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Reviews

Review: Alpine Linux 3.9.2

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Reviews

Alpine Linux is different in some important ways compared to most other distributions. It uses different libraries, it uses a different service manager (than most), it has different command line tools and a custom installer. All of this can, at first, make Alpine feel a bit unfamiliar, a bit alien. But what I found was that, after a little work had been done to get the system up and running (and after a few missteps on my part) I began to greatly appreciate the distribution.

Alpine is unusually small and requires few resources. Even the larger Extended edition I was running required less than 100MB of RAM and less than a gigabyte of disk space after all my services were enabled. I also appreciated that Alpine ships with some security features, like PIE, and does not enable any services it does not need to run.

I believe it is fair to say this distribution requires more work to set up. Installing Alpine is not a point-n-click experience, it's more manual and requires a bit of typing. Not as much as setting up Arch Linux, but still more work than average. Setting up services requires a little more work and, in some cases, reading too since Alpine works a little differently than mainstream Linux projects. I repeatedly found it was a good idea to refer to the project's wiki to learn which steps were different on Alpine.

What I came away thinking at the end of my trial, and I probably sound old (or at least old fashioned), is Alpine Linux reminds me of what got me into running Linux in the first place, about 20 years ago. Alpine is fast, light, and transparent. It offered very few surprises and does almost nothing automatically. This results in a little more effort on our parts, but it means that Alpine does not do things unless we ask it to perform an action. It is lean, efficient and does not go around changing things or trying to guess what we want to do. These are characteristics I sometimes miss these days in the Linux ecosystem.

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Condres OS Conjures Up Pleasing Arch Linux Transition

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Linux
Reviews

Working with an Arch-based Linux distro put me out of my Debian Linux comfort zone. I was pleased by how quickly I acclimated to Condres OS. The Condres/Arch-specific software was intuitive to use. The few times I needed to clarify an issue regarding software, the answer was readily available. Hopping from Linux Mint to Condres OS was an easy move.

That said, the other Condres OS desktop offerings should not pose any technical or usability challenges for new users coming from other computing platforms. For that matter, Condres OS in any desktop flavor should be a comfy fit on any hardware.

I tested Condres OS on one of the oldest laptops in my lingering collection. I ran the live session ISO on both new and old gear without experiencing any glitches. I installed it on a laptop running an Intel Core 2 DUO processor with 3GB RAM for more extensive testing. The next step is to install it on my primary desktop computer in place of the troublesome Linux Mint.

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I Can't Believe I'm Writing This Linux Article About Loving The Xfce Desktop Environment

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

My Choose Linux co-host Joe Ressington swears by Xfce. He has no interest in eye candy. He simply wants to get his production work done. I also appreciate a distraction-free environment (like elementary OS), but I crave a bit of elegance and visuals that don't bore me.

Every time I looked at screenshots of Xfce, though -- even from the official website -- I was reminded of something from the days of Windows 2000. Grey. Archaic. Uninteresting. It struck me as as one of the few alternatives people with anemic PCs are forced to use. MATE is one of those alternatives, but it comes off as sharper and more modern despite also thriving on low-end hardware. Even if it is obsessed with the color green.

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Solus 4.0 Fortitude Budgie review - Not bad, kind of unique

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I have to say my expectations were low because of the past experience. But Solus 4.0 Fortitude surprised me, positively. It's not the bestest distro in the universe, but it comes with a lot of nice features and a fresh, unique angle that's always a delight to discover, given how monotone and uninspired the Linux world has become. The Budgie desktop has come along nicely, although it still suffers from some of the issues that plague Gnome. In fact, this is the problem with Solus - usability problems, performance.

On the bright side, it delivered on many fronts - Nvidia drivers, media, smartphones, good package management and third-party extras, crisp fonts. I'd prefer a light theme by default, a better sorted panel, and the security thingie harms network connectivity for Windows boxen. And more enthusiasm. Solus delivers with stoicism, and it could do with more verve. But there's good fortune rubbing off this one, indeed. 8/10, and we shall be keeping a keen eye on this one. Worth testing, I say.

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Also: Antergos 19.04 Budgie Run Through

Review: SolydXK 201902 "Xfce"

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Debian

SolydXK is a Debian-based desktop distribution available in Xfce and KDE Plasma flavours. The distribution takes Debian's Stable branch and attempts to build a user friendly desktop experience on top of it. The latest version of the project adds new file system support for flash drives (offering f2fs and nilfs2 file systems). There have also been some changes in the arena of web browsers:
We changed the SolydXK Firefox settings even further to improve user privacy and also comply with Mozilla's distribution policies. This is done in the firefox-solydxk-adjustments package which can be purged if you don't need it.

