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Reviews

Review: Fedora 29 Workstation

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Red Hat
Reviews

Fedora 29 is a good release, but there are some issues with it. Users who are interested in trying out new things and are okay with the the occasional bug should feel comfortable trying out Fedora 29 Workstation. However, users wanting a polished experience might want to hold off until a few more bugs are fixed.

I would be okay with a few rough edges if they were just limited to the new features, but the two show-stopper bugs I had were playing full-screen video with GNOME Videos and being able to install texlive-scheme-full. Only the latter has been fixed, while video playback remains an issue. Playing full-screen videos in GNOME Videos on Wayland has worked perfectly on my hardware for the last several Fedora releases, but in Fedora 29 it is unusable. The video playback bug has already been reported in Red Hat’s Bugzilla, but the bug is still classified as new.

Overall, Fedora 29 Workstation is worth checking out, but I have to say "buyer beware" and encourage people to check to make sure all of the things they need are in a functional state before making the switch or upgrade. Things should be fixed in a few weeks, but I have honestly run beta releases of previous Fedora versions that had fewer issues than the final release of Fedora 29.

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Review: Clu Linux Live 6.0

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Reviews

Clu Linux Live is a Debian-based distribution which "provides various processing command line utilities (CLU) and data rescue tools which can be used on a wired or wireless network." The distribution provides a live CD that will automatically set up Samba network shares and the OpenSSH service to help users rescue files off a computer. The distribution also features such data recovery tools as ddrescue and Clonezilla.

Clu Linux Live is based on Debian 9 and is built for 32-bit x86 computers. The distribution will run on 64-bit processors too and, given the nature of the utilities included, there should be no practical drawbacks to Clu being 32-bit only.

The project's ISO for version 6.0 is approximately 420MB in size. Booting from the ISO brings up boot menu where we can opt to launch the distribution in regular or safe graphics mode. We can also load the distribution entirely into RAM in case we want to remove the boot media.

When the distribution finishes booting we are shown a text console where we are greeted by a series of prompts. The first one asks us to set a password for the root account. The second prompt asks if we would like to mount all attached storage devices. Later we will be told there is a command which will reverse this action, unmounting all hard drives and other attached storage volumes. The next two prompts ask if we would like to start the Samba and OpenSSH network services. These two services can be used to transfer files off the computer and, in the case of OpenSSH, it allows us to remotely manage a cloning or recovery process over the network.

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Feren OS Delivers Richer Cinnamon Flavor

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OS
Reviews

Feren OS is a popular replacement for Linux Mint. It is speedy and has enough developer differences to make using it interesting and fun. From a practical viewpoint, Feren OS does a nice job of improving on the core Linux Mint Cinnamon experience.

Feren OS is a nearly flawless Linux computing platform. This distro is practically maintenance-free. The developers have taken the best parts of several innovative Linux distros and seamlessly integrated them into an ideal computing platform.

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Dell Precision 5530 with Ubuntu Review

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

The Precision is deceptive in size. It’s a 15inch laptop, and despite its relative thinness it feels large in the hand. Open it and the edge-to-edge screen gives the impression that they have some how snuck an even larger laptop into the housing of this sleek minimal model.

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Xubuntu 18.10 Cosmic Cuttlefish - Super green?

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Let the distro testing season begin! It's that time of the year again, and me first volunteer is Xubuntu 18.10, the Xfce flavor of the family. My journey with Xubuntu has been a colorful one. I wasn't pleased with it for a long time, but then it suddenly soared, becoming really good around 2014-2017. This past year though, there's been less enthusiasm and innovation in the distro. I don't know why.

The previous edition, Bionic Beaver, was sort of average, which isn't a good result for an LTS, offering the familiar, understated Xfce look and feel but without the extra zest and fun that we had only a year prior. So it shall be most interesting to see how Cosmic behaveth today. The test box will be the eight-boot UEFI/GPT Lenovo G50, with Intel graphics. Let us merrily proceed.

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KDE apps – Any good?

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KDE
Reviews

This is the most important application on the desktop. In this modern age, online connectivity is a must, and Web browsers are a portal into this big, chaotic online world. The default KDE browser is, depending on the interpretation, most likely, either Konqueror or Falkon. However you choose, it’s an nth incarnation of an idea that never quite caught on. Konqueror, rekonq, Qupzilla, Falkon, you name it. At some point in time, you must have seen or used some or all of these, alongside other browsers, and it’s quite likely you went with the more mainstream choice. in fact, KDE neon, Kubuntu, openSUSE and several other KDE desktops all ship Firefox as the default browser.

