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Reviews

Kali Linux 2017.3 hands-on: The best alternative to Raspbian for your Raspberry Pi

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Linux
Reviews

Linux distributions designed for security analysis, penetration testing, and forensic analysis are all the rage these days. It seems like you can hardly swing a dead cat (or a dead computer) without hitting one.

As a dedicated Linux user I consider that to be a good thing, simply because choice is always good, and it is always good to have several groups of talented and dedicated people working on something. But as a long-time user of Kali Linux (and BackTrack before that) I honestly believe that Kali is still the best in the field, so I am always pleased when I hear there is a new Kali release.

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Review: Daphile 17.09

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Daphile is a minimal Linux distribution which is designed to be run on a computer dedicated to playing music. Daphile can be run on headless machines and its media controls are managed through a web-based interface. Basically, Daphile is intended to be run on a computer we can stick in the corner of a room and use it as a media centre without worrying about managing software, tweaking settings or navigating desktop environments. Daphile can be run from a CD or USB thumb drive for maximum portability and does not need to be installed directly on a hard drive to work.

Daphile reportedly has the ability to rip audio CDs, play audio files from a local drive or stream music across network shares (Samba, NFS, FTP and OpenSSH services are supported). This gives us a pretty good range of media sources for our music collection.

Under the hood, Daphile has its roots in Gentoo, though the operating system is somewhat stripped down and we cannot use Gentoo's package management utilities. Daphile runs the Busybox userland tools and a light web server, and very little else. In fact, Daphile does not provide a login interface to allow us to tinker with the operating system. The operating system is dedicated entirely to the task of playing music and our sole access to the media controls are through its web interface.

The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the ISO file we download for Daphile is 195MB in size. While Daphile is capable of running entirely without a screen, when we do boot from Daphile's media the distribution displays the distribution's IP address, which it obtains over DHCP. We can connect to the IP address using any modern web browser which automatically gives us access to Daphile's media controls, there is no user authentication built into the web interface.

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Hands on With elementary OS Powered Centurion Nano Laptop by Alpha Store

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Linux
Reviews

If you want to buy a new laptop, no doubt you should consider the Centurion line. It will be a good choice for you, Linux aficionado. As well as for your Windows-addicted husband/wife/employees. The Centurion Nano is certainly not a “gamer” laptop. However, besides that particular use case, and for an interesting price, you will get a very competent computer, 100% compatible with Linux and usable for a broad range of tasks.

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Review: OnePlus 5T

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Android
Reviews

Have you ever arrived at a party, looked around, and realized you’re totally underdressed? It’s a panic-inducing moment. This nightmare scenario happened to OnePlus earlier this year. Its OnePlus 5 had the brains to match any competing Android device, but next to phones like the Galaxy S8, LG G6, iPhone X, it looked, well, dowdy. With thick, squared off bezels and an eyesore of a home button, it was so last season.

For four years, OnePlus has pinned its entire identity to the idea that it sells the phone with the highest specs at the lowest price. Instead of paying $850+ for a fancy phone from the likes of Google or Samsung, you can buy a nearly identical, slightly off-brand OnePlus for $500 or less. It was the phone those in the know would recommend to save a few hundred bucks and still have a brag-worthy device. But you couldn’t brag about the OnePlus 5, especially after some bugs plagued the device.

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Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon Review: Best ‘Linux’ Distro for Beginners!

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Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon boots fast (even on a slow rotational disk), very stable (I haven’t seen any application crash in the past 3 days that I’ve been using it) and the level of responsiveness it has shown is top-notch, probably matched only by another Linux Mint! As far as the end user-experience is concerned, I’d say it’s the best ‘Linux’ distro for beginners, it certainly knows how to please the end-user… welcome to the HecticGeek‘s review of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon edition.

Few years ago Linux Mint changed their release strategy. They now rely on the core of Ubuntu LTS releases as the foundation for their operating system. As far as I can see, this is working great for them. Because Ubuntu LTS (Long Term Support) provides security & maintenance updates up to 5 years & it is already based on a solid foundation set by Ubuntu. This in tern gives Linux Mint developers enough space to ‘breath’ a little and fully concentrate on what they do best: development of their awesome desktop shell & other native Linux Mint user-applications.

