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eco2geek's blog

From Karmic to Lucid: Distribution Update Screenshots

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Linux

In line with its newbie-friendly tradition of providing a way to do everything via a graphical user interface, Ubuntu provides a way to do a distribution upgrade by clicking a button at the top of the Update Manager. Since version 10.04 was released on April 29, it was once again time to see how well the upgrade went. Here are screenshots of the entire process.

Freshly Squeezed Debian: Installing from Live DVD

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Reviews

Last month, the Debian Live Project released live CD and DVD images of the next version of Debian, codenamed "Squeeze." They included an installer that uses the live filesystem rather than packages, so it has the advantages of being fast and allowing you to preview on the live media, what you eventually get on your hard drive. This may not seem like a big deal, since most modern Linux distributions use this installation method, but it's still fairly new for Debian. I downloaded and installed the 64-bit GNOME version.

Secret Future Ubuntu User Interface Plans Revealed!

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Humor

Mark Shuttleworth recently said that "moving everything to the left opens up the space on the right nicely." But what "innovative options" might he be referring to? To find out, we contacted a member of Ubuntu's design team, Drew A. Gooey-Aubergine, who gave us an exclusive look at what innovative new features Ubuntu users might see on the right-hand side of their windows in future releases.

Hitch your wagon to a lizard: dist-upgrading openSUSE

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Linux

For the first time, openSUSE now officially supports a "dist-upgrade" feature, similar to Debian's. Which is to say, if you've got openSUSE 11.1 installed, you should be able to upgrade to openSUSE 11.2 by updating your list of software repositories to point to providers of software for openSUSE 11.2, doing a distribution upgrade via the Internet, and have a reasonable chance of success.

The Ubuntu 1-click dist-upgrade (well, almost)

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Linux

I was curious to try Ubuntu's offer of a "one-click upgrade" from Ubuntu 8.10 to 9.04 on my HP Pavilion zd7000 laptop. I was impressed with how easy it was.

Vector Linux 5.9: Light, fast Slackware-based distro

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Reviews

Vector Linux 5.9, released in late December of last year, is a Slackware 12.0-based distribution that uses Xfce 4.4.2 as its default user interface. Generally speaking, Xfce requires less horsepower than other UIs, like GNOME and KDE, and so Vector Linux bills itself as an excellent operating system to install on older, lower-powered computers. I've been using it for the past two weeks, and like what I see.

KDE 4.0: Everything that has an end, has a beginning

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Reviews

By now, every Linux user's heard of KDE 4.0, and the controversy surrounding its release. Here's one partisan KDE user's take on it — with screenshots.

openSUSE 10.3 in review: A solid Linux desktop

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Reviews

openSUSE is a popular German Linux distribution that Distrowatch.com lists as one of the "top ten." Version 10.3 was released on October 4th. Underneath its new green artwork, the new version's improvements include cutting down the time it takes to reach the graphical login screen; speeding up and streamlining its package management utility; and making it easier for users to install software using a new "one-click install" process. There's a lot to like here.

Beta Review: Kanotix 2007 "Thorhammer" RC5B

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Reviews

The last Kanotix release (based on Debian Sid) came out in October, 2006. Shortly thereafter, a Kanotix co-developer (and many of Kanotix's other developers) left the project, mainly due to a disagreement over whether Kanotix should be based on Sid (Debian's unstable branch) or something less volatile, like Etch (Debian's current stable branch) or Ubuntu. Kanotix's founder now has a new, Etch-based version of Kanotix in development, code-named "Thorhammer."

Sidux 2007-03.1 "Gaia": A closer look

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Reviews

Unless you're able to deal with such esoteric problems as diagnosing a buggy post-install script, or figuring out how to deal with a major change in the directory structure of X.org, you might occasionally find running a Debian Sid-based system to be more than you can handle. And that's where Sidux comes in. Sidux's goal is to allow mere mortals the ability to run Debian Sid on the desktop, in order to take advantage of the latest Debian software available. Its development team helps guide its users through the occasional bumps in Sid, via IRC and its user forum. Another goal is to offer a consistent release cycle. Sidux comes with a variety of "convenience scripts" and utilities you won't find in Debian proper, that make it easier to do such things as administer your system and install proprietary software.

