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Maui Shell is a converged desktop debuting in Nitrux 1.8

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One of the most interesting things about Nitrux as a project is Maui, a framework built with the technology of KDE and Kirigami that lays the foundations to facilitate the creation of converged applications for Linux, Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. More recently, Nitrux managers have wanted to go one step further with Maui Shell, a converged desktop shell capable of adapting to mobiles and desktops.

Those responsible have explained that “the objective of Maui Shell is to implement a converged desktop shell with different form factors, from mobile phones and tablets to desktop computers. Maui Shell will accommodate multiple form factors and there is no need for multiple versions to target different form factors. “. At a basic level, it is made up of two parts:

  • Cask, which is the container of the shell for templates of elements such as panels, pop-ups, cards, etc. The upper panel is divided into two sections, a left that supports notifications and the calendar and a right in which the system properties that give access to volume, shutdown, etc. are located. Each section has sub-elements called PanelItem that have a series of cards associated with them.
  • For its part, Zpace is the composer. In addition to the design, it is responsible for placing the windows or surfaces in the Cask container. It uses Qt’s Wayland composition API and includes initial support for workspaces.

In other words, Nitrux enters the desktop environment with Maui Shell. For expose a little more superficial elements, we will briefly explain what Cask makes available:

  • A panel at the top that is responsible for showing notifications on the left and shortcuts to network settings, brightness, audio and other things on the right (we have already explained this).
  • A dock with pinned applications located at the bottom of the screen.
  • A launcher that can be opened from the dock to get the full list of applications.

Maui Shell has sessions on X11 and Wayland, but from the Nitrux project they warn that it is still in an early phase of its development and that it has a lot of work ahead of it to be usable, especially on Wayland, where a simple “ctrl + C” (or another keyboard shortcut) it can cause the session to be closed.

At the feature level, developers are now working on PulseAudio support, Bluetooth via Bluedevil, drag and drop, network switches, workspaces, MPRI control, the launcher, the dock, the panels and the XDG extension. shell, while multi-touch support, session manager, configuration panel and XWayland extension are still absent. In the gallery located just below it is shown, in this order, how Cask looks on a desk, a tablet and a smartphone.

Maui Shell can now be used in Nitrux 1.8

Maui Shell is not just a toast to the sun, it is now available at Nitrux 1.8, the last version of the distribution based on Debian and without systemd that stands out for incorporating Nomad Desktop, a modified KDE Plasma with an attractive aesthetic finish.

As novelties, we find the incorporation of Maui Shell (sessions are named as Cask), which can be selected through the graphical SDDM session manager to start both the Wayland and Xorg sessions. How kernel is Linux 5.15 LTS and the Maui suite of apps is also present.

The technological base of the desktop and some of the pre-installed applications is made up of KDE Plasma 5.23.4, KDE Frameworks 5.89 and KDE Gear 21.12. The desktop has been added by default Latte Dock, a component widely used among KDE users that this year has made the leap to multi-desktop support.

Focusing on elements that are not very visible to the user, Nitrux 1.8 has moved to use XFS as the default filesystem instead of Btrfs and has added 113 profiles to AppArmor, the security module for the Linux kernel whose development has been led by Canonical for many years and competes with SELinux, developed by Red Hat.

The KDE System Monitor has been customized with two custom pages to track I / O rates, available storage, and GPU statistics such as VRAM, GPU usage, frequencies, and temperature.

GPU data via KDE system monitor

All the details of Nitrux 1.8 are available in the official announcement, while the system can be downloaded from the distribution’s website. More facilities cannot be put to use Maui Shell, although, as we have already said, it is important to keep in mind that it is in an early phase of its development, so at this time the experience it offers may not be satisfactory.

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