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Linux Desktop Hits and Misses

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It seems like it wasn't that long ago when Windows was an exclusive part of my computing life. Ever so slowly, I began to move away from Windows XP into some of the popular Linux distributions of the time.

I found myself falling in love with a specific Linux distribution made popular by its ability to "just work" without a ton of configuration. At the time, this held a great appeal to me. After all, I had other things to do throughout my day besides having to configure everything on my desktop PC by hand.

Flash forward to today, my schedule is basically the same. Therefore, I tend to lean toward desktop-friendly distributions that help me get my work done with as little hassle as possible. And much to my satisfaction, today's modern Linux experience is beneficial to me in this space.

There are plenty of great Linux distributions to choose from that give me a first-rate, simple to “make work” solutions without spending an entire weekend setting things up.

In this article, I’ll focus on some of the hits and misses I've seen with the Linux desktop over the years.

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Zorin OS 12 Beta - Flat white, no sugar

I did not do any other testing, no extensive tweaking, no customization. I felt no need or desire to do so. Now, do remember Zorin OS 12 is still in beta, so we can excuse some of the problems we see here. But others are purely Ubuntu, and have been ported over from the parent distro without any discrimination or any improvements and fixes introduced in the last six months. The big offenders include: multimedia and smartphone support, poor software management, and then the somewhat heavy utilization and slow performance. Zorin is quite pretty but weary on the eyes, it tries perhaps too hard to be more than it is, and overall, the value it brings is negatively offset by the myriad papercuts of its design and the implementation of its unique style, plus the failings of the Ubuntu family. It's an okay choice, if you will, but there's nothing too special about it anymore. It's not as fun as it used to be. Gone is the character, gone is the glamor. This aligns well with the overall despair in the Linux desktop world. Maybe the official release will be better, but I doubt it. Why would suddenly one distro excel where 50 others of the same crop had failed with the exact same problems? Final grade, 5/10. Test if you like the looks, other than that, there's no incentive in really using Zorin. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Read more

PlayStation 4 hacked again? Linux shown running on 4.01 firmware

Hackers attending the GeekPwn conference in Shanghai have revealed a new exploit for PlayStation 4 running on the 4.01 firmware. In a live demo you can see below, once again the Webkit browser is utilised in order to inject the exploit, which - after a conspicuous cut in the edit - jumps to a command line prompt, after which Linux is booted. NES emulation hilarity courtesy of Super Mario Bros duly follows. Assuming the hack is authentic - and showcasing it at GeekPwn makes the odds here likely - it's the first time we've seen the PlayStation 4's system software security compromised since previous holes in the older 1.76 firmware came to light, utilised by noted hacker group fail0verflow in the first PS4 Linux demo, shown in January this year. Read more Also: 'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided' Coming To Linux In November, Mac Port On Hold