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Blue Collar Linux: Something Borrowed, Something New

Tuesday 15th of January 2019 09:24:54 PM
Sometimes it takes more than a few tweaks to turn an old-style desktop design into a fresh new Linux distribution. That is the case with the public release of Blue Collar Linux. Blue Collar Linux has been under development for the last four years. Until its public release this week, it has circulated only through an invitation for private use by the developer's family, friends and associates looking for an alternative to the Windows nightmare. Another large part of his user base is the University of Wisconsin, where he engages with the math and computer science departments.

Top Open Source Tools for Staying on Time and on Task

Friday 11th of January 2019 06:53:06 PM
Keeping up to date with multiple daily activity calendars, tons of information, and long must-do lists can be a never-ending challenge. This week's Linux Picks and Pans reviews the best open source Personal Information Managers that will serve you well on whatever Linux distribution you run. In theory, computer tools should make managing a flood of personal and business information child's play. In practice, however, many PIM tool sets are isolated from your other devices. This, of course, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to share essential information across your smartphone, desktop, laptop and tablet.

Where Linux Went in 2018 - and Where It's Going

Wednesday 9th of January 2019 08:39:37 PM
For those who try to keep their finger on the Linux community's pulse, 2018 was a surprisingly eventful year. Spread over the last 12 months, we've seen various projects in the Linux ecosystem make great strides, as well as suffer their share of stumbles. All told, the year wrapped up leaving plenty to be optimistic about in the year to come, but there is much more on which we can only speculate. In the interest of offering the clearest lens for a peek into Linux in 2019, here's a look back at the year gone by for all things Linux.

Kodachi Builds Privacy Tunnel for Linux

Thursday 3rd of January 2019 01:00:00 PM
Online and Internet security are not topics that typical computer users easily comprehend. All too often, Linux users put their blind trust in a particular distribution and assume that all Linux OSes are equally secure. However, not all Linux distros are created with the same degree of attention to security and privacy control. A misconfiguration of a firewall, or misapplied Web browser privacy and modem settings, can trash the best-designed Linux safety strategies. Kodachi Linux offers an alternative to leaving your computer privacy and security to chance.

Breaking Up the Crypto-Criminal Bar Brawl

Friday 28th of December 2018 08:06:05 PM
As if e-commerce companies didn't have enough problems with transacting securely and defending against things like fraud, another avalanche of security problems -- like cryptojacking, the act of illegally mining cryptocurrency on your end servers -- has begun. We've also seen a rise in digital credit card skimming attacks against popular e-commerce software. Some of the attacks are relatively naive and un-targeted, taking advantage of lax security on websites found to be vulnerable, while others are highly targeted for maximum volume.

Q4OS: A Diamond in the Rough Gets Some Polish

Thursday 20th of December 2018 07:19:20 PM
Sometimes working with Linux distros is much like rustling through an old jewelry drawer. Every now and then, you find a diamond hidden among the rhinestones. That is the case with Q4OS. I took a detailed first look at this new distro in February 2015, primarily to assess the Trinity desktop. That was a version 1 beta release. Still, Trinity showed some potential. I have used it on numerous old and new computers, mostly because of its stability and ease of use. Every few upgrades I check out its progress.

Pantheon Desktop Makes Linux Elementary

Wednesday 12th of December 2018 08:39:28 PM
Developers of U.S.-based Elementary OS recently released the community's annual major update, Juno 5. What makes this distro so nontraditional is its own desktop interface, called "Pantheon." This desktop interface is somewhat of a hybrid, inspired by Apple's Debian Ubuntu-based OS X. It combines some similarities of the GNOME 3 Shell with the visual finesse of the OS X dock. Its Ubuntu underpinnings are anchored under the hood. What you see and use on the screen gives Elementary OS a distinct look and feel.

The Road Ahead for Open Source

Thursday 6th of December 2018 08:04:12 PM
Linux and the open source business model are far different today than many of the early developers might have hoped. Neither can claim a rags-to-riches story. Rather, their growth cycles have been a series of hit-or-miss milestones. The Linux desktop has yet to find a home on the majority of consumer and enterprise computers. However, Linux-powered technology has long ruled the Internet and conquered the cloud and Internet of Things deployments. Both Linux and free open source licensing have dominated in other ways.

Deepin Builds a Better Linux Desktop

Wednesday 5th of December 2018 09:01:50 PM
Deepin 15.8, released last month, is loaded with more efficient layout tweaks that give the distribution greater functionality and maturity. Deepin, based in China, shed its Ubuntu base when with the 2015 release of version 15, which favored Debian Linux. That brought numerous subtle changes in the code base and software roots. Ubuntu Linux itself is based on Debian. The chief distinguishing factor that accounts for Deepin's growing popularity is its homegrown Deepin Desktop Environment.

How to Use a VPN for Safer Online Shopping

Tuesday 4th of December 2018 07:43:24 PM
With the holidays fast approaching, are you looking to buy presents online? The holiday season has become synonymous with online shopping. This isn't really surprising as physical stores usually attract crowds of deal hunters. This often conjures up images of throngs of people waiting in line outside the store, some even camping out. This activity is tolerable for some and even fun for others. However, for many others, it's not worth the hassle. Why would it be, when there are perfectly legitimate and convenient alternatives online?

Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence

Thursday 29th of November 2018 07:31:14 PM
Void Linux offers an unusual alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch. Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled. Some of Void Linux's under-the-hood specifics include its own package management system, dubbed "XBPS," for X-binary Package System, an initialization system called "runit," and integration of LibreSSL instead of OpenSSL.

Free Personal Finance Apps You Can Take to the Bank

Wednesday 21st of November 2018 01:00:00 PM
Today's Linux platform accommodates a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. That was not always the case, however. Not quite 10 years ago, I scoured Linux repositories in a quest for replacement applications for popular Microsoft Windows tools. Back then, the pickings were mighty slim. Often, the only recourse was to use Windows-based applications that ran under WINE. The best of the Linux lot were GnuCash, HomeBank, KMyMoney and Skrooge.

Acumos Project's 1st Software, Athena, Helps Ease AI Deployment

Friday 16th of November 2018 01:00:00 PM
The LF Deep Learning Foundation has announced the availability of the first software from the Acumos AI Project. Dubbed "Athena," it supports open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning. The goal is to make critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere. Launched earlier this year, Acumos is part of a Linux Foundation umbrella organization, the LF Deep Learning Foundation, that supports and sustains open source innovation in AI, ML and DL.

Getting Clarity on the Private vs. Public Cloud Decision

Wednesday 14th of November 2018 07:08:59 PM
News flash: Private cloud economics can offer more cost efficiency than public cloud pricing structures. Private, or on-premises, cloud solutions can be more cost-effective than public cloud options, according to a report by 451 Research and Canonical. That conclusion counters the notion that public cloud platforms traditionally are more cost-efficient than private infrastructures. Half of the enterprise IT decision-makers who participated in the study identified cost as the No. 1 pain point associated with the public cloud.

Google Shows Off New Android Dev Tools

Tuesday 13th of November 2018 08:20:02 PM
Google has announced support for a range of new Android tools for application developers, chief among them the creation of a new support category for foldable devices. After years of speculation, it finally looks as though foldable screen smartphones are headed to market. Google's dev announcement followed closely on the heels of Samsung's announcement of a folding phone/tablet prototype. The Android tools will take advantage of the new display technology, which literally bends and folds, noted Google's Stephanie Cuthbertson.

IBM Dons Red Hat for Cloudy Future

Friday 9th of November 2018 05:07:05 PM
IBM's deal to acquire Red Hat caught everyone by surprise when it was announced less than two weeks ago. While concerns spread quickly about what it would mean for the largest enterprise Linux platform, IBM and Red Hat executives assured employees and customers that Red Hat would continue to operate independently -- at least for now. Intel made a similar acquisition of Wind River, the leader in embedded operating systems, in 2009. In a similar manner, that deal could have been viewed negatively by competitors.

Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes

Thursday 8th of November 2018 08:39:36 PM
GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook. My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS. GalliumOS is not a perfect solution. It requires making a physical adjustment inside the hardware and flashing new firmware before the GalliumOS installation ISO will boot. However, it can be a handy workaround.

Overcoming Your Terror of Arch Linux

Wednesday 7th of November 2018 07:58:04 PM
A recent episode of a Linux news podcast I keep up with featured an interview with a journalist who had written a piece for a non-Linux audience about giving it a try. It was surprisingly widely read. The writer's experience with some of the more popular desktop distributions had been overwhelmingly positive, and he said as much in his piece and during the interview. However, when the show's host asked whether he had tried Arch Linux, the journalist immediately and unequivocally dismissed the idea, as if it were obviously preposterous.

How to Protect Your Online Privacy: A Practical Guide

Wednesday 7th of November 2018 01:00:00 PM
Do you take your online privacy seriously? Most people don't. They have an ideal scenario of just how private their online activities should be, but they rarely do anything to actually achieve it. The problem is that bad actors know and rely on this fact, and that's why there's been a steady rise in identity theft cases from 2013 to 2017. The victims of these cases often suffer a loss of reputation or financial woes. If you take your online privacy seriously, follow this 10-step guide to protect it.

Mobile Phone Security: All You Need to Know

Tuesday 6th of November 2018 06:01:25 PM
We rely on our phones to process and store reams of personal digital data. Our digital activities -- from checking bank balances to paying for a product with a tap of the screen, to sending friends and family messages over social media, to accessing work emails remotely -- have turned our phones into a goldmine of personal information. It's likely that by 2020, there will be more than 6 billion smartphone users in the world. How secure is your mobile device? It's easy to forget that your mobile phone is essentially a pocket-sized computer.

