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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!

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today's leftovers

  • Linux Kernel Podcast for 2017/03/21
  • Announcing the Shim review process [Ed: accepting rather than fighting very malicious things]
    However, a legitimate criticism has been that there's very little transparency in Microsoft's signing process. Some people have waited for significant periods of time before being receiving a response. A large part of this is simply that demand has been greater than expected, and Microsoft aren't in the best position to review code that they didn't write in the first place.
  • rtop – A Nifty Tool to Monitor Remote Server Over SSH
    rtop is a simple, agent-less, remote server monitoring tool that works over SSH. It doesn’t required any other software to be installed on remote machine, except openSSH server package & remote server credentials.
  • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Get KDE Plasma 5.9.3 and KDE Applications 16.12.3, More
    Neofytos Kolokotronis from the Chakra GNU/Linux project, an open-source operating system originally based on Arch Linux and the KDE Plasma desktop environment, announced the availability of the latest KDE updates in the distro's repositories. Those of you using Chakra GNU/Linux as your daily drive will be happy to learn that the stable repos were filled with numerous up-to-date packages from the recently released KDE Plasma 5.9.3 desktop environment, KDE Applications 16.12.3 software suite, and KDE Frameworks 5.32.0 collection of over 70 add-on libraries for Qt 5.
  • YaST Team: Highlights of YaST development sprint 32
    One of the known limitations of the current installer is that it’s only able to automatically propose an encrypted schema if LVM is used. For historical reasons, if you want to encrypt your root and/or home partitions but not to use LVM, you would need to use the expert partitioner… and hope for the best from the bootloader proposal. But the new storage stack is here (well, almost here) to make all the old limitations vanish. With our testing ISO it’s already possible to set encryption with just one click for both partition-based and LVM-based proposals. The best possible partition schema is correctly created and everything is encrypted as the user would expect. We even have continuous tests in our internal openQA instance for it. The part of the installer managing the bootloader installation is still not adapted, which means the resulting system would need some manual fixing of Grub before being able to boot… but that’s something for an upcoming sprint (likely the very next one).
  • Debian stretch on the Raspberry Pi 3 (update) (2017-03-22)
    I previously wrote about my Debian stretch preview image for the Raspberry Pi 3.
  • Asus Tinker Board – Chromium YouTube Performance
    One of the many strengths of the Asus Tinker Board is its multimedia support. This 4K video capable machine is a mouthwatering prospect for the multimedia enthusiast. The machine has a respectable 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 quad-core processor. It’s only 32-bit (unlike the Raspberry Pi 3) but has a higher clock speed. The Tinker Board also sports an integrated ARM-based Mali T764 graphics processor (GPU).

Microsoft vs GNU/Linux