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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 Review: Finally, an Android tablet built with enterprise users in mind

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Reviews

Show me an Android tablet and I'll show you a device that has yet to live up to its full potential. Google's Play Store lacks a wide selection of apps that support a tablet's larger display, with most apps only expanding the phone interface, in turn looking horrible on the smaller screen.

In addition to the lack of quality apps, Android tablets have lacked key accessories such as a keyboard.

For the most part, Android tablets have been relegated to a device used to catch up on Netflix or to entertain kids with games.

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22 things Amarok does: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the hope

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KDE
Reviews

Ask not what you can do for Amarok. Ask what Amarok can do for you!

Many years ago, just the mention of this music player would invoke shivers down my spine. It was stylish, exotic, modern, elegant, powerful. It did everything superbly, and there was always a hidden Joker up its sleeve. The plethora of options and possibilities and feature was endless. And then it all changed.

Amarok slid out of the spotlight and became just another program to play your music collection. Recently, fueled by nostalgia and perhaps vain hope, I’ve invested fresh new energy and time working with it, taming it, fighting it, loving it, hating it, trying to figure out how relevant, sleek and accessibility this player still is. My curiosity peaked with the extensive Plasma testing I did last month in my somewhat ultra-long article The State of Plasma. So I fired KDE neon once again, a brand new image, and started fiddling. Here’s the Spaghetti Western of what to expect. With a big disclaimer. Read on.

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Also: Reading old stuff

Linux Mint KDE Review: Easy And Beautiful

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KDE
Linux
Reviews

Linux mint, the most popular Linux distribution is recommended by almost all Linux users for newbies. By default, Linux mint is released with cinnamon. But thanks to the Kubuntu team, we now have a KDE edition. Well, new users are probably wondering what all this KDE thing is? KDE is a community. KDE is a compilation of software. We will look at it in more detail on the way. Mint is a whole distro, so we will look at some specific aspects, But KDE is more than just a DE and we cannot review all of its features here. I will try to cover as much as possible in limited space.

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Manjaro: User-Friendly Arch Linux for Everyone

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Linux
Reviews

Arch Linux has never been known as a user-friendly Linux distribution. In fact, the whole premise of Arch requires the end user make a certain amount of effort in understanding how the system works. Arch even goes so far as to use a package manager (aptly named, Pacman) designed specifically for the platform. That means all that apt-get and dnf knowledge you have doesn’t necessarily roll over.

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Review: The $229 Moto G5 Plus stands as the king of budget Android (for now)

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Android
Reviews

We’ve documented the decline of Motorola under Lenovo extensively. We still liked the phones, which had probably been developed mostly under Google’s ownership anyway, but in 2015 we started to see slower updates and shorter support lifecycles. Last year was when the wheels really started to come off. Not only did the company mostly ruin its flagship phone by swapping the inexpensive and competent Moto X for the expensive and weird Moto Z, but Lenovo issued several contradictory statements about software updates that made it unclear whether the Z or the fourth-generation Moto G would be receiving regular updates at all.

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GNOME 3.24: New Linux desktop is fast, responsive

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GNOME
Reviews

I’ve been a fan of the work of the GNOME team for quite some time. They put together one heck of an excellent Linux desktop environment.

But of late, I’ve found myself gravitating towards some of the more lightweight environments. MATE (which is a forked version of GNOME 2) and xmonad. I like my systems to be light on resource usage and highly responsive—those are two absolutely critical things for the way I use my computers.

With this week’s release of GNOME 3.24, I decided to jump back into the world of modern GNOME desktops and kick the tires again. In order to give it the best possible shot, I did a clean install of openSUSE Tumbleweed (the rolling release version of openSUSE) and then installed GNOME 3.24 on top of it. (Side note: 3.24 was not yet available in the default repositories when I wrote this article, but it should be shortly.)

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Also: Applying to Outreachy and GSoC for Fedora and GNOME

OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith

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Reviews

Leap is a solid performer. I had no trouble installing it on MBR and EFI systems. Secure Boot tends to be buggy with some configurations, but it was incident-free with this installation.

The bootloader handles multiboot with other Linux distributions or Windows fairly trouble-free. Installation is routine, thanks to the graphical format used.

Only 64-bit versions are available for x86 computers, which limits access to legacy hardware in the 32-bit machines. ARM ports are available if you can track them down through the project's wiki.

