Our latest refresh ISO, Cassini Nova R3, released in September was supposed to be the last one under the Cassini codename family.
Before I go on, yes we are Arch-based, and therefore we are a rolling release distro, so besides upstream changes like the Linux kernel and systemd versions, it shouldn’t matter which name an ISO has, you might think.
Well, that is true for the major part of our releases. But with every major release, we do introduce improvements and new features to improve the installation process and I do repeat it again, our releases affect the installation process, not running systems, they roll on with the regular Arch/AUR updates.
Upstream bug issues
Back on-topic, we were about to release Galileo a couple of weeks ago but then came Linux kernel 6.5 and it came with some major bugs that prevented us from launching Galileo. Our testing ISOs shipped with any version of kernel 6.5 weren’t able to boot on hardware with certain specs and also on certain virtual machine configurations. Another Cassini Nova version isn’t possible either because of the same issue. We did consider for a second launching Galileo with the LTS kernel but that will be an issue for newer hardware. Since our team is pretty small and none of us are able to fix or work around this mainstream issue, we simply have to wait for an upstream fix.
You can read more on the bug over here.
Less is more
Since 2019 we have added features to our installer and mainly in our DE and WM options. In December 2021 we proudly introduced the community editions. Those editions were mainly WM configurations developed and maintained by community members.
As we all know, community members come and go and this goes also for the maintainers of our community editions. Unfortunately, in our case, members left but nobody came to pick up the work for the community editions, leaving the maintenance to our developers’ team. As I mentioned earlier, our team is small, and the amount of work in keeping the community editions up and running became more of a burden in addition to the regular development tasks.
So, we had to make the decision to let the community editions go. Galileo will be the first release without the options Sway, Qtile, Openbox, BSPWM, and our WM-exclusive Worm in the installer. It still is possible to install them after install on a running system.
The options for Galileo will be Budgie, Cinnamon, Gnome, i3, LXDE, LXQT, Mate, Plasma, and Xfce. We are, almost, going back to our roots in a way.
This may sound like a major step back, but sometimes you have to let things go to go forward and this is certainly the case for this decision. We still love bringing you releases and chatting with the community and in order to keep the project alive this slimdown was necessary.
Goodbye Xfce, hello Plasma
From the start, we shipped our ISOs with a slightly customized Xfce live environment and offline install option. Now, more than four years down the line, it is getting harder for us to keep the customized Xfce live environment maintained against the progress made in the Calamares installer. This is why we are saying goodbye to Xfce and switching to Plasma from Galileo and forward. KDE Plasma offers a more native development experience for the team and therefore it is easier to maintain.
This is the main and only reason for this switch and keep in mind, we are only talking about the live environment and the offline installation option. Every user is free to choose the DE or WM the installer offers. And for those who prefer the offline install option, Plasma can run on most older machines up to ten to twelve years down the line. Plasma isn’t the high-resource environment as it used to be.
As you have read, we are more than eager to release Galileo and we absolutely will the moment all the lights are green.
To stay in our space theme, the launch is delayed due to unfortunate external conditions…