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Reviews

Kubuntu 20.04 LTS Review: The Familiar Operating System

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

Here's my review on Kubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa. Two years ago I call it friendly computing, now in 2020, I call it familiar operating system for everyone. We have so many good news with Kubuntu today and let's go, I hope you enjoy my review.

Kubuntu 20.04 has a lot of benefits and a little of issues. I believe it is a familiar operating system most computer users can afford, by purchasing real Kubuntu laptops or by installing manually, you can push your computing for daily purposes, teaching and graphic designing quickly and comfortably. To complete everything, let's not forget it is a Long Term Support edition which will receive Ubuntu-based updates for five years until 2025 and desktop-based updates until 2023. Win-win solution, nice to everybody, that's Kubuntu Focal for you. That's my review.

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Reolink RLC-810A review – A 4K security camera with people & vehicle detection

Filed under
Android
Reviews
Ubuntu

The person and vehicle detection feature in Reolink RLC-810A security camera is just great, and I could not imagine reviewing other CCTV cameras or NVR systems without AI in the future, as in my experience, standard motion detection just does not cut it with too many false positive. As we’ve seen in the review, the way to position the camera may be important to make sure it works optimally, and at night, cats may be detected as persons, but it still removes 99% of the noise I got with PIR sensors.

I don’t like using Windows, simply because I only use Ubuntu 20.04 on my laptop and Android on my phone unless I have no other choice. So I also really appreciated the multiple ways I could access the camera from the Android app and a standard web browser in Ubuntu, and support for RTSP and ONVIF is also great for people wanting to integrate the camera into their own CCTV solution. It should be noted I could only access the “Clear” 4K UHD stream from the Android app (it should also work in Reolink Windows and Mac program), and RTSP, but only the “Fluent” 640×360 stream from the web browser and ONVIF, so that’s probably something the company will want to fix in a new firmware update.

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Review: ArchBang Linux 0111

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

ArchBang Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. Using the i3 window manager, it strives to be fast, up-to-date and suitable for desktop systems. The current snapshots of ArchBang use an unusual versioning convention with a day & month combination. For example, 0811 is the snapshot for the 8th of November. Previous versions used a year & month combination so that a snapshot from January 2014 would be 2014.01.

Apart from the shift in version numbers since the last time I tried ArchBang the distribution has also swapped out the Openbox window manager for i3 on the install media. I was curious to see how this would work. ArchBang has just one download option, a 914MB ISO file that runs on 64-bit (x86_64) machines.

The live media boots and brings up the i3 window manager. The wallpaper displays a nice water-focused nature scene. There is a Conky status panel displayed to the right of the desktop. Under the status readout there is a listing for keyboard shortcuts we can use to launch some programs, access desktop settings, and start the install process.

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A Review of NixOS

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Reviews

Most reviews go over desktop tools and default tools, but such reviews are not very useful for describing NixOS, as the power of NixOS lies elsewhere. People who choose NixOS must be willing to do their own partitioning, and you will not be doing them any favours by telling them the default desktop manager can suit their needs.

With that said, if you can follow the NixOS manual, you will be fine. You can choose a default desktop environment if you want, but make sure you are comfortable with the command line and can edit a text file for configuration tasks.

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Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

On one hand, Kubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla is a solid distro. It has some really cool features - it's stylish, consistent, fast, stable, and sort of fun to use. Definitely ahead of the game when it comes to your typical Tux offering. But then, this release is a missed opportunity, because it could have nailed it with Plasma 5.20, which really is so much better than what you get by default. Honest.

And then, of course, there's the "pick your regression of the day" game. Any which issue with networking, sharing or media playback, all these are problems we've seen before, some have been addressed, some have gone back, and some have returned, and there's really no point for me to talk about this again. As long as the Linux desktop development remains focused on the concepts of amateur/project/fun instead of product, and as long as there isn't the tightest of integrations of all components, it doesn't seem feasible we will ever see a steady-state desktop that can maintain core functionality without erratic changes over consecutive releases.