Falkon is a reasonable product, but it’s sort of odd. There’s something about it that deters enthusiasm, and of course, it does not have any killer features over Firefox or Chrome. It feels like a mature product from an incomplete idea, or vice versa. It also does not have quite as much versatility as you’d expect from a Plasma product, and it doesn’t integrate as seamlessly into the desktop as either Firefox or Chrome do, both of which are non-native to the environment. Add plugins, extensions, overall speed and performance, plus stability, which was always odd for K browsers, and you get a game of diminishing returns.

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Lubuntu 18.10 - now with LXQt

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Reviews

On October 18th the Ubuntu distribution and related community projects released new versions. These new releases are short term releases, receiving just nine months of support. For the most part, I did not find many big, new features listed in the announcements, but one exception was the changing of Lubuntu's desktop environment:
Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 18.10 has been released. This is the first Lubuntu release with LXQt as the main desktop environment. The Lubuntu project, in 18.10 and successive releases, will no longer support the LXDE desktop environment or tools in the Ubuntu archive and will instead focus on the LXQt desktop environment.
The project has also reported that it plans to focus on being relatively light and modern, but will no longer focus on supporting older hardware.

A shift in desktop environments, even related ones like LXDE and LXQt, struck me as interesting and I was curious to see what practical effect, if any, this would have on Lubuntu's users. With that in mind, I would like to share some information on Lubuntu's final release featuring LXDE (version 18.04) and then talk about Lubuntu 18.10 with the LXQt desktop.

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Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook

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Linux
Reviews

The Linux apps' performance on Chromebook in its current Beta phase seems to be much more reliable and stable than the Android apps integration initially was. Linux apps on Chromebook will get even better as Crostini gets more developed.

Chrome OS 71 brings considerably more improvements, according to various reports. One of those changes will let the Linux virtual machine be visible in Chrome OS' Task Manager.

Another expected improvement is the ability to shut down the Linux virtual machine easily.

An even better expected improvement is folder-sharing between the Linux VM and Chrome OS. That should resolve the inconvenience of the isolated Linux files folder.

Is it justifiable to get a new "qualified" Chromebook in order to run Linux apps on it? If you are primarily a Linux distro user and have settled for using a Linux-less Chromebook as a companion portable computer, I can only say, "Go for it!"

I do not think you will regret the splurge.

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Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 1

Filed under
KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

It has been a few weeks since I purchased my lovely Slimbook Pro2 and installed Kubuntu 18.04 on it. A few weeks during which I put the laptop and its operating system through a series of real-life usage tests, just as I've promised. I do use Linux in my production setup, but only sparingly, mostly because the domains of gaming and writing are not as good as on the Windows side of things.

This attempt is a no-nonsense approach to using Linux fully and completely for serious tasks, without any glamor and fanboyism. While Linux has always served me superbly in the data center space, on the desktop and in the office, it's always taken a second place to Windows. Well, Slimbook + Kubuntu might shatter my preconceptions and exceed my expectations. Might. Also, henceforth, I shall call my machine Slimbuntu. Or not. Anyway, after me.

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Also: Plasma 5.14.2 available in Cosmic backports PPA

Review: System76 Oryx Pro Laptop

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

I should start by saying that although I'm definitely no newbie to Linux, I'm new to the world of dedicated Linux laptops. I started with Linux in 1996, when Red Hat 4.0 had just adopted the 2.0 kernel and Debian 1.3 hadn't yet been released. I've run a variety of distros with varying degrees of satisfaction ever since, always looking for the Holy Grail of a desktop UNIX that just plain worked.

About 15 years ago after becoming frustrated with the state of Linux on laptop hardware (in a phrase, "nonexistent hardware support"), I switched my laptops over to Macs and didn't look back. It was a true-blue UNIX that just plain worked, and I was happy. But I increasingly found myself frustrated by things I expected from Linux that weren't available on macOS, and which things like Homebrew and MacPorts and Fink could only partly address.

My last MacBook Pro is now four years old, so it was time to shop around again. After being underwhelmed by this generation of MacBooks, I decided to take the risk on a Linux laptop again.