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LXLE Review: A Hassle-free Linux for Older Hardware

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LXLE is a lightweight Linux distribution mainly focused on older systems. John takes it for a test drive and shares his experience in this LXLE review.
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Huawei Mate9

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Android
Reviews

Generally this is a decent phone. As a replacement for a failed Nexus 6P it’s pretty good. But at this time I tend to recommend not buying it as the first generation of Pixel phones are now cheap enough to compete. If the Pixel XL is out of your price range then instead of saving $130 for a less secure phone it would be better to save $400 and choose one of the many cheaper phones on offer.

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Shotcut review: This open-source video editor is impressive

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OSS
Reviews

Shotcut is an open-source, free video editing program that has been around for more than a decade. It’s not the most intuitive or professionally presented, but beneath its rough presentation lies a remarkably powerful program.

When you first start Shotcut, you might be surprised at what you don't see—very little of its interface is exposed in the beginning. But click on the buttons in the top bar, and you’ll find numerous views and UI elements that prove to be much more robust than you’d guess at first glance. They’re resizable and undockable, making this one of the most heavily customizable free video editing programs out there.

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Review: heads 0.3.1

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heads is a live Linux distribution which can be run from a DVD or USB thumb drive. The distribution connects to the Internet through the Tor network. This helps protect the identity and location of the person using heads. The heads distribution is very similar to its popular sibling, Tails, in its mission, but heads has some special characteristics which set it apart. The heads distribution is based on Devuan while Tails is based on Debian, which means heads uses the SysV init software rather than systemd. The heads project is also dedicated to shipping a distribution which features free software only, as the heads website explains:

Non-free software can not be audited and as such cannot guarantee you security or anonymity. On the other hand, with heads you only use free software, meaning you can gain access to any source code that is included in heads, at any time. Using free software it is far easier to avoid hidden backdoors and malware that might be in non-free software.

heads is available in a single edition which is 831MB in size. When booting from the project's ISO, we are given the option of booting heads normally from the disc or loading the distribution into RAM. The latter option frees up our removable drive and can make applications load faster after the initial boot process has completed.

The distribution boots to a command line interface and automatically logs us in as a user called luther. On the screen we are shown the root account's password along with commands we can run to launch a graphical interface. The default shell for the luther account is zsh, a less common shell than bash, but often loved for its additional features. heads ships with the Awesome and Openbox window managers and we can choose which one we wish to launch from the command line. I focused on using Openbox during my trial.

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Manjaro Linux - One Of The Finest Linux Distros

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Linux
Reviews

I must say I am quite impressed with the latest iteration of Manjaro. The experience is fluid and smooth, fast and clean and it is very organized. I even found the experience on the Deepin edition better than on the Deepin distro. Manjaro clearly signifies why Arch-based distros that take them away out of the installation are becoming so popular.

A simple installation process, access to Arch based features such as AUR and added to the fact that it is a rolling-based distro makes it a winner for me. I also love that all the major desktop environments are available on Manjaro allowing users to choose what they want. If you were on the fence about Manjaro, I believe it's viable as your working desktop and it is definitely worth checking out. Thanks for reading and share your thoughts and comments with us.

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Bluetooth Linux Stack Gets Improvements for Bluetooth LE Joypads, Other Devices

First off, for the ShanWan PS3 joypad (a PlayStation 3 controller clone), they managed to disable the rumble motor that currently starts immediately after you plug the controller into the USB port of your Linux computer, as well as to hard-code the HID service that the joypad was supposed to offer but it didn't because it's not Bluetooth compliant. "The SHANWAN PS3 clone joypad will start its rumble motors as soon as it is plugged in via USB. As the additional USB interrupt does nothing on the original PS3 Sixaxis joypads, and makes a number of other clone joypads actually start sending data, disable that call for the SHANWAN so the rumble motors aren't started on plug," reads the kernel patch. Read more