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June 17th, 2016

Canonical Goes Snap Happy, Nextcloud 9 Released & More…

Also included: Two distros with new releases, Fedora 24 due on Tuesday and Ammon, Idaho thinks out-of-the-box.

FOSS Week in Review

When karma comes to visit, the one thing to remember is that in some way — which might even seem totally unrelated — you have some responsibility for that karmic bite. The best thing to do is to accept it with grace and to move on. I tell you this because that should give you a pretty fair assessment of what my life has been like since the last Week in Review.

But it hasn’t all been bad karma. There’s been good news on the FOSS front as well…

Move over LSB, Snaps are here: Once upon a time there was hope that Linux Standard Base would bring the ability to write-once-and-install-on-any-distro capability to GNU/Linux. Most folks quit believing that would ever happen about the time that LSB member distro Caldera shut down to try to make a living suing IBM as SCO. Although LSB is still being developed, it hasn’t been widely adopted and most of us have realized that the distro repository system that now dominates Linux is actually a strength despite the inconveniences.

If Canonical has anything to do with it, that’s coming to an end with Snap packages. Snaps, in case you don’t know, are simple to install packages that do away with the need to find dependencies and such, as everything is built right in the Snap package. Up until now, Snaps could only be installed on Ubuntu, but Canonical announced on Tuesday that snapd, the tool that allows them to be installed on Ubuntu, has been ported to other distros.

According to Ubuntu’s announcement:

“Snaps now work natively on Arch, Debian, Fedora, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Unity, and Xubuntu. They are currently being validated on CentOS, Elementary, Gentoo, Mint, OpenSUSE, OpenWrt and RHEL, and are easy to enable on other Linux distributions.”

The benefit of this became immediately obvious. On the very same day, developer Björn Michaelsen announced that he’d managed to build a Snap package of LibreOffice 5.2 Beta 2. Marius Nestor at Softpedia has published all the information you need to install this Snap on your distro.

There might be a downside, however. Be on the lookout to see if this eventually brings crapware to Linux.

Nextcloud’s first release: Much sooner than anyone expected, the first release of Nextcloud, the fork of ownCloud that was just announced a few week’s back, is now available. Along with it, if we read between the lines, we see what’s probably the real reason why ownCloud shut down its U.S. operations almost immediately after the announcement of the new project by Frank Karlitschek.

OwnCloud had been an “open core” project, which means that the basics of the project were released under an open source license. However, the enterprise addons which made ownCloud valuable to enterprise users were proprietary, meaning companies had to pay to license them. However, with the just released Nextcloud 9, all enterprise functionality is going to be made available as open-source and will be released under the AGPL license. More information is available on the Nextcloud website.

Another day, another distro: ExLight Linux Build 160612, a lightweight distro featuring the Enlightenment desktop, is ready to go and lighter than ever.… Version 2.4 of Tails, the live distro for safely surfing through Tor, has been released, with many security fixes and an updated version of the Tor browser.

Quick takes: The much delayed Fedora 24 is good to go and is set to be released on Tuesday…. Ammon, Idaho is building a municipal fiber infrastructure with a difference I’d like to see catch on. This one will offer users a choice of ISPs, and the ability to instantly change providers with the click of a mouse.…

Parting shot: A big thanks to Rikki Endsley for taking time out of her schedule to have a video chat with Robin Miller for FOSS Force. Endsley, as you might know, is one of the people who makes things work at Opensource.com, and was this year an O’Reilly Open Source Award recipient. Great interview.

That does it for this week. Stay cool, and until next time, may the FOSS be with you…

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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