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LXLE 14.04.2 & 12.04.5 Release Notes with Screenshots

The next incremental update of LXLE has been released, ticking it up to 14.04.2 along with the last 32bit version of LXLE ever, which is based on 12.04.5. The 32bit closely mirrors the changes to the latest 64bit edition of the OS.

As announced in our beta release LXLE now sports a highly customized version of the SeaMonkey Internet Suite. A fairly lengthy article was written on why this decision was made and that it wasn't something taken lightly. To add to that the other underlying reason was we wanted the distribution to showcase an excellent community driven browser to help spur support and perhaps encourage developers to join the project and lend a hand to the overworked small team of Mozilla volunteers still moving forward with Netscape's original suite idea. We understand it will be more challenging to provide support to our users and keep up on our modifications to the browser but we think overall it's very worth it, both for users and the continued development of the project itself. The extended effort just feels like the right move. 

Before continuing I'd like to address why LXLE uses the software it does like uTox instead of Skype, Marble instead of Google Earth etc. We pick open-source solutions first and foremost each time, every time. We also try to stay away from Google products or services as much as possible, we feel it's a bit like throwing our users to the wolves when pushing Google stuff. Also, just like with Microsoft, putting all your eggs in one basket is not a good idea. In computers it leads to vendor lock in, whether it's open-source or not. A common trait as of late is hook them with open-source then end the open-source product/service and replace it with a proprietary solution. The old embrace, extend, extinguish tactic. Granted if no open-source solution is available one has to submit to utilizing proprietary software but for us only as a last possible solution.

As far as this new release is concerned without going into a bunch of boring stuff like this thing went from 1.0.1 to 1.0.2 reporting, it's a bit easier to stipulate that all packages have been updated to their latest stable version through the repositories and PPAs enabled within the system. What is a little more informative, at least from a user's perspective, is what has been added, replaced or removed, and why.

Both the 32bit and 64bit saw the following changes in this release.

Firefox, Claws Mail, Filezilla, Osmo, Xchat have been replaced by the standard components of SeaMonkey with the addition of Lightning and FireFTP. HTMLVideoElement, H.264, WebM VP8, HTML5 video codecs are fully supported as well.

Vokoscreen was dropped in favor of RecordMyDesktop, this was due to many users experiencing problems with Vokoscreen when recording.

Steam was dropped and the game Zaz replaced it, not because they are the same but because Steam doesn't make much sense on a system designed for aging computers unless of course the user is looking for a lightweight system for their new rig to get the best frame-rate performance from their games. If that is the case then surely the user will also know how and will want to install steam for their gaming. Zaz is just fun.

Universal access applications have also been removed this is due to few users utilizing the included programs, xzoom was too confusing, the Florence virtual keyboard was not useful to the average user and Gspeaker has essentially been replaced by a couple of bookmarklets in SeaMonkey.

Update manager has been removed entirely, this is due to users reporting occasional strange update behavior, unnecessary background daemons running and it encourages users to become more familiar with Synaptic Package Manager. As always with LXLE security updates are downloaded and installed automatically in the background by default. As for general updates, apticron along with a simple user interface to enter your email has been added, this will result in an email being sent to you daily about what updates are available for your system. An updates reminder email should ensure that you never miss or forget to update your system when they are ready.

14.04.2 64bit only additions/feature updates.
UEFI support enabled by default thru the installer.

12.04.5 32bit only additions/feature updates.
Ibus keyboard layout issues have been resolved. PCManFM now supports MTP devices by default, thanks to an update applied to GVFS. LXRandr missing argument resolved.

Additional Items

Bluhell firewall is enabled by default in SeaMonkey providing a lightweight Ad-Blocker and Tracking/Privacy Protector. Bookmarklets take the place of many common extensions in order to keep the browser light on system resources. Userstyles are utilized via Stylish providing much of the user interfaces changes to SeaMonkey while also allowing the user to disable or change what they want at will. This includes the ability to put SeaMonkey tabs above the address / search bar. We chose not to because it didn't provide any real benefit to the browser. Some may miss the new tab button to the right of the last open tab, however this is easily remedied by a right click on a tab or tab bar and selecting open new tab. Others may notice there is no speed dial like feature in SeaMonkey by default. We addressed this issue by utilizing places bookmarks like 'Frequented Websites' essentially providing the same convenience of dials. One can also install Speed Dial or any other supported new tab extension. We tried to add what we thought was necessary to SeaMonkey while maintaining its light overall footprint. Many useful SeaMonkey bookmarks are included making the transition easier, however a user can always install their favorite web browser.

*Known Bugs*
When installing LXLE if checking updates or Fluendo MP3 options, the installer can at times hang. Exiting and restarting the installer fixes the issue. However, these options aren't really necessary to enable so leaving them unchecked will avoid any conflict/issues when installing.

When changing the screen resolution, Conky will not auto adjust, simply quit and restart conky or restart the machine after change.

This really isn't a bug but should be addressed anyway. The weather app Typhoon defaults to a blue theme when you first setup your location, however simply entering the preferences through the 'gear' icon will allow you to change the theme colors. The dark theme matches the OS perfectly.

*Misconceptions*
Memory usage can not be truly gauged when using a live cd of any OS regardless of what the default desktop might be. There are far too many extra processes and software running to make the live cd possible that are not necessary on an actual install. The same can also be true for any virtual machine whether vmware or virtualbox. While true it won't be as crazy as a live cd, it still isn't exactly the same as a bare metal install. Ram use is also subject to how much memory the system has in total. Generally speaking the more ram you have the more memory the system will allocate to itself when at idle. If you have a system with 1gig opposed to a system with 4gigs the 1gig system will usually use substantially less ram at idle than the 4gig system. I use a laptop with LXLE on it that has 2gigs of memory and it hovers around 180-185 megs of ram being used at idle with the 64bit and even less with the 32bit version.

*Screenshots & Paradigms*
Below are the screenshots which will grace the front page of LXLE as well. They show the four different desktop layouts available at the login screen. In 12.04 these are located next to the password box in 14.04 these are accessible by clicking the LXDE icon located at the top right of the login screen. These screenshots showcase our modified SeaMonkey Suite, memory usage, weather app with matching theme, enlarged panel and the apticron email entry dialog box as well as our sister website TechTyranny News

As a final note, a release doesn't mean bug free, perhaps close, but never perfect, as proven often.

*Additional Screenshots*

SeaMonkey vs Firefox vs Chromium vs Thunderbird Memory Usage Screenshots

*A special thanks to Jack Trice for his help with testing and proof reading LXLE releases/articles.

What others are saying

"It's working perfectly, and I love the style of it. My favorite feature is the random wallpaper, and I think the default software is a great selection." ~JLeon85