Author Archive


Lumina Desktop 0.8.7 Released!

The Lumina desktop environment has just been updated to version 0.8.7! Pre-built packages for this version are already available on the PC-BSD “Edge” pkg repository (x11/lumina[-i18n]), and will be included in next months 11.x “development” image as well.

This version also includes a few PC-BSD specific changes, such as now we have a custom “PCBSD” compile time option which installs the pre-configured settings for PC-BSD desktop systems, and removes the need for an additional file overlay by the PC-BSD project. If you are using “pure” FreeBSD, you may also install the PC-BSD settings by enabling that compile time option when you build the port.

For the full release announcement, head over to the Lumina website!


PC-BSD 10.2-RC1 Now Available

The PC-BSD team is pleased to announce the availability of RC1 images for the upcoming 10.2 release. Please test these images out and report any issues found on our bug tracker:


PC-BSD 10.2 Notable Changes

  • FreeBSD 10.2 base system
  • Many bugfixes and enhancements to installer to dual-boot setups
  • New CD-sized network installation media, with Wifi Configuration via GUI
  • Switched to “iocage” for jail management backend
  • Disk Manager GUI now available via installer GUI
  • Bug-fixes and improvements to Life-Preserver replications
  • Improved localization options for login manager
  • Options to Enable / Disable SSHD or IPv6 at installation
  • New “Plugins” system for AppCafe, allowing download of pre-built jail environments
  • Improvements to look-n-feel of AppCafe for package management
  • Improved fonts and better support for 4K monitor setups
  • Enterprise package repo, which only has security updates, allowing users to run a server / desktop or jail with fairly consistent package versions.
  • FireFox 39.0
  • Chromium 43.0.2357.134
  • Thunderbird 38.1.0
  • Lumina 0.8.6



Users currently running the EDGE package repo can now update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility to be brought up to date with RC1. Updates for users on the 10.1.2 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.2-RELEASE is announced.


Getting media

10.2-RC1 DVD/USB media can be downloaded from the following URL via HTTP or Torrent.


Reporting Bugs

Found a bug in 10.2? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database.


Lumina Desktop 0.8.6 Released!

Just in time for PC-BSD & FreeBSD 10.2 (coming soon), the Lumina desktop has been updated to version 0.8.6! This version contains a number of updates for non-English users (following up all the new translations which are now available), as well as a number of important bug-fixes, and support for an additional FreeDesktop specification. The PC-BSD “Edge” packages have already been updated to this version and the FreeBSD ports tree will be getting this update very soon as well.

In addition, the Lumina desktop now has its own website! While we are still working on cleaning up some of the visuals, all the information about Lumina (how to download/install it on various OS’s, a summary of the features, description of the project, screenshots, etc..) is all there and up-to-date. We are also working on a full handbook for Lumina (similar to the PC-BSD/FreeBSD handbooks) which can also be viewed directly from the website. Please check it out and let us know what you think!


Changes Since 0.8.5:

  1. Localizations
    • Add the ability to set system-locale overrides (used on login), allowing the user to “mix” locale settings for the various outputs.
    • Add the ability for the user to switch the locale of the current session on the fly (all locale settings changed for the current session only), and these settings will be used when launching any applications later.
    • Fix up the translation mechanisms of the Lumina interface, so everything will instantly get re-translated to the new locale.
    • More languages are now fully translated! Make sure to install the x11/lumina-i18n port or pkg to install the localizations and enable all these new features!
  2. Add support for the “Actions” extension to the XDG Desktop specifications.
    • This allows applications to set a number of various “actions” (alternate startup routines) within their XDG desktop registration file.
    • These actions are shown within Lumina as new sub-menus within the Applications menu as well as in the User button (look for the down arrow next to the application icon).
  3. Change the Lumina OSD to a different widget – allowing it to be shown much faster.
  4. Add new “_ifexists” functionality to any session options in luminaDesktop.conf. This allows the distributor to more easily setup default applications (browser, email, etc..) through an intelligent tree of options (which may or may not be installed).
  5. Bug Fixes
    • Apply a work-around for new users which fixes a bug in Fluxbox where the virtual desktop windows could still be changed/closed by various Fluxbox keyboard shortcuts. If an existing user wants to apply this fix, you need to replace your ~/.lumina/fluxbox-keys file with the new Lumina default (/usr/local/share/Lumina-DE/fluxbox-keys) – which will overwrite any custom keyboard shortcuts you had previously setup.
    • Fix some bugs in the new window detection/adjustment routines – fixing up issues with full-screen apps that change around the X session settings to suit their own temporary needs.
    • Fix a couple bugs with the automatic detection/load routines for the new QtQuick plugins.
    • Add in the “Ctrl-X” keyboard shortcut for cutting items in the Insight file manager.
    • Fix up the active re-loading of icons when the user changes the icon theme.



