The developers of the Linux-based NitruxOS (NXOS) have been working on a slick new convergent desktop environment called Maui Shell designed to look good and function well on just about any device no matter the screen size, which makes it an interesting option for phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers – or devices that are designed to work as one or more of those, like a phone that can be used as a desktop when an external display is connected.

Now the team has released the first official Alpha of Maui Shell, and it smooths out many of the rough edges that were visible when we last looked at the project a few months ago.

As noted in the official announcement, the Alpha release focused on filling in holes in Cask, the Maui Shell launcher.

Cask now offers controls for features such as Bluetooth, sound, network connections, display brightness, media playback and other behind-the-scenes settings.

The media player card has been tidied up, which makes it easier to see what’s currently playing and skip forward or back in your queue. A session card has been added to make it easier to switch among user accounts.

Other improvements that made the cut are an easy-to-toggle dark mode and an adaptive color scheme option. Enable adaptive mode and Maui Shell will analyze your wallpaper and set light or dark mode based on which is a better match.

Numerous other small but important visual changes were made. The dock and launcher have been cleaned up and highlighted with improved drop shadow effects. Overall, the result is a look that’s more uniform yet still allows important elements to stand out.

As you’d expect from an Alpha release, there are still plenty of bugs left to squash before Maui Shell gets a stable release. Two that NXOS mentioned are that reorganizing the launcher can cause your session to crash and that you should be ready for the unexpected when dragging content from one app to another.

If you want to try out the Maui Shell alpha release you’ll need to download the source files from GitHub (as well as MauiKit from the top of the Nitrux repo) and compile it yourself. If you’d rather have the heavy lifting done for you jusft wait for it to arrive in NitruxOS. That should be happening in the very near future.

You can also find more pictures and additional details about the Alpha release in the release announcement.

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