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Kano OS Beta 1.3.3 Released

What's new in the latest release of Kano OS

The build servers haven’t even cooled down from the last one, yet it’s time for another release! Kano OS Beta 1.3.3 is coming out this week, bringing new features and improvements all over. Don’t be fooled by the missing ‘7’ from the version number, it’s still pretty 1337.

Terminal Quest

The flagship for this update, leading the fleet into the sea, is Terminal Quest. An adventure game that will take you through the darkest and deepest corners of the Linux terminal using narrative and a captivating storyline. You wake up in a town of Foldertron where buildings are falling apart and people are going missing. Quick! Pick up the keyboard and find out what’s going on.

New Terminal Quest
Terminal Quest: The instructions on the left, your spells at the bottom and the terminal on the right.

Much has improved since the experimental version that came out in December and this time, we’re putting it on your OS by default with a whole new chapter of the story. We also made many improvements to the first one and decided to reset everyone’s progress back to the start, so you don’t miss any of the clues!

Supports RPi 2 out of the box

We’re thrilled about release of the new Raspberry Pi 2 and all the additional performance it has. Because the new board is compatible with its predecessor, we were able to make Kano OS run on it with only a few adjustments, using the latest firmware and a different kernel. If you update your OS to Beta 1.3.3, you’ll be able to use the image on both boards interchangeably.

Our initial benchmarks show a considerable improvements in both speed and responsiveness of the computer. Exciting times are afoot! We’ll keep testing the OS and fixing things to make sure everything works fine on the Pi 2, while we figure out how to best utilise all of its speed and computing power.

If you have a Raspberry Pi 2 already and you tried the OS on it, we’d love to hear what you think! Tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #kanofeedback.

Splash screens

The Beta 1.3.3 comes with a giant usability improvement: each of our projects now comes with a beautiful splash screens. It pops up instantly as soon as you launch the app to give you instant visual feedback that it’s starting. Previously, the same was indicated by a loading cursor, but that approach proved to be too small to be easily noticeable.

Make Snake Splash
Make Snake: The brand new splash screen for Make Snake.

We did this using Andrew Duncan’s pngview dispmanx demo to render an image using the GPU, which does that only in about a quarter of a second.

LXPanel

One of the larger tasks for this release was integrating the modified version of lxpanel that Simon Long maintains for Raspbian. He incorporated several useful UI improvements in the package. For us, it meant migrating from the old 0.5.10 version from wheezy to 0.7.2, which brought changes in the plugin API on which we depend pretty heavily. The following picture shows how the new configuration of the panel looks now on Kano OS.

New lxpanel 0.7.2
LXPanel: The new look of the system menu.

Sonic Pi 2.4

We updated the version of Sonic Pi that we ship with the OS three versions up to 2.4, getting the latest improvements from Sam Aaron and the team. To see the full list of what changed on their side, check out Sonic Pi’s changelog on GitHub.

New Sonic Pi 2.4 Splash
Sonic Pi: The splash screen of the new Sonic Pi 2.4 on Kano OS.

Translating the OS

This release includes the very first changes towards making the Kano OS translatable to other languages. The effort is lead by Hanno Zulla, a contributor and community member, who would like to translate the OS to German for his little daughter. Using his experience with localisation from his company, he’s helping us to make the OS translatable with gettext. How cool is that? Thank you so much, Hanno!

His first change that we were able to merge was a substantial refactoring of the GUI of the Updater. He’s been working on other things as well that are still to be merged. Stay tuned for the next release!

The refactored updater
Kano Updater: The interface looks much the same, yet the code was almost rewritten. Can you spot the difference?

 Summary

These were only a few of many bug fixes, improvements, UX tweaks and new features that made it into the release. I haven’t listed any of the smaller ones, but it is often those that make all the difference. For the full list, check out our forums. Anyway, I hope that you’ll enjoy the new version of the OS!

Do you have something to add? Discuss this post on talk.kano.me.

Written by
Software Engineer at Kano