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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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Reviews

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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Reviews

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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Reviews

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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EndeavourOS Review: A New Distribution in Arch Linux World

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Reviews

EndeavourOS is trying to develop a beginner-friendly Arch-based distribution around a friendly community. Read this review of EndeavourOS Linux distribution.
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