Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Reviews

Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

Filed under
Google
Reviews
Web

Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

Read More

Simplicity Does More Than Simplify Linux

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Simplicity Linux, even with its more modern retooling, maintains the distro's earlier goals of providing a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop. The addition of the Gaming Edition makes it easy to get started with computer gaming.

This new offering no doubt could be merged with the Desktop Edition for a more compact selection. That might allow the developer to release a new X Edition offering in the next release cycle.

I am not sure if the Mini Edition needs a full-function heavyweight desktop the likes of Cinnamon. I would like to see a return to the Xfce desktop there.

Either way, I look forward to the next release of Simplicity Linux. This distro holds considerable promise.

Read more

Open Broadcast Software Studio - Ready for the silver screen?

Filed under
Software
Movies
Reviews

Having recently tested Kdenlive 19.08 and then taken a brief but pleasant look at OpenShot, I decided to expand my cinematic horizons and explore some additional software on the media market. One program that came into the hazy spotlight is Open Broadcast Software (OBS), a free and open-source video editor, designed primarily for video recording and live streaming.

Well, here I am, with me unfunny collection of Youtube clips, and here it is, OBS, waiting for me to test and review it. Sounds like a plan, and proceed so we shall. Once again, I'm back on Linux, in Kubuntu, but that shouldn't really make much difference. Anyway, let's begin.

Read more

EasyOS 2.2

Filed under
Reviews

EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution which uses many of the technologies and package formats pioneered by Puppy Linux. The distribution features custom container technology called Easy Containers which can run applications, or the entire desktop environment, in a container.

The project's latest version is EasyOS 2.2 which is based on Debian 10 packages. I last tried EasyOS (version 1.0) about a year ago and I was curious to see how the distribution has evolved. EasyOS is available for 64-bit (x86_64) computers and its download is a compressed image file, 514MB in size. Once the file is unpacked, it expands to 1,281MB (about 1.2GB).

Once the image file is written to a thumb drive we can boot the distribution which brings up a text console. We are prompted to pick our keyboard from a list of abbreviated language options. Then we are asked to make up a password. The password is later used to unencrypt a filesystem - I suspect the area of the thumb drive which contains our data and settings. In other words, it is important to remember this password.

The desktop, a customized version of JWM, loads and shows us a setup screen where we can adjust language and desktop settings. We are then given a chance to enable a firewall and open any listed network ports we wish. The window manager then displays icons along the top of the screen for launching package managers, a virtual terminal, a web browser, and a program that helps us find installed applications. Towards the central-top area of the desktop we find specially marked icons which launch containers. Specifically there are containers for running a console, a web browser, and a fully contained desktop. I will come back to these a bit later.

Read more

MakuluLinux LinDoz Offers Windows Comfort Zone, but It's All Linux Under the Hood

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Overall, I am very impressed with the new LinDoz release. It is essentially designed as an easy-to-use operating system that feels comfortable for both Windows and Linux users.

In fact, it even makes using Linux easier for those with disabilities. LinDoz fully supports accessible options to cater for disabled or the elderly that may not see well. It now has a built in Screen Reader, Magnifier and On Screen keyboard. These features are neatly laid out with easy access.

I do not expect an automatic update from the still current version, however. Way too many changes are built into this LinDoz release. So grab the new ISO and experience an effortless fresh installation.

As of this writing, the upgrade was not yet posted for download. But Raymer's targeted date is between mid February and the end of the month.

Read more

Dell’s 2019 XPS 13 DE: As close as we currently get to Linux-computing nirvana

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Dell's XPS 13 Developer Edition, the company's flagship "just works" Ubuntu-based machine, was recently refreshed. These days Dell's XPS line is not the cheapest Linux option, nor is it the most configurable or user-upgradable. And if any of those factors are a big part of your criteria, this is likely not the laptop for you.

On top of that, many Linux users still have a strong DIY streak and will turn up their noses at the XPS 13. After all, in a day and age when just about every laptop I test seems to run Linux fairly well right out of the box, do you need official support? If you know what you're doing and don't mind troubleshooting your own problems, the answer is probably not.

