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Initially scheduled to ship with the Mir display server, and XMir as a fallback solution, Ubuntu 13.10 postponed Mir as default replacement for X due to the fact that Mir is not yet considered ready for end-users.

With Saucy Salamander, Ubuntu ships a solid desktop based on the work that has been done since 13.04, with few new features that are noteworthy, and no major changes. Saucy will be supported for 9 months, until July 2014. With 13.04 support ending very soon, Saucy is a good replacement to feature newer packages and a decent lifespan.

Default Ubuntu 13.10 desktop:
saucy_desktop

For this review I used the 64-bit Desktop ISO image. Let’s see what are the main applications offered by Saucy:

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The monthly KDE update, 4.11.2, has been released earlier today, fixing over 70 bugs, including KWin, Dolphin and the personal information manager application Kontact.

To try it in (K)Ubuntu, use the Kubuntu Updates PPA:

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LibreOffice 4.0 Final is now available via the LibreOffice PPA. To install it in Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10, follow the instructions below:

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Akregator
This is the KDE-based feed reader with support for RSS feeds. Akregator comes with lots of features and it has a simple interface, with a tree-like view to the left side for the feeds list and a large area for reading news. It supports tabs, sharing to websites like Twitter or Identi.ca, while links and pages can be opened in an external web browser. It uses the WebKit engine for displaying web pages. It allows the configuration of its appearance, like font and colors, sharing services, article archiving and it support system tray integration.

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According to a development update posted on Ubuntu Fridge by the Ubuntu developer Daniel Holbach, Ubuntu 12.04 is on its way to release the first beta next week, on February 29, after the user interface freeze which occured today. “Today User Interface Freeze and Beta Freeze will kick in, next week we will do a test rebuild of the whole archive and Beta 1 will get out next week as well.”

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Battle for Wesnoth
Battle for Wesnoth, or BfW for short, is a popular turn-based strategy game which takes place in a fantasy universe and has support for singleplayer and multiplayer, official campaigns (and more available to download), hotseat games. The game comes by default with 6 factions and takes place over hexagons, each player deploying his army and trying to kill his opponent. Wesnoth can be highly modded via WML (Wesnoth Markup Language), and the add-ons server includes many more maps, factions, eras and campaigns. Beside for the usual mode which allows up to 9 players to battle against each other or forming teams, there are also the rumble maps (very small maps), or the survival ones, or the multiplayer campaigns or role playing maps. There is also an unofficial ladder available. Wesnoth is really an awesome, complete game, with a great community, great online playing, music themes, map editor, a great helping system, and much, much more.

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Dedicated applications

Shutter
This is a very powerful and feature-rich tool for taking screenshots. Written in GTK and blending well in GNOME, Shutter offers just about anything you would ask from such an application: timer, screenshots of whole screen, windows, widgets, a quick and easy-to-use editor for fast retouching or pointing out certain aspects of the image, support for plugins, exporting/importing and saving to PNG, JPG or BMP. Definitely a winner in my opinion.

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Shutter 0.88 has recently been released with several new features, looking even better than before.

For those of you who didn’t hear about it before, it’s probably time you have a look at it. Shutter is probably the most powerful screenshot-taking application available for GNOME, including countless features and several useful tools to take screenshots and manipulate them in any way possible.

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After changing its stable release policy to a more accelerated pace, Mozilla released Firefox 5 pretty quick after the latest major Firefox version was put out. Firefox 4 was released on March 22, 2011 and this version follows only three months later. Here’s an announcement on the Mozilla Blog website.

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Five more file managers were added: Sunflower, Marlin, SpaceFM, Ranger and FDclone. This overview now contains 25 file managers. Thank you for all the suggestions!

Dolphin | Homepage
Dolphin is the default file manager in KDE and it features an easy to use interface, tabs, previews, three view modes (icons, details, columns), vertical window splitting, file and folder sorting, service menus, tags, two-mode location bar.

sudo apt-get install dolphin

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Ubuntu Unleashed 2011 Edition: Covering 10.10 and 11.04 (6th Edition) is a book written by Matthew Helmke, Andrew Hudson and Paul Hudson. With over 700 pages, The 2011 Edition is the perfect Ubuntu manual and it covers Ubuntu 10.10 and 11.04 from A to Z, including installing, configuring, desktop applications, system administration, games, Ubuntu as a server, programming in Ubuntu.

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PeaZip is an open-source file archiver with GTK and Qt interfaces, with support for all the major archives out there, including gzip, 7z, bzip2, zip, and arc.

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Gnac is a graphical audio converter for GNOME with support for encoding/decoding to and from various formats, including the free formats FLAC and Ogg, WAV, MP3, M4A or SPX.

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