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Reviews

GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux

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Linux
Reviews

The GALPon MiniNo distro is akin to a wolf in sheep's clothing. It will rival any of the leading Linux communities for performance.

Widespread acceptance in the educational and consumer markets with non-Spanish-speaking users is at risk. The developers have to improve on the language localization issues.

Critical packages like the system update launchers display in Spanish only. Others software titles have the same problem. Others suffer from bits and pieces of vocabulary crossover.

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Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf review - Fast and spurious

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Distro time! After a quiet distro slayin' period here in Dedowood, we embark on the great hunt once more, and we pay an excessive amount of time to Ubuntu and its derivatives, starting with the original beast. If you've followed my reviews lately, you know that I found Trusty to be excellent, and Vivid was also rather cool.

Let's see what the latest in the series can do. Our test machine will be Lenovo G50, which comes with the modern obstacles of multi-boot, Windows 10, UEFI, Secure Boot, and other things that make Linux folks raise a skeptical brow. Let us.

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Huawei Watch review: the best Android Wear smartwatch

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Android
Reviews

The Huawei Watch is the best Android Wear smartwatch yet and one of the best cross-platform smartwatches. It easily passes as a traditional watch while providing access to information and notifications on your wrist.

It isn’t a standout “look at me” piece of technology, which is good if you’re more interested in function and classic design than showing off, and is comfortable to wear. The higher resolution sapphire screen is the best available at the moment and the battery lasted two days in my testing with the screen on all the time.

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The good, the bad and the Ubuntu 15.10

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Reviews
Ubuntu

I had mixed feelings from my time with Ubuntu. On the one hand, the distribution feels fairly polished and the installer, applications and system tools all worked well. My desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized and this release offers us updated versions of popular software. However, in a virtual machine, Ubuntu performed poorly and this surprised me since the previous release worked quite smoothly in a VirtualBox instance. Not only that, but this version of Ubuntu used quite a bit more memory than the last version did on the same test equipment.

What really stood out most about Ubuntu 15.10 though was this release felt virtually identical in every way to Ubuntu 15.04 and very similar to 14.10. One of the few changes I noticed was that this version of Ubuntu appears to no longer support both the Upstart and systemd init programs, as the previous version did. I see this as an unfortunate (though expected) change as Canonical moves to support just one init package. On the one hand, this lack of adjustments in 15.10 is good news for people who do not want to experience a lot of change. The development team appears to have been working almost exclusively over the past year to fix bugs and keep things working as they have been. This makes Ubuntu feel like a more stable platform.

On the other hand, having a platform that does not boast any new features makes me wonder if there is a point to pushing out a new release. The minor package updates presented probably could have been handled by a backports repository for Ubuntu 15.04. While projects like openSUSE and Fedora are experimenting with new system admin tools, file system snapshots, Wayland and boot environments, Ubuntu appears to be sitting idle. I know there are behind-the-scenes changes planned (such as Snappy packages, Mir and a new version of Unity), but those items keep getting pushed back. In short, I feel this release of Ubuntu was good, but it isn't bringing anything new to the table over the previous version.

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BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously

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Linux
Reviews

You can use BackBox as your main Linux distro and do nothing more involved that run its security envelop to harden your immediate computing environment and surf the Web with anonymity.

You can use BackBox more productively to dig deep into your network to sniff out security risks and lock down your connectivity and data. BackBox's security tools are professional class.

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The OnePlus X is a low-cost Android phone in high-end disguise

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Android
Reviews

The OnePlus X is many things. It’s a 5-inch phone that feels like it should be $500, but costs only $249. It’s a device with the aesthetic quality you might expect from an established tech brand, but it’s made by a Chinese startup less than two years old. It’s also a shameless tribute to the design of older iPhones you can only buy with an invitation.

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HTC One A9 review: the Android iPhone

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Android
Reviews

At its promotional price of $399 In the United States, the HTC One A9 is an easy phone to recommend. Its refined aluminum design is much more lovable than Google’s plastic Nexus 5X, and the simple pleasure of using a phone is important when you’re considering a thing you’ll be spending most of your waking time with. But when the price jumps to $499 in a week’s time — as well as for all other regions across the world — the One A9’s value diminishes greatly. It then matches straight up against Google’s Nexus 6P, the best Android smartphone to date. The winner of that contest is always going to be Google’s handset, which also comes with the long-term assurance of receiving updates faster and for a longer time than any other device.

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Xfce Smooth: the smooth variations

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Reviews

Xfce Smooth is an interesting distribution. It shows you what you can do yourself using the [very] good distribution as a start and playing with themes, icon sets and fonts. You can change your system's look very much to your own taste.

The question is still whether you need to download a distribution that someone has already created for you, or start it yourself from scratch. The benefit of using of Xfce Smooth in this case is that it already has a lot of icon sets, fonts, themes to choose from. You do not need to search, download and install them. Just start playing with your selection!

