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Reviews

Endeavour OS | Review from an openSUSE User

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Endeavour OS is the unofficial successor to Antegros, I’ve never used Antegros so I cannot make any comparisons between the two. It should also be noted that I think Arch Linux, in general is more work than it is worth so this won’t exactly be a shining review. Feel free to bail here if you don’t like the direction of my initial prejudice.

I am reviewing Endeavour OS as a rather biased openSUSE Linux user that is firmly entrenched in all things openSUSE. I am going at this from the perspective that my computer is my companion, my coworker or assistant in getting my digital work done and some entertainment sprinkled in there as well.

Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to run main-line Arch, Endeavour OS is absolutely the way to get going with it. They take the “Easy Plus One” approach to Arch by allowing you to install what I would consider a minimal but very usable base and learn to use “genuine Arch” with all the triumphs and pitfalls. If you want to go Arch, I can most certainly endorse this as the route to do so. However, even after playing here for two weeks, I find Arch to be more trouble than it is worth but a great educational experience.

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Review: AcademiX GNU/Linux 2.2

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

What sets AcademiX apart from other distributions is the EDU software manager. This package manager provides curated lists of educational software, which are grouped by subject and by age range. This package manager makes finding educational software really easy. There is software for astronomy, biology, geography, foreign languages, and many other subjects. While there are gaps in the availability of applications covering various subjects, that is a gap in the broader open source application ecosystem, not something specific to AcademiX. While some of the rough edges I noted with the installation process and the desktop customization make me a hesitant to recommend AcademiX to new Linux users, Educational Technology professionals should perhaps try out AcademiX just to use the EDU package manager to explore various open source applications.

While installing and updating software was easy and basically the same experience as any other modern, Debian-based distribution, the fact that some of the packages come from servers in Romania means that some package downloads can be much slower than downloading from the world-wide network of Debian mirrors. For individual packages and small collections of packages this is not too noticeable, but it is still an issue. The frustrating part is the fact that the speeds are not consistent. Sometimes I was downloading at only 40kbps, but other times it was much faster. I experienced the same issue when trying to download the ISO. One download took about 20 minutes for the 1.7GB image but some other attempts took 4 hours.

Final thoughts

AcademiX GNU/Linux is an interesting distribution, but it has some rough edges that need to be cleaned up. Honestly, I really, really wanted to like this distribution (good distributions aimed at the educational market are always needed), but found it to be merely okay. AcademiX has a lot of potential, but it is just not there yet. DebianEdu/Skolelinux is far more polished while serving almost the exact same niche. However, if the AcademiX team cleans up some of the issues I noted above, especially the installer issues, I think future versions of AcademiX might turn out to be worthwhile. The EDU software installer is well organized and aids in discovering educational software, so that is one solid advantage AcademiX offers, but overall the distribution needs more work and polish before I could move it from "this distribution is okay" to "you should give this distribution a try".

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Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Xfce review - Nice but somewhat crude

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Overall, Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Xfce is a decent distro. It has lots of good and unique points. Network, media and phone support is good. You get a colorful repertoire of high-quality programs, the performance and battery life are excellent, and the desktop is fairly pretty. The system was also quite robust and stable.

But then, there were issues - including inconsistent behavior compared to the Plasma crop. The installation can be a bit friendlier (as Plasma one does). The package management remains the Achilles' Heel of this distro. Having too many frontends is confusing, and none of them do a great job. The messages on dependencies, the need for AUR (if you want fancy stuff), and such all create unnecessary confusing. There were also tons of visual papercuts, and I struggled getting things in order. All in all, Manjaro is getting better all the time, but it is still too geeky for the common person, as it breaks the fourth wall of nerdiness too often. 7/10, and I hope it can sort itself out and continue to deliver the unique, fun stuff that gets sidelined by the rough edges.

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Slackel Linux Works Well Inside Its Openbox

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Linux
Reviews

The current Slackel Linux release can be a good choice for new users. It is easy to stumble through the installation steps, but this distro has some benefits.

Slackel is a reliable operating system that is easy to use. If you like to learn how Linux works, Slackel gets you closer to understanding the pure Linux environment without resorting to the terminal window and the command line.

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A look at MX Linux 18.3

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I’ve been doing a little bit of distrohopping in the last week or so to take a look at new systems being developed and to try a few I haven’t had a look at in a while; MX Linux being one of the latter.

The last time I touched MX Linux was at least two or three years ago, and I remember that I wasn’t a fan at the time. However, I’m really happy to say that my opinion of the OS has changed with my latest dive into it.

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Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon vs Kubuntu 19.04 Review

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Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon still ships with ‘ureadahead’ daemon which as I’ve shown, has the capacity to significantly speed things up (again, it only works on rotational disks) when booting up, even though the memory usage is not as impressive compared to modern KDE desktops (that then again is not Cinnamon’s fault, because, that’s how it is with most GNOME 3 based distributions these days).

