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Reviews

Samsung Galaxy S7 review: this is the Android phone you’ve been waiting for

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Android
Reviews

First, I purchased my Galaxy S7 directly from Samsung so there were no carrier add-ons, but naturally the phone ships with Samsung’s now default TouchWiz implementation over the top of Android Marshmallow 6.0

I may have a slight bias here because despite a short flirtation with HTC phones in the earlier days of Android I’ve always used Samsung phones, so I’m used to the interface and it doesn’t worry me, and while there were some Samsung apps installed on the device I will never use, they’re hardly a serious burden.

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Review: ODROID-C2, compared to Raspberry Pi 3 and Orange Pi Plus

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Reviews

The ODROID-C2 is a very solid competitor to the Raspberry Pi model 3 B, and is anywhere from 2-10x faster than the Pi 3, depending on the operation. The software and community support is nowhere near what you get with the Raspberry Pi, but it's the best I've seen of all the Raspberry Pi clones I've tried.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Manjaro Linux - This Is Truly Stunning

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Linux
Reviews

I used to watch the Linux Help Guy videos on Youtube before he had to rename his channel for having a slightly racy background image in one of his video tutorials.

He swore by Manjaro Linux and after using it I can totally understand why. I am no big fan of KDE but this is really very very usable, to the point I will be entrusting this to my main machine over the top of Linux Mint.

Is it for everybody? You probably need to learn a little bit of command line, especially the inner workings of Yaourt and PacMan but other than that you should be golden.

This is the best Linux distribution I have used in quite some time.

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Review: Black Lab Linux 7.0.2 Xfce

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Linux
Reviews

Black Lab Linux is supposed to be a distribution that focuses on being easy to use and having a consistent user interface, with the hope of attracting users new to Linux. Unlike many other distributions, it offers professional support (for a fee), and also offers computers for sale that have Black Lab Linux preinstalled. As is typical, the distribution by itself is offered as a free downloadable ISO file, so that's what I tested here. I tested the 64-bit version using a live USB system made with UnetBootin; follow the jump to see what it's like.

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Antergos 2016.02.21

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Reviews

Antergos Antergos is a cutting edge Linux distribution which is based on Arch Linux. The project creates a powerful desktop oriented operating system that supports several desktop environments and install-time add-ons. Around the middle of February the Antergos project released a snapshot carrying the version number 2016.02.19. At the time I downloaded the ISO image, but was unable to get the distribution to boot on my hardware. I then moved on to explore other projects, but then discovered the Antergos developers had released an updated ISO, this one labelled 2016.02.21. I downloaded this new ISO and found it booted on my test system and so proceeded to experiment with the distribution.

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KaOS 2016.01 review - The fallen angel

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Reviews

You do remember my Mint Rosa resolution, before it recovered majestically? Any distro that fails the basics shall not survive the ordeal or be committed to the disk, as it does not meet the minimum requirements for sane and healthy usage. In this regard, sadly, KaOS 2016.01 failed big time.

I like the way it looks, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. There are just too many bugs, too many problems, that even if the system had somehow installed nicely and without errors, I would still be probably highly skeptical of its ways. But then, it's a hypothetical discussion that won't be resolved today. I might get around to testing KaOS again, but surely not in the foreseeable future. And this most likely applies to any distro using Calamares or any beta-quality installers. That's a risk I'm not willing to accept. Grades wise, you know the score. This one is not on my recommendation short list. Peace.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Netrunner 2016.1

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Linux
Reviews

I quite like Netrunner and I have become accustomed to the way you do things in the past week or so.

I am not that keen however on the KDE Plasma desktop. It still feels big and bulky and too in your face.

If you are want to have a look at the Arch world but not get your feet too wet then this is one way to do it but you are basically using Netrunner on top of Manjaro on top of Arch.

I wouldn't say this version of Netrunner is for the absolute beginner and it won't be everybody's cup of tea. I suspect the Debian version is for the masses and this version is for those who like to play.

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March Nexus 5X Android 6.0.1 Update: First Impressions

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Android
Reviews

At this point, I think it’s a no-brainer.

The March Nexus 5X Android 6.0.1 update doesn’t appear to have any major problems on board. Instead, it comes with important security patches and some tangible performance improvements.

If you’re feeling leery, wait a few more days for more feedback to emerge. I think most of you are going to be better off with this build on board but there’s no penalty for waiting.

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ReactOS 0.4.0

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OS
Reviews

The ReactOS project appears to be trying to recreate the experience of Windows 95 through to Windows 2000 as faithfully as possible and, from a look and feel perspective, the developers have done an amazing job. However, from a practical point of view ReactOS rarely delivered the functionality I would expect from its closed source cousin. The system refused to run on either of my test machines and, though it would install in VirtualBox, I regularly ran into system crashes, sound didn't work and most of the Windows applications I tried to run failed in some way. I have had better luck running Windows software with WINE on Linux boxes than I did with ReactOS.

In the end, while I admire the ReactOS team's attention to detail in recreating the Windows interface, I do not think running ReactOS is practical for most situations. WINE will run most Windows software passably well and there are lots of good open source alternatives to most closed source applications. Running an old copy of Windows in a virtual machine would probably offer a better experience in most circumstances. The one area where I think ReactOS would shine would be if a person needed to run a Windows clone on hardware that also required Windows specific drivers. ReactOS reports itself to be compatible with drivers written for Microsoft's operating system and I think that may prove to be the project's strong point. Some old systems are very particular when it comes to applications and drivers and I think ReactOS might fill in nicely in those situations.

