PC-BSD 10.0.3 Preview: Lumina Desktop

As we are getting ready for PC-BSD 10.0.3, I wanted to share a little preview of what to expect with the Lumina desktop environment as you move from version 0.4.0 to 0.6.2.

To give you a quick summary, pretty much everything has been updated/refined, with several new utilities written specifically for Lumina. The major new utility is the “Insight” file manager: with ZFS snapshot integration, multimedia player, and image slideshow viewer capabilities built right in by default. It also has a new snapshot utility and the desktop configuration utility has been completely rewritten. I am going to be listing more details about all the updates between the versions below, but for those of you who are not interested in the details, you can just take a look at some screenshots instead….  🙂










(Moving from 0.4.0 to 0.6.2)

– A desktop plugin system has been implemented, with two plugins available at the moment (a calandar plugin, and an application launcher plugin).
– The panel plugin system has been refined quite a bit, with transparency support for the panel itself and automatic plugin resizing for example.
– A new panel plugin has been added: the system dashboard. This plugin allows control over the audio volume, screen brightness, and current workspace, while also displaying the current battery status (if applicable) and containing a button to let the user log out (or shutdown/restart the system).
– The user button panel plugin has been re-implemented as well, and incorporating the functionality of the desktopbar plugin. Now the user has quick access to files/application in the ~/Desktop folder, as well as the ability to add/remove shortcuts to system applications in the desktop folder with one click.
– New backgrounds wallpapers and project logo (courtesy of iXsystems).

NOTE: Users of the older versions of the Lumina desktop will have their configuration files returned to the defaults after logging in to the new version for the first time.

The new file manager (lumina-fm, also called “Insight”):
– Browse the system and allow the bookmarking of favorite directories
– Simple multimedia player to allow playing/previewing multimedia files
– Image slideshow viewer for previewing image files
– Full ZFS file/directory restore functionality if ZFS snapshots are available
– Menu shortcuts to quickly browse attached/mounted devices
– Tabbing support for browsing multiple directories at once
– Standard file/directory management (copy/paste/delete/create)
– Supported multimedia and image formats are auto-detected on start, so if a particular file is not recognized, you just need to install the appropriate library or plugin on your system to provide support (none required by default).

The new screenshot utility (lumina-screenshot):
– Simple utility to create/save screenshots on the system.
– Can capture the entire system, or individual windows.
– Can delay the image capture for a few seconds as necessary
– Automatically assigned to the “Print Screen” keyboard shortcut by default, but also listed in the application registry under utilities.

The configuration utility (lumina-config):
– Competely new implementation
– Configure desktop appearance (background image, add desktop plugins)
– Configure panels (location, color/transparency, size, manage plugins, up to 2 panels supported per screen)
– Configure right-click menu plugins
– Manage/set global keyboard shortcuts (including shortcuts for adjusting audio volume or screen brightness)
– Manage/set default applications for the system by categories or individually
– Manage session options (enable numlock on log in, play audio chimes)
– Manage/set applications/files to be launched on log in
– Manage window system options (appearance, mouse focus policy, window placement policy, number of workspaces)

The application/file opener utility (lumina-open):
– Update the overall appearance of the application selector window.
– Fully support registered mime-types on the system now, and recommend those applications as appropriate.

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Written by Ken Moore. Posted in 10.0, Lumina, new features

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Comments (51)

  • Niclas
    August 26, 2014 at 2:58 pm |

    One thing that would be really cool is if the WM would do both stacking and tiling. I would switch right away. There are a lot of tiling WMs, but I haven’t found the perfect one yet. Maybe Lumina? =)

    • FinFin
      August 30, 2014 at 2:23 pm |

      I highly agree! currently I use i3wm on DragonflyBSD. PC-BSD has awesome graphical tools. However tiling needs to be there for professional use.

    • Ken Moore
      September 2, 2014 at 4:45 am |

      Niclas » Fluxbox has a few different organization routines for new windows, which behave a bit like a tiling WM even though it is a stacking WM at heart. If you open up the Lumina configuration tool and go to the session/window options, you can see that Fluxbox can initially place windows: under the mouse, “cascading” (on top of the previous window, with the title bar just below the previous window’s title bar), and then the “tiling” options of left->right or top->bottom. If you want to try and get other “stricter” layout routines, you might want to contact the Fluxbox developer(s) and talk to them about it.

