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Reviews

A Penguin tries out Secure-K OS, part I

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Reviews
Debian

As the name suggests (Secure Key), Secure-K OS is a live operating system, based on Debian 9 Stretch, meant to be run from any USB key and “developed with security in mind”, according to its developers, Mon-K Data Protection.

A couple of “hardware versions” of the operating system are being sold on the project website, which means that one can buy Secure-K OS already deployed into a hardware-encrypted USB key with a pin-pad. It feels geeky.

Because I cannot download that piece of hardware via my network (I guess you cannot as well), what I have actually downloaded is the system image file of Secure-K OS Lite, then written into a USB stick of mine.

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Desktop Consolidation Gives SparkyLinux a Clearer Focus

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Linux
Reviews

You can run SparkyLinux from a thumb drive. You also can supercharge its performance by loading it into your computer's RAM.

However, the OS is not really as useful if you use it only for a portable computing platform. It performs best when installed on the hard drive. SparkyLinux does not use a frugal installation and special antics to provide persistent memory.

SparkyLinux is a very functional Linux OS. It is a solid choice for use as an all-purpose home edition with all the tools, codecs, plugins and drivers preinstalled.

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LibreOffice 6 review: The open-source favorite gets an update

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LibO
Reviews

The free and open source suite LibreOffice is loved by many for its excellent compatibility with Microsoft Office formats including the newer DOCX, PPT, and PPTX files. LibreOffice 6, its first major update in a couple years, continues that tradition but redesigns the UI and adds productivity improvements to its “big three” programs—Writer, Calc, and Impress.

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What’s new in openSUSE Leap 15 – installation experience

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SUSE

On the 25th May 2018, openSUSE Leap 15 was released for download. Over the last few days I have upgraded both of my systems to this new release. Although this was a big release for openSUSE, the media attention for this release was surprisingly low. The reason why this is a big release, is that the underlying software packages are all new.

openSUSE Leap 42 has a shared core with SUSE Linux Enterprise 12 (SLE 12). For instance Leap 42.2 shares a lot of software packages with Service Pack 2 (SLE 12 SP2). And Leap 42.3 shares a lot of packages with SLE 12 SP3. The shared core was on average 20% of the total number of packages. Because of that shared core, some of the packages were starting to show their age.

openSUSE Leap 15 shares a lot of software packages with SUSE Linux Enterprise 15, which in itself is based on a 2017 fork of openSUSE Tumbleweed. That means that all of the underlying packages in SLE 15 have been updated to a more current version in comparison to SLE 12 SP3. The shared core for openSUSE Leap 15 is (according to a FOSDEM 2018 presentation) about 27% of the total number of packages. And the remaining packages are originating from (an even more recent fork from) openSUSE Tumbleweed. Which means that we get a lot of improvements in openSUSE Leap 15.

A good example (to get an idea about the progress that has been made) is the underlying Linux kernel, which has been updated from version 4.4 to 4.12. Linux kernel 4.4 was released in January 2016 and Linux kernel 4.12 was released in July 2017. You cannot simply assume that the SLE kernel is identical to the upstream Linux kernel, because SUSE includes a lot of back-ports of security fixes and of hardware drivers in their kernels. However, you can assume that most of the newly introduced features in more recent Linux kernels are not being back-ported. So the upgrade from SLE 12 to SLE 15 means that we get 1,5 years of new features from the Linux kernel community.

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Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Review

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Ubuntu

Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS are the latest versions of Ubuntu Linux distribution featuring different desktop environments, keeping the software base the same for both of these flavors.

In this article, I am going to talk about the differences between Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 LTS and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, the advantages of each of them, the disadvantages of each of them. Let’s get started.

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Kubuntu 18.04 LTS Review: The Friendly Operating System

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KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

Kubuntu 18.04 LTS is complete and full-featured system ready for all desktop purposes. It's easy to use, really, without experimental changes that frequently happens like what we see on Ubuntu, for both long-time and new Kubuntu users. It's complete with all applications included, and it's full-featured with all conveniences and abilities you get including easy access to available software via Discover and Muon. If you use it, you will have 3 years of support of the KDE components plus 5 years of support (from Kubuntu Team) of the Ubuntu base components (from Canonical). Finally, happy using Kubuntu!

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Google’s Project Treble For Fast Android Updates

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The one thing Android users always complain about is not getting updates. While our dear friends with Apple devices enjoy regular updates to IOS. With project treble, Google might just end up solving the problem with regular android updates.

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Best Alternatives To Bootstrap

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Bootstrap has been ruling the charts when it comes to the best responsive frameworks for designing front-end for websites. However, there are some other names that you may not have heard of but are equally good. So here is a list of the best alternatives to the bootstrap framework.

