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Reviews

Back to basics with Kwort 4.3

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I do not think I have ever installed the Kwort distribution before. It's one of those projects I think about trying when a new release comes out, but something else has always come along to steal away my attention. Last month, during a quiet period, I decided to download the latest release of Kwort, version 4.3, and give it a try.

According to the project's website, "Kwort is a modern and fast Linux distribution that combines powerful and useful applications in order to create a simple system for advanced users who find a strong and effective desktop. Kwort is based on CRUX, so it's robust, clean and easy to extend."

The project's website had the following to say about Kwort 4.3: "As always we remain fast, stable, and simple and now we have grown up a little to include a lot of Linux firmwares available for tons of devices. As usual, everything has been built cleanly and from scratch."

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Screenshots/Screencasts

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Linux Mint: from Rafaela to Rosa

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You know I love Linux Mint. It is one of my favorite distros. Which made the Rosa disappointment all the more shocking. It was so bad it was almost a Rosawell Accident. See what I did there? Never mind, I have calmed down since, and now we're trying Mint 17.3 once again. Only this time, in a slightly different fashion.

Rather than booting from a live USB or whatnot, I am going to attempt an in-vivo upgrade, which is something that usually didn't work quite that well in the past. Linux Mint abstained from this thorny path for many years. Its parent Ubuntu sucked for a while, with dodgy upgrades, and then eventually Ubuntu worked just fine. So this is going to be a rather interesting exercise. Shall we?

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Netrunner 17 Horizon - Event Plasma

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Tough is the life of a distro reviewer, at least has been in the last months of 2015. One bad distro after another. What is distro, baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more. That bad. Seriously, nothing good happened this autumn. Crazily, Fedora 23 with its GNOME desktop was the closest to being a sensible distro. A few others delivered okay, but when you expect mega wow, okay just isn't good enough. Oh yes, Netrunner Rolling scored zero.

So you can imagine my apprehension ere this review, wondering if I'm going to have another bad day fighting technology, regressions and retardation all combined. But let's be optimistic. The glass is half-full, even if I like to drink from the bottle. To wit, Netrunner 17 Horizon, tested on my G50 machine, alongside Windows and many a Linux.

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Zimbra Collaboration Suite (Open Source Edition) review

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Linux
OSS
Reviews

The Zimbra Collaboration Suite (ZCS) is a Linux-based groupware system designed to provide your staff with unified email, calendar, contacts and basic file-sharing. Both commercial and open source versions are available. We've looked at the open source version as a cost-effective alternative to commercial server-based products such as Microsoft Exchange Server and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) systems such as Google Apps for Work.

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After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Linux Mint 17.3, recently released, will be the last release of the Mint 17 line.

It is the culmination of work that began two years ago, and the final edition of Mint based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS .

With the stability of an Ubuntu LTS release as the base system, Linux Mint has had eighteen months of development time to focus on the things that make Mint, Mint.

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Remix OS – Android-based OS For Desktop: Extended Review, Video Demonstration and Installation Instruction

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OS
Android
Reviews

Android is the number one platform in the mobile world: billions devices, hundreds of thousand applications. Can it compete with most popular desktop operating system? Well, this is a hard question: more application is not (or bad) optimized for tablet mode. The idea is not new. In general, now it’s only begin of hard work. Another important thing: popularity is often irrational and slightly depend from quality of software. Time will tell.

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Investigating Solus 1.0

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I tried running Solus in two test environments, a physical desktop computer and a VirtualBox virtual machine. Solus worked fairly well inside the VirtualBox environment, though it did not integrate with VirtualBox and I could not access my display's full resolution. As VirtualBox's guest modules were not available in Solus's software repositories, I downloaded the official guest modules from Oracle and installed those. After a reboot, I was able to run my Solus guest with full screen resolution. Unfortunately, the Budgie desktop was still sluggish to respond. I tried experimenting with and without 3-D effects enabled and Budgie was always slow to respond and programs were slow to open. The operating system used approximately 270MB of memory when logged into the Budgie desktop.

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Solus Project's Virtues Begin and End With Stability

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Linux distros with a variety of lightweight desktop environments are nothing new. Most of the choices already available work well and are more advanced than Budgie.

If Budgie is going to gather any traction, the developers must push the envelope and offer a desktop with more functionality and completeness. At this point, the Solus Project has too many reasons for users to stay clear of trying it.

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MINIX NEO U1 Media Hub Review

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Whereas most other Amlogic S905 boxes have adopted the typical cost down approach, MINIX has done the reverse and built what they believe will be the number one Android box on the market. Their newest device, the NEO U1 is expected to surpass their own high-end flagship model – with more features at a lower price.

If you're unfamiliar with MINIX NEO, this Android-powered device transforms any conventional TV or monitor with an HDMI connection into a Media Center / fully functional PC. Enabling you to run Apps, browse the Internet, access Google Play Store, Netflix, Skype and even comes pre-installed with a new custom version of KODI which uses an audio pass-through mechanism not found on any other versions of KODI on the Android platform.

