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Reviews

A Bright Spotlight on elementary OS 5.0

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Reviews

It's really bright. elementary OS 5.0 is the best release so far by mainly it's AppCenter uniqueness and richest of desktop features ever among the prior releases. The thing I love the most is the fact that elementary OS developers contribute greatly to our community which we didn't see anything like that before: they created a new software distribution platform similar to what we previously saw on Apple macOS, except it's for free/libre open source software, by allowing app developers to get paid directly by the users (with the so-called "pay-what-you-want" system). elementary OS is popular, as you may see on Distrowatch, so we can expect bright future for the health of its apps market (and hope more developers getting attracted to join).

The desktop is really usable, the shortcut keys are visible (by pressing Super key) and customizable, its enhanced with parental control as well as Night Light, the apps are plenty and still growing in numbers, plus it's compatible with Ubuntu 18.04 so you can install thousands of packages if you wish right now.

I can run it really smooth on an Intel 967 CPU with 4GB RAM (Intel Graphics). I hope it will be smoother on your systems. I wish this quick review of mine helps you a lot to get attracted to elementary OS and soon be a happy user.

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2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance

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The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features.

MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.

MakuluLinux is a relatively new Linux OS. Its positive reputation has been developing since 2015. The three-year growth spurt involved a variety of desktop environments.

Its small developer team has delivered a surprisingly efficient and productive desktop distribution in a relatively short time period. It is unusual to see a startup rise so quickly to offer an innovative and highly competitive computing platform.

Series 15 is not an update of last year's editions. This latest release introduces some radical changes that were under development for the last two years. The Series 15 releases of LinDoz and Flash include a complete rip-and-replace rebuild on top of an in-house developed computing base. LinDoz and Flash have been reworked completely from the ground up.

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Plasma 5.14 – Phasers on stun

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KDE
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Linux is much like the stock market. Moments of happiness broken by crises. Or is the other way around? Never mind. Today shall hopefully be a day of joy, for I am about to test Plasma 5.14, the latest version of this neat desktop environment. Recently, I’ve had a nice streak of good energy with Linux, mostly thanks to my experience with Slimbook Pro2, which I configured with Kubuntu Beaver. Let’s see if we can keep the momentum.

Now, before we begin, there are more good news woven into this announcement. As you can imagine, you do need some kind of demonstrator to test the new desktop. Usually, it’s KDE neon, which offers a clean, lean, mean KDE-focused testing environment. You can boot into the live session, try the desktop, and if you like it, you can even install it. Indeed, neon is an integral part of my eight-boot setup on the Lenovo G50 machine. But what makes things really interesting is that neon has also switched to the latest Ubuntu LTS base. It now comes aligned to the 18.04 family, adorned with this brand new Plasma. Proceed.

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Review: Reborn OS 2018.09.09 and Nitrux 1.0.15

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This month I spent some time digging through the waiting list and trimming projects that have not survived the harsh and demanding growing period of their first year of existence. Among them I found a project which seemed simple on the surface, an Antergos-based distribution offering even more install-time options than its parent. What caught my attention was the specific list of extra options: 15 desktop environments to choose from, able to run Android apps through the Anbox compatibility software, optional Flatpak support, and the Mycroft desktop assistant. All of this on a rolling release base provided by Arch Linux.

The distribution is called Reborn OS and I downloaded what was, at the time, the latest build. Reborn is available as a 64-bit build only. The ISO I downloaded was 1.5GB in size and, booting from this ISO brought up the Budgie desktop environment. At the top of the desktop is a panel with the application menu, a couple of quick-launch buttons and a system tray. The Budgie desktop seemed to respond well once it finished loading and I was eager to get started.

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GNU/Linux Review: Xubuntu 18.04 LTS

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Xubuntu 18.04 LTS is an official flavor of Ubuntu Bionic Beaver which uses XFCE Desktop Environment. In this release, it's still as lightweight as before (~350MB of RAM at idle time), with user-friendliness you can expect as always. Yes, it still supports 32-bit so you don't have to buy new computer to upgrade or install it; for the next 3 years. It supports Snappy out of the box with GNOME Software integration. It brings Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, and XFCE 4.12 for us, in only 1.3GB sized ISO image file. And yeah, in this review, I show you that Compiz works here with 3D Cube and stuffs we really missed from our old Ubuntu era.

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New Manjaro Beta Builds a Better Arch

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Reviews

Regardless of which desktop you select, the welcome screen introduces Manjaro tools and get-acquainted details such as documentation, support tips, and links to the project site.