      • Niclas
        September 2, 2014 at 6:59 am |

        It didn’t cross my mind that Lumina used Fluxbox. I’ll check that out though, thanks!
        You use Fluxbox from the repo right? So, if I would get the Fluxbox people to add another layout, it should work out of the box in Lumina? =)

        • Ken Moore
          September 2, 2014 at 7:11 am |

          Niclas » That is correct. The only manual change I would need to make for Lumina is a new entry in the lumina-config utility so that the user can easily change to the new option (which takes all of 10 seconds for me to make that change in the source).

          • Niclas
            September 2, 2014 at 7:24 am |

            I don’t think I can convince them, but it’s worth a shot. Other than the tiling thing, Lumina is probably the best DE I’ve ever used. It’s kind of nice to install PCBSD with Lumina and be done. Compared to the many hours I’ve spent customizing and tweaking dwm, i3, Xmonad etc on FreeBSD and Linux.

  • sg1efc
    August 26, 2014 at 4:54 pm |

    Thanks a lot Ken and everyone else! Looking forward to seeing and using all these great improvements. Btw, my favorite is the Red Lumina Wispy. 🙂
    Wondering: Will there be a way to increase the size of the mouse cursor/pointer? I’d like to try to get a friend of mine who has poor vision on PC-BSD, but he requires a larger mouse cursor/pointer than normal, in order to see it.

    • Ken Moore
      August 27, 2014 at 5:59 am |

      sg1efc » I have actually been experimenting with how to configure that as well. It appears that you can set your mouse cursor theme by modifying the file “~/.icons/default/index.theme” and changing the “Inherits=” line to a different/larger mouse cursor theme (if you have one installed).

      • sg1efc
        August 27, 2014 at 8:39 am |

        Cool, Thanks a lot for this info and all your great work Ken. I hope you and everyone else at PC-BSD, FreeBSD & iXsystems had a nice summer vacation. 🙂

  • Charles
    August 26, 2014 at 5:25 pm |

    Lumina looks awesome – thanks for all the hard work!!

    Side note: the light gray text on light gray background is very, very difficult to read. Same problem on PC-BSD site itself but it’s worse here. Can you all consider changing this on both sites?

  • Bernd
    August 27, 2014 at 1:37 am |

    Wow that looks great already. Thank you very much for your work. And this will be in the FreeBSD ports tree in the future? I love it …

    • Ken Moore
      August 27, 2014 at 5:41 am |

      Bernd » Yes, once PC-BSD 10.0.3 is released we will be updating the FreeBSD port for Lumina as well (x11/lumina).

      • Bernd
        August 31, 2014 at 3:03 pm |

        Thank you very much. I have just donated to the FreeBSD foundation and mentioned especially your project ..

  • […] Source: pc-bsd […]

  • Edward Koch
    August 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm |

    Looks awesome! Can’t wait for the Lumina Desktop experience 🙂

  • Andrew
    August 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm |

    Great work!
    It looks kind of rough around the edges but for such a young project it is a lot of progress in very little time.

    Will it be usable under Linux with the Linux ZFS port?

    • Ken Moore
      August 28, 2014 at 4:54 am |

      Andrew » Lumina does not require ZFS, it just recognizes if it is available and allows more options if so. It should be usable under Linux as well, but will need to get a little love from a Linux dev to fill out the “libLumina/LuminaOS-Linux.cpp” source file first. All OS-specific interactions are contained within that clearly documented class, so it should be a relatively trivial task to get Lumina working on other operating systems.

  • Charles
    August 28, 2014 at 12:48 pm |

    You mentioned in the BSDTalk that Lumina doesn’t depend on hal – does it depend on dbus?

    • Ken Moore
      August 29, 2014 at 5:06 am |

      Charles » Not directly. All the DBUS stuff in the standards are still listed as optional, so I opted to leave it out. That being said, I know that most login managers (even PCDM) *do* launch the desktop within a DBUS session. This is generally because there are tons of applications that require DBUS, even if the desktop does not.

