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Reviews

Review: siduction 2018.1.0

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Reviews
Debian

Running siduction was a pretty good experience for me. The distribution is very easy to set up and the Calamares installer gets the user up and running with fewer steps than Debian's system installer. The LXQt edition of siduction works quickly and the desktop environment is pleasantly lightweight. I found LXQt generally provided me with all the features I wanted to use while staying out of my way, which was appreciated.

One of the few concerns I had was with the confusing way video playing worked on the distribution. I think it would have been easier if siduction simply shipped with VLC or Totem for playing videos. Otherwise, the applications which shipped with the distribution worked well and I found running siduction was generally pleasantly boring.

For people who like running cutting edge software and want to take advantage of Debian's massive supply of open source software, I think siduction is an excellent option. The user needs to be prepared to handle a lot of updates, dozens or (in my case) maybe even hundreds per week. But if you don't mind installing waves of updates, then siduction offers good performance, an easy to use installer and a wide range of desktop editions. I especially appreciate the Synaptic feature which allows us to restart services which have been updated and I suspect people running network services will really like having this ability.

siduction didn't really do anything which stood out as different or amazing, but on the other hand I didn't run into any serious problems. The distribution provided a solid, easy to use rolling release with a huge amount of software in the repositories and handled all my hardware beautifully. I think people who like running openSUSE Tumbleweed or Arch Linux may want to check out siduction as an alternative, especially since the distribution can be set up with little more than a few mouse clicks.

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Revisited: Linux Mint 18.3 "Sylvia" KDE

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KDE
Linux
Reviews

Long-time readers of the Linux distribution reviews on this blog know that I am a fan of Linux Mint, but I have had somewhat mixed experiences with KDE. When I've reviewed a new release of Linux Mint, I have occasionally reviewed its KDE edition in addition to its GNOME/MATE/Cinnamon and Xfce editions, generally finding that the KDE edition has too many minor bugs and not enough compelling features compared to the more mainstream editions. Apparently the Linux Mint developers feel similarly, as this is the last release of a KDE edition for Linux Mint; henceforth, they are only releasing MATE, Cinnamon, and Xfce editions for a tighter focus on GTK-based DEs and applications. With that in mind, I figured it was worth reviewing a KDE edition of Linux Mint one final time. I tested it on a live USB system made with the "dd" command. Follow the jump to see what it's like.

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Review: Ubuntu MATE 17.10

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu MATE 17.10 is a solid release with a few minor caveats about the Mutiny layout. The Traditional MATE layout is very nice, but Mutiny still needs some work. For users who want the classic GNOME 2 look-and-feel, Ubuntu MATE is an excellent choice. However, Unity users looking for a Unity-like experience should still give Ubuntu MATE with the Mutiny layout a try, but need to be aware that it does have some issues and it won't work exactly like Unity. The Contemporary layout is also an option for Unity users, but is even further removed from the Unity experience than Mutiny is.

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Introducing my new friend: a Slimbook

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GNU
KDE
Linux
Reviews

I have been following Slimbook for some time now. As you probably know, they ship a KDE laptop that is very cool, with KDE Neon pre-installed. They have attended to a couple of events I have attended to so I have been able to test their laptops, get feedback from buyers and ask them questions directly. The fact that they are a Spanish company was a beautiful surprise, We do not have that many hardware integrators and vendors in Spain.

But what definitely caught my attention was the fact that they pay a lot of attention to the software. They ship the laptops with Linux pre-installed. Ok, that is not new any more. But they do pre-install several different distros. Now, that’s uncommon. But news do not stop there.

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Google’s Fuchsia OS on the Pixelbook: It works! It actually works!

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OS
Google
Reviews

Google currently has two OSes on the market: Android and Chrome OS. The company is never one to leave a successful product alone in the marketplace, though, so it's also developing a third operating system called "Fuchsia." When we last checked in on the experimental OS in May 2017, calling it an "OS" was a bit of a stretch. We only got the system UI up and running on top of Android, where it then functioned like an app. The UI offered a neat multi-window system, but mostly it was just a bunch of placeholder graphics. Nothing worked.

It has been hard to check in on Fuchsia since. The Fuchsia system UI, which was written with a cross-platform SDK called "Flutter," quickly shut down the Android (and iOS) compatible builds. Fuchsia has a Vulkan-based graphics stack, and no emulator supports the new-ish graphics API. The only way to get Fuchsia up and running again was with actual hardware, and the only supported devices were Intel NUC PCs from 2015 and the Acer Switch Alpha 12 laptop.

