoldrunner has a number of new levels (a contribution by Gabriel Miltschitzky) and KPatience retains game history upon saving. KSudoku has seen small improvements such as better hints, as well as seven new two-dimensional puzzle shapes and three new 3-D shapes.
Fedora 18 sees the introduction of Xfce 4.10. This new release remains true to Xfce's goal of providing a fast, lightweight yet user-friendly desktop environment and was mainly focused on polishing the desktop and improving the user experience in various ways. Highlights of this release are:
- New application finder: a new application finder that has been completely rewritten and combines the functionality of the old xfce4-appfinder and xfrun4;
- Improved panel: the panel now has an alternative vertical display mode (a deskbar). What's more, panel plugins can be arranged in multiple rows, which is particularly useful in the deskbar mode;
- Improved functionality: a new MIME type editor that allows you to easily change applications used for opening different file types. Extended functionality for the settings editor and the mouse and touchpad settings dialog which now supports tablets in a much better way;
- Improved desktop handling: it is now possible to launch applications and open files on the desktop with a single click of the mouse. In addition, the 4.10 desktop can display thumbnails and automatically advance through the wallpaper list;
- Tiling windows: the window manager can be configured to tile windows when dragging them to the screen edges. The tab window (Alt+Tab) supports more flexible theming and cursor key navigation;
- Better choice of default applications: the Xfce group of packages and the Xfce spin now feature the lightdm display manager and Yum Extender package manager conforming with the desktop environment's goals.
An online tour of the upstream changes in Xfce 4.10 can be viewed here
Educational users and developers in the space alike can enjoy the Sugar Learning Environment "Sucrose" version 0.98 from Fedora 18.
The Sugar Experience
- Touching Sugar: The newest version of Sugar has excellent support for touchscreens, providing touch friendly user interfaces and taking advantage of improved touch support in X.
- Changing Sort: Users will notice that icons in the home view are now in alphabetical order.
Cooking with Sugar
Developers building activities for Sugar will discover an updated toolkit based on GTK3.
- Activity Authors guidelines: The outdated GTK+2 sugar-toolkit has been replaced with sugar-toolkit-gtk3, which is based on GTK+ 2 and Pygobject3.