      This is very similar with HAL. Lumina does not depend on it or use it, so the only reason it is still required on FreeBSD is because X11 itself uses HAL to detect devices. If we could get that switched over to devd instead, I would be extremely happy about it.

  • Suvro
    August 28, 2014 at 4:12 pm |

    Hi, Ken

    I used Lumina on my box, and a few things that I found – while I could use the preloaded collection of wallpapers that PC-BSD offers, if I tried using my own photos that people sent me, it just wouldn’t get set as the wallpaper. Is that a known bug? (The same works on KDE and LXDE – the other WMs that I use) I even tried moving those albums to /usr/local/share/wallpapers and then tried it, but it still wouldn’t work. :L

    Also, when I log into the account for the first time after rebooting, only 1 virtual window shows up, and it’s only after I log out and log in again that I get 2. Also, isn’t there a way of setting it to something other than 1 or 2 (w/o editing .* files?)

    Other thing – while in KDE and LXDE, I can view all the applications in the system, in Lumina, they seem to be well hidden, and there seems no direct way to get them to the apps pull down menu. Only way I could was log into KDE, make the application in question an icon on the desktop and THEN if I logged back into Lumina, I could see it.

    Are these all known issues here? Also, will AppCafe help me upgrade? And will these issues go away if I do?

    • Suvro
      August 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm |

      Quick note about the above – I had installed the ‘alpha’ version of Lumina –,1

      • Ken Moore
        August 29, 2014 at 4:38 am |

        Suvro » Any *.png or *.jpg image can work as a wallpaper (even on the old version). If you have some proprietary image file format (or just changed the extension on the file without actually converting the image) then Qt might not be able to load the file – causing the issues you see.
        You can change the number of virtual workspaces easily in 0.6.2, with the new setting being applied immediately (it is in the window system session options). By default, there should be two workspaces.
        To get to the application menu (even in the old version), you just need to click on the user button (on the panel) and it is the “applications” entry right near the top which opens up to categories and apps. You can also get to the application menu by right-clicking on the desktop, and you have the same “applications” entry/tree in there as well.

        Once PC-BSD 10.0.3 is released and you upgrade your packages you will automatically be moved to the new version of Lumina as well. If you want to try it out immediately, you just need to switch your repository setting in the AppCafe to point to the “EDGE” repo instead of “PRODUCTION”.

        • Suvro
          August 29, 2014 at 4:34 pm |

          Thanks. Will try it out when available. Didn’t have any proprietary image format nor changed any file names – just the pics taken from an iPhone and sent to me by e-mail.

        • Suvro
          August 30, 2014 at 11:30 am |

          One more question – in Lumina, will it be possible to give different wallpaper backgrounds to different virtual workspaces?

          • Ken Moore
            August 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm |

            Suvro » No. The Desktop(s) exists on a per-screen basis rather than a per-workspace basis. This allows for only a single instance of the desktop per physical screen, with as many virtual workspaces as you desire (I have not looked for upper limits yet, but I assume you can have at least 12). If you try to make a per-workspace instance, you end up with a ton of extra overhead that is always disused because by definition you can only be running a single workspace at a given moment. I might be able to do some “magic” autodetection/redirection of workspaces so you can register different wallpapers for different workspaces within a single desktop instance, but no promises at the moment.

            • Suvro
              August 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm |

              That’s fine. The only reason I asked is that in the other desktops that I use, I’ve enabled different backgrounds for different workspaces, which helps me identify them (usually, I don’t run apps full screen). Not a major deal either way, but that is part of the rationale for enabling that.

