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Reviews

BunsenLabs Linux Deuterium review - Too much work

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Reviews

Debian base, kernel 3.X, a desktop and some apps. That's pretty much that. This is true in 90% of the cases, and the distinguishing factor is tiny, if any. But I'd like to believe there should be more, so that I can feel like I'm not just repeating same old stuff over and over without any real benefit or unique advantage. BunsenLabs Deuterium gives us a lightweight setup, it truly is that, but on any moderately decent hardware, the advantage goes away, and in its place, you get the horrible ergonomics of Openbox, which is simply not suited for any reasonable, modern work.

Hardware support is mediocre, the installation process is quirky, it's very hard to customize the desktop, network support is average, and in the end, you need to invest energy to achieve something you get out of the box with any other desktop environment. There's really no justifiable reason for that. Perhaps Deuterium will appeal to a small base of users, who want the flexibility and simplicity of Openbox, but for the vast majority of people, it's a hassle.

So much in fact that I gave up. There wasn't anything cardinally wrong with the distro. But it's like walking into a store, seeing something, and then you move on, because there was no magic. Something like 2/10. Well, maybe next time. Or perhaps a different desktop environment.

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KaOS 2017.09

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KaOS is a rolling release distribution built from scratch. It's stated aim is "to create the highest quality distribution possible". For that, it uses the Linux kernel, the KDE Plasma desktop and Arch's Pacman package manager. Interestingly, the project's website states that they are hoping to one day replace the Linux kernel with the Illumos kernel.

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System76 - POP! goes my heart

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

This was far more interesting than I'd expected. One, there isn't ONE font that works uniformly well across different desktop environments, and frankly, that is a little bit disturbing. Two, Ubuntu still offers the most complete default package. Three, POP! fonts are rather nice and modern, and it seems they work the best in stock Gnome, if you're not already using something like Droid Sans.

It would seem we've chipped another facet of this multi-dimensional monster called Linux Fonts, as it feels just impossible to nail down the simple, elegant formula for maximum ergonomics, productivity and fun. You have to ride the licensing, anti-aliasing and hinting shuttles all at the same time, and they seem to be going in different directions. Ubuntu is way ahead of the rest, and this is why the System76 experiment will be rather intriguing. I want to see how the complete package will behave. You should test and see how you feel about Roboto Slab and Fira. My hunch says, Gnome great, Ubuntu, not so much. But we will see. And of course, we shall be testing the distro, so stay tuned.

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ArchLabs Makes Up for Parabola's Curve Balls

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Linux
Reviews

ArchLabs Linux was a very happy discovery. It did a lot to change my impression of Arch Linux. It especially made up for the problems Parabola Linux posed.

I found that the Archlabs distro was an excellent Linux OS option to install on several very old laptops from the post Windows XP era. I have gotten far too comfortable using resource-intensive distros on my newer desktops and laptops. Archlabs Linux is a fun and effective alternative.

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ArchLabs Makes Up for Parabola's Curve Balls

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Reviews

If you want to stretch your Linux desktop acumen from the Debian Linux lineage to Arch Linux, Archlabs might be a better choice than Parabola.

Arch Linux is something of a black sheep when it comes to installing and configuring a Linux distribution. It presents a few more stumbling blocks than other Linux options, which could make it a less welcome alternative to some users. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their intense installations and sometimes-challenging software management processes.

Distros based on Arch Linux usually are not good choices for newcomers to the Linux operating system. Users need a better handle on how Arch Linux works to use Arch-based distros successfully. Considerable background reading is necessary for things to make sense with minimal frustration.

I have offered that cautionary advice numerous times in reviews of less-well-known Linux products, and recent experiences prompted it once again. I discovered two seemingly worthy distros that provided an opportunity to revisit the trials and tribulations of working with Arch Linux derivatives.

