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Reviews

Fedora 30 test on laptop with Nvidia - Back in 2010

Filed under
Red Hat
Hardware
Reviews

I think the results are obvious, and they speak for themselves. Alas, it would seem that if you want to use Fedora with a setup like the above, then you'll be either very lucky or you're going to face a torrent of problems. But then, Linux has always been, to use a somewhat stupid analogy, like saying you should only drive your car on Mondays on roads that have green sidewalks, and then you will be fine. The whole not-our-problem, use hardware that's "friendly" is nonsense, because people don't have infinite money, choice or expertise, especially since alternative operating systems offer all they need, plus a full range of hardware freedom.

My Fedora 30 test on the G50 was decent - that's a simple Intel graphics box - but even that one used to have millions of problems with Linux - Fedora wouldn't boot until I'd done a BIOS update, and for three years, almost every distro had network disconnect problems. On this box, we're seeing more of what I showed you in the Fedora 29 test. Fedora and Nvidia graphics are not a good fit. Add to that my home dir import woes, the performance woes, the Wireless woes, you get the picture. Feels like we've gone back many years into the past. I'd actually prefer if distros WARNED that the device is not certified or approved or expected to work and refuse to install, than install and then throw a whole bucket of hissy. I will still run an in-vivo upgrade on the Lenovo machine, because that's what I promised to do, but this is a big, big disappointment.

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Hack Computer review

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

I bought a hack computer for $299 - it's designed for teaching 8+ year olds programming. That's not my intended use case, but I wanted to support a Linux pre-installed vendor with my purchase (I bought an OLPC back in the day in the buy-one give-one program).

I only use a laptop for company events, which are usually 2-4 weeks a year. Otherwise, I use my desktop. I would have bought a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed if I was looking for more of a daily driver.

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Review: OS108 and Venom Linux

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Reviews

Every so often I like to step outside of the distributions I know, the ones I tend to see and use year after year, and try something different. Sometimes trying a new project introduces me to a new way of doing things, as Bedrock Linux did earlier this year. Other times trying a project that is just getting started is a reminder of just how much infrastructure, time and resources go into the big-name projects. At any rate, this week I want to talk about two young projects that grabbed my attention for different reasons.

The first is OS108, which caught my eye because it is a desktop flavour of BSD, which is relatively rare. Specifically, the base operating system is NetBSD. OS108 reportedly wants to be a replacement for Windows and macOS and features the MATE desktop environment. The website did not offer much more information than that. I was able to learn OS108 is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only, which I suspect undercuts the usefulness of having a highly portable operating system, such as NetBSD, as the base.

The ISO file I downloaded for OS108 was 1.5GB in size. The file had no version number associated with it, so I assume this is the project's first release. The project's download page says we should install OS108 just as if it were regular NetBSD, then run a script to set up the MATE desktop. Optionally, there is another set of instructions we can follow to set up wireless networking.

Booting from the OS108 media brings up an installer which guides us through a series of text-based menus. We are asked to select our keyboard layout, choose whether to install a fresh copy of the operating system or upgrade, and then select which hard drive will hold OS108. We are also asked to confirm our hard drive's geometry and whether we want to manually partition the disk or let OS108 take over the whole drive. The installer recommends we set aside at least 5GB of space on the drive. Personally, I found more space was required as the default package selection, including the MATE desktop, consumes about 6GB of disk space.

We are next asked if we want a full install, a mostly full install without the X.Org display software, a minimal install, or a custom selection of packages. I went with the full option since it was the default. We can then select where the source packages are located (on the DVD, in this case) and the packages are quickly copied over to the hard drive. A minute later I was asked to perform more configuration steps. These included enabling networking, setting a root password, and turning on optional network services from a list of daemons. We can also create a regular user account and optionally download the pkgsrc ports framework. I skipped installing pkgsrc.

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Enso OS Makes Xfce Elementary

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OS
Reviews

The most impressive aspect of Enso OS is the tweaked desktop that combines a somewhat modified Xfce environment with key elements from Elementary OS. The result could be a better alternative to Xubuntu, depending on your computing preferences.

For an early beta release of a relatively new Linux distribution, Enso OS has much going for it. This distro also has numerous areas where the developer must grow the infrastructure.

Enso OS is clearly a distro that bears watching over the next few releases.

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Nebra AnyBeam: A Raspberry Pi powered home cinema projector you can fit in your pocket [Review]

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Before large screen televisions and 4K content became a thing, I used to enjoy watching films projected onto a white wall at home. I had a Canon projector hooked up to my PC with surround sound, and it was like having a personal cinema.

Technology has moved on quite some way since then, and you can now buy reasonable quality projectors for a fraction of the price. Case in point is Nebra AnyBeam, a Raspberry Pi powered pocket sized projector.

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Review: openSUSE Leap 15.1

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Reviews
SUSE

openSUSE is one of those distros I have always been interested in but which I had never used for more than a few hours. Recently the project released Leap 15.1, which was a good enough reason to give the distro a proper spin.

The distro hardly needs an introduction. It is a community project sponsored by SUSE, one of the larger commercial Linux vendors. openSUSE maintains two distros: Tumbleweed is a rolling release distro and upstream to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). Leap is a stable (non-rolling) distro that is downstream to SLE. A new version of Leap is released roughly once a year, and each version is supported for 18 months. The Leap 15.x series as a whole is supported for three years.

openSUSE is probably best known for the Btrfs file system, Snapper and YaST. As Leap 15.1 is a relatively small, conservative upgrade from 15.0 I will mainly focus on these features. I will also have a look at where things may be heading.

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StreamTuner2 – internet radio station and video browser

Filed under
Software
Reviews

I’ve put a few internet radio station players through their paces in recent weeks.

I was fairly positive about odio, even though it’s not released under an open source license and consumes massive globs of memory. But the developer is beavering away on a new release and intends to open source the code. I’ll definitely write an updated review when/if that happens. I’ve also covered Shortwave, a GTK3 based radio player written in Rust. My favorites to date are Radiotray-NG and PyRadio.

This time, I’m putting StreamTuner2 under the microscope. StreamTuner2 is a GUI for browsing internet radio directories, music collections, and video services – grouped by genres or categories. It runs your preferred audio player or streamripper for recording.

StreamTuner2 is an independent rewrite of StreamTuner1. Whereas the original was developed in C, the rewrite is coded in Python. If you ever used the original StreamTuner 0.99 software, you’ll be familiar with StreamTuner2’s interface, as both share many similarities. The software is released into the public domain, so you can do anything you like with the source code.

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MX Linux Reinvents Computer Use

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

MX Linux makes transitioning from any desktop operating system simple. It provides a computing platform that is a bit different and very reliable.

MX Linux is a powerful, easy-to-use computing platform that goes beyond lightweight performance without filling your computer with software bloat.

The latest MX Linux 18.3 ISO is a "refresh" release, not a major upgrade. It has all the recent updates, bug fixes and system updates. This distro does not offer rolling releases, however.

You can perform a system upgrade from an existing MX Linux installation when new refresh releases are issued to get all the updates since the original MX-18 version release. There is no need to do a re-installation with each new release.

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Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 8

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

This eighth report is a summary of my worst overall Slimbook & Kubuntu session yet. On one hand, I've witnessed many useful, important, visible improvements in the system over the past six months, and we had hit a plateau of good, sweet stability. The latest wave of updates seems to upset that ever so slightly. Enough to make me miffed, because I really don't want to need any of those crashes or annoyances.

I'm still very happy with my choice, and occasional crashes happen everywhere. This isn't Linux-specific, but that doesn't mean we should settle for comfortable mediocrity. The one outstanding issue is the CPU temperature event, which to me looks like something in the firmware. I will keep an eye, because apart from that, the hardware has been rock solid, there were no other events of this type at all, and no visible problems as a result in any shape or form. Anyway, I think we've had enough excitement for one report. We shall soon convene for yet more thrill, uncertainty, fun, and adventure. Stay cool.

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Review: Manjaro Linux 18.0.4

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Reviews

I've always been a big fan of Ubuntu because of ease of use and it always seemed to work with my hardware, but I've always had a desire to use a rolling release and have more control over my system. Manjaro really impressed me with how well it worked on my computer, even with pretty new hardware (mhwd gets the credit here). Other things about Manjaro that seal the deal are Pamac, Manjaro Settings Manager, and the community. I don't think I can ever go back to the release model that Ubuntu uses and I will be using Manjaro as my distro of choice for the foreseeable future.

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today's howtos

Leftovers: IBM, Mozilla and SUSE

  • What Is Razee, and Why IBM Open Sourced It
    The continuous delivery software that's been doing the heavy lifting on IBM's global Kubernetes platform is now open source.
  • View Source 5 comes to Amsterdam
    Mozilla’s View Source Conference is back for a fifth year, this time in Amsterdam, September 30 – October 1, 2019. Tickets are available now.
  • SUSE & SAP “A 20 years of Partnership”
  • SUSE on the IO500 List for HPC Storage
    If you haven’t been hanging around the Ceph world for a bit, you may not realize that Ceph was originally intended to provide a distributed file-system to service HPC clusters.  While this was the original intent, Ceph has taken a round-a-bout path to relevance in this space, especially given that we are only supporting multiple active MDS servers since the Luminous release.  The result is that we are, only now, really starting to see adoption in the HPC space, and mostly for the second tier storage needs. Enter, the science project.  Given an all-flash environment on SATA SSDS with a fast storage pool on Intel Optane for the metadata, would it be possible to provide a reasonable storage environment for HPC clusters?

GAFAM and 'Cloud': Google, Microsoft, Amazon and GitHub

  • Daniel Stenberg: Google to reimplement curl in libcrurl
    By throwing a lot of man power on it. As the primary author and developer of the libcurl API and the libcurl code, I assume that Cronet works quite differently than libcurl so there’s going to be quite a lot of wrestling of data and code flow to make this API work on that code. The libcurl API is also very versatile and is an API that has developed over a period of almost 20 years so there’s a lot of functionality, a lot of options and a lot of subtle behavior that may or may not be easy or straight forward to mimic. The initial commit imported the headers and examples from the curl 7.65.1 release.
  • Microsoft, you should look away now: Google's cloud second only to AWS in dev survey [Ed: Longtime Microsoft booster Tim Anderson  on Azure being a failure after so many entryism attempts and underhanded tactics]
    Coders use Google Cloud Platform (GCP) more than Microsoft Azure, though Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a comfortable lead, according to a Developer Ecosystem survey conducted by tools vendor JetBrains. Developer usage is 67 per cent AWS versus 28 per cent GCP and 21 per cent Azure, according to the new survey. Unfortunately, the question was posed in a different way in the 2018 survey, adding on-premises into the mix, but last year Azure and GCP had equal share after AWS. The survey had 19,000 participants invited via "Twitter ads, Facebook ads, Google Adwords and JetBrains' own communication channels," the tools vendor said, though "only the responses of 6,993 respondents were included in the report." Responses were removed to reduce bias, yet it warned "some bias may be present as JetBrains users may have been more willing on average to compete the survey".
  • Get your coat, you've pulled a Pull Panda: GitHub goes home with code collab specialists [Ed: Notice how Microsoft only takes GitHub in more of a proprietary software direction. That says a lot – they have plans and they’re really detrimental to FOSS]

Kernel: Linux Changes, Certifications, Graphics, PCI Express 6.0 and Bug

  • PowerCap/RAPL Code To Support Icelake Desktop / X / Xeon D With Linux 5.3
    While as of Linux 5.2 the support for Intel's Icelake CPUs appear production ready with all of the bits in place from new IDs to the much enhanced "Gen 11" graphics, there are a few stragglers of items to land with the upcoming Linux 5.3 merge window though could be back-ported to current series. Fortunately, we haven't found anything major to be missing. One of the latest bits of Icelake Linux support is handling of these next-generation processors within the PowerCap / RAPL (Running Average Power Limit) driver code. In particular, the desktop/workstation Icelake parts. This is the code for reading the estimated CPU package power consumption based on hardware performance counters and the ability to artificially limit the power draw of the processor via software.
  • Six Niche Linux Certifications
  • AMD Navi GPU stack bares all in Linux graphics driver update
    Eight Navi GPU variants have been spotted in Linux driver code. AMD’s next-gen RDNA graphics chips are set for launch on July 7, 2019 within the RX 5700 XT and RX 5700, but the red team has plenty of silicon in store for a range of applications. Including console, laptops, desktop, and mobile phones. The GPU codenames were spotted within Linux display drivers after the additional code was submitted and signed off by two AMD employees. The code adds support for Display Core Next, or DCN2, which “is the display block for Navi10.” Each entry following adds the necessary ASIC IDs for each Navi chip in the stack, starting with Navi 10 and down to Navi 21 LITE.
  • Nouveau Driver Picking Up NVIDIA TU116 GPU Support For Linux 5.3
    Building off the initial Turing mode-setting bits that were in place since Linux 5.0 and have continued stepping along to support newer variants on successive kernel releases, the Linux 5.3 kernel is slated to add support for the TU116 graphics processor.
  • PCI-SIG® Announces Upcoming PCI Express® 6.0 Specification to Reach 64 GT/s
  • PCI Express 6.0 Announced With 4-Times The Bandwidth Of PCIe 4.0
    With the increasing demand for bandwidth across a wide range of devices used in consumer and enterprise domains, PCI Express, the high-speed serial computer expansion bus standard has also evolved over the years. PCI Special Interest Group, a body that sets standards for PCIe, has announced PCI Express 6 that promises four times the bandwidth offered by PCIe 4.0 and twice of PCIe 5.0.
  • PCI Express 6.0 Announced For Release In 2021 With 64 GT/s Transfer Rates
    While PCI Express 4.0 up to this point has only been found in a few systems like Talos' POWER9 platforms and coming soon with the new AMD graphics cards and chipsets, the PCI SIG today announced PCI Express 6.0. PCI Express 5.0 was only announced last month with 32GT/s transfer rates while already the PCI SIG announced PCI Express 6.0.
  • Netflix researcher spots TCP SACK flaws in Linux and FreeBSD
  • TCP SACK Panic Flaw Could Compromise Production Linux Machines