Slackware 12: The anti-'buntu

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Reviews

Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution; its first version came out in 1993. Version 12 was recently released. As its Wikipedia entry notes, it's got a reputation for sacrificing ease-of-use (in terms of configuration and package management tools provided by the distribution) in favor of letting the end user configure the system and its software by herself.

Alternative GUIs: GoblinX

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Linux

GoblinX is a live Linux distribution based on Slackware 11, written by a Brazillian developer who goes by the pseudonym Grobsch. It comes with five different window managers/GUIs, and uses custom artwork for each of them that's quite unlike anything you've seen before.

Alternative GUIs: SymphonyOS

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Linux

We're all familiar with the "big two" desktops for Linux -- KDE and GNOME. Of course, there are many more to choose from. If you asked a group of Linux users, "Which one is best?", the ensuing debate would likely take on religious overtones. Some would even argue that a desktop like KDE is too hard for newbies to use. Still, it's a safe bet that most Linux users don't stray too far away from those "big two," KDE and GNOME. So it's especially interesting to look at some innovative alternatives.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 2)

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Reviews

Part 2 of the Fedora 7 "Moonshine" review.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 1)

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Reviews

Fedora 7, a.k.a. "Moonshine," released on May 31, is an odd duck. On the one hand, it's hugely popular. On the other hand, these days, there seems to be an emphasis on being user-friendly (think "Ubuntu"). But Fedora's creators have consciously limited what it can do out of the box.

Blue Belle: Running PCLinuxOS Test 4

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Reviews

PCLinuxOS is an up-and-coming distribution that recently made it into Distrowatch.com's list of Top Ten Distributions. I installed PCLinuxOS Test 4 on a 10 GB partition (with a separate 1 GB /home partition) on an AMD Athlon 2600+ with 640 MB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 6200 LE graphics card. This hardware is no great shakes nowadays, but it's plenty fast enough to run PCLinuxOS with all the bells and whistles.

Linux Mint "Bianca" KDE Edition Beta 020: A Small Review

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Reviews

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu-based distro whose goal in life, per its website, "is to produce an elegant, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution." The developers have released both GNOME-based and KDE-based versions in the past, and their latest version, v2.2 "Bianca," is already final in its GNOME incarnation.

The Lazy Guide to Installing Knoppix on a USB Key

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Howtos

Knoppix, the famous live Linux CD that practically started the live CD trend, needs no introduction to most people. One of the things that's so great about it is that you can take it with you and boot to a familiar Linux environment on almost any modern computer, without touching the OS that's already installed on it.

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on a Compaq laptop (Part 2)

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Reviews

In part 1, openSUSE got installed and configured on a Compaq Presario V2000 with an ATI Radeon Xpress 200M PCIE graphics chipset and a 32-bit CPU. Now it's time to go for the bling.

Installing openSUSE 10.2 on a Compaq laptop (Part 1)

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Reviews

My favorite distro faces an uncertain future, so I decided to install openSUSE 10.2 over it on my Compac Presario V2000. Also because... OK, I'll come clean: the real reason was for the eye candy. I wanted Beryl, with the cube, the wobbly windows, the "magic lantern" window minimizing effects, rain, snow -- you know, Eye Candy.

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More in Tux Machines

Keeping patient data safe with open source tools

Healthcare is experiencing a revolution. In a tightly regulated and ancient industry, the use of free and open source software make it uniquely positioned to see a great deal of progress. I work at a scrappy healthcare startup where cost savings are a top priority. Our primary challenge is how to safely and efficiently manage personally identifying information (PII), like names, addresses, insurance information, etc., and personal health information (PHI), like the reason for a recent clinical visit, under the regulations of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, HIPAA, which became mandatory in the United States in 2003. Read more

Security Leftovers

  • Indian Bank Hit in $13.5M Cyberheist After FBI ATM Cashout Warning

    But according to Indian news outlet Dailypionneer.com, there was a second attack carried out on August 13, when the Cosmos Bank hackers transferred nearly $2 million to the account of ALM Trading Limited at Hang Seng Bank in Hong Kong.

