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Review: Bodhi Linux 5.0.0

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Reviews

Sometimes when reviewing an operating system it is difficult to separate the question "Is this a good distribution?" from "Is this a good distribution for me?" Bodhi is one of those projects where the answers to these questions are quite different, mostly over matters of style rather than functionality. On a personal level, I don't think I would ever be inclined to use Bodhi myself because I don't like the Moksha/Enlightenment style of desktop. It does a lot of little things differently (not badly, just differently) from other open source desktops and its style is not one I ever seem to find comfortable. This, combined with the streamlined, web-based AppCenter and unusual settings panel, makes Bodhi a distribution which always feels a bit alien to me.

Let's put aside my personal style preferences though and try to look at the distribution objectively. Bodhi is trying to provide a lightweight, visually attractive distribution with a wide range of hardware support. It manages to do all of these things and do them well. The distribution is paying special attention to lower-end hardware, including 32-bit systems, and maintains a remarkably small memory footprint given the amount of functionality and eye candy included. Most lightweight distributions sacrifice quite a bit visually in order to provide the lightest interface possible, but Bodhi does a nice job of balancing low resource requirements with an attractive desktop environment.

Bodhi is pleasantly easy to install, thanks to the Ubiquity installer, has a minimal collection of software (in the main edition) that allows us to craft our own experience and, for people who need more applications out of the box, there is the AppPack edition.

All of this is to say that, for me personally, I spent more time that I would have liked this week searching through settings, trying to get used to how Moksha's panel works, tracking down less popular applications and re-learning when to use right-click versus left-click on the desktop. But, objectively, I would be hard pressed to name another distribution that more elegantly offers a lightweight desktop with visual effects, or that offers such easy access to both legacy and modern hardware support. In short, I think Bodhi Linux is a good distribution for those who want to get the most performance out of their operating system without sacrificing hardware support or the appearance of the interface. There are a few little glitches here and there, but sothing show-stopping and, overall, Bodhi is a well put together distribution.

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What’s New in PeppermintOS 9

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

PeppermintOS 9 is the latest release of Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a desktop environment mashup of Xfce and LXDE components. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components.

Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Peppermint OS 9 is using the Linux 4.15 kernel and supports both 32-bit and 64-bit hardware architectures. Highlights of this release include a new default system theme based on the popular Arc GTK+ theme, support for both Snap and Flatpak universal binary packages via GNOME Software, which will now be displayed in the main menu.

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GNOME 3.30 Released – Here’s What’s New

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GNOME
Reviews

GNOME 3.30 is the latest version of GNOME 3, and is the result of 6 months’ hard work by the GNOME community. It contains major new features, as well as many smaller improvements and bug fixes. In total, the release incorporates 24845 changes, made by approximately 801 contributors.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Linux Mint 19

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Linux
Reviews

Well, there you have it. I have covered everything that I can think of in this review.

Installation is as straight forward as downloading an ISO image, copying it to a USB and then navigating a few installation screens.

The Cinnamon user interface is first class. It looks incredibly stylish and is very easy to use.

The default software with Linux Mint is perfect for most purposes although I would always go with Chrome over Firefox and Evolution over Thunderbird but they are personal preferences.

The software manager makes it easy to find new software and you can install either flatpak packages or debian format packages.

Steam is available for playing games and you can now play Windows games without installing WINE but it isn’t yet 100% perfect.

If you need Citrix then I have covered the fact that it works but there are a few pitfalls. These are not unique to Linux Mint and are generally the same on every distribution.

I have shown that it is possible to run Windows 10 in a virtual machine meaning you can use Linux Mint for most tasks and swap into a virtual machine for everything else. No need to waste disk space dual booting.

Timeshift is a great new tool for adding system restore points and there are various tools for keeping your system up to date, changing the look and feel of your system and for setting up hardware such as graphics cards and printers.

It is easy to see why Linux Mint is so popular. It is straight forward, easy to use and consistent.

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What’s New in Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS

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Ubuntu

Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS is the latest release of Ubuntu budgie. As part of Ubuntu 18.04 flavor this release ships with latest Budgie desktop 10.4 as default desktop environment. Powered by Linux 4.15 kernel and shipping with the same internals as Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), the Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS official flavor will be supported for 3 years, until April 2021.

Prominent new features include support for adding OpenVNC connections through the NetworkManager applet, better font handling for Chinese and Korean languages, improved keyboard shortcuts, color emoji support for GNOME Characters and other GNOME apps, as well as window-shuffler capability.

Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS also ships with a new exciting GTK+ theme by default called Pocillo, support for dynamic workspaces, as well as a “minimal installation” option in the graphical installer that lets users install Ubuntu Budgie with only the Chromium web browser and a handful of basic system utilities.

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Review: Linux Mint 3 Debian Edition (LMDE 3)

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On the whole, I liked running LMDE 3 a lot. The distribution was easy to set up, I liked the quick access to common tools in the welcome window. The change from ranked upgrades to having the system safeguarded by Timeshift snapshots may make things a little harder for newcomers (it's harder to recover a system than to not have it break in the first place), but the new approach probably offers better security in the long run.

One thing I appreciated about LMDE 3 is that it looks beautiful. I usually don't focus much on a theme, or icon style, but Mint looks incredible to me. Everything is high contrast and attractive. The fonts are a little thin for my taste, but this can be easily changed with a few clicks in the settings panel.

I was a little disappointed the system installer defaults to using ext4 instead of Btrfs. Since Mint recommends and relies on Timeshift for system recovery, and Btrfs snapshots are much more efficient than rsync snapshots, it makes sense to me to use Btrfs by default. On a related note, when Timeshift is set up to use rsync snapshots, the rsync command will drag down system performance for about 20 minutes at a time. Having the snapshots run as a lower priority in the background would have avoided slowing down the desktop once a day.

