openSUSE announces two new, always-updated KDE distributions

For those who want to get it while it’s fresh

As an openSUSE user I admire the work openSUSE teams do to integrate KDE’s Plasma desktop environment (DE ) with the rest of the system. And they never stop. Last year they created waves by launching a rolling release of openSUSE called Tumbleweed, along with super stable openSUSE Leap that is bringing openSUSE closer to Suse Linux Enterprise.

And today the openSUSE community has announced two more projects: Argon and Krypton. But before we talk about these projects, let’s me offer a little context.

A few weeks ago, Jonathan Riddell, the now outlawed founder of Kubuntu, started a new project at KDE e.V., called KDE neon. He told me that the project's goal is to offer the latest KDE software packages so that users can install them while they are still fresh. It is aimed at users like me who want software as soon as it is released without having to jump through hoops, adding and removing repositories and then dealing with broken dependencies.

As much as it sounded like yet another Plasma distro, it is not. Riddell had explained that “[i]t’s a KDE project just like hundreds of other projects are part of KDE. As KDE makes a lot of great software it makes sense to work as part of that team directly rather than be in some separate project.” The confusion comes in because users of other distros such as Arch Linux or openSUSE can’t use it because it’s tied to one distribution -- Ubuntu . That kinda makes it look like a distro even if it is not a distro.

Fast forward to openSUSE.

OpenSUSE is often seen as a KDE distro because it offers Plasma as the default DE. (It also offers Gnome. But, you know it’s complicated.)

Because openSUSE wants to bring the same ‘get it while it’s fresh’ option to its users, they are offering two images of Plasma desktop called Argon and Krypton.

Argon is based on Leap, the super stable version, whereas Krypton is based on Tumbleweed, the rolling release version.

In an email interview, Richard Brown, Technical Lead - openQA and openSUSE Chairman said:

The repositories which are behind Krypton and Argon have been maintained by the openSUSE KDE team for years.

We've been building KDE packages based on KDE Git in the Build Service for years, so there is nothing 'new' at the core of this.

But yes, seeing what KDE is doing with KDE Neon triggered a few neurons in the openSUSE KDE team, we looked into how hard would it be to make Live and Installable media for Leap, Tumbleweed, and these repositories. And the result is Argon and Krypton.

The openSUSE community said in a press release, “Users have a choice on how they get up-to-date packages of Qt and other additional cutting-edge offerings from KDE through the Argon and Krypton live installable images, built directly from the latest sources in KDE git through the Open Build Service.”

The good news is that you can get live images of either of the two and test it on your system without affecting the existing installation or install it on their systems.

To keep it fresh and ‘stable’, these packages are directly based on the Git repositories and not on any alpha, beta tarballs. These packages are refreshed at least daily.

And that’s where a warning comes from Brown, “Currently both Tumbleweed and Leap are tracking the stable releases of Plasma (so 5.5.4).  Krypton and Argon on the other hand are using packages based on KDE's git offerings, so users and developers can expect the latest and greatest of everything KDE, absolutely fresh from KDE upstream, on top of either the stable Leap base, or the reliable rolling Tumbleweed base. They are not heavily tested, we can make no broad promises regarding reliability, usability, or such, but it will be a very close representation of the latest and greatest upcoming code from KDE, on openSUSE.”

And before you conclude that openSUSE is biased, don’t forget that they also offer the best Gnome experience out of the box. And I won’t forget to mention Gnome Next, which brings the latest Gnome packages to openSUSE users.

But this story is about KDE! It’s time to go green!

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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