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Reviews

A look at KDE Neon – a minimal mini-distribution

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KDE
Reviews

Overall, KDE Neon is great for minimalists who want to populate their system with packages and applications themselves, rather than deal with the potential bloat of many common distributions. The downside, is that users who want a fully working, prepackaged distro that they can just install and go, will likely find KDE Neon too much for them.

As a whole however, the system runs nicely, using Ubuntu as the base has its obvious benefits and caveats just like other popular Ubuntu based systems; but if you’re looking for the latest and greatest KDE packages from upstream, and you don’t mind (or prefer) building your system up yourself a bit, give Neon a peek.

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Also: Import of Origin and LabPlot projects

Anarchy Linux: Arch Linux Made Easy

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Reviews
HowTos

Anarchy Linux isn’t so much its own distribution as it is a wrapper around Arch Linux. If you’re familiar with Linux Mint’s relationship with Ubuntu, you should have a good idea of what Anarchy is.

The main feature of Anarchy Linux is its installer. Arch Linux itself doesn’t have a proper installer. Anarchy fixed that. It provides a simple, yet powerful, terminal-based installer that walks you through the entire install process just as easily as a mainstream distribution like Ubuntu.

Anarchy does something else to set itself apart, too. It doesn’t install the “conventional” defaults. Instead, Anarchy sets up your system the way most people customize theirs. Anarchy gives you ZSH by default. Your browser is Chromium. The out-of-the-box text editor is Vim. Anarchy also doesn’t waste your time with nonsense apps that you won’t use. It gives you what you need, and that’s about it.

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Deepin Desktop Props Up Pardus Linux

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Linux
Reviews

The Pardus Community Edition offers 24x7 live technical support. Its goal is to find solutions to users' problems rapidly through constantly available help agents and access to an active user forum. Storage applications are added and removed in line with users' requests.

The more current versions and more organized website make the Pardus Enterprise Edition a better choice. Unless you have a diehard attraction for XFCE, the Deepin desktop is a worthy alternative.

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WINE 3.0 - Better but not good enough

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Software
Reviews

I am always happy to see major releases of open-sources projects, especially when they come loaded with features and enthusiasm. WINE 3.0 hails a significant overhaul of the framework, promising much better compatibility with Windows applications and the much needed support for Direct3D 10/11. Ah yes, if you're wondering, WINE is a software compatibility layer that allows you to run Windows stuff on UNIX-like operating systems.

My experience with this program has waned over the years - in line with the reduced quality and growing complexity of getting Windows applications to run. The last attempt was particularly bad, with lots of dependency problems and errors. Well, fresh version, fresh hope - and dev version 3.3 in the making. This ought to be interesting. Shall we?

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Review: Enso OS 0.2

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Reviews

Enso is a young distribution based on Xubuntu. Enso features the Xfce desktop environment running on the Gala window manager; Gala has been used with good effect on the elementary OS distribution. Enso also features the Panther application menu and the Plank dock. The Enso website mentions the project is trying to have a positive environmental impact: "Help plant trees while you search the web with Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees with it's ad revenue, included in Enso."

The project's latest release, Enso OS 0.2, is based on Xubuntu 16.04 and is available in just one edition for 64-bit x86 computers. The ISO we download is approximately 1.5GB in size. The downloaded media boots to a graphical screen where a window appears and asks if we would like to try Enso's live desktop environment or immediately begin the installation process. This window also lets us select our preferred language from a list.

While the live desktop uses Xfce components running on the Gala window manager, the desktop has a certain GNOME-like appearance. There is a thin top panel which includes an application menu, clock and system tray. At the bottom-left corner of the screen there is a dock (powered by Plank) which acts as both a quick-launch bar and task switcher. Enso uses bright colours for the window control buttons and the minimize, maximize and close buttons are presented in blue, green and yellow. The busy mouse cursor is shown as the macOS-style beach ball.

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Iridium Browser: A Browser for the Privacy Conscious

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Reviews

Iridium is a web browser based on Chromium project. It has been customized to not share your data and thus keeping your privacy intact.
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LibreOffice 6.0 - Goodness, Gracious, Great Fonts of Fire!

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LibO
Reviews

LibreOffice 6.0 is a phenomenal release. Pro-am if you will. The very first version that can proudly wear its laurels. It's almost a completely different product. More elegant, more efficient, with better and smarter layout and work logic, improved functionality with pretty much everything. Most importantly, Microsoft Office supports is very good. It was also stable and fast.

