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Reviews

Winds – RSS and Podcast software created using React / Redux / Node

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Software
Reviews

Winds is billed as a beautiful, modern, open-source RSS Reader and Podcast app. It’s certainly garnishing attention among open source enthusiasts. It’s picked up over 5,000 stars on GitHub, so I’ve been putting this JavaScript software through its paces.

Winds is cross-platform software. There are desktop apps available for Linux, macOS and Windows. There’s also a web version. The software is released under an open source license (BSD-3-Clause). It’s developed by GetStream.io (Stream), a Venture Capital backed company based in the US and the Netherlands.

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Also: Alacritty – A Fastest Terminal Emulator for Linux

A Second Preview to the Next elementary OS 5.0 (July 2018)

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Reviews

Here's a second short preview (after the March 2018 one) to the next 5.0 version of elementary OS from the development release. We're getting closer to final now as the Beta 1 has been released and the Beta 2 has been started but it's still not recommended to install or use the Betas. This means do not upgrade to Beta 1 or Beta 2 yet, nor install the Beta, but wait until the final version officially released. To sum it up, in 5.0, the user interface is getting more cool with tons of improvement; and the AppCenter is really amazing with payment system for both developers who deserve funds and users who want to contribute. I also mention how active the development progress is below and how we can help. This preview is very brief and cannot represent the final as the final could have more and more amazing additions. Anyway, wait for the final and enjoy reading!

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Lubuntu 18.04 Review: Stable and Dependable As Always

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Reviews
Ubuntu

I stated earlier that 18.04 looks pretty much the same compared to when I first installed it. This is not a bad thing. Lubuntu is not designed to be flashy or to have the latest cutting-edge features. It is designed to use few resources and run well on a wide variety of computers. It does that very well. You could set anyone who ever used Windows in front of a Lubuntu box and they would be good to go. I would certainly recommend it for beginners and older computers

One thing that was confusing when I was researching this article was the existence of more than one site for Lubuntu. When I searched for Lubuntu, one of the first search result entries was for lubuntu.net. I thought it was the project’s official website. Then, I was surfing through Lubuntu’s Wikipedia entry. It listed lubuntu.me as the official site. Both look very official. It’s only after you dig that you discover that lubuntu.net was created by “Free and Open Source contributors from Asia, Linux Fans and the Lubuntu Meilix community”. It’s essentially a fan site. They had better let people know that they are not the official site before they get in trouble with someone.

Have you ever used Lubuntu? What is your favorite Ubuntu flavor? Please let us know in the comments below.

If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media.

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Lubuntu 18.04 Review: Stable and Dependable As Always

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Ubuntu’s lightweight edition Lubuntu 18.04 still revives older computers through LXDE but it has different plans for future. Read the Lubuntu 18.04 review to find out more about it.
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Clear Linux Makes a Strong Case for Your Next Cloud Platform

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Reviews

There are so many Linux distributions available, some of which are all-purpose and some that have a more singular focus. Truth be told, you can take most general distributions and turn them into purpose-driven platforms. But, when it comes to things like cloud and IoT, most prefer distributions built with that specific use in mind. That’s where the likes of Clear Linux comes in. This particular flavor of Linux was designed for the cloud, and it lets you install either an incredibly bare OS or one with exactly what you need to start developing for cloud and/or IoT.

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Trisquel 8.0 LTS Review: Successful Freedom of 2018

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Trisquel 8.0 is a success in reaching freedom goal (meaning: no proprietary at all) for overall computer users, especially desktop. It is a 100% free distro which is complete, user friendly, and instant. Compared to regular distros, it's at least equally low in requirements but high in usability; compared to common free distros, it's active (not dormant) and long-standing (since 2007). This operating system can be used by general computer users, produced in mass computers (i.e. sold in a PC/laptop), and especially software freedom people. This year, 2018, anybody wants the true free distro would be happy with Trisquel.

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A look at Ubuntu 18.04 Budgie

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Reviews
Ubuntu

I like this. I like this a lot. It’s exactly what I’d been hoping it would be, after the previous failures at a happy Budgie desktop. I haven’t used it for long enough to get as deep into messing with it as I probably will in the future, so maybe I’ll find issues at that time; but Ubuntu 18.04 Budgie is seeming to be a quite solid, attractive, and easy to use system for people who want even more eyecandy, or are sick of the usual environments.

