Nitrux announces a promising convergent shell for everything


The freedom to create, build and use is one of the biggest advantages of the Linux world (and free and open-source software in general). If you don't like a project or want to give it your own feel, simply fork it, modify it, build it and run it, and don't forget to make all changes you made on it open source, so that others can modify it according to their needs as well. As a result, there is the Cinnamon desktop interface derived from GNOME, the JingOS interface is based on KDE and QT, and LXQt desktop environment as a result of merging of LXDE and Razor-qt projects…, etc.

At the end of 2017, Nitrux OS developers began developing a new project called Maui, aimed at creating a framework (MauiKit) based on the KDE Kirigami framework and Qt Quick Controls 2, that could help create converged applications for mobile, tablet, and desktop. This framework enables the development of an adaptive application that works on all platforms, devices, and operating systems including Android, Windows, and macOS.

Since then, developers have built several system core applications based on the MauiKit Framework, such as the index file manager, the Communicator contact organizer, the Clip video player, and the Pix image viewer. Three versions of all these applications are available, a desktop version for Linux (as an AppImage file), a version for plasma mobile (as anarm64 AppImage file), and a version for Android (as an APK file). Today, the  Nitrux OS team announced the piece that was missing the project to complete, Maui Shell.

Maui Shell consists of a top panel and a customized latte dock at the bottom of the screen.

The top panel spans across the width of the leading edge of the screen. It’s divided into two main sections: notifications and calendar on the left side, and toggles for quick access on the right side.

The notifications popups appear on the left side of the screen, and the current selection of quick-access toggles includes network settings, volume adjustment, screen brightness adjustment, audio playback controls, and session controls.

Top panel items can be opened either by clicking on them, then using the mouse wheel, or swiping them to the bottom of the interface is installed on a touch device.

The dock is at the bottom of the screen, listing pinned apps and opened ones. It also contains the launcher, which you can open by clicking the button or sliding up from the dock.

The launcher pop-ups in the center of the screen, and auto closed when clicking outside it or clicking again in an item. It has two pages, one where categories and another with filtered categories group apps. The idea is to add quick places sections to the main page of the launcher and other quick-access stuff.

The dock has, by default, a window dodge feature and can be brought back by mouse hovering or by a gesture by sliding up or down to hide it.

The desktop changes and adapts to the shape, size, and type of the device on which Maui Shell is installed, providing a beautiful, consistent user experience that is specific to each device, all without changing any line in the shellcode.

Maui Shell also includes initial support for workspaces. You can access the workspace overview from the bottom area by sliding up and moving between workspaces, slide left or right. To create a new workspace, slide up, and then from the dock, a new item should be revealed “+” to add a new workspace.

If the Shell Maui is installed on a tablet, the windows take up the entire tablet screen and have no window decorations. There can be up to two windows in each workspace, side by side or stacked. Windows can move freely with three fingers and resized using a pinch gesture with four fingers.

The Launcher takes the full available height and width on the tablet screen, and the top panel parts dim the screen when opened, to avoid too much visual noise.

On the phone, the launcher and panel parts take all available space. If you slide from the left side of the top panel, you open the notifications and calendar, and if you slide from the right, you open the status and quick settings toggles. The notification section fills the width of the top bar, so you can slide from the middle and still open the notifications.

If the dock contains too many items, it can be scrolled or flicked using a mouse wheel or slide gesture.

There is only a single window per workspace on the phone layout, and they take the entire screen, covering the dock. You can reveal the dock by sliding up, switching between opened apps, or launching new ones, convenient for multitasking.

Maui Shell is still in its early development stages, and it still lacks a set of important features as a session manager, and some of its components may not work as they should, but you can try it from now if you want to by installing the latest version of Nitrux OS (version 1.8.0) , and selecting the "Cask" session from the KDE display manager, but we recommend that you do not use the Maui shell currently on your main device because the shell may crush at any moment and return you to the login screen, which may make you lose anything you were working on.

 Maui Shell and its beautiful applications look promising, and will undoubtedly be a great addition to the range of desktop environments and desktops currently available to Linux distros, and may one day be a good alternative to many of them.

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