Updated to fix misinformation.
So, after the poll on the Google+ over the desired choice of Desktop Environment for the 'Emergency Desktop Environment', sparked by the potential desire of Linux Mint Team to kill off Metacity support in Cinnamon (Metacity is the Window Dressings around windows, which includes the Close, Maximise, Minimise and Menu buttons, and the borders around windows), the word from the community of Feren OS Users who participated made their call, with the options being either KDE Plasma or GNOME. Due to a more than overwhelming response in support of using the Plasma Desktop Environment as the next DE, and due to a number of other reasons as well, Feren OS is about to change, for the better.
TL;DR: Cinnamon over time on Feren OS has seen a lot of changes in how its workflow is like, in part to both my own changes, and also changes I didn't really have too much choice but to do, due to a lack of knowledge on fixing what's broken in applet code on Cinnamon, as well as having some hiccups along the way such as that Cinnamon 'Boxpointer' Removal's side-effects hitting themes hard on later Cinnamons, causing slight headaches, and applets by the community then breaking over time with a certain Cinnamon release making them no longer work whatsoever. However, because of that and after the hinting that Cinnamon could remove Metacity support, then me doing a poll on what DE to go to next in case of them doing this, and causing MANY repercussions for certain themes partly due to issues such as the theme-creators' potential non-intention for adding 'CSD Titlebar' skinning to their themes, and finally Mint introducing a 'Modern' panel layout which then makes Feren OS on Cinnamon more redundant, Feren OS is now moving ship from Cinnamon on Mint to Plasma on Ubuntu. Therefore, there's a new testing ISO available known as 'KDE Experimental' to see where Feren OS is going next and see the progress of said move, and during that time Feren OS with Cinnamon will still remain updated with snapshots and the like, until Plasma Feren OS is eventually made ready for Feren OS users to be switched over to.
Fun Fact: Originally Feren OS was going to be Cinnamon on Ubuntu, eventually, before all these events happened.
What happened, exactly?
Well, there's a few major things to be talked about here:
BTW: Before anyone goes ranting at Mint, please understand that they honestly DO NOT desire to break stuff, it's bound to happen... I'm just trying to say here that it did happen, it was kind of annoying that it happened, the themes issue was more widespread than it could've been, and... well, don't cry over spilt milk... I've just got to make sure that Feren OS's users don't suffer from the changes Mint may make for reasons, that then have consequences for non-official Cinnamon stuff, due to the use of unofficial applets inside of Cinnamon... Also, emphasis on unofficial applets, it's more so my fault for using them over the official ones and also potentially the applet-dev's fault for some of these broken applets never seeing their true comeback after they were broken down by certain Cinnamon releases inevitably breaking them... Point in hand, this wasn't all the fault of Mint... maybe a small bit of it WAS Mint's fault, but the blame is shared between me, developers, and (potentially) Mint too...
Truthfully, these weren't the only reasons that made me do this. When I heard of the news, I started a poll on where Feren OS should go in case of an emergency regarding the inability for Feren OS's DE to do its proper job anymore, and since everyone voted on 'KDE Plasma' as what I dubbed 'The Emergency Desktop', I then set forth in trying to implement Feren OS and its features into Plasma, and I wasn't any bit further than impressed with KDE as a Feren OS DE, and so Feren OS 'KDE Experimental' happened, and, well... you can check that out yourself and see how beautiful and functional Feren OS is with Plasma as its DE. From there on out, I knew that, no matter what, Plasma was going to end up being the Feren OS DE before 'Zuro UI' is built due to how much better it is in many ways...
Feren OS with Cinnamon isn't redundant, is it...?
