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Reviews

Asus ZenWatch 3 review: basic is as basic does

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Android
Reviews

Asus finally got around to updating the ZenWatch 3 to Android Wear 2.0. I’ve been wearing it on and off (no pun intended) for a couple months now, and I have been waiting patiently to see if the new software would change the experience of this smartwatch before publishing a review.

It basically didn’t. It’s a fine enough smartwatch, providing most of the things I really care about in a smartwatch. I have a particular set of things I care about, and they might not line up with what you want. For me, it’s a simple list:

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Set up web services quickly with UBOS 11

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Reviews

Some people might think that UBOS is targeting less experienced users with its talk of quickly and easily setting up popular web services at home. At least that was my initial impression of the project's mission. However, I came to realize that UBOS makes certain admin tasks very fast and convenient, but not necessarily beginner friendly. Running UBOS means using the command line and being comfortable with the Linux command line tools. The UBOS project does provide us with documentation for using the ubos-admin software which is very useful, but we are not given manual pages or guides for other commands. This means UBOS users should already be comfortable working from a terminal, but do not necessarily need to know anything about setting up an Apache web server or web applications.

For the most part, UBOS does a good job of making it quick and easy to set up a handful of web services. What would usually take me twenty minutes to install, configure and test takes less than five minutes with UBOS and I appreciate this time saving technology. The ability to backup multiple websites and their databases in seconds with one command is also a very welcome feature.

There were downsides to using UBOS I ran into. One was the distribution refusing to reboot after services were installed. The second was the issue I ran into where I could not install new services once web applications had already been installed. This seems like a restriction which would get in the way in any situation where we want to experiment with new applications.

A final issue I ran into was UBOS currently does not offer many pre-packaged services. There are, at the time of writing, eight available web services we can install and configure with a single command. This is a good start, but I hope more services are added later, perhaps for other blogging software, development tools and other common web services. The basics many home users are likely to want are already in UBOS's inventory and I hope the selection is expanded to appeal to a wider audience in the future.

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SparkyLinux 5: Great All-Purpose Distro for Confident Linux Users

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Linux
Reviews

Other factors make using SparkyLinux 5 a smart decision. One is its use of a rolling release schedule that pushes the latest packages and edition upgrades as they are ready, without requiring a complete reinstallation.

Starting out, I referred to SparkyLinux as one of the best full-service Linux distros available. Of course, that is a subjective evaluation, but having installed and tested the latest editions of countless Linux distros on a weekly basis for years, I've developed a sixth sense for what makes a great choice and what does not.

SparkyLinux 5 is one of those great choices. Check it out.

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Manjaro 17.0.2 KDE Review: Looks Gorgeous, Responsive & Power Efficient (A Little Slow to Boot, Though)

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Reviews

My biggest concern over Manjaro 17.0.2 KDE is the 50+ seconds of boot-up times. It’s a concern to me only because I can’t put my laptop computer to sleep due to that Focaltech touchpad issue. So when I take a break (say for about 20-30 minutes), I’m forced to keep the laptop turned ON. If I’m somewhat low on battery, then I’m forced to plug in the charger (yes I’m talking from the two weeks+ experience I’ve had so far with Manjaro). That said, even if you have a troublesome Focaltech touchpad, if you’re going to install it into an SSD then I guess it’s not much of a concern at ll anyway. Other than that, this a gorgeous looking, responsive, power efficient and one of the stablest KDE distributions I’ve had used so far!

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Nokia 5 review: A great-looking Android smartphone that's tantalisingly cheap

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Android
Reviews

Nokia’s first Android smartphones are on their way. The entry-level model, the Nokia 3, is on sale now for £119.99. The next step-up is the Nokia 5, which goes on sale on 16 August. The Nokia 6 is the highest-specced of the three first handsets and is on sale on 2 August for £219.99.

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Long-Term Review: Linux Mint 18.2 "Sonya" MATE

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Linux
Reviews

A little over two weeks ago, I made the decision on what Linux distribution to install and use full-time on my personal laptop. I chose Linux Mint 18.2 "Sonya" MATE, because I felt that while it could do a bit better for total newbies in terms of usability (as some usability features have regressed since a couple of years ago), it has been a reliable and known quantity for me, and I figured that if I could generally use the live session without much hassle, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch (no pun intended) to imagine that the installed session would likely be workable. As I've covered most of the experiences of installing and using programs and getting around the desktop in my review of the live session, this post will be relatively short, covering only the salient points of the installation and some of the changes I made after the installation. Follow the jump to see more.