I would have preferred if LMDE had shipped with MATE instead of Cinnamon. I realize Cinnamon is an in-house desktop project and it makes sense for the Mint developers to focus on using and promoting Cinnamon. However, since I suspect many of the people who want to use the Debian branch over the Ubuntu branch will be doing so for performance reasons, I think MATE would make the sensible default. MATE is lighter than Cinnamon, does not require special video driver/hardware support and will run better in virtual environments. Cinnamon is a solid desktop and I think it looks and performs wonderfully on physical hardware, it just doesn't feel like the optimal choice for people who want to run the lighter, more conservative Debian branch of Mint.

Finally, I want to give credit to the Mint team for integrating Flatpak support into the software manager. It is easy to find Flatpaks without having them blend in with other packages, potentially confusing users. I think Flatpak support was handled well by the Mint team.

On the whole, the above points are minor style preferences for a distribution that I was impressed by. Mint's Debian edition performed smoothly, offered a lot of great software out of the box and was easy to use. I think the Debian branch might be slightly less appealing to beginners than the main, Ubuntu-based edition, but there are few practical differences and most people will probably find either branch works for them. I think LMDE will be a good fit for most people, whether beginners or more experienced users.

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A Summary of deepin 15.6 and 15.7

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Both deepin 15.6 and 15.7 were released at June and August 2018. Here's a short summary of them showing the new features and improvements. You will find new Welcome Intro, new Dark Theme, new Power Saving Mode, reduced RAM usage and smaller ISO size, improvements in System Settings, and new ability of File Manager (renaming partition by right-click, for example). You will see them in this article with GIF animations and screenshots. This article also shows in brief why 15.7 is far better than 15.6 so you can choose it to start deepin for your first time. Enjoy!

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Review: Netrunner 2018.08 Rolling edition

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Netrunner Rolling is a distribution I thoroughly enjoyed using. There we a few minor issues, but overall everything worked great. The distribution came with enough software pre-installed that I really did not need to install any additional software to perform most basic tasks. Were I to use Netrunner Rolling long term, I might want to swap a few of the included programs for ones that were my own personal preference, but the software Netrunner Rolling ships with are good defaults. The only software oddity was being stuck on LibreOffice 5.4 for a while before finally upgrading to 6.0. Most of the other packages are up-to-date, often the absolutely newest possible version, but updates to LibreOffice packages are more conservative.

Users wanting the Arch Linux experience without the effort should give Netrunner Rolling a try. It provides a nice, polished KDE experience with a decent selection of software included by default. Netrunner's KDE customizations create a desktop experience that is simultaneously traditional and modern, providing a nice middle ground between the classic Windows-style desktop and GNOME 3 & Unity.

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The Slimbook Pro2 is here - Very, VERY nice

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KDE
Hardware
Reviews

The Slimbook started just fine. Everything seems to be in perfect order. The system firmware was up to date, and the BIOS/UEFI was already configured for VT-d. Furthermore, both TPM and Secure Boot were disabled, which actually suits me well. The internal disk is labeled ubuntu, though. And the reason is ...

The Slimbook team also installed Ubuntu on the disk (they mentioned it alongside hardware upgrades), to make sure everything worked fine. I had the option to use their installation with a generic root/slimbook account combo, or wipe everything and start fresh. I had ordered the machine without any OS, and intended to do the setup myself, primarily because I also wanted to use full-disk encryption. Another downside of having a preinstalled system is that there's no two-part OEM setup for Ubuntu, so the vendor must configure the user side for you too. No matter, it's going away anyway.

Now, the actual operating system choice - Linux. As I mentioned in the past, ever since my love-at-first-sight encounter with Kubuntu 17.04, I wanted to deploy Kubuntu in my production setup, and this purchase finally allowed me to do so. I grabbed the ISO, etched it to a thumb drive, and let the system boot. There were no issues. All the hardware was correctly initialized, including the Wireless.

I did a bunch of speed tests, and I get a full, flat 80 Mbps rate that matches the test line, in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. No issues whatsoever, and this is important. In comparison, my significantly cheaper, older and driver-problematic Lenovo G50 with the Realtek card only does about 40 Mbps under the same conditions.

I had been worried regarding the Wireless - but then I thought, the Slimbook guys wouldn't be selling this hardware if there were problems, now would they? Of course, if you type any which Wireless card into a search engine, and then add the string linux, you will get tons of forum posts, bug threads and whatnot detailing a neverending story of problems. With my Slimbook Pro2, it was smooth sailing.

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Also: KDE Connect on IRC and Matrix.org

Hands-on with MX Linux: A pleasant, easy-to-install Linux distribution

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When I first started blogging about Linux, MEPIS was one of the first distributions that I wrote about. I always liked it, and enjoyed using it, so I was disappointed when it quietly died a few years ago.

When I first saw MX Linux, I was naturally anxious to try it -- but there were some problems with UEFI firmware and GPT partition tables, and in the method of creating bootable USB sticks. I didn't try it at that time.

After some prodding here (thanks!), I recently went back and had a good look at the latest release notes, and I was pleased to see that there is no longer any problem with UEFI and GPT, and USB media can be created very simply with dd, so it is time to take a fresh look.

First, what is MX Linux? It is a product of the combined efforts of a group of dedicated users from the MEPIS and antiX communities. The objective is to combine the best parts of both distributions, to produce a mid-weight easy-to-use Linux distribution.

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