Yet after spending a few weeks with the latest XPS 13 (the fourth refresh I've tested), it's hard to shake the feeling that this is the closest any company has come to Linux-computing nirvana. The XPS 13 Developer Edition makes an excellent choice for anyone who prefers Linux but wants hardware support from the manufacturer. All these years into its Linux odyssey, Dell continues to stand behind the operating system on these machines in a way that, in my experience, few other computer makers do.

Read more

Inside Gnome Boxes

Filed under
GNOME
Reviews
HowTos

For average users, Gnome Boxes offers an easy-to-use virtual machine solution for Linux.

When Linux users want a virtual machine, many install VMware Workstation Player or VirtualBox. Neither is free-licensed, but both are free for downloading and easier to use than Qemu. In comparison, Gnome Boxes (Boxes) is less well-known , but deserves attention. A front end for Qemu, KVM, and libvirt, Boxes is not only the most efficient VM solution for Linux, Windows, or BSD, but also improves some of the features that make alternatives difficult to use. In fact, it is so simple that I thought twice about reviewing it, on the grounds that it is so simple that it can almost speak for itself.

[...]

At this point, experts might complain that Boxes lacks the choice of the VM type to create. Boxes simply creates a Virtual Disk Image, with no option to choose a Virtual Hard Disk or Virtual Machine Disk as on VirtualBox. Neither can you specify a fixed size -- just a maximum size, so that the VM does not take over the entire drive. However, Boxes’ choices are what many users (if not most) want anyway, so the lack of options may hardly be missed. In general, the lack of options seems a reasonable exchange for Boxes’ streamlined simplicity.

But no matter what your choices, when you have made them, click the Create button in the window's upper right corner to go through a standard installation procedure in about the same time you would take if installing to hardware. If, as with many distributions, the installation gives you the option of a Live DVD rather than the installation, then, unlike with Virtual Box, the Live option can be used more than once. This setup means that you can save time and space by using the Live option. Later, if you want, you can install from the Live DVD.

Read more

Flatseal Review: Managing Permissions for Flatpak Apps Has Never Been Easier

Filed under
Reviews

If you’ve ever wanted a graphical tool to track and manage basic permissions for Flatpak applications, you should know that there’s now Flatseal.

Flatpak apps are becoming more and more popular these days as they allow you to install certain apps that aren’t available or regularly updated in the software repositories of your GNU/Linux distribution. While they run sandboxed, limited access to the host environment, Flatpak applications require certain permissions.

Tracking and changing these permissions for all of your installed Flatpak apps could become cumbersome or time consuming. Developed by Martin Abente Lahaye, Flatseal features a simple, straightforward design that does exactly what it says on the tin. It presents users with a list of installed Flatpak apps and basic permissions.

By default, the application displays all available permissions for all installed Flatpak apps and which permissions each app requested. Users will be able to inspect all available permissions and grant or deny app permissions for each application.

Read more

Review: KaOS 2020.01

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

KaOS is a rolling release distribution whose team chooses to focus on one CPU architecture (x86_64), one desktop environment (KDE Plasma) and one application toolkit (Qt). The project publishes regular, monthly snapshots of the distribution. The January snapshot featured a few interesting changes. In particular, the distribution now features signed kernel modules for added security and supports installing non-free NVIDIA video drivers during the install process if an NVIDIA card is detected. KaOS has also replaced the Calligra productivity suite with LibreOffice.

The latest snapshot is a 2.1GB download. Booting from the project's media brings up a menu offering to start a live desktop environment, start the desktop with non-free NVIDIA drivers, or run a hardware detection tool. When the system boots, the KDE Plasma desktop loads and displays a welcome screen. This window provides quick access to the system installer, a list of available packages, and links to the distribution's forum and install guide. The provided documentation seemed clear to me and includes screenshots to guide new users in setting up the distribution. The welcome screen also features a second tab which provides the default usernames and passwords for the live media.

KaOS may be unique in the way it sets up Plasma. The desktop places the panel vertically down the right-hand side of the screen. The application menu is located in the upper-right corner and the system tray at the bottom-right. In the middle are a few quick-launch icons and the task switcher. It makes for a fairly busy panel by default, especially when notifications, the update indicator, and network connection icon are all trying to grab the user's attention.

[...]

