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Reviews

DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup

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Reviews

The earlier versions of DebianDog work flawlessly, but the latest release seems to suffer from some work-in-progress flaws.

I had very little trouble running the default software as-is. When I changed system settings or configured applications a certain way, those changes either did not work or were accompanied by a variety of glitches.

I also had some trouble getting the persistent memory options to work. A related problem was setting up the personal save storage file. These issues cropped up or did not appear at all, depending on the hardware I was using. I used the same boot CD and bootable DVD drive on all of my test computers.

DebianDog Linux is a good alternative for Linux users looking for something different. It is a very good OS choice if you work on multiple computers or travel around to various work locations and want all your work files on the same OS configuration that you carry in your pocket.

DebianDog can be a very workable alternative to lugging a laptop around.

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Bodhi Linux review

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Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Ubuntu-based distro that appeared on the scene back in 2011. Its system requirements are among the lowest out there for any desktop Linux flavour. It can even run on a non-PAE CPU with 128MB of RAM and a 300MHz processor.

We didn’t have one of those lying around, but we did have a pretty old and dusty PC which we could test it on. The OS boasts a simple Ubiquity install process (just like you get on Ubuntu) and it’s a thoroughly usable, and not at all bad-looking, distro.

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Also: Best power user Linux distros in 2017: 5 reviewed and rated

Review: Google Pixel is Android at its best (if a little boring)

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Android
Google
Reviews

The Pixel’s designs have been divisive ever since the first batch of leaks hit the interwebs, but I’ve grown quite fond of it. Maybe it’s the fact that my ‘Really Blue’ (provided to us by Verizon, thanks folks) model is in fact so incredibly blue, but really I just think the two tone look stands out. It’s instantly recognizable if you’ve seen the phone before.

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LG Watch Sport review: Not the watch Android Wear needs right now

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Android
Reviews

The LG Watch Sport just looks and feels like a “gadget” and not a “watch.” It harkens back to the days of those old Microsoft Spot watches (remember those?). Instead of reaching as broad a market as possible with the first full-featured Android Wear 2.0 watch, LG and Google have given us something with almost impossibly narrow appeal. This watch is almost exclusively for large-wristed athletic types whose fashion sense leans toward calculator watches. I found myself wanting to put it on just before I left for the gym, and itching to take it off the moment I got home.

Android Wear 2.0 deserves a better showcase watch than this. With any luck, another manufacturer will step in with a more universally acceptable design that at least supports Android Pay and has a heart-rate monitor.

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Thoughts on Slackware 14.2

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Slack

All in all I'm quite happy with slackware 14.2 on my quasi-modern computer. Old school linux and openbsd types will no doubt feel at home with slack. There's no systemd to worry about. A full install takes about 9 gigs of drive space. The slackware folks have obviously put a ton of work into this new release. A word of warning to linux newbies, this isn't the easiest distro to install and is probably best suited to linux intermediates or experts.

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Linux Mint 18.1 Serena - The glass is half full

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Linux Mint 18.1 Serena is an okay distro. It has more merit than Sarah, but then, it's also had almost a year to work on polishing some of the issues, and while a few have been ironed out, big quality issues that were never the domain of Mint before still persist. The live session experience is underwhelming, the default theme is not vibrant enough and can lead to ocular exhaustion quickly, there were problems with stability, multimedia playback, and the promise of Spotify never came to be.

On the other hand, most of the stuff works out of the box, the repos are rich, the distro can be tamed relatively easily, and at the end of the day, you have a supported, popular system full of goodies and shiny colors with only a slight aftertaste of betrayal in your proverbial mouth. Good, but only if you've just started playing around with Linux. This distro has no flair. It doesn't have the magic and fire of yore. No fire, no nothing. It's not super green. And it must pop pop pop. So I guess, grade wise, 6.5/10 or some such. All in all, 'tis Linux Mint all right, but not the best offering by a long shot.

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Also: Linux Mint 18.2 Features – What’s Ahead In the Next Release

Review on Solus 2017.01.01: Solid, Stable and Fast

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Solus is an independent Linux distribution which targets desktop PC users. The project started in 2011 carrying the name “SolusOS” but later was changed to a plain “Solus”. What mainly makes Solus different is its desktop interface called “Budgie” beside a lot of other software like “eopkg” which is the distribution’s package manager.

Solus uses a rolling release model. Providing an updated ISO file of the distribution every few months containing the latest software and updates. This, however, doesn’t mean that the system is “unstable” like some other rolling Linux distributions.

