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Reviews

Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

The Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix brings together Linux Mint’s Cinnamon desktop with the Ubuntu Core. While some users are welcoming the new flavor of Ubuntu with open arms, others are scratching their heads, wondering where it fits in.

The main confusion arises when you consider that Cinnamon is the official desktop for Linux Mint, based on Ubuntu. This begs the questions – what is the need for Ubuntu Cinnamon? Why not use Linux Mint, to begin with?

Even though Mint is based on Ubuntu, there are still many significant differences between the two distros. You can go through our in-depth read on Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu to learn about this.

Since Ubuntu Cinnamon uses Ubuntu as its core, it works and feels more like Ubuntu rather than Mint, except for the obvious fact that the GNOME shell is replaced with the Cinnamon desktop.

Furthermore, the developers behind Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix has done an excellent job in translating the Ubuntu aesthetics over to the Cinnamon desktop. You get to see identical icons, the iconic orange color scheme, and the same wallpapers, which helps to retain the same charm.Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix Review

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TrueNAS R-series hyperconverged appliances blend storage and compute

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Hardware
Reviews
Debian

Today, storage vendor iXsystems is launching a new R-series hyperconverged infrastructure appliance for its TrueNAS product line—and the first alpha release of TrueNAS SCALE, a Debian Linux-based version of the TrueNAS storage distribution.

The new R-series appliances are designed to run either traditional, FreeBSD-based TrueNAS, or the new Debian-based TrueNAS SCALE. The series launches with four models—all rack-mounted—ranging from the 1U, 16-bay TrueNAS R10 to the up to 12U, 52 bay TrueNAS R50. All four models offer Ethernet connectivity up to dual 100GbE, as well as optional dual 32Gb Fibre Channel and Intel Xeon CPUs. The three larger models are expandable via separate JBOD shelves as well.

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Also Debian: Petter Reinholdtsen: Buster based Bokmål edition of Debian Administrator's Handbook

Pop!_OS 20.04 Review: The Best Ubuntu-based Distro!

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Reviews
Ubuntu

The Linux distro world is getting better each day, thanks to developers’ immense dedication. The OS sure has come a long way from people calling it “Complex to use” to “User/Beginner Friendly.” One of the best beginner-friendly distros recommended by almost everyone is Ubuntu. Another distro that has recently taken the Linux universe by storm with its new release is Pop!_OS 20.04; it is developed by System 76, a company that manufactures Laptops and ships them with Linux.

Pop!_OS is a distro based on Ubuntu that has gained popularity lately. After using it extensively for three weeks, it has now become one of my favorite distros of all time. Here’s my review of the same.

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Unity Desktop Review: Good for the Nostalgic Ubuntu Users

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Continuing with our series of Linux Desktop Environment reviews, we’re going back to a classic. The Unity is just as much a blast from the past as MATE. This review covers the Unity Desktop: first impressions, the user experience, some notable features, and some recommendations on who should use it.

When I first boot into Unity, I’m struck by how much it looks like GNOME and Budgie. This makes sense, as Unity is a graphical shell that sits on top of the GNOME Desktop Environment (rather than GNOME Shell), and it does offer some separate features that are different than GNOME Shell.

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Review: Tails 4.11

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Reviews
Debian

The Amnesic Incognito Live System (better known as Tails) is a Debian-based live DVD/USB with the goal of providing complete Internet anonymity for the user. The distribution ships with several Internet applications, including web browser, IRC client, mail client and instant messenger. The distribution transfers Internet traffic through the Tor network to hide its origin.

One of the project's latest releases was version 4.11. (At the time of writing 4.12 is about to be published, though without any significant new features.) Lately the project has mostly focused on bug fixes and minor tweaks, though Tails 4.11 introduces the option of persistent storage for some of the distribution's settings and data. Persistent storage is not enabled by default, but can be set up using tools included on the live media.

Tails is available for 64-bit (x86_64) computers and its live media is approximately 1.2GB in size. The live media can be written to a DVD or USB thumb drive. There are separate files provided depending on whether we want to write the distribution to DVD or USB media, however I tested and confirmed the DVD image can be written to, and run from, a USB thumb drive if need be.

Early impressions

Booting from the Tails media brings up a welcome screen. This graphical interface offers to either start the desktop session or shutdown the operating system. On this welcome screen we can click buttons to bring up settings options that allow us to select our keyboard layout, language, and locale formats. At the bottom of the welcome window is a button which opens additional settings. These extra settings are security related and allow us to assign a password to the administrator account, enable/disable MAC address spoofing, set whether to allow the "Unsafe Browser" to run, and how to connect to the Tor network or to disable networking entirely.