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Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look

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Ascensio System SIA recently released its free office suite upgrade -- OnlyOffice Desktop Editors -- with a ribbon and tab interface plus numerous updated features. The refresh makes version 5.1 a potential alternative to Web versions of the Microsoft Office suite and Google Docs for Linux users.

The three-module set of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors has an impressive collection of tools geared toward individual consumers and small offices. It provides many of the conveniences available when using MS Word or Google G-Suite apps.

However, the real workplace benefits of collaborating on files through cloud storage come at an add-on cost once the free-trial period ends. Still, the core functionality -- word processor, spreadsheet and slide presentations -- remains free and installs locally as standalone apps in Linux distributions that use .DEB, .RPM and Snap software packages.

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Linux Mint 19 Tara - Tara Cognita

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If one judges Linux Mint 19 Tara on its own, it's a pretty decent release. But one must also gaze wider, and cast their eyes on Mints That Came Before, and realize that the status quo is actually a regression. It's not enough to keep the same errors or be consistent in comparison to the sea of mediocre releases out there. Errors that might have been acceptable in 2008 are not acceptable in 2018. Normalizing toward the lowest common denominator is sad. And this is exactly what's been happening across the distroscape, and Mint has also fallen victim to this disease. The 'all-you-need-to-do' disease.

So yes, in many aspects, Tara works better than the competition. But the competition is awful. Network, font and codec problems, to name a few of the big issues. Unnecessary, pointless. Even more so because we didn't have them in the past. These are regressions. Horrible, life- and will-sapping regressions.

While your mind processes that, let's recap what we saw. In overall terms, Mint 19 is a good choice for people looking for a stable everyday distro. Mostly covers most of the basics, and can be tamed without too much fuss. The package manager is really good, performance and stability are decent. If only I had no memory. But I do, and so Tara warrants only about 7/10 by default, about 8.5 after all my post-pimping. Sylvia is a better overall choice sans any user changes, and there are some other distros with a higher overall grade, ergo friendlier defaults and functionality for the ordinary user. In this regard, Tara is consistent with the 18.X family, which started low and improved. Perhaps 19.1 will be a blast. Take care.

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Review: Linux Mint 19 "Tara" MATE + Xfce + Cinnamon

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Linux
Reviews

It has been some time since I last reviewed a Linux distribution. That is in large part because I've found that the Linux distribution landscape is not as dynamic as it once was, with fewer new distributions vying for market share, while older established distributions have simply continued to exist and develop. As a result, unless you readers have particular suggestions for distributions that I should review (as long as it can be done via a live USB) or a distribution particularly catches my eye, I will likely be sticking to reviewing Linux Mint each time a new release comes out, until and unless Linux Mint declines in quality so much that I need to start looking for new distributions.

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Security: Updates, Best VPNs for GNU/Linux, and Google+ Chaos Again

  • Security updates for Monday
  • Best VPNs for Linux
  • After a Second Data Leak, Google+ Will Shut Down in April Instead of August
    Back in October, a security hole in Google+’s APIs lead Google to announce it was shutting down the service. Now, a second data leak has surfaced, causing the company to move the shutdown up by four months. This new data leak is quite similar to the first one: profile information such as name, email address, age, and occupation was exposed to developers, even for private profiles. It’s estimated that upwards of 52 million users were affected by this leak. The good news is that while the first hole was open for three years, this one was only an issue for six days, from November 7th to the 13th, 2018.

Linux and Linux Foundation Leftovers

  • Initial i.MX8 SoC Support & Development Board Possibly Ready For Linux 4.21
    While the i.MX8 series was announced almost two years ago and the open-source developers working on the enablement for these new NXP SoCs hoped for initial support in Linux 4.17, the Linux 4.21 kernel that will be released in the early months of 2019 is slated to possibly have the first i.MX8 support in the form of the i.MX8MQ and also supporting its development/evaluation board.
  • AeonWave: An Open-Source Audio Engine Akin To Microsoft's XAudio2 / Apple CoreAudio
    An open-source audio initiative that's been in development for years but flying under our radar until its lead developer chimed in is AeonWave, which supports Windows and Linux systems while being inspired by Microsoft XAudio and Apple's CoreAudio.
  • Take Linux Foundation Certification Exams from Anywhere
    2018 has seen a new wave of popularity for the open source community and it has sparked more interest in potential engineers, system administrators, and Linux experts. 2019 is around the corner and now is a good time to look up Linux certification examinations that will enable you to progress in your career. The good news we have for you is that the Linux Foundation has made certification examinations available online so that IT enthusiasts can get certificates in a wide range of open source domains.

