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Review: Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10

Filed under
Reviews

Chakra is an unusual distribution for a few reasons. It is a rare semi-rolling project, which tries to maintain a fairly stable base system while providing up to date applications. This is an interesting compromise between full rolling and static operating systems. The semi-rolling concept is an idea I like and I was curious to see how well the approach would work dealing with around six months of updates. I was pleased to find Chakra handled the massive upgrade well.

Chakra was once also considered unusual for being very KDE-focused. There are more KDE distribution these days (KaOS, Kubuntu and KDE neon come readily to mind) and I think Chakra may have lost some of its appeal as more competition has established itself in the KDE-centric arena.

I found the distribution to be easy to set up and pretty straight forward to use, but there were a few characteristics which bothered me during my trial with Chakra. One was that while updates installed cleanly, once Plasma 5.12 was installed, I experienced slow login times and reduced performance on the desktop. It could be argued that this is a Plasma problem, not a Chakra problem, but the distribution's rolling release nature means any regressions in new versions of software end up in the user's lap.

Something that tends to bother me about distributions which focus on one desktop toolkit or another is that this approach to selecting software means we are sometimes using less capable tools in the name of toolkit purity. This is not a trade-off I like as I'd rather be using more polished applications over ones which a particular affiliation.

Finally, Chakra includes a number of command line aliases which got in my way. This seems to be a problem I have been running into more often recently. Developers are trying to be helpful by aliasing common commands, but it means that for some tasks I need to change my habits or undefine the provided aliases and the feature ends up being a nuisance instead of a convenience.

Chakra seems to be a capable and useful distribution and I am sure there are people who will appreciate the rolling release nature. Many people will likely also like having lots of KDE applications, and I can see the appeal of this combination. However, one thing which makes me hesitate to recommend Chakra is that the distribution does not appear to bring any special features to the ecosystem. It's a useful operating system and, to be completely fair, users can install non-KDE alternatives if they want to use LibreOffice instead of Calligra or GIMP instead of KolourPaint. But I'm not sure Chakra brings anything unique which makes it stand apart from openSUSE's Tumbleweed or KaOS's polished Plasma offering. Chakra used to be special in its semi-rolling, KDE-focused niche, but these days the distribution has a more competition and I'm not sure the project has any special sauce to set it apart from the crowd.

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Terminal app appears in Chome OS Dev, hints at future Linux application support

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GNU
Linux

Back in February, some commits to the Chromium codebase revealed that Chrome OS would soon run Linux applications using a container. While it has been possible for years to run Linux applications on top of Chrome OS using crouton, it's a hacky solution that only works in Developer Mode. Google's solution would presumably work better, and perhaps not require Dev Mode to be enabled.

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​What's the most popular Linux of them all?

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Android
GNU
Linux

Let's cut to the chase. Android is the most popular of all Linux distributions. Period. End of statement. But that's not the entire story.

Still it must be said, according to StatCounter, Android is the most popular of all operating systems. By a score of 39.49 percent to 36.63 percent, Android beats out Windows for global personal device supremacy. Sorry Windows, you had a nice run, but between your smartphone failures and the PC decline, your day is done.

But, setting Android aside, what's the most popular Linux? It's impossible to work that out. The website-based analysis tools, such as those used by StatCounter, NetMarketShare, and the Federal government's Digital Analytics Program (DAP), can't tell the difference between Fedora, openSUSE, and Ubuntu.

DAP does give one insightful measurement the others sites don't give us. While not nearly as popular as Android, Chrome OS is more popular than all the other Linux-based desktops combined by a score, in April 2018, of 1.3 percent to 0.6 percent of end users.

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Android/ChromeOS/Google Leftovers

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Android
Google

Games: SC-Controller 0.4.2, Campo Santo, Last Epoch and More

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Gaming

Ryzen 7 2700X CPUFreq Scaling Governor Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks

With this week's Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X benchmarks some thought the CPUFreq scaling driver or rather its governors may have been limiting the performance of these Zen+ CPUs, so I ran some additional benchmarks this weekend.

Those launch-day Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X Ubuntu Linux benchmarks were using the "performance" governor, but some have alleged that the performance governor may now actually hurt AMD systems... Ondemand, of course, is the default CPUFreq governor on Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions. Some also have said the "schedutil" governor that makes use of the kernel's scheduler utilization data may do better on AMD. So I ran some extra benchmarks while changing between CPUFreq's ondemand (default), performance (normally the best for performance, and what was used in our CPU tests), schedutil (the newest option), and powersave (if you really just care about conserving power).