Now that said, Kubuntu 20.10 is a bright ray of goodness and almost pro level of attention to detail and finesse in the Tux arena, and if you're on a hunt for a desktop, this seems like the most reasonable choice of late. There you go. Good but it could have easily been so much better.

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Review: Enso OS 0.4

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Reviews

Enso OS is a Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. Enso features the Xfce desktop with the Gala window manager which is imported from elementary OS. Enso OS 0.4 is the project's latest release and the new version runs on 64-bit (x86_64) computers exclusively.

The 0.4 release offers a few new features. There is a new note taking application included by default called Pinny. The AppHive (sometimes written "Apphive") software manager has been updated and allows users to mark (star) favourite applications. Reportedly, AppHive's performance has been improved while it is processing queued actions in the background. This release also includes a new dark theme, though the desktop uses a light theme by default. While there are not many new features in this version's release announcement, the distribution does seem to be placing a focus on minor improvements and tweaks to the user experience.

[...]

One thing I find interesting about the Enso project is it comes across as relatively humble. The distribution's website doesn't make bold claims about changing the computing landscape or leading the way in innovation. It doesn't claim to be especially easy to use or perfect for gaming. The project does mention a few things it does differently, such as its software centre and the hybrid desktop. This understated approach was one I found somewhat endearing. The project sets out to do a few things differently from its parent, but not with an apparent quest for glory.

The AppHive software centre, as I mentioned above, is a capable software manager. It mostly functions well and makes it easy to find new applications. I would have liked more status and progress information during the install process, but otherwise AppHive is a decent software centre.

To me the more interesting feature was the Xfce/Gala desktop. It offers most of the flexibility and performance of Xfce while serving up a more modern (or alternatively more macOS-style) desktop interface. Whether modern/macOS is a characteristic that appeals to the user will likely be entirely a personal choice. For me, the desktop did not introduce many features that really appealed to me. Though to be fair, it also didn't do anything that caused me serious problems. The application menu in a window concept never really clicked with me, but otherwise the hybrid interface worked well.

The top bar with its shortcuts to files in my home directory certainly appealed to me. On the other hand, having the top panel also act as a unified menu bar for the active application felt awkward. In the end, it mostly balanced out.

On the whole Enso didn't wow me, but it also functioned well. It provided a decent experience and mostly stayed out of my way while I was working. I can see how this style of desktop experience would appeal to people, especially those who like macOS or elementary OS style desktop environments.

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Raspberry Pi 4 Review: Is Raspberry Pi 4 Worth Buying?

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Linux
Reviews

When it comes to single-board computers, nothing can beat the popularity of the Raspberry Pi. These tiny boards are not only affordable but also very user-friendly and offer excellent performance. Among these Pi models, the latest version, the Raspberry Pi 4, is supposed to be the most powerful and best of all. Since its launch, the 4k resolution display and the higher speed ethernet port have caught our attention, and we were inspired to give it a try.
We have to say that this model is highly satisfying and the best tiny desktop computer you can get. However, like most other things, Pi 4 has some disadvantages, like getting heated or not compatible with older software. This article will give you a thorough explanation of all the changes, performance, and disadvantages of Pi 4. Stick to the end to know whether this new version is worth your money or not.

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LXQt 0.16.0 Review – Lightweight Qt Desktop Environment

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Linux
Reviews

LXQt 0.16.0 released with more improvements and bug fixes. Here we review the changes and take you through the new features of this lightweight Qt desktop environment.
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The Raspberry Pi 400 is Awesome! A Computer in A Keyboard!

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

The Raspberry Pi foundation has recently launched the Raspberry Pi 400, a whole computer built into a compact keyboard to make personal computers more affordable. We are glad to say that they have successfully provided us with a PC for just $70. This version of the Pi is supposed to be cooler and faster than the Pi 4, which is 40 times powerful than the original Pi. The foundation has also come up with a ready-to-go kit available for only $100.