You can get a full experience in using the live session ISOs without making any changes to the computer's hard drive. That is another advantage to running Manjaro Linux over a true Arch distro. Arch distros usually do not provide live session environments. Most that do lack any automatic installation launcher from within the live session.

Caution: When you attempt to run the boot menu from the Manjaro DVD, pay attention to the startup menu. It is a bit confusing. To start the live session, go halfway down the list of loading choices to select the Boot Manjaro option. The other menu options let you configure non-default choices for keyboard, language, etc.

After the live medium loads the Manjaro live session, browse the categories in the welcome window. You can click the Launch Installer button in the welcome window or launch it after experiencing the live session by clicking on the desktop install icon or running the installation program from the main menu.

Installation is a simple and straightforward process. The Calamares installer allows newcomers to easily set up the distro. It gives advanced users lots of customization options.

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Review: Hamara 2.1

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One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Hamara, a Debian-based desktop distribution developed by an Indian company. The project's website reports that Hamara is developed with the idea of making an operating system more familiar to Indian users, with particular attention paid to supporting the country's more popular spoken languages. The Hamara website also claims the company behind the distribution will provide commercial support though I could not find details on what services were offered or how much they cost. The support page has a contact form for people who wish to make inquiries into support options.

The latest version of Hamara is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. There is an ARM build too, but it is listed as a beta release and carries an older version number, suggesting the ARM branch may have been abandoned. When I was looking at the available download options, I noticed the project's FAQ page seems to suggest Hamara ships with the GNOME 3 and MATE desktops (or a combination of these technologies, another page claims the distro uses LXDE and GNOME 3) but I only found download options featuring the MATE desktop. The 64-bit edition I downloaded was 1.5GB in size.

Booting from the live media brought up a blank screen. There was no prompt, no welcome window and no visible desktop controls. The blank screen appeared both in VirtualBox and on my physical desktop computer. The display would remain blank until I switched to a text terminal (by pressing CTRL+ALT+F2) and then switched back to the desktop display (CTRL+ALT+F7). Once I had switched back to the desktop display, the MATE desktop would begin to load and the live session would present me with a working environment.

The MATE desktop uses a two panel layout. There is a task switcher in the bottom panel. The top panel displays the application menu, system tray and a second task switcher. The top panel's task switcher displays small application icons without text while the bottom panel displays a list of open windows with their title text.

Something I noticed early on is that the Hamara website and the ISO's filename indicate the latest version of the distribution is 2.1. However, when running the live media the system installer and the lsb_release program both label the latest version as being 2.0.

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Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve

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Linux
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If you are already familiar with the Arch Linux family but want a quicker installation method, you will appreciate what Antergos brings to the Linux table. Those who are less familiar with the Arch Linux methodologies are sure to be much less enthusiastic about using the OS.

This distro gives you some of the most popular desktop environments all in one download. If you are clueless about a preferred desktop, though, you will be stuck staring at the default GNOME option. Antergos does not provide users with an easy switching tool to change the desktop option. The live session ISO does not let you try out any other option either.

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Here’s KDE Neon 5.13.5 : Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and Uses KDE Plasma 5.13.5

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KDE
Reviews

KDE Neon 5.13.5 is the latest stable release of KDE neon 5 based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver and powered by Linux Kernel 4.15 series. Features KDE Plasma 5.13.5 desktop environment, which brings numerous enhancements and new features.

As default desktop KDE neon 5.13.5, latest KDE plasma 5.13 offering new features called browser integration, which Firefox/Chrome/Chromium users can install the corresponding plugin from their browser app store to ensure that any downloads appear as a notification on the desktop. The Media Controls Plasmoid (widget) also allows user to mute and skip videos when playing in the browser, although this isn’t especially convenient compared to accessing the video controls in the browser itself.

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AV Linux – An OS for Multimedia Content Creators

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Ubuntu Studio is the OS I listed when I published an article on the Ubuntu distro you should use and I cited it as an excellent OS for artists and media creators. Today, I introduce to you yet another distro that was created for media projects and perhaps. It goes by the name of AV Linux.

AV Linux is an adaptable Debian-based distro that houses a large collection of software for audio and video creation. It is built with support for i386 and x86-64 architectures and thanks to its customized kernel, it offers users low-latency audio production for maximum performance.

As you would expect, AV Linux can run LIVE from a storage device or from a hard drive after being installed. So without further ado, let’s get to its feature highlights.