  • Bruno
    August 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm |

    What’s the future of Lumina? A impressive DE like Apple’s Aqua, something like Windows style, like KDE, like XFCE, like Gnome, what? I dream a BSD with Aqua-like DE abstracting all the OS complexity like Finder do, with elegance, flexibility, lightness and community-made, then we have non-free DE for BSD (Darwin) called Aqua and a free DE for Darwin dad, FreeBSD. 😀

    • Ken Moore
      August 29, 2014 at 5:20 am |

      Bruno » Right now I am still trying to play “catch up” with standard desktop usage, since there is so much that needs to be written/implemented. Once Lumina hits 1.0-release, then I have a full list of features/systems to work on that will make Lumina truly unique. Some of them are backend system administration systems (for particular situations like business use, family/parental controls, etc), and I also have a full re-implementation of the desktop panel system in mind that keeps the traditional usage/abilities while also allowing the visual system to scale from small 7″ tablet sizes all the way up to TV screens without loss of functionality. Along with this, you might have noticed that the UI design is also touch-screen friendly without the loss of traditional mouse usage.
      Basically, I am starting from the standard desktop format (since it is the most flexible/powerful) and slowly evolving it to keep up with modern hardware trends (touchscreens, small/gigantic screen sizes, etc). The first example of this is the system dashboard panel plugin – where it gives quick access to (almost) all system hardware/settings, instead of the traditional methods of individual tray applications for each hardware system.
      Keep it simple and intuitive, while not losing traditional desktop functionality – that is my goal.

  • q/pa
    August 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm |

    Thank you, Ken! Can’t wait for the official release to try out the updated Lumina. Already I am thinking about switching from KDE to Lumina. With all these nice ideas you had I even will let go of glx dock which I really liked for its convenience and good looks, too. 😉 Switching from kmail to Thunderbird won’t make much of a difference but I will still need Digikam. Do I have to have an installed but dormant KDE for all the libraries that Digikam needs?
    Btw, I checked out your interview on BSDtalk which I liked very much, too. Didn’t know you and Kris were brothers (though I wondered about that last name…. 😉 )
    Thanks again,

  • Suvro
    August 29, 2014 at 4:41 pm |

    One question – is FBSD/PC-BSD thinking about adding Wayland in addition to X11? Or will it stay X11 as long as possible?

    • Ken Moore
      August 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm |

      Suvro » That would be something to ask about on the FreeBSD forums/mailing lists, but as far as I can recall I have not heard about any work on porting Wayland to FreeBSD yet.

  • juan carlos perez
    September 1, 2014 at 7:45 am |

    PCBSD becoming better than Ubuntu in all perspective an os can be, Keep up the good work of making the best desktop choice experience. This why i usually choose this os than Ubuntu or OpenSUSE. But it lack one thing, i wish that it can run 100% LINUX gaming compatibility layer without the doing the hustle that majority of linux apps failed to load, i like the idea that Sun did with solaris 10 zones, having different layers of executing apps if this was possible maybe can PCBSD can be done without any effort doing necessary of getting linux games like Witcher 2, Metro Redux, SS3, and any linux steam games on FreeBSD by having the linux layer ready out the box like having all libs included, this will changed the landscape of linux community of choice

  • Scott H
    September 1, 2014 at 8:47 am |

    3 Questions:
    1) What backend does the audio volume control use?
    2) Do the panel plugins meet freedesktop standards for system trays?
    3) Will the Lumina source code be periodically released as stable – ports for my platform presently does not support pulling code from GIT repositories

    • Ken Moore
      September 1, 2014 at 11:20 am |

      Scott H »
      1) On FreeBSD it uses the built-in “mixer” tool (/usr/sbin/mixer) – which is an audio-system and audio-device agnostic method for managing all audio on the system. For a graphical frontend, it uses the “pc-mixer” utility I wrote for PC-BSD (which is also just a Qt wrapper around the “mixer” utility).
      2) No – the panel plugins are an internally-designed class of widget that need to be added/compiled at the same time as the desktop. This prevent any possibility of “infected” plugins, as well as ensuring that the desktop experience is consistently stable without worries about plugins breaking the desktop itself.
      The only distinction is that the “system tray” panel plugin does meet the freedesktop standards for a system tray. So any 3rd-party application that is designed to run in the tray should work fine on Lumina as well. The only bug that I know of with regard to the system tray at the moment is the auto-detection of previously-running and unmanaged tray applications when the system tray starts up. At the moment, the tray/desktop should be among the first applications to run and then it can detect/manage tray applications that are started later without problems.
      3) I am not sure exactly what you are referring to, but I think you mean a tarball of the source files for a particular release? Once PC-BSD 10.0.3 is released, we will be committing a FreeBSD port for Lumina (x11/lumina), and I believe that we *will* have a tarball of the source files for that port. After that, PC-BSD generally keeps those ports/tarballs updated with our production branch (every 3 months or so – every time there is a new release).

