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Reviews

Zorin OS 15.1 Review

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OS
Reviews

Nothing restricts you to Zorn OS’s collection of installed software – its Software Center allows you to expand it with everything but the kitchen sink.

Although it might be presented as a solid alternative to Windows, Zorin OS is also worth a look for everyone tired of trying to grasp with some distributions’ approach to organization. It’s uncomplicated in its use, beautiful to look at and fast. What’s not to like?
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Review: Zorin 15.1 "Lite"

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Reviews

Zorin OS is an Ubuntu-based operating system that aims to make Linux easy for Windows and macOS users. In the words of Zorin, it is "the alternative to Windows and macOS designed to make your computer faster, more powerful, secure and privacy respecting". Zorin's main product is the paid-for "Ultimate" edition, which will set you back €39 and comes with macOS, Windows, Linux and "Touch" layouts (i.e. themes) as well as a relatively large collection of software and "installation support". Other editions of Zorin are free but come with less pre-installed software and fewer desktop layouts.

For this review I dusted off a MacBook that dates from late 2009 and installed the "Lite" edition which, as the name suggests, is designed to breathe new life into older hardware. The laptop is one of the plastic, white MacBooks. It has an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU and 4GB of RAM - I doubled the amount of RAM a few months ago. The laptop has mostly been running Fedora with the MATE desktop and the i3 window manager as an alternative environment, both of which ran fine. Zorin's Lite edition uses Xfce as the desktop environment.

First impressions and installation

Zorin's website is either modern and clean or yet another bootstrap site, depending on your view. There are just three links in the navigation menu: Download, Computers and Help (the Computers section links to vendors that sell laptops with Zorin pre-installed). The Download section lists Zorin's Ultimate edition first, followed by the Core, Lite and Education editions.

Clicking any of the Download links for the free versions triggers a "Sign up to our newsletter & Download" pop-up window featuring a huge "Sign up & Download" button and a very small "Skip to download" link. I am not a fan of this type of marketing. I don't mind that they ask if I maybe want to sign up to their mailing list, but I take issue with the fact that the dialogue window has been designed to make the "No thanks" option easy to miss. Such marketing techniques assume that users need to be tricked into signing up to receiving marketing materials, which reflects poorly on the project as a whole.

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TROMjaro Updates Deliver Lighter, Better Manjaro

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Linux
Reviews

TROMjaro is based on Arch Linux but is much simpler to install and maintain. That makes it a good computing platform to investigate.

While it is easier to install and use than most other Arch Linux-based distributions, users already familiar with how the Linux OS works will have a less challenging experience than newcomers to Linux migrating from macOS and Microsoft Windows.

The TROMjaro desktop has its own unique look and feel, and its own approach to handling software.

Existing TROMjaro users do not have to do anything special to update their systems if they installed an earlier ISO. Just update the TROM repository.

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Reviews of Kubuntu Focus Laptop Coming Out Today

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews
  • Kubuntu Focus Offers The Most Polished KDE Laptop Experience We've Seen Yet

    As we mentioned back in December, a Kubuntu-powered laptop is launching with the blessing of Canonical and the Kubuntu Community Council. That laptop, the Kubuntu Focus, will begin shipping at the beginning of February while the pre-orders opened today as well as the embargo lift. We've been testing out the Kubuntu Focus the last several weeks and it's quite a polished KDE laptop experience for those wanting to enjoy KDE Plasma for a portable computing experience without having to tweak the laptop for optimal efficiency or other constraints.

  • Kubuntu Focus Linux Laptop Is Now Available for Pre-Order, Ships Early February

    The previously announced Kubuntu Focus Linux laptop is now available for pre-order and has a shipping date and a price tag for those who want a premium computer.

    Unveiled last month during the Christmas holidays, the Kubuntu Focus laptop is a collaboration between Kubuntu, Tuxedo Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc., and it aims to be the first-ever officially recognized Kubuntu Linux laptop targeted mainly at gamers, power users, and developers.

    Kubuntu Focus is a premium and very powerful device that comes pre-installed with the latest Kubuntu release, an official Ubuntu flavor featuring the KDE Plasma Desktop environment, some of the most popular Open Source software, and astonishing hardware components.

