Release | Endless OS 3.9.0

Endless OS 3.9.0 was released for existing users today, November 9th, 2020.

Downloadable images for new users will be available in the next few days.

GNOME 3.38

The Endless OS interface is based on the GNOME desktop. This release of Endless OS has been updated to GNOME 3.38, bringing new features, substantial performance improvements and bug fixes.

During this development cycle, the Endless desktop team has focused on bringing features originally developed in Endless OS back to GNOME - such as the ability to drag-and-drop icons on the desktop, and applying parental controls to installed applications - so that our work on usability and safety can reach users beyond Endless OS.

In hand with this initiative, we have streamlined the changes we make in Endless OS relative to GNOME to improve the quality of Endless OS and allow us to focus on the key changes which are most important to our users. For example, our desktop application grid now always displays all installed applications, just as it does in GNOME. See below for further details.

Hack

We heard you! Following up on feedback we received in several channels, we removed the concept of a Hack mode from our first class learning environment. In Hack mode, the user had the hacking affordances available, namely the Flip to Hack functionality to look behind an application, see what is happening behind the scenes, modify the application and run it in a sandbox environment.

To provide the user with a sense when those affordances were available, the desktop background wallpaper changed and the cursor switched to the Hack cursor. Those changes have been perceived as intrusive (“it spoils the system and it changes your cursor style”). We decided to reduce that barrier of adoption and removed changing the cursor and wallpaper. The hacking affordances are available by default and not tied to a specific mode, so you can still enjoy the Sidetrack quests and use the Hacking Toolbox on the flip side of the app to solve the riddles. The pinned desktop icon, which previously had an on/off state, is now reduced to a single-state icon.

We are very happy to announce that Hack is now fully open source. All of the components have been released under an open source license. They are available on GitHub.

  • The Clubhouse, the place to start your Hack journeys and meet your heroes.

  • The Hacking apps, which includes the System app, Sidetrack and some other so called toy apps.

  • The Sound server to play back sounds in quests, the Clubhouse and Hack applications.

  • The Hacking toolbox which provides tools to modify the apps.

  • The Game State service which keeps track of your progress in quests.

  • The GNOME Shell Hack extension which adds functionality like FlipToHack to the GNOME Shell.

  • Clippy, a library to expose Gtk applications internals for scripting engines to implement interactive lessons in real time in the apps themself.

We hope you continue to enjoy the Hack experience!

Updated hardware support

We have updated our low-level software platform, which should improve stability and hardware compatibility.

  • Linux kernel 5.8, bringing support for the latest PC hardware and several fixes to existing drivers and core kernel code.

  • NVIDIA driver 450.66, adding support for new NVIDIA graphics cards.

  • Updated low-level userspace components, bringing in new features and bug-fixes: systemd 246, dracut 050, Xorg 1.20.8, Mesa 20.1.1, among others.

In addition, a number of hardware support bugs were fixed for this release, improving and expanding the hardware compatibility of Endless OS.

Metrics data collection from offline machines

Endless OS is commonly deployed by partners in offline contexts, such as schools without internet connectivity, community centers, correctional facilities, refugee camps, etc. Such partners have expressed interest in measuring the impact of how their computers are used; however, until now, Endless OS’s optional usage metrics system has required internet connectivity in order to report data to a central server.

With Endless OS 3.9.0 we are shipping a tool to create a USB device that can be used to manually collect metrics data from offline Endless OS computers, which later can be uploaded from a connected computer running Endless OS 3.9.0 or newer. The data is then available for analysis.

This has been a request from some of our partners for a long time, and we are very happy to finally be able to deliver this feature! We will soon publish documentation on how this can be used in such settings.

Other Improvements and Changes

  • The desktop application grid now always displays all installed applications in the system, making it easier to find applications and content. Any applications which were not previously on your desktop have been added at the end of your old layout.

    This means the format used for storing icon grids in the user preferences has changed to match GNOME’s format, and the eos-add-to-desktop command has been removed. All of the legacy JSON files defining the default desktop, and any existing user preferences, are imported the first time each user logs in with this version of Endless OS.

  • Previously, the Videos applications (also known as Totem) was built into Endless OS. Now, Endless OS comes with Videos 3.38 from Flathub, so it can be updated separately to the OS, controlled with Parental Controls, or uninstalled if not needed.

  • We have removed our custom home page, “Exploration Center”, which was previously used by default in the Chrome and Chromium web browsers.

  • The “Add Web Link…” feature on the desktop has been removed, as have a number of built-in web links. Instead, you can create desktop shortcuts for your favourite sites from within Chrome or Chromium.

  • Previous versions of Endless OS included shortcuts to install various popular apps, such as “Get Unity”. These have been removed. Instead, find popular apps in the App Center.

  • In previous versions of Endless OS, users in some locales would see the Discovery Feed, a drop-down at the top of the desktop that presents a different selection of installed content each day. This has been removed. Our current focus is on delivering offline content through the Kolibri ecosystem, which was not supported by the Discovery Feed.

  • A splash screen is no longer shown while apps are loading. This feature was introduced many years ago for very low-end hardware, and is less relevant on today’s computers. It was the cause of many bugs and inconsistencies around loading applications.

  • The Help Center, which had not been kept up-to-date with changes in Endless OS and GNOME for many years, has been updated to match the documentation for GNOME 3.38. Further updates are expected to follow in subsequent releases.

  • Flatpak was updated to version 1.8.2 to keep compatibility with the latest features and bug fixes.

  • The Xorg graphical display server now runs as a non-privileged user instead of root. This should make things a bit more secure, and it helps pave our way to switching to Wayland in the future.

Known Issues

  • Shared folders between host and VM when running on VirtualBox are not working. We are currently investigating and hope to have a fix for this problem soon.

  • USB live devices created from an ISO image are taking longer than usual to boot. They still work as expected, and we expect to have the boot delay fixed for the next release.

  • Installing apps from a USB drive using the App Center does not work. This will be fixed in the December release. In the meantime, you can still install apps offline from a USB drive using the command line; see the updated documentation here.

  • When updating the OS offline from a USB drive, the update may not show up in the Updates tab of the App Center immediately after inserting the drive. If you wait a few minutes it should show and you can apply the update.

  • Web links which are already on your desktop cannot be removed. These will be either made removable or removed outright in future releases. In the meantime, we suggest placing unneeded links in a folder.

4 Likes

Thank you for once again creating a great Release! Many excellent improvements :slight_smile:

2 Likes

New improvements and changes are realy nice! Thank you! I’m just a little bit disappointed for “Exploration Center” being removed - that extension was rather cool!

2 Likes

Still not working on 3.9.0

the desktop is really nice now thank u endless

The previous EOS version works smoothly with USB Modem. The new edition does not properly work with the USB Modem.

We use 14 Laptop with Endless OS and use USB Modem. After upgrade EOS our modems dos not work properly. Have a solution yet? We are facing a work problem.eos-diagnostic-201121_104839_UTC+0600.txt (941.2 KB)