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Reviews

System76 Meerkat: God of small things

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Linux
Reviews

I run a file and media server at home to host all my files. It’s a very important machine for my work and personal life. And while I do use public and private cloud to collaborate or share files with others, I don’t use the public cloud to save personal photos or work documents. Everything lives on my local machine away from the prying eyes of spy agencies and companies.

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Linux Mint Upgrade Sparkles

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Linux
Reviews

The Linux Mint upgrade to version 17.3 Rosa is one upgrade regular users do not want to skip.

This latest release in downloadable ISO format, available in the MATE and Cinnamon desktop editions, hit servers earlier this month. Several days later, the upgrade was available from within the package management repository for existing Linux Mint users. That eliminates the need for a clean installation and having to set up all the apps and configurations to use the new release.

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 - Leap? More of a plunge.

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Reviews
SUSE

On paper, openSUSE Leap 42.1, with SLE stability and three years of support, kernel 4.1 and Plasma 5.4, tons of good software, and community repos sounds like a blazing good deal, a dream come true, the Linux Nirvana. In reality, it is nothing of the sort.

Package management works, but you don't get all the software you need plus conflicts, codecs are broken, network connectivity is half-broken, smartphone support is average, resource utilization is high. The distro works, but it gives you no love. It is far from being the beautiful, exciting, amazing product that I expected, the kind that reigned supreme in the SUSE 10 and 11 days. Ah, how I miss them.

Overall, despite being stable, i.e. non-crashy, openSUSE 42.1 is hardly usable as a day-to-day distro. If you value your software, media and gadgets, then this operating system will frustrate you. Xubuntu Vivid or Mint Rafaela are much better choices. Faster, leaner, just as beautiful, and they actually give you everything you need, without any bugs or problems. This autumn season turns out to be one of the worst I've ever had, and it makes me wanna blowtorch a few keyboards. Almost anything and everything I tested so far sucks to a high or very high degree. Present company included. OpenSUSE 42.1, one small step for SUSE, one giant leap for failure. 4/10.

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Also reviewed in:

  • openSUSE Leap 42.1 DVD, 32-bit Linux distributions and the Toshiba NB520

    OpenSUSE has been my go-to distribution for my dated Toshiba NB520. My sturdy 3 year old Toshiba netbook doesn't support Gnome 3 or Ubuntu Unity due to hardware limitations, but the last three releases of openSUSE KDE handled every piece of hardware on the NB520 without issues. OpenSUSE Leap 42.1's DVD has only an x86-64 release as of this writing, though 32-bit users can always install Tumbleweed, openSUSE's well-reviewed rolling release. Tumbleweed has installation media for 32-bit machines and if you're still running a previous 32-bit release of openSUSE, you can always run the upgrade procedure to Tumbleweed.

  • Notes on installing openSUSE Leap 42.1

    If you selected the options to Add Online Repositories Before Installation and Include Add-on Products from Separate Media during the installation process using the openSUSE Leap 42.1 DVD, the setup process might stall midway.

Manjaro Linux 15.09: the user-friendly Arch

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Reviews

There were no issues in my Live run of Manjaro Linux 15.09 Xfce, apart from some design details that I mentioned above and a small error message after the application installation.

The system felt very snappy, fast, responsive and usable.

I think Manjaro Linux's high ranking in the Distrowatch rating – it's in 7th place – is well deserved. It is higher than Arch itself. This team brings the Arch-based distribution into a form that is more widely usable and user-friendly.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Makulu Linux Aero Edition

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Linux
Reviews

I last reviewed Makulu Linux back in May 2014 when it was still at version 6. I summed up my feelings towards Makulu Linux by stating that I can't wait for versions 7, 8 and 9 and that I had the warm glow with Makulu which I had felt previously with SolusOS, Fuduntu and Point Linux.

The artwork in Makulu Linux has always been very good and it has been put together in a unique and interesting way with some eclectic software picks.

Makulu Linux Aero Edition has been made to look more like Windows. The Makulu webpage describes this version as follows.

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Fossil Q Founder review: Bold, beautiful, but average with Android Wear

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Reviews

Fossil knows watches: its wide selection of timepieces are made of quality materials and with a consistent style while remaining on the affordable side of luxury. Now the fashion company is bringing its watch expertise to Android Wear with the Q Founder smartwatch. The most expensive device in the new line of Q wearables from Fossil, the Q Founder represents the first Google-powered smartwatch to come from a company that focuses more on style rather than specs.

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OpenSUSE LEAP: A Great Free Linux Server Distribution

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Reviews
SUSE

So what exactly is LEAP? What’s it for? The easiest way to approach something like OpenSUSE LEAP is to think of it like a beefed-up, more stable Fedora-type thing. The main goal of this Linux distribution is to create an enterprise grade distribution designed for workstations and servers free of charge.

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Also: I accidentally openSUSE

Review: Chakra 2015.11 "Fermi"

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Reviews

Not only has it been a while since I've done a Linux distribution review on this blog, but it has been an especially long time (over 2.5 years, in fact) since I've looked at Chakra. I figured that now that KDE 5 (technically incorrect terminology, I know, but please bear with me, as I'm using this for the sake of brevity) is being used in Chakra, it may be time to see how a distribution I've rather liked in the past has evolved. In case you don't remember, Chakra was originally based on Arch Linux, but a few years ago, it branched off into its own independent distribution with its own repositories, though certain tools (like the package manager Pacman) are based on things found in Arch Linux. It focuses exclusively on KDE, and it uses a semi-rolling release model in which core system packages are updated less frequently in order to maintain stability, while front-end applications seen by users most often are updated more frequently to provide a competitive desktop experience.

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Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon Review

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Linux
Reviews

Linux Mint is among the most popular GNU/Linux-based operating systems. Although DistroWatch is not a metric of popularity, Linux Mint has claimed the #1 ranking on the website, which means it’s the most sought after distro on the site.

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Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11

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Reviews

The Chakra GNU/Linux project produces a Linux distribution with a strong focus on the KDE desktop and software which uses the Qt development libraries. Chakra maintains a semi-rolling release where the core components of the operating system remain fairly stable while desktop software is updated frequently.

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today's howtos

Servers: Docker Hub, Internet Archive, DevOps...

  • Building Images with Dockerfile and Docker Hub
    In this series previewing the self-paced Containers for Developers and Quality Assurance (LFS254) training course from The Linux Foundation, we’ve covered installing Docker, introduced Docker Machine, and some basic commands for performing Docker container and image operations. In the three sample videos below, we’ll take a look at Dockerfiles and Docker Hub. Docker can build an image by reading the build instructions from a file that’s generally referred to as Dockerfile. So, first, check your connectivity with the “dockerhost” and then create a folder called nginx. In that folder, we have created a file called dockerfile and in the dockerfile, we have used different instructions, like FROM, RUN, EXPOSE, and CMD.
  • What can developers learn from being on call?
    We often talk about being on call as being a bad thing. For example, the night before I wrote this my phone woke me up in the middle of the night because something went wrong on a computer. That’s no fun! I was grumpy. In this post, though, we’re going to talk about what you can learn from being on call and how it can make you a better software engineer!. And to learn from being on call you don’t necessarily need to get woken up in the middle of the night. By “being on call”, here, I mean “being responsible for your code when it breaks”. It could mean waking up to issues that happened overnight and needing to fix them during your workday!
  • Making the Internet Archive’s full text search faster.
    The Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library based in San Francisco. It provides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, books, documents, papers, newspapers, music, video and software. This article describes how we made the full-text organic search faster — without scaling horizontally — allowing our users to search in just a few seconds across our collection of 35 million documents containing books, magazine, newspapers, scientific papers, patents and much more.
  • DevOps: More Than Automation
    Type “devops” into any job search site today and the overwhelming majority of results will be for some variation of “DevOps Engineer”. The skills required will centre on tools like Puppet/Chef/Ansible, AWS/Azure, scripting in Python/Perl/Bash/PowerShell etc. Essentially, they’ve taken a deployment automation engineer role, crossed out “deployment automation” and written “DevOps” in its place.

How Linux and makerspaces can strengthen our social fabric

In recent years, we've seen the rise of makerspaces, a new social invention where people with shared interests, especially in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), gather to work on projects and share ideas. I was intrigued when I learned about a makerspace in my community, because I had never heard of such a concept before. I've since learned that makerspaces offer so much more than just a place to learn and build. A well-run makerspace also knits together a community and its social fabric—and, most importantly, invites in people who might otherwise be marginalized. Read more