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Managing virtual environments with ClonOS 12

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ClonOS is one of the latest operating systems to be entered into the DistroWatch database. The project's website describes ClonOS as follows:

ClonOS is a free, open-source FreeBSD-based platform for virtual environment creation and management.

The operating system uses FreeBSD's development branch (12.0-CURRENT) as its base. ClonOS uses ZFS as the default file system and includes web-based administration tools for managing virtual machines and jails. The project's website also mentions the availability of templates for quickly setting up new containers and web-based VNC access to jails. Puppet, we are told, can be used for configuration management.

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KDE Neon Complete Distro Review

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KDE
Reviews

It's no secret to anyone: KDE and its latest implementation, Plasma 5, have been my favorite applications and desktop suite for quite some time now. I started GNU / Linux with Gnome 2 that brought Ubuntu Feisty Fawn but quickly jumped to that unknown ocean, full of strange words with the letter K in them, called Kubuntu.
Coming and going, distros and more distros, until you end up trapped by the Chakra magic and its unique environment. As much as I have tried to change this fact in successive attacks of distro hopping. I have not been able to accommodate myself to anyone other than Cinnamon, although I have missed a few features almost exclusive to Plasma. It also happens in reverse, that is, I think that KDE suffers from some things, but in the balance weighs more, by far, the positive than the negative.

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GPD Pocket Ubuntu Editon Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Netbooks are often ridiculed as a solution looking for a problem but they are also regarded as the ancestors of present day Chromebooks and “cloudbooks”. With the resurgence of these more modern but still low-performance devices, it might seem that the netbook is due for a revival as well. Or so that seems to be the proposition GPD makes with its almost literal Pocket computer. But does that make more sense now than it did before, especially in an age of powerful smartphones? We take the Ubuntu Edition of the GPD Pocket for a good and thorough testing to find out.

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ZorinOS Is a Great Linux Desktop For Any User

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OS
Linux
Reviews

No matter your desktop of choice, chances are you will feel right at home on the Zorin Desktop. With the latest release, ZorinOS has done a remarkable job of taking something that was already impressive and made it more stable, more usable, and more accessible than ever. If you’re a Windows 7 user, dreading having to migrate to Windows 10, you no longer have to sweat that change. Adopt ZorinOS 12 and keep working as you’ve done for years.

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Neon: the naked KDE

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KDE
Reviews

I had nothing to complain about the technical part of KDE Neon Live run. It was smooth and fast. There were no glitches or unexpected delays (apart from one - I cannot remember the exact details).

However, the lack of the very basic software makes me stop from recommending this distribution to the beginners. It may be a good distribution for those users who know their way in the Linux world well, who are confident in what they need and how to get it themselves.

Do you recognise yourself in the first or the second category of Linux users?

