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Reviews

Carey Head: Ubuntu for Everyday Use, How It Worked For Me

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Reviews

Before diving into the Ubuntu review, here’s a bit of backdrop — and a bonus review. I downloaded and installed Windows 8 Preview several weeks ago. It took me about two days to realize that Microsoft’s desktop OS had jumped the great white for me. I can see how the Metro UI would be really nice on a tablet, but the concept on a desktop screen baffles me. Coincidentally, my 8 year-old’s installation of Windows 7 got corrupted and he needed a reinstall.

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Maui Linux 2.1 Blue Tang - Aloha!

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Maui Linux 2.1 Blue Tang is a surprisingly and yet expectedly good Plasma system, using some of that Mint-like approach to home computing. It's what Kubuntu should have been or should be, and it delivers a practical, out-of-the-box experience with a fine blend of software, fun and stability. That's a very sensible approach.

Not everything was perfect. Plasma has its bugs, the printer and the web cam issues need to be looked into, and on the aesthetics side, a few things can be polished and improved. The installer can benefit from having some extra safety mechanisms. But I guess that is the sum of my complaints. On the happy side, you get all the goodies from the start, the application collection is rich, the distro did not crash, and the performance is really decent for a Plasma beastling. A fine formula, and probably the best one we've seen in the last eighteen months or so. Good news if you like KDE. And indeed, this is definitely one of the distros you should try. 9/10. I'm quite pleased. Have a maui day.

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What's New in BlankOn X Tambora

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BlankOn X operating system finally launched at January 1st 2017 as the 10th release codenamed "Tambora". BlankOn is a GNU/Linux distribution from Indonesia, a low-resource operating system with ultimate aim for desktop end-users. In this Tambora release, BlankOn brings the latest Manokwari desktop with improvements, along with its own BlankOn system installer, and some other stuffs. This Tambora release is a continuation of the BlankOn 9 release in 2014 named Suroboyo. This article sums up what's new for BlankOn in this Tambora version.

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Absolute Linux Caters to the Slackware Crowd

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Slack

Absolute Linux is a distro that raises the question: Is it really worth the bother?

Any version of this Slackware-based Linux OS is just that -- a really big bother -- unless you love Unix-like systems that give you total control. It likely would be especially bothersome for less experienced users and for folks comfortable with Debian distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and such.

Some Slackware-based distros are easier than others to use -- but the text-based installation and mostly manual operating routine makes using Absolute Linux a challenge. Once you get beyond the configuration steps, you still face a considerable learning curve to keep it running smoothly.

Clearly, I am not overly impressed with the Absolute flavor of Slackware Linux. I see it as the equivalent of driving a stick shift automobile with a crank-to-start mechanism instead of an automatic model with keyless ignition. That said, once you have the engine purring, it drives fast and furious along the highway.

I like to offer unique computing options in these weekly Linux Picks and Pans reviews, so I set my comfort zone aside and rolled up my sleeves to get my hands a little scraped reaching under Absolute Linux's hood.

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OpenMandriva Lx 3.0: a faint shadow of name

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MDV
Reviews

The general feel of OpenMandriva Lx 3.0 was fast and solid.

However, that was only on the surface. As soon as you start to look just a little bit deeper, issues go out here and there. High memory usage, keyboard layout glitch, inadequate size of notification area icons, problems with updates - all of that leave a bad taste after the Live Run of OpenMandriva Lx 3.0.

Will it ever gain the popularity its parent had just few years ago? I have a very big doubt.

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Arch-based Bluestar Linux Makes Plasma 5 Usable

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Last week I mentioned that I liked Bluestar Linux very much and was probably going to go ahead and take the leap to it and Plasma 5. I had been testing Plasma 5 on various distributions in 2016 with poor results until I tested Arch-based Bluestar 4.8.13. Preliminary tests indicated it might be possible to migrate. So, I learned a bit more about Bluestar this passed weekend and thought I'd share. I've also rounded up the best Linux tidbits from today's headlines as well.

First up, yes there is a graphical package manager. PacmanXG to be exact. I'd run into PacmanXG a few times over the years, but it appears it too has matured and seems to work rather well. The sort by groups could be better, but otherwise it's quite capable complete with history, log, and the command-line outputs. Updates come fairly routinely in Bluestar, although most are from Arch. I've been applying the recommended updates without any negative side-effects as of yet.

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OpenMandriva Lx 3.01 review

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Reviews

OpenMandriva is a Linux distribution whose roots and traditions date back to the Mandrake/Mandriva Linux era, what it has in common with with ROSA Linux and Mageia. The latest edition of the desktop distribution – OpenMandriva Lx 3.01, was released on December 25 2016, so it was a nice Christmas present to OpenMandriva fans.

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2016 in review: The year in Android

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Android
Reviews

Android is in a very different place than it was when 2016 began. While the last 12 months were filled with much of the usual pomp and circumstance surrounding the release of new handsets, connected gadgets, and OS refreshes, the state of Android has never been more promising or less predictable. Google stepped out from behind the curtain and into the spotlight. Headsets took over smartwatches as the trend of the moment. And Samsung’s phablet woes opened the door for smaller players to make big gains.

