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Reviews

SparkyLinux Incinerates the Hassle Factor

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Linux
Reviews

SparkyLinux gives you an operating system that is out-of-the-box ready for use. It comes with multimedia plugins, selected sets of apps, and its own custom tools to ease different tasks.

SparkyLinux is a well-thought-out Linux OS. It has straightforward controls that let you get your work done without distractions. The user interface is friendly, intuitive and efficient.

SparkyLinux is a very functional Linux OS. It is a solid choice for use as an all-purpose home edition with all the tools, codecs, plugins and drivers preinstalled.

You may not need the USB installation. However, if your computer runs Microsoft Windows or another Linux distro, putting SparkyLinux on a USB stick is much easier than setting up a dual boot on the hard drive or replacing whatever is running on that computer already.

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KDE neon 5.15 review - Speed bumps ahead

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KDE
Reviews

KDE neon 5.15 is a decent distro. But it's not quite as pain-free as some of its predecessors, and I've hit a bunch of highly disappointing errors and bugs that simply shouldn't be there. The network and phone experience needs to be better, smoother. There ought to be no crashes. Regressions are bad.

Then, the upgrade process is robust and tight, the system is beautiful, and it purrs like a tiger - do tigers purr actually? You get the idea. Very sleek, very slick. Fast. You have a wealth of great software and a well-designed desktop environment that blends the bleeding-edge with pro-thought and good speed, and without being utterly beta. I'm quite happy overall, but I don't like the lack of consistency between the live media and the installed system. Some of this feels rushed. A good release, but ultimately not calm enough for everyday use. Well, I guess that's what LTS is for. 7/10. That would be all for today.

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Linux Distribution Review: elementary os

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Reviews

In the world of Linux, there are a number of distros for various purposes. Some target the new Linux users, some target advanced users. Some of the distros are also for specific fields, for example, medical, science, and even hacking!
Today, our topic of discussion is elementary OS. For general users, elementary OS is one of the finest distros out there. It aims to be modern, fast and beautiful without sacrificing simplicity and flexibility. You’ll find a ton of similarities with both Windows and MacOS, especially from MacOS. The interface and other tweaks mimic MacOS a lot.

Currently, the latest version of elementary OS is version 5.0, codenamed Juno. It’s a BIG upgrade over the previous version Loki (version 0.4.1).

Let’s check out the current latest elementary OS and what you can expect from it. It’s easy to grab and install in your machine right now! Learn how to install elementary OS.

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Review: Kubuntu versus KDE neon

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KDE
Reviews

Often times when I'm browsing open source forums I run into variations of the query "Why do we need KDE neon when we have Kubuntu?" Or, possibly the inverse: "What is the benefit to running Kubuntu when we have KDE neon?" Sometimes the question is more neutral: "What is the difference between running Kubuntu with backports and running KDE neon?"

These are fair questions. While Kubuntu tends to be seen as being more geared toward end users and KDE neon tends to be regarded as being a way for curious testers to try out the latest KDE technology, there is a lot of overlap between the two projects. Both are based on Ubuntu, both feature recent releases of the KDE Plasma desktop, and both stick pretty close to a vanilla KDE experience. This got me wondering if there is much of a difference between the two projects from the end-user's point of view. Are they basically the same experience with slightly different configurations, or are there practical differences in play that would make a users choose one over the other?

I decided to find out. I downloaded a snapshot of the User edition of KDE neon and a copy of Kubuntu. Since KDE neon is based on Ubuntu long-term support (LTS) releases, specifically Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, I opted to download Kubuntu 18.04.2 in order to make sure the base operating systems were as close to the same as I could get. Then I started comparing the two side-by-side.

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Plasma 5.15 review - Pro momentum

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KDE
Reviews

Plasma 5.15 is a very good release. It's not the fireworks release like 5.12, or perhaps the cannonade that we saw in the previous version, but there's still a heapload of great stuff to write home about, or tell your friends whom you like and cherish. A combination of steady improvements in the existing stuff, new and thoughtful design that shamelessly stabs at the professional world, continuous polish and fix of bugs and problems, and a strong current of enthusiasm imbuing it all.

