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Archman GNU/Linux Xfce 2019-09

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Archman is an Arch Linux-based distribution developed in Turkey. The project's website is available in both Turkish and English, which makes the distribution approachable to non-Turkish audiences. Archman has various releases with different desktop environments and release dates. In this review, I will be reviewing Archman's Xfce 2019-09 release, which is codenamed Lake With Fish.

To begin, I downloaded the 1.6GB ISO and copied it to a flash drive. I rebooted my computer, turned off Secure Boot, and started Archman from the flash drive. The boot process was quick, but I ended up at a graphical login screen instead of a working desktop environment. I pressed the Enter key and I logged in without needing a password.

The live desktop looked very nice. It is an interesting blend of classic and modern. The live desktop has icons for the user's home folder and Trash. There is also a shortcut for Hexchat and the Calamares Archman Installer. The panel at the bottom of the screen holds the application menu, shortcuts for showing the desktop/quickly minimizing all running applications, Firefox, the user's home folder, sections for the currently running applications, switching desktops, a clock, Bluetooth and wireless controls, a battery meter, update notifications, volume control, and a log out/reboot/shutdown shortcut. The panel is 70% the width of the screen and set to automatically hide.

I looked around the live desktop for a little while. I tested to make sure that everything was working okay with my hardware, and once I was certain that all my hardware worked, I moved on to installing Archman.

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Ubuntu 19.10 Provides Good Out-Of-The-Box Support For The Dell XPS 7390 Icelake Laptop

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Reviews
Ubuntu

For those not following on Twitter, recently I picked up one of the new Dell XPS 7390 laptops for finally being able to deliver Linux benchmarks from Intel Ice Lake! Yes, it's real and running under Linux! For those eyeing the Dell XPS 7390 with this being the first prominent laptop with Ice Lake, here is a brief look at the initial experience with using Ubuntu 19.10.

The Dell XPS 7390 laptop that's being used for testing features the Intel Core i7 1065G7 processor, an Icelake quad-core processor with 1.3GHz base frequency and 3.9GHz peak turbo frequency. This Ice Lake processor features Gen11 Iris Plus Graphics, which we are eagerly testing with the latest Linux graphics drivers.

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A detailed look at Ubuntu’s new experimental ZFS installer

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Although there isn't any support built into Eoan's apt package manager for automatically taking snapshots yet, we can demonstrate a snapshot—oops—rollback moment manually. In the above gallery, first we take a ZFS snapshot. Eoan has split our root filesystem into tons of little datasets (more on that later), so we use the -r option for zfs snapshot to recursively take snapshots throughout the entire tree.

Now that we've insured ourselves against mistakes, we do something we're going to regret. For the purposes of this demo, we're just removing Firefox—but we could really recover from anything up to and including an rm -rf --no-preserve-root / this way with a little extra legwork. After removing Firefox, we need to roll back our snapshots to restore the system to its original condition.

Since the root filesystem is scattered through a bunch of individual datasets, we need to roll them all back individually. Although this is a pain for the casual user without additional tooling, it does make it possible to do more granular restore operations if we're feeling picky—like rolling back the root filesystem without rolling back /home. Ubuntu will undoubtedly eventually have tooling to make this easier, but for the moment, we do a bit of sysadmin-fu and pipe zfs list to grep to awk to xargs, oh my.

The command line acrobatics might have been obnoxious, but the rollback itself was instantaneous, and Firefox has returned. It still doesn't work quite right, though, due to orphaned filehandles—we rolled back a live mounted root filesystem, which is kind of a cowboy thing to do. To make things entirely right, a reboot is necessary—but after the reboot, everything's the way it once was, and without the need to wait through any lengthy Windows Restore Point-style groveling over the filesystem.

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Austrumi Linux Has Great Potential if You Speak Its Language

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Linux
Reviews

This distro needs only limited system resources. Requirements include an Intel-compatible Pentium 2 processor or later and at least 512 MB of RAM. You can stretch this minimal memory level by running the "boot:nocache" option if the computer has less than 512 MB RAM.

No hard drive is needed, but you can find in the system menu an installation tool to place Austrumi Linux on the hard drive or a bootable USB drive. You also can run a live session directly from a bootable DVD if your system has an optical drive.

Other than the lack of adequate English language support within this distro, the only other significant design weakness is the lack of persistent memory if you run the OS without a hard drive installation. This means you can not save personal data and system configurations for your applications.

You can use a USB drive or cloud storage to save personal data. If you use Austrumi Linux as a portable OS, those two storage solutions will be in play anyway.

Austrumi is clearly not targeting non-European users. If developers fixed the language support for non-Latvian speakers, it could be much more convenient to use. Expanding support for other global regions is a critical need for this otherwise very handy performer.

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Quod Libet review - Sounds of music?

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Linux
Reviews
Ubuntu

My music requirements are simple. I have many great qualities, but a refined ear isn't among them. With an aural sensitivity of a comodo dragon, my needs come down to a simple player that is pleasing to the eye, comes with a semi-modern layout, and most importantly, will not annoy me with badly arranged albums, titles and tags. The last piece has been my chief music-related woe for years.

