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Gattica is Here! ... well, in NZ

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Sci/Tech

An Auckland clinic has been given the go-ahead to begin screening embryos for parents wanting to give birth to babies without genetic disorders.

The screening technology - pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) - will allow parents who are at risk of passing on certain inherited diseases to choose a "healthy" embryo to start a pregnancy.

The long-awaited move has been welcomed by parents keen to use the service, but opponents fear it is the start of a slippery slope towards "designer babies" and discrimination against those with disabilities.

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Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 "ASCII"

When I am trying out a desktop distribution, what really tends to divide the field of Linux distributions in my mind is not whether the system uses MATE or Plasma, or whether the underlying package manager uses RPM or Deb files. What tends to leave a lasting impression with me is whether the desktop environment, its applications and controls feel like a cooperative, cohesive experience or like a jumble of individual tools that happen to be part of the same operating system. In my opinion Ubuntu running the Unity desktop and Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop are good examples of the cohesive approach. The way openSUSE's administration tools work together provides another example. Like them or hate them, I think most people can see there is an overall design, a unifying vision, being explored with those distributions. I believe Devuan falls into the other category, presenting the user with a collection of utilities and features where some assembly is still required. This comes across in little ways. For example, many distributions ship Mozilla's Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird e-mail client together as a set, and they generally complement each other. Devuan ships Firefox, but then its counterpart is the mutt console e-mail program which feels entirely out of place with the rest of the desktop software. The PulseAudio sound mixing utility is included, but its system tray companion is not present by default. Even the system installer, which switches back and forth between graphical windows and a text console, feels more like a collection of uncoordinated prompts rather than a unified program or script. Some people may like the mix-and-match approach, but I tend to prefer distributions where it feels like the parts are fitted together to create a unified experience. What I found was that Devuan provided an experience where I had to stop and think about where items were or how I was going to use them rather than having the pieces seamlessly fit together. However, once I got the system set up in a way that was more to my liking, I appreciated the experience provided. Devuan offers a stable, flexible platform. Once I shaped the operating system a little, I found it to be fast, light and capable. Having a fairly large repository of software available along with Flatpak support provided a solid collection of applications on a conservative operating system foundation. It was a combination I liked. In short, I think Devuan has some rough edges and setting it up was an unusually long and complex experience by Linux standards. I certainly wouldn't recommend Devuan to newcomers. However, a day or two into the experience, Devuan's stability and performance made it a worthwhile journey. I think Devuan may be a good alternative to people who like running Debian or other conservative distributions such as Slackware. I suspect I may soon be running Devuan's Raspberry Pi build on my home server where its lightweight nature will be welcome. Read more Also: deepin 15.6 Released With New Features: Get This Beautiful Linux Distro Here

Android Leftovers

5 open source alternatives to Dropbox

Dropbox is the 800-pound gorilla of filesharing applications. Even it's a massively popular tool, you may choose to use an alternative. Maybe that's because you're dedicated to the open source way for all the good reasons, including security and freedom, or possibly you've been spooked by data breaches. Or perhaps the pricing plan doesn't work out in your favor for the amount of storage you actually need. Fortunately, there are a variety of open source filesharing applications out there that give you more storage, security, and control over your data at a far lower price than Dropbox charges. How much lower? Try free, if you're a bit tech savvy and have a Linux server to use. Read more

Android Leftovers