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More in Tux Machines

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Graphics: XRGEARS and Arcan's Latest

  • XRGEARS: Infamous "Gears" Now On VR Headsets With OpenHMD, Vulkan
    Well, the virtual reality (VR) demo scene is now complete with having glxgears-inspired gears and Utah teapot rendering on VR head mounted displays with the new XRGEARS. Kidding aside about the gears and teapot, XRGEARS is a nifty new open-source project with real value by Collabora developer Lubosz Sarnecki. XRGEARS is a standalone VR demo application built using the OpenHMD initiative for tracking and Vulkan for rendering. XRGEARS supports both Wayland and X11 environments or even running off KMS itself. This code also makes use of VK_EXT_direct_mode_display with DRM leasing.
  • Arcan versus Xorg – Approaching Feature Parity
    This is the first article out of three in a series where I will go through what I consider to be the relevant Xorg feature set, and compare it, point by point, to how the corresponding solution or category works in Arcan. This article will solely focus on the Display Server set of features and how they relate to Xorg features, The second article will cover the features that are currently missing (e.g. network transparency) when they have been accounted for. The third article will cover the features that are already present in Arcan (and there are quite a few of those) but does not exist in Xorg.
  • Arcan Display Server Is Nearing Feature Parity With The X.Org Server
    The Arcan display server, which started off years ago sounding like a novelty with being a display server built off a game engine in part and other interesting features, is nearing feature parity with the X.Org Server. While most hobbyist display server projects have failed, Arcan has continued advancing and with an interesting feature set. Recently they have even been working on a virtual reality desktop and an interesting desktop in general. Arcan is getting close to being able to offering the same functionality as a traditional X.Org Server. If you are interested in a lengthy technical read about the differences between Arcan and X.Org, the Arcan developers themselves did some comparing and contrasting when it comes to the display support, windowing, input, font management, synchronization, and other areas.

CoC/Systemd Supremacy Over Linux Kernel

  • New Linux Code of Conduct Revisions: CoC Committee Added Plus Interpretation & Mediator
    The Linux Code of Conduct introduced last month that ended up being quite contentious will see some revisions just ahead of the Linux 4.19 stable kernel release. Greg Kroah-Hartman has outlined the planned changes as well as a new Code of Conduct Interpretation document. In the weeks since the Linux kernel CoC was merged, various patches were proposed but none merged yet. It turns out Greg KH was working in private with various kernel maintainers/developers on addressing their feedback and trying to come up with solutions to the contentious issues in private.
  • Some kernel code-of-conduct refinements
    Greg Kroah-Hartman has posted a series of patches making some changes around the newly adopted code of conduct. In particular, it adds a new document describing how the code is to be interpreted in the kernel community.
  • Systemd Adds Feature To Fallback Automatically To Older Kernels On Failure
    Systemd's latest feature is the concept of "boot counting" that will track kernel boot attempts and failures as part of an automatic boot assessment. Ultimately this is to provide automatic fallback to older kernels should a newer kernel be consistently failing. The feature was crafted over the past few months by Lennart Poettering himself to provide a way when making use of systemd-boot on UEFI systems it can automatically fallback to an older kernel if a newer kernel is consistently causing problems. This is treated as an add-on to the Boot Loader Specification. The systemd boot assessment is designed that it could also be used by non-UEFI systems and other boot platforms.

ODROID 'Hacker Board'

  • ODROID Rolling Out New Intel-Powered Single Board Computer After Trying With Ryzen
    While ODROID is most known for their various ARM single board computers (SBCs), some of which offer impressive specs, they have dabbled in x86 SBCs and on Friday announced the Intel-powered ODROID-H2. In the announcement they mentioned as well they were exploring an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U powered SBC computer, which offered fast performance but the price ended up being prohibitive. After the falling out with Ryzen over those cost concerns, they decided to go ahead with an Intel Geminilake SoC. Geminilake is slower than their proposed Ryzen board, but the price was reasonable and it ends up still being much faster than ODROID's earlier Apollolake SBC.
  • Odroid-H2 is world’s first Gemini Lake hacker board
    Hardkernel unveiled the Odroid-H2, the first hacker board with an Intel Gemini Lake SoC. The Ubuntu 18.10 driven SBC ships with 2x SATA 3.0, 2x GbE, HDMI and DP, 4x USB, and an M.2 slot for NVMe. When the Odroid-H2 goes on sale in November at a price that will be “higher than $100,” Hardkernel will join a small group of vendors that have launched a community backed x86-based SBC. This first open spec hacker board built around Intel’s new Gemini Lake SoC — and one of the first Gemini Lake SBCs of any kind — follows earlier Arm-based Odroid winners such as the Odroid-C2 Raspberry Pi pseudo clone and the octa-core Odroid-XU4.