There are a lot of exciting things when it comes to Solus. Its desktop interface “Budgie” is completely developed from scratch but is compatible with some GNOME technologies. It also has its own package manager called “eopkg” which uses .eopkg format for package files (it doesn’t depend on .deb or .rpm files nor can install them). “eopkg” was forked from Pardus Linux. But developers of Solus have plans to replace it with “sol“.

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Reviews: OpenELEC and Clear Linux

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I next turned my attention to a distribution which has only recently been added to the DistroWatch database: Clear Linux. The Clear Linux distribution is unusual in a few ways. For one, the project is not designed to be a full featured or general purpose operating system; Clear Linux focuses on performance more than features. The distribution is fairly minimal and is designed with cloud computing in mind, though it may also be used in other areas, particularly on servers.

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Linux Mint 18.1 Is The Best Mint Yet

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

The hardcore Linux geeks won’t read this article. They’ll skip right past it… They don’t like Linux Mint much. There’s a good reason for them not to; it’s not designed for them. Linux Mint is for folks who want a stable, elegant desktop operating system that they don’t want to have to constantly tinker with. Anyone who is into Linux will find Mint rather boring because it can get as close to the bleeding edge of computer technology. That said, most of those same hardcore geeks will privately tell you that they’ve put Linux Mint on their Mom’s computer and she just loves it. Linux Mint is great for Mom. It’s stable, offers everything she needs and its familiar UI is easy for Windows refugees to figure out. If you think of Arch Linux as a finicky, high-performance sports car then Linux Mint is a reliable station wagon. The kind of car your Mom would drive. Well, I have always liked station wagons myself and if you’ve read this far then I guess you do, too. A ride in a nice station wagon, loaded with creature comforts, cold blowing AC, and a good sound system can be very relaxing, indeed.

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Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux graphical user interface choices.

Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead.

Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems (such as FreeBSD and TrueOS). It is gaining interest among Linux users, having been introduced for a growing number of Linux distros.

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: OSS

  • Diving into Drupal: Princeton’s Multi-site Migration Success with Open-source
    Princeton University’s web team had a complex and overwhelming digital ecosystem comprised of many different websites, created from pre-built templates and hosted exclusively on internal servers. Fast forward six years: Princeton continues to manage a their multisite and flagship endeavors on the open-source Drupal platform, and have seen some great results since their migration back in 2011. However, this success did not come overnight. Organizational buy-in, multi-site migration and authentication were a few of the many challenges Princeton ran into when making the decision to move to the cloud.
  • GitHub Invites Developers to Contribute to the Open Source Guides
    GitHub has recently launched its Open Source Guides, a collection of resources addressing the most common scenarios and best practices for both contributors and maintainers of open source projects. The guides themselves are open source and GitHub is actively inviting developers to participate and share their stories.
  • Top open source projects
    TechRadar recently posted an article about "The best open source software 2017" where they list a few of their favorite open source software projects. It's really hard for an open source software project to become popular if it has poor usability—so I thought I'd add a few quick comments of my own about each.
  • Dropbox releases open-source Slack bot
    Dropbox is looking to tackle unauthorized access and other security incidents in the workplace with a chatbot. Called Securitybot, it that can automatically grab alerts from security monitoring tools and verify incidents with other employers. The company says that through the use of the chatbot, which is open source, it will no longer be necessary to manually reach out to employees to verify access, every time someone enters a sensitive part of the system. The bot is built primarily for Slack, but it is designed to be transferable to other platforms as well.
  • Dropbox’s tool shows how chatbots could be future of cybersecurity
    Disillusion with chatbots has set in across the tech industry and yet Dropbox’s deep thinkers believe they have spotted the technology’s hidden talent: cybersecurity.