    Today, Kubuntu announced on Twitter that the Kubuntu Focus laptop is now available for pre-order with a price tag starting at $2,395.00 USD for the base model, which features 32GB of RAM, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card, and one power supply, but the laptop can go for up to $3,665.00 USD.

  • Unboxing of the Kubuntu Focus Laptop

    I got a chance to review the Kubuntu Focus laptop and this is the Unboxing and First Impressions video for it.

Fedora 31 | Review from an openSUSE User

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Red Hat
Reviews

Fedora is a Linux distribution that has been around since the beginning of my Linux adventure and for which I have incredible respect. I have reviewed Fedora before, and it was a good experience. Last time I used Fedora, I used Gnome and since I am kind of Gnome fatigued right now, I thought it better to use a different desktop, one that I can easily shape my experience to my needs, clearly, there are only two options but I chose to go with the primer, most easily customized desktop, KDE Plasma, ultimately, I want to compare my Fedora Plasma experience with my openSUSE Tumbleweed Plasma experience. I have no intention of switching distros but I do like to, from time to time, see how other distributions compare. Of all the distributions available outside of openSUSE, Fedora and Debian are the two that interest me the most but for different reasons.

This is my review as a biased openSUSE Tumbleweed user. Bottom Line Up Front. Fedora is a nearly perfect [for me] distribution that is architecturally and fundamentally sound from the base upward. It is themed just enough, out of the box, to not annoy me with any irritating impositions. It really feels like I have been given keys to a fantastic house, albeit a bit spartan, waiting for me to make it my own. Technically speaking, there is nothing I dislike about Fedora. I could get along just fine in Fedora Land but openSUSE Land edges out for me with the Tumbleweed convenience and the broader hardware support.

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Review: elementary OS 5.1

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Reviews

There is a lot to like about elementary, but it is not perfect. The Parental Controls are advertised as a key feature on the distributions website, but it just does not work. There are open bugs about it, but open bugs about a non-working feature still means that the feature does not work. Until it does, it should not be a selling point for the distribution. Aside from that, elementary is wonderfully polished. I personally find the use of the Command symbol in the Keyboard Shortcuts window to be a little odd, and think that the non-curated software warning should be toned down or rephrased for packages that are supported by Canonical (i.e. these packages are not directly supported by elementary, but do receive fixes), but other than a few odds and ends like those examples, elementary OS 5.1 is very well put together. If you are looking for a solid distribution for yourself, or are searching for a distribution to recommend for users coming from macOS, this distribution is an excellent choice.

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AppImageLauncher | AppImage Manager on openSUSE

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Software
Reviews
SUSE

Right of the cuff, I should note that this will work on other Linux distros too, I am just focusing on openSUSE because, that is my jam. I have been using this on openSUSE Tumbleweed as of Snapshot 20200103. It should also work on Leap as of 42 and newer (that means Leap 15.x is good to go, in case there was any question).

The reason this application excites me so is that I use several AppImages on my system. Which ones you may ask? I’ll tell you, xLights, which I use for my Christmas Light display, VirtScreen that I use when I am remote and need to turn my laptop or phone into a second display. This is super handy as it will not only create links in my menu to the AppImages, it will also copy the *.AppImage file into a designated folder, in my case ~/Applicaitons which is the default. At first, I wasn’t sure about it but after noodling it around a bit, I am totally good with it.

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Kdenlive 19.12 on openSUSE | Review

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Software
Reviews
SUSE

Making videos is not exactly my strong suit but it doesn’t have to be to enjoy it. Lately, I have been dipping my toes into the world of video content creation. Yes, most of it is into making videos as I haven’t really had the need. Recently, a need popped up for doing some video editing and I decided to give Kdenlive a try. You have to start somewhere and since many of the independently created shows out there use it, it is part of the KDE project and there are a LOT of tutorials on YouTube.

Keep in mind, I have some very basic needs, simply, chaining clips together, title screen and a little background music. These are extremely minimal requirements. The nice thing about Kdenlive is, it is easy enough to get going with it, but brimming with features to keep you dinking around with it continually and even if you have come to learn every feature the Kdenlive Project will come along and bring you an update.

[...]

