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Review: Clear Linux and Guix System 1.0.1

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Reviews

Clear Linux is a rolling release distro that places a strong emphasis on performance. The distribution focuses on providing optimizations for Intel (and compatible) CPU platforms and often scores well in benchmark tests.

I previously experimented briefly with Clear Linux in 2017 and found it to be very minimal in its features. The distribution presented users with a command line interface by default and, while it was possible to install a desktop environment from the project's repositories, it was not focused on desktop computing. These days Clear Linux is available in several editions. There are separate builds for command line and desktop editions, along with cloud and specially tailored virtual machine builds.

I downloaded the distribution's live desktop edition which was a 2.2GB compressed file. Expanding the download unpacks a 2.3GB ISO. It actually took longer for me to decompress the file than it would have to download the extra 100MB so the compression used on the archive is probably not practical.

Trying to boot from the live desktop media quickly resulted in Clear Linux running into a kernel panic and refusing to start. This was done trying version 29410 of the distribution and, since new versions come along almost every day, I waited a while and then downloaded another version: Clear Linux 29590. The new version had an ISO approximately the same size and, after it passed its checksum, it too failed to boot due to a kernel panic.

I have used Clear Linux on this system before and, though it technically utilizes an AMD CPU, that was not an issue during my previous trial. The current situation does make me wonder if Clear Linux might have optimized itself so much that it is no longer capable of running on previous generation processors.

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Fedora 30 test on laptop with Nvidia - Back in 2010

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Red Hat
Hardware
Reviews

I think the results are obvious, and they speak for themselves. Alas, it would seem that if you want to use Fedora with a setup like the above, then you'll be either very lucky or you're going to face a torrent of problems. But then, Linux has always been, to use a somewhat stupid analogy, like saying you should only drive your car on Mondays on roads that have green sidewalks, and then you will be fine. The whole not-our-problem, use hardware that's "friendly" is nonsense, because people don't have infinite money, choice or expertise, especially since alternative operating systems offer all they need, plus a full range of hardware freedom.

My Fedora 30 test on the G50 was decent - that's a simple Intel graphics box - but even that one used to have millions of problems with Linux - Fedora wouldn't boot until I'd done a BIOS update, and for three years, almost every distro had network disconnect problems. On this box, we're seeing more of what I showed you in the Fedora 29 test. Fedora and Nvidia graphics are not a good fit. Add to that my home dir import woes, the performance woes, the Wireless woes, you get the picture. Feels like we've gone back many years into the past. I'd actually prefer if distros WARNED that the device is not certified or approved or expected to work and refuse to install, than install and then throw a whole bucket of hissy. I will still run an in-vivo upgrade on the Lenovo machine, because that's what I promised to do, but this is a big, big disappointment.

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Hack Computer review

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

I bought a hack computer for $299 - it's designed for teaching 8+ year olds programming. That's not my intended use case, but I wanted to support a Linux pre-installed vendor with my purchase (I bought an OLPC back in the day in the buy-one give-one program).

I only use a laptop for company events, which are usually 2-4 weeks a year. Otherwise, I use my desktop. I would have bought a machine with Ubuntu pre-installed if I was looking for more of a daily driver.

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Review: OS108 and Venom Linux

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Reviews

Every so often I like to step outside of the distributions I know, the ones I tend to see and use year after year, and try something different. Sometimes trying a new project introduces me to a new way of doing things, as Bedrock Linux did earlier this year. Other times trying a project that is just getting started is a reminder of just how much infrastructure, time and resources go into the big-name projects. At any rate, this week I want to talk about two young projects that grabbed my attention for different reasons.

The first is OS108, which caught my eye because it is a desktop flavour of BSD, which is relatively rare. Specifically, the base operating system is NetBSD. OS108 reportedly wants to be a replacement for Windows and macOS and features the MATE desktop environment. The website did not offer much more information than that. I was able to learn OS108 is available for 64-bit (x86_64) machines only, which I suspect undercuts the usefulness of having a highly portable operating system, such as NetBSD, as the base.

The ISO file I downloaded for OS108 was 1.5GB in size. The file had no version number associated with it, so I assume this is the project's first release. The project's download page says we should install OS108 just as if it were regular NetBSD, then run a script to set up the MATE desktop. Optionally, there is another set of instructions we can follow to set up wireless networking.