Regarding the “computer-in-a-keyboard,” Raspberry Pi 400 has been successful in being an excellent general-purpose computer. Though it can never be the substitute for a modern laptop or desktop computer, you can still do several things with it, including edit documents, search on the web, send an email or browse social media. Also, you can use it as an online learning center for your kids. So, in brief, this version of the Pi has successfully carried out the goals made by the Raspberry Pi foundation.

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Fedora 33 Workstation review

Filed under
Red Hat
Reviews

I don't think there's much to be said at this point. It's all written above. Fedora 33, like 99% of distros out there, does not have sufficiently friendly defaults for the average user, let alone anyone coming from the Windows world. Perhaps the nerdy features could be useful to developers and alike - latest kernel, BTRFS and whatnot - but ordinary people don't know what these are, don't care, and they just want to watch videos without heaving. Having to worry about trifles like font, media playback or minimize button. Nah.

My intention is to still go through all the way and try to create a useful baseline for the common desktop user. This will include a complete revamp of the desktop, installation of a dozen different applications, and several dozen tweaks. Similar to my Fedora 32 guide, probably almost identical. But that's just because I want to see what needs to be done, and if there's anything useful I can offer my readers. I can't recommend Fedora for everyday usage, and I feel quite sad and resigned at the end of this short testing session. Take care.

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More in Tux Machines

Kernel (Linux): Windows Assimilation, Wake-on-LAN, AMD and Intel

  • Tuxera First to Bring Network Bandwidth-Saving SMB Compression Feature to Linux Environments
  • Tuxera First to Bring Network Bandwidth-Saving SMB Compression Feature to Linux Environments

    Tuxera, a world-leader in quality-assured storage management and networking software, announced that the company's SMB server implementation, Fusion File Share by Tuxera, now offers transparent compression to platforms outside of Microsoft Windows. Compression is being rapidly and widely adopted in the storage industry as a feature in memory hardware, file system implementations, and also networking protocols such as Microsoft's server messaging block technology (SMB). The ability to compress files inline during transfer can significantly reduce bandwidth and transfer time. Microsoft released the transparent compression feature to their SMB protocol specification in early 2019. However, Tuxera is the first to implement SMB compression outside of Microsoft Windows, bringing this highly in-demand feature to Linux environments in enterprises around the world.

  • Wake-on-LAN

    With Wake-on-LAN (WoL) it can be slightly easier to manage machines in-house. You can fire up the workstation and start the day’s compile jobs (to catch up with overnight work by the KDE community, say) while drinking an espresso downstairs and doomscrolling. [...] If all the administrative bits are in place, then the simple way to wake up a machine is wake <hostname>. This requires root, since it sends specially-crafted (broadcast) Ethernet packets, which isn’t something that regular users can do.

  • AMD+SUSE Tackling Frequency Invariance For AMD EPYC 7002 CPUs - Phoronix

    Thanks to work by AMD and SUSE engineers, the Linux kernel could soon be seeing frequency invariance support for EPYC 7002 "Rome" processors for yielding greater performance and power efficiency. Over the past year we have seen a lot of Linux kernel work for dealing with frequency invariance but to now that on the x86 side has been focused on Intel Xeon processors. Now through the cooperation of AMD with patches led by SUSE, frequency invariance is being worked on for the EPYC 7002 "Rome" processors.