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deepin 15.5 - A different desktop

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

deepin is a Debian-based Linux distribution which features the custom Deepin Desktop Environment along with several in-house desktop applications. The deepin project develops its own file manager, media players, software centre and settings panel, along with other desktop applications. Clearly, the deepin team is very busy working on a desktop solution, one which is easy to navigate.

deepin is available as a 3.2GB download for 64-bit x86 computers. Booting from the project's media gives us the option of starting the installation process, booting the operating system in failsafe mode or checking the media's integrity. In both of my test environments, deepin would boot and launch the installer (the first option), but was unable to boot in failsafe mode, whether run in UEFI or Legacy BIOS mode.

Taking the install option brings up a graphical environment where we are asked to select our preferred language from a list. In the upper-right corner of the screen there is an "X" which, when clicked, lets us abort the installation. Quitting the installer immediately powers off the computer. Once we have selected our language we are asked to create a username and password for ourselves. We can then select our time zone from a map of the world.

Partitioning comes next and here I encountered several options. We are asked whether we want Simple or Advanced partitioning. The Simple option takes over the entire hard drive, creating an ext4 file system. A 4GB swap file is set up on the root partition for us. This is the easy way forward, but it wipes out any other installed systems or partitions.

The Advanced option lets us select where to install the system's boot loader and presents us with a list of available partitions and free space. At first I wasn't able to find any way to add new partitions, but eventually found the button for adding and editing partitions is a grey icon on a grey background, making it difficult to spot. Once the button was found, setting up new partitions was fairly straight forward. The deepin installer will not proceed if the root partition is 16GB or smaller in size when we take the Advanced partitioning option. However, I found I could create a root partition smaller than 16GB if I used the Simple partitioning option. Once our partitions are assigned mount points, the installer copies its files to the computer and reboots the system.

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Also: What’s New in MX Linux 17

Hands on With System76’s Beautiful Linux Distro Pop!_OS

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Reviews

Linux system manufacturer System76 introduced a beautiful looking Linux distribution called Pop!_OS. But is Pop OS worth an install? Read the Pop OS review and find out yourself.
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MX Linux MX-17 Horizon - Shaping up beautifully

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Reviews

From an underdog to a kennel master. That's probably the best, most succinct way to describe MX Linux. While you still may be confused about its heritage, with words like Mepis and AntiX slipping in, it's one of the more refined Xfce distros around, and I have been thoroughly impressed by the last version, MX-16. As it turns out, I proudly crowned it the Best of Xfce 2017 distro. It also notched very high on the overall annual best-of competition.

Now, there's a new version out. I will first conduct the test on the old LG laptop, but now that I've managed to fix the read-only UEFI on my Lenovo G50 machine, I will conduct a second test on that laptop - provided everything works fine in this first review. So we have ancient hardware, Nvidia graphics, dual boot. Commence.

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A Look at Ubuntu Unity Remix

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Reviews
Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 1: 27-Dec ISO

    Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04 is already functional even though it's still very new. For you who don't know, Unity Remix is a new Ubuntu distro with Unity 7 desktop created after the official Ubuntu switched to GNOME 3. Unity Remix is based on the effort of Unity 7 Continuation Project by Khurshid Alam and Dale Beaudoin, and it calls for developers & testers right now. Today I, an Ubuntu user who likes Unity Desktop, start a series of article about my days in personal testing Ubuntu Unity Remix. This 'Day 1' covers a short overview about the latest ISO from 27-Dec-2017. This series is (again) inspired by Didier Roche's series at early Artful days. Enjoy!

  • Ubuntu Unity Remix Day 2: Nemo & Caja

    Do you like Nemo and Caja file managers? Good news for you, you can use them at Ubuntu Unity Remix now. More good news is there are 2 ISOs available (for testing purpose) for both Unity Remix Nemo and Unity Remix Caja editions! Having these two is like continuing the 17.04 but with the feels of Linux Mint 'MATE' and 'Cinnamon' editions. For you who don't know, you will find Nemo or Caja even more useful than Nautilus, because you'll have more features you cannot find at (like normal menu bar, F3, and status bar). This 'Day 2' covers simple overview about both file managers at Ubuntu Unity Remix 18.04. Enjoy!