Kdenlive is a great application with a lot more features than I know how to even use. I don’t do any complex video editing. I don’t have good video equipment so I don’t have a real high level of motivation to create a lot of video content at this time. You can only polish a turd so much and I am often not happy with the video I shoot. I am happy, however, with what I can do with the video in Kdenlive. It does make turning the lack-luster video into barely acceptable video content. Editing with Kdenlive is easy to use and is enjoyable to turn the mess I start with into something more usable. I would like to make more excuses to do more video content because the great user experience Kdenlive provides.

I have heard of people complain that Kdenlive isn’t stable, well, that is a bunch of hooey. Kdenlive on openSUSE Tumbleweed works fantastically well without any crashing. I am very thankful for fantastic packaging and QA process from the openSUSE Project and I am very grateful for every programmer that has had a hand in every piece of this, from the Linux kernel to the Plasma desktop to the application itself. Thank you for all your time and efforts.

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Emby Media Server on openSUSE Linux | Review

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Reviews
SUSE

One of the main reasons I build a computer was for the purposes of hosting my video content on my system and serve it to other machines. I had heard about having something like Netflix or Hulu in the form of Plex. I have known others that have done this and have always been impressed by it. My first stop in exploring media servers in Linux was Emby. I chose it largely because I heard of Plex and wanted to try something that was open source based, more on that later. At the very beginning of this exercise, I decided I want to try out three different server products, Plex, Emby and Jellyfin.

This is my review, with no real expectations, other than to easily have access to my movies and TV shows from any device in the house. This is a review of only the free services, not the paid features. Bottom line up front. I like it and it has few issues.

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New Feren OS Does Plasma Better

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OS
Reviews

Overall, Feren OS' Plasma patches do a fanciful job of going beyond a Cinnamon desktop-like appearance and functionality. Or the patches do a workable job of bringing most -- but not all -- of the Cinnamon features and applications to the KDE environment.

Feren OS Classic and the new Feren OS install with only the Vivaldi Web browser. A handy Web tool lets you automatically install other browsers. It also lets you remove Vivaldi if you wish.

In almost any Cinnamon desktop-running distro, numerous panel applets and desktop desklets failed to install and run. The desktop cube almost never was compatible.

Not so with Feren OS with the KDE desktop. The cube task switcher actually works. Widgets, AKA applets and desklets install and work on both the screen and the panel. Those successes are rare with the Cinnamon desktop.

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More in Tux Machines

XanMod-ing Ubuntu To Perform Closer To Intel's Clear Linux

Earlier this month many Phoronix readers were interested in our fresh tests of the XanMod-patched Linux kernel for boosting the desktop and workstation performance compared to Ubuntu's default Linux kernel. Among many patches, XanMod does pull in some kernel patches from Intel's performance-optimized Clear Linux, so we figured it would be interesting to see how the XanMod'ed Ubuntu compares to Clear Linux performance. As covered more in the earlier article, the XanMod Linux kernel flavor makes use of the BFQ I/O scheduler, offers CPU scaling governor improvements, makes use of preemptive full tickless kernel settings, and has a variety of other patches from leveraging Clear Linux optimizations to the BMQ process scheduler to the Proton FSYNC patches to much more. This round of testing was using a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with its current Linux 5.4 default kernel and then re-tested using the same Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installation but running on the 4.1.10-xanmod6 kernel at the time. Additionally, the same CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS as Clear Linux defaults to were also utilized. Read more

Android Leftovers

User Guide to Pantheon Desktop of elementary OS

Unlike Windows, user interface in elementary OS has a name, and it is Pantheon Desktop. It is a beautifully designed and easy to use desktop environment. This article wants to be a user guide to Pantheon Desktop that is simple to read and practice. You will learn about basic concepts of Pantheon and then practice to use it for daily tasks. You will see here how to use Wingpanel (top panel), Slingshot (start menu), Plank (taskbar), Switchboard (system settings), plus understand Headerbars and Multitasking mode. Of course I also include frequently used Keyboard Shortcuts so you can work more quickly. For your information, I use elementary OS 5.0 Juno as basis of this tutorial. I hope everybody could take benefit from this article and next time I could refer here if I write again about elementary. Enjoy! Read more

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