  • Intel Begins Landing Their Open-Source Vulkan Driver Ray-Tracing Support

    This week marked the release of Vulkan 1.2.162 with the ray-tracing extensions now finalized. As such Intel's stellar open-source team has begun landing their work around Vulkan ray-tracing ahead of the Xe HPG hardware availability that will support this functionality. Back in October I wrote about Intel preparing their open-source driver support for Vulkan ray-tracing ahead of Xe HPG and now with the updated Vulkan spec out there they are able to push more of their work.

today's leftovers

  • Friends of GNOME Update – November 2020 – Getting to know GNOME

    The Seattle GNU/Linux Conference took place online this year and we were there. Executive Director Neil McGovern gave a presentation titled “Patently Obvious” about our legal case with a patent assertion entity and how the settlement impacts all of FOSS. Strategic Initiatives Manager M. de Blanc gave a surprise talk that had nothing to do with GNOME, but discussed the Foundation nonetheless. We also had talks at Linux Application Summit and GNOME.Asia, which you can read more about below.

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  • Support UserFreedom by purchasing gifts from the GNU Press Shop

    To celebrate this year's thirty-fifth anniversary of the FSF, we designed and issued an extremely cool undersea-themed 35th Anniversary T-shirt. The initial run sold out faster than a weekend scuba diving trip, but we've reprinted them in a new color scheme worthy of Neptune himself -- lots of these are in stock and ready to send to you. But that's not all! So excited are we on the occasion of FSF's coral anniversary that we also made new socks. Warm your toes with the brand new FSF thirty-fifth anniversary socks -- crew-length socks whose coral, black, and blue color scheme will match your FSF 35th Anniversary Poster. Orders for these limited edition socks will be accepted on a "pre-order" basis until December 9th -- we'll collect customer orders, then print the socks, which I'll then ship to you. Be sure to order socks within the above time frame if you want them, because we won't have a lot of surplus after the orders are filled. [...] Finally, a note about shipping. The current pandemic places a lot of obstacles to buying and selling merchandise at FSF, so your order may be shipped less punctually than before -- but it absolutely will be shipped. This time of year, many customers place orders hoping to have them in hand by December 25. If this is you, and you are in the United States, please place your order before December 4, in order to provide us with the necessary lead time to make sure that your gifts are shipped on time. In any circumstance, it's advisable to place any order as soon as you can; I will endeavor to ship it as promptly as circumstances permit. As always, don't hesitate to email sales@fsf.org with any questions or concerns about shipping, inventory, payment, suggestions for future items for sale, or anything else -- this email address is the first thing I check every work day, especially at this time of year.

  • The Talospace Project: Firefox 83 on POWER

    LTO-PGO is still working great in Firefox 83, which expands in-browser PDF support, adds additional features to Picture-in-Picture (which is still one of my favourite tools in Firefox) and some miscellany developer changes. The exact same process, configs and patches to build a fully link-time and profile-guided optimized build work that was used in Firefox 82.

  • Presenting Cockpit Wicked | YaST

    If you are into systems management, you most likely have heard about Cockpit at some point. In a nutshell, it offers a good looking web-based interface to perform system tasks like inspecting the logs, applying system updates, configuring the network, managing services, and so on. If you want to give it a try, you can install Cockpit in openSUSE Tumbleweed just by typing zypper in cockpit. [...] Cockpit already features a nice module to configure the network so you might be wondering why not extending the original instead of creating a new one. The module shipped with Cockpit is specific to NetworkManager and adapting it to a different backend can be hard. In our case, we are trying to build something that could be adapted in the future to support more backends, but we are not sure how realistic this idea is.

Programming/Development Leftovers

  • PHP 8.0 Ready To Ship With Many New Features, Even Better Performance - Phoronix

    PHP 8.0 is scheduled for release tomorrow on the US Thanksgiving day. PHP 8.0 brings with it many new language features on top of the opt-in JIT compiler support. Here is a look at some of the PHP 8.0 changes along with a quick look at the near final performance of PHP 8.0 on an AMD EPYC Linux server. PHP 8.0 is a very worthy successor to last year's PHP 7.4. Besides the JIT compiler there is a ton of work incorporated into this big version bump. Among the PHP 8.0 highlights are: - PHP8 introduces the much anticipated Just In Time (JIT) compiler for further enhancing the speed of PHP scripts. More details on PHP's JIT compiler via this Wiki page.