Early OOM is not a new piece of technology, it has been around for a while, helping users and administrators keep their systems from slowing to a crawl. However, most distributions do not install Early OOM by default, leaving the user to experience the kernel's default behaviour. The reason I'm talking about Early OOM today is I feel many people could benefit from this program, not just Fedora users who will likely have it running by default in the near future.

Apart from monitoring the system's memory consumption and killing off greedy processes, Early OOM has a few handy features. One is that we can set the percentage of RAM and swap that can be consumed before Early OOM begins reaping processes. Maybe we want swap to be nearly full before we kill off processes, hoping they will sort themselves out on their own. Or maybe we want to terminate programs if only 10% of swap is consumed, in order to enjoy maximum performance. Early OOM will let us make these adjustments.

One of the bigger concerns when using a program to kill off applications is the worry that something we really want to keep running will be terminated when we would prefer another, perhaps less heavy, program to be closed instead. Early OOM will help us with this. We can specify programs we would prefer to have killed off and programs we would prefer to have remain in memory. This gives us a layer of protection against having a useful program suddenly disappear.

A final interesting option is the ability to tell us, through a desktop notification, when a process is being terminated to free up memory. This can be useful if we are running background processes and want to know when one of them is being killed. Or if we just want to have a visible notification that Early OOM is working.

These and other features of Early OOM are covered in detail in the project's manual page. I definitely recommend exploring it if you are running a system that occasionally runs low on memory and becomes unresponsive as a result.

Read more

GhostBSD 20 - When there's something wrong with your Tux

Filed under
Reviews
BSD

In the Linux world, Arch is the great noob equalizer. But there's an ever more frightening beast in the forest. It's BSD, and even invoking its name can send the lesser man into despair. The simple truth of the matter is, throughout the nerdy circles of the world, BSD holds a respectable place as a stable, reliable workhorse. But it's never distinguished itself as a viable desktop alternative.

Over the years, I've dabbled in BSD quite some - you can check my UNIX reviews to figure out what gives. Sometimes, there would be this or that BSD flavor that surprised with its simplicity, but things would usually unravel at some point, whether it's hardware compatibility, disk-greedy partitioning, or perhaps the ease of everyday use. Then, recently, I came across GhostBSD, and it looks pretty and inviting. So let's see what gives.

Read more

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

How to Install Latest Java 14 in Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04, Linux Mint

Oracle Java 14 is released. And here's how you can download and install in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, 19.10 and Linux Mint 18.x, 19.x. Read more

IBM/Red Hat Leveraging COVID-19 for Marketing

  • Automation against the COVID-19 crisis: 4 suggestions to get started

    Without public cloud computing, we wouldn't be able to face the pandemic in the way we are. On-premise data centers have never scaled this fast, and not even the most rigorous capacity planning in the world would have forecasted the resource consumption we face today. News outlets covering the outbreaks would have not been able to cope with an entire planet constantly refreshing the home page in the hope of reading good news (that’s what I do). Hospitals and research facilities publishing dashboards full of virus spread statistics would not have been able to acquire the massive datasets they have as fast as they did. Videoconferencing and streaming platforms wouldn’t be able to serve, exceptionally so far, the enormous amount of the human workforce suddenly forced to work from home. And what is public cloud computing in the end? An astonishing, unprecedented, disciplined, methodical, pervasive amount of automation (and a few other, equally critical things). Automation doesn’t just allow us to cope with the urgency and scale of the demand in the public cloud and inside our data centers. Automation is helping organizations around the world to transition to a work-from-home productivity model. Without automation, the security teams would be hard pressed to install VPN clients across millions of laptops, tablets and smartphones all around the world.