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More in Tux Machines

Debian and Derivatives

  • Montreal Bug Squashing Party - Jan 19th & 20th 2019
    We are organising a BSP in Montréal in January! Unlike the one we organised for the Stretch release, this one will be over a whole weekend so hopefully folks from other provinces in Canada and from the USA can come.
  • Debian Cloud Sprint 2018
    Recently we have made progress supporting cloud usage cases; grub and kernel optimised for cloud images help with reducing boot time and required memory footprint. There is also growing interest in non-x86 images, and FAI can now build such images. Discussion of support for LTS images, which started at the sprint, has now moved to the debian-cloud mailing list). We also discussed providing many image variants, which requires a more advanced and automated workflow, especially regarding testing. Further discussion touched upon providing newer kernels and software like cloud-init from backports. As interest in using secure boot is increasing, we might cooperate with other team and use work on UEFI to provide images signed boot loader and kernel.
  • Third Point Release of Univention Corporate Server 4.3-3
    With UCS 4.3-3 the third point release for Univention Corporate Server (UCS) 4.3 is now available, which includes a number of important updates and various new features.
  • Canonical Launches MicroK8s
    Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, has announced MicroK8s, a snap package of Kubernetes that supports more than 42 flavors of Linux. MicroK8s further simplifies the deployment of Kubernetes with its small disk and memory footprint. Users can deploy Kubernetes in a few seconds. It can run on the desktop, the server, an edge cloud, or an IoT device. Snap is a self-contained app package solution created by Canonical that competes with Flatpak, which is backed by Red Hat and Fedora. Snap offers macOS and Windows-like packages with all dependencies bundled with it. A snap package of Kubernetes means any Linux distribution that supports Snap can benefit from MicroK8s
  • Compiz: Ubuntu Desktop's little known best friend

OSS Leftovers

  • Android Open Source Project now includes the Fuchsia SDK and a Fuchsia ‘device’
     

    In a new commit posted today to Android’s Gerrit source code management, two Fuchsia-related repos have been added to the primary “manifest” for the Android Open Source Project. For the unfamiliar, this manifest is used to inform Google’s download tool “Repo” of what should be included when you download AOSP.

  • Google Fuchsia: Why This New Operating System Solves a Huge Coding Problem
     

    The mobile layout has been code-named “Armadillo” and the other view has been dubbed “Capybara,” reported 9to5Google. Both sides of Fuchsia will work together using a tab system that will make up a majority of the user experience.

  • Lessons in Vendor Lock-in: Shaving
    The power of open standards extends beyond today into the future. When my son gets old enough to shave, I can pass down one of my all-metal, decades-old antique razors to him, and it will still work. While everyone else in a decade will have to shave with some $20-per-blade disposable razor with three aloe strips, seven blades, and some weird vibrating and rotating motor, he will be able to pick any razor from my collection and find affordable replacement blades. This is the power of open standards and the freedom to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Help us to make document compatibility even better
    The Document Liberation Project (DLP) is a sister project to LibreOffice, and provides many software libraries for reading and writing a large range of file formats – such as files created by other productivity tools. Thanks to the DLP, LibreOffice (and other programs) can open many legacy, proprietary documents, but there’s always room for improvement! Check out this short video to learn more:
  • GNU Guix: Back from SeaGL 2018
    SeaGL 2018 has concluded. Thank you to everyone in the local Seattle community who came to participate! As previously announced, Chris Marusich gave a talk introducing GNU Guix to people of all experience levels. Some very Guixy swag was handed out, including printed copies of this handy Guix reference card. The room was packed, the audience asked great questions, and overall it was tons of fun! If you weren't able to come to SeaGL this year, that's OK! You can watch a video of the talk below.