  • Going from Android LinearLayout to CSS flexbox

    Are you an Android developer looking to learn web development? I find it easier to learn a new technology stack by comparing it to a stack I’m already familiar with. Android developers can layout views using the simple yet flexible LinearLayout class. The web platform has similar tools to layout elements using CSS, and some concepts are shared. Here’s some tips to learn web development using your Android knowledge.

  • Software Diagrams Aren’t Always Correct and That’s OK

    Concretely, software is just bits in electronic storage that control and/or are manipulated by processors. Abstractions are the building blocks that enable humans to design and build complex software systems out of bits. Abstractions are products of out minds—they allow us to assign meaning to clusters (some large, some small) of bits. They allow us to build software systems without thinking about billions of bits or how processors work. We manifest some useful and generally simple abstractions (instructions, statements, functions, classes, modules, etc.) as “code” using other abstractions we call “languages.” Languages give us a common vocabulary for us to communicate about those abstract building blocks and to produce the corresponding bits. There are many useful tools that can and should be created to help us understand the code-level operation of a system. But most systems we build today are too complex to be fully understood at the level of code. In designing them we must use higher-level abstractions to conceptualize, compose, and organize code. Abstract machines, frameworks, patterns, roles, stereotypes, heuristics, constraints, etc. are examples of such higher-level abstractions. The languages we commonly use provide few, if any, mechanisms for directly identifying such higher-level abstractions. These abstractions may manifest as naming or other coding conventions but recognizing them as such depends upon a pre-existing shared understanding between the writer and readers of the code.

  • How to Convert Integer into String in Python | Linuxize

    Python has several built-in data types. Sometimes, when writing Python code, you might need to convert one data type to another. For example, concatenate a string and integer, first, you’ll need to convert the integer into a string.

  • How To Install PyCharm on Debian 10

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PyCharm on Debian 10. For those of you who didn’t know, PyCharm is an intelligent and fully-featured IDE for Python developed by JetBrains. It also provides support for Javascript, Typescript, and CSS, etc. You can also extend PyCharm features by using plugins. By using PyCharm plugins you can also get support for frameworks like Django, Flask. We can also use PyCharm for other programming languages like HTML, SQL, Javascript, CSS, and more. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step by step installation of PyCharm on a Debian 10 (Buster).

  • This Week in Rust 366

Devices: Allwinner, Yocto, Arduino

  • Allwinner H6 SBC offers dual Ethernet, four display outputs, M.2 expansion

    While the processor was introduced in 2017, there are only a few Allwinner H6 SBC’s on the market with, for instance, Orange Pi 3 or Pine H64 boards, and it never became as popular as solutions based Allwinner H3 processor. But Boardcon has now launched its own Allwinner H6 SBC targeting professionals with Boardcon EMH6 board combining a carrier board and a computer-on-module that can be integrated into products.

  • Automotive Grade Linux Releases UCB 10 Software Platform with Yocto Long Term Support

    Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), an open source project developing a shared software platform for in-vehicle technology, today announced the latest code release of the AGL platform, UCB 10, also known under the codename "Jumping Jellyfish." Developed through a joint effort by dozens of member companies, the AGL Unified Code Base (UCB) is an open source software platform that can serve as the de facto industry standard for infotainment, telematics and instrument cluster applications.

  • Arduino Blog » These cornhole boards react to your bean bag tosses

    The lawn game of cornhole has seen a surge in popularity over the last couple of decades. But if you’ve ever thought about raising its cool factor, then YouTuber Hardware Unknown has just what you’ve been waiting for: light and audio effects that react to your throws. Hardware Unknown’s foldable boards each feature an Arduino Nano for control. A vibration sensor is used to tell when a bean bag hits the board, and an IR break-beam setup senses when one goes into the hole.