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Reviews

Cryptocurrency OS Makes It Easy to Buy and Spend Digital Cash

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Reviews
Security

Cryptocurrency OS is a specialty Linux distribution that serves a niche user market destined to grow as the crypto economy continues to develop. This distro is packed with all the tools you need to create and manage your crypto accounts. It also is a fully functional Linux operating system. It is easy to use this distro as your daily computing platform.

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LibreOffice 6.3 - Waiting for a miracle

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LibO
Reviews

LibreOffice 6.3 is a powerful, rich office suite, and the fact it comes with no strings attached, the string to your purse included, is a commendable thing. But it is not enough. Simply isn't. Functionality is what matters, and if the program cannot satisfy the necessary needs, it's not really useful. Maybe on the scale of un-value, it's less un-valuable than something that costs a lot of money, but you still don't get what you require.

And in this regard, LibreOffice 6.3 doesn't quite cut it. I mean, you can still use it happily - I know I will, it does an okay job, and you can create files and export to PDF and all that. But then, working with Office files is pretty much a no-go, the style management is inefficient, and the UI layouts are somewhat clunky. I also feel the momentum has slowed, and the great, amazing hope that was there when LibreOffice was born is just a thing of mildly apathetic momentum now. True, this ailment grips the entire open-source world, and Linux in particular, but it doesn't change the fact that the hope is slowly dwindling. All in all, worth testing, but a solution to all office problems, LibreOffice 6.3 ain't.

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Linux on your laptop: A closer look at EFI boot options

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Linux
Reviews

For some time now I have gotten a slow but steady volume of requests that I write about UEFI firmware and EFI boot relative to installing and maintaining Linux. As a result of a casual comment I made in a recent post about installing Linux on a new laptop, the volume has gone up considerably.

So in this post I will review and explain some of what I consider to be the most important points about UEFI firmware and Linux systems. I intend for this to be a relatively short post, but once I get started you never know... so you might want to get a cup of coffee before starting to read.

First, the specific aspect of UEFI firmware that I am concerned with here is the boot sequence, and how to use it with Linux. There is a lot more to UEFI (EFI) than that, but I will not be addressing any of that here.

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A Look at Redcore Linux: Gentoo based Linux Distribution

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GNU
Linux
Gentoo
Reviews

Many people in the technology world have heard, at least in passing, of the Linux distribution Gentoo. Gentoo is one of the most famous distributions to the point of becoming a joke; with it’s complexity and depth, installing Gentoo has been a daunting task for many.

Redcore is one of the latest distributions to attempt to bring the power of Gentoo to the everyday user.

I previously wrote an article in 2017 about Sabayon Linux, another popular Gentoo based system; but Redcore Linux holds its own and pulls its own weight.

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Review: Raspberry Pi 4

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Hardware
Reviews

The Raspberry Pi began life as a hacker's dream: a cheap, low-power, highly extendable, hackable PC that shipped as a bare circuit board. Intended as one part educational device, one part tinkering tool, it became something of a phenomenon that has been used to power everything from scaled-down Mars rovers to millions of science and hackday experiments in schools around the world.

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Akaunting: a web-based accounting system

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Software
Reviews

One of these years, LWN will have a new accounting system based on free software. That transition has not yet happened, though, despite the expending of a fair amount of energy into researching alternatives. Your editor recently became aware of a system called Akaunting, so a look seemed worthwhile. This tool may have the features that some users want, but it seems clear that your editor's quest is not done yet.

As an aside, additional motivation for this effort came in the form of an essentially forced upgrade to QuickBooks 2019 — something that QuickBooks users have learned to expect and dread. There appear to be no new features of interest in this release, but it does offer a newly crippled data import mechanism and routine corruption of its database. If your editor didn't know better, he might just conclude that proprietary software is buggy, unreliable, and unfixable.

[...]

The system is written in PHP and JavaScript; the code is licensed under GPLv3. Akaunting is able to use MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite to store the actual data. It is, as one might expect given the implementation languages, designed to run as a web application; one can install it on a handy machine, but Akaunting (the company) also offers to host accounts free of charge on its own servers. The company promises "we cover it, for free, forever" — a pretty big promise for a free-software startup with a minimal track record.

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Endeavour OS | Review from an openSUSE User

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Reviews

Endeavour OS is the unofficial successor to Antegros, I’ve never used Antegros so I cannot make any comparisons between the two. It should also be noted that I think Arch Linux, in general is more work than it is worth so this won’t exactly be a shining review. Feel free to bail here if you don’t like the direction of my initial prejudice.

I am reviewing Endeavour OS as a rather biased openSUSE Linux user that is firmly entrenched in all things openSUSE. I am going at this from the perspective that my computer is my companion, my coworker or assistant in getting my digital work done and some entertainment sprinkled in there as well.

