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Review: Artix Linux in 2021

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Reviews

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB.

The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts.

[...]

Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start.

Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user.

The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing.

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Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

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Reviews

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.”

It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros.

Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro.

So without further ado, let’s dive in.

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Hands-On with Raspup on Raspberry Pi 4: Puppy Linux for Tinkerers

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Reviews

If you never heard of Raspup before, let me tell you that it’s a Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution built from the Woof-CE build system that was originally developed by Barry Kauler, the creator of Puppy Linux, and binary compatible with Raspbian (the official Raspberry Pi OS).

As such, Raspup is a Puppy Linux port for Raspberry Pi. Raspup was created by Michael Amadio and it’s designed to run on ARMv7l hardware, specifically on the Raspberry Pi Zero, Raspberry Pi 1, Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi 3+, and Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computers (SBCs).

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Review: The New weLees Visual LVM, a new style of LVM management, has been released

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Reviews

Maintenance of the storage system is a daily job for system administrators. Linux provides users with a wealth of storage capabilities, and powerful built-in maintenance tools. However, these tools are hardly friendly to system administrators while generally considerable effort is required for mastery.

As a Linux built-in storage model, LVM provides users with plenty flexible management modes to fit various needs. For users who can fully utilize its functions, LVM could meet almost all needs. But the premise is thorough understanding of the LVM model, dozens of commands as well as accompanying parameters.

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openSUSE Review: A Linux Distro for the Practical User

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SUSE

When looking for a Linux distro, it’s easy to lose sight of the important differences between distros and get overwhelmed. The subtle differences can make all the difference in choosing a distro, and that’s where distro reviews like this come in. Here we discuss a long-standing member of the community that’s less common on the desktop but is still an excellent choice for your desktop in our review of openSUSE, a Linux distro for the practical user.

[...]

One thing I don’t much like about openSUSE is the relatively old kernel it’s using. 5.3 is in the range where it’s borderline if it’ll work well with particularly new or obscure hardware, so I wouldn’t plan to install openSUSE on your brand new workstation or laptop. It may have some issues with newer hardware.

Overall, openSUSE is an excellent distro for users wanting to set up a workstation or desktop that’s easy to manage and use but doesn’t have to do anything beyond standard workstation or desktop features. Gamers may not like openSUSE because of the older kernel.

I hope you enjoyed our openSUSE review. Make sure you check out some of our other Distro reviews, like GhostBSD, Clear Linux, MX Linux, and ArcoLinux.

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GParted 1.2.0 Live CD & USB Image: Nimble and Effective

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Continuing the theme of Debian based rescue distributions, simply because most of them are built on Debian, I am looking at GParted this week as last one in this short series. GParted is of course known as a tool to work with and edit partitions that is included with most distributions where it could be considered a de facto standard. But it also lends its name to a rescue CD image where it is at the centre of the collection of tools.

Images are updated frequently, about every two months, but core functionality stays the same so there is no need to focus on numbers too much. That said, I downloaded the gparted-live-1.2.0-1-amd64.iso which was 387 MB in size and is using the 5.10 Linux kernel. 1.2.0-2 is currently in testing. These newer builds are based on the unstable branch of Debian for obvious reasons, to stay relevant with support for newer hardware, but are in themselves considered stable.

The systemd software is running under the hood. With its small size GParted can be written to USB, CD or DVD and is available for i686 and x86_64 architectures, as ISO or extractable USB image. There‘s also a PAE enabled version for 32-bit computers. The 64-bit version supports booting UEFI machines. The home page advises to have a minimum of 320 MB RAM available.

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Review: LibreELEC 9.2 and Kodi

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I recently got into a discussion with someone who had purchased a second television for their house and, knowing that I have a fondness for open source and do-it-yourself projects, they asked if there was a suitable alternative to Fire TV. For those not familiar with the device, a Fire TV stick is a small device which looks like a large USB thumb drive and attaches to the HDMI port of a television. The device connects wirelessly to local networks and can be used to stream shows and movies from a variety of services like Netflix and Disney+. The device is operated by a small, dedicated remote control.