Booting from the OS108 media brings up an installer which guides us through a series of text-based menus. We are asked to select our keyboard layout, choose whether to install a fresh copy of the operating system or upgrade, and then select which hard drive will hold OS108. We are also asked to confirm our hard drive's geometry and whether we want to manually partition the disk or let OS108 take over the whole drive. The installer recommends we set aside at least 5GB of space on the drive. Personally, I found more space was required as the default package selection, including the MATE desktop, consumes about 6GB of disk space.

We are next asked if we want a full install, a mostly full install without the X.Org display software, a minimal install, or a custom selection of packages. I went with the full option since it was the default. We can then select where the source packages are located (on the DVD, in this case) and the packages are quickly copied over to the hard drive. A minute later I was asked to perform more configuration steps. These included enabling networking, setting a root password, and turning on optional network services from a list of daemons. We can also create a regular user account and optionally download the pkgsrc ports framework. I skipped installing pkgsrc.

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Enso OS Makes Xfce Elementary

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OS
Reviews

The most impressive aspect of Enso OS is the tweaked desktop that combines a somewhat modified Xfce environment with key elements from Elementary OS. The result could be a better alternative to Xubuntu, depending on your computing preferences.

For an early beta release of a relatively new Linux distribution, Enso OS has much going for it. This distro also has numerous areas where the developer must grow the infrastructure.

Enso OS is clearly a distro that bears watching over the next few releases.

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Nebra AnyBeam: A Raspberry Pi powered home cinema projector you can fit in your pocket [Review]

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Linux
Reviews

Before large screen televisions and 4K content became a thing, I used to enjoy watching films projected onto a white wall at home. I had a Canon projector hooked up to my PC with surround sound, and it was like having a personal cinema.

Technology has moved on quite some way since then, and you can now buy reasonable quality projectors for a fraction of the price. Case in point is Nebra AnyBeam, a Raspberry Pi powered pocket sized projector.

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Review: openSUSE Leap 15.1

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Reviews
SUSE

openSUSE is one of those distros I have always been interested in but which I had never used for more than a few hours. Recently the project released Leap 15.1, which was a good enough reason to give the distro a proper spin.

The distro hardly needs an introduction. It is a community project sponsored by SUSE, one of the larger commercial Linux vendors. openSUSE maintains two distros: Tumbleweed is a rolling release distro and upstream to SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). Leap is a stable (non-rolling) distro that is downstream to SLE. A new version of Leap is released roughly once a year, and each version is supported for 18 months. The Leap 15.x series as a whole is supported for three years.

openSUSE is probably best known for the Btrfs file system, Snapper and YaST. As Leap 15.1 is a relatively small, conservative upgrade from 15.0 I will mainly focus on these features. I will also have a look at where things may be heading.

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StreamTuner2 – internet radio station and video browser

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Software
Reviews

I’ve put a few internet radio station players through their paces in recent weeks.

I was fairly positive about odio, even though it’s not released under an open source license and consumes massive globs of memory. But the developer is beavering away on a new release and intends to open source the code. I’ll definitely write an updated review when/if that happens. I’ve also covered Shortwave, a GTK3 based radio player written in Rust. My favorites to date are Radiotray-NG and PyRadio.

This time, I’m putting StreamTuner2 under the microscope. StreamTuner2 is a GUI for browsing internet radio directories, music collections, and video services – grouped by genres or categories. It runs your preferred audio player or streamripper for recording.

StreamTuner2 is an independent rewrite of StreamTuner1. Whereas the original was developed in C, the rewrite is coded in Python. If you ever used the original StreamTuner 0.99 software, you’ll be familiar with StreamTuner2’s interface, as both share many similarities. The software is released into the public domain, so you can do anything you like with the source code.

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MX Linux Reinvents Computer Use

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Linux
Reviews

MX Linux makes transitioning from any desktop operating system simple. It provides a computing platform that is a bit different and very reliable.

MX Linux is a powerful, easy-to-use computing platform that goes beyond lightweight performance without filling your computer with software bloat.

The latest MX Linux 18.3 ISO is a "refresh" release, not a major upgrade. It has all the recent updates, bug fixes and system updates. This distro does not offer rolling releases, however.

