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Reviews

GeckoLinux 150 Static Plasma review - Not quite

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SUSE

GeckoLinux 150 was supposed to be the cure to all openSUSE Leap 15 ailments. It is not. I was expecting flawless results on all fronts, but then there were big issues with multimedia playback and associated performance, visual glitches, imperfect smartphone support, and of course, the graphics driver bomb. This hardly warrants the effort. I also didn't mention various crashes - the kgreeter crash on logout, every time - but they were there, too. Samba issues, printing issues, and the list goes on. The good things are nice and commendable, but there must be a stable base.

However, the real dealbreaker is the Nvidia setup. This is supposed to just work. If it works in a dozen other distros on this same box, then it should continue working. And I'm certain this has nothing to do with Nvidia drivers but with how the repo contents were compiled and packaged. Then, no easy rescue, none of that SUSE enterprise-like resilience. Finally, you do gain some, but not enough to justify the experience. I will sample Gecko sometime in the future again, but the bad karma around openSUSE remains. So long.

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Deepin OS 15.7 – Enjoy The Better Performance

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Debian

Deepin OS is among the most awesome Operating Systems in the world, period. The Debian-based distro has successfully won the hearts of everybody that I know has used it for over a day and its latest release (in the form of version 15.7) brings so many improvements I could have a field day reviewing them all.

If you are not already familiar with this OS then don’t skip this article.

Deepin OS is an open-source, Debian-based desktop distribution whose aim is to provide users with a beautiful, security-conscious, and user-friendly Operating System. It was initially based on Ubuntu until the release of its current major version, 15 when it switched to model Debian.

As at the time of writing, it sits at #28 on Distrowatch and has a 9/10 rating out of 301 reviews with approx. 325 hits per day.

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Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar

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Quirky Linux is a classic example of what makes Linux such a varied and useful operating system.

Puppy Linux developer Barry Kauler earlier this month released Quirky Xerus 64 version 8.6, which comes packed with the latest innovations for doing Linux stuff differently.

This latest in the "Xerus" series is a must-try if you like to push your computing experience envelope. It offers a slightly different approach to blending a traditional Linux desktop with the latest in usability options.

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Robolinux 9.3 Raptor - Bird of prey?

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Robolinux 9.3 Raptor is an interesting project. On one hand, it does most of the basics well, offers good functionality out of the box, comes with modern features and software, and tries to provide unique value through its Stealth VM capability. Quite commendable on that front.

Unfortunately, there are problems, too. The looks are more than questionable, the aggressive focus on donations spoils the experience and even breeds a sense of mistrust, hardware compatibility can be quite a bit better, and there were also some crashes and a dozen papercuts typical of small distros. In the end, it's still Ubuntu, improved and spoiled by the extras. The security card is flashed way too many times, and it creates a sour feeling. This is a neat distro, but it tries too hard.

All in all, it has its own identity, and it could become quite useful to new users, but it's overwhelming in its current guise, and the desktop stability needs to improve, pretty much across the board. It deserves something like 7/10. Well, that said, I'm looking forward to the next release, hopefully with more aesthetic focus and a fully streamlined operating system conversion and migration experience for new users. Now that could really be a killer feature. Take care.

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YunoHost 3.0.0.1

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At this point I have only set up YunoHost, created a few user accounts and installed a handful of applications. While I may play with it further, my main focus going into this trial was how well the framework of the distribution functions. That is: is it easy to install, how hard is it for new users to add services and accounts, and is it straight forward to keep the system up to date? Basically, I wanted to know whether I could give this distribution to someone who wanted to set up home-based network services for the first time and expect them to be able to use it. Based on my experiences so far with YunoHost, my answer is: probably.

The distribution does make it pretty easy to create user accounts and install web-based services. In fact, YunoHost does this quite well. The admin panel is very streamlined, uncluttered and easy to navigate and getting something like a game of Hextris or a media streaming service installed is about as easy as a few mouse clicks. Managing the firewall, monitoring the system and creating backups are nearly as easy. The administrator still needs to figure out how to get backup archives off the disk to another location for safe keeping, but the bulk of the work in backing up and restoring the operating system is done for us.

Where I feel the distribution runs into trouble is mostly little details, and a few general concepts. For example, asking the user to create an "admin" password but leaving the root password as the default is both likely to confuse people and leave a permanent security hole on the servers of most inexperienced hobbyist administrators. On the topic of accounts, it makes sense, from a security standpoint, to separate web accounts from system accounts. But, this means there may be some confusion as to why, once an account has been created, it cannot log into the system. Little concepts like this may throw new users and I don't feel these issues are well addressed by the documentation.

The first time through, the system installer failed during the partitioning section. It worked the second time though with the same settings, so I'm not sure if this is a semi-persistent bug or a one-time error with my system.

On the whole, YunoHost performs well. It's light on resources, it offers a lot of common network services home administrators will probably want and it is pretty easy to run and maintain. There are a few little wrinkles in the experience, but in general I found the distribution to be straight forward to use. For people looking to set up a home server, this is probably a good platform on which to build.

