So, I'm going to be blunt starting things off: 2018 was a huge year for Feren OS, and also me (The Developer) alike, for many reasons. Because of this reason, I'm more-so going to be doing a general(ish) review of 2018, albeit with the biggest focus being on Feren OS-related events. To put it short, there were many great happenings in 2018 for Feren OS and GNU/Linux in general as an OS Family, however, as many will have already known by now, it was not all sunshine and rainbows this year. We lost some pretty significant people in regards to my childhood and very likely many others', for starters, and secondly things were not all too easy at times, and mistakes were made, and I'm not going to deny that.
January 2018 Snapshot:
To start things off, on the 4th of January 2018 Feren OS got the January 2018 Snapshot released for it, which added some pretty major changes to the OS, such as the replacement of GNOME Software with Mint Software Manager due to Mint 18.3 being released, brung support for Custom Themer Themes to the OS after being a promise made in a subscriber special (I need to make another one of those :v), merged Themer with System Settings > Themes to have it make a bit more sense than having two areas for changing the OS Theming, and plenty of updates because of the Mint 18.3 base happening (the last snapshot was 18.2 based).
Feren OS Lite Alpha:
Feren OS Lite Alpha got released following January 2018 Snapshot (aka: 'Platinum') later on in February, showing what a Feren OS Experience with XFCE could be like, to rival the 'Lite' distributions out there. Although right now, Feren OS Lite is on a temporary development hiatus (alongside 'Phoenix Linux' (which is being re-done on 18.04.X)) while Feren OS KDE Experimental is worked on...
Development Pausing Period:
Then came April... due to study reasons in that time, Feren OS ended up getting a development hiatus for 100% of the OS, not just Lite or spin-off respins... however this wasn't for too long, and the bases kept it up-to-date during that time anyway. Of course, GCSEs went well in the end!
Feren OS Lite WIP Update:
Feren OS Lite then got an update to its WIP ISO to bring it its own unique XFCE configuration that is unique to Feren OS Lite as a whole, and takes heavy inspiration from Feren OS Concepts, and also saw itself be based on Ubuntu 18.04.X instead of 16.04.X, being one of the first Feren OS ISOs to do so.
Feren OS 2018 Major Update:
Following this, in July, Feren OS got its first ever Major Update, bringing the base up for Feren OS Users from 16.04.X to 18.04.X and therefore Mint 19.0... It was a great first attempt at doing an upgrade path between Ubuntu LTSs, however it did have its rough edges that were, for the most part, worked out over time, and it received many upon many updates to it. (It does need a little bit of a re-write and better modularisation for 20.04 LTS though to make it simpler and easier to fix though in the future)
However, despite all this, Feren OS got major graphical improvements with the new 18.04 base as well (new titlebars, more of a focus on subtle gradients with the application design, etc.), a new wallpaper, and more.
Feren OS 2018 July Snapshot:
Not that long after the release of the 2018 Major Update, Feren OS received the July 2018 Snapshot, bringing new wallpapers, the new 18.04/Mint 19.0 base right out of the box, a redesigned Inspire Icon Set and the introduction of 'Inspire Dark', major improvements to the GTK Theme as brought along by the Major Update, better Qt theming out-of-the-box, opting in to using the gtk2 theme to style Qt Apps so that they look better placed in the OS, a dialog for when Themer is applying a theme, tweaks to core Feren OS Applications, the introduction of a Virtual Machine Detection dialog, and more. This snapshot, aka 'Silver', was quite a big snapshot changes-wise.
3 Years of Feren OS:
Then, on the 29th of July, Feren OS turned 3 years old. Looking back, it's crazy to see how much it has changed over these years, it's nothing like how it started off anymore, now. Oh, and ironically, that was also the day when Feren OS finally got its newest logo that it's very likely to keep for a very long time now due to it being a fully original logo this time that was inspired by the other logos of the past, and was made in SVG first before converting to PNG this time, so it's scalable to whatever size is needed now. Either way, Feren OS finally got a proper identity in its logo...
Feren OS got into the Linux Format Magazine for one magazine:
This has to be one of my proudest moments so far, not because of the fact it MADE IT into a magazine full-stop, because that could be just the OS being listed and being reviewed and then not really mentioned further, but no... Linux Format went one step ahead of that with Feren OS and not only gave it a review, but also gave it a fully-fledged article called 'Learn Linux with Feren OS'. That was great, and that has to be one of the highlights of Feren OS's lifetime so far... now if only I didn't break stuff for certain people when I tried modularising Themer a little more into different packages for better portability in other Desktop Environments, etc... hopefully the people that did try it didn't get too annoyed by that potentially happening, although it would've been nice if I managed to keep things being fine on the OS in regards to keeping features intact as they're split into multiple packages (for a case such as that, Dependencies aren't an option, as easy as they are that'd mean Themer would 'NEED' all the DE integration packages full-stop), but nevermind, it's too late now anyway for that...