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Find your happy place: Fedora 26 has landed

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Red Hat
Reviews

Review Fedora 26, released recently, is a welcome update on the already very nice 25.

As with Fedora's last couple of releases, there are three major ways to get Fedora 26 – Workstation, Server and Atomic Host. The Workstation release is aimed at desktop users and, by default, will install the GNOME desktop. Server and Atomic Host target, yes, servers and container-based deployments respectively.

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Review: Calculate Linux 17.6 KDE

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Gentoo
Reviews

Calculate Linux is a Gentoo-based distribution. The project's slogan is "Easy Linux from the source," which refers to the fact that Calculate is relatively easy to use but still benefits from Gentoo's powerful and flexible source-based Portage package manager.

Calculate recently celebrated its tenth birthday and released Calculate Linux 17.6. The distro comes in four flavours; apart from a desktop and server edition there's Calculate Scratch ("for those who want to build a customized system that works for them") and Calculate Media Center ("for your home multimedia center"). Each version is available for the x86_64 and i686 architectures and uses SysV init rather than systemd. The desktop edition has ISOs for the KDE, Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce desktop environments - GNOME is presumably not available because of its dependency on systemd. I opted for the 64-bit KDE version, which is just over 2GB in size.

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Qubes OS 3.2

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Reviews

All in all, the Qubes OS team did an awesome job on integrating all this things so far. The security of the App VMs is not better than the security of the corresponding Template operating systems. However, if a App VM gets an issue, it does not affect the others. If you plan to do weird things, you can use a disposable VM where all changes gets discarded afterwards. It is very easy for anybody to create App VMs without network for example. And this is something I would like to use ever since I stumbled over Firejail which provides app-specific sandboxing.

In general, the documentation of Cubes OS is awesome. I learned a lot and I had to. Cubes OS is nothing to set-up by aunt Martha. You have to have deeper technical understanding to set-up the system. Afterwards, anyone is able to use it with a short introduction to the basic guidelines.

Of course, I found some usability issues and some bugs here or there. But overall, Cubes OS is a valid option for a security purist or a privacy-aware person.

When Qubes OS meets my personal requirements, it complicates things though. For example the file server/client architecture adds complexity you don't have to maintain within a personal computer.

Accessing USB devices, network printers and so forth is cumbersome as well.

You have to set your priorities. Wink

Will I install it on my notebook or desktop and use it on a daily basis? My notebook would be cool since it is in potential harmful environments such as WiFi networks I don't control. On the other side, I do need USB flash drive access with good usability and need to connect to projectors.

My home server/computer runs 24/7 and could profit from Cubes OS since I got many different things running on this machine. I could separate those domains. Working in offline VMs with applications that don't need network is also a very nice thing to have. The USB flash drive thing is also a big thing here. Restricting to LAN access only would be fine. System crash resulting in an encrypted system that does not boot any more is a no go.

Well, I am not convinced yet. Probably I stick to Debian 9 or I do find the urge to come around the issues and find a Qubes OS setup which serves me well.

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Also: [Video] 3 BILLION LINUX USERS!!! (Intro to Endless OS)

Leftovers: Ask the Linux Foundation and Review of Damn Small Linux

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews
  • Questions about SysAdmin Training from The Linux Foundation? Join the Next #AskLF

    His #AskLF chat will take place the Monday after SysAdmin Day: a professional holiday the organization has recognized for years.

  • Damn Small Linux A Lightweight Linux Distro For Old Computers

    By the name yes it’s really small and lightweight (had to utter this word too “damn!”). Damn Small Linux is a distro that offers a GUI based OS for low resource systems and some applications for normal users task-alike. It’s designed with the intention to pack all the modern features under 50 MB.
    ​Well, that may sound crazy but you cannot rely on it as a primary OS if you have a recent modern hardware. Instead take a U-turn now and see what Ubuntu, Fedora or OpenSUSE has to offer.

    Damn Small Linux latest version is v4.11rc2 and development has been in a long pause since 2015. Don’t be put off by that because that’s how some people roll. Slow and steady until they sort things out.