  • Arto Pekkanen
    September 1, 2014 at 12:51 pm |

    If you can position the toolbar vertically on the right side of the screen, then this DE is tolerable. Most monitors are widescreen these days, and having the application context management tools (taskbar etc) on the right or left side of the screen is really important.

    If you want to make this DE really good, you have to implement a type-to-launch utility, which slides out from the right side of the screen. The utility must implement some sort of indexing which searches available commands/programs and filters then by your input. You should be able to choose an app/command from results with arrow keys + enter. This utility must be available via key combination.

    That’s about all you need to do in my opinion. Toolbar to the right side of the screen. Type-to-launch utility via shortcut (take a look at dmenu if you want to know how a good launcher works).

    • Ken Moore
      September 2, 2014 at 4:34 am |

      Arto Pekkanen » If you want the toolbar on the right side of the screen with only the task manager, then you can have that in Lumina in less than a minute. Just open up the configuration UI and adjust your panel as desired.
      The official type-to-run utility is not written yet (it is the last one on my list of base utilities for Lumina), so for now you just have the Fluxbox “Run Dialog” with the keyboard shortcut of Alt-F2. I plan on incorporating a full file/application search functionality into the quicklaunch utility as well, so stay tuned for more information as it is available….

  • sg1efc
    September 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm |

    High words of praise for Lumina from Arto Pekkanen:
    “If you want to make this DE really good”

    Well, I think that Lumina kicks ass already and it will continue to be enhanced Thanks to Ken. 🙂

  • Quiroga
    September 3, 2014 at 12:11 am |

    I ask Ken or Chris, if you have not thought about the idea of ​​replacing on behalf of PC-BSD by “Lumina BSD” 🙂

    • Ken Moore
      September 3, 2014 at 5:02 am |

      Quiroga » Absolutely Not! Why would we restrict FreeBSD users to just a single desktop option? PC-BSD/FreeBSD is a complete/unified OS (unlike “Linux”) and does not need a “distro” for every slight default variation of a DE/system.

      • quiroga
        September 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm |

        Thanks for your reply, Ken!

  • claude
    September 13, 2014 at 9:00 am |

    I download Pc Bsd lumina. Burn disc dvd, but to boot it boots. There is an error message ‘FAILED ERROR 19’. I have a Tecra T400

    thank for my help

    • claude
      September 13, 2014 at 5:24 pm |

      This message error for istall PC BSD for my hardisk i’ts Mounting from ufs:/dev/ufs/ Pc BSD_Install failed with error 19.

      Whats that ?

  • dasti
    September 21, 2014 at 9:11 am |

    hi Ken,

    that’s an impressive job you already accomplished here and the integration of zfs in the file explorer is just a jump in the future 🙂

    I’m not a programmer but if I’m willing to help with suggestions/opinions/sharing my experience
    – is it the right time for that ? or do you already a good idea of what you want to do and not enough time to do it ? (situation that I can completely understand 🙂
    – and then is there a place for that (I had a small look at the mailing lists but I never used that kind of way of communicating and don’t want to make a mistake here)


    • Ken Moore
      September 22, 2014 at 5:08 am |

      dasti » Feel free to post suggestions/feature requests on the PC-BSD bug tracker (be sure to specify the Lumina sub-project). This is actually a great time to request things since all the major framework is already put together and I am trying to work on all the little details now.

  • Justin Yang
    September 21, 2014 at 9:48 am |

    Thanks for this perfect DE! I want to try it out but not sure if it’s stable. Currently xfce is my DE, I hope I can replace it with Lumina one day:)

    • Ken Moore
      September 22, 2014 at 5:04 am |

      Justin Yang » It seems to be quite stable, but I would not recommend putting it on production-level systems just yet. For a home desktop though I think it is perfectly fine right now.

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