Boxing Helena – Linux Mint Releases Version 8

Yesterday, the team behind Linux Mint pushed out the latest version of their Linux-based operating system. Linux Mint 8, codenamed “Helena,” is available for download as a live CD (the “Main” edition) or as a live DVD (the “Universal” edition, which includes support for quite a few different languages, but does not include pre-installed codecs for protected formats like commercial DVD movies) from the Linux Mint Web site. You can also view a list of the new items and features in Linux Mint 8.

Unfortunately, this is only the 32-bit Gnome version of the system, so those of you looking for the 64-bit version (like me) or looking for a different desktop manager (KDE, XFCE, etc.) will have to wait a while longer before those upgrades are available.

OpenSUSE 11.2 Released

Hot on the heels of the Ubuntu 9.10, the OpenSUSE team officially released version 11.2 of their desktop operating system yesterday. The new version of OpenSUSE includes KDE 4.3 and 3.1, with preparations for Gnome 3.0 early next year. In addition, OpenSUSE has announced that, from now on, upgrading the operating system in-place will be a recommended option for existing users (previously, as with most other Linux builds, users were encouraged to install a fresh copy rather than upgrading). In addition, it’s now possible to encrypt the entire hard disk and for users to begin using the ext4 file system. From the looks of things, OpenSUSE and Novell are making great strides forward with their operating system. I am curious how this desktop will stack up against the new Ubuntu, which has been getting mixed reviews.

How The Scroll Wheel Should Work in Windows

I spend about half of my time on the computer working in Linux and the other half of my time working in Windows. As such, I have picked up a few habits about the way I have my computer set up and the way I use my computer. One of the great features of Linux (also present on Macs, apparently) is the way the scroll wheel on the mouse works. I would love to see this functionality added to Windows.

Within Windows, if you have a window focused and you use the scroll wheel, that action is going to have a single action attached to it. It will almost always (except for a select few programs) scroll the window frame up and down. If you are working within Outlook, whichever frame of the window you are focused in will scroll up and down, no matter where the mouse pointer is located on the screen. That’s all the scroll wheel will do.

Seesmic Desktop Adds Support for Twitter Lists

Seesmic Desktop adds Twitter listsAmong the Twitter clients I occasionally use, Seesmic Desktop is the first to add support for Twitter lists. At this time, the lists feature is only available to those that are subscribed the Seesmic mailing list, but the are available and appear to be working. I suspect it won’t be long before we see the public release of this version of Seesmic.

Hopefully we’ll start seeing some of the other popular Twitter clients for desktops and mobile phones begin to release versions that support Twitter lists. On the other hand, I have to admit that I don’t yet understand all of the hype over Twitter lists.

WordPress Launches Plugin Compatibility Checker

Everytime blog software provider WordPress launches a new version, there’s always talk that people are afraid to upgrade because of compatibility issues with the plugins they use. Most worry that their WordPress installation will break after the upgrade.

WordPress security guru Mark Jaquith has posted on the WordPress blog about a new “plugin compatibility tester”. Mark notes, “As part of our continuing efforts to make WordPress core, plugin, and theme upgrades as painless as possible, Michael Adams developed and launched a beta of a new “Compatibility” feature in the plugin directory, powered by your votes. When viewing a plugin in the directory, select a WordPress version and a plugin version from the drop-downs. If there has been feedback about this WordPress / plugin version combination, we’ll show you what percentage of responses marked that combination as compatible vs how many marked it as incompatible.”

The information from the voting is also included in the WordPress API. Now the key is getting enough people to vote to make the responses accurate. Perhaps if they add the voting mechanism into the plugin page inside of the WordPress install, that might help get more people to vote.

WordPress 2.8.5 Upgrade Available

Curtiss noticed that WordPress has posted a new version of their downloadable blog software today. The update takes the latest public version of WordPress to 2.8.5.  WordPress employee Peter Westwood calls this a “hardening release” and is mostly related to security.

From the announcement, the headline changes in this release are:

  • A fix for the Trackback Denial-of-Service attack that is currently being seen.
  • Removal of areas within the code where php code in variables was evaluated.
  • Switched the file upload functionality to be whitelisted for all users including Admins.
  • Retiring of the two importers of Tag data from old plugins.

WordPress suggests that you update your WordPress installations to the 2.8.5 release. You can update manually by downloading the update and reinstalling all of the files or by clicking the upgrade button inside of the WordPress admin. Always make sure to backup your database before you upgrade your blog.