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Exploring the outer limits

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Linux
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Released over the weekend, aLinux 12.5 is looking good. Not only is it looking good, but it's fast, stable, and 'just works'. There are many distros I like, but only a few excite. Tuxmachines is extremely excited about aLinux 12.5.


aLinux is a wonderfully integrated desktop experience. The first thing I noticed was all the eyecandy in aLinux 12.5. From the install background splash to the desktop wallpapers, windecs, and assorted goodies, aLinux is "Pulling all the stops".

        

One can't help but notice all the extra handy dandy applications from securing your system to enjoying the full internet experience to playing media to graphic work. And what's more handy than containing many of them in a nice central menu location?

        

Under the hood is a 2.6.12 kernel, installable gcc 3.3.3 and xorg 6.8.2 from April which brings a nice compromise between bleeding edge and stability. aLinux features many extras to make your computing experience completely enjoyable. One of the things not included in most other distros is the ready-to-go mozilla. I could click on movie files and actually watch them, I could browse ecards without having to download and install flash first and the java tested out perfectly.

        

In addition aLinux has multimedia covered as well. They offer several audio players, tv apps and movie players. Mplayer handled any movie (demo) files I threw at it, albeit one looked as tho the scaling was off which probably could be adjusted by someone with the desire to review the options. At default I was quite please although I had to install the nvidia drivers to get the correct playback speed.

    

Installing the nvidia drivers required a bit of linux voodoo on my part. Fortunately the required packages were available thru synaptic/apt-get to install in order to accomplish this. Oh how I wish I had seen aLinux's offering of nvidia drivers prior to coaxing kernel sources, gcc-devel, binutils-devel, and glibc-devel on there. However, these tools are quite important and will be needed in the future. Too bad aLinux doesn't have room to ship with them.

Once you get the system installed it's a eye pleasing treat. It ships with KDE version 3.4.1 and comes with many extra KDE apps and eyecandy not included in the basic tarballs.

The installer works wonderfully, however I found it a little less intuitive than desired. I'm an old hack at installing Linux distributions, but I had to pause and think about some of the options in the installer. It looks a bit like Slackware's, but it's a little less friendly in spots. For example the screen with the choices for parted_magic, stage_1, or re-configure. Now I know, but it took pressing on all three before I figured out that stage_1 was what I was looking for to just pick an already prepared partition to name as root, and I didn't seem to find a way to back up. Each desired "back" ended up being a restart for me. So, I think the installer could be a bit more user-friendly.

The hardware detection was accurate, save that same bttv card with which all distros have trouble, and the later configuration was easy enough. The given choices of auto-detect/set up of a few things, intermediate to allow the user to set up a few other things, and the expert to set up most everything on your system work well. Then finally the choice of installing lilo was presented.

The little personal issue I had with the installer is not enough to detract from this wonderful distro. Having started out a mini at about 200mb (if memory serves), it is now a full size ~700mb download. But in the 700 megabytes is a plethora of beautiful eyecandy, useful applications and handy utilities. I was really impressed and as stated previously quite excited about aLinux. They have done a wonderful job!

Some improvements this release include:

  1. Desktop GUI - Cosmetically enriched/cleaner design. Includes:

    • [KBFX Start/Launch - K Menu button replacement. Supports animation w/ XP style menus].

    • [SuSE - K Window decoration replacement].
    • [Linspire Crystal Clear - K Widget set replacement for both QT/GTK2 unity].
    • [MTaskbar/TaskbarV2 - K Taskbar replacement. Translucent support w/ image tooltips].
    • [Icons - K CrystalSVG replacement/addition. Picked from 17 beautiful icon sets].
    • [New Wallpapers, etc.]
  2. Hundred more - true type fonts added.
  3. Konqueror load time efficiently quicker - Now cached before each log-in.
  4. Koffice v1.4.1. New addition 'Krita' - Gimp like image manipulation program.
  5. K3b v0.12.3 CD/DVD Burning - Easier than ever to use - simply beautiful.
  6. ImageMagick v6.2.3 added.
  7. Kernel updated v2.6.12.2, etc.

