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Reviews

Free Linux Cloud Servers to Test or Host Your Web Applications

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Reviews

Looking for free cloud Linux server to test your web-app or service? Here are the best cloud servers with free credits options.
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Review: Garuda Linux 200817

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One of the more recent additions to the DistroWatch database is Garuda Linux, an Arch-based distribution that offers several enticing features. By default Garuda is intended to be run on the Btr file system, which offers all sorts of attractive features such as multi-disk storage volumes and snapshots. Btrfs has been paired with Timeshift on Garuda and the system is reported to take automatic snapshots before each package upgrade, making the system much easier to recover. I especially like the idea of having automated filesystem snapshots on a rolling release distribution such as Arch. The openSUSE Tumbleweed rolling release has offered automatic snapshots of the system prior to upgrades for a while now and it is nice to see this feature catching on in other projects.

The Garuda distribution ships with the Calamares system installer to make setting up the operating system easier. We are also given a desktop tool for managing drivers and Garuda's website mentions proprietary NVIDIA video drivers are optionally available. Rounding out some of the key features, Garuda ships with the Zen Linux kernel with the goal of providing better desktop performance.

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Deepin 20 Review: The Gorgeous Linux Distro Becomes Even More Beautiful (and Featureful)

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Deepin is already a beautiful Linux distribution. Deepin version 20 puts in a different league altogether with all those visual and feature improvements.
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AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – SNES emulation – Week 11

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Linux
Reviews

This week I’ve been busy on work issues so I’ve had less time to devote to writing about the AWOW AK41. I aimed to surveying a wide range of video emulators and see how they perform on the AWOW AK41.

Instead, I’ve focused on one emulator, Snes9x. This is a popular open source emulator for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo. The SNES saw a staggered release around the world in the early 1990s. The game console was very popular selling around 49 million units.

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Review: GhostBSD 20.08.04, Finnix 121

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GNU
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BSD

About a month ago the GhostBSD team published a new release. The GhostBSD operating system is based on FreeBSD and focuses on desktop use. It has a graphical installer, some convenient desktop utilities for handling tasks such as installing updates, and ships with the MATE desktop. There is also a community edition of GhostBSD which runs the Xfce desktop instead of MATE. Both editions run on 64-bit (x86_64) machines exclusively.

Apart from updating MATE to version 1.24.0, the new snapshot of GhostBSD introduces one big change: automated boot environment snapshots during package upgrades. This allows the administrator to have snapshots of the operating system's filesystem taken prior to each package upgrade, ensuring that if something breaks, we can reboot and rollback the system to its previous state. This should make GhostBSD secure against broken updates in a similar fashion to openSUSE when the latter is installed on Btrfs.

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Deepin Linux 20 Review: Beautiful Desktop with Stability

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Deepin released its latest version Deepin 20 which is beautiful and stable as before.

This impressive open-source GNU/Linux distribution is based on Deepin tech and features free and proprietary software as well. Deepin is popular among users who want a beautiful Linux while being stable.

This is an overview of Deepin Linux with a summary of the latest release Deepin 20.

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NanoPi NEO3 Review: Raspberry Pi Competitor for Your Network

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Linux
Reviews

So if this isn’t a “Raspberry Pi Killer” then what is it? The NanoPi NEO3 is made for networked storage projects. Using the FriendlyWrt OS, we quickly created a network share that served up our 4TB USB 3 drive to all devices on our network using the SMB protocol.

The combination of USB 3 and Gigabit Ethernet in such a small package means that the NanoPi NEO3 can be easily added into a home network, with minimal fuss and wires. The choice of FriendlyCore (Ubuntu) and FriendlyWrt enables confident Linux users to get hands on with Ubuntu and build their own network storage appliance or low power tool.

The short answer is that this is no Raspberry Pi. What it is, is a cost effective alternative that focuses on networked applications. If you need quick and cheap network storage, and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, then the NanoPi NEO3 is a great little board to solve that problem.

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Budgie Desktop Review: A Beautiful Desktop that Looks Like Gnome

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GNOME
Reviews

The next in our series of Linux Desktop Environment reviews is one that’s often overlooked, except by those who are most passionate about it – Budgie. A product of the Solus project, Budgie is a beautiful desktop that aims to provide sane defaults and a beautiful interface. This review discusses the Budgie Desktop user experience, notable features, user experience, and makes some recommendations of where to experience Budgie and who should use it.

When I first look at Budgie, the first thing I think is “Wow. This is nothing quite like I’ve ever seen before.” I look around at the desktop and think it looks a little like GNOME, a little like KDE, a little like Cinnamon, and a little special in a way that I can’t quite describe. It’s the same but a little different. It looks great, and I find myself eyeballing my designated USB stick to reinstall my system. It’s that engaging right away.

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System76’s Lemur Pro: A powerful, ultralight OEM Linux laptop

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Linux
Reviews

If you're looking for a solid general-purpose Linux laptop that looks great, feels great to type on, and has crazy-long battery life, the Lemur Pro will suit you nicely. Although its Intel Comet Lake CPU choices are mediocre performers, you're unlikely to feel "Ugh, this laptop is slow" in normal use. The 298-nit display is bright, sharp, and attractive; the keyboard is great; and the SSD is a top pick also.

Developers who are constantly compiling code—or anybody else with really heavy multithreaded workloads—might consider passing up the Lemur Pro in favor of a Ryzen 4000-based laptop, though. Its single-threaded performance is good, and most tasks don't really need more than four cores... but the ones that do will run tremendously faster on Ryzen 4000-based systems. You can also get increased multithreaded performance out of a system with one of the higher-end, six-threaded Intel Comet Lake laptops, if you're allergic to AMD.

We also can't recommend the Lemur Pro for gaming. Comet Lake's built-in UHD 620 graphics is plenty for normal desktop use, video playback, or casual gaming—but Ice Lake's Iris+ or Ryzen 4000's Vega integrated graphics will both kick sand in its face and laugh at it, to say nothing of what a discrete Nvidia GPU would do.

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Evaluating Artix Linux with OpenRC, KDE Edition

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KDE
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In an article for Distrowatch in July I looked at Artix Cinnamon and Plasma editions with runit to start up and manage services. That indicated a problem in the sense that if reliant on software written for systemd that no ready-made runit service scripts are available for one will have to create their own. Specifically, I had a problem getting my VPN client to work. Let's see if this works any better with the OpenRC flavour of Artix.

This is really a follow-up but for those who haven't read the original review and not familiar with the distribution here's a quick recap.

Artix is a systemd-free fork of Arch Linux that grew out of the Arch-OpenRC and Manjaro-OpenRC projects joining forces to provide installable images with alternative init solutions to Arch users who were unhappy with the parent moving to systemd. In fact, Arch was one of the early adopters. While in the beginning only OpenRC might have been offered, Artix now also provides install images using the runit and s6 init software. There's a lot of choice on the download page, only the x86_64 architecture is supported. The project provides Artix basic images of 520MB, similar to a net-install or the Arch install images, and with Cinnamon, MATE, Plasma, Xfce, LXDE and LXQt also ISOs for every major desktop environment. They come in between 939MB and 1.1GB depending on your chosen flavour - not too big a download these days. The page makes it clear what to expect, i.e. only a basic set of applications is included to get the user started.
A file manager, a media player (MPV), a network manager, a document viewer, a web browser and the graphical installer. It is then up to the user to add applications and shape the system.

Every flavour is available for download with any of the three supported init systems. Official images seem to be respun now and then. Although there are weekly images, at the time of writing most stable images were dated from February 2020, with the Xfce ISO labelled 20200506 apparently released in May.

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