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Reviews

An Everyday Linux User Review Of Elementary OS Loki 0.4

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Linux
Reviews

Elementary looks great. It is easy to install, easy to use and the applications are perfectly adequate for basic tasks.

The big issue is the package manager. The biggest issue with Ubuntu is the package manager.

The fact that somebody has had to go to the effort to create the Ubuntu After Install application shows there is a problem.

Why can't Ubuntu or one of these derivatives grasp the bull by the horns and come up with a solution.

People like to use Chrome yet all we get is Firefox or some basic equivalent. Chrome works with everything. It is by far the best browser and I don't want to settle for second best.

If you don't want to include it as part of the main package manager add a simple tool for installing this and many other applications including Steam.

On the whole though the distribution looks good and is simple to use and I do recommend it for the Everyday Linux User.

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Zorin OS 12 "Core"

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Reviews

Zorin 12 Core is available in 32-bit and 64-bit x86 builds and the ISO we download is 1.5GB in size. Booting from this downloaded image launches a graphical environment. A window appears and asks if we would like to try Zorin's live desktop environment or launch the project's system installer. We can select our preferred language at this time from a list of languages on the left side of the window. At the bottom of the window is a link to the project's release notes and clicking this link opens a web browser to display the on-line document.

Something I found odd was that when I clicked the link to display Zorin's release notes, the web browser worked. It opened as expected and brought up the desired information. However, when I opted to try exploring Zorin's live desktop environment, I found the one application which did not launch was the Chromium web browser. When attempting to open the browser from the application menu, nothing would happen. When trying to launch Chromium from a virtual terminal, the terminal would hang, neither opening the browser nor returning me to a command prompt and no errors were displayed.

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MX Linux MX-16 Metamorphosis - Winds of change

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Reviews

MX Linux MX-16 Metamorphosis is a very decent distribution. It's a small product, not very well known, and probably not your first home choice when it comes to Linux. But then, despite its humble upbringing, it does offer a powerful punch. You get all the goodies out of the box, and except for some Bluetooth issues and less-than-trivial customization, the slate is spotless. Music, phones, speed, battery life, fun, all there.

Of course, the question is, can MX Linux sustain this record. If we look back, there were some rough patches, a bit of identity crisis, and the existential question of quality, the same journey that Xubuntu underwent. But then it kind of peaked and degraded some recently. Will MX Linux follow the same path? The last few years were good, with a steady, consistent improvement on all fronts. Then again, I thought Xubuntu was invincible, too.

For the time being, predicting the future remains tricky. However, here and now, MX-16 is a great choice for a lightweight desktop. Xfce has come a long way, and you get all the essentials you expect from a home system. It's all there, plus good looks, plus speed that rivals anything out there, among the best battery life numbers, great stability, and even some extra unique features like the live session save and MX Tools. A most worthy combo. All in all, 9.5/10. Warmly recommended for testing and sampling.

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Review: PocketCHIP—Super cheap Linux terminal that fits in your pocket

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Linux
Reviews

Portable, pocket-sized computer. Runs Linux. Has a good battery life. Bonus points for a physical keyboard, and full-size USB port. Double bonus points for being cheap.

That’s sort of my ideal “carry with me” device. If I can have a Linux device, with a proper shell that I can work entirely from, I’m a happy camper. Over the past few years I’ve been able to hobble together a few devices to accomplish this Utopian goal—more or less.

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Mint 18.1 review: Forget about Wayland and get comfy with the command line

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Reviews

All that changed a couple of years ago when Mint opted to stop chasing Ubuntu and built off the LTS cycle. Mint is no longer quite as cutting edge as it once was, which shows up in some important areas like the kernel (which is only at 4.4 even now). Mint is also still plagued by the some of the poorly implemented update and security issues that have dogged it for years. You can keep Mint up-to-date and secure, but Mint actively encourages users (especially inexperienced) users to avoid updates. That more than anything else would prevent me from picking Mint 18.1 over, well, any other distro.

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Huawei Mate 9 Pro Review: Probably The Best Android Phone Of 2016

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Reviews

It is a testament (or perhaps indictment?) to the Wild Wild West nature of the mobile industry that, on December 14, thinking it was close enough to the end of the year, I wrote a piece ranking my favorite smartphones of 2016 -- only for the list to be thrown out of wack a week later when I got my hands on the Huawei Mate 9 Pro.

The Mate 9 Pro is now my favorite go-to phone to use, and since it was technically released in 2016, that means it is indeed my new favorite phone of 2016.

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Reviewing the Librem 15

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Hardware
Reviews

Following up on my previous post where I detailed the work I’ve been doing mostly on Purism’s website, today’s post post will cover some video work. Near the beginning of October, I received a Librem 15 v2 unit for testing and reviewing purposes. I have been using it as my main laptop since then, as I don’t believe in reviewing something without using it daily for a couple weeks at least. And so on nights and week-ends, I wrote down testing results, rough impressions and recommendations, then wrote a detailed plan and script to make the first in depth video review of this laptop. Here’s the result—not your typical 2-minutes superficial tour:

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Reviews: Elementary OS Loki and Solus-2017.01.01

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Reviews
  • It’s Time to Try Something New: Elementary OS Loki

    Elementary OS isn’t your typical Linux distribution. Some would say it isn’t a distro at all. Elementary’s developers pitch their creation as a free and open alternative to Windows and macOS.

    That description is apt, and with the latest release, version 0.4 Loki, Elementary has blossomed into something beautiful. I love it, and I highly recommend it for new and experienced Linux users alike.

  • Solus-2017.01.01 — a review

    Solus is congenial system. I rather like the Budgie desktop. But you may find that you need to install additional software to meet your needs.

Min Browser Muffles the Web's Noise

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Reviews
Web

Min is not a full-featured Web browser with bells and whistles galore. It is not designed for add-ons and many other features you typically use in well-established Web browsers. However, Min serves an important niche purpose by offering speed and distraction-free browsing.

The more I use the Min browser, the more productive it is for me -- but be wary when you first start to use it.

Min is not complicated or confusing -- it is just quirky. You have to play around with it to discover how it works.

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Blu Vivo 6 review: Affordable Android in a pretty shell

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Android
Reviews

Phone-maker Blu started making a name for itself in the States for being an affordable Android brand, but it's taken some time for the company to bring its wares to the UK.

In fact, the Vivo 6 is the company's first Blighty-bound device. Having launched in time for a crazy opening-day Amazon discount during Black Friday weekend in 2016, the phone is now back to its full price of £239. So is it worth the cash?

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software

Linux and FOSS Events

  • Debian SunCamp 2017 Is Taking Place May 18-21 in the Province of Girona, Spain
    It looks like last year's Debian SunCamp event for Debian developers was a total success and Martín Ferrari is back with a new proposal that should take place later this spring during four days full of hacking, socializing, and fun. That's right, we're talking about Debian SunCamp 2017, an event any Debian developer, contributor, or user can attend to meet his or hers Debian buddies, hack together on new projects or improve existing ones by sharing their knowledge, plan upcoming features and discuss ideas for the Debