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Reviews

Introducing my new friend: a Slimbook

Filed under
GNU
KDE
Linux
Reviews

I have been following Slimbook for some time now. As you probably know, they ship a KDE laptop that is very cool, with KDE Neon pre-installed. They have attended to a couple of events I have attended to so I have been able to test their laptops, get feedback from buyers and ask them questions directly. The fact that they are a Spanish company was a beautiful surprise, We do not have that many hardware integrators and vendors in Spain.

But what definitely caught my attention was the fact that they pay a lot of attention to the software. They ship the laptops with Linux pre-installed. Ok, that is not new any more. But they do pre-install several different distros. Now, that’s uncommon. But news do not stop there.

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Google’s Fuchsia OS on the Pixelbook: It works! It actually works!

Filed under
OS
Google
Reviews

Google currently has two OSes on the market: Android and Chrome OS. The company is never one to leave a successful product alone in the marketplace, though, so it's also developing a third operating system called "Fuchsia." When we last checked in on the experimental OS in May 2017, calling it an "OS" was a bit of a stretch. We only got the system UI up and running on top of Android, where it then functioned like an app. The UI offered a neat multi-window system, but mostly it was just a bunch of placeholder graphics. Nothing worked.

It has been hard to check in on Fuchsia since. The Fuchsia system UI, which was written with a cross-platform SDK called "Flutter," quickly shut down the Android (and iOS) compatible builds. Fuchsia has a Vulkan-based graphics stack, and no emulator supports the new-ish graphics API. The only way to get Fuchsia up and running again was with actual hardware, and the only supported devices were Intel NUC PCs from 2015 and the Acer Switch Alpha 12 laptop.

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deepin 15.5 - A different desktop

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews

deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution which features the custom Deepin Desktop Environment along with several in-house desktop applications. The deepin project develops its own file manager, media players, software centre and settings panel, along with other desktop applications. Clearly, the deepin team is very busy working on a desktop solution, one which is easy to navigate.

deepin is available as a 3.2GB download for 64-bit x86 computers. Booting from the project's media gives us the option of starting the installation process, booting the operating system in failsafe mode or checking the media's integrity. In both of my test environments, deepin would boot and launch the installer (the first option), but was unable to boot in failsafe mode, whether run in UEFI or Legacy BIOS mode.

Taking the install option brings up a graphical environment where we are asked to select our preferred language from a list. In the upper-right corner of the screen there is an "X" which, when clicked, lets us abort the installation. Quitting the installer immediately powers off the computer. Once we have selected our language we are asked to create a username and password for ourselves. We can then select our time zone from a map of the world.

Partitioning comes next and here I encountered several options. We are asked whether we want Simple or Advanced partitioning. The Simple option takes over the entire hard drive, creating an ext4 file system. A 4GB swap file is set up on the root partition for us. This is the easy way forward, but it wipes out any other installed systems or partitions.

The Advanced option lets us select where to install the system's boot loader and presents us with a list of available partitions and free space. At first I wasn't able to find any way to add new partitions, but eventually found the button for adding and editing partitions is a grey icon on a grey background, making it difficult to spot. Once the button was found, setting up new partitions was fairly straight forward. The deepin installer will not proceed if the root partition is 16GB or smaller in size when we take the Advanced partitioning option. However, I found I could create a root partition smaller than 16GB if I used the Simple partitioning option. Once our partitions are assigned mount points, the installer copies its files to the computer and reboots the system.

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Also: What’s New in MX Linux 17

Hands on With System76’s Beautiful Linux Distro Pop!_OS

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Reviews

Linux system manufacturer System76 introduced a beautiful looking Linux distribution called Pop!_OS. But is Pop OS worth an install? Read the Pop OS review and find out yourself.
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MX Linux MX-17 Horizon - Shaping up beautifully

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Reviews

From an underdog to a kennel master. That's probably the best, most succinct way to describe MX Linux. While you still may be confused about its heritage, with words like Mepis and AntiX slipping in, it's one of the more refined Xfce distros around, and I have been thoroughly impressed by the last version, MX-16. As it turns out, I proudly crowned it the Best of Xfce 2017 distro. It also notched very high on the overall annual best-of competition.

Now, there's a new version out. I will first conduct the test on the old LG laptop, but now that I've managed to fix the read-only UEFI on my Lenovo G50 machine, I will conduct a second test on that laptop - provided everything works fine in this first review. So we have ancient hardware, Nvidia graphics, dual boot. Commence.

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A Look at Ubuntu Unity Remix

Filed under
Reviews
Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 1: 27-Dec ISO

    Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04 is already functional even though it's still very new. For you who don't know, Unity Remix is a new Ubuntu distro with Unity 7 desktop created after the official Ubuntu switched to GNOME 3. Unity Remix is based on the effort of Unity 7 Continuation Project by Khurshid Alam and Dale Beaudoin, and it calls for developers & testers right now. Today I, an Ubuntu user who likes Unity Desktop, start a series of article about my days in personal testing Ubuntu Unity Remix. This 'Day 1' covers a short overview about the latest ISO from 27-Dec-2017. This series is (again) inspired by Didier Roche's series at early Artful days. Enjoy!

  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 2: Nemo & Caja

    Do you like Nemo and Caja file managers? Good news for you, you can use them at Ubuntu Unity Remix now. More good news is there are 2 ISOs available (for testing purpose) for both Unity Remix Nemo and Unity Remix Caja editions! Having these two is like continuing the 17.04 but with the feels of Linux Mint 'MATE' and 'Cinnamon' editions. For you who don't know, you will find Nemo or Caja even more useful than Nautilus, because you'll have more features you cannot find at (like normal menu bar, F3, and status bar). This 'Day 2' covers simple overview about both file managers at Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04. Enjoy!

GeckoLinux: A Polished Distro Just Got Smoother

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

I was disappointed in GeckoLinux in only one situation. The practice of including a password for the live session demo mode was a new feature promised in this release. The product description hawks the convenience of not having to enter passwords for the live session user account.

Yet the brief documentation for the ISO download mentions the user password for the live session as "linux." I was hoping that the developer merely forgot to update the download information.

Alas, the new version still needs a password. Oh well, maybe the next release.

Otherwise, GeckoLinux 423 is a worthy release that provides improvements over the standard openSuse mindset.

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Hands-on with the Gemini PDA handheld PC with Android, Linux and a 6 inch display

Filed under
Android
Linux
Reviews

The Gemini PDA is a tiny computer that’s small enough to hold in one hand, but with a keyboard that makes it possible to touch-type… maybe.

Planet Computer introduced the Gemini PDA nearly a year ago and launched a crowdfunding campaign to take the device from prototype to shipping product. Now it’s about ready to ship.

I got a chance to check out a few pre-release units at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it really does seem like Planet Computer has delivered on most of its promises. The little computer dual boots Google Android 7.1 and Debian Linux. It has a keyboard that’s a little cramped, but which is pretty responsive… and familiar to anyone who’s ever used an old Psion handheld. Planet Computer hired the designer of the Psion Revo and Series 5 keyboard to help design the Gemini PDA.

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LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of TrueOS A Unix Based OS

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Reviews
BSD

Trust me, the name TrueOS takes me back to 1990s when Tru64 UNIX operating system made its presence. TrueOS is PC-BSD’s new unified brand built upon FreeBSD-CURRENT code base. Note that TrueOS is not a Linux distro but is BSD Unix.

​FreeBSD is known for its cutting-edge features, security, scalability, and ability to work both as a server and desktop operating system. TrueOS aims at having user-friendliness with the power of FreeBSD OS. Let us start with going into details of different aspects of the TrueOS.

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GhostBSD 11.1 - FreeBSD for the desktop

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Reviews
BSD

GhostBSD is a desktop oriented operating system which is based on FreeBSD. The project takes the FreeBSD operating system and adds a desktop environment, some popular applications, a graphical package manager and Linux binary compatibility. GhostBSD is available in two flavours, MATE and Xfce, and is currently available for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. I downloaded the MATE edition which is available as a 2.3GB ISO file.

Booting from the installation media brings up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the live desktop environment using "ghostbsd" as the account name with no password. The live MATE desktop is presented with a two panel layout. At the top of the screen we find the Applications, Places and System menus. The top panel also plays host to the system tray. The bottom panel features a task switcher and a widget for switching between virtual desktops. On the desktop we find icons for launching the Caja file manager and the GhostBSD system installer. There is also an icon which launches the HexChat IRC client and automatically connects us with the project's chat room.