You can perform a system upgrade from an existing MX Linux installation when new refresh releases are issued to get all the updates since the original MX-18 version release. There is no need to do a re-installation with each new release.

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Slimbook & Kubuntu - Combat Report 8

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KDE
Reviews

This eighth report is a summary of my worst overall Slimbook & Kubuntu session yet. On one hand, I've witnessed many useful, important, visible improvements in the system over the past six months, and we had hit a plateau of good, sweet stability. The latest wave of updates seems to upset that ever so slightly. Enough to make me miffed, because I really don't want to need any of those crashes or annoyances.

I'm still very happy with my choice, and occasional crashes happen everywhere. This isn't Linux-specific, but that doesn't mean we should settle for comfortable mediocrity. The one outstanding issue is the CPU temperature event, which to me looks like something in the firmware. I will keep an eye, because apart from that, the hardware has been rock solid, there were no other events of this type at all, and no visible problems as a result in any shape or form. Anyway, I think we've had enough excitement for one report. We shall soon convene for yet more thrill, uncertainty, fun, and adventure. Stay cool.

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Graphics: Weston 6.0.1, GPUs in OpenStack, Panfrost and Vulkan

  • weston 6.0.1
    Weston 6.0.1 is released with build system fixes to smooth the
    transition to Meson. Other miscellaneous bugfixes are also included.
    
    Note that the PGP signing key has changed to 0FDE7BE0E88F5E48.
    
    - (1):
          zunitc: Fix undeclared identifier 'NULL'
    
    Alexandros Frantzis (1):
          clients/simple-dmabuf-egl: Properly check for error in gbm_bo_get_handle_for_plane
    
    Antonio Borneo (2):
          clients: close unused keymap fd
          log: remove "%m" from format strings by using strerror(errno)
    
    Daniel Stone (2):
          weston: Properly test for output-creation failure
          compositor: Don't ignore --use-pixman for Wayland backend
    
    Fabrice Fontaine (1):
          Fix build with kernel < 4.4
    
    Harish Krupo (4):
          meson.build: Fix warning for configure_file
          window.c: Don't assume registry advertisement order
          data-device: send INVALID_FINISH when operation != dnd
          Fix: clients/window: Premature finish request when copy-pasting
    
    Kamal Pandey (1):
          FIX: weston: clients: typo in simple-dmabuf-egl.c
    
    Luca Weiss (1):
          Fix incorrect include
    
    Marius Vlad (3):
          meson.build/libweston: Fix clang warning for export-dynamic
          compositor: Fix invalid view numbering in scene-graph
          compositor: Fix missing new line when displaying buffer type for EGL buffer
    
    Pekka Paalanen (7):
          meson: link editor with gobject-2.0
          meson: link cms-colord with glib and gobject
          meson: link remoting with glib and gobject
          meson: DRM-backend demands GBM
          meson: dep fix for compositor.h needing xkbcommon.h
          build: add missing dep to x11 backend
          libweston: fix protocol install path
    
    Scott Anderson (1):
          compositor: Fix incorrect use of bool options
    
    Sebastian Wick (1):
          weston-terminal: Fix weston-terminal crash on mutter
    
    Silva Alejandro Ismael (1):
          compositor: fix segfaults if wl_display_create fails
    
    Simon Ser (1):
          build: bump to version 6.0.1 for the point release
    
    Tomohito Esaki (1):
          cairo-util: Don't set title string to Pango layout if the title is NULL
    
    git tag: 6.0.1
    
  • Wayland's Weston 6.0.1 Released With Build System Fixes & Other Corrections

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  • Panfrost Gallium3D Picks Up Yet More Features Thanks To Collabora's Summer Internship

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  • Vulkan 1.1.112 Released While Open-Source ANV + RADV Drivers Continue Marching Along

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today's howtos

5 Best and Free Desktop Email Clients for Linux and Windows

If you are looking for free Email clients for Linux and Windows – here are 5 of them we list which you can try and consider for casual or professional uses. Web based email is popular today which can be accessed via browser or mobile apps. However, big and medium enterprises, generic users still prefers native desktop email clients for heavy and office uses. Microsoft Outlook is the most popular desktop email client which is of course not free and you have to pay huge licence fee to use. There are multiple options for free desktop email clients available. Here are the best 5 free and open source email clients which you can go ahead and try then deploy for your needs. Read more