  • UNESCO CodeTheCurve global virtual hackathon: Build your skills and help make a difference

    At least 1.5 billion young people are currently at home due to school closures relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred eighty-three countries have been disrupted. Students, parents, and communities continue to cope with social isolation, while exploring how to maintain a sense of normalcy with the sea of online learning content, collaboration tools, and social media platforms available for the world to consume. Conversations that once took place face-to-face have now moved virtual. For students, parents, teachers, educators, and others, home confinement has brought the additional attention and need for an innovative learning paradigm, one centered on practical and real-world digital skills. This is a time that’s especially challenging for the 49% of the global population who lack access to broadband internet. For those who are online, the spread of misinformation and disinformation relating to COVID-19 complicates the situation even further by diminishing confidence in public health guidance by authorities, and has given rise to panic and uncertainty.

i.MX8M Mini Pico-ITX board has a DSP for voice control plus optional AI

Estone’s “EMB-2237-AI” Pico-ITX SBC integrates a “SOM-2237” module that runs Linux on an i.MX8M Mini and adds a DSP for audio. The carrier adds LAN with PoE, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, mics and speakers, and an M.2 slot with Edge TPU AI support. Estone Technology’s EMB-2237-AI is the first SBC we’ve seen to combine the 100 x 72mm Pico-ITX form-factor with an NXP i.MX8M Mini SoC. Other Mini-based SBCs include Seco’s SBC-C61, Boardcon’s sandwich-style EM-IMX8M-MINI, and Garz & Fricke’s recent Tanaro, among others. Read more

Python Programming

  • Python 2.7.18rc1

    Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 is a testing release for Python 2.7.18, the last release of Python 2.

  • Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 available

    A first release candidate for Python 2.7.18 is now available for download. Python 2.7.18 will be the last release of the Python 2.7 series, and thus Python 2.

  • Python Software Foundation: Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q1 2020

    Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions. We have added you to our Fellow roster online. The above members have contributed to the Python ecosystem by teaching Python, creating education material, contributing to circuitpython, contributing to and maintaining packaging, organizing Python events and conferences, starting Python communities in their home countries, and overall being great mentors in our community. Each of them continues to help make Python more accessible around the world. To learn more about the new Fellow members, check out their links above. Let's continue to recognize Pythonistas all over the world for their impact on our community. The criteria for Fellow members is available online: https://www.python.org/psf/fellows/. If you would like to nominate someone to be a PSF Fellow, please send a description of their Python accomplishments and their email address to psf-fellow at python.org. We are accepting nominations for quarter 2 through May 20, 2020.

  • How to Make an Instagram Bot With Python and InstaPy

    What do SocialCaptain, Kicksta, Instavast, and many other companies have in common? They all help you reach a greater audience, gain more followers, and get more likes on Instagram while you hardly lift a finger. They do it all through automation, and people pay them a good deal of money for it. But you can do the same thing—for free—using InstaPy! In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to build a bot with Python and InstaPy, which automates your Instagram activities so that you gain more followers and likes with minimal manual input. Along the way, you’ll learn about browser automation with Selenium and the Page Object Pattern, which together serve as the basis for InstaPy.

  • Sending Encrypted Messages from JavaScript to Python via Blockchain

    Last year, I worked with the Capacity team on the Crypto stamp project, the first physical postage stamp with a unique digital twin, issued by the Austrian Postal Service (Österreichische Post AG). Those stamps are mainly intended as collectibles, but their physical "half" can be used as valid postage on packages or letters, and a QR code on that physical stamp links to a website presenting the digital collectible. Our job (at Capacity Blockchain Solutions) was to build that digital collectible, the website at crypto.post.at, and the back-end service delivering both public meta data and the back end for the website. I specifically did most of the work on the Ethereum Smart Contract for the digital collectible, a "non-fungible token" (NFT) using the ERC-721 standard (publicly visible), as well as the back-end REST service, which I implemented in Python (based on Flask and Web3.py). The coding for the website was done by colleagues, of course using JavaScript for the dynamic elements.

  • Unpacking in Python: Beyond Parallel Assignment

    Unpacking in Python refers to an operation that consists of assigning an iterable of values to a tuple (or list) of variables in a single assignment statement. As a complement, the term packing can be used when we collect several values in a single variable using the iterable unpacking operator, *. Historically, Python developers have generically referred to this kind of operation as tuple unpacking. However, since this Python feature has turned out to be quite useful and popular, it's been generalized to all kinds of iterables. Nowadays, a more modern and accurate term would be iterable unpacking. In this tutorial, we'll learn what iterable unpacking is and how we can take advantage of this Python feature to make our code more readable, maintainable, and pythonic. Additionally, we'll also cover some practical examples of how to use the iterable unpacking feature in the context of assignments operations, for loops, function definitions, and function calls.

  • Spin the table: Solution!