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Yesterday — 17 April 2024Main stream

LXQt 2.0 Desktop Environment Officially Released, This Is What’s New

17 April 2024 at 12:29

The LXQt 2.0 desktop environment has been released today as a major milestone bringing Qt 6 support and advancing support for the Wayland display protocol to more components.

The big highlight of this release is that LXQt 2.0 is fully ported to the latest Qt 6 application framework to provide users with a more modern UI. However, this doesn’t mean Qt 5-based apps aren’t supported. Distros can ship LXQt 2.0 with Qt5 styling and Qt5 file dialog by renaming some packages to be installed in parallel with their Qt 6 versions.

This release also introduces a new default application menu for the LXQt Panel, which you can see in the featured screenshot above. The new applications menu is called “Fancy Menu” and features “Favorites” and “All Applications” categories, as well as an improved search functionality.

LXQt 2.0 also adds Wayland support to more components, such as PCManFM-Qt file manager’s desktop module, LXQt Runner, and LXQt desktop notifications. LXQt Panel also features Wayland support for positioning the panel by using the “layer shell protocol.”

Wayland compositors that support the “layer shell protocol” include LabWC, Wayfire, kwin_wayland, Hyprland, Sway, as well as others, and the LXQt devs said that PCManFM-Qt can now give users a real desktop with Wayland compositors that implement the “layer shell protocol”, like those based on wlroots or KDE Plasma‘s KWin.

The LXQt development is confident that the next major release, LXQt 2.1, will be fully Wayland compatible. The components that need to be ported to Wayland include ScreenGrab, LXQt Global Shortcuts, LXQt Panel’s task-bar and keyboard indicator, some input settings, and settings of monitor, power button, and screen locker.

“Wayland will be the main target for LXQt 2.1.0, as Qt6 was for LXQt 2.0.0” said the devs. “Most Wayland compositors have tools that can be used instead of them, such that an LXQt-Wayland session is already possible for advanced users.”

Unfortunately, the QTerminal terminal emulator app is the only app that wasn’t ported to Qt 6 as part of the LXQt 2.0 release and will be released at a later time. Until then, LXQt 2.0 will ship with the Qt 5-based QTerminal 1.4.0 version.

For more details, check out the release notes on the release announcement page on the official website. LXQt 2.0 will soon be available in the stable software repositories of popular rolling-release distributions like Arch Linux or openSUSE Tumbleweed, but you should be able to install it shortly on other distros as well.

Image credits: LXQt Project

Last updated 4 hours ago

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LXQt 2.0 launches with Qt 6.6, improved Wayland support, and a new 'Fancy Menu'

17 April 2024 at 14:15

LXQt, the Qt-based lightweight desktop environment, has launched its version 2.0, which is built on Qt 6.6. This release includes complete readiness for Wayland compositors for several components, including PCManFM, LXQt Runner, and LXQt Desktop Notifications.

The team behind LXQt has set their sights on Wayland as the primary target for the forthcoming LXQt 2.1, similar to how Qt6 was the focus for LXQt 2.0. Nonetheless, certain components are not yet ready for Wayland, including ScreenGrab, LXQt Global Shortcuts, task-bar and keyboard indicator of LXQt Panel, some input settings, and configurations for monitor, power button, and screen locker.

Despite this, most Wayland compositors have alternative tools that can be used, making an LXQt-Wayland session feasible for advanced users.

Additionally, LXQt Panel now includes a new default application menu known as Fancy Menu. This new addition boasts features like “Favorites”, “All applications”, and an enhanced search function.

QTerminal, however, is the only app whose Qt6 port will be released separately due to complications arising from the removal of legacy encodings in Qt6. In the interim, users can use its Qt5 version 1.4.0.

View article on AlternativeTo »

More about LXQt | LXQt Alternatives

YouTube creator MattKC ports back thousands of unsupported apps to Windows 95

17 April 2024 at 12:40

Developer and YouTube creator MattKC recently released a GitHub repository named DotNet9x, a backport of .NET Framework 2.0–3.5 for Windows 9x, including Windows 95. This was followed by a 52-minute YouTube video detailing the creation of DotNet9x and its potential to port thousands of previously unsupported Windows applications to Windows 95. The video has garnered over half a million views in less than five days, with overwhelmingly positive reactions on both GitHub and YouTube.

