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Reviews

Happy Holidays: Linux Mint get a major upgrade

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Reviews

With this long-term support Linux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu 16.04, Linux Mint is better than ever. Since I've already found Linux Mint 18 to be the best desktop out there of any sort, that's saying something.

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Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 review

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For users with older computers, some of the modern Linux distributions can be too resource intensive. Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 is a lightweight distribution designed for those users. The minimum system requirements are a 500MHz processor, 128MB of RAM, and 4GB of disk space. The recommended requirements are a 1.0GHz processor, 512MB of RAM, and 10GB of disk space. Available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, as well as a "Legacy" release for really old 32-bit systems, Bodhi Linux 4.0.0 can easily bring new life to older computers.

Bodhi Linux offers a couple of download options beyond the 32-bit/64-bit choice. There is a Standard release and an AppPack version. The Standard release is very bare-bones with only a minimal set of pre-installed options, while the AppPack version comes with a larger number of bundled applications. The ISO for the 64-bit Standard version is 647MB and the 64-bit AppPack version is 1.21GB (about twice the size). For the purposes of this review, I opted for the Standard version, so I could customize my system as I wished. However, I will be mentioning some of the AppPack version's additional software throughout this review.

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Fedora 25 Gnome review - A way to land

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Red Hat
Reviews

All right. Brace yourselves. It's Fedora time. Throughout 2016, a gloomy year for the likes of us, Linux users, Fedora has been a friendly companion. It made me like and use Gnome again, plus it offered a pleasant, vibrant, practical desktop experience that nicely filled the gap left by Ubuntu. Almost like a dental crown.

We also learned how to pimp it, and I have a whole bunch of surprises laid out ahead of us, including yet more elegant tweaking and taming, reviews on other hardware, some revolutionary usability tricks, and still more. But all that will happen in the future. Now, we should focus on Fedora 25, and see how it stacks against its predecessor, as well as the entire Linux ecosystem. No pressure.

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Fedora 25: With Wayland, Linux has never been easier (or more handsome)

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For the past several releases, the Fedora Project has been pursuing what it calls Fedora Next. Essentially, Fedora Next took a step back and looked at how the distro is used and came up with editions specifically tailored to those use cases. The most notable of these are Fedora WorkStation and Fedora Server (the desktop/laptop and server versions respectively).

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Best Xfce distro of 2016

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Let us continue where we started with the KDE/Plasma nominations. It is time to vector our all-seeing eye toward another desktop environment – Xfce. Once upon a time, it used to be a bland, boring offering that could not stand up to the likes of Gnome 2 and KDE 3.5. But then, slowly, it emerged from the ashes like a Phoenix, and persistently, steadily earned its place among the big ones, standing tall, stable, sturdy, and just plain good.

In a way, Xfce now fills the void that was created when Gnome 3 came to life, and many years later, it is still there. But then, Xfce has also left its austerity behind, and it is trying to cater to the modern-era users with all the goodies people expect, without sacrificing its simple approach to fast, no-nonsense computing. So let us see what Year 2016 has blessed us with. To wit, our candidates.

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Review: MX Linux MX-15

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Originally, this review was going to be of Bodhi Linux, based on a suggestion from a comment in a recent review. However, when I tried it, while it was able to connect to the Internet, it could not connect to its package repositories for me to install any packages, and I figured that there wouldn't be much point in writing a review given that. Then, I thought of trying the latest version openSUSE on the recommendation of a friend of mine, especially given that I haven't tried openSUSE in quite a while; that turned out to only be available in the form of an installation DVD, as no live image is available yet (though I hope to try it when that does become available). After that, I saw some reviews of MX Linux, and thought it might be interesting to try. (Spoiler alert: this review exists because there's enough material for me to write about it.)

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Manjaro 16.10 Xfce - Surprised me, I like

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Weird. I have never expected to be writing a conclusion to an Arch-based distro review and feel really pleased about the whole experience. But then, looking at how Manjaro behaved and how it delivered, I really don't have much to complain. The list of bad things is not very long: Samba printing, Bluetooth, some cosmetic problems, and ultra-slow GRUB updates. Other than that, it was really good.

You get a stable, fast distribution with a balanced kit of programs, media codecs and smartphone support out of the box, low resource utilization, very decent battery life, and even some perks, in the form of a new kernel that may resolve hardware and driver issues, if you have them. Plus, you can actually tame it if you feel like spending some time on the aesthetics front, and it won't bite with random, unexplained errors. Most importantly, there's a continuous trend of improvement and maturity in the distribution. Just look at my previous reviews, dating back to 2013. Everything seems to be in order, well, except this one really big thing.

What's next? Is this the sum of what the community can do - wants to do, or can we expect Manjaro to take a more commercial, more adult approach, and even become something that could one day appeal to non-Linux folks? That might not be the mission, and perhaps it will never happen, but I am always apprehensive around small distros, because changes can be painful and devastating, and as a user, you need to believe you have a solid, stable, long-term support behind you. This review cannot answer that, but at the very least, it gives you an indication what you can do with Manjaro 16.10 Xfce, if you feel like testing. Overall, 9.25/10 I would say, and it doesn't take much to up the score. Quite a surprise for this bleak year of distro testing, and a most refreshing change for this no less dreary autumn season. Surpassed my expectations and bitterness. Well worth a ride. Get it, fellas, get it.