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More in Tux Machines

Mozilla: Rust, Security, Things Gateway, Firefox and More

  • Rust pattern: Precise closure capture clauses
    This is the second in a series of posts about Rust compiler errors. Each one will talk about a particular error that I got recently and try to explain (a) why I am getting it and (b) how I fixed it. The purpose of this series of posts is partly to explain Rust, but partly just to gain data for myself. I may also write posts about errors I’m not getting – basically places where I anticipated an error, and used a pattern to avoid it. I hope that after writing enough of these posts, I or others will be able to synthesize some of these facts to make intermediate Rust material, or perhaps to improve the language itself.
  • This Week in Rust
  • Mozilla publishes recommendations on government vulnerability disclosure in Europe
    As we’ve argued on many occasions, effective government vulnerability disclosure (GVD) review processes can greatly enhance cybersecurity for governments, citizens, and companies, and help mitigate risk in an ever-broadening cyber threat landscape. In Europe, the EU is currently discussing a new legislative proposal to enhance cybersecurity across the bloc, the so-called ‘EU Cybersecurity Act’. In that context, we’ve just published our policy recommendations for lawmakers, in which we call on the EU to seize the opportunity to set a global policy norm for government vulnerability disclosure.
  • Testing Strategies for React and Redux
  • K Lars Lohn: Things Gateway - a Virtual Weather Station
  • Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14 Testday Results
    As you may already know, last Friday – April 20th – we held a new Testday event, for Firefox DevEdition 60 Beta 14. Thank you all for helping us make Mozilla a better place: gaby2300, micde, Jarrod Michell, Thomas Brooks.
  • Supporting Same-Site Cookies in Firefox 60
    Firefox 60 will introduce support for the same-site cookie attribute, which allows developers to gain more control over cookies. Since browsers will include cookies with every request to a website, most sites rely on this mechanism to determine whether users are logged in. Attackers can abuse the fact that cookies are automatically sent with every request to force a user to perform unwanted actions on the site where they are currently logged in. Such attacks, known as cross-site request forgeries (CSRF), allow attackers who control third-party code to perform fraudulent actions on the user’s behalf. Unfortunately current web architecture does not allow web applications to reliably distinguish between actions initiated by the user and those that are initiated by any of the third-party gadgets or scripts that they rely on.
  • Enterprise Policy Support in Firefox
    Last year, Mozilla ran a survey to find out top enterprise requirements for Firefox. Policy management (especially Windows Group Policy) was at the top of that list. For the past few months we’ve been working to build that support into Firefox in the form of a policy engine. The policy engine adds desktop configuration and customization features for enterprise users to Firefox. It works with any tool that wants to set policies including Windows Group Policy.
  • any.js
    Thanks to Ms2ger web-platform-tests is now even more awesome (not in the American sense). To avoid writing HTML boilerplate, web-platform-tests supports .window.js, .worker.js, and .any.js resources, for writing JavaScript that needs to run in a window, dedicated worker, or both at once. I very much recommend using these resource formats as they ease writing and reviewing tests and ensure APIs get tested across globals.
  • Alex Gibson: My fifth year working at Mozilla
    Today marks my fifth year working for Mozilla! This past year has been both fun and frantic, and overall was a really good year for both Mozilla and Firefox. Here’s a run down a few of the things I got to work on.

Fedora Workstation 28 Coming Soon

  • Warming up for Fedora Workstation 28
    Been some time now since my last update on what is happening in Fedora Workstation and with current plans to release Fedora Workstation 28 in early May I thought this could be a good time to write something. As usual this is just a small subset of what the team has been doing and I always end up feeling a bit bad for not talking about the avalanche of general fixes and improvements the team adds to each release.
  • Fedora Workstation 28 Is Shaping Up To Be Another Terrific Update
    Fedora Workstation 28 is shaping up to be another compelling update for those that are fans of this bleeding-edge Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution. I've been running Fedora Workstation 28 snapshots on a few laptops and test machines here and am quite happy with how it's shaped up as another Fedora release that delivers not only the latest features, but doing so in a seemingly sane and stable manner: I haven't encountered any problems unlike some of the past notorious Fedora releases from years ago. Overall, I am quite excited for next month's Fedora 28 release and will be upgrading my main production system to it.

Android Leftovers

Configuring local storage in Linux with Stratis

Configuring local storage is something desktop Linux users do very infrequently—maybe only once, during installation. Linux storage tech moves slowly, and many storage tools used 20 years ago are still used regularly today. But some things have improved since then. Why aren't people taking advantage of these new capabilities? This article is about Stratis, a new project that aims to bring storage advances to all Linux users, from the simple laptop single SSD to a hundred-disk array. Linux has the capabilities, but its lack of an easy-to-use solution has hindered widespread adoption. Stratis's goal is to make Linux's advanced storage features accessible. Read more