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Reviews

Mageia 7 Pushes Linux Desktop Boundaries

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MDV
Reviews

Linux dispels the notion that one universal computing platform must define the features and functionality for all users. That is why so many distributions exist.

The Mageia distro is a prime example of how freedom and choice are the hallmarks of open source operating systems. Mageia 7 pushes the limits of personal choice and usability definitions.

What gives Mageia Linux its edge is its independence. Mageia 7 is not based on a predefined Linux family of distributions.

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Testing Ubuntu 18.04 on XIDU PhilPad 2-in-1 Hybrid with Touchscreen

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Reviews
Ubuntu

So I’ve recently completed the review of XIDU Philpad 2-in-1 hybrid with Windows 10. The laptop features a 13.3″ touchscreen and support stylus, and I was intrigued whether those would work in Ubuntu 18.04. So I flash the Ubuntu 18.04.2 Desktop ISO to a flash drive and installed Ubuntu to another USB flash drive to give it a try with persistent storage. Note that while it’s OK for testing, running Ubuntu 18.04 from a USB flash drive is very slow, so it’s not recommended.

[...]

Some are clearly the mouse pointer and touchpad, while the “Goodix” one is for the capacitive touchscreen. So I tried SINO WEALTH USB Composite Device which shows support for Pressure, and selected “Screen” mode, before clicking Save. But using the drawing tools in Gimp, only allows me to draw points with the stylus, not continuous lines, and the size of the points is fixed no matter how lightly or strongly I press on the display. Playing with “Dynamics Pressure Opacity” in the Airbrush settings did not yield any results.

In summary, most features work, except the cameras that fail completely out of the box, and the touchscreen may need some fiddling with the settings depending on the program you are using. I’m unclear whether it’s possible to use the stylus at this stage.

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Geany text editor - a sort of genie

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Software
Reviews

I have to say I'm very pleased with Geany, and I'm sort of surprised - with myself - that I never gave it a more thorough examination in the past. But we shall rectify that, as I do intend, as a consequence of this little test, to try using Geany in a more serious manner, in my production environment. At the moment, on my Slimbook, I am using Notepad++, so maybe this could be a solid alternative.

Geany is a really interesting product - rich, extensible, robust, intelligent. It also looks the part, with a spacious, airy, friendly UI, and none of that modern flatness that ruins usability. You get a wealth of options and features, and while I do feel some small things are missing, I don't think there's any massive, glaring weakness in this text editor. Quite worth testing. Lastly, many thanks for those of you who recommended this program. May the code lint be with you.

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Review: Mageia 7

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MDV
Reviews

Mageia is a user friendly, desktop-oriented Linux distribution. The project originally grew out of the Mandriva family of distributions and is independently developed. The project's latest release is Mageia 7 which, according to the project's release notes, offers 18 months of support. Mageia 7 drops support for the ARMv5 architecture while adding support for 64-bit ARM (Aarch64) and improving support for ARMv7. While ARM packages are being built, ARM installation media is not yet featured on the project's download page. The new release includes the DNF command line package manager and features the ability to play MP3 files - MP3 support was not included by default in previous releases due to patent restrictions.

The release notes mention that GNOME users can enjoy their desktop running on a Wayland session by default with X.Org available as an alternative. KDE Plasma users will have the opposite experience with their desktop running on X.Org and a Wayland session available through a package in the distribution's repositories. The documentation also mentions that when running a GNOME on Wayland session some graphical administrator tools will not work when run through su or sudo. The user can run these tools with their regular user privileges and the system will prompt for an admin password when necessary.

Mageia is available for the 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) architectures. We can either download an install DVD with multiple desktop packages bundled or we can download live media with the Plasma, GNOME, or Xfce desktops. There are smaller net-install disc images available too. I decided to try the KDE Plasma live disc which is a 2.8GB download.

Booting from the live media brings up a menu which gives us the option of immediately loading the project's system installer or launching a live desktop environment. Choosing the live desktop brings up a series of graphical screens asking us to select our language from a list, confirm the distribution's license agreement, and we are offered a chance to read the release notes. We are then asked to select our time zone from a list and confirm our keyboard's layout.

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KeePass open source password manager review

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Software
Reviews
Security

KeePass is a free and open-source (FOSS) password manager. It is a Windows program, but versions of it are available for all platforms including macOS, iOS, Android, and Linux. KeePass is not hard to use, but it lacks the slick user interfaces offered by many of its commercial rivals.

Syncing across devices also take a little more work than with most password manager apps, but there is a good reason for this. KeePass uses true end-to-end encryption. You create encrypted KeePass (.kdbx) files that, by default, never leave the device they are created on.

They are not stored on a centralized database that can be hacked (as commercial password manger ones often are), and only you hold the encryption keys to them. The main downside of this, of course, is that there is no safety net - no third party that can bail you out if you forget your master password!