  • How to Protect Yourself Against a SIM Swap Attack

    A sobering caveat: If a skilled SIM hijacker targets you, there’s realistically not much you can do to stop them, says Allison Nixon, threat research at security firm Flashpoint. “In most of the cases that we’ve seen, a sufficiently determined attacker can take over someone’s online footprint,” she says.

    That’s because ultimately, the machinations behind SIM swaps are largely out of your control. [...]

  • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 110 - Review of Black Hat, Defcon, and the effect of security policies
    Josh and Kurt talk about Black Hat and Defcon and how unexciting they have become. What happened with hotels at Defcon, and more importantly how many security policies have 2nd and 3rd level effects we often can't foresee. We end with important information about pizza, bananas, and can openers.

YunoHost 3.0.0.1

At this point I have only set up YunoHost, created a few user accounts and installed a handful of applications. While I may play with it further, my main focus going into this trial was how well the framework of the distribution functions. That is: is it easy to install, how hard is it for new users to add services and accounts, and is it straight forward to keep the system up to date? Basically, I wanted to know whether I could give this distribution to someone who wanted to set up home-based network services for the first time and expect them to be able to use it. Based on my experiences so far with YunoHost, my answer is: probably. The distribution does make it pretty easy to create user accounts and install web-based services. In fact, YunoHost does this quite well. The admin panel is very streamlined, uncluttered and easy to navigate and getting something like a game of Hextris or a media streaming service installed is about as easy as a few mouse clicks. Managing the firewall, monitoring the system and creating backups are nearly as easy. The administrator still needs to figure out how to get backup archives off the disk to another location for safe keeping, but the bulk of the work in backing up and restoring the operating system is done for us. Where I feel the distribution runs into trouble is mostly little details, and a few general concepts. For example, asking the user to create an "admin" password but leaving the root password as the default is both likely to confuse people and leave a permanent security hole on the servers of most inexperienced hobbyist administrators. On the topic of accounts, it makes sense, from a security standpoint, to separate web accounts from system accounts. But, this means there may be some confusion as to why, once an account has been created, it cannot log into the system. Little concepts like this may throw new users and I don't feel these issues are well addressed by the documentation. The first time through, the system installer failed during the partitioning section. It worked the second time though with the same settings, so I'm not sure if this is a semi-persistent bug or a one-time error with my system. On the whole, YunoHost performs well. It's light on resources, it offers a lot of common network services home administrators will probably want and it is pretty easy to run and maintain. There are a few little wrinkles in the experience, but in general I found the distribution to be straight forward to use. For people looking to set up a home server, this is probably a good platform on which to build. Read more

Software: GIMP, Password Safe, and Podcasts

  • GIMP 2.10.6 Introduces Vertical Text, New Filters, and GIMP Extension Public Repo
    A brand-new point release for popular photo editing software GIMP has been released today, bringing GIMP to version 2.10.6 – this update doesn’t bring a whole load of significant features, but there are some great improvements and new functionalities. For starters, GIMP 2.10.6 finally introduces support for vertical text (top to bottom), which has been a highly requested feature particularly for East-Asian writing systems. Thus, users can now set text in mixed orientation (as is typical in East-Asian vertical writing) or upright orientation (more common for Western vertical writing), with right-to-left, as well as left-to-right columns.
  • Password Safe is a KeePass-Compatible Password Manager for Linux
    Password Safe is an open-source KeePass-compatible password manager for Linux, designed specifically for use on the GNOME desktop.
  • Linux users finally get a decent podcasts app called, well, ‘Podcasts’
    Podcasts are a hugely popular form of “infotainment” these days, with almost any and every niche you can think of catered for with a show or a segment. If you’re not enjoying the wealth of podcasts out there, you’re really missing out. Podcasts provide you with the experience of a radio show, covering a wide range of topics ranging from gospel to science fiction to music and every thing in between. There are so many ways to enjoy your podcst. On mobile, popular apps such as PocketCast offer users a one-stop-shop for all the podcasts you can listen to. Many music streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify offer dedicated sections on Podcasts.