I was pretty sure a minimal Linux distribution running on a spare, minimal personal computer or a single-board device like a Raspberry Pi would probably be a suitable replacement. I figured a distribution that ran Kodi could probably do the work, connecting to the TV through an HDMI cable. The user could likely use the Kodi mobile app in place of a dedicated remote control.

For the sake of comparison, I looked up information on the Fire TV stick which was $55 USD if i wanted it in two weeks or $60 if I wanted it in one week. The person I was talking with already had one and knew it was a "plug and play" type device, so the total set up time would be under ten minutes.

I did some on-line shopping in my area and the closest open source style equivalent I could come up with was a Raspberry Pi 3B. The Pi was $47 USD. The Pi included a Wi-Fi option, but no microSD card, no HDMI cable, and no power supply. Adding these items to my tally brought my total up to $78, including tax. In other words, even with a free software solution, it looked like the open source route was going to be slightly more expensive with parts available in my region.

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LibreOffice 7.1 review - The Uncertainty Principle

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LibO
Reviews

I feel that LibreOffice has lost its momentum, just like the Linux desktop. The domain has been idle for a while, the world is changing, and there simply isn't enough energy - or money - to sustain the project in a good, vibrant way. After all, many open-source projects kick off with gusto, but then a decade later, they are pretty much in the same position they've always been, and that's not very inspiring - or whatever word you want to use for where people source their drive and creativity.

LibreOffice 7.1 feels worse than its predecessors. It doesn't introduce anything super cool or useful, but it does bring in more bugs. The speed is also an issue, and the Microsoft compatibility remains tricky. Then, the interface doesn't need a billion choices, just one or two but polished to perfection. And I'm not even going to talk about the whole Community Edition thing. I will gladly pay for LibreOffice, but I expect pro results in return. In fact, the healthiest thing that can happen to this fine suite is to become costware, because otherwise, I can't see where the needed investment and resources will come to ramp up on the much needed features and tools. Free is good, free is fun, but tools that don't tool aren't very useful. And thus, another layer of hope is chipped away from me soul.

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Quark 20.04 review

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OS
Reviews

Quark is a fairly new project and this is its first stable release. We don’t usually review such young projects, but we were lured in by its polished Windows 10 desktop replica.

In a nutshell, think of Quark as Q4OS working on top of Ubuntu LTS, or more accurately Kubuntu. The developers tell us that their objective with Quark is to bring Q4OS goodness to Ubuntu users. Because Q4OS is based on Debian, it didn’t take the developers much effort to compile the Q4OS tools for Ubuntu.

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Trisquel 9.0 review

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The world is full of people shouting and clamoring for the latest thing (and the last review pages because we go to press today – Ed). So it’s always reassuring to discover places where things still move slowly.

Nowhere is this more true than Trisquel, the freedom (as in speechdom)-loving, Ubuntu-based distro endorsed by the Free Software Foundation.

Trisquel used to push out one release a year (based on the corresponding Ubuntu LTS release), but it’s been over 18 months since the previous release. And that one took over three years to come into fruition. This new release is based on Ubuntu 18.04, the second-to-last LTS release, which is supported until 2023.

[...]

With this release Trisquel moves from Xfce to the MATE desktop, so if you long for those Gnome 2 vibes then this might be for you. ISOs are getting bigger and Trisquel’s weighs in at 2.6GB. A 1.2GB mini-image is available that runs LXDE – ideal for older machines.

There’s also Triskel, a KDE spin, and Trisquel Sugar Toast which is an educational release. Oh and there’s a tiny Net Install image too if you want to build a minimal but freedom-loving OS from the ground up.