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AndEX Puts Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 64-Bit on Your PC with GAPPS and Netflix

GNU/Linux developer Arne Exton has released a new build of his Android-x86 fork AndEX that leverages Google's Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 mobile operating system for 64-bit PCs with various updates and improvements. Read more

today's leftovers

  • Future Proof Your SysAdmin Career: Advancing with Open Source
    For today’s system administrators, the future holds tremendous promise. In this ebook, we have covered many technical skills that can be big differentiators for sysadmins looking to advance their careers. But, increasingly, open source skillsets can also open new doors. A decade ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst predicted that open source tools and platforms would become pervasive in IT. Today, that prediction has come true, with profound implications for the employment market. Participating in open source projects -- through developing code, submitting a bug report, or contributing to documentation -- is an important way to demonstrate open source skills to hiring managers.
  • FreeType Improvements For The Adobe Engine
    With FreeType 2.8.1 having been released last week, a lot of new code landed in the early hours of today to its Git repository. The code landed includes the work done this summer by Ewald Hew for Google Summer of Code (GSoC 17) adding support for Type 1 fonts to the Adobe CFF engine. Type 1 is an older, less maintained font format.
  • Are You Fond Of HDR Photography? Try Luminance HDR Application In Ubuntu/Linux Mint
    Luminance HDR is an graphical user interface that is used for manipulation and creation of High Dynamic Range(HDR) images. It is based on Qt5 toolkit, it is cross-platform available for Linux, Windows and Mac, and released under the GNU GPL license. It provides a complete workflow for High Dynamic Range(HDR) as well as Low Dynamic Range (LDR) file formats. Prerequisite of HDR photography are several narrow-range digital images with different exposures. Luminance HDR combines these images and calculates a high-contrast image. In order to view this image on a regular computer monitor, Luminance HDR can convert it into a displayable LDR image format using a variety of methods, such as tone mapping.
  • Opera Web Browser Now Has Built-in WhatsApp and FB Messenger, Install in Ubuntu/Linux Mint
  • Enterprise open source comes of age
    In the age of digitalisation and data centre modernisation, open source has come of age. This is demonstrated by the growth that enterprise open source software provider SUSE has enjoyed over the last months. “SUSE is in good shape,” says Nils Brauckmann, CEO of SUSE. “In the last year, revenue grew at 21%, and it was profitable growth.” Business is positive going forward, he adds, with SUSE now part of the larger mothership Micro Focus group following the completion this month of the HPE Software spin merger. “Micro focus is now the seventh-largest pure-play software vendor in the world, with revenues approaching $4,5-billion,” Brauckmann points out.
  • Red Hat, Microsoft Extend Alliance to SQL Server
  • UbuCon Europe 2017
    I’ve been to many Ubuntu related events before, but what surprises me every time about UbuCons is the outstanding work by the community organising these events. Earlier this month, I was in Paris for UbuCon Europe 2017. I had quite high expectations about the event/location and the talks, especially because the French Ubuntu community is known for hosting awesome events several times a year like Ubuntu Party and Ubuntu install parties.
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today's howtos

Korora 26

  • Korora 26 is Here!
  • Linux Releases: “Lightweight” Tiny Core 8.2 And “Heavyweight” Korora 26 Distros Are Here
    Korora Linux distro is a derivative of popular Fedora operating system. It ships with lots of additional packages that are provided by Fedora community and helps the users to get a complete out-of-the-box experience. The developers of Korora Linux distro have just shipped Korora 26 “Bloat.” Bloat codename has been derived from the characters of the movie “Finding Nemo.”
  • Based on Fedora 26, Korora 26 Linux Debuts with GNOME 3.24, Drops 32-Bit Support
    Korora developer Jim Dean announced the release and general availability of the Korora Linux 26 operating system for personal computers, a release based on the latest Fedora Linux version and packed full of goodies. Dubbed "Bloat," Korora Linux 26 comes more than nine months after the release of Korora 25, it's based on Red Hat's Fedora 26 Linux operating system and ships with the latest versions of popular desktop environments, including GNOME 3.24. Also included are the KDE Plasma 5.10, Xfce 4.12, Cinnamon 3.4, and MATE 1.18 desktop environments, all of them shipping pre-loaded with a brand-new backup tool designed to keep your most important files safe and secure from hackers or government agencies.