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Best Gnome distro of 2016

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GNOME
Reviews

Ever since Gnome 3 came to life, I struggled with how it was realized and what it did, a far cry (but not Far Cry, hi hi) from its predecessor. It was functionally inferior to its rival, and it is the chief reason why MATE and Cinnamon came to life. Then, over the years, it slowly evolved, and now, at last, the combination of its core elements and a thick layer of necessary extensions allows for a decent compromise. Throughout 2016, I tested more Gnome releases than ever before, I was quite pleased with the results, and now we will select the best candidate for this year.

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Happy Holidays: Linux Mint get a major upgrade

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With this long-term support Linux desktop, which is based on Ubuntu 16.04, Linux Mint is better than ever. Since I've already found Linux Mint 18 to be the best desktop out there of any sort, that's saying something.

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Desktop GNU/Linux/Chromebook

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    I used to (and sort-of-still-do, I guess) run a sister site focused on Google Chrome, Chromecast and Chromebooks, i.e. the Chrome ecosystem. As such I am a fan of Chromebooks and Chrome OS, a Linux-based distribution based on Gentoo. The appearance of Chrome OS has waxed and waned in sync with Google’s ambitions and positioning for the OS, going form hyper-minimal to a full desktop clone (with the desktop-y Chrome Apps platform) through to a Material Design inspired Android + Chrome hybrid today.
  • Off-The-Shelf Hacker: Linux for Cheap Hardware, Then and Now
    Most people, don’t realize how prolific Linux has become. With the Embedded Linux Conference just a week away, I’ve been reflecting on how Linux has provided a sort of computing “circle of life” experience for me. It’s powered my computational hardware 20 years ago and continues to do so today.
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  • GParted 0.28.1
    This release of GParted restores the ability to move/resize primary partitions when an extended partition exists. The move/resize regression was introduced in version 0.28.0. This release also includes some minor bug fixes.
  • Antergos Linux : The beauty built on Arch
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Kernel Space/Linux

Leftovers: Software

  • Picard 1.4 released
    The last time we put out a stable release was more than 2 years ago, so a lot of changes have made it into this new release. If you’re in a hurry and just want to try it out, the downloads are available from the Picard website.
  • Linux Digital Audio Workstations: Open Source Music Production
    Linux Digital Audio Workstations When most people think of music programs, they’ll usually think Mac OS or Windows. However, there are also a few Linux digital audio workstations. The support and features of these programs can vary, but they’re a good choice to setup a cheap recording studio. Some of them are even good competitors for paid programs, offering features such as multitrack recording, MIDI, and virtual instruments. Keep in mind that many audio editing programs for Linux rely on the Jack backend. You’ll need a dedicated system to install these programs on, since it doesn’t work properly in a virtual machine. In the following article, we’ll cover audio editing programs that are available for Linux. We’ll talk about the available features, as well as help you decide which program to use for your needs.
  • i2pd 2.12 released
    i2pd (I2P Daemon) is a full-featured C++ implementation of I2P client. I2P (Invisible Internet Protocol) is a universal anonymous network layer. All communications over I2P are anonymous and end-to-end encrypted, participants don't reveal their real IP addresses.
  • 4 Command-Line Graphics Tools for Linux
    For the most part, they’re wrong. Command-line image tools do much of what their GUI counterparts can, and they can do it just as well. Sometimes, especially when dealing with multiple image files or working on an older computer, command-line tools can do a better job. Let’s take a look at four command-line tools that can ably handle many of your basic (and not-so-basic) image manipulation tasks.
  • CloudStats - Best Server Monitoring Tool for Linux Servers
    CloudStats is an effective tool for Linux server monitoring and network monitoring. With CloudStats you get whole visibility into key performance criteria of your Linux Server. You can proactively track different server metrics like CPU, disk and memory usage, services, apps, processes and more. The best thing is that you don’t need to have any special technical skills – this tool for server monitoring is very easy to install and run from any device.
  • New Inkscape 0.92.1 fixes your previous works done with Inkscape
    This blog-post is about a happy-end after a previously published blog-post named New Inkscape 0.92 breaks your previous works done with Inkscape published on 20 January. A lot of reactions did happen about this previous blog-post and the news get quickly viral. That's why I thought it was nice to make another blog post to "close this case".
  • Qt 5.10 To Have Built-In Vulkan Support
    With Qt 5.8 there was experimental Direct3D 12 support that left some disappointed the toolkit didn't opt for supporting Vulkan first as a cross-platform, high-performance graphics API. Fortunately, with Qt 5.10, there will be built-in Vulkan support. Going back nearly one year there has been Vulkan work around Qt while with Qt 5.10 it's becoming a reality. However, with Qt 5.9 not even being released until the end of May, Qt 5.10 isn't going to officially debut until either the very end of 2017 or early 2018.
  • Rusty Builder
    Thanks to Georg Vienna, Builder can now manage your Rust installations using RustUp!
  • GNOME MPlayer knows how to grow your playlist size

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