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Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS

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Pop!_OS is an Ubuntu-based distribution from System76, a Colorado-based company that sells computers with Linux pre-installed. The first release of Pop!_OS, version 17.10, was interesting and provided a very nice experience, but mostly involved pulling what System76 felt was the best bits from various upstream sources and combining them into a cohesive whole. While Pop!_OS 17.10 was fairly conservative, Pop!_OS 18.04 LTS provides some major new features, some of which are quite interesting. For example: GRUB has been replaced with systemd-boot and a tool called kernelstub, and there is a recovery partition, so a USB flash drive is no longer needed to rescue a system (at least in theory, the recovery partition is still a work in progress).

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Also: Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Plasma 5.13 – Amazing Tux, How Sweet Plasma

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KDE
Reviews

Plasma 5.13 is (going to be) a very nice release. It builds on the solid foundation that is the LTS edition, and adds cool, smart touches. The emphasis is on seamless integration of elements, which is what separates professionals from amateurs. It’s all around how the WHOLE desktop behaves, and not individual programs in isolation. And Plasma is making great strides, offering a polished version of an already mature and handsome product, with extra focus on fonts, media and browser connectivity and good performance.

There are some rough patches. Apart from the obvious beta issues, those goes without saying, KDE Connect ought to be a true multi-phone product, the network stack really needs to be spotless, and that means full Microsoft Windows inter-operability, Spectacle should allow for configurable shadows and alpha channel, and I want to see if the decorative backend has been cleaned up, i.e. can you search and install new themes and icons without encountering useless errors and inconsistencies.

But all in all, I’m quite impressed. The changes are big and noticeable, and above all, meaningful. You don’t just get features for the sake of it, you get things that improve the quality and consistency of the desktop, that maximize fun and productivity, and there’s deep thought in orchestrating it all together. It ain’t just a random bunch of options that happen to work. I like seeing patterns in things, and I’m happy when there’s functional harmony. This spring season of distro testing hasn’t been fun, and Plasma 5.13 is balm for my weary wrists, so hurting from all that angry typing. More than worth a spin, and highly recommended. Full steam on, Tuxers.

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Also: This week in Usability & Productivity, part 20

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More in Tux Machines

GNOME Desktop: Flatpak and Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension

  • Flatpak in detail, part 2
    The first post in this series looked at runtimes and extensions. Here, we’ll look at how flatpak keeps the applications and runtimes on your system organized, with installations, repositories, branches, commits and deployments.
  • Flatpak – a history
    I’ve been working on Flatpak for almost 4 years now, and 1.0 is getting closer. I think it might be interesting at this point to take a retrospective look at the history of Flatpak.
  • Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension Changes Your Desktop Background With Images From Various Online Sources
    Random Wallpaper is an extension for Gnome Shell that can automatically fetch wallpapers from a multitude of online sources and set it as your desktop background. The automatic wallpaper changer comes with built-in support for downloading wallpapers from unsplash.com, desktopper.co, wallhaven.cc, as well as support for basic JSON APIs or files. The JSON support is in fact my favorite feature in Random Wallpaper. That's because thanks to it and the examples available on the Random Wallpaper GitHub Wiki, one can easily add Chromecast Images, NASA Picture of the day, Bing Picture of the day, and Google Earth View (Google Earth photos from a selection of around 1500 curated locations) as image sources.

today's howtos

KDE: QtPad, Celebrating 10 Years with KDE, GSoC 2018

  • QtPad - Modern Customizable Sticky Note App for Linux
    In this article, we'll focus on how to install and use QtPad on Ubuntu 18.04. Qtpad is a unique and highly customizable sticky note application written in Qt5 and Python3 tailored for Unix systems.
  • Celebrating 10 Years with KDE
    Of course I am using KDE software much longer. My first Linux distribution, SuSE 6.2 (the precursor to openSUSE), came with KDE 1.1.1 and was already released 19 years ago. But this post is not celebrating the years I am using KDE software. Exactly ten years ago, dear Albert committed my first contribution to KDE. A simple patch for a problem that looked obvious to fix, but waiting for someone to actually do the work. Not really understanding the consequences, it marks the start of my journey within the amazing KDE community.
  • GSoC 2018 – Coding Period (May 28th to June 18th): First Evaluation and Progress with LVM VG
    I got some problems during the last weeks of Google Summer of Code which made me deal with some challenges. One of these challenges was caused by a HD physical problem. I haven’t made a backup of some work and had to rework again in some parts of my code. As I already knew how to proceed, it was faster than the first time. I had to understand how the device loading process is made in Calamares to load a preview of the new LVM VG during its creation in Partition Page. I need to list it as a new storage device in this page and deal with the revert process. I’ve implemented some basic fixes and tried to improve it.

Open Hardware: Good for Your Brand, Good for Your Bottom Line

Chip makers are starting to catch on to the advantages of open, however. SiFive has released an entirely open RISC-V development board. Its campaign on the Crowd Supply crowd-funding website very quickly raised more than $140,000 USD. The board itself is hailed as a game-changer in the world of hardware. Developments like these will ensure that it won't be long before the hardware equivalent of LEGO's bricks will soon be as open as the designs built using them. Read more