Waterfox is now packaged and distributed by the SolydXK repository. You can install Waterfox with this command: apt install waterfox waterfox-solydxk-adjustments.
The official versions of SolydXK run on 64-bit (x86_64) machines only. There are 32-bit x86 ISO files provided by the community and there is a build for Raspberry Pi 3 computers. I opted to try the official Xfce edition which is a 1.5GB download.

The live media boots to the Xfce desktop. The live environment features bright orange wallpaper and offers a single icon on the desktop for launching the system installer. The desktop's panel, with the application menu and system tray, sit at the bottom of the screen.

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MX Linux MX-18 & 10-year-old Nvidia-powered laptop

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I might be boring, because I'm not adventurous, and I like to play it safe when I choose distros for serious work, but then, having tested hundreds of distro versions, spins and editions over the years, I like when I can fall back on a stable, reliable, well-polished release like Continuum. The one thing that's really missing is a guaranteed LTS edition for me to be able to commit it to production, but then, with eeePC and now this RD510, this little distro has done more than most other systems in a long, long, long while. And the results are even better than what I had with a 2003 Lenovo T42, which I revived back in 2013.

MX-18 Continuum really shines. There are some rough edges in the Xfce desktop, sure, and there can be even more goodies, but look what I felt about this project four or five years ago, look where we're now, and look how my 10-year-old laptop runs with the sprightliness of a machine one third its age. That has to count for something. But with two out of two 10-year escapades nailed, I think this is a pretty solid recommendation for anyone looking to freshen up old, weak systems, but also people who want a solid, sane, user-focused experience. And that brings us to the end of this happy review. See you in 10 years. Or in a day or two.

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What’s New in Solus 4.0 Fortitude – Budgie Desktop Edition

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Solus 4.0 fortitude, the latest major release of solus linux distribution has been released and announced by Solus Project’s Joshua Strobl. This release ships with Budgie 10.5 desktop environment includes some minor changes and also comes baked in with the Plata (Noir) GTK Theme.

New to the Budgie Desktop is a “Caffeine Mode” that ensures the system doesn’t suspend/lock/dim, and other minor tweaks to enhance the experience for those “hard at work” and trying not to be interrupted. Budgie 10.5 also brings an updated icon task-list applet, Raven widget/notification center improvements, improved notification management, and various styling improvements to its custom elements.

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Q4OS and TDE: A Juicy Little Linux Secret

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Linux
Reviews

Q4OS 3.6 has a cleaner and more modern appearance. Some of its core components are refreshed, not new. Other features are improved or expanded.

Whether you adopt Q4OS to replace a Microsoft Windows experience or another Linux distribution, you will not have much of a learning curve. Its simplified interface is intuitive.

Q4OS has a focus on conservatively integrating verified new features. This operating system is a proven performer for speed and very low hardware requirements. Its performance is optimized for both new and very old hardware. For small business owners and high-tech minded home office workers, Q4OS is also very applicable for virtualization and cloud computing.

The freedom and ease of setting up the core system your way make Q4OS a viable alternative to other Linux options. It is a very inviting way to meet individual and small business computing requirements. One of the big values in using Q4OS Linux is the add-on commercial support the developer team offers for customizing the distro to meet specific user needs.

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First look at the PinePhone dev kit running KDE Plasma Mobile & PostmarketOS

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OS
Android
KDE
Reviews

The folks at Pine64 are working on a Linux-powered smartphone that could sell for as little as $149. It’s called the PinePhone, and the team unveiled the project and launched a development kit earlier this year.

Now that developers are starting to work with that pre-release hardware, we’re getting our first look at what the phone could look like when it’s running GNU/Linux-based software.

Photos of a dev kit booting PostMarketOS with the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface were posted recently to the PinePhone developers Telegram group.

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Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 7

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KDE
Hardware
Reviews

When I started my Slimbook & Kubuntu journey, I didn't know where it would end. And I still don't. But half a dozen reports later, I am much more confident into what kind of experience awaits me day in, day out. What I really value in software are two main qualities: stability and predictability, the kind of stuff one must have for their production setup. So far, this laptop and its blob of code are delivering nicely, reliably.

Another facet of this journey is its randomness. I typically have a very strict routine when it comes to distro reviews, but here, I'm letting the challenges surprise me. I am using the system, and if and when a use case occurs, I handle it. For better or worse. Well, you can definitely read all about that in the previous articles. Now, let's see what happened over the last handful of moonrises.

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