MattKC's GitHub repository reveals that .NET 2.0 is largely functional, while work on .NET 3.5 is in its initial stages. This development is significant as .NET Framework 3.5 never officially supported anything below Windows XP, and .NET in general was not compatible with Windows 95. DotNet9x has changed this by backporting CLR 2.0 to Windows 95 and Framework 3.5 to Windows 9x.

Installation of .NET CLR 2.0 requires Windows 95 B (OSR 2) or newer, Internet Explorer 5.01, the Microsoft USB Supplement, and optionally, the Microsoft Windows Socket 2 Update for socket support.

While there are some bugs and incompatibilities, DotNet9x has already enabled the running of numerous .NET applications on Windows 95. Pretty impressive!

View article on AlternativeTo »

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YouTube is finally cracking down on third-party apps that enable ad-blocking

17 April 2024 at 11:05

YouTube recently declared a crackdown on third-party applications that infringe upon its Terms of Service, specifically those enabling ad-blocking. The company's team clarified that their terms prohibit third-party apps from disabling ads, as it denies creators their due reward for viewership. They further highlighted that ads play a crucial role in supporting creators and allowing billions of users worldwide to access the streaming service.

The YouTube team acknowledged the preference of some users for an ad-free experience, pointing out that this is the rationale behind the YouTube Premium service. Although the announcement did not specify any app by name, it's plausible to presume that third-party YouTube apps such as NewPipe, YouTube ReVanced, Piped, and others might be implicated.

YouTube permits third-party apps to use its API, provided they adhere to the API Terms of Service. The company has warned that any app found violating these terms will face “appropriate action” as a measure to safeguard the platform, its creators, and viewers.

View article on AlternativeTo »

More about YouTube | YouTube Alternatives

UK e-visa rollout starts today for millions: no more physical immigration cards

By: Ax Sharma
17 April 2024 at 05:48
Starting today, millions living in the UK will receive email invitations to sign up for an e-visa account that will replace their physical immigration documents like Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs). The move is, according to the Home Office, "a key step in creating a modernised and digital border." [...]

Wayland Protocols 1.35 Introduces Alpha Modifier Protocol, Tablet-V2 As Stable

17 April 2024 at 15:38
WAYLAND
Wayland Protocols 1.35 is out today as the newest update to this collection of Wayland protocol specifications.

With today's release the Tablet-V2 protocol is now considered stable. The protocol extension hasn't changed in a long time and is deemed ready to be widely supported. No changes were made to the protocol so existing protocol implementations in different compositors is already in good shape. Tablet-V2 is a protocol for graphics/drawing tablets for interacting with Wayland compositors.

Meanwhile a new staging protocol added with Wayland Protocols 1.35 is the Alpha-Modifier protocol that is contributed by KDE developer Xaver Hugl. Alpha-Modifier allows clients to set an alpha multiplier for the entire surface. This protocol allows offloading alpha changes for the entire surface to the compositor, which in turn can them be offloaded to the kernel mode-setting (KMS) driver.

There are pending Alpha-Modifier protocol implementations for KDE KWin, wlroots, and Valve's Gamescope compositor.

That's about it for the Wayland Protocols 1.35 update.

AM phasor has no setting for 'stun'

17 April 2024 at 14:01

Today on Geerling Engineering, my Dad and I toured the tower site for WSDZ-AM, located in Belleville, IL. It's a 20kW AM radio station broadcasting with an array of eight individual towers:

WSDZ 8-tower AM transmitter site array

How does one get a single coherent signal out of an eight-tower array? Enter the phasor:

WSDZ Phasor - Insides

WSDZ - Phasor Knobs

That's phasor with an o, not phaser with an e, so Trekkies need not fret about a misspelling.

The engineer at the station noticed our other tower tours, and was a friend of my Dad's, so he suggested we come see this site. It has one of the more elaborate AM broadcast phasor setups in the area.

Behind the unassuming front panel with all the cranks, there's a series of very beefy variable inductors and vacuum capacitors, where you crank them around to change the phase, power, and reactance of each of the individual towers—in this case, 5 in a day pattern, and 5 in a night pattern.