GeckoLinux: A Polished Distro Just Got Smoother

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Linux
Reviews

I was disappointed in GeckoLinux in only one situation. The practice of including a password for the live session demo mode was a new feature promised in this release. The product description hawks the convenience of not having to enter passwords for the live session user account.

Yet the brief documentation for the ISO download mentions the user password for the live session as "linux." I was hoping that the developer merely forgot to update the download information.

Alas, the new version still needs a password. Oh well, maybe the next release.

Otherwise, GeckoLinux 423 is a worthy release that provides improvements over the standard openSuse mindset.

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More in Tux Machines

LMMS Guide Part 1: Creating Simple Melodies Using Sounds And Instruments

​LMMS stands for Linux Multimedia Studio. It is a very good open-source program that is used to create music tracks using sound files, predefined instruments, and sound effects. LMMS has versions for Windows and macOS in addition to Linux. Their website, of course, lists all of their features offered to users. This article will attempt to provide practical guides and tips for composing songs using LMMS. Read
more

How To Create Shell Scripts

Having to type the same command over and over again can be a daunting task and tiresome for that matter. The shell scripts are really easy to create and run saving you from a lot of misery and anguish if you really prefer using the terminal over using the GUI for running tasks. Read
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Today in Techrights

Security Leftovers

  • Thousands of FedEx customers' private info exposed in legacy server data breach

    Uncovered by Kromtech Security Center, the parent company of MacKeeper Security, the breach exposed data such as passport information, driver's licenses and other high profile security IDs, all of which were hosted on a password-less Amazon S3 storage server.

  • Correlated Cryptojacking

    they include The City University of New York (cuny.edu), Uncle Sam's court information portal (uscourts.gov), Lund University (lu.se), the UK's Student Loans Company (slc.co.uk), privacy watchdog The Information Commissioner's Office (ico.org.uk) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (financial-ombudsman.org.uk), plus a shedload of other .gov.uk and .gov.au sites, UK NHS services, and other organizations across the globe.

    Manchester.gov.uk, NHSinform.scot, agriculture.gov.ie, Croydon.gov.uk, ouh.nhs.uk, legislation.qld.gov.au, the list goes on.

  • Facebook using 2FA cell numbers for spam, replies get posted to the platform

    Replies ending up as comments appears to be a bizarre bug, but the spamming seems intentional.

  • Swedish Police website hacked [sic] to mine cryptocurrency

    Remember now, it is a Police Force that allowed their website to be hijacked by this simple attack vector. The authority assigned to serve and protect. More specifically, the authority that argues that wiretapping is totally safe because the Police is competent in IT security matters, so there’s no risk whatsoever your data will leak or be mishandled.

    This is one of the websites that were trivially hacked [sic].

    It gives pause for thought.

    It also tells you what you already knew: authorities can’t even keep their own dirtiest laundry under wraps, so the notion that they’re capable or even willing to protect your sensitive data is hogwash of the highest order.

  • New EU Privacy Law May Weaken Security

    In a bid to help domain registrars comply with the GDPR regulations, ICANN has floated several proposals, all of which would redact some of the registrant data from WHOIS records. Its mildest proposal would remove the registrant’s name, email, and phone number, while allowing self-certified 3rd parties to request access to said data at the approval of a higher authority — such as the registrar used to register the domain name.

    The most restrictive proposal would remove all registrant data from public WHOIS records, and would require legal due process (such as a subpoena or court order) to reveal any information supplied by the domain registrant.

  • Intel hit with 32 lawsuits over security flaws

    Intel Corp said on Friday shareholders and customers had filed 32 class action lawsuits against the company in connection with recently-disclosed security flaws in its microchips.

  • The Risks of "Responsible Encryption"

    Federal law enforcement officials in the United States have recently renewed their periodic demands for legislation to regulate encryption. While they offer few technical specifics, their general proposal—that vendors must retain the ability to decrypt for law enforcement the devices they manufacture or communications their services transmit—presents intractable problems that would-be regulators must not ignore.

  • Reviewing SSH Mastery 2nd Ed

    It’s finally out ! Michael W Lucas is one of the best authors of technical books out there. I was curious about this new edition. It is not a reference book, but covers the practical aspects of SSH that I wish everybody knew. Rather than aggregating different articles/blogs on SSH, this book covers 90% of the common use cases for SSH that you will ever encounter.