Solus, the independent semi-rolling release distribution has released a big upgrade to their flagship Budgie desktop environment with the 10.5.2 update.
I'm a huge fan of Budgie, especially with the Raven sidebar that gives you access to manage notifications, control media playback, control your sound devices, and more so it's pleasing to see another option continue to mature. That's the key theme here, with a lot of the work going into this release aimed to make it more feature-filled and ready for everyone.
Raven itself had a nice small configuration tweak, allowing you to pick which side of the screen Raven should appear or just have it be automated based on panel placement.
One big feature is that as of this release, they're now using their own implementation of desktop icons with Budgie Desktop View. Part of the problem is they were previously using an older version of GNOME's Nautilus file manager, as desktop icon support was removed in later releases of Nautilus. So now they're rolling their own, as they "always recognized that for many, desktop icons is an important part of their workflow, and so retaining that support in a sustainable manner was paramount for the release of Budgie 10.5.2".
You're not forced to use their way though, as they also hooked up support in the Budgie Desktop Settings application to configure DesktopFolder and Nemo as well so other distributions / vendors can do it their way.
The System Tray got a big rewrite for this release, thanks to developer Campbell Jones, which now uses the XEmbed protocol which should solve some major problems including:
- Background icons not refreshing, resulting in instances where it may appear that multiple icons are overlapping.
- Tray icons not consistently hiding when a panel hides (during "Intelligent" mode).
- Tray icons blinking when panel transparency is set to "Dynamic"
- Tray icons getting hidden when switching icon themes.
You can also now configure the spacing between icons in the System Tray.
Even the sound applet was upgraded, to give it a dedicated button to toggle mute as well as an icon for the System Settings instead of text to make it all match.
For users of Solus it has already shipped as an update, other distributions will need to wait for their package managers to get to the upgrades. Lots more has changed and improved that I didn't note here so see the full release notes here.
I actually tried out Solus for the first time properly today thanks to the excellent virt-manager and I have to say, I was extremely impressed by it. The installer was one of the smoothest looking I've ever seen, and Solus with Budgie just looks so damn sleek it's quite wonderful.