If you’re not happy with the power usage, then install TLP, if the responsiveness is not impressive, try changing the I/O scheduler, and you’re good to go. It’s easy to use, quite stable and even though Cinnamon’s apps are forked from GNOME 3’s apps, due to its will to retain its own identity, nowadays, to a great extent, Cinnamon is its own thing. If interested in, download it from Mint’s official web page. Good luck and thank you for reading.

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Zorin OS 15 | Review from an openSUSE User

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One of those distributions there is a lot of buzz about and I have mostly ignored for a significant number of years has been Zorin OS. I just shrugged my shoulders and kind of ignored its existence. None of the spoken or written selling points really stuck with me, like a warm springtime rain trickling off of a ducks back, I ignored it.

I think that was a mistake.

Instead of just acting like I know something about it, I made the time to noodle around in this rather nice Linux distribution. My review on Zorin OS is from the perspective of a deeply entrenched, biased openSUSE user. I won?t pretend that this is going to be completely objective, as it absolutely is not. So take that for what it?s worth.

Bottom line up front and to give you a quick escape from the rest of this blathering, I was pleasantly surprised by the Zorin OS experience. It is a highly polished experience molded with the Gnome Desktop Environment. It is such a nicely customized and smooth experience, I had to check twice to verify that it was indeed Gnome I was using. Although I am exceptionally satisfied with using openSUSE Tumbleweed with the Plasma desktop, the finely crafted distribution gave me pause and much to think about. So much so, I had to think about some of my life decisions. This was such an incredibly seamless and pleasant experience and I could easily recommend this for anyone that is curious about Linux but doesn?t have a lot of technical experience. I would put this right up next to Mint as an approachable introduction to the Linux world.

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Review: Q4OS 3.8

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Q4OS is a curious project which has done a few things that set it apart from most other Linux distributions. The first thing which stands out about Q4OS is it runs the Trinity desktop. Trinity is the continuation of KDE 3, a flexible desktop environment that was replaced by KDE Plasma on most Linux distributions. Q4OS is one of just two projects in the DistroWatch database still using Trinity as a first tier desktop.

The other feature which immediately stands out is Q4OS is designed to look like classic versions of Microsoft Windows. The Trinity desktop has been themed to have a distinctly Windows XP appearance, complete with desktop icons and a two-pane application menu.

Q4OS 3.8 is based on Debian 10 and is available in 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64) builds. The project ships two editions. The first edition now uses KDE Plasma by default, but still ships with Trinity as a secondary desktop on the install media. The second edition ships with Trinity only. The KDE Plasma media is 869MB in size while the pure Trinity edition is a 638MB download. I decided to download the combined Plasma and Trinity edition.

The disc boots to a graphical environment. A pop-up appears and asks us to select our language from a drop-down list. When wireless networks are detected we are also given the chance to connect over wi-fi. The Plasma desktop (version 5.14.5) then loads. The desktop features a single icon for launching the distribution's installer. A panel at the bottom of the display holds the application menu, task switcher and system tray. A welcome window then appears and offers us six buttons that launch configuration modules or tools to help us install packages. I will come back to the welcome window later as it is not particularly useful when running from the live media.

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MINIX NEO S2 USB-C SSD Hub Review in Ubuntu 18.04 with Khadas Edge

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Reviews
Ubuntu

MINIX NEO S1 & S2 USB-C hubs are specifically designed for Apple Macbook, Macbook Air, and Macbook Pro, but since they follow USB-C specifications they should work with compatible devices. You must note your experience may vary, as we’ve seen MINIX NEO S2 “works” with Khadas Edge running Ubuntu 18.04 + XFCE, but stability, at least with regards to driving an extra display may be an issue. An external power supply is almost certainly needed unless you only use the product as a USB-C SSD.

MINIX NEO S1 & S2 can be purchased on various shops including GearBest, GeekBuying, and Amazon starting at respectively $79.99 and $97.99.

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Star Labs Linux Laptop Review — A Premium Ultrabook for Open Source Admirers

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

We’ve previously covered System76 and their Linux loving laptops. But there are several other brands around that put Linux first. Star Labs is one of them and they’ve provided a demo unit of their Labtop (yes, Labtop). A premium laptop with fairly boastful specs.

[...]

Powering this understated device is no modest hardware, either. The Core-i7 8550u gives you four cores with eight threads running at 1.8 GHz and boosting to a whopping 4.0 GHz to chew through your workload with relative ease. The 8GB of DDR4 RAM isn’t bad, but a 16GB option would be nice given the increasing demands of modern software. Underpinning all of that computing power is also a beast of an NVMe SSD capable of 3200MB/s read speeds and 2200MB/s write speeds. Of course, none of this really matters without the context of pricing. The Labtop comes in at a very fair $850USD (before any applicable surcharges). That’s significantly better than the $720USD I paid for my Asus Zenbook that came with an Intel Core-M CPU and SATA SSD, both far less performant (keeping in mind that it is now about four years old).