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GNU/Linux Review: Linux Mint 19 LTS Cinnamon Edition

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LMCE 19 has a new star for the future: Timeshift. It makes updating now less-worrisome and will encourage users to experiment more without afraid to break anything. We can revert back easily now! A method to make stable system more stable and to prevent broken system easier for end-user. This is a very good thing for both long-time and new users, even I hope this feature to be exist on other distros as well. Second star, it supports HiDPI better now, which means Linux Mint will embrace more users from Retina Display-alike computers and more! Other features, such as faster Nemo and more extensive Software Manager, will make you love Linux Mint even more. It's really quick to install (15 minutes or less) and brings complete set of apps (LibreOffice, Firefox, and so on). Finally, I recommend Mint users to upgrade to this version or at least try it on LiveCD session. Enjoy!

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Review: NomadBSD 1.1

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BSD

One of the most recent additions to the DistroWatch database is NomadBSD. According to the NomadBSD website: "NomadBSD is a 64-bit live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery."

The latest release of NomadBSD (or simply "Nomad", as I will refer to the project in this review) is version 1.1. It is based on FreeBSD 11.2 and is offered in two builds, one for generic personal computers and one for Macbooks. The release announcement mentions version 1.1 offers improved video driver support for Intel and AMD cards. The operating system ships with Octopkg for graphical package management and the system should automatically detect, and work with, VirtualBox environments.

Nomad 1.1 is available as a 2GB download, which we then decompress to produce a 4GB file which can be written to a USB thumb drive. There is no optical media build of Nomad as it is designed to be run entirely from the USB drive, and write data persistently to the drive, rather than simply being installed from the USB media.

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Also: Happy Bob's Libtls tutorial

Absolute Linux: Testing Snapshot/15.0 Based on Slackware Current

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Slack

Review: Secure-K OS 18.5

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I like the idea behind Secure-K. Being able to easily set up a distribution on a USB thumb drive so I can take my operating system with me in my pocket is very appealing. Having secure communication and quick access to the Tor network is also handy. I think the Secure-K developers are basically trying to provide an operating system that is like Tails, but more geared toward general purpose use. Tails is typically seen as a utility specifically for secure on-line communication, but probably not a platform for day-to-day use. Secure-K seems to be coming from the other direction and providing a day-to-day operating system that can also be used for secure communication and anonymous web browsing.

In theory, this is a good concept and I can see how it would appeal, especially if people want easy access to on-line storage and persistent settings.

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ExTiX 18.7 Is Not Quite an 'Ultimate Linux System'

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Linux
Reviews

The ExTiX 18.7 release was a disappointment. Given the maturity and variety of the previous Linux distros maintained by the Exton OS and ExTiX developer, I can only conclude that the problems I encountered were an anomaly. No doubt, a fix is in the works.

I hope so. ExTiX and the LXQt desktop have much to offer. This latest release comes with Firefox instead of Google Chrome as the Web Browser. This makes it possible to watch Netflix movies in Firefox while running Linux.

Among many other programs included are LibreOffice, Thunderbird, GParted, Brasero, SMPlayer, Gimp, Flash and win32 codecs. In addition, Java and all necessary additions are supplied to let you install programs from source.

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Qt 5.12 Alpha Released

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Mesa Graphics Development

  • RADV's Iffy 16-bit Integer Support Merged Into Mesa
    Just days after the patches were published for enabling 16-bit integers within shaders for the RADV driver, this Radeon Vulkan driver code has been merged. The code came out last week by Valve developer Samuel Pitoiset for enabling shaderInt16, the capability allowing 16-bit signed/unsigned integers within the shader code.
  • Mesa Eyeing The Removal Of Autotools Build Support In Favor Of Meson
    For those currently relying upon Autotools for building Mesa3D, the days are numbered and soon will likely need to shift over to their modern Meson build system support. For the past year now, Mesa developers have been working on bringing up their Meson build system support for its faster build speeds with Ninja, better cross-platform compatibility, and other benefits. Meson has co-existed with the Autotools (and SCons and Android build systems) support over the past year of Mesa releases, but moving forward they are likely very soon to drop the Autotools support.

BSD: OpenBSD/NetBSD on FreeBSD and Upcoming OpenZFS Developer Summit 2018

  • OpenBSD/NetBSD on FreeBSD using grub2-bhyve

    When I was writing a blog post about the process title, I needed a couple of virtual machines with OpenBSD, NetBSD, and Ubuntu. Before that day I mainly used FreeBSD and Windows with bhyve. I spent some time trying to set up an OpenBSD using bhyve and UEFI as described here. I had numerous problems trying to use it, and this was the day I discovered the grub2-bhyve tool, and I love it! The grub2-bhyve allows you to load a kernel using GRUB bootloader. GRUB supports most of the operating systems with a standard configuration, so exactly the same method can be used to install NetBSD or Ubuntu. [...]

  • OpenZFS Developer Summit 2018

    The sixth annual OpenZFS Developer Summit took place September 10th and 11th in San Francisco, California with an expanded focus on non-technical topics like community development and cross-project coordination. It also marked the “light at the end of the tunnel” status of several long-term OpenZFS features, notably dRAID, the distributed spare technology originally developed by Intel. [...]

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