Servers: Kubernetes, CNCF, Red Hat and More

  • ​Bitnami Kubernetes Production Runtime released
    If you want to use a safe third-party container, smart people know they should turn to Bitnami. This company packages, deploys, and maintains applications in virtually any format for any platform. Now, at KubeCon in Seattle, Bitnami announced its Kubernetes release: Bitnami Kubernetes Production Runtime (BKPR) 1.0, a production-ready open source project. So, with everyone and their cloud provider offering Kubernetes, why should you care? Well, first, BKPR provides built-in monitoring, alerting, and metrics automatically, thereby enabling developers to avoid reinventing the wheel when they rollout a Kubernetes application.
  • Why the Cloud-Native Market Is Expanding at KubeCon
    The KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America event is a beacon for news, with vendors showcasing their wares and making multiple announcements. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon runs here from Dec. 11-13 and has brought 8,000 attendees and more than 187 vendors into the exhibit hall. Kubernetes itself is part of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), which is also the home now to 31 open-source cloud projects. In this eWEEK Data Points article, we look at the major areas of innovation and new services announced at the conference.
  • Add It Up: Enterprise Adoption of Kubernetes Is Growing
    A recently updated user survey from monitoring software provider Datadog confirms an increase in Kubernetes adoption. We believe this is the result of three factors: 1) more organizations using containers in production; 2) Kubernetes has emerged as the leading orchestration platform; 3) organizations are choosing to adopt Kubernetes earlier in cloud native voyage. There is also some evidence that Kubernetes adoption is more likely among organizations with more containers being deployed. This article highlights findings from several studies released in conjunction with KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America, a Kubernetes user conference being held this week in Seattle. Cloud Foundry’s most recent survey of IT decision makers shows container production usage jumping from 22 percent in early 2016 to 38 percent in late 2018, with these deployments increasingly being described as “broad.” The Cloud Foundry report also found an increase in the number of containers being deployed — in 2016, only 37 percent of cont
  • Oracle Q&A: A Refresher on Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel
    Oracle caused quite a stir in 2010 when it announced its Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel for Oracle Linux. We’ve checked in with Sergio Leunissen, Vice President, Linux and VM Development at Oracle, for an update on the ABCs of this important introduction as well as the company’s latest take on Linux.
  • Get the Skills You Need to Monitor Systems and Services with Prometheus
    Open source software isn’t just transforming technology infrastructure around the world, it is also creating profound opportunities for people with relevant skills. From Linux to OpenStack to Kubernetes, employers have called out significant skills gaps that make it hard for them to find people fluent with cutting-edge tools and platforms. The Linux Foundation not only offers self-paced training options for widely known tools and platforms, such as Linux and Git, but also offers options specifically targeting the rapidly growing cloud computing ecosystem. The latest offering in this area is Monitoring Systems and Services with Prometheus (LFS241). Prometheus is an open source monitoring system and time series database that is especially well suited for monitoring dynamic cloud environments. It contains a powerful query language and data model in addition to integrated alerting and service discovery support. The new course is specifically designed for software engineers and systems administrators wanting to learn how to use Prometheus to gain better insights into their systems and services.
  • Red Hat Container Development Kit 3.7 now available
  • CodeReady Workspaces for OpenShift (Beta) – It works on their machines too
    “It works on my machine.” If you write code with, for, or near anybody else, you’ve said those words at least once. Months ago I set up a library or package or environment variable or something on my machine and I haven’t thought about it since. So the code works for me, but it may take a long time to figure out what’s missing on your machine.
  • OpenShift & Kubernetes: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going Part 2
    The growth and innovation in the Kubernetes project, since it first launched just over four years ago, has been tremendous to see. In part 1 of my blog, I talked about how Red Hat has been a key contributor to Kubernetes since the launch of the project, detailed where we invested our resources and what drove those decisions. Today, that innovation continues and we are just as excited for what comes next. In this blog, I’d like to talk about where we are going and what we’re focused on, as we continue driving innovation in Kubernetes and the broader cloud native ecosystem and building the next generation of OpenShift.
  • Red Hat OpenStack Platform and making it easier to manage bare metal
    Bare metal is making a comeback. At Red Hat we have been observing an increase of the use of bare metal in general. And we aren’t the only ones. In 2017’s OpenStack User Survey there had been a growth of bare metal in production environments from 9% to 20% of the production deployments. The 2018 survey says that adoption of Ironic is being driven by Kubernetes, with 37% of respondents who use Kubernetes on OpenStack using the bare metal provisioner. And there are many reasons for this growth. A great blog post about Kubernetes on metal with OpenShift by Joe Fernandes described this growth in the context of containers on bare metal with Kubernetes as a driver for this growth. But, it doesn’t stop there - High-Performance Compute (HPC), access to hardware devices or scientific workloads such as AI/ML or data lake management are also contributing to this increase.
  • etcd finds new home at CNCF
    CoreOS has moved to secure the independence of etcd by donating the distributed key-value store to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The project was started by Core OS – now part of Red Hat – in 2013 to handle coordination between container instances so that a system reboot was possible without affecting the uptime of applications running on top. Its name can be seen as an hint to the management of configuration files, which over the years have grown to be stored in /etc directory in Unix systems.