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Feren OS KDE Experimental with KDE Plasma 5.16.2

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KDE
Reviews

Today we are looking at the June snapshot of Feren OS KDE, which is still a work in progress but it is all starting to fall in place and it is beautiful.

As far as I can tell it is based on KDE Neon 18.04.2, KDE Plasma 5.16.2 and uses about 800mb -1GB of ram when idling. However, it is a highly customized edition of KDE, with a top panel showing of the time and calendar, the simple menu as the default menu and a brand new tiled menu, which remind me a lot of the Windows 10 menu, it is just personalized and ready to be customized.

The themer is also working a lot better than before, it is not perfect yet but it is a lot better than before.

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MX Linux Review: A Popular, Simple and Stable Linux Distro

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Reviews

If you’re a Linux newbie, you might be confused by the sheer number of distributions on offer. One relatively new entry to the market is MX Linux. It’s a Debian-based distro with a lot of support that has topped Distrowatch’s popularity list for the last six months.

But why is MX Linux proving to be so popular? Let’s find out.

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Review: OpenMandriva Lx 4.0

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MDV
Reviews

OpenMandriva is a desktop-oriented distribution that originally grew from the Mandriva family of Linux distributions. Like other community projects which rose from the ashes of Mandriva, OpenMandriva places a focus on providing a polished desktop experience that is easy to install. Unlike most other community distributions in the Mandriva family, OpenMandriva uses the Calamares installer, its own custom settings panel for managing the operating system, and builds packages using the Clang compiler instead of the GNU Compiler Collection.

OpenMandriva 4.0 introduces some other changes too, including using Fedora's DNF command line package manager and switching from using Python 2 to Python 3 by default. Python 2 is still available in the distribution's repositories for people who need to use the older version of the language.

The project's latest release is available in two builds and both of them feature the KDE Plasma desktop and run on 64-bit (x86_64) machines. One build (called "znver1") is for modern CPUs while the other is a generic 64-bit build. I was unable to find any precise information on what the minimal requirements were for running "znver1" and so used the generic build for my trial. There are mentions of ARM support in the project's release notes, but at the time of writing there is just one tarball for an ARM build on the distribution's mirrors.

Curiously, on release day, the release notes also mentioned a LXQt build of OpenMandriva and a minimal desktop build. Neither of these were available on release day and it seems the release notes are out of date (or premature). The release announcement also offers a link to torrent downloads, but there were no torrents available on the server, even a week after OpenMandriva 4.0 was launched. (The following week torrent files were made available.) All of this is to say the documentation did not match what was actually available when version 4.0 became available.

The generic 64-bit build of OpenMandriva was a 2.4GB download. Booting from the project's ISO seemed to get stuck for a minute after passing the boot menu, but eventually a splash screen appeared, followed by a welcome window. The welcome screen offers us information on package versions and displays links to on-line resources. The welcome window also offers to help us change settings, which we can probably skip until after the distribution has been installed.

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Lubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo - Casus vitae

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Lubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo feels ... raw. Unfinished. Half-baked. It has some perfectly decent functionality, like networking, media and phone support, but then it also comes with rudimentary package management, a jumbled arsenal of programs, a desktop that is too difficult to manage and tame, plus identity crisis. The truly redeeming factors are performance and battery life. This is a promise, and one well kept, and indeed, if there's one reason (or rather two reasons) to sample Lubuntu, there you have it.

I struggled with the overall purpose, though. As impressive as the speed and lightness are, they are only small improvements over what Plasma offers. But then, Plasma is much easier to customize and tweak, it offers a coherent, consistent experience, and it feels modern and relevant. With Lubuntu, I had no connection, and using the distro felt like a chore. I had to fight the weird defaults to try to create an efficient setup, and I wasn't able to do achieve that. So I always go back to the question of investment versus benefit. Lubuntu feels too pricey for what it gives. For example, MX Linux delivers wonderfully on my eeePC, and it's quite simple to handle. With Lubuntu, there needs to be more order, more consistency in how it works. At the moment, it's just a collection of ideas mashed together. While perfectly functional, it's not really fun. 6/10. You should test, especially if you have old hardware.

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Zorin OS Review

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Reviews

Zorin OS is an Ubuntu based Linux distribution. Zorin OS has one ultimate goal in mind of providing a Linux alternative to Windows users. Zorin OS is also a very good Linux distribution for people who are new to Linux. Zorin OS is fast, powerful, secure. Zorin OS also does not track your activities. Zorin OS respects your privacy.

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Programming: Joget Operator, Python, LibreOffice, GNOME and KDE

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Games: Steam Play/Proton, GNU/Linux on Xbox, and UnderMine

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GNU Scientific Library 2.6 released

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