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openSUSE Tumbleweed: A Linux distribution on the leading edge

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Reviews
SUSE

So, to summarize: openSUSE Tumbleweed is a good, solid, stable Linux distribution with a wide range of desktops available. It is not anything particularly exotic or unstable, and it does not require an unusual amount of Linux expertise to install and use on an everyday system. To make a very simple comparison, in my experience installing and using Tumbleweed is much less difficult and much less risky than using the Debian "testing" distribution, and it is kept much (much much) more up to date than openSUSE Leap, Debian "stable", Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

I don't say that to demean any of those other distributions. As I said at the end of my recent post about point-release vs. rolling-release distributions, if your hardware is fully supported by one of those point-release distributions, and you are satisfied with the applications included in them, then they are certainly a good choice. But if you like staying on the leading edge, or if you have very new hardware which requires the latest Linux kernel and drivers, or you just want/need the latest version of some application (in my case this would be digiKam), then openSuSE could be just what you want.

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Also: Google Summer of Code 2017

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 review: Android's best foe to the iPad Pro

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Android
Reviews

I am in productivity hell. For the past week, I’ve been using Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S3 to read Twitter, correspond on Slack, and write articles for this website. The Tab S3 is capable of doing all these things — in some cases, it’s even capable of doing them quite well — but it’s not capable of doing them anywhere near as well as a proper laptop. And in the week I’ve had it, I’ve spent a lot of time wondering why I’d use this tablet as a portable work device instead of a cheaper, more functional computer like a Chromebook.

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ToaruOS 1.0.4

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Reviews

Most of the projects we talk about on DistroWatch are variants of Linux or, occasionally, one of the BSDs. However, there are other open source operating systems out there, smaller projects which rarely get attention because they have fewer developers or are not as rich in features. This week I would like to discuss a project that has been put together as a hobby, but which has a surprisingly rich feature set, especially when we consider the operating system appears to be mostly the work of one developer.

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Making your OpenStack monitoring stack highly available using Open Source tools
    Operators tasked with maintaining production environments are relying on monitoring stacks to provide insight to resource usage and a heads-up to threats of downtime. Perhaps the most critical function of a monitoring stack is providing alerts which trigger mitigation steps to ensure an environment stays up and running. Downtime of services can be business-critical, and often has extremely high cost ramifications. Operators working in cloud environments are especially reliant on monitoring stacks due to the increase in potential inefficiency and downtime that comes with greater resource usage. The constant visibility of resources and alerts that a monitoring stack provides, makes it a fundamental component of any cloud.
  • InfraRed: Deploying and Testing Openstack just made easier!
  • The journey of a new OpenStack service in RDO
    When new contributors join RDO, they ask for recommendations about how to add new services and help RDO users to adopt it. This post is not a official policy document nor a detailed description about how to carry out some activities, but provides some high level recommendations to newcomers based on what I have learned and observed in the last year working in RDO.
  • Getting to know the essential OpenStack components better
  • Getting to know core components, speed mentoring, and more OpenStack news
  • Testing LibreOffice 5.3 Notebookbar
    I teach an online CSCI class about usability. The course is "The Usability of Open Source Software" and provides a background on free software and open source software, and uses that as a basis to teach usability. The rest of the class is a pretty standard CSCI usability class. We explore a few interesting cases in open source software as part of our discussion. And using open source software makes it really easy for the students to pick a program to study for their usability test final project.
  • [Older] Drupal member sent out after BDSM lifestyle revealed

    Drupal, like many other open source projects, has a stated goal of welcoming and accepting all people, no matter their heritage, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity or other factors.

  • Controversy Erupts in Open-Source Community After Developer's Sex Life Made Public
    Drupal is a popular open-source content-management system, used to build websites. Like many other open-source projects, Drupal is guided by several committees that are supposed to be accountable to the community and its code of conduct, which enshrines values like "be considerate" and "be respectful." Also like many other open-source projects, Drupal attracts all sorts of people, some of whom are eclectic. Last week, under murky circumstances, Drupal creator Dries Buytaert banned one of the project's technical and community leaders, Larry Garfield. Buytaert attributed the decision to aspects of Garfield's private sex life. Many Drupal users and developers are up in arms about the perceived injustice of the move, exacerbated by what they see as a lack of transparency.
  • HospitalRun: Open Source Software for the Developing World
    When open source software is used for global health and global relief work, its benefits shine bright. The benefits of open source become very clear when human health and human lives are on the line. In this YouTube video, hear Harrisburg, Pennsylvania software developer Joel Worrall explain about HospitalRun software – open source cloud-based software used at developing world healthcare facilities.
  • Scotland emphasises sharing and reuse of ICT
    Scotland’s public administrations should focus on common, shared technology platforms, according to the new digital strategy, published on 22 March. The government says it wants to develop “shared infrastructure, services and standards in collaboration with our public sector partners, to reduce costs and enable resources to be focused on front-line services.”
  • [Older] OpenSSL Re-licensing to Apache License v. 2.0 To Encourage Broader Use with Other FOSS Projects and Products