Lumina Desktop 0.8.5 Released

The next version of the Lumina Desktop Environment is now available! This version includes a significant number of updates, particularly to the main desktop session/interface, so I highly recommend that you update to the new version as soon as possible. While the full list of changes is posted at the bottom of the announcement, there are a few that I want to highlight here:

  • The user button has received a significant speed boost, and can now be used for full browsing of the user’s home directory (files and directories).
  • Desktop icons have received a large number of changes in styling, amount of visible text, and functionality. There is also a new feature to automatically generate plugins for items in the user’s Desktop directory – where each plugin may be individually moved/changed (not trapped within a container like the “desktopview” plugin).
  • A new desktop plugin for monitoring the system hardware status (memory/CPU usage, CPU temperature, disk I/O). This functionality requires support for your particular OS, and is currently only available for: PC-BSD, FreeBSD, and Debian
  • A new desktop plugin container for running custom QtQuick/QML scripts. While there is only a single “sample” plugin of this type available at the present time, it is now possible for users to create their own custom interface plugins using the QML scripting language (similar to javascript or CSS). See the “New Plugins” section in the change log below for details about where these scripts need to be placed/named.


  • Lumina has now been fully translated to German, Russian, and Spanish, and almost-completely translated to Catalan (89%), Chinese (61%), Estonian (53%), Indonesian (76%), Polish (89%), Portuguese (89%), Portuguese-Brazilian (89%), Swedish (91%), and Turkish (88%). Thank you to all our translators for all your hard work!!
  • To install the translation files on PC-BSD/FreeBSD, you will need to install the (new) x11/lumina-i18n port/package. These translations files are located in the lumina-i18n repository on GitHub, if you wish to package up the translations for your particular OS/distribution as well. Details about how to install those translation files are listed in the repository information.
  • To contribute to the translation effort, you may create an account on the PC-BSD translation website and get started today!

 Package Availability:

  • PC-BSD users currently running the EDGE package repo will be able to update their packages via the updater GUI or “pc-updatemanager” utility within the next couple days. Updates for users on the PC-BSD 10.1.2 / PRODUCTION repo will be available once 10.2-RELEASE is available later this year.
  • FreeBSD users may now update Lumina directly from the FreeBSD ports tree (x11/lumina), or wait until the FreeBSD package repository is updated with the latest changes before updating with pkg.
  • For other Linux/BSD users, please contact the packaging team for your distribution/OS to determine the availability of pre-built packages.

Source Repository

  • The Lumina-DE source repository is available on GitHub, and contains a detailed list of instructions on how to build/install Lumina on various types of systems.
  • A static archive of the sources for this release may also be downloaded directly from GitHub, to aid in the creation/distribution of pre-built packages for your particular OS.

Reporting Bugs

  • Found a bug in Lumina 0.8.5? Please report it (with as much detail as possible) to our bugs database.


  • The new system for desktop plugin settings requires that any desktop plugins will be reset back to defaults on upgrade to this version of Lumina.
  • There is a known bug/conflict between Qt 5.4+ and Fluxbox 1.3.7 which results in the “close” button on unlocked desktop plugins having no effect when clicked. To work around this issue, you may right-click on the title for the plugin and select the “close” option from the menu to remove the desktop plugin. Alternatively, you may also remove desktop plugins from the Lumina configuration utility (lumina-config).

Contact Us



Conference Videos/Slides

Kris and Ken attended BSDCan 2015 last week and had an amazing conference. The videos of the conference were just put online within the last couple days, so if you were not able to attend, you might want to take a look!

  • BSDCan 2015 Videos from the conference (not all of them were video recorded, but a lot were).
  • The video of Ken’s session about Lumina-DE. There is a bit missing at the beginning of the talk, but not too much was missed. The video is fairly dark, but you can also find all of Ken’s slides on SlideShare.
  • It does not appear that a video was recorded for Kris’s session about package/jail management, but you can find the summary/paper on the conference website linked above.
  • EDIT: There was a video recording of Kris’s session, but it has just not been put up yet. Stay tuned to the BSDCCan playlist to catch it when it gets uploaded. You can also find Kris’s slides from the session here.