More Screenshots in the gallery and on the aLinux site. Download your copy today!

More in Tux Machines

Cloud-Native/Kubernetes/Container/OpenShift

  • 10 Key Attributes of Cloud-Native Applications
    Cloud-native platforms, like Kubernetes, expose a flat network that is overlaid on existing networking topologies and primitives of cloud providers. Similarly, the native storage layer is often abstracted to expose logical volumes that are integrated with containers. Operators can allocate storage quotas and network policies that are accessed by developers and resource administrators. The infrastructure abstraction not only addresses the need for portability across cloud environments, but also lets developers take advantage of emerging patterns to build and deploy applications. Orchestration managers become the deployment target, irrespective of the underlying infrastructure that may be based on physical servers or virtual machines, private clouds or public clouds. Kubernetes is an ideal platform for running contemporary workloads designed as cloud-native applications. It’s become the de facto operating system for the cloud, in much the same way Linux is the operating system for the underlying machines. As long as developers follow best practices of designing and developing software as a set of microservices that comprise cloud-native applications, DevOps teams will be able to package and deploy them in Kubernetes. Here are the 10 key attributes of cloud-native applications that developers should keep in mind when designing cloud-native applications.
  • Google Embraces New Kubernetes Application Standard
    Once an organization has a Kubernetes container orchestration cluster running, the next challenge is to get applications running. Google is now aiming to make it easier for organizations to deploy Kubernetes applications, through the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace. The new marketplace offerings bring commercial Kubernetes-enabled applications that can be run in the Google cloud, or anywhere else an organization wants. All a user needs to do is visit the GCP marketplace and click the Purchase Plan button to get started. "Once they agree to the terms, they'll find instructions on how to deploy this application on the Kubernetes cluster of their choice, running in GCP or another cloud, or even on-prem," Anil DhawanProduct Manager, Google Cloud Platform, told ServerWatch. "The applications report metering information to Google for billing purposes so end users can get one single bill for their application usage, regardless of where it is deployed."
  • Challenges and Requirements for Container-Based Applications and Application Services
    Enterprises using container-based applications require a scalable, battle-tested, and robust services fabric to deploy business-critical workloads in production environments. Services such as traffic management (load balancing within a cluster and across clusters/regions), service discovery, monitoring/analytics, and security are a critical component of an application deployment framework. This blog post provides an overview of the challenges and requirements for such application services.

Software: Music Tagger MusicBrainz, Pulseaudio, COPR, AV1

  • Music Tagger MusicBrainz Picard 2.0 Ported To Python 3 And PyQt5, Brings Improved UI And More
    MusicBrainz Picard version 2.0 was released after more than 6 years since the previous major release (1.0). The new version was ported to Python 3 and PyQt5 and includes Retina and HiDPI support, improved UI and performance, as well as numerous bug fixes. [...] MusicBrainz Picard 2.0 was ported to Python 3 (requires at least version 3.5) and PyQt5 (>= 5.7). The release announcement mentions that a side effect of this is that "Picard should look better and in general feel more responsive". Also, many encoding-related bugs were fixed with the transition to Python 3, like the major issue of not supporting non-UTF8 filenames.
  • Pulseaudio: the more things change, the more they stay the same
    Such a classic Linux story. For a video I'll be showing during tonight's planetarium presentation (Sextants, Stars, and Satellites: Celestial Navigation Through the Ages, for anyone in the Los Alamos area), I wanted to get HDMI audio working from my laptop, running Debian Stretch. I'd done that once before on this laptop (HDMI Presentation Setup Part I and Part II) so I had some instructions to follow; but while aplay -l showed the HDMI audio device, aplay -D plughw:0,3 didn't play anything and alsamixer and alsamixergui only showed two devices, not the long list of devices I was used to seeing. Web searches related to Linux HDMI audio all pointed to pulseaudio, which I don't use, and I was having trouble finding anything for plain ALSA without pulse. In the old days, removing pulseaudio used to be the cure for practically every Linux audio problem. But I thought to myself, It's been a couple years since I actually tried pulse, and people have told me it's better now. And it would be a relief to have pulseaudio working so things like Firefox would Just Work. Maybe I should try installing it and see what happens.
  • 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for July 2018
    COPR is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora standards, despite being free and open source. COPR can offer these projects outside the Fedora set of packages. Software in COPR isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software. Here’s a set of new and interesting projects in COPR.
  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: AV1
    Open source supporters and companies are teaming up to offer the next general of video delivery. The Alliance for Open Media (AOMEDIA) is made up of companies like Mozilla, Google, Cisco, Amazon and Netflix, and on a mission to create an open video format and new codec called AV1. In a blog post about the AOMedia Video, or AV1, video codec, Mozilla technical writer Judy DeMocker laid out the numbers; within the next few years, video is expected to account for over 80 percent of Internet traffic. And unbeknownst to many, all of that free, high-quality video content we’ve come to expect all across the Internet costs quite a bit for the people providing it via codec licensing fees. The most common, H.264, is used all over the place to provide the compression required to send video quickly and with quality intact.
  •  