Technically, LibreOffice is playing catchup with Microsoft Office. We probably may never achieve parity, as office suites take millions of dollars to develop and maintain. But still, in this game of hare and armadillo, the open-source beastling is making great strides forward. LibreOffice 6.0 has an expensive, elegant, refreshing feel to it. An office suite reborn. Official release notes are often three quarters hyperbole and one quarter nonsense, but in this case, it's all awesome stuff. I am extremely happy, and I urge you to install and test LibreOffice 6.0. There are few free products that warrant this much joy. 10/10. Font away.

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Linux Deepin Review – For The Record

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Reviews

Linux Deepin Review. Today I take a close look at Deepin Linux. It’s a Linux distro from a company in China called Wuhan Deepin Technology Co., Ltd. Despite being a little unsure what to expect at first, I came to appreciate a lot of the thoughtful features that went into the desktop.

There are some rough edges, but overall it’s a fascinating distro taking a very different approach to blending FoSS and proprietary software.

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Review: OviOS 2.31

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Reviews

OviOS is a Linux-based distribution which is designed to act as a storage appliance. OviOS can be thought of along similar lines as a network attached storage (NAS) device, a box dedicated to holding and sharing files over a network. Where OviOS differs from most NAS solutions is OviOS does not feature a graphical or web-based interface. Everything on OviOS is managed from a command line shell, typically over a secure shell (OpenSSH) connection. The OviOS distribution ships with its own, custom shell which should streamline administration. The central idea behind the project appears to be making file storage and sharing as minimal as possible, without any unnecessary features such as web-based control panels.

OviOS ships with ZFS support, giving us the ability to create multi-disk storage volumes, compress files at the file system level and create snapshots of our data. The distribution currently does not support booting on UEFI-enabled computers and runs on 64-bit x86 machines which support booting in legacy BIOS mode only.

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Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone - With Android

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Android
Reviews
Ubuntu

I ever so slightly regret the "upgrade" to Android. With a version less than the tablet, the UI changes are extremely noticeable, and the transition isn't as smooth. The device lags, and it just doesn't have enough processing power to give the necessary feel of goodness and elegance. On the other hand, you get tons of native applications that you can actually use, as opposed to the Ubuntu Touch idea. Shame really. For 'tis a compromise.
If you ask me, I wholeheartedly embrace the M10 tablet upgrade, but on the phone, you might as well keep Ubuntu unless you need the device for serious use. If it's just an opportunistic call/SMS thing for when abroad and such, or to loan to friends, the original combo is adequate. If you need apps, then Android is the way to go, but do not except any miracles. It won't be speedy, and it won't be too pretty. All in all, an okay player.

It is silly attaching sentiments to software or hardware, but I do guess I will fondly remember the Ubuntu phone attempt as a noble idea to make something great and fun. I could have kept the device in its original state, perhaps, but in the end, it would have ended in a pile of ancient stuff you keep around for a decade until you decide you need to throw it away to leave room for fresh memories and less ancient stuff. Having a flawless Android experience would have helped soften the edge, but as it is, it remains the bittersweet attempt at what could have been a revolution. The end.

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Also: Ubuntu Desktop weekly update – February 23, 2018

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Critical Live Boot Bug Fixed and Ubuntu 18.04 is Finally Released

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Openwashing Leftovers

Linux Foundation: New Members, Cloud Foundry, and Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit

  • 41 Organizations Join The Linux Foundation to Support Open Source Communities With Infrastructure and Resources
    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 28 Silver members and 13 Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support development of the shared technology resources, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership and participation. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources that enable the world's largest open collaboration communities.
  • Cloud Foundry for Developers: Architecture
    Back in the olden days, provisioning and managing IT stacks was complex, time-consuming, and error-prone. Getting the resources to do your job could take weeks or months. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) was the first major step in automating IT stacks, and introduced the self-service provisioning and configuration model. VMware and Amazon were among the largest early developers and service providers. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) adds the layer to IaaS that provides application development and management. Cloud Foundry is for building Platform as a Service (PaaS) projects, which bundle servers, networks, storage, operating systems, middleware, databases, and development tools into scalable, centrally-managed hardware and software stacks. That is a lot of work to do manually, so it takes a lot of software to automate it.
  • Jonathan Corbet on Linux Kernel Contributions, Community, and Core Needs
    At the recent Embedded Linux Conference + OpenIoT Summit, I sat down with Jonathan Corbet, the founder and editor-in-chief of LWN to discuss a wide range of topics, including the annual Linux kernel report. The annual Linux Kernel Development Report, released by The Linux Foundation is the evolution of work Corbet and Greg Kroah-Hartman had been doing independently for years. The goal of the report is to document various facets of kernel development, such as who is doing the work, what is the pace of the work, and which companies are supporting the work.