More in Tux Machines

Games: Zombie Panic! Source, Dicey Dungeon, NVIDIA RTX, Steam Play, Battle Motion, Ravva and the Cyclops Curse, Feudal Alloy

  • The Beta of Zombie Panic! Source was updated recently, should work better on Linux
    Zombie Panic! Source is currently going through an overhaul, as part of this it's coming to Linux with a version now in beta and the latest update should make it a better experience. [...] I personally haven't been able to make any of the events yet, so I have no real thoughts on the game. Once it's out of beta and all servers are updated, I will be taking a proper look as it looks fun. No idea when this version will leave beta, might be a while yet.
  • Dicey Dungeons, the new unique roguelike from Terry Cavanagh and co introduces quests
    We have a lot of roguelikes available on Linux (seriously, we do) yet Dicey Dungeons from Terry Cavanagh, Marlowe Dobbe, and Chipzel still remains fresh due to the rather unique game mechanics. I still can't get over how fun the dice mechanic is, as you slot dice into cards to perform actions. It's different, clever and works really well.
  • Quake 2 now has real-time path tracing with Vulkan
    If you have one of the more recent NVIDIA RTX graphics cards, here's an interesting project for you to try. Q2VKPT from developer Christoph Schied implements some really quite advanced techniques.
  • Steam Play versus Linux Version, a little performance comparison and more thoughts
    Now that Steam has the ability officially to override a Linux game and run it through Steam Play instead, let's take a quick look at some differences in performance. Before I begin, let's make something clear. I absolutely value the effort developers put into Linux games, I do think cross-platform development is incredibly important so we don't end up with more lock-in. However, let's be realistic for a moment. Technology moves on and it's not financially worth it to keep updating old games, they just don't sell as well as newer games (with exceptions of course). As the years go on, there will be more ways to run older games better and better, of that I've no doubt.
  • Battle Motion, a really silly massive fantasy battle game will have Linux support
    Sometimes when looking around for new games I come across something that really catches my eye, Battle Motion is one such game as it looks completely silly.
  • Ravva and the Cyclops Curse looks like a rather nice NES-inspired platformer
    Another lovely looking retro-inspired platformer! Ravva and the Cyclops Curse from developer Galope just released this week with Linux support.
  • Become a fish inside a robot in Feudal Alloy, out now with Linux support
    We've seen plenty of robots and we've seen a fair amount of fish, but have you seen a fish controlling a robot with a sword? Say hello to Feudal Alloy.

Addressing Icons Themes (Again)

I wrote some time ago on how platforms have a responsibility to respect the identity of applications, but now there’s some rumblings that Ubuntu’s community-built Yaru icon set (which is a derivative of the Suru icon set I maintain) intends to ignore this and infringe upon applications’ brands by modifying their icons... [...] For instance, the entire point of the GNOME icon refresh initiative is to address visual mismatches between third-party app icons and GNOME icons and we been have reaching out to developers to see about updating their icons to new design—this is the appropriate approach for a platform visual overhaul, by the way—which could always use more help on. Now I don’t see this ever happening, but I have hopes that someday Ubuntu will fully embrace GNOME and promote it as its desktop solution—especially given the desktop is out of the scope of the Ubuntu business these days. Read more

Wine 4.0 RC7

  • Wine Announcement
    The Wine development release 4.0-rc7 is now available.The Wine development release 4.0-rc7 is now available.
  • Juicy like the good stuff, Wine 4.0 RC7 is out with a delightful aroma
    No need to worry about a sour aftertaste here, we're of course talking about the wonderful software and not the tasty liquid. As usual, they're in bug-fix mode while they attempt to make the best version of Wine they can and so no super huge features made it in.
  • Wine 4.0-RC7 Released With Fixes For Video Player Crashes, Game Performance Issues
    Wine 4.0 should be officially out soon, but this weekend the latest test release of it is Release Candidate 7 that brings more than one dozen fixes. Wine 4.0 remains in a feature freeze until its release, which will likely be within the next two weeks or so. Since last Friday's Wine 4.0-RC6, the RC7 release has 13 known bug fixes. Catching our interest are some game performance regressions being resolved, including for Hot Pursuit, Project CARS, Gas Guzzlers, and others. There are also video player crash fixes when opening audio or video files.

Wikipedia cofounder: How and why I transitioned to Linux—how you can, too

My first introduction to the command line was in the 80s when I first started learning about computers and, like many geeky kids of the time, wrote my first BASIC computer programs. But it wasn’t until my job starting Nupedia (and then Wikipedia) that I spent much time on the Bash command line. (Let me explain. “Bash” means “Bourne-again shell,” a rewrite of the class Unix shell “sh.” A “shell” is a program for interacting with the computer by processing terse commands to do basic stuff like find and manipulate files; a terminal, or terminal emulator, is a program that runs a shell. The terminal is what shows you that command line, where you type your commands like “move this file there” and “download that file from this web address” and “inject this virus into that database”. The default terminal used by Linux Ubuntu, for example, is called Gnome Terminal–which runs Bash, the standard Linux shell.) Even then (and in the following years when I got into programming again), I didn’t learn much beyond things like cd (switch directory) and ls (list directory contents). It was then, around 2002, that I first decided to install Linux. Back then, maybe the biggest “distro” (flavor of Linux) was Red Hat Linux, so that’s what I installed. I remember making a partition (dividing the hard disk into parts, basically) and dual-booting (installing and making it possible to use both) Linux and Windows. It was OK, but it was also rather clunky and much rougher and much less user-friendly than the Windows of the day. So I didn’t use it much. Read more