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More in Tux Machines

Security: WPA2, CVE-2017-15265, Fuzzing, Hyperledger

  • Fedora Dev Teaches Users How to Protect Their Wi-Fi Against WPA2 KRACK Bug
    Former Fedora Project leader Paul W. Frields talks today about how to protect your Fedora computers from the dangerous WPA2 KRACK security vulnerability that affects virtually any device using the security protocol to connect to the Internet.
  • WPA2 was kracked because it was based on a closed standard that you needed to pay to read
    How did a bug like krack fester in WPA2, the 13-year-old wifi standard whose flaws have rendered hundreds of millions of devices insecure, some of them permanently so? Thank the IEEE's business model. The IEEE is the standards body that developed WPA2, and they fund their operations by charging hundreds of dollars to review the WPA2 standard, and hundreds more for each of the standards it builds upon, so that would-be auditors of the protocol have to shell out thousands just to start looking. It's an issue that Carl Mamamud, Public Resource and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have been fighting hard on for years, ensuring that the standards that undergird public safety and vital infrastructure are available for anyone to review, audit and criticize.
  • Patch Available for Linux Kernel Privilege Escalation
    The issue — tracked as CVE-2017-15265 — is a use-after-free memory corruption issue that affects ALSA (Advanced Linux Sound Architecture), a software framework included in the Linux kernel that provides an API for sound card drivers.
  • ​Linus Torvalds says targeted fuzzing is improving Linux security
    Announcing the fifth release candidate for the Linux kernel version 4.14, Linus Torvalds has revealed that fuzzing is producing a steady stream of security fixes. Fuzzing involves stress testing a system by generating random code to induce errors, which in turn may help identify potential security flaws. Fuzzing is helping software developers catch bugs before shipping software to users.
  • Devsecops: Add security to complete your devops process [Ed: more silly buzzwords]
  • Companies overlook risks in open source software [Ed: marketing disguised as "news" (and which is actually FUD)]
  • Q&A: Does blockchain alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?
    According to some, blockchain is one of the hottest and most intriguing technologies currently in the market. Similar to the rising of the internet, blockchain could potentially disrupt multiple industries, including financial services. This Thursday, October 19 at Sibos in Toronto, Hyperledger’s Security Maven Dave Huseby will be moderating a panel “Does Blockchain technology alleviate security concerns or create new challenges?” During this session, experts will explore whether the shared nature of blockchain helps or hinders security.

Games: Nowhere Prophet, Ebony Spire: Heresy, The First Tree, Daggerfall, Talos Principle

  • Nowhere Prophet, a single-player tactical roguelike with card-based battles has Linux support
    Nowhere Prophet [Official Site, itch.io], a single-player tactical roguelike with card-based battles is currently going through 'First Access' (itch's version of Early Access) and it has Linux support.
  • Ebony Spire: Heresy, a first-person turn-based dungeon crawler will release next month
    For fans of the classic first-person dungeon crawlers, Ebony Spire: Heresy [Steam] looks like it might scratch the itch. One interesting thing to note, is that Linux is the primary platform for the development of the game. It's really great to hear about more games actually developed on Linux! Even better, is that the source code for the game is under the MIT license. You can find the source on GitHub. The source is currently a little outdated, but the developer has told me that it will be updated when the Beta becomes available.
  • The First Tree, a short and powerful exploration game is now available on Linux
    The developer of The First Tree [itch.io, Steam, Official Site] email in to let everyone know that their beautiful 3rd-person exploration game is now on Linux 'due to a ton of requests'. Linux support arrived as part of a major patch, which improves gamepad support, adds an option to invert the Y-axis and Camera Sensitivity options are in too. On top of that, a bunch of bugs were also squashed.
  • The open source recreation of Daggerfall hits an important milestone
    Another classic game is getting closer to being fully playable natively on Linux. The project to recreate The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall in the Unity engine has hit an important milestone and now the the main quest is completely playable. Daggerfall is the second entry in Bethesda’s long-running Elder Scrolls series of role-playing games and was originally released way back in 1996. It was an ambitious game, with thousands upon thousands of locations to explore in an virtual game area the size of a small real-world nation. It’s a game that I personally lost a lot of time to way back in the day and I’m happy to see that a project that allows me to play it natively on Linux is coming along swimmingly.
  • The Talos Principle VR Launches With Linux Support
    Croteam has just released The Talos Principle VR, the virtual reality edition of their award-winning The Talos Principle puzzle game. SteamOS/Linux with the HTC Vive is supported alongside Windows. This VR-enhanced version of The Talos Principle is retailing for $39.99 USD.

Android Leftovers

Review: Google Pixel 2

If I had to pick the moment I most appreciated the Google Pixel 2, it would be when our airboat driver-slash-tour guide put a hot dog and a piece of raw chicken in his pocket, dove into the New Orleans swamp, and began playing with a giant gator named Who Dat. I’m no social media whiz, but I knew there was Instagram gold unfolding in front of me. So I pulled out my Pixel 2 XL, the larger of Google’s two new models, double-clicked on the power button to open the camera, and started snapping. Read more