Bottom Line Up Front: If you want to run main-line Arch, Endeavour OS is absolutely the way to get going with it. They take the “Easy Plus One” approach to Arch by allowing you to install what I would consider a minimal but very usable base and learn to use “genuine Arch” with all the triumphs and pitfalls. If you want to go Arch, I can most certainly endorse this as the route to do so. However, even after playing here for two weeks, I find Arch to be more trouble than it is worth but a great educational experience.

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Review: AcademiX GNU/Linux 2.2

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

What sets AcademiX apart from other distributions is the EDU software manager. This package manager provides curated lists of educational software, which are grouped by subject and by age range. This package manager makes finding educational software really easy. There is software for astronomy, biology, geography, foreign languages, and many other subjects. While there are gaps in the availability of applications covering various subjects, that is a gap in the broader open source application ecosystem, not something specific to AcademiX. While some of the rough edges I noted with the installation process and the desktop customization make me a hesitant to recommend AcademiX to new Linux users, Educational Technology professionals should perhaps try out AcademiX just to use the EDU package manager to explore various open source applications.

While installing and updating software was easy and basically the same experience as any other modern, Debian-based distribution, the fact that some of the packages come from servers in Romania means that some package downloads can be much slower than downloading from the world-wide network of Debian mirrors. For individual packages and small collections of packages this is not too noticeable, but it is still an issue. The frustrating part is the fact that the speeds are not consistent. Sometimes I was downloading at only 40kbps, but other times it was much faster. I experienced the same issue when trying to download the ISO. One download took about 20 minutes for the 1.7GB image but some other attempts took 4 hours.

Final thoughts

AcademiX GNU/Linux is an interesting distribution, but it has some rough edges that need to be cleaned up. Honestly, I really, really wanted to like this distribution (good distributions aimed at the educational market are always needed), but found it to be merely okay. AcademiX has a lot of potential, but it is just not there yet. DebianEdu/Skolelinux is far more polished while serving almost the exact same niche. However, if the AcademiX team cleans up some of the issues I noted above, especially the installer issues, I think future versions of AcademiX might turn out to be worthwhile. The EDU software installer is well organized and aids in discovering educational software, so that is one solid advantage AcademiX offers, but overall the distribution needs more work and polish before I could move it from "this distribution is okay" to "you should give this distribution a try".

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Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Xfce review - Nice but somewhat crude

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Reviews

Overall, Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Xfce is a decent distro. It has lots of good and unique points. Network, media and phone support is good. You get a colorful repertoire of high-quality programs, the performance and battery life are excellent, and the desktop is fairly pretty. The system was also quite robust and stable.

But then, there were issues - including inconsistent behavior compared to the Plasma crop. The installation can be a bit friendlier (as Plasma one does). The package management remains the Achilles' Heel of this distro. Having too many frontends is confusing, and none of them do a great job. The messages on dependencies, the need for AUR (if you want fancy stuff), and such all create unnecessary confusing. There were also tons of visual papercuts, and I struggled getting things in order. All in all, Manjaro is getting better all the time, but it is still too geeky for the common person, as it breaks the fourth wall of nerdiness too often. 7/10, and I hope it can sort itself out and continue to deliver the unique, fun stuff that gets sidelined by the rough edges.

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Slackel Linux Works Well Inside Its Openbox

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Linux
Reviews

The current Slackel Linux release can be a good choice for new users. It is easy to stumble through the installation steps, but this distro has some benefits.

Slackel is a reliable operating system that is easy to use. If you like to learn how Linux works, Slackel gets you closer to understanding the pure Linux environment without resorting to the terminal window and the command line.

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More in Tux Machines

Events: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON, Intel's OSTS, LibreOffice Hackfests and Debian at ICFP 2019

  • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

    Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

  • Intel Shares Highlights From Their 2019 Open-Source Technology Summit

    Taking place back in May at the beautiful Skamania Lodge in Washington was Intel's OSTS 2019 for their annual Open-Source Technology Summit that traditionally was internal-only but has begun opening up including allowing external participants this year. I was at OSTS 2019 and it's by far my highlight of the year with many really great sessions and a lot of useful networking at the event. Intel's open-source team has now shared some video recordings from this open-source/Linux event. 

  • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

    Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

  • ICFP 2019

    ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

OSS Leftovers

  • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

    Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.” SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

  • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

    AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it's simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their 'ROM inventory', but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks. AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the 'pure model' with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer's personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

  • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
  • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

    A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices. As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

  • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

    In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

  • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

    DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

  • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

    Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks. Cisco's application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware's NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors' respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative. Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

  • What Attorneys Should Know About Open Source Software Licensing

    With the next waves of technological change, such as autonomous vehicles, blockchain, and IoT, newer, more complex OSS licenses may be drafted, and argued in the courts, to protect the interests of software innovators and the OSS community.

Open Data: Schlumberger and Waymo

  • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
  • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

    Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform. The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

  • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

    Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date. “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

Linux Foundation: Open Mainframe, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, IBM and More