From Windows to GNU/Linux
Common scenario: You buy a new laptop, thinking you'll sell, donate or hand down the old one... but it never happens. Maybe you don't want to deal with the hassles of Craigslist or Ebay, not to mention wiping all your data, reinstalling Windows and so on.
Whatever the case, now it's just taking up space. But it doesn't have to: You can give that old laptop new life.
With Linux, right? Wrong! I mean, yes, you could install Linux, which has always been the go-to option, but not everybody needs or wants the complexity of that operating system. For some, Chromium might be the better choice.
Chromium is the OS that's at the heart of Chromebooks -- those fast-booting, cloud-powered devices that are so popular these days. Think about it: For whatever reason, no one buys Linux laptops. They buy Chromebooks.
If you like the idea of giving your old system a Chromebook-like lease on life, good news: It's fast, free and easy. And it's not even permanent unless you want it to be.
Several months ago, my 16-year-old grandson decided he wanted a powerful computer for gaming. I showed him Steam and some other stuff in Linux and he thought that looked good, so I started accumulating parts. If it was substantially more powerful than anything I have for myself, it was on the list. Sorry I don’t have the details list nearby, but it had a motherboard with a name I had heard, a fairly fast AMD processor with six cores, maxed out RAM, 1TB hard drive, video that took up two slots and had two fans, power supply you could use for welding, and a pair of 22″ monitors.
I installed Mint 17.3 KDE in less than half an hour (the usual), including separate swap and home partitions (it’s a neurotic thing), setting wallpaper and the like, and doing whatever came to mind at the time. It ran flawlessly and I was happy, so I played with it a while. I really liked it. If I could think of a use, I’d build one for myself.
The big winner is the Linux kernel. The vociferous opponents of GNU/Linux who haunt this blog can’t have it both ways. If GNU/Linux is not “GNU” and is Linux, then Android/Linux can’t be just Android. It’s Linux underneath.
Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE Edition Beta is available for download now
A Beta release for Linux Mint 18.1 'Serena' KDE is here. There are already versions available featuring other desktop environments, such as Cinnamon, Mate, and Xfce. You'd think that would be enough, but no! Apparently a fourth edition is needed. Some people feel that a KDE version is a waste of resources, but either way, here we are.
So what is new? The KDE Plasma 5.8 desktop environment is the star of the show -- after all, if you do not want KDE, you wouldn't choose this version. The shipping Linux kernel is 4.4.0-53, which is surprisingly outdated. Ubuntu-based operating systems are never known for being bleeding-edge, however.
64-bit Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 ships for $25 to $30
The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 has arrived with 1GB RAM and the same quad-core -A53 SoC as the RPi 3, available for $30, or $25 without 4GB eMMC.
Raspberry Pi Trading’s first 64-bit computer-on-module version of their flagship single board computer has finally arrived. Despite the name, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) is only the second generation of the CM1. Its name syncs up with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B SBC, which uses the same quad-core, 64-bit Broadcom SoC. The CM3 is now shipping in $30 Standard (4GB eMMC) or $25 Lite versions, while the CM1 drops in price to $25.
Panasonic Toughpad Rugged Tablet Muscles into Android Space
Panasonic Jan. 12 unveiled a new tablet in its Toughpad series of devices designed for the corporate world. But unlike so many other rugged Panasonic machines, the FZ-A2 doesn’t run Windows. Instead, the device is running on Google’s Android Marshmallow, an operating system not typically associated with rugged PCs and mobile devices designed for rough-and-tumble field-service work. But the FZ-A2 is just the latest model in Panasonic's expanding line of Android tablets. This new Toughpad includes several corporate-friendly features such as robust security, a hot-swappable battery and plenty of ports that allow connection to a wide range of accessories. The Toughpad is launching at a time when market reports have consistently shown a steady decline in popularity of tablets. But Panasonic says its device is coming along at the right time. This slide show will take a look at the Toughpad to see whether its features will convince field-service workers and corporate hardware buyers that the tablet really is as appealing a buy as Panasonic claims it is. Read on to learn more about Panasonic’s FZ-A2 Toughpad.