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Windows 11 may get support for third-party widgets after all
by Anmol Mehrotra
Earlier this week, a Windows 11 build leaked online giving us the first look at the upcoming OS update. While, the new update comes with a visual overhaul, it also brings back a long lost feature. Tucked between the File Explorer and Task View sits the widgets option. If you have used Windows 7 in the past then you must be familiar with the widgets option. Unfortunately, the widgets option in the leaked Windows 11 build is just News and Interests which was launched for Windows 10 earlier this year.
However, reliable Microsoft insider, Walking Cat claims that Microsoft is planning to add support for third-party widgets that will allow users to customize the widgets menu as per their liking. However, initially, Windows 11 will support only first-party widgets, with third-party support rolling out later.
This is further confirmed by Rafael Rivera who did not find APIs related to third-party widgets in the leaked build indicating that the initial Windows 11 update will not ship with support for the third-party widgets.
Microsoft is expected to announce Windows 11 at an event next week. However, thanks to the recent leak, we were able to take a look at Windows 11 this week. You can check out our first impressions as well as hands-on articles for more information on Windows 11. In essence, the new update merges Windows 10 and Windows 10x while also bringing performance improvements as well as features such as the new window snapping assist.
Canonical announces end of life date for Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla
by Paul Hill
Canonical has announced that Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is set to lose support on July 22, 2021. As the release was one of those between the Long-Term Support (LTS) releases, it only has nine months of life. Those running this particular version of Ubuntu are urged to upgrade their systems to Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo which has been available since April.
To assist you in upgrading your computer, Canonical has published a guide that runs through everything you need to know and do to get to the latest version. If you’re not sure which version of Ubuntu you have, open Settings, scroll down the left-hand pane until you reach About, and then look under OS Name and you should be able to see which version you are on. Most people checking should find that they’re on Ubuntu 20.04.2 LTS, which is supported until 2025.
After July 22, systems with Ubuntu 20.10 can still be used but they won’t receive important security updates. Quickly, you’ll notice your web browser become outdated which will only increase your risk. If you have a particular use for Ubuntu 20.10 which is preventing you from upgrading, disconnecting your computer from the internet and keeping it offline is another option you have for staying safe
For most people, the Long-Term Support versions of Ubuntu are best because upgrades are only needed every couple of years. The interim releases, while stable, act more like a testing ground for new features between LTS releases.
Linux Mint 20.2 beta ISOs are now ready for download
by Paul Hill
Earlier this week, Neowin reported that the Linux Mint 20.2 beta ISOs were undergoing final testing before being made available. Today, you can now download Linux Mint 20.2 beta from a choice of the Cinnamon, MATE, or Xfce editions.
One of the main updates in Linux Mint 20.2 is to the Update Manager and the way it handles and alerts users to updates. On Linux Mint systems, all of the installed software, including apps, are updated centrally in the Update Manager. To bring more centralisation to the system, Cinnamon spices (add-ons in Cinnamon) are now visible in the Update Manager whenever there’s an update for them.
Another issue with the Update Manager is that, by default, the user needs to apply updates manually but not everybody does. To remedy this, infrequent notifications will be displayed to users to let them know that there are available updates. The people that see these notifications will likely not be the type of people who keep their system up to date so they are offered the option to enable automatic updates so they’re never bothered by them again. Doing things this way gives users a choice over whether updates should be forced on users.
There are a few new app additions in this update. The first is a new XApp called Buiky which allows you to bulk rename files on your system. Bulky is not included in the Xfce edition because the Thunar file manager already has this feature baked in. The other new app is Sticky Notes which replaces GNote as the default app for taking notes. Sticky Notes is built using GTK3, supports HiDPI, and integrates well with the desktop environment so it should be nice to use.
Included in the release notes is also a mention of an unofficial Warpinator app for Android. Warpinator is a tool that Linux Mint developed a little while ago that allows you to send files between Linux Mint machines on your local network. With the Warpinator Android app, you’ll be able to easily send files to and from your mobile devices.
Finally, the Cinnamon edition ships with Cinnamon 5.0 which includes a new content search feature. It also comes with fixes for several memory leaks which should improve its performance. A slightly unusual change coming with Cinnamon 5.0 is the ability to limit the total amount of RAM Cinnamon can use. If the limit is reached, Cinnamon will restart itself but you won’t lose your session or windows. When the limit is reached, Cinnamon becomes unresponsive for a second while performing an internal reboot.
In the Linux Mint world, beta testing usually runs for a couple of weeks before the stable release is made available. Upgrading from Linux Mint 20 and 21 will be made available a little bit after the stable release is made available. The upgrade should be available via the Update Manager and should be painless.
By Abhay V
Microsoft's second event for June 24 is aimed at Windows developers
by Abhay Venkatesh
Microsoft is slated to hold a “What’s next for Windows” event at 11 AM ET on June 24 to unveil Windows 11, a name that has recently been confirmed thanks to the leaked build that made it to the web. However, it turns out that the Windows 11 event might not be the only one to be taking place next Thursday, as the Redmond firm is holding an event for 3 PM ET, which it announced via Twitter today.
As is the case with these event invites, not much in the way of information is being provided. However, the company is rumored to be working on a brand new Microsoft Store with new policies that expand the types of apps that can be distributed through the store. It is possible that that announcement, along with more information on the specifics for developers, will be provided during the event.
During the firm’s Build conference last month, CEO Satya Nadella said that the company will “create more opportunities for every Windows developer” and that it will “welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build[,] distribute[,] and monetize applications”. It is possible that the developer-focused event dives into new app development and monetization capabilities brought by the revamped Microsoft Store policies. It is anybody’s guess if there are any surprise announcements.
The developer event is scheduled for 3 PM ET on June 24, four hours after the live stream for the Windows 11 event begins. The firm will stream the developer event on YouTube here.
Intel's Speed Select Technology ironically hurting performance, but a fix is coming
by Sayan Sen
Intel's Speed Select Technology (SST) is a power management solution from the company that allows users to manage core prioritization and frequency regulation depending on the workloads in order to improve performance and efficiency.
However, as an Intel engineer has observed, there is performance regression by more than 10% in benchmarks with the mode enabled. And while it isn't stated, the impact in a real workload might be lower but it's still a cause for concern.
The engineer further explains that the standard Linux PCI interface which is used here is causing the delay as it searches through hundreds of PCI devices, during mapping, that are attached to the system. For those wondering why the need to mention hundreds of devices here, that's because Intel SST is a complex solution and is only available in Xeons and not in the mainstream Core lineup.
Since the root cause of the problem has been identified, the good news is that a patch that promises to fix this should be available soon via a future firmware if it isn't already out. The fix is a fairly simple one and will use the cached data that will speed up the search process.
Here's what the full LKML message says:
Intel launched SST back in 2019 inside Cascade Lake Xeon CPUs. The technology is quite versatile as it enables several options like setting core prioritization, base clock tweaking, and more. As stated above, SST is implemented in the firmware and carried out by the processor's Power Control Unit (PCU). For more information on SST, visit Intel's official site here.