Let me mention the main purposes of Feren OS on Mint: Firstly, to make a more modern experience for Mint that anyone can be familiar with. Secondly, do what Mint did wrong, and try to do it right. Thirdly, to further improve the experience newcomers to GNU/Linux have with their new OS, and let them begin as soon as possible, and fourthly, to provide extra features to the experience to make it easier for the desktop to be tweaked to be as close to the workflow that you, the user, are used to as possible, as well as hold the hand of new users a margin more than Vanilla Mint does if they so desire the hand-holding that is the Welcome Screen, Installer Slideshow, and other sources of help. However, I'm both happy and sad to say that to this day, Mint has been correcting its mistakes, and now it might've just fulfilled the main needs for Feren OS. Not only have they fixed what they did with the Update Manager, but with Mint 19.1, they're finally making one of the nicest changes to Cinnamon: Forking the applet used in Feren OS for window grouping into an OFFICIAL Cinnamon Applet to allow for a 'Modern' panel layout. The only thing left for them to fix is the apparent forcing of Timeshift setups to allow for Mint's Upgrade Process to be done, and maybe also adding an option in Update Manager to upgrade to Major Mint Releases rather than having to do it manually. I couldn't be more happy to be honest with Mint's decisions these days... However, this has a profound effect on Feren OS's current state. While I feel Feren OS had some effect on the decision for them to make a Modern Panel, this also means that Feren OS is going to become rather redundant in its current form, with the only things left to set it apart then being the theming, extra panel layouts, Themer, Transfer Tool, and under-the-hood tweaks. That isn't enough for an OS to be considered unique from its counterpart, and people will then simply say 'Why use Feren OS when you can use Mint and have a Modern layout there too though'...
That's why Feren OS is changing. Now, about Feren OS's new form... Feren OS with Plasma. It'll be a bit of a challenge to make into a more noob-friendly experience, but for sure if it happens, Feren OS with Plasma will seriously pay off, ramping up both Feren OS's useful out of the box features, bringing back some classic lost parts of Feren OS from the past back to the OS (e.g.: Slingshot (kind of), Global Menu Support), and the beauty and eye candy that this OS has, while never compromising on features. A lot of what makes Feren OS unique will be staying in Plasma Feren OS, including the layouts, and more, and the aim is to make the experience as beginner friendly, easy to use, and seamless a switch from Cinnamon as possible. Plus, with the huge community behind KDE and Plasma, Feren OS could really become something great with Plasma. Also, to coincide with the choice of a new Desktop Environment, Feren OS will also be taking one of its biggest criticisms and turning it over its head. That's right, Feren OS will be rebasing on Ubuntu (and then potentially going up the tree to Debian-based in the future).
PS: You're looking at this after seeing Feren OS KDE Experimental and thinking 'but it has lots of Mint still', aren't you? Well, just because its based on Ubuntu doesn't mean it can't benefit from a Mint PPA or two just to ease the transition to Plasma Feren OS from Cinnamon Feren OS...
Source of 'Modern' Layout News: https://blog.linuxmint.com/?p=3649
But Feren OS will just be Ubuntu with KDE/Plasma and with some extra themes and configs, won't it? SMH.
First of all, don't put Feren OS at that level, like, seriously. At that level we have respins that are basically just Ubuntu flavours with a small config change and loads of applications, stuff like that, Feren OS is in no way that level of respin. Alright, I'll be honest, I also hate how fragmented the Linux Distribution family is, but at least I've TRIED to contribute to Mint a few times with stuff in Feren OS, for starters, and also I've helped other 'respins'/distributions, such as Nitrux, at times (e.g.: Made an automated BASH command for replacing the glitchy Nitrux Panel back in Nitrux's old releases with their new config for Latte that brought the Latte Dock in as a panel replacement as well as doing the dock as always (yes, Latte can do panels too, BTW) for all users in one short effective burst) with problems users may be facing, and more, so I definitely have contributed to the community, in that manner. I'm not trying to make excuses here, either, I've always felt that Feren OS can do more to gain its own proper identity as a distribution, and this is just one of the ways it is going to be able to do that. Remember, no offence to any other 'respin' developers out there, that not every OS a lot of people term as a 'respin' can say they have done that kind of stuff for the community... in fact, I'm sure a lot of 'respins' can't say that... Feren OS DOES have a few things unique to it, which make it stand out from the crowd, plus with the current state of affairs with Windows 10 and Linux, it's anyone's game to be the distribution that helps in the most distraught ex-Windows users.
Windows is a Trademark of Microsoft Corporation and Windows 10 is a Trademark of Microsoft Corporation.
However, as already stated before, times change, and I'm more than aware that Feren OS has been under scrutiny of many users due to its current base, among other factors such as how 'original' it really is in its current form, hence this change of DE was favourable, and I've realised as time has gone on that Feren OS could seriously gain more of an identity on KDE than on Cinnamon. Obviously, the ability to tweak the desktop to be as close to the workflow you are used to as possible will still be there, just re-adapted to KDE (coming soon in KDE Experimental), as well as the Welcome Screen, Installer Slideshow, beautiful wallpapers, and more; What makes Feren OS great for new users and general users alike will, if there's no hiccups along the way with implementing said features into KDE, remain in the new experience, that is for sure. I might've not been successful with giving Feren OS that much of an identity for a lot of less people who don't shout up against the press and media's views on the OS, but this time I will try what I know I can do, as well as making use of the community feedback and what the community has made for all of us users and distribution developers as possible, to make Feren OS an OS based on Ubuntu that's truer to the term 'distribution' than it ever has before.