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Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void

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OS
Android
Reviews

Remix OS is a big step in the right direction. More than with any other Android-to-PC release I have tested, this beta version provides the most complete Android experience on a desktop PC.

You get the best of both computing worlds. Provided your hardware is compatible, you can run a very modern Android version on both legacy and more modern gear.

If you do not require persistent memory, you can use it as a pocket OS and load it from a USB or DVD without doing a hard-drive installation. You have the added advantage of a more satisfying user experience on a standard computer screen.

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More in Tux Machines

GNOME and Fedora

  • RFC: Integrating rsvg-rs into librsvg
    I have started an RFC to integrate rsvg-rs into librsvg. rsvg-rs is the Rust binding to librsvg. Like the gtk-rs bindings, it gets generated from a pre-built GIR file.
  • 1+ year of Fedora and GNOME hardware enablement
    A year and a couple of months ago, Christian Schaller asked me to pivot a little bit from working full time on Fleet Commander to manage a new team we were building to work on client hardware enablement for Fedora and GNOME with an emphasis on upstream. The idea was to fill the gap in the organization where nobody really owned the problem of bringing up new client hardware features vertically across the stack (from shell down to the kernel), or rather, ensure Fedora and GNOME both work great on modern laptops. Part of that deal was to take over the bootloader and start working closer to customers and hardware manufacturing parnters.
  • Fedora Atomic Workstation: Works on the beach
    My trip is getting really close, so I decided to upgrade my system to rawhide. Wait, what ? That is usually what everybody would tell you not to do. Rawhide has this reputation for frequent breakage, and who knows if my apps will work any given day. Not something you want to deal with while traveling.
  • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for February

Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks (and Proprietary Opera)

  • Why You Shouldn’t Use Firefox Forks Like Waterfox, Pale Moon, or Basilisk
    Mozilla Firefox is an open source project, so anyone can take its code, modify it, and release a new browser. That’s what Waterfox, Pale Moon, and Basilisk are—alternative browsers based on the Firefox code. But we recommend against using any of them.
  • Opera Says Its Next Opera Release Will Have the Fastest Ad Blocker on the Block
    Opera Software promoted today its upcoming Opera 52 web browser to the beta channel claiming that it has the faster ad blocker on the market compared to previous Opera release and Google Chrome. One of the key highlights of the Opera 52 release will be the improved performance of the built-in ad blocker as Opera claims to have enhanced the string matching algorithm of the ad blocker to make it open web pages that contain ads much faster than before, and, apparently than other web browsers, such as Chrome.

Graphics: Glxinfo, ANV, SPIR-V

  • Glxinfo Gets Updated With OpenGL 4.6 Support, More vRAM Reporting
    The glxinfo utility is handy for Linux users in checking on their OpenGL driver in use by their system and related information. But it's not often that glxinfo itself gets updated, except that changed today with the release of mesa-demos-8.4.0 as the package providing this information utility. Mesa-demos is the collection of glxinfo, eglinfo, glxgears, and utilities related to Mesa. With the Mesa-demos 8.4.0 it is predominantly glxinfo updates.
  • Intel ANV Getting VK_KHR_16bit_storage Support Wrapped Up
    Igalia's Jose Maria Casanova Crespo sent out a set of patches today for fixes that allow for the enabling of the VK_KHR_16bit_storage extension within Intel's ANV Vulkan driver. The patches are here for those interested in 16-bit storage support in Vulkan. This flips on the features for storageBuffer16BitAccess, uniformAndStorageBuffer16BitAccess, storagePushConstant16 and the VK_KHR_16bit_storage extension. This support is present for Intel "Gen 8" Broadwell graphics and newer. Hopefully the work will be landing in Mesa Git soon.
  • SPIR-V Support For Gallium3D's Clover Is Closer To Reality
    It's been a busy past week for open-source GPU compute with Intel opening up their new NEO OpenCL stack, Karol Herbst at Red Hat posting the latest on Nouveau NIR support for SPIR-V compute, and now longtime Nouveau contributor Pierre Moreau has presented his latest for SPIR-V Clover support. Pierre has been spending about the past year adding SPIR-V support to Gallium3D's "Clover" OpenCL state tracker. SPIR-V, of course, is the intermediate representation used now by OpenCL and Vulkan.

Security: Updates, Tinder, FUD and KPTI Meltdown Mitigation

  • Security updates for Friday
  • Tinder vulnerability let hackers [sic] take over accounts with just a phone number

    The attack worked by exploiting two separate vulnerabilities: one in Tinder and another in Facebook’s Account Kit system, which Tinder uses to manage logins. The Account Kit vulnerability exposed users’ access tokens (also called an “aks” token), making them accessible through a simple API request with an associated phone number.

  • PSA: Improperly Secured Linux Servers Targeted with Chaos Backdoor [Ed: Drama queen once again (second time in a week almost) compares compromised GNU/Linux boxes to "back doors"]
    Hackers are using SSH brute-force attacks to take over Linux systems secured with weak passwords and are deploying a backdoor named Chaos. Attacks with this malware have been spotted since June, last year. They have been recently documented and broken down in a GoSecure report.
  • Another Potential Performance Optimization For KPTI Meltdown Mitigation
    Now that the dust is beginning to settle around the Meltdown and Spectre mitigation techniques on the major operating systems, in the weeks and months ahead we are likely to see more performance optimizations come to help offset the performance penalties incurred by mitigations like kernel page table isolation (KPTI) and Retpolines. This week a new patch series was published that may help with KPTI performance.