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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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Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 9

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KDE
Reviews

My overall impression of the Slimbook and its Kubuntu Beaver operating system remains unchanged. I'm rather happy with my choice. That said, there are some glaring bugs and rather annoying niggles that should be fixed. It's the kind of things that can really ruin the experience and harm the user's loyalty long-term. Not being able to print (which usually happens when you DO need to), or having your phone connectivity not work are exactly the problems that block the adoption of Linux among ordinary folks. No one wants to put up with system errors, especially when other operating systems out there offer a more streamlined experience.

I'm not saying Windows is flawless, but in general, I have fewer problems with my production Windows machines than with my Linux ones. Small things. But important things. Plasma is constantly getting better, but some of the improvements do need to trickle back into the LTS release, because having good features for five years is awesome, but having long-term bugs is dreadful. That would be all from yours humbly this time. Stay tuned for future chapters in this neverending adventure.

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Escuelas Linux Is Much More Than an Enlightened Linux Retread

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Linux
Reviews

Escuelas Linux is a surprisingly good all-purpose distro despite its emphasis on education-specific software. However, its universal appeal is critically hampered by its Spanish- and English-only editions. You can always uninstall educational packages not to your liking or need.

Expect to take some time getting familiar with the Moksha desktop. That is my primary concern for younger students and others not familiar with any computer system.

I spent many years as an educator pushing computer technology in the classroom. Students' computing skills (with the exception of gaming) were often greatly lacking.

Moksha is not difficult to master. Yet I cringe at the thought of students and other users getting up to speed on the Moksha UI for hands-on productivity in the classroom and at home. Many of the specialty features built into Escuelas Linux will help teachers and system admins reduce the UI distractions.

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Review: Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1

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Reviews

Clear Linux is a rolling release distro that places a strong emphasis on performance. The distribution focuses on providing optimizations for Intel (and compatible) CPU platforms and often scores well in benchmark tests.

I previously experimented briefly with Clear Linux in 2017 and found it to be very minimal in its features. The distribution presented users with a command line interface by default and, while it was possible to install a desktop environment from the project's repositories, it was not focused on desktop computing. These days Clear Linux is available in several editions. There are separate builds for command line and desktop editions, along with cloud and specially tailored virtual machine builds.

I downloaded the distribution's live desktop edition which was a 2.2GB compressed file. Expanding the download unpacks a 2.3GB ISO. It actually took longer for me to decompress the file than it would have to download the extra 100MB so the compression used on the archive is probably not practical.

Trying to boot from the live desktop media quickly resulted in Clear Linux running into a kernel panic and refusing to start. This was done trying version 29410 of the distribution and, since new versions come along almost every day, I waited a while and then downloaded another version: Clear Linux 29590. The new version had an ISO approximately the same size and, after it passed its checksum, it too failed to boot due to a kernel panic.

I have used Clear Linux on this system before and, though it technically utilizes an AMD CPU, that was not an issue during my previous trial. The current situation does make me wonder if Clear Linux might have optimized itself so much that it is no longer capable of running on previous generation processors.

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Fedora 30 test on laptop with Nvidia - Back in 2010

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Red Hat
Hardware
Reviews

I think the results are obvious, and they speak for themselves. Alas, it would seem that if you want to use Fedora with a setup like the above, then you'll be either very lucky or you're going to face a torrent of problems. But then, Linux has always been, to use a somewhat stupid analogy, like saying you should only drive your car on Mondays on roads that have green sidewalks, and then you will be fine. The whole not-our-problem, use hardware that's "friendly" is nonsense, because people don't have infinite money, choice or expertise, especially since alternative operating systems offer all they need, plus a full range of hardware freedom.

My Fedora 30 test on the G50 was decent - that's a simple Intel graphics box - but even that one used to have millions of problems with Linux - Fedora wouldn't boot until I'd done a BIOS update, and for three years, almost every distro had network disconnect problems. On this box, we're seeing more of what I showed you in the Fedora 29 test. Fedora and Nvidia graphics are not a good fit. Add to that my home dir import woes, the performance woes, the Wireless woes, you get the picture. Feels like we've gone back many years into the past. I'd actually prefer if distros WARNED that the device is not certified or approved or expected to work and refuse to install, than install and then throw a whole bucket of hissy. I will still run an in-vivo upgrade on the Lenovo machine, because that's what I promised to do, but this is a big, big disappointment.

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Hack Computer review

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

I bought a hack computer for $299 - it's designed for teaching 8+ year olds programming. That's not my intended use case, but I wanted to support a Linux pre-installed vendor with my purchase (I bought an OLPC back in the day in the buy-one give-one program).

I only use a laptop for company events, which are usually 2-4 weeks a year. Otherwise, I use my desktop. I would have bought a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed if I was looking for more of a daily driver.

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Review: OS108 and Venom Linux

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Reviews

Every so often I like to step outside of the distributions I know, the ones I tend to see and use year after year, and try something different. Sometimes trying a new project introduces me to a new way of doing things, as Bedrock Linux did earlier this year. Other times trying a project that is just getting started is a reminder of just how much infrastructure, time and resources go into the big-name projects. At any rate, this week I want to talk about two young projects that grabbed my attention for different reasons.

The first is OS108, which caught my eye because it is a desktop flavour of BSD, which is relatively rare. Specifically, the base operating system is NetBSD. OS108 reportedly wants to be a replacement for Windows and macOS and features the MATE desktop environment. The website did not offer much more information than that. I was able to learn OS108 is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only, which I suspect undercuts the usefulness of having a highly portable operating system, such as NetBSD, as the base.