In terms of performance, I had almost no issues with Xfce Smooth at all. It felt very snappy, fast, responsive and... really smooth! The only small issue was with the Keyring password request that appeared several times.

Would I use this distribution myself? Probably not. I am not a fancier of different fonts, icon and mouse pointer styles to play with them. I would rather stick to something more classic.

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Plasma 5 Powers KaOS Productivity

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Linux
Reviews

KaOS has a few known issues, but these mostly affect specific hardware configurations. For example, to use a GUID Partition Table, or GPT, on a BIOS system, make sure you set it up following a guide available on the KaOS website. The installer's partitioner can only handle GPT correctly for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

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GhostBSD 10.1: Ghost in the machine

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Reviews
BSD

I like the GhostBSD project and its goal. I think, in the past, there has generally not been enough work done to make FreeBSD a good operating system for desktop use. FreeBSD works well in the role of a server operating system, it's stable, fast and the project evolves in such a way that it is fairly easy to upgrade a FreeBSD system over time. However, FreeBSD (while it can be used as a desktop operating system) lacks many of the characteristics one might want on the desktop, such as a graphical installer, multimedia support, a graphical package manager and an attractive, pre-configured desktop environment. While these features can be added or enabled on FreeBSD, most users will want those tools to be in place and to just work right from the start.

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FATHOM releases Crystallon

  • FATHOM releases Crystallon, an open-source software for lattice-based design
    Lattice structures are integral to 3D printed designs, and Aaron Porterfield, an industrial designer at additive manufacturing service bureau FATHOM, has developed Crystallon, an open source project for shaping them into structures.
  • FATHOM Introduces Open Source Software Project for Generating 3D Lattice Structures
    California-based FATHOM, which expanded its on-site managed services and announced important partnerships with Stratasys and Desktop Metal last year, is introducing a fascinating new open source project called Crystallon, which uses Rhino and Grasshopper3D to create lattice structures. FATHOM industrial designer Aaron Porterfield, also an Instructables member, developed the project as an alternative to designing lattices with commercially available software. He joined the company’s design and engineering team three years ago, and is often a featured speaker for its Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) Training Program – and as the project developer, who better to explain the Crystallon project?

Kernel and Graphics: Machine Learning, Mesa, Wayland/Mir, AMDGPU

  • AI-Powered / Machine Learning Linux Performance Tuning Is Now A Thing
    A year and a half ago I wrote about a start-up working on dynamically-tuned, self-optimizing Linux servers. That company is now known as Concertio and they just launched their "AI powered" toolkit for IT administrators and performance engineers to optimize their server performance. Concertio Optimizer Studio is their product making use of machine learning that aims to optimize Linux systems with Intel CPUs for peak performance by scoping out the impact of hundreds of different tunables for trying to deliver an optimal configuration package for that workload on that hardware.
  • Pengutronix Gets Open-Source 3D Working On MX8M/GC7000 Hardware
    We've known that Pengutronix developers had been working on i.MX8M / GC7000 graphics support within their Etnaviv open-source driver stack from initial patches posted in January. Those patches back at the start of the year were for the DRM kernel driver, but it turns out they have already got basic 3D acceleration working.
  • SDL Now Disables Mir By Default In Favor Of Wayland Compatibility
    With Mir focusing on Wayland compatibility now, toolkits and other software making direct use of Mir's APIs can begin making use of any existing Wayland back-end instead. GTK4 drops the Mir back-end since the same can be achieved with the Wayland compatibility and now SDL is now making a similar move.
  • Mesa 18.1 Receives OpenGL 3.1 With ARB_compatibility For Gallium3D Drivers
    Going back to last October, Marek of AMD's open-source driver team has been working on ARB_compatibility support for Mesa with a focus on RadeonSI/Gallium3D. Today that work was finally merged. The ARB_compatibility support allows use of deprecated/removed features of OpenGL by newer versions of the specification. ARB_compatibility is particularly useful for OpenGL workstation users where there are many applications notorious for relying upon compatibility contexts / deprecated GL functionality. But ARB_compatibility is also used by a handful of Linux games too.
  • AMDGPU In Linux 4.17 Exposes WattMan Features, GPU Voltage/Power Via Hwmon
    AMD's Alex Deucher today sent in the first pull request to DRM-Next of AMDGPU (and Radeon) DRM driver feature material that will in turn be merged with the Linux 4.17 kernel down the road. There's some fun features for AMDGPU users coming with this next kernel! First up, Linux is finally getting some WattMan-like functionality after it's been available via the Windows Radeon Software driver since 2016. WattMan allows for more fine-tuning of GPU clocks, voltages, and more for trying to maximize the power efficiency. See the aforelinked article for details but currently without any GUI panel for tweaking all of the driver tunables, this WattMan-like support needs to be toggled from the command-line.

Wine and Ganes: World of Warcraft, Farm Together, Madcap Castle, Cityglitch

Security Leftovers