The inside looks like something out of Frankenstein's lab:

Phasor variable inductors inside

I'm told by the engineer that when there are issues besides a blown capacitor or a relay gone bad (they tend to do that sometimes, with 20 kW of power flowing through them 24x7), the wizards at Phasetek have him call them up to figure out what to do. The phasor itself is only half the tuning equation—in addition to all of it's knobs and relays, there are ATUs, or Antenna Tuning Units, at the base of each tower. And these are also full of massive inductors and capacitors, matching the towers to the phasor and transmitter:

WSDZ ATU inductor

We have an entire video about the tower site, embedded below:

In the video, we get into all the equipment on the site, and talk on a high level about tower array design, transmitter room layout, grounding for the building and towers, and more—but we didn't dive too deep into the actual physics of the phasor.

For that, I found this great little intro with some nice 1950's illustrations: Antenna Theory - Directivity. The idea of a 'phased array' of antennas was introduced in 1905 by Karl Ferdinand Braun, and the phasor installed in the WSDZ-AM transmitter site builds on that theory, in a relatively simple way.

Modern beam-forming antennas are used for much more exotic applications, from the flat Starlink satellite dishes to 3D radar systems deployed by the military.

I would highly recommend watching the video if you want to see more about the application of this tech in AM radio, especially since we demonstrate one of the interesting quirks of running an AM station with a day/night pattern. To control the signal's directionality and reach at night—when the ionosphere extends the reach of AM signals much further—there's a series of 16+ massive RF relays all remotely operated and automated by switchers like this:

WSDZ day night pattern switcher

They make an impressive ka-chunk ka-chunk, especially in tandem with the transmitter's brief power-down-power-up cycle!

But even when you split up the 20 kW among 5 towers, it's never a good idea to touch an AM tower.

LXQt 2.0 Released For Qt6 Desktop Port, Greater Wayland Support

17 April 2024 at 12:45
DESKTOP
LXQt 2.0 is now available for this lightweight desktop environment that has now been ported to the Qt 6.6+ toolkit. Additionally, much of the LXQt components are ready to be used under Wayland compositors.

LXQt 2.0 with its PCManFM-Qt desktop module, LXQt Runner, and LXQt desktop notifications are now ready to be used under Wayland compositors that support the layer shell protocol like Wayfire, KWin Wayland, LabWC, Hyperland, and Sway. Wayland will be the main target of LXQt 2.1 development where as with LXQt 2.0 the main focus was on moving from Qt5 to Qt6.

LXQt 2.0 also features a new "Fancy Menu" desktop application menu by default with an improved search, favorites, and an all applications area.

Downloads and more details on today's LXQt 2.0 desktop release via GitHub and LXQt-Project.org.

Brave Unveils New Privacy-Focused AI Answer Engine, Set to Handle Nearly 10 Billion Annual Queries

Answer with AI is the only large real-time answer engine that puts privacy first and does not rely on Big Tech search engines

Today, Brave is announcing a major update to Brave Search and to how users find answers online. The new Brave Search answer engine synthesizes information from multiple sources into a single, intelligible answer to almost any query—a significant step forward from Brave’s AI Summarizer released in 2023

Brave Search Answer with AI is unique in several respects:

  • It is the first privacy-preserving answer engine available at scale, serving the almost 10 billion queries a year that Brave Search currently receives, making it, overnight, one of the largest AI solutions on the market. 
  • It produces near instant answers (with sources cited) with sources alongside traditional search results.
  • The answers result from the only independent search index at scale outside of Big Tech, as the largest real-time answer engines rely on the Google or Bing search engines, directly or indirectly. 

Brave Search’s Answer with AI feature is available for free to all users across platforms, on both desktop and mobile. No matter which browser users choose, it can be accessed on the Web at search.brave.com. The answer engine also supports multiple languages besides English. Brave Search’s 27 million queries a day makes it the fastest growing search engine since Bing. 

Clicking the Answer with AI button

Caption: Clicking the Answer with AI button

The need for answer engines

Web-scale search engines have undergone many iterations: directory listings, ten blue links, query-dependent snippets, knowledge graphs and featured snippets. The Brave Search Answer with AI feature evolves this paradigm. An answer engine is a system that tries to answer a question, rather than point to websites about the question. Thanks to the proliferation and quality of large language models (LLMs), search-integrated answer engines are now a possibility at scale. In fact, several companies that operate search engines have released similar systems (including Bing Copilot and Google Gemini). Other answer engines rely on API access to existing search solutions to serve at least some portion of their real-time results.