  • Kubernetes etcd data project joins CNCF
    How do you store data across a Kubernetes container cluster? With etcd. This essential part of Kubernetes has been managed by CoreOS/Red Hat. No longer. Now, the open-source etcd project has been moved from Red Hat to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). What is etcd? No, it's not what happens when a cat tries to type a three-letter acronyms. Etcd (pronounced et-see-dee) was created by the CoreOS team in 2013. It's an open-source, distributed, consistent key-value database for shared configuration, service discovery, and scheduler coordination. It's built on the Raft consensus algorithm for replicated logs.
  • Welcome etcd to CNCF
    Etcd has been written for distributed systems like Kubernetes as a fault-tolerant and reliable data base. Clients can easily watch certain keys and get notified when their values change which allows scaling to a large number of clients that can reconfigure themselves when a value changes.
  • etcd: Current status and future roadmap
    etcd is a distributed key value store that provides a reliable way to manage the coordination state of distributed systems. etcd was first announced in June 2013 by CoreOS (part of Red Hat as of 2018). Since its adoption in Kubernetes in 2014, etcd has become a fundamental part of the Kubernetes cluster management software design, and the etcd community has grown exponentially. etcd is now being used in production environments of multiple companies, including large cloud provider environments such as AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure, and other on-premises Kubernetes implementations. CNCF currently has 32 conformant Kubernetes platforms and distributions, all of which use etcd as the datastore. In this blog post, we’ll review some of the milestones achieved in latest etcd releases, and go over the future roadmap for etcd. Share your thoughts and feedback on features you consider important on the mailing list: etcd-dev@googlegroups.com.
  • Red Hat contributes etcd, the cornerstone of Kubernetes, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation
    Today Red Hat is thrilled to announce our contribution of etcd, an open source project that is a key component of Kubernetes, and its acceptance into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), a vendor-neutral foundation housed under The Linux Foundation to drive the adoption of cloud native systems. The etcd project’s focus is safely storing critical data of a distributed system and it demonstrated its quality early on. It is most notably the primary datastore of Kubernetes, the de facto standard system for container orchestration. Today we're excited to transfer stewardship of etcd to the same body that cares for the growth and maintenance of Kubernetes. Given that etcd powers every Kubernetes cluster, this move brings etcd to the community that relies on it most at the CNCF.
  • Banks take next steps to digital refinement
    The financial services industry (FSI) has gotten the message: customer expectations have changed radically. They want to experience banking services through multiple digital channels, and they want those services to go well beyond the generic products that traditional banks typically offer. Customers are looking for personalization, are comfortable with service automation, and are eager to get what they need quickly and easily. As the value chain for financial institutions’ services expands along with the need to deliver new and relevant customer offerings, their dexterity is being put to the test, according to an article by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). To enable the flexibility and agility they need to support a dynamic environment, they’ve begun to create a culture of continuous delivery (CD). This allows for continuous cross-channel development, may allow deployment of features in hours rather than months, and lends support for performing system upgrades with zero downtime and without disturbing the customer experience.
  • CentOS 7-1810 "Gnome" overview | The community enterprise operating system
  • How to prepare for digital transformation with Red Hat Virtualization and Veeam
    Red Hat has a history of helping organizations reduce the cost of IT, from infrastructure to applications, while also helping to lay the foundation for open source digital transformation. More recently, Red Hat has sought to help organizations reduce the cost of virtualization, aiming to make it easier to accelerate their digital transformation journey through innovative technologies such as Red Hat Ansible Automation or Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform, Red Hat’s comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes Platform.
  • Red Hat schedules stockholder meeting to vote on $34B IBM deal
  • INVESTIGATION NOTICE: Kaskela Law LLC Announces Shareholder Investigation of Red Hat, Inc.
  • Red Hat sets date for stockholders to vote on the merger with IBM
  • Arista Works With Red Hat and Tigera on Container Environments for Enterprises
    Arista Networks is working with Red Hat and Tigera to help enterprises adopt containers in both private and public clouds. The three companies are demonstrating a preview of their upcoming offering this week at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America 2018 in Seattle. The integrated product will include Arista’s containerized Extensible Operating System (cEOS) and CloudVision software along with Red Hat’s OpenShift Container Platform and Tigera’s Secure Enterprise Edition.
  • Knative Meshes Kubernetes with Serverless Workloads
    Google Cloud’s Knative initiative launched in July is expanding to include an updated version of Google’s first commercial Knative offering along with a batch of new distributions based on serverless computing framework. Knative is a Kubernetes-based platform for building and managing serverless workloads in which cloud infrastructure acts as a server for managing the allocation of computing and storage resources. It is being offered as an add-on to Kubernetes Engine used to orchestrate application containers.
  • Red Hat Steps Up with HPC Software Solutions at SC18
    In this video from SC18 in Dallas, Yan Fisher and Dan McGuan from Red Hat describe the company’s powerful software solutions for HPC and Ai workloads.
  • RedHat contributes etcd, a distributed key-value store project, to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon

Microsoft FUD, Openwashing and Entryism