Games Leftovers

  • The Linux version of Civilization VI has been updated with cross-platform multiplayer support
    Just in time for the holidays, Linux gamers finally have version parity with other platforms. Expect to be able to spend just one more turn playing with friends on other operating systems.
  • John Romero has announced a free unofficial spiritual successor to The Ultimate DOOM's 4th episode
    John Romero, one of the co-founders of id Software has revealed he's been working on SIGIL, a free megawad for the original 1993 DOOM. [...] These boxes, will contain music from Buckethead, along with a custom song written expressly for SIGIL. A tempting purchase for any big DOOM fan, I especially love the sound of a 16GB 3-1/2-inch floppy disk-themed USB. You have until December 24, 2018 to order one and I imagine stock will go quite quickly.
  • Unvanquished Open-Source Game Sees Its First Alpha Release In Nearly Three Years
    Unvanquished had been easily one of the most promising open-source games several years back with decent in-game visuals/art, a continually improving "Daemon" engine that was a distant mod of ioquake3 while leveraging ETXReaL components and more, and all-around a well-organized, advancing open-source game project. Their monthly alpha releases stopped almost three years ago while today that's changed just ahead of Christmas. The Unvanquished developers announced Unvanquished Alpha 51 today as their first release in two years and eight months after having made fifty monthly alpha releases. While this is the fifty-first alpha, the developers say they should soon be ready for the beta drop.
  • Unvanquished, the free and open source shooter has a huge new release now out
    After being quiet for some time, the Unvanquished team is back and they have quite a lot to show off in the new release of their free and open source shooter. This is their first new release since April 2016, so the amount that's changed is quite striking! Hopefully, this will be the start of regular release once again, since they used to do monthly releases a few years ago and it was fun to watch it grow.
  • Valve adds even more gamepad support to their latest client beta
    Valve are continuing to support as many devices as possible with a new Steam client beta now available. Since there's no gamepad to rule them all, it makes sense for Valve to support as many as they can. Even though I love the Steam Controller, I do understand that it's not going to be a good fit for everyone. Now, Steam will support the PowerA wired/wireless GameCube Style controllers, PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller and the PDP Faceoff Wired Pro Controller to boost their already rather large list of supported devices.
  • The turn-based tactical RPG Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark is coming along nicely
    After a few months in Early Access, the tactical RPG Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark has come along nicely and it's quite impressive. It became available on Steam back in August, this was with same-day Linux support as promised from developer 6 Eyes Studio after their successful Kickstarter.
  • Citra, the Nintendo 3DS emulator now has 'Accurate Audio Emulation'
    Citra, the impressive and quickly moving Nintendo 3DS emulator has a new progress report out and it sounds great. They've made some great progress on accurate audio emulation, with their new "LLE (Accurate)" option. They say this has enabled games like Pokémon X / Y, Fire Emblem Fates and Echoes and more to work. There's a downside though, that currently the performance does take quite a hit with it so they're still recommending the "HLE (Fast)" setting for now. They go into quite a lot of detail about how they got here, with plenty of bumps along the way. Most of the work towards this, was done by a single developer who suffered a bit of a burn-out over it.
  • Mindustry, an open source sandbox Tower Defense game that's a little like Factorio
    Available under the GPL, the developer originally made it for the GDL Metal Monstrosity Jam which happened back in 2017 and it ended up winning! Seems the developer didn't stop development after this, as they're currently going through a new major release with regular alpha builds.
  • Have graphical distortions in Unity games with NVIDIA? Here's a workaround
    It seems a lot of Unity games upgrading to later versions of Unity are suffering from graphical distortions on Linux with an NVIDIA GPU. There is a workaround available.

Wine-Staging 4.0-RC1 Released With Just Over 800 Patches On Top Of Wine

Released on Friday was Wine 4.0-RC1 while coming out over the weekend was the Wine-Staging re-base that is carrying still over 800 patches on top of the upstream Wine code-base. Wine-Staging 4.0-RC1 is available with 805 patches over what's found in the "vanilla" Wine code-base. But prior to the Wine 4.0 RC1 milestone there were a fair number of patches that were promoted upstream including ntoskrnl, WindowsCodecs, user32, and DXGI changes. Read more