At the same time as BSDCan, Joshua Smith attended the SouthEast Linux Fest (SELF) and gave a presentation titled “PC-BSD 10.1.2: Whats New?”.

If you have the opportunity to attend one of these conference in the future I highly recommend going!


Lumina Desktop Status Update/FAQ

With the amount of changes to the Lumina desktop environment and the increasing number of questions/comments we are receiving, I thought it would be a good time to post a status report about it and answer many of the commonly asked questions.

As always, please post any bug reports or feature requests on the PC-BSD Bug tracker.

If you wish to get involved in the development of the Lumina Desktop Environment, you can find the source code in our repository on GitHub.

Lumina Desktop FAQ/Status Update:

What is the Lumina Desktop Environment?

  • The Lumina Desktop Environment (sometimes referred to as Lumina-DE or just Lumina) is a BSD-licensed, FreeDesktop-compliant graphical interface for a desktop operating system.
  • It has been written from scratch in C++/Qt5 (it is not based on any existing DE code-base). It uses Fluxbox for the window management in the background and xscreensaver for screensaver/screenlocking functionality. The only other runtime dependencies are a couple of small X11 utilities (xnumlock, xbrightness, xterm, xrandr).
  • This results in a very lightweight, very smooth desktop experience with minimal system overhead.

What is the current development status?

  • While the current version (0.8.4) is still considered to be “Beta” quality, that is primarily because there are still a couple external utilities which have not had in-house replacements written yet (Fluxbox and xscreensaver primarily).
  • In its current state it is very stable and completely usable on a daily basis for both developers and non-developers alike.
  • The only caveat for its “beta” status is that since there are some backend systems which are still in major development, we reserve the right to break a user’s customized settings during the transition to these new systems (the window manager and screensaver settings are where I anticipate this happening once the replacement systems are in place). However, we already have a good track record of backwards compatibility with older settings formats, and will continue to work on ensuring a smooth transition between different versions of the desktop (even during heavy development/backend changes).

What are some of the features of Lumina?

  • Restore files from ZFS snapshots directly through the Insight file manager (lumina-fm).
  • View picture slideshows or play multimedia files through the Insight file manager.
  • Completely configurable – the interface is designed around a plugin-based mentality where everything you see/use is a compiled-in plugin (ensuring that every plugin is guaranteed to work). This means that you can create an interface custom-tailored to your specific needs.
  • Easy-to-use configuration utility (lumina-config). This single utility controls all the different configuration options for the desktop in one simple location.
  • Total system search capabilities through the lumina-search utility (without having a daemon eating memory in the background).
  • Screenshot functionality through the lumina-screenshot utility (also tied to the “print screen” key by default).
  • Multi-monitor support through xrandr (every monitor is treated as a distinct screen, with it’s own background, interface, etc..). Lumina also provides a graphical utility for adding/removing monitors from within the Lumina session (lumina-xconfig).
  • Simple system controls through the “System Dashboard” for things like audio volume, screen brightness, battery status/notifications, and workspace switching.
  • Easily select which application to use when opening a file and set that as the default for the next time. If you happen to remove that default application, it will automatically re-open the application selection dialog the next time you open that type of file again. This utility (lumina-open) is also tied into the commonly used xdg-open utility so that 3rd party applications will automatically use this utility for opening files outside of the application scope.

How is it different from other desktop environments?

  • Designed on PC-BSD, specifically for the BSD community at large (although it is easily ported to any OS, including Linux distros).
  • Does not require any of the commonly-used desktop implementation frameworks (DBUS, policykit, consolekit, systemd, HALD, etc..).
  • Does not come bundled with any “end-user” applications (web browsers, email clients, multimedia software, office suites, etc..). The only utilities that Lumina brings to the table by default are the ones written specifically for the project and are generally for background/utilitarian functionality (the largest utility is the file manager).
  • Simple text-based configuration file for setting system-wide defaults for new users. This allows distributors of the desktop to easily pre-set the system defaults/interface so it just works for the end user.
  • Plugin-based interface design. This allows the user to make the desktop as light/heavy as desired (within reason) simply by choosing which plugins to have running on their desktop/panels.

Are there any PC-BSD specific features?

  • Hardware-level screen brightness control (sysctl control through pc-sysconfig on PC-BSD 10.1.2+).
  • Links to the PC-BSD Control Panel and AppCafe are embedded directly into the Lumina interface for system control/modifications.
  • Detects when system updates are in progress and prevents the user from shutting down the system until that is complete (you can log out of Lumina and then shutdown the computer from the PCDM login manager if absolutely necessary) .
  • Designed to work hand-in-hand with the PC-BSD utilities (mounttray, AppCafe, Life Preserver, etc.) preventing conflicts between DE and OS utilities.