Brave Search released an AI tool for synthesized results known as the Summarizer in March 2023 to help users better navigate search results. With today’s release, we’re taking a big step forward in delivering a next-level search experience, whether an answer or links of page results.

“With the new Brave Search and its integration of Answer with AI, users get the best of both worlds: one place to get generative answers as well as up-to-date links, providing instant and highly relevant results,” said Josep M. Pujol, Chief of Search at Brave. “Brave Search is uniquely positioned in this landscape, with the only independent search index besides Bing and Google. Unlike many search companies that are forced to rely on results from third parties, or others that solely offer answer engines, Brave now combines its index with AI to redefine the search experience and raise the bar on immediate pertinence in results, while preserving users’ privacy.”

What the Brave Search answer engine can do 

The secret ingredient of an answer engine is not the LLM that powers it, but the combination of a model with up-to-date, reliable data. Such data can help supply the context from which the model derives the answers it presents to the user. Or, to put it another way: an effective answer engine requires both a model and access to a search engine. With API access to a search engine, even individual contributors can generate a reasonable answer engine.

This is why Brave Search—with its index of 20 billion pages, curated and cleansed of the SEO spam and junk content that plagues other indexes—is uniquely positioned to provide such a powerful answer engine. It has the data needed to generate an accurate and timely answer, and the context.

Answers enriched with text and other media

Caption: Answers enriched with text and other media

With the new answer engine, Brave Search aims to provide not just answers, but an integrated system to satisfy the multiple intents a user might have, and to do so at scale (currently Brave Search serves more than 27 million queries per day). Loosely speaking, these intents fall into one of a handful of categories:

  • Navigational: Queries for specific sites, such as “Facebook” or “Twitter.”
  • Informational: Question-based queries, or those seeking information, which generally fall into two subcategories:
    • Specific lookups: These are often served by rich user interfaces built around structured realtime information (e.g. currency conversion rates, weather, or sports results) or custom widgets with non-real time based, deterministic data (e.g. unit conversion or time and timezone conversions).
    • Question-like queries: Queries such as “How do I find north when hiking?”
  • Commercial: Queries with the intent of finding or researching products and services.
  • Transactional: Queries with the intent of completing an action (e.g. buying a product).

Given relevant context, most existing answer engines do well at informational, question-like queries. However, they tend not to perform as well on other kinds of queries. With this latest release, Brave Search will default to an answer engine experience for likely informational, question-like queries.

Answers for informational queries

Caption: Answers for informational queries

For all other categories, users can trigger the answer engine on demand by simply clicking Answer with AI. This offers a best-in-class experience of both options: an answer engine that’s both predictive and optional.

Brave Search’s generative answers are not just text. The deep integration between the index and model makes it possible for us to combine online, contextual, named entities enrichments (a process that adds more context to a person, place, or thing) as the answer is generated. This means that answers combine generative text with other media types, including informational cards and images.

Answer with AI results Answers enriched with text and other media

Caption: Answer with AI results

The Brave Search answer engine can even combine data from the index and geo local results to provide rich information on points of interest. To date, the Brave Search index has more than 1 billion location-based schemas, from which we can extract more than 100 million businesses and other points of interest. These listings—larger than any public dataset—mean the answer engine can provide rich, instant results for points of interest all over the world.

Result for point of interest

Caption: Result for point of interest

Summary of top stories related to a current event

Caption: Summary of top stories related to a current event

Summary showing cited sources

Caption: Summary showing cited sources

How to try Brave Search’s Answer with AI feature

Brave Search can be accessed by anyone on the Web at search.brave.com, and is also the default search engine in the Brave browser for multiple countries. Answer with AI is available for all Brave Search users for searches in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish (the answer engine functionality is available in other languages as well, but some answers may appear in English). It’s available on all platforms, on desktop and mobile.