When it comes to music players, I'm kind of okay here. VLC does the job, and when you tweak it, it's quite delightful one must say. Then, when I'm feeling adventurous, there's Clementine, which features splendidly on the desktop, with a clean interface and tons of goodies. And yet, now and then, I go about testing music applications, because music collections won't sort themselves, now will they. To wit, Quod Libet.

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Review: Isotop, Mazon OS, and KduxOS

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Reviews

Kdux boots to a console environment where we can once against sign in as the root user without a password. (Passwords can be set once we login.) The default installation is fairly minimal. The operating system uses just 2.5GB of space and consumes 35MB of memory. The GNU command line tools and manual pages are installed. The systemd init software and an up to date Linux kernel are installed. There is no compiler or development tools.

By default there is no network connection enabled. We can run the dhcpcd command to get a dynamic, wired address. Otherwise we need to manually set up networking. Once we get on-line, the Pacman package manager can be used to install and upgrade packages. Pacman connects to the Arch Linux repositories.

At this point, as far as I could tell, there is virtually no difference between running Arch Linux with the zsh shell and running Kdux. We have the same base packages, the same repositories, the same Arch documentation seems to be relevant. We are given the bare minimum building blocks for a distribution and left to build whatever operating system we want from the pieces.

Hardware support, out of the box is limited. Kdux was unable to detect my laptop's wireless card, preventing me from getting on-line. The distribution ran smoothly in a VirtualBox instance, but was unable to use more than a 800x600 resolution.

I'm not sure I see many benefits to using Kdux instead of plain Arch. The install process is less flexible and at least as cryptic, but once it is up and running, Kdux and Arch appear to be virtually identical. The one perk to using Kdux seems to be the Desktop edition which allows us to test our hardware prior to installing. However, this benefit is somewhat balanced by the apparent lack of installer on the Desktop edition, meaning I had to download the Desktop edition to test Kdux on my hardware and then use the Standard edition to install the distribution. I could have set up Arch in a similar amount of time with one download and without wiping out the contents of my hard drive.

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CentOS 8 review - Let's toast to the next ten years

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Red Hat
Reviews

Let's see how we wrap this up. If we look at CentOS 8 as it, then it comes with lots of problematic areas, which preclude it from being fun and enjoyable out of the box. The big issue is the ability to manage Gnome extensions, without which the desktop simply isn't usable. But then, if we remember this is a server distro, never intended for desktop use per se, things look quite all right, as there are many dedicated for-home systems that manage much less than this. Don't forget stability and ten years of support.

On top of that, I was actually able to achieve a fair deal, I managed to add new and cool software, multimedia and smartphone support are quite good, and you can depend on this system going forward. Performance is meh, networking can be better, and there should be a simplified mechanism to enable the desktop element. All in all, CentOS 8 deserves something like 7.5/10. After polish and tweaks, a rather nifty 9/10. Plus CentOS 8 is better than its predecessor all around, respect. You should try.

I am going to attempt an in-vivo upgrade. Maybe a Plasma test, too, yes! And CentOS Stream, which might be just what I've been looking my whole life - a rolling-release version of the distro designed to stay modern and relevant even many, many years after the initial release. This could be the magic formula of stability, support and latest software. We shall see. Plus I owe you all those tutorials. Stay tuned.

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SolydXK Delivers Rock Solid Linux Performance

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Linux
Reviews

SolydXK is a well-designed and well-managed Linux distro. You can not go wrong with SolydXK. It provides a state-of-the-art Linux platform.

I particularly like its emphasis on no-nonsense computing without bogging down users in mundane setup and tinkering. I constantly look for Linux distros that do not try to reinvent the wheel. SolydXK will not discourage newcomers and will not turn off seasoned Linux users.

This distro takes something old and makes it new again. It is a very workable combination.

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Chuwi GBox Pro Mini PC Review for Linux Users

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Linux
Reviews

Chuwi is a computer manufacturer based in China. They are known for making good-looking but inexpensive devices. A few years back, some resellers used to rebrand Chuwi computers and sell them under their own brand name. Chuwi is now trying to expand its own brand visibility by selling Chuwi systems to a global audience.

Chuwi contacted It’s FOSS and offered us the GBox Pro device to review for Linux users. Just because they offered something for free, it doesn’t mean we are going to favor them unnecessarily. I used the sample GBox Pro device with Linux and I am sharing my experience with this device. It’s up to you to make a decision about purchasing this gadget.

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Cairo Dock review - The dock is in the detail

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Software
Reviews

Cairo Dock is feature-rich, no scratch that, feature-ultra-rich dock software that allows you to adorn your desktop with any number of docks, however custom and fancy you like, replete with their own individual behavior, animations, themes, icons, and applets. Not for the weak or the impatient. But it surely does more than pretty much any other dock program out there. Very cool.

And yet, therein lies its weakness. Most people, if they need a dock, only want something simple and elegant. They want consistent behavior and pleasant, integrated theming. When it comes to using an Xfce desktop that has a dock-like behavior, Cairo provides the best (and only viable results), but it's also super-complicated and there are some outstanding visual issues that you just can't work around easily. In general, Cairo does wonders, it's a really mighty dock tool, but it's perhaps too powerful for its own good. Still, I think it's definitely worth using and testing, and I hope it will remain around, and maybe even get some fresh, modern themes. We're done.

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