StarLab's new 2-in-1 tablet, Libreoffice 7.6, and more!

StarLab's new 2-in-1 tablet, Libreoffice 7.6, and more!

StarLabs announces 12.5" Linux Surface-Like device

Surface-like devices are quite unique in the Linux world. There are a few out there; a couple of examples are the very low-end PineTab, and the now-dead JingPad. It's a form factor that not everybody likes and would use daily, but - speaking as a 2-in-1 fan - I'm really happy to see this new Linux-native option.

This StarLite features a Intel Alder Lake N200 processor, a 2880x1920 & 300cd/m² touch display (great for content consumption!), and 16GB of memory. It has WiFi and Bluetooth (obviously) but also: Micro HDMI, 2x USB C, Micro SD, and a headphone jack. The keyboard is detachable and acts as a stand for the tablet (a more Surface-like stand would've been more practical, but we can't have everything).

You can buy the device right away and delivery is estimated in 8 to 9 weeks. Check out more here:

StarLite 12.5-inch
Its fanless design ensures your StarLite will never make more than a whisper - unless you want it to. The Mk V supports coreboot open source firmware which you can effortlessly configure to your preferences via our coreboot configurator.

LibreOffice releases version 7.6 with themes and zoom gestures

What are "document themes"? Well, under the "Format" menubar item you now have a "Theme..." button which will open the above dialog. By selecting a different theme, all main elements (title, subtitle, headings, etc.) will be re-colored based on the theme values. If you are unsure which element you're working with (you also have index heading, subtitles, list contents, senders, signatures, etc.) LibreOffice also added a "Spotlight" button that shows the ID of each element type directly in the document itself.

On top of that, we also have support for zoom gestures when using touchpads in the main view (a very welcome improvement!) and a new page number wizard to custom-insert a page number on the header/footer of each page. Of course, the LibreOffice suite includes many applications and the changelog is thus quite long; if you're interested in the more specific change for certain applications in the suite, you can see the full list here:

Announcement of LibreOffice 7.6 Community - The Document Foundation Blog
Berlin, August 21, 2023 – LibreOffice 7.6 Community, the new major release of the volunteer-supported free office suite for desktop productivity, and the last based on the historical release numbering scheme (first digit for release cycle, second digit for major release), is immediately available fr…

KDE Plasma changes one of its most controversial features

KDE Plasma is one of the few desktops which defaults to "single click to open file/folders". I should say "was", given that the default has just been changed to the more standard "single click to select file/folders, double click to open". This is quite a controversial change! many KDE developers and users have strongly advocated for one or the other option since years and years ago.

Eventually, the tipping point was simple: most Plasma-based distributions were changing KDE's own default to "double click to open". The words of KDE developers Nate are: the decision has already been taken for us [by those distributions].

However, this isn't the only big change we saw last week. A search field was also introduced to all settings windows of QtWidgets applications (such as Dolphin, Gwenview, etc). This feature will highlight the closest match of the search and automatically move to its page. Pretty cool! But of course, there's even more. You can check the full list here:

This week in KDE: Double-click by default
This was a week of huge changes and improvements, starting with our headliner! Yes it’s true, by default in Plasma 6, you’ll single-click to select files and folders, and double-click t…

The beta for GNOME 45 has been released

Even though the announcement with all of the new features of GNOME 45 will only come with the actual GNOME 45 release, I think it's interesting to know what it means for the GNOME project to release a beta version. Firstly, this event aligns with another, called The Freeze. This includes UI, feature and API freezes (meaning that no new feature, UI/API change can be added in GNOME 45). This is required (a) for developers to polish the experience before the release (b) for third party developers to test extensions and applications on the latest version and (c) to have enough time to prepare promotional material for the release.

Of course, beta releases are meant for GNOME developers and beta testers, not for the general public. Because of that, the installer image is really only meant to be installed in a virtual machine. Finally, there's a 45beta branch of the flatpak runtimes to test out the beta versions of Flathub applications. If you want to help out GNOME make a great release in a month or so from now, try it the beta out too:

GNOME 45.beta released
Hello, GNOME 45.beta is now available. It also marks the start of the UI, feature and API freezes (collectively known as The Freeze). If you’d like to target the GNOME 45 platform, this is the best time to start testing your apps or shell extensions. Download the GNOME 45.beta sources. Review th…

A couple of cool Linux anniversaries

Debian just turned 30 years old! Back then, it was announced via an email of Ian Murdock to the comp.os.linux.development newsgroup. He built the release from scratch, wrote guidelines for it, "with great care of consideration for users without Internet connection". This is a pretty cool achievement to reach, and you can check out the full statement by the Debian team here:

Debian Celebrates 30 years!
Over 30 years ago the late Ian Murdock wrote to the comp.os.linux.development newsgroup about the completion of a brand-new Linux release which he named “The Debian Linux Release”. He built the release by hand, from scratch, so to speak. Ian…

The second one: 5 years ago, Valve released Proton. This changed the Linux gaming scene, and it allowed - later on - Valve to also make the Steam Deck, one of (if not the) most popular Linux devices out there. The GamingOnLinux website does a great job of explaining what has happened in these five years:

5 years ago Valve released Proton forever changing Linux gaming
Has it really been that long? Apparently so. Valve originally announced their rebranding of Steam Play with Proton back on August 21st, 2018. Seems like a good time for a quick reflection being halfway to a decade old now with the tech that gave rise to the Steam Deck.

Mozilla launches a petition to stop a France browser law

The French law would require web browsers to block websites in the browsers themselves, instead of at e.g. the ISP level. Mozilla says this sets a dangerous precedent, providing a playbook for other governments to also turn browsers like Firefox into censorship tools (direct quote).

You can learn more and sign the petition here:

Sign our petition to stop France from forcing browsers like Mozilla’s Firefox to censor websites
The French government is considering a law that would require web browsers – like Mozilla’s Firefox – to block websites chosen by the government.