On top of all that, the desktop environment purrs like a tiger, with lithe, smooth performance, great and consistent looks, and there's always something new and fun to find and discover. Things are coming together in a good way. Some issues too, because you can't have Linux without regressions. A couple of scars to add character, right. But the good stuff outweighs the bad stuff by a hefty margin. So if you're feeling somewhat dejected by the slump in creativity gripping the open-source world, cast your eyes Plasmawards, and you should find lots of fresh energy yonder. I'm liking, and I'm liking where this is headed. Most recommended.

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10-year-old eeePC netbook - running Plasma

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KDE
Reviews

The Plasma desktop environment does wonders, even to old hardware. I mean, just look at it. Plus, it's really nice that it allowed me to squeeze an extra few milliliters of the proverbial digital juice out of the netbook's feeble core. But was that enough to give this eeePC relevance in 2019? Nope.

I do feel a bit sad that we've come to this. After all, it's not unexpected, it does not come as a shock, and a system that was sort of a weakling even when it was brand new doesn't really justify its place in the modern world. On the other hand, why not. It's not that the world has cardinally changed. Most of the stuff remains the same, and the only major difference is unnecessary software bloat and Javascript-obese websites. This realization becomes even more acute when you realize that this eeePC worked great only two years ago.

But all good things must end. And so, apart from some light, non-essential use, this fabulous little machine will simply sit idle and watch the Internet buzz by. If you have any clever suggestions or ideas for testing, I'm all ears. Even so, I believe it's time to send this little giant to its digital Valhalla. EeePC, you served me well, and I'm more than grateful for your rugged, feisty loyalty. May you be reborn sometime, somewhere and give someone else the sweet keyboard you gave me. So long, and thanks for all the fish.

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Also: Kdenlive: Time to merge!

Review: EasyOS 1.0

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Reviews

When I first began looking at EasyOS I was not sure what I was getting myself into this week. The project's documentation tends to be more focused on the technical wizardry of the distribution and less on the day-to-day practicalities. The documentation also warns EasyOS is in an development stage and users may have some problems as a result. I also thought I might be setting out to explore just a strange a remix of Puppy Linux since EasyOS also uses PET packages and many of the same technologies.

However, I came away from my experience with EasyOS feeling impressed. Partly because everything seemed to work well and blend together smoothly. The configuration tools all worked well, the application menu was arranged in a way that provided a lot of functionality without too much clutter, and the system was surprisingly responsive most of the time. But the crown jewel of EasyOS is the way it handles containers. On most distributions, containers are an add-on, an extra security feature we need to set up manually and often configure or run from the command line.

EasyOS provides an evolution in containers for desktop applications. Not only are some key components set up to run in containers by default, the package manager will offer to install applications into containers (either a fresh container or an existing one) with the click of a button. In the application menu, contained applications are marked with a little lock symbol. We do not need to use the command line or do any manual steps as we do with other sandboxes like Firejail. EasyOS containers are automatic and effective.

Inside a container we can create or delete anything and our actions are wiped clean, leaving no footprint on the host operating system. EasyOS will even let us run an entire guest desktop environment in isolation. This allows us (or a guest) to run as root inside a container, create files, download anything, and when we sign out, the whole contained desktop is wiped clean. It's a lot like guest accounts on Ubuntu, but the guest user gets to act as root in their own sandboxed environment.

Speaking of root, EasyOS takes the philosophy of running as root by default. We can change this, but we are signed in as root automatically by default for the sake of convenience. Some people see this as a security issue, only somewhat offset by the use of containers. Personally, while I am less worried about the security side of things (given the use of containers when browsing the web), I do get nervous when signed in as root as I am aware a wrong click or key combination could wipe out a partition or move a directory tree to the wrong location by accident. I prefer not to wield that level of power by default, at least not before noon.

EasyOS also shuns the idea that operating systems need to be installed locally. While it is possible to install EasyOS on its own partition, the more standard approach is to run a frugal install (allowing distributions to share a partition) or run the system live. The distribution is quite flexible in this regard, if somewhat unusual.

EasyOS may be experimental at this stage, but it is setting the bar higher for portable applications, at least from the point of view of being easy of use, and it is making containers easier than any other distribution I have used to date. I hope EasyOS's contained desktop applications migrate to other distributions as they have the potential to make users a lot safer with virtually no additional effort.

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My First 24 Hours With Fedora Workstation

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Red Hat
Reviews

To begin with, let's touch on everyone's first contact: the Fedora installer. The overall intuitiveness and speed of installing an operating system matters, so I'm happy to report that installing Fedora 29 is straightforward. Except for one element.

