Artful release date set for 19 October

So the date for the Artful release (17.10) of Xubuntu has been set for 19 October, about eight weeks away. I have been running it on all three of my Linux computers for several months and have noticed only a few minor issues. 
Mainly the issues boiled down to:
  • In a number of cases I have had to configure third party repositories to use zesty as the release as few of these seem to have considered that they should be making a version available for artful, even development versions like Qgis.
  • Kodi not being available from the official Kodi repositories in a compatible version. Solved by using the version from the Debian repository
  • There has been an issue on the mediapc with Kodi constantly freezing after restoring from hibernation.
  • VirtualBox did not update to the latest version automatically from the zesty repository, but the version downloaded from the website manually did update. The manual update was necessary because the installed version of virtualbox stopped working after a major package upgrade.
In each case when there is a software freeze or some other challenge I try updating to the latest release. Almost every time I check for new packages there have been hundreds of updates. It is not particularly unusual to have three hundred new packages each month and it can take easily half an hour or more to install them all. However all these updates have gone smoothly.
The mainpc has been a lot more reliable hibernating since I got rid of the Nvidia 4 head card and used the cheap two head card that is supported out of the box by the Nouveau drivers. If I should want to have more than two displays in the future I could put a second two head card alongside the existing one as the Gigabyte H97-D3H mainboard has two PCIe x16 slots installed, although I think the second slot will only do 4x but for a cheap card that may well be fast enough. Alternatively using the onboard graphics would also be an option as Intel graphics is well supported in Xubuntu and the hardware supports three displays out of the box. However apart from map drawing there has been no ongoing call for three displays and the maps project is scaling down a lot at the end of this year so there is probably no real urgency to go to three displays and in fact there is a much simpler solution, now that each PC on the desk has its own keyboard and mouse then simply use, for example, the windows pc’s display as a third display of something.
The usage of VirtualBox running Qgis in a Windows 7 VM has worked out very well for completing the major part of map development running an older version of the Qgis development master because of major problems with later versions. The best thing about the Windows versions of Qgis apart from being able to handle more resources such as 250 or more Geojpegs loaded simultaneously is that they don’t automatically update like ones in Linux do (if you have specified the repositories in your sources.list file or imported an update list into /etc/apt/sources.list.d) so I don’t have to worry about breaking Qgis with an update. I won’t be updating that VM with any newer Windows release of Qgis before the end of this year and don’t know if I will bother with any of the newer versions on Linux as the later development releases with a lot of challenges and project file corruption issues among other things is not something I can be bothered with wasting time on at present. This VM has been allocated 12 GB of RAM and it is surprising to see how much this drains mainpc’s resources, I guess the browsers are sucking up all the RAM in the computer, absolutely typical as they are major resource hogs, even Firefox Developer with e10s.
The bedroom pc is going to be updated with a new motherboard I am being given which is a Asrock Q1900 Mini-ITX. The advantage of this is the use of an Intel BayTrail CPU instead of the AMD E350 in the current incarnation of this computer as the AMD graphics are now deprecated officially by AMD so this computer has with the latest release of Xubuntu been having a lot of problems with graphics stuttering. The Bay Trail in the Asrock board means Intel graphics which are much better supported under Linux. I also have the option with the mini-PCIe slot on board this computer to put in a wireless card which would enable it to have wireless on board, again as long as I stick to an Intel card it will be supported out of the box. It is interesting Asrock have anticipated a few different uses for their series of board and have a Q1900DC model which instead of the ATX 24 pin power connector has a DC jack that can accept 9-19 volts DC from a laptop power adapter. If I was starting from scratch with an enclosure that didn’t have its own power supply (the Antec I bought has a separate laptop style adapter and a small internal board to produce the standard voltages) then this board would be well worth taking a look at.