Release of the TileOS 1.0 distribution (T-Rex)

Release of the TileOS 1.0 distribution (T-Rex)

On March 15, 2024, the first major release of the stable version of the TileOS 1.0 (T-Rex) distribution took place. The project is based on the Debian package base and offers a desktop that uses mosaic window managers.

According to OpenNET, the goal of TileOS, by analogy with the Ubuntu Sway Remix distribution (developed by the same author), is a ready-to-use interface that does not require additional configuration and is aimed at both experienced Linux users and beginners who want to try the mosaic window environment managers spending a lot of time on their settings.

Unlike the Ubuntu Sway Remix project, the TileOS distribution is much more open to various changes and customizations, and is free of any potential copyright issues (Ubuntu Sway Remix uses Canonical’s registered trademarks, but there is no official response regarding the inclusion of the distribution in the official family Ubuntu still not received).

Builds for the amd64 architecture are available to download TileOS 1.0 (there are plans to provide arm64 support for Raspberry Pi boards in the future). The source code of TileOS components is published on GitLab.

TileOS focuses on window managers that use the Wayland protocol. Editions with Sway and River desktops are officially presented, editions with SwayFX (a fork of Sway, supplemented with various desktop effects) and Qtile are in development. The distribution uses the Debian Stable package base, but various improvements, newer versions of some software and graphics drivers are ported from the test branch. In addition, it includes a number of fixes that optimize the operation of the disk subsystem and memory, as well as some improvements carried over from Ubuntu, for example, mounting disks in the file manager without asking for a password and others.

Key features of TileOS implementation:

  • Linux kernel 6.6.15 with improved response time (CONFIG_HZ=1000 option, Debian uses CONFIG_HZ=300);

  • a set of open video drivers, Mesa 23.2.1 and Xwayland 23.2.2;

  • by default, the Zram mechanism is used using the zstd compression algorithm;

  • a large number of non-free drivers and firmware are installed, which significantly expands support for various equipment;

  • repositories with additional software such as VirtualBox, Visual Studio Code, Librewolf, OnlyOffice, and Brave are connected by default;

  • implemented the option of selecting additional software in the Calamares installer;

  • the D-Bus Broker is used as an implementation of the D-Bus system bus;

  • PipeWire is used as a sound server;

  • management of user sessions is carried out by systemd tools, which allows you to correctly terminate running applications and components upon reboot, shutdown or logout, as well as to ensure correct processing of autostart applications;

  • as the OOM Killer daemon in the Sway edition, systemd-oomd is involved. The rest of the editions use EarlyOOM;

  • applications use a single Catppuccin theme that uses soft pastel colors.

Features of the Sway editor:

  • the desktop is developed in parallel with the Ubuntu Sway Remix distribution, mutual transfer of certain changes is ensured;

  • many utilities from the NWG-Shell project are involved, such as the autotiling script Autotiling, the full-screen application menu nwg-drawer, the display customization utility nwg-displays, the appearance customization utility nwg-look, the session manager n wrapper that allows output to the desktop the content of any scripts (it implements a hint about hot keys used in the distribution);

  • a minimal set of components is installed, including PcmanFM-Qt file manager, Pluma text editor, Alacritty terminal emulator, Engrampa archiver and others. Additional software is suggested to be selected at the stage of system installation, or to be installed directly after system installation.

Features of the River edition:

  • involved a dynamic River window manager written in zig and drawing heavily from DWM, Awesome, and Bwpwm. River is easy to set up (the configuration file is a regular shell script that sequentially executes commands for the IPC riverctl bus), wide flexibility and less resource consumption than Sway. Since River is under active development and still far behind Sway in terms of functionality, the TileOS River edition is experimental in nature;

  • as in the Sway edition, the components of the NWG-Shell project are used, except for those that clearly do not support River (for example, wdisplays is used instead of nwg-displays).

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