    OpenSSL Launches New Website to Organize Process, Seeks to Contact All Contributors

  • Austria state secretary promotes open data
    The State Secretary at Austria’s Federal Chancellery, Muna Duzdar, is encouraging the making available of government data as open data. “The administration must set an example and support the open data culture by giving society its data back”, the State Secretary for Digitalisation said in a statement.
  • Study: Hungary should redouble open data initiatives
    The government of Hungary should redouble its efforts to make public sector information available as open data, and actively help to create market opportunities, a government white paper recommends. The ‘White Paper on National Data Policy’ was approved by the government in December.
  • Williamson School Board OKs developing open source science curriculum
    Science textbooks may be a thing of the past in Williamson County Schools. The Williamson County school board approved a proposal Monday night to use open source science resources instead of science textbooks. The switch will require a team of nine teachers to spend a year developing an open source curriculum.
  • How Elsevier plans to sabotage Open Access
    It was a long and difficult road to get the major publishing houses to open up to open access, but in the end the Dutch universities got their much awaited ‘gold deal’ for open access. A recently revealed contract between Elsevier and the Dutch research institutes lays bare the retardant tactics the publishing giant employs to stifle the growth of open access.
  • #0: Introducing R^4
  • RcppTOML 0.1.2

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday
  • FedEx Will Pay You $5 to Install Flash on Your Machine
    FedEx is making you an offer you can’t afford to accept. It’s offering to give you $5 (actually, it’s a discount on orders over $30) if you’ll just install Adobe Flash on your machine. Nobody who knows anything about online security uses Flash anymore, except when it’s absolutely necessary. Why? Because Flash is the poster child for the “security-vulnerability-of-the-hour” club — a group that includes another Adobe product, Acrobat. How unsafe is Flash? Let’s put it this way: seven years ago, Steve Jobs announced that Flash was to be forever banned from Apple’s mobile products. One of the reasons he cited was a report from Symantec that “highlighted Flash for having one of the worst security records in 2009.” Flash security hasn’t gotten any better since.
  • Every once in a while someone suggests to me that curl and libcurl would do better if rewritten in a “safe language”
  • An insecure dishwasher has entered the IoT war against humanity

    Regel says that he has contacted Miele on a number of occasions about the issue, but had failed to get a response to his missives, and this has no updated information on the vulnerability.

    He added, bleakly that "we are not aware of an actual fix."

  • Monday Witness: It's Time to Reconize a Civil Right Not to be Connected
    Along with death and taxes, two things appear inevitable. The first is that Internet of Things devices will not only be built into everything we can imagine, but into everything we can't as well. The second is that IoT devices will have wholly inadequate security, if they have any security at all. Even with strong defenses, there is the likelihood that governmental agencies will gain covert access to IoT devices anyway. What this says to me is that we need a law that guarantees consumers the right to buy versions of products that are not wirelessly enabled at all.
  • Remember kids, if you're going to disclose, disclose responsibly!
    If you pay any attention to the security universe, you're aware that Tavis Ormandy is basically on fire right now with his security research. He found the Cloudflare data leak issue a few weeks back, and is currently going to town on LastPass. The LastPass crew seems to be dealing with this pretty well, I'm not seeing a lot of complaining, mostly just info and fixes which is the right way to do these things.

Lightroom and Darktable: the verdict two years after switching

In summer 2015, I posted a detailed account of my tentative switch from Windows7 and Lightroom to Linux and Darktable. This was sparked by sudden crashes that were afflicting my system, but in a deeper sense grew from frustration with Windows and, to a lesser degree, with Lightroom. Once I headed for Linux, I decided to plunge in fully and commit to using Ubuntu and free, open-source photo software for several months – at least until the end of that year. That would give me a chance to see whether I could actually run my photography business on the new system. Read more

7 Linux Mainstream Distros Alternatives

Linux Mainstream Distros are quite popular as they have a large number of developers working on them as well as a large number of users using them. In addition, these distros also have strong support system. People often search alternatives for Linux Mainstream Distros but often get confused about which is the best one for them. So listed below are 7 best Linux mainstream distros alternative choices for you. Read more