The ISO file I downloaded for OS108 was 1.5GB in size. The file had no version number associated with it, so I assume this is the project's first release. The project's download page says we should install OS108 just as if it were regular NetBSD, then run a script to set up the MATE desktop. Optionally, there is another set of instructions we can follow to set up wireless networking.

Booting from the OS108 media brings up an installer which guides us through a series of text-based menus. We are asked to select our keyboard layout, choose whether to install a fresh copy of the operating system or upgrade, and then select which hard drive will hold OS108. We are also asked to confirm our hard drive's geometry and whether we want to manually partition the disk or let OS108 take over the whole drive. The installer recommends we set aside at least 5GB of space on the drive. Personally, I found more space was required as the default package selection, including the MATE desktop, consumes about 6GB of disk space.

We are next asked if we want a full install, a mostly full install without the X.Org display software, a minimal install, or a custom selection of packages. I went with the full option since it was the default. We can then select where the source packages are located (on the DVD, in this case) and the packages are quickly copied over to the hard drive. A minute later I was asked to perform more configuration steps. These included enabling networking, setting a root password, and turning on optional network services from a list of daemons. We can also create a regular user account and optionally download the pkgsrc ports framework. I skipped installing pkgsrc.

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Enso OS Makes Xfce Elementary

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OS
Reviews

The most impressive aspect of Enso OS is the tweaked desktop that combines a somewhat modified Xfce environment with key elements from Elementary OS. The result could be a better alternative to Xubuntu, depending on your computing preferences.

For an early beta release of a relatively new Linux distribution, Enso OS has much going for it. This distro also has numerous areas where the developer must grow the infrastructure.

Enso OS is clearly a distro that bears watching over the next few releases.

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Nebra AnyBeam: A Raspberry Pi powered home cinema projector you can fit in your pocket [Review]

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Linux
Reviews

Before large screen televisions and 4K content became a thing, I used to enjoy watching films projected onto a white wall at home. I had a Canon projector hooked up to my PC with surround sound, and it was like having a personal cinema.

Technology has moved on quite some way since then, and you can now buy reasonable quality projectors for a fraction of the price. Case in point is Nebra AnyBeam, a Raspberry Pi powered pocket sized projector.

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Review: openSUSE Leap 15.1

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Reviews
SUSE

openSUSE is one of those distros I have always been interested in but which I had never used for more than a few hours. Recently the project released Leap 15.1, which was a good enough reason to give the distro a proper spin.

The distro hardly needs an introduction. It is a community project sponsored by SUSE, one of the larger commercial Linux vendors. openSUSE maintains two distros: Tumbleweed is a rolling release distro and upstream to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). Leap is a stable (non-rolling) distro that is downstream to SLE. A new version of Leap is released roughly once a year, and each version is supported for 18 months. The Leap 15.x series as a whole is supported for three years.

openSUSE is probably best known for the Btrfs file system, Snapper and YaST. As Leap 15.1 is a relatively small, conservative upgrade from 15.0 I will mainly focus on these features. I will also have a look at where things may be heading.

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Proprietary Browsers Released: Opera 63 and Vivaldi 2.7

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    Today, we are releasing the first browser from the 63 line. Opera 63 comes with an improved private browsing mode.

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    Vivaldi web browser 2.7 was released today. The new version features better sound controls, smoother navigation and overall improvements.

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Introducing the XPS 13 developer edition, 9th generation

Today we’d like to announce that the new XPS 13 developer edition (7390) will soon be available in the US, Canada and Europe. The new developer edition, based on Intel’s 10th Gen Core™ U series processors, is part of Dell’s new consumer PC portfolio that is being unveiled today. These systems represent the 9th generation of the XPS 13 developer edition and will come with the Killer™ AX1650 (2×2) built on Intel WiFi 6 Chipset. The new 7390 systems will co-exist alongside the current 9380 XPS 13 developer edition. Read more Also: Dell Unveils New XPS 13 Developer Edition Ubuntu Laptop with 10th Gen Intel CPUs Dell XPS 7390 Developer Edition Announced - Intel Comet Lake With Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Security: Patches, Security Flaws Caused by Compiler Optimisations, Microsoft Updates Break Windows Again

  • Security updates for Wednesday

    Security updates have been issued by Fedora (ghostscript, pango, and squirrelmail), openSUSE (libcryptopp, squid, tcpdump, and wireshark), SUSE (flatpak), and Ubuntu (giflib and NLTK).

  • Security flaws caused by compiler optimizations

    An optimizing compiler is one that tries to maximize some attribute(s) of an executable program at the expense of other attribute(s). Usually the goal is to improve performance or code size at the expense of compiler time and the possibility to debug the program at a later stage. Most modern compilers support some sort of optimization. Normally code optimized for performance is the usual preference. In cases where space is a constraint like embedded systems, developers also prefer code optimized for size. Code optimization is both an art as well as a science. Various compilers use different techniques for optimizing code.

  • To patch Windows or not: Do you want BlueKeep bug or broken Visual Basic apps?

    Microsoft says apps that use Visual Basic 6 (VB6), VBA, and VBScript "may stop responding with error" after its updates from this Tuesday have been installed. "After installing this update, applications that were made using Visual Basic 6 (VB6), macros using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and scripts or apps using Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) may stop responding and you may receive an 'invalid procedure call error'," Microsoft says. The issue affects all supported versions of Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and their corresponding server versions. "Microsoft is presently investigating this issue and will provide an update when available," the company said. Microsoft didn't offer an explanation for the problem but it did flag earlier this month that it will move ahead with sunsetting VBScript, by disabling it in IE11 by default via an update in this week's patch. "The change to disable VBScript will take effect in the upcoming cumulative updates for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 on August 13, 2019," Microsoft warned in a blog. The change brought these versions of Windows in line with Windows 10.