KDE and GNOME: Kubuntu 18.04 Reviewed, Akademy, Cutelyst and GUADEC

  • Kubuntu 18.04 Reviewed in Linux ( Pro ) Magazine
    Kubuntu Linux has been my preferred Linux distribution for more than 10 years. My attraction to the KDE desktop and associated application set, has drawn from Kubuntu user, to a tester, teacher, developer, community manager and councilor. I feel really privileged to be part of, what can only be described as, a remarkable example of the free software, and community development of an exceptional product. This latest release 18.04, effectively the April 2018 release, is a major milestone. It is the first LTS Long Term Support release of Kubuntu running the “Plasma 5” desktop. The improvements are so considerable, in both performance and modern user interface ( UI ) design, that I was really excited about wanting to tell the world about it.
  • Going to Akademy
    Happy to participate in a tradition I’ve admired from afar but never been able to do myself… until this year. My tickets are bought, my passport is issued, and I’m going to Akademy! Hope to see you all there!
  • System76's New Manufacturing Facility, Ubuntu 17.10 Reaches End of Life, Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, Stranded Deep Now Available for Linux and Cutelyst New Release
    Cutelyst, a C++ web framework based on Qt, has a new release. The update includes several bug fixes and some build issues with buildroot. See Dantti's Blog for all the details. Cutelyst is available on GitHub.
  • GUADEC 2018 Videos: Help Wanted
    At this year’s GUADEC in Almería we had a team of volunteers recording the talks in the second room. This was organized very last minute as initially the University were going to do this, but thanks to various efforts (thanks in particular to Adrien Plazas and Bin Li) we managed to record nearly all the talks. There were some issues with sound on both the Friday and Saturday, which Britt Yazel has done his best to overcome using science, and we are now ready to edit and upload the 19 talks that took place in the 2nd room. To bring you the videos from last year we had a team of 5 volunteers from the local team who spent our whole weekend in the Codethink offices. (Although none of us had much prior video editing experience so the morning of the first day was largely spent trying out different video editors to see which had the features we needed and could run without crashing too often… and the afternoon was mostly figuring out how transitions worked in Kdenlive).
  • GUADEC 2018
    This year I attended my second GUADEC in beautiful Almería, Spain. As with the last one I had the opportunity to meet many new people from the extended GNOME community which is always great and I can’t recommend it enough for anybody involved in the project. [...] Flatpak continues to have a lot of healthy discussions at these events. @matthiasclasen made a post summarizing the BoF so check that out for the discussions of the soon landing 1.0 release. So lets start with the Freedesktop 18.07 (date based versioning now!) runtime which is in a much better place than 1.6 and will be solving lots of problems such as multi-arch support and just long term maintainability. I was really pleased to see all of the investment in BuildStream and the runtime from CodeThink which is really needed in the long term.

Red Hat and Fedora