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OSS Leftovers

Filed under
OSS
  • Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 Beta Brings More AVX2 SIMD, Improved CMake Build System

    A Phoronix reader recently pointed out that LibJPEG 2.0 Beta quietly shipped last month as working towards the next big update for this speed-focused JPEG library.

    Libjpeg-Turbo 2.0 beta is available for testing and it brings AVX2 SIMD support for colorspace conversion, chroma downsampling/upsampling, integer quantization and sample conversion, and integer DCT/IDCT algorithms. These AVX2 SIMD accelerated paths are generally bringing gains anywhere from 9% to 36% faster depending upon the operation. This version is also bringing SIMD acceleration for Huffman encoding on SSE2 CPUs and Loongson MMI SIMD implementations for more functions.

  • A look at Rancher 2.0

    Last December, we announced a Kubernetes Cloud Native Platform in partnership with Rancher Labs. Built on Canonical’s Distribution of Kubernetes and Rancher 2.0, the Cloud Native Platform will simplify enterprise usage of Kubernetes with seamless user management, access control, and cluster administration. Join our webinar to get a tour of the platform!

  • Mozilla's Common Voice Project, Red Hat Announces Vault Operator, VirtualBox 5.2.10 Released and More

    Participate in Mozilla's open-source Common Voice Project, an initiative to help teach machines how real people speak: "Now you can donate your voice to help us build an open-source voice database that anyone can use to make innovative apps for devices and the web."

  • Collabora Online 3.2 Supports Chart Creation, Other Features

    A new version of Collabora Online is now available, the web-based open-source office suite derived from the cloud version of LibreOffice.

  • DragonFlyBSD Kernel Gets Some SMP Improvements

    It looks like the DragonFlyBSD 5.4 release will be delivering at least a few kernel-level performance improvements.

    It turns out just hours after wrapping up the latest BSD vs. Linux benchmarks, Matthew Dillon pushed a few performance tweaks to the Git tree for DragonFly.

  • Best Open Source 3D Printers

    In simplest terms, an open source 3D printer refers to a 3D printer whose hardware and software information are available to the public, typically under a license. The information can be used by anyone to build, modify, or improve the 3D printer.

    If you’re looking for real open source 3D printers, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we introduce you to completely open source 3D printers. The hardware and software information of all the products listed here can be easily found on the internet.

Microsoft Linuxwashing and Research Openwashing

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Microsoft

Why Everyone should know vim

Filed under
Software
HowTos

Vim is an improved version of Vi, a known text editor available by default in UNIX distributions. Another alternative for modal editors is Emacs but they’re so different that I kind of feel they serve different purposes. Both are great, regardless.

I don’t feel vim is necessarily a geeky kind of taste or not. Vim introduced modal editing to me and that has changed my life, really. If you have ever tried vim, you may have noticed you have to press “I” or “A” (lower case) to start writing (note: I’m aware there are more ways to start editing but the purpose is not to cover Vim’s functionalities.). The fun part starts once you realize you can associate Insert and Append commands to something. And then editing text is like thinking of what you want the computer to show on the computer instead of struggling where you at before writing. The same goes for other commands which are easily converted to mnemonics and this is what helped getting comfortable with Vim. Note that Emacs does not have this kind of keybindings but they do have a Vim-like mode - Evil (Extensive Vi Layer). More often than not, I just need to think of what I want to accomplish and type the first letters. Like Replace, Visual, Delete, and so on. It is a modal editor after all, meaning it has modes for everything. This is also what increases my productivity when writing files. I just think of my intentions and Vim does the things for me.

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Graphics: Intel and Mesa 18.1 RC1 Released

Filed under
Graphics/Benchmarks
  • Intel 2018Q1 Graphics Stack Recipe

    Last week Intel's Open-Source Technology Center released their latest quarterly "graphics stack recipe" for the Linux desktop.

    The Intel Graphics Stack Recipe is the company's recommended configuration for an optimal and supported open-source graphics driver experience for their Intel HD/UHD/Iris Graphics found on Intel processors.

  • Mesa 18.1-RC1 Released With The Latest Open-Source 3D Driver Features

    Seemingly flying under our radar is that Mesa 18.1 has already been branched and the first release candidate issued.

    While the Mesa website hasn't yet been updated for the 18.1 details, Dylan Baker appears to be the release manager for the 18.1 series -- the second quarter of 2018 release stream.

Exploring Contributors Centrality Over Time

Filed under
Development
KDE

At the end of my previous post we concluded with yet another question. Indeed, on the 2017 KDEPIM contributor network we found out that Christian Mollekopf while being a very consistent committer didn't appear as centrality as we would expect. Yet from the topology he seemed to act as a bridge between the core contributors and contributors with a very low centrality. This time we'll try to look into this and figure out what might be going on.

My first attempt at this was to try to look into the contributor network on a different time period and see how it goes. If we take two snapshots of the network for the two semesters of 2017, how would it look? Well, easy to do with my current scripts so let's see!

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KDE: Elisa 0.1.1, KDE Plasma 5.13 and More

Filed under
KDE
  • 0.1.1 Release of Elisa

    The Elisa team is happy to announce the first bug fix release for the 0.1 version.

  • KDE Plasma 5.13 Is Making Great Improvements On Its Wayland Support

    KDE Plasma 5.13 that is due for release in June will have a great number of improvements to its Wayland support for allowing the KDE Plasma desktop to work much better on this alternative to the X.Org Server.

    KDE developer Roman Gilg has provided a nice summary of some of the Wayland improvements in the queue for the Plasma 5.13.0 release due out towards the middle of June.

  • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 15

    I’ve initiated a big project: overhauling KDE Open & Save dialogs for greater usability and productivity.

  • Latte bug fix release v0.7.5

    Latte Dock v0.7.5   has been released containing important fixes and improvements! Hopefullly this is going to be the last stable version for v0.7.x family. During the next months the next stable branch (v0.8.x) is going to appear.

Security: IBM, Windows Freezes, 2FA and More

Filed under
Security

What is Open Source Programming? How to Get Involved?

Filed under
Development

Open Source Programming simply means writing codes that other people can freely use as well as modify. It is essential for authors to license their code, it enables them to have a copyright for those codes. Therefore, for a code to be declared safe and free for all to use, whether it’s available in the Github or in a public-repo; the author is required to license their own code. This is to avoid cases of individuals being sued by the author for using, modifying or even embedding the code without being granted a license to do that.

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Mugshot 0.4.0 Released

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Mugshot, the simple user configuration utility, has hit a new stable milestone! Release 0.4.0 wraps up the 0.3 development cycle with full camera support for the past several years of GTK+ releases (and a number of other fixes).

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Also: MenuLibre 2.2.0 Released

AV Linux 2018.4.12, Zenwalk Current-180419, Ubuntu MATE 18.04

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Progress on Plasma Wayland for 5.13

Filed under
KDE

In February after Plasma 5.12 was released we held a meeting on how we want to improve Wayland support in Plasma 5.13. Since its beta is now less than one month away it is time for a status report on what has been achieved and what we still plan to work on.

Also today started a week-long Plasma Sprint in Berlin, what will hopefully accelerate the Wayland work for 5.13. So in order to kick-start the sprint this is a good opportunity to sum up where we stand now.

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First set of Bionic (sort-of) RC images for 18.04.

Filed under
Ubuntu

Adam Conrad of the Ubuntu Release Team is pleased to announce the first
set of Bionic RC images for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Over the next couple of hours, builds for Bionic Final should be added
to the tracker[1] for all flavours. The builds have some intentional
omissions, but please do test them anyway.

Known issues that will be addressed Sunday/Monday:
– Volume label still set to Beta
– base-files still not the final version
– kernel will have (at least) one more revision

Despite the above, please, please, please test your images. Do not
wait for a “final” build to test, as that guarantees your final build
will be broken. We need you testing now, iterating uploads to get
your bugs fixed, filing bugs and escalating where you need help.

Again: DO NOT DELAY, TEST NOW, FIX BUGS, FILE BUGS, ESCALATE FOR HELP.

Happy testing everyone, and here’s hoping we push out another smooth
and stress-free release on Thursday.

… Adam Conrad

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More in Tux Machines

Android/ChromeOS/Google Leftovers

Games: SC-Controller 0.4.2, Campo Santo, Last Epoch and More

Android Leftovers

Ryzen 7 2700X CPUFreq Scaling Governor Benchmarks On Ubuntu Linux

With this week's Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X benchmarks some thought the CPUFreq scaling driver or rather its governors may have been limiting the performance of these Zen+ CPUs, so I ran some additional benchmarks this weekend. Those launch-day Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X Ubuntu Linux benchmarks were using the "performance" governor, but some have alleged that the performance governor may now actually hurt AMD systems... Ondemand, of course, is the default CPUFreq governor on Ubuntu and most other Linux distributions. Some also have said the "schedutil" governor that makes use of the kernel's scheduler utilization data may do better on AMD. So I ran some extra benchmarks while changing between CPUFreq's ondemand (default), performance (normally the best for performance, and what was used in our CPU tests), schedutil (the newest option), and powersave (if you really just care about conserving power). Read more