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Netrunner 16.09 Avalon - King Arthur wasn't there

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Blade Runner? Say what. Nope. Netrunner. But not the Netrunner distro as you remember it. There are changes in the land of sprinters. The old system, which used to be based on Ubuntu LTS, is now a different fork and a separate entity called Maui, and it shall bear the scrutiny of my wits, senses and taste very soon.

This means, today, we are testing Netrunner 16.09 Avalon, the latest semi-rolling edition based on Debian Stable. Now, my previous testing experience does not agree with this model. Netrunner 17 Horizon was a pretty good product, in fact good enough to be the honorable mention in the annual Plasma/KDE vote, but the rolling 2015.11 was a disaster that would not even install, and got a zero score. So, with less than high hopes, we proceed.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Zorin 12

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This version of Zorin is a great step forward. It has a renewed sense of purpose and stands out in its own right as a decent Linux distribution.

I think Zorin should follow Mint's lead and stick with aligning itself to the Ubuntu LTS release. This gives the developers more time to push it along at their own pace.

All in all a decent alternative to Linux Mint and Ubuntu.

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ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5: is it near-perfect?

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MDV
Reviews

ROSA is a Linux distribution forked some time ago from Mandriva Linux by a team of Russian developers, Rosa Lab, or officially LLC NTC-IT ROSA.

I reviewed their distributions several times: ROSA KDE R7, ROSA Desktop 2012 and even interviewed the ROSA team.

The most recent release of ROSA is now ROSA Desktop Fresh R8, which is available in several flavours: MATE, GNOME 3, KDE 4 and Plasma 5. I decided to try the Plasma 5 edition of this distribution, especially as my interest to Plasma increased after the good impression Kubuntu 16.10 left on me.

There are links to the ISO images available on the ROSA download page, and I used it to get my own version of this Linux distribution. The size of ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5 64-bit image is 1.9 Gb. The dd command helped me to "burn" the image to the USB stick.

So, the USB drive is attached to my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

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Raspberry Pi: A closer look at Raspbian PIXEL

Over the past three posts, I have looked at a number of different Linux distributions for various models of the Raspberry Pi - including SUSE/openSUSE, Fedora, Manjaro and Ubuntu MATE, and PiCore Linux. What I haven't done yet is look at the latest version of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's own Linux distribution, Raspbian with their PIXEL desktop. So I will look at that first, and then I will wrap this series up. I know that I just recently wrote about Raspbian PIXEL, but that was a sort of "what's new" overview, and in this post I want to go much deeper, and in a lot more detail, to provide some comparison to the other Linux distributions that I have been testing. So please bear with me... Read more

Linux Kernel News

  • Linux: Why do people hate systemd?
    systemd has caused an almost unending amount of controversy in the Linux community. Some Linux users have been unyielding in their opposition to systemd, while others have been much more accepting. The topic of systemd came up in a recent thread in the Linux subreddit and the folks there did not pull any punches when sharing their thoughts about it.
  • PulseAudio 10.0 Linux Sound System Released, Offers OpenSSL 1.1.0 Compatibility
    Today, January 19, 2017, sees the official release of the PulseAudio 10.0 open-source sound server for Linux-based operating systems, a major version that introduces many exciting new features. PulseAudio 10.0 has been in development for the past seven months, since the June 22, 2016, release of PulseAudio 9.0, which is currently used by default in numerous GNU/Linux distributions.
  • Linux is part of the IoT security problem, dev tells Linux conference
    The Mirai botnet? Just the “tip of the iceberg” is how security bods at this week's linux.conf.au see the Internet of Things. Presenting to the Security and Privacy miniconf at linux.conf.au, embedded systems developer and consultant Christopher Biggs pointed out that Mirai's focus on building a big DDoS cannon drew attention away from the other risks posed by insecure cameras and digital video recorders.
  • The Linux Foundation Brings 3 New Open Source Events to China
    LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudOpen will be held in China this year for the first time, The Linux Foundation announced this week. After the success of other Linux Foundation events in the country, including MesosCon Asia and Cloud Foundry Summit Asia, The Linux Foundation decided to offer its flagship LinuxCon, ContainerCon and CloudOpen events in China as well, said Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. “Chinese developers and businesses have strongly embraced open source and are contributing significant amounts of code to a wide variety of projects,” Zemlin said. “We have heard the call to bring more open source events to China.”

Dell Has Sold ‘Tens of Millions’ Dollars’ Worth of Linux Laptops

So popular Linux personality Bryan Lunduke, who recently took an hour out to talk to Dell’s Senior Architect in the office of CTO — try saying that with a mouthful of doughnut — Barton George. What did he learn? Well, for one, Dell says it has ‘no plans’ to start shipping its Linux-powered developer laptops with anything other than Ubuntu. Read more