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Review: Nitrux 2020.09.05

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Reviews

Nitrux is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution suitable for laptops and desktop computers. Its main desktop environment is NX Desktop, a KDE Plasma desktop enhanced with "plasmoids" to create a special blend of aesthetics and functionality.

The distribution's website mentions a handful of key features including NX Firewall, a tool for simplifying firewall management. There is also a backup utility for automating and scheduling backups called Kup which is built into the distribution's settings panel. The Nitrux website also promotes using AppImage portable applications and suggests using AppImageHub, a central repository of portable packages, similar to how Flathub provides a repository of distribution-neutral Flatpaks.

I downloaded the ISO for Nitrux which is about 3GB in size. The distribution is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines exclusively. Booting from the provided media brought up a menu offering to start the distribution in either live desktop or failsafe modes. Taking the live desktop entry loads the Plasma desktop - or a login screen, it varied during my trial. When the system brought up a login prompt I could sign in using "nitrux" as both the account username and password.

Once the Plasma desktop loads we find a panel placed across the top of the screen. The application menu is located to the left of this panel and the system tray to the right. There is a dock with some application launchers at the bottom of the desktop. One icon that launches the project's system installer is placed in the upper-left corner of the desktop. The Plasma environment uses a fairly dark, minimal theme. Once I had explored the live environment a little I turned my attention to the installer.

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Newest RoboLinux 11 Update Goes Far Beyond Typical Linux

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Linux
Reviews

Whatever brings you to Robolinux, this distro goes far beyond what other new-user-friendly distros offer about resembling the look and feel of Microsoft Windows. RoboLinux delivers a solid performance and is stuffed with some of the best applications that Linux has to offer.

Robolinux also has dozens of popular applications such as VLC, Audacious, Firefox, Thunderbird, Deluge Torrent client, Brasero CD/DVD burner, and Simple Screen Recorder.

This distro is packed with many custom one-click installers like Tor Browser, 12P, Steam Wireshark, Opera, and Brave browser. Add the additional RoboLinux toolset to the array of controls already available in the three desktop environments and you get an unbeatable computing experience.

RoboLinux comes with everything you need -- and then some -- to make daily computing tasks convenient. Many of the software packages typically are not found bundled in other Linux distros.

This makes an awesome combination. RoboLinux could be an ideal vehicle for both enterprises and SMBs to make the migration to Linux.

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PinePhone postmarketOS Community Edition: Unboxing and first look (video)

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Reviews
Gadgets

The PinePhone is an inexpensive smartphone designed to run free and open source operating systems including postmarketOS, Ubuntu Touch, Mobian, Sailfish, and Manjaro.

Pine64 began shipping the first version of the phone at the start of this year, and since then the company has offered several additional batches of phones, often involving “Community Edition” versions that come pre-loaded with a specific operating system and with the logo for that OS on the back of the device. Some of the purchase price of the phone also goes to the developers of that OS.

The latest batch to ship is the PinePhone postmarketOS Community Edition phone, and after placing an order for one of these phones about a month ago, I received my device today.

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Motorola One Zoom & upgrade to Android 10

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Android
Reviews

So, the upgrade thing went well. The post-upgrade experience is okay, but a bit meh. Not decidedly better across the board, and somewhat worse in several areas. The network signal drop is the biggest problem. Kind of ruins the whole thing really, if you think about it. But then, in the world of "modern and "agile", breaking things is the most desirable outcome, it seems.

Overall, Android 10 works fine, but it doesn't bring anything revolutionary to the user. Well, the mobile world is also approaching the saturation point, just like the desktop did a few years back. Things are about to get boring for the touch-loving people. All in all, I'd say, One Zoom + Android 10 isn't a bad combo, but it's not like I have any choice. So if you're wondering what will happen once your upgrade happens, or you're just curious to see how other people are faring, my story is an answer to that question. On the plus side, you will retain a largely unchanged experience, your settings won't be touched, you have a bit more control, but you may suffer from a somewhat degraded network performance and extra gestures annoyances. There. Bon voyage.

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Review: deepin 20

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Linux
Reviews

deepin is a distribution which does a lot of things differently from other, more mainstream projects, but in my opinion it is doing a lot of things well. deepin runs on the popular Debian base, which is a common choice, but the interface, tools, and options layered on top of the Debian core are unusual.

The custom deepin installer, for example, is very streamlined and easy to use, especially if we want to take over the entire disk for the operating system. The Deepin desktop is, in a word, beautiful. A lot of care appears to have gone into making Deepin look attractive and consistent. I like that custom deepin applications can alternate seamlessly between using the system theme, a light theme, or a dark theme, independent of other applications. Despite putting effort into looking nice and offering some eye candy, Deepin runs faster and smoother now than it has in the past.