What's changed thanks to the introduction of the new experience?
A lot of features have been added with the introduction of the new experience, and these are just some of the features either being introduced and/or are coming back to Feren OS thanks to this new experience:
- Global Menu Support: Originally used in Feren OS from 2016.2 to 2017.0 for the macOS Theme, and Ubuntu Theme, Global Menu Support makes a return to the OS once more, in spectacular fashion, used for both themes, and being easily added into the OS with a few clicks.
- Simple Menu: With a design very similar to the original menu used in Feren OS from 2015.0 to 2017.0 for all themes (until CinnVII was born and used for the menu in 2016.2 - Present for Windows Themes)
- Top bar: Designed around the concept of Zuro UI's top-bar, this is an all-new central panel for checking the calendar, time, and notification history, now in the default interface of the KDE experience.
- New icon for Files: Files (Nemo) now uses the File Manager icon in the experience instead of the Folder icon, which, while it might be a small tweak, makes the File Manager look more like a File Manager Shortcut no matter the icon theme, as well as making it more consistent with the File Manager Icon Standard used in a variety of distributions.
- KDE integration with the Nemo File Manager: Feren OS now also comes with a small software workaround for KDE in order to make KDE play nice with the Nemo File Manager, making KDE's shortcuts work just fine when Files is the default file manager, as well as translating shortcuts that otherwise wouldn't be recognised by Nemo so that they also work with minimal user interaction.
- Adding wallpapers to the OS has never been easier.
- A first login script for KDE that allows the OS to automatically retrieve and apply some settings from Cinnamon to KDE before handing the KDE Experience to the user, so that they can get started fast. (NOT IMPLEMENTED YET)
- Weather is now in Calendar
Features that are going away:
- CinnVIIStarkMenu (replaced by Tiled Menu)
- Themer's KDE Upgrade
- Panel & Theme Snapshotter
- Cinnamon -> Plasma Settings Transfer
What else can I expect from the switch to KDE as a Feren OS User?
There's a lot of goodness to expect from the experience with Feren OS with KDE, which will then trickle down to all you wonderful users of Feren OS, which include:
- Plenty of User Interface Polishing
- A more beautiful Feren OS than ever before
- New Windows-like Menu Design
- Feren OS gets back its Own Menu Design for its themes
- Better Unity Desktop Design
- Easy to use and automated process on first login to KDE to take as many settings as possible from Cinnamon to KDE to allow users to quickly get started with KDE
- A more purer Ubuntu base starting from a future Major Update and/or distribution reinstall using a version of Feren OS with KDE
- Better HI-DPI Support..?
- No 'cashew' button in Panels (similar way to enabling Panel Edit Mode in Cinnamon will be used instead)
- Custom themeing for KDE based on Breeze, and giving a dark mode-esque feel to the shell and KDE
- Simpler System Settings interface for KDE, designed around the design used in Cinnamon for System Settings management, although it may be predominately a homepage for settings popup pages at first.
- The KDE that's only powerful when needed
- Better integration of 'Client-Side Decorations' windowed applications that come pre-installed with Feren OS (titlebar used on them where possible)
I know Plasma, but are there any changes exclusive to Feren OS in Plasma?
I know there will be a few KDE users out there looking into Feren OS because of this switch of DE, and also because of 'Feren OS KDE Experimental', so I might as well highlight the changes in Feren OS to the KDE Plasma Desktop that might throw off KDE Plasma Users at first:
So, can I test it and see how progress is coming?
First of all, nice, you made it this far into the post! Secondly, yeah, yes you can test it, provide feedback, and see how progress is coming!
So, where you can download it, you may ask? Well, put simply, look for a grey box that says 'KDE Experimental' on the top of the Get It page.
Enjoy testing it, and be sure to take note of the current issues...
Oh, and for the Cinnamon users, don't worry, you'll still be getting snapshots of Cinnamon Feren OS until Plasma's ready for Feren OS.
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.