Desktop GNU/Linux

  • Entroware have unleashed the 'Aether' laptop for Linux enthusiasts featuring Intel's 7th generation CPUs
  • New Entroware Aether Laptop Pairs Intel Kaby Lake with Ubuntu
    The new Entroware Aether is the latest Linux powered laptop from British company Entroware, and is powered by the latest Intel Kaby Lake processors.
  • Freedom From Microsoft v1.01
    But we can be Free from Microsoft! As we saw above, there is a powerful – and now popular movement afoot to make alternative software available. The Free Software Foundation, and the GNU Project, both founded by Richard Stallman, provide Free software to users with licenses that guarantee users rights: the rights to view, modify, and distribute the software source code. With GNU-licensed software, such as Linux, the user is in complete control over the software they employ. And as people contribute to modify Free Software source code, and are required to share those modifications again, the aggregate creative acts give rise to the availability of many more, much more useful results. Value is created beyond what anyone thought possible, and our freedom multiplies.
  • Review of the week 2017/08
    This week we had to cancel a couple snapshots, as a regression in grub was detected, that caused issues on chain-loading bootloaders. But thanks to our genius maintainers, the issue could be found, fixed and integrated into Tumbleweed (and this despite being busy with hackweek! A great THANK YOU!). Despite those canceled snapshots, this review will still span 4 revisions: 0216, 0218, 0219 and 0224. And believe me, there have been quite some things coming your way.

Security Leftovers

  • [Older] The Secure Linux OS - Tails
    Some people worry a lot about security issues. Anyone can worry about their personal information, such as credit card numbers, on the Internet. They can also be concerned with someone monitoring their activity on the Internet, such as the websites they visit. To help ease these frustrations about the Internet anyone can use the Internet without having to “look over their shoulder”.
  • Password management made easy as news of CloudFlare leak surfaces
    In the last 24 hours, news broke that a serious Cloudflare bug has been causing sensitive data leaks since September, exposing 5.5 million users across thousands of websites. In addition to login data cached by Google and other search engines, it is possible that some iOS applications have been affected as well. With the scale of this leak, the best course of action is to update every password for every site you have an account for. If there was ever a good time to modernize your password practices, this is it. As consumers and denizens of the Internet, we have a responsibility to be aware of the risks we face and make an attempt to mitigate that risk by taking best-effort precautions. Poor password and authentication hygiene leaves a user open to risks such as credit card fraud and identity theft, just like forgetting to brush your teeth regularly can lead to cavities and gum disease. This leaves us with the question of what good password and authentication hygiene looks like. If we stick with the (admittedly poorly chosen) dentistry analogy, then there are five easily identifiable aspects of good hygiene.
  • Security: You might want to change passwords on sites that use Cloudflare
  • Smoothwall Express
    The award-winning Smoothwall Express open-source firewall—designed specifically to be installed and administered by non-experts—continues its forward development march with a new 3.1 release.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Derivatives

  • 'Big Bang Theory's' Stuart wears Ubuntu T-shirt
    Am I the only person to notice that comic book shop-owning Stuart (Kevin Sussman) on the "The Big Bang Theory" is wearing an Ubuntu T-shirt on the episode airing Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017? (It's Season 10, Episode 17, if that information helps you.) The T-shirt appearance isn't as overt as Sheldon's mention of the Ubuntu Linux operating system way back in Season 3 (Episode 22, according to one YouTube video title), but it's an unusual return for Ubuntu to the world of "Big Bang."
  • Unity Explained: A Look at Ubuntu’s Default Desktop Environment
    Ubuntu is the most well-known version of Linux around. It’s how millions of people have discovered Linux for the first time, and continues to draw new users into the world of open source operating systems. So the interface Ubuntu uses is one many people are going to see. In this area, Ubuntu is unique. Even as a new user, rarely will you confuse the default Ubuntu desktop for something else. That’s because Ubuntu has its own interface that you can — but probably won’t — find anywhere else. It’s called Unity.
  • A Look at Ubuntu MATE 16.04.2 LTS for Raspberry Pi
    Installing Ubuntu MATE onto my Raspberry Pi 3 was straight forward. You can easily use Etcher to write the image to a microSD card, the partition is automatically resized to fill your microSD card when the pi is powered up for the first time, and then you are sent through a typical guided installer. Installation takes several minutes and finally the system reboots and you arrive at the desktop. A Welcome app provides some good information on Ubuntu MATE, including a section specific for the Raspberry Pi. The Welcome app explains that the while the system is based on Ubuntu MATE and uses Ubuntu armhf base, it is in fact using the same kernel as Raspian. It also turns out that a whole set of Raspian software has been ported over such as raspi-config, rpi.gpio, sonic-pi, python-sent-hat, omxplayer, etc. I got in a very simple couple of tests that showed that GPIO control worked.
  • Zorin OS 12 Business Has Arrived [Ed: Zorin 12.1 has also just been released]
    This new release of Zorin OS Business takes advantage of the new features and enhancements in Zorin OS 12, our biggest release ever. These include an all new desktop environment, a new way to install software, entirely new desktop apps and much more. You can find more information about what’s new in Zorin OS 12 here.