If Brave Search is already your default search engine, simply start a search in the address bar of your browser. For question-like queries, the answer engine should produce an answer by default, which will appear at the top of the search results page. Users also have the option to request answers on-demand by clicking / tapping the Answer with AI icon that appears beside the search bar on any search results page.

Answer with AI

The Brave Search answer engine is free to all users, and we hope to keep it this way, as we believe this is a natural evolution of search engines. In the future, we may also add a paid option, with premium experiences such as the ability to have an open ended chat, possibly in conjunction with the premium options offered by Brave Leo, the AI assistant in the Brave browser.

The impact of answer engines on the Web

There is a clear demand from users for convenient methods of consuming content, and AI-augmented answers are a key example. On the other hand, delivering on this demand can contribute to the erosion of the incentives for publishers to put out content on the Web, ultimately changing its very nature.

This challenge is not unique to Brave Search, but present across most AI-powered answer engines and chatbots, premium or open. Brave, as both a browser and search engine, is aware of these challenges. Consequently, we will be monitoring and quantifying the impact of AI-generated content on site visits, and eventually will address the disruptions that could be caused by the drop in traffic. We hope others are working on this as well.

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Adventure Mode Beta out now for Dwarf Fortress

By: Liam Dawe
17 April 2024 at 16:14

Adventure Mode Beta out now for Dwarf Fortress

By - | Views: 13

Dwarf Fortress on Steam from Bay 12 Games and Kitfox Games has a fresh Beta now available containing the new Adventure Mode. This turns the expansive building sim into a big turn-based RPG, where you can create a character and freely roam the rich simulated world you've made a home in during the Fortress Mode or start afresh in a newly generated world.

To access it you just need to own it on Steam, head to the Properties -> Betas and select "beta - Public beta branch". To go along with it, they'll also be releasing the Dwarf Fortress Soundtrack 2 (Adventure) DLC, this will also be available across Bandcamp, Spotify, Youtube and Apple Music.

Check out the Beta trailer below:

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With this being a Beta it's not finished of course and they said there's "features from Classic Adventure Mode and planned new features that have not made their way to the Steam version yet", so work is ongoing to expand Adventure Mode still.

You can buy it on:

itch.io

Steam

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Ghost of Tsushima PC specs revealed - should work on Steam Deck

By: Liam Dawe
17 April 2024 at 15:13

Ghost of Tsushima PC specs revealed - should work on Steam Deck

By - | Views: 14

Sony has released the specifications needed for the upcoming PC release of Ghost of Tsushima DIRECTOR'S CUT, and it seems like it scales quite well so it should run on the Steam Deck (and Desktop Linux will no doubt be fine).

An exciting upcoming release, which many have wanted to see on PC since the original PlayStation release in 2020. Sony are treating their PC fans quite well nowadays though with so many titles releasing.

Here's the specs for those that want to see (click to enlarge):

Going by that, at least on Steam Deck, we might see it stick around 30FPS and be reasonably playable. Considering it's coming with NVIDIA DLSS 3, AMD FSR 3 and Intel XeSS it should be good across a wide range of hardware.

Curiously, this is also the first Sony release on PC that will come with the new PlayStation overlay. As per the announcement, Sony mentions this includes access to your Friends list, Trophies, Settings, and your Profile. So you'll be able to earn PlayStation Trophies, but it will also work just fine with Steam Achievements too. This PlayStation overlay is entirely optional though, which is good to see and will look something like this:

I'm not really one to care about achievements and trophies, but a nice touch for those that do, further bridging the gap between traditional consoles and PCs. Although it remains to be seen if this new overlay works with Proton, but I'm sure Valve will update it to get it working if it doesn't initially.

Previous PC trailer if you missed it:

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It releases on PC on May 16th. Will you be picking it up?

You can buy it from:

Humble Store

Steam

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Buckshot Roulette hit a million sales, multiplayer mode in development

By: Liam Dawe
17 April 2024 at 14:07

It just goes to show, that as challenging as it is for indie devs right now, there's still a whole lot of success stories. Buckshot Roulette is the latest to hit over a million sales.

Previously available via itch.io, it recently jumped over to Steam with a big update and clearly caught the attention of a lot of players thanks to its dark and intriguing game idea where you play Russian roulette with a 12-gauge shotgun. There's over 12,000 user reviews on Steam now giving it an Overwhelmingly Positive rating.