Feren OS 'KDE Experimental' WIP 1 (and then 2, 3, 4, etc.) released:
Then, a few days after making clarifications for the Linux Format Article on Feren OS, I released the first ever preview of Feren OS 'KDE Experimental', a project to eventually bring Feren OS from a Cinnamon-using Desktop Environment (will still be available as 'Feren OS Classic') to a Plasma Desktop Environment that's modified to be the way I and many other users from Cinnamon will be more likely to prepare it as being, with a new layout which again, just like Lite's desktop layout, is based on Feren OS Concepts, but is reflected better in Plasma, that makes the need for a Conky (Desktop Clock) null and void, and overall looks beautiful and simple yet powerful. At this point now, Feren OS KDE Experimental is awaiting a Themer tool for the Plasma Desktop as the other ingredients to all the layout themes are effectively there now.
Feren OS 2018 October Snapshot released:
Then, in October, the October Snapshot (aka: 'Titanium') was released to the public. This was a simple one for users to install, however, due to the OS base not changing or anything among that level of change, as per all the normal snapshots. However, despite this, Feren OS received some pretty huge changes in the backend, and also for portability with other supported desktop environments. First, the background set introduced was re-worked to have Plasma compatibility as well, then another big change was made allowing users to upgrade their machines to Non-LTS versions of Ubuntu through more frequent Major Updates (something that's impossible in Stock Linux Mint for their own reasons), Feren OS's GTK Themes got updated to adapt the blue gradients to be easily coloured by Theme Colouriser, and scrollbars were changed to match those of Breeze's to better match in 'KDE Experimental', Theme Colouriser got a major update that allows it to now support community-made scripts for colourising themes as well as the default ones, and also for doing scripts for different Desktop Environments as well, and more. This only made things better for users of Feren OS.
Mint 19.1 Base Update & October Snapshot Update(s):
Then, in December, Linux Mint 19.1 got released, and Feren OS Users were among the first to be updated to this base, with massive updates for Themer, Themer's Cinnamon Integration, 'Theme/Layout Manager', and more, all to add better support for Cinnamon 4.0 to make the experience even better. In the not-so-visible side of things, IcingTaskManager was swapped out for Grouped Window List (that means ITM is no longer pre-included), MessagingMenuV3 was fully removed after being phased out of the OS, and during the upgrade Feren OS also transfers the pins of those using IcingTaskManager right to Grouped Window List and also swaps the I.T.M. Applet(s) with a/some Grouped Window List Applet(s) right in the same place as the user put the I.T.M.(s) on their panel(s). Overall, this, combined with two new sounds for login and logout as well as an update for October Snapshot to pre-include all these updates and more, made the experience even better than before, and for users it was reported to be a seamless transition from Cinnamon 3.8 to Cinnamon 4.0.
In conclusion, this is just scraping the surface of what happened, as this is just the most considerable events in Feren OS's history throughout 2018. However, as mentioned before, these were just the events in Feren OS, if we take IRL in to the equation, you'll really start seeing the cracks that made this year a rocky one. Alright, there was plenty of great advancements in Linux and therefore Feren OS or at least soon to be in Feren OS which everyone else has mentioned already so it's pointless reiterating all that here... not everything was peachy.
Let's start with just how hard 2018 was with respects to childhoods, including mine - we lost quite a few people this year that contributed to many peoples' childhoods, including mine... Stefan, Stephen, Stan, just to name a few of them... and it wasn't just childhood tragedy, either - there were a few personal losses too, which some people will know about, to the point where I'm starting to become that person you can relate to quite a bit now, for good or for bad reasons... Hey, it isn't all too bad, though... proud moments still happened IRL, and I got to try things out that I hadn't been able to try out yet at that point, finally tried other things, and became a fan of them, Linux got that bit more of an edge over Windows after a certain Redmond company broke their stuff yet again (this time at the cost of users' files, for early adopters), and... very late in the year, KevinVG207 and his Discord Server even turned me into an anime fan*, so there's that I guess.
(congrats, you got a shoutout Kevin, now learn from your mistake from yesterday before you waste that shoutout opportunity like I nearly did Linux Format showing off Feren OS in one of their articles in one of their magazine editions... seriously though, don't do that joke again on me Kevin and co., thanks)
*No, I'm not turning into a 'weeb' (this is in regards to what some people think is the definition for the word 'weeb'), more-so slightly turning into an otaku, minus the "to the detriment of the person's social ability" part.
Either way, happy new year everyone!
The Feren OS Dev
It's great making something for the community that might become quite big and remain for a very long time to continue serving the community and helping Linux as a result.