Is it available for any other operating systems?

  • There are currently source files in the project for building/using Lumina on: FreeBSD/PC-BSD, OpenBSD, DragonFlyBSD, kFreeBSD, Debian, and generic “Linux” distributions.
  • Please contact the package management/distribution team for your particular OS to determine the availability of pre-compiled packages.

What does it look like?

  • Due to the flexibility of the interface design and the ease with which the themes may be customized, the Lumina desktop can take many various forms. Here are a just a few of the variations that I have assembled on my system:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

  • As we continue to create more plugins with every new version of Lumina, the variability of the interface just continues to grow. If you have a particular plugin/feature that you would like, please post a feature request on the PC-BSD bug tracker!

What plugins are currently available (as of version 0.8.4)?

  • Panel Plugins: AppLauncher, AppMenu, BatteryMonitor, Clock, DesktopBar, DesktopSwitcher, HomeButton, Spacer, SystemDashboard, SystemTray, TaskManager(with or without grouping), UserButton.
  • Desktop Plugins: AppLauncher, AudioPlayer, Calendar, DesktopView, Notepad
  • Menu Plugins: AppLauncher, AppMenu, LineBreak, OpenTerminal, OpenFileManager, SettingsMenu, WindowList
  • More plugins are being created all the time!

What is being worked on right now?

  • Right now, we are mainly focused on expanding the scope of the desktop through creation of new plugins and enhancement of the existing plugins.
  • The next “big” change planned is the move to a new window manager which is in the process of being written right now.  This change will correspond with version 0.9.0.
  • We are also working on tweaking the default themes and colors right now, and are looking into adding new themes & color schemes “out of box” for people to be able to simple select and use.

A new window manager? Is something wrong with Fluxbox?

  • Fluxbox is a great WM, and the Lumina project will be still be using it for quite some time yet while the replacement is being written. The main reason a new WM is planned is for better integration with the Lumina desktop in the following areas:
    • Interface/font scaling
    • Keyboard shortcuts (particularly with using the default application registrations in Lumina)
    • Addition of WM “modes” for use on various types of devices.
    • Allow compositing between windows (for better transparency effects)
    • Uniform Theme/Appearance
  • In addition, having a custom WM specifically for Lumina allows us to be able to combine the functionality of a few common background daemons into a single utility (since at their core they all revolve around responding to particular base system events).
    • Window Manager (ICCCM/EWMH events)
    • Screensaver/Screen Locker (All Input Events – transparent watcher)
    • Keyboard shortcuts (Keyboard Input Events)
    • Application message logger/viewer (some EWMH events – transparent watcher)
    • Power management (system events through devd/HALD/other)
  • Having all these systems within the same utility allows us to be able to create a much tighter level of inter-functionality between them. For a few quick examples:
    • Temporarily disable the screensaver while a window is full-screen (such as when watching a video)
    • While the screen is locked, prevent the window manager from showing any new windows on the screen and stop all keyboard shortcut handling (preventing possible security issues), while still allowing some notifications and background procedures.
    • Enable different levels of power management while the screen is locked or the screensaver is active.
  • This is a fairly massive undertaking, so I want to re-iterate that I expect it to be quite some time until this new window manager is ready for use and we will continue to use Fluxbox in the meantime. The Lumina desktop will remain within the 0.8.x series of version numbers while this new utility is in development.

How can I get involved?

  • If you are a C++/Qt developer, there are tons of areas where you could contribute! Some of them are: finding/fixing bugs, writing new interface plugins, adding functionality to existing plugins, and more!
  • If you are a CSS developer, then you might be interested in making new themes for Lumina (using QSS: it is very similar to CSS but specifically for Qt applications/widgets). These themes can be created/modified directly within the Lumina configuration utility, and also provides an easy way to directly implement the user’s current color scheme. Once you have a theme put together that you like, you can just send us that file (located in ~/.lumina/themes) and we can get that included with any future versions of the desktop.
  • If you want to create new color schemes, you can do so via the Lumina configuration utility. Once you have one that you like, just send in that file (located in ~/.lumina/colors) and we can get that included with any future versions of the desktop.
  • If you found a bug or have an idea for a cool new feature, you can post bug reports or feature requests on the PC-BSD bug tracker!

How can I contact the developer(s) with questions/comments/snide remarks?


Help the Project, Donate Today!