As I mentioned before, I had no brand awareness of Star Labs before embarking on this review. So, my very first impressions were gathered from the product packaging. The shipping box seemed very thin, which worried me, but that was dispelled afterward. The product packaging is a stylish black matching the laptop with a silvery metallic depiction of the laptop on each side of the box. It’s a little bit flashy but it compensates with the very clean illustrations. The unboxing experience was fairly standard, however, I was very happy with the general lack of non-recyclable materials. As a proponent of environmentally friendly packaging, I was happy to see that there wasn’t a bunch of styrofoam inside. Despite the minimalistic packaging, I was confident that it would stand-up to shipping. After all, mine shipped all the way from the UK to Canada and it was fine.

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Librem 5 August Update

We are preparing everything for the Librem 5 to be delivered soon, and its software will focus on the most critical applications a phone needs: calls, messages and web browsing. There are supporting projects that will be delivered too, like GNOME Settings, the shell, GNOME Initial Setup, and GNOME Contacts. So without further ado, let’s take a tour through the software we will deliver–as well as some other applications that have seen some major changes. Read more

low-memory-monitor: new project announcement

I'll soon be flying to Greece for GUADEC but wanted to mention one of the things I worked on the past couple of weeks: the low-memory-monitor project is off the ground, though not production-ready. low-memory-monitor, as its name implies, monitors the amount of free physical memory on the system and will shoot off signals to interested user-space applications, usually session managers, or sandboxing helpers, when that memory runs low, making it possible for applications to shrink their memory footprints before it's too late either to recover a usable system, or avoid taking a performance hit. It's similar to Android's lowmemorykiller daemon, Facebook's oomd, Endless' psi-monitor, amongst others Read more Also: New Low-Memory-Monitor Project Can Help With Linux's RAM/Responsiveness Problem

IBM: Kubernetes/OpenShift, OpenPOWER, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux for Developers

  • Red Hat Integration delivers new Kubernetes Operators and expands data integration capabilities with latest release

    We are pleased to announce the Q3 release of Red Hat Integration, which brings us further in our alignment around Red Hat OpenShift as the platform of choice for developing and deploying cloud-native applications across hybrid cloud environments, as well as helping customers get their integrations up and running easier and faster. As modern IT continues its rapid evolution, it becomes important that the cloud-native solutions supporting this transformation keep pace, enabling IT organizations to truly benefit from this constant innovation. To help customers take full advantage of this, we've updated, tested and certified every single component in Red Hat Integration with the latest version of OpenShift: Red Hat OpenShift 4.

  • The Linux Foundation Announces New Open Hardware Technologies and Collaboration

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced that the OpenPOWER Foundation will become a project hosted at The Linux Foundation. The project includes IBM’s open POWER Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) and contributed Source Design Implementations required to support data-driven hardware for intensive workloads like Artificial Intelligence (AI). OpenPOWER is the open steward for the Power Architecture and has the support of 350 members, including IBM, Google, Inspur Power Systems, Yadro, Hitachi, Wistron, Mellanox, NVIDIA, and Red Hat. The governance model within the Linux Foundation gives software developers assurance of compatibility while developing AI and hybrid cloud native applications that take advantage of POWER’s rich feature set and open compute hardware and software ecosystems. As the demand rises for more and more compute-intensive workloads like AI and in-memory analytics, commodity systems vendors have struggled with the looming predictions of the end of Moore’s Law. Central processing units (CPUs) may no longer handle the rising demands alone, and data-centric systems are built to maximize the flow of data between CPUs and attached devices for specialized workloads. By hosting OpenPOWER at The Linux Foundation, a cross-project, cross-community collaboration, it will accelerate development of hardware and software to support data-centric systems, by making it available to a growing global audience. “The OpenPOWER community has been doing critical work to support the increasing demands of enterprises that are using big data for AI and machine learning workloads. The move to bring these efforts together with the worldwide ecosystem of open source developers across projects at The Linux Foundation will unleash a new level of innovation by giving developers everywhere more access to the tools and technologies that will define the next generation of POWER architecture,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation.

  • Raptor Computing Systems Planning To Launch New ATX POWER9 Board With OpenCAPI

    In addition to the news out of the OpenPOWER Summit in San Diego that the POWER ISA is going open-source and the OpenPOWER Foundation becoming part of the Linux Foundation, Raptor Computing Systems shared they plan to launch a new standard ATX motherboard next year that will feature OpenCAPI connectivity. Built off the successes of their Talos II high-end server motherboard and lower-cost Blackbird desktop motherboard designs, there is apparently a new motherboard design for POWER9 being worked on that could launch in early 2020.

  • Why you should be developing on Red Hat Enterprise Linux

    With a $0 Red Hat Developer membership, you get access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) at no cost. We have downloads available for RHEL versions starting as far back as 7.2, and as current as RHEL 8.1 Beta. The subscription costs nothing, and there are no additional costs for any of the software or content we make available through the program.

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