COSMIC DE Almost Ready, Signal Usernames, Firefox 123, and more!

System76’s COSMIC DE almost ready!

COSMIC’s screenshot tool. An outline marks a window’s selection as the one to be screenshot.

Good news: COSMIC is getting closer and closer to an alpha version. There’s even discussion within the Fedora community around creating a new Fedora SIG based on this desktop, through Fedora Atomic Desktop images; even better, this project would probably contribute to upstream COSMIC as well.

While we wait for everything to be ready… what’s new? Well, the screenshot utility – pictured above – has been fully implemented. It supports taking screenshots of specific windows or certain screen areas. Floating Windows Stacks were also completed; this feature allows you to “pair tiled windows together across applications like tabs in a web browser”. Design is completed for “OSD”, those popups that appear when you e.g. change the volume, brightness, toggle airplane mode, and so on.

However, a fairly long list of features still being worked on: the Terminal and Text editor applications, the tiling applet to customize wm functionalities, input device settings, app and applet icons, the File application, workspaces, login screen and more. The list is even longer, but not everything has to be perfect for an alpha version to be published!

Signal will allow usernames instead of phone numbers

Sharing usernames instead of phone numbers is a functionality that has already been implemented in some competing platforms, such as Telegram; it’s a great privacy functionality, that allows us to keep our phone numbers private. Signal has been testing them since last fall, and they’re ready to be released to the wider public! You can now go ahead and create a username in your “Profile” section.

Firefox 123 released with better gamepad support

Firefox 123 screenshot showing the 'address bar' settings

Firefox 123 (what a great version number) has been released yesterday! What’s new?

First of all, all of the tooltips in foreign webpages can be translated too, instead of being displayed in the original language. You can now change the suggestions of address bar searching in the “Settings > Search” settings option. Firefox View, the new left-most pinned tab, now has a search bar to look through open tabs.

More significantly, Firefox 123 uses evdev to handle gamepads; apparently, this will allow new kinds of controllers to game in the browser. I’m certainly out of the loop, not knowing that people use browsers to play video games at all!

You can check out a more in-depth changelog here:

Kubuntu Announces Graphic Design Contest

Kubuntu Focus Ir14

Kubuntu, the main KDE Ubuntu distribution, is holding a graphic design contest. The winner will be able to bring home a Kubuntu Focus Ir14 laptop (pictured above) or a Focus NX MiniPC, both of which are “over $1,000 value”! This is a super interesting occasion for designers who would like to help out with an Open Source project and get something out of it too.

However, some details worry me. Firstly, the deadline is the 31st of March: it’s just over a month! Even worse, the contest requires the following: logo design, color palette, typography, brand guidelines, website design templates, social media kit, email templates, digital ad templates, presentation templates, video intro/outro, signage, and environmental graphics. That’s a lot! Will we manage to see many high-quality applications? I sure hope so!

Valve open-sourced Steam Audio

Not only Valve is actively funding the development of multiple Open Source projects (such as KDE!), but they’re now relicensing their own repositories as Apache, it seems! This is a brief extract from the official announcement:

This comes after receiving a lot of valuable feedback and contributions from the community to the plugins already available as open source (Unity, Unreal, and FMOD Studio), and we want to bring those same benefits to the core SDK. This will allow developers to tailor the SDK to their needs, and deliver improved experiences to everyone using the technology. We will also continue our ongoing work on Steam Audio, including the release of bug fixes and new features.

The entire codebase is now Apache 2.0, and this includes both the SDK and all the plugins they developed. You can read the full statement here:

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