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Review: Artix Linux in 2021

Artix Linux is a fork (or continuation as an autonomous project) of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects. Artix Linux offers a lightweight, rolling-release operating system featuring alternative init software options, including OpenRC, runit, and s6. The distribution is available in many editions, including Base, Cinnamon, LXDE, LXQt, MATE, KDE Plasma and Xfce. With all of the desktop options, combined with the available init choices, there are 21 editions, not including community spins from which to choose. All editions appear to be built for 64-bit (x86_64) machines. Picking randomly, I selected Artix's Plasma edition featuring the runit init software. The download for this edition is is 1.3GB. Browsing the other editions it looks like most flavours are about 1.1GB to 1.3GB in size, though the minimal Base edition is a compact 618MB. The project's live media boots to the KDE Plasma desktop. On the desktop we find multiple documentation and README icons. There is also an icon for launching the system installer. The default layout places a panel at bottom of the screen where we can find the application menu and system tray. The default wallpaper is a soft blue while the theme for windows and menus is dark with high contrast fonts. [...] Artix Linux is one of those distributions I really enjoy using and yet struggle to review in a meaningful way because it doesn't really go out of its way to introduce new or exciting features and everything works smoothly. The distribution is wonderfully easy to install, offers top-notch performance, and is unusually light on resources. Artix is somewhat minimal, but still ships enough software to be immediately useful right out of the gate. We can browse the web, install packages, view files, and play videos. Meanwhile the application menu isn't cluttered with a lot of extras. The developers clearly expect us to install the functionality we need, while doing a really good job of providing enough for the desktop environment to feel base-line useful right from the start. Artix does a nice job of balancing performance and functionality while also juggling ease of use against not getting in the way. There is a little documentation, but no initial welcome screen or configuration wizards that might distract the user. The one piece I felt was missing was a graphical package manager which would have made it easier to build the extra functionality I wanted on top of the base distribution. However, that one piece aside, I felt as though Artix was really well designed and put together, at lease for someone like me. It's not a distribution geared toward beginners, it's not a "first distro". It is a bit minimal and requires command line knowledge. However, for someone with a little experience with Linux, for someone who doesn't mind the occasional trip to the command line or installing new applications as needed, then Artix provides an excellent experience. It's fast, light, looks (in my opinion) great with the default theme, and elegantly walks the line between minimalism and having enough applications ready to go out of the box to be immediately useful. I'm unusually impressed with how smooth and trouble-free my experience was with this distribution and the fact it offers such a range of desktop and init diversity is all the more appealing. Read more

Alpine Linux Review: Ultimate Distro for Power Users

Alpine Linux is gathering a lot of attention because of its super-small size and focus on security. However, Alpine is different from some of the other lightweight distros we covered on FOSSLinux. It isn’t your typical desktop distribution as it is terminal-based like Arch and is marketed as a “general purpose distro.” It is currently widely adopted as a Docker container thanks to its ultra-small footprint. However, it can be used for all sorts of Linux deployments that benefit from small, resource-efficient Linux distros. Now, that statement might feel too generic. But don’t worry, as we have put together an in-depth and comprehensive review of Alpine Linux, giving you a detailed look at what it has under the hood and how to use it. As such, by the end, you should have a clear understanding of whether you should consider Alpine Linux as your next Linux distro. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Read more

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  • Python Generators

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    If you’re having enough production incidents to be able to evaluate your preparation, you’re probably either unlucky or unprepared ;) If you have infrequent incidents you may be well prepared but it’s hard to tell. Chaos engineering experiments are a great way to test your preparation, and practice incident response in a less stressful context. It may seem like a huge leap from your current level of preparation to running automated chaos monkeys in production, but you don’t need to go straight there. Why not start with practice drills? You could have a game host who comes up with a failure scenario. You can work up to chaos in production.

  • React Testing Library – Tutorial with JavaScript Code Examples

    This post will help you to learn what React Testing Library is, and how you can use it to test your React application. This tutorial will assume you already know some basic JavaScript and understand the basics of how React works. React Testing Library is a testing utility tool that's built to test the actual DOM tree rendered by React on the browser. The goal of the library is to help you write tests that resembles how a user would use your application, so that you'll have more confidence that your application work as intended when a real user do use it.

  • Why I Moved From Ops to DevOps (and why you might want to)