Automatic partitioning -- that's when you choose the target disk and the installer creates and sizes partitions for you -- is a breeze. But I had some trouble finding where to manually partition my drives. It's actually tucked away under the option "Reclaim Space." After using the openSUSE, Deepin and Pop!_OS installers which have their own clearly defined version of "Manual Partitioning," I found myself looking for a similarly-worded option.

In fairness to the Fedora Project, I didn't RTFM (there's a prominent Help button throughout the installation process) or I would have discovered the answer. Lesson learned!

The more I use various Linux distros, the more I realize how silly and antiquated my fear of hardware incompatibility was. Fedora detected all my components, even function keys for dimming the keyboard backlight, volume, etc. Drive encryption was a breeze, and I'm having zero issues with WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. So far so good! That's of course on the XPS 13 laptops. It's still worth mentioning the problems I had with Fedora on the ThinkPad X1 Extreme.

I'll have a new entry soon in my "A Linux Noob Reviews" series tackling the Fedora installer more comprehensively, so be on the lookout!

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Also: Fedora Community Blog: FPgM report: 2019-10

Videos: SwagArch 19.03, This Week in Linux, BSD Now

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Interviews
Reviews
BSD
  • SwagArch 19.03 Run Through

    In this video, we look at SwagArch 19.03. Enjoy!

  • Episode 57 | This Week in Linux

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, every now and then we cover something from the project that this show gets its name from and this is one of those weeks so we’ll discuss the release of Linux 5.0. Then we’ll cover some other releases from LineageOS, NuTyX, Fatdog64, Linux from Scratch and some more core news with releases from the WINE and Vulkan projects. Later in the show, we’ll check out some App News from OBS Studio, Headset Music Player, BorgBackup, a couple desktop weather apps, one with a GUI and the other for the terminal. All that and much more, this is your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

  • Turing Complete Sed | BSD Now 288

    Software will never fix Spectre-type bugs, a proof that sed is Turing complete, managed jails using Bastille, new version of netdata, using grep with /dev/null, using GMail with mutt, and more.

Zorin OS 12.4 Core review - Surprisingly good

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Reviews

Zorin 12.4 is a very reasonable, capable distribution. It starts super-strong, and this is a great selling point. The live session is truly impressive, and you get a wealth of goodies out of the box. Even the high-contrast theme is good. Then, as I continued using the machine, things did fray at the seams a little, but there was nothing cardinal to deter me from having fun.

That does not mean Zorin is perfect. The fonts and all-too-pale default theme are the biggest blocker to enjoyment. The installation can be faster, and so can be the system - performance is average, with a mediocre battery life as a consequence. There were also some niggles here and there, including visual inconsistency and legacy bits ported without any great oversight. But then, Zorin does compensate with a unique spin and an attempt to shatter the amateur allure that most distros have. All in all, one of the more refreshing offerings in a while, with a bunch of custom extras that do please the soul. 8/10. Well worth checking out.

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Availability of GNOME 3.32 on GNU/Linux Distros

Following my Plasma 5.15 distros list, this is a list of GNOME 3.32 distros which are available as installation LiveCD. GNOME 3.32 has been released recently at 13 March 2019 and rapidly being made available into several GNU/Linux distros for desktop, either within the ISO or in the repository. At this moment, you can download any of Ubuntu 19.04 and Fedora Rawhide (for installable LiveCD), followed by openSUSE Tumbleweed, Debian Experimental, Manjaro GNOME, and Mageia 7 (by manually upgrading from respective repositories) in order to quickly test GNOME 3.32. However, please note that this is based on today's data and can be changed rapidly over time. I wish this list helps you. Go ahead, happy downloading, happy testing! Read more

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RaspEX Project Brings Kodi 18.1 and Linux Kernel 5.0 to Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

Based on Debian GNU/Linux and Raspberry Pi's Raspbian operating systems, RaspEX Kodi Build 190321 is now available with the latest Kodi 18.1 "Leia" media center software featuring add-ons for watching Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Plex, as well as the lightweight LXDE desktop environment with VLC media player and NetworkManager. RaspEX Kodi Build 190321 is also powered by the latest and greatest Linux 5.0 kernel series, which apparently works very well with the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ single-board computer. However, while Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is recommended for RaspEX, you can also install it on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B or the older Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. Read more