You won't see many games that get user reviews like "Dealer handcuffed me then shot himself in the head twice.", and that's a pretty accurate summary of how nuts this little is. With a multiplayer mode in development right now, no doubt when that releases the game will see another big uptick in players.

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I think this goes to show that there's clearly a place for all types of games. From AAA chasing ever more realistic looking environments and people, to smaller stranger games like this.

Wonderful to see Godot Engine games gain such popularity. Be sure to follow our Godot Engine tag for more!

Available to buy from:

Steam

itch.io

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World of Goo 2 delayed until August 2nd

By: Liam Dawe
17 April 2024 at 12:19

World of Goo 2 delayed until August 2nd

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The goo has gotten a bit stuck, and so the May release date previously announced for World of Goo 2 has been pushed back to August 2nd.

As a reminder, World of Goo 2 will have Linux support but you will need to buy it direct as it's going to be on the Epic Store. Presumably it will eventually hit Steam after their Epic Exclusive deal is up. At least they're still providing direct-purchases though.

From the announcement:

The Goo is flowing, balls are coalescing, and blinking eyes lift up towards the sky where a mysterious pipe is rumored to appear. But instead, a signpost rises up out of the ground. “Good news!,” it says. “The World of Goo 2 launch date has been enhanced. It has now moved to August 2, 2024. We are proud to offer you this enhancement free of charge!”

From the Team: We have really appreciated your kind comments and patience while we finish building the best possible game!

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"Use living liquid creatures to build bridges, grow towers, terraform terrain, and fuel flying machines. The world is beautiful, dangerous, and evolving." - Tomorrow Corporation

See more on the official site.

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Former Nouveau Lead Developer Joins NVIDIA, Continues Working On Open-Source Driver

17 April 2024 at 10:45
NOUVEAU
Following last year Nouveau receiving support for running with the NVIDIA GSP firmware and initial GeForce RTX 40 series accelerated support, Ben Skeggs of Red Hat unexpectedly resigned as the Nouveau kernel driver maintainer. It turns out this longtime open-source Nouveau driver developer is now employed by NVIDIA Corp and continuing to work on the open-source Linux graphics driver.

Ben Skeggs is at NVIDIA. I'm not sure what is more surprising that he is at the green giant or that he's able to continue working on the Nouveau driver in an official capacity. Ben Skeggs has been involved with the Nouveau project for more than a decade.

After months of being absent in Nouveau driver development happenings, last night he posted a set of 156 patches. This massive patch series is a follow-up to the Nouveau GSP firmware enablement work and cleans up the code. The focus on the series is replacing the ioctl-like interface between the NVKM and the Nouveau DRM driver to now leverage more direct calls for reducing the driver overhead and call chain complexity. In the process there's also a fair amount of code cleaning. The 156 patches affect around ten thousand lines of code.

And this big patch series is submitted from his new NVIDIA work email address:

Ben Skeggs NVIDIA


While NVIDIA has their open (out of tree) kernel drivers these days, it wasn't on my bingo card to see Ben Skeggs at NVIDIA and to continue contributing directly to Nouveau. Interesting times ahead...

RPM 4.20 Approved For Fedora 41 To Advance Hands-Free Packaging

17 April 2024 at 10:24
FEDORA
The Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) has approved RPM 4.20 to land for the Fedora 41 cycle that will debut in H2'2024. RPM 4.20 is a significant update for this widely-used packaging format.

RPM 4.20 works to advance hands-free packaging with a new declarative build system that has been in the works the past four years. The declrarative build system can make it much easier on packagers with less redundant packaging snippets for common build systems. This RFE outlines the work. A lot of boilerplate code will be able to be removed moving forward from RPM spec files thanks to this declarative build system support.

RPM 4.20 also provides file trigger scriptlet arguments, support for spec-local dependency generations, guaranteed per-build directories, a public plug-in API, increased install scriptlet isolation, and other improvements.

RPM logo


The RPM 4.20 Alpha release occurred back on 5 April. The RPM 4.20 stable release should be out well ahead of the Fedora 41 debut in October.

The FESCo-approved change proposal for RPM 4.20 in Fedora 41 can be found via the Fedora Wiki with more information on these forthcoming RPM enhancements.
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