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More in Tux Machines

today's howtos

Leftovers: Software

  • SOGo v3.0.0 released
    After about 1.5 year of development, Inverse is extremely happy to announce the immediate availability of SOGo v3.0! This release is considered ready for production use.
  • Tupi 0.2 revision git06 (Kunumi)
    After a year without significant activity, this release has an special meaning not only because it represents the continuity of the project but our strong intention of making of Tupi a professional tool for educational and young artists communities around the world.
  • [RetroShare] Release notes for final 0.6.0
    v0.6.0 is now considered final. This post summarizes the main lines of work since the release of 0.6.0-RC2 (last june).
  • OpenShot 2.0.6 (Beta 3) Released!
  • OpenShot 2.0 Beta Is Now Available for Public Testing
    The update is the third full beta release of the revamped video editor but only the first to made available for public testing. Backers of the OpenShot crowdfunding campaign have been able to use beta builds of the hugely revamped non-linear video editor since January.
  • Atom 1.5.0 Has Been Released
    Atom is an open-source, multi-platform text editor developed by GitHub, having a simple and intuitive graphical user interface and a bunch of interesting features for writing: CSS, HTML, JavaScript and other web programming languages. Among others, it has support for macros, auto-completion a split screen feature and it integrates with the file manager.
  • HPLIP 3.16.2 Brings Support For Debian 8.3, Linux Mint 17.3 And New Printers
    As you may know, HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) is a tool for printing, scanning and faxing for the HP printers.
  • Ixion 0.11.0
    Version 0.11.0 of the Ixion library has been just released. You can download it from the project’s home page.
  • Now You Can Use uTorrent Without Ads, Thanks To New Subscription Model
    In the past, the parent company Bittorrent Inc. has relied on an ad-based revenue model to keep uTorrent up and running, but now they have realized the need for a premium experience for the users by charging a nominal amount. Until now, bundled software that hides inside the uTorrent installation package has only consumed space on your computer. The development team is well aware of this issue and that’s why they have come up with the ad-free uTorrent.

Kernel Space: Linux, Graphics

  • Linux kernel bug delivers corrupt TCP/IP data to Mesos, Kubernetes, Docker containers
    The Linux Kernel has a bug that causes containers that use veth devices for network routing (such as Docker on IPv6, Kubernetes, Google Container Engine, and Mesos) to not check TCP checksums. This results in applications incorrectly receiving corrupt data in a number of situations, such as with bad networking hardware. The bug dates back at least three years and is present in kernels as far back as we’ve tested. Our patch has been reviewed and accepted into the kernel, and is currently being backported to -stable releases back to 3.14 in different distributions (such as Suse, and Canonical). If you use containers in your setup, I recommend you apply this patch or deploy a kernel with this patch when it becomes available. Note: Docker’s default NAT networking is not affected and, in practice, Google Container Engine is likely protected from hardware errors by its virtualized network.
  • Performance problems
    Just over a year ago I implemented an optimization to the SPI core code in Linux that avoids some needless context switches to a worker thread in the main data path that most clients use. This was really nice, it was simple to do but saved a bunch of work for most drivers using SPI and made things noticeably faster. The code got merged in v4.0 and that was that, I kept on kicking a few more ideas for optimizations in this area around but that was that until the past month.
  • Compute Shader Code Begins Landing For Gallium3D
    Samuel Pitoiset began pushing his Gallium3D Mesa state tracker changes this morning for supporting compute shaders via the GL_ARB_compute_shader extension. Before getting too excited, the hardware drivers haven't yet implemented the support. It was back in December that core Mesa received its treatment for compute shader support and came with Intel's i965 driver implementing CS.
  • Libav Finally Lands VDPAU Support For Accelerated HEVC Decoding
    While FFmpeg has offered hardware-accelerated HEVC decoding using NVIDIA's VDPAU API since last summer, this support for the FFmpeg-forked libav landed just today. In June was when FFmpeg added support to its libavcodec for handling HEVC/H.265 video decoding via NVIDIA's Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix interface. Around that same time, developer Philip Langdale who had done the FFmpeg patch, also submitted the patch for Libav for decoding HEVC content through VDPAU where supported.

Unixstickers, Linux goes to Washington, Why Linux?

  • Unixstickers sent me a package!
    There's an old, popular saying, beware geeks bearing gifts. But in this case, I was pleased to see an email in my inbox, from unixstickers.com, asking me if I was interested in reviewing their products. I said ye, and a quick few days later, there was a surprise courier-delivered envelope waiting for me in the post. Coincidentally - or not - the whole thing happened close enough to the 2015 end-of-the-year holidays to classify as poetic justice. On a slightly more serious note, Unixstickers is a company shipping T-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, pins, and stickers to UNIX and Linux aficionados worldwide. Having been identified one and acquired on the company's PR radar, I am now doing a first-of-a-kind Dedoimedo non-technical technical review of merchandise related to our favorite software. So not sure how it's gonna work out, but let's see.
  • Linux goes to Washington: How the White House/Linux Foundation collaboration will work
    No doubt by now you've heard about the Obama Administration's newly announced Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP). You can read more about it on CIO.com here and here. But what you may not know is that the White House is actively working with the Linux and open source community for CNAP. In a blog post Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation said, “In the proposal, the White House announced collaboration with The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) to better secure Internet 'utilities' such as open-source software, protocols and standards.”
  • Why Linux?
    Linux may inspire you to think of coders hunched over their desks (that are littered with Mountain Dew cans) while looking at lines of codes, faintly lit by the yellow glow of old CRT monitors. Maybe Linux sounds like some kind of a wild cat and you have never heard the term before. Maybe you have use it every day. It is an operating system loved by a few and misrepresented to many.