The distribution ships with some common, popular tools, though it augments these with its own programs. Most of the deepin applications, such as Draw, the audio player, and video player appear to be designed with simplicity in mind. The interfaces are streamlined, generally with large icons that are easy to find. Most of the time this approach of doing a few things well as opposed to offering many options in one program appeals to me.

There were some issues with package management during my trail. These all appear to be rooted in the missing "Release" file on one of the repository servers. It will probably be corrected soon. Apart from this issue, which mostly just blocked updates, I really liked App Store. Its interface and performance were otherwise solid.

deepin strikes me as being a good, general purpose desktop operating system. It is easy to install, looks nice, has a friendly settings panel, and the App Store is easy to navigate. I also appreciate that the Deepin desktop allows us to switch between a more attractive visual layout and a more efficient layout for better performance. The ease of switching between themes and managing notifications also feels pleasantly flexible.

All in all, despite a few minor issues, deepin provided a pleasant experience for me. The custom applications and Deepin desktop mean some things work a bit differently than on other popular distributions/desktop combinations. However, I found I liked deepin's approach to most things. The desktop was attractive, faster than it was in the past, and worked well with my hardware.

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More in Tux Machines

Septor 2020.5

Tor Browser is fully installed (10.0.2) System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of October 21, 2020 Update Linux Kernel to 5.9.0-1 Update Thunderbird to 78.3.1-2 Update Tor to 0.4.4.5 Update Youtube-dl to 2020.09.20 Read more

Incremental backup with Butterfly Backup

This article explains how to make incremental or differential backups, with a catalog available to restore (or export) at the point you want, with Butterfly Backup. Read more

Regressions in GNU/Linux Evolution

  • When "progress" is backwards

    Lately I see many developments in the linux FOSS world that sell themselves as progress, but are actually hugely annoying and counter-productive. Counter-productive to a point where they actually cause major regressions, costs, and as in the case of GTK+3 ruin user experience and the possibility that we'll ever enjoy "The year of the Linux desktop". [...] We live in an era where in the FOSS world one constantly has to relearn things, switch to new, supposedly "better", but more bloated solutions, and is generally left with the impression that someone is pulling the rug from below one's feet. Many of the key changes in this area have been rammed through by a small set of decision makers, often closely related to Red Hat/Gnome/freedesktop.org. We're buying this "progress" at a high cost, and one can't avoid asking oneself whether there's more to the story than meets the eye. Never forget, Red Hat and Microsoft (TM) are partners and might even have the same shareholders.

  • When "progress" is backwards

Graphics: Vulkan, Intel and AMD

  • NVIDIA Ships Vulkan Driver Beta With Fragment Shading Rate Control - Phoronix

    This week's Vulkan 1.2.158 spec release brought the fragment shading rate extension to control the rate at which fragments are shaded on a per-draw, per-primitive, or per-region basis. This can be useful similar to OpenGL and Direct3D support for helping to allow different, less important areas of the screen be shaded less than areas requiring greater detail/focus. NVIDIA on Tuesday released the 455.26.02 Linux driver (and 457.00 version for Windows) that adds this fragment shading rate extension.

  • Intel Begins Adding Alder Lake Graphics Support To Their Linux Driver - Phoronix

    Intel has begun adding support for Alderlake-S to their open-source Linux kernel graphics driver. An initial set of 18 patches amounting to just around 300 lines of new kernel code was sent out today for beginning the hardware enablement work on Alderlake-S from the graphics side. Yes, it's only a few hundred lines of new driver code due to Alder Lake leveraging the existing Gen12/Tigerlake support. The Alder Lake driver patches similarly re-use some of the same workarounds and changes as set for the 14nm Rocket Lake processors with Gen12 graphics coming out in Q1.

  • AMD Linux Driver Preparing For A Navi "Blockchain" Graphics Card - Phoronix

    While all eyes are on the AMD Radeon RX 6000 "Big Navi" graphics cards set to be announced next week, it also looks like AMD is preparing for a Navi 1x "Blockchain" graphics card offering given the latest work in their open-source Linux driver. Patches posted today provide support for a new Navi graphics card referred to as the "navi10 blockchain SKU." The Navi 10 part has a device ID of 0x731E. From the AMDGPU Linux kernel driver perspective, the only difference from the existing Navi 10 GPU support is these patches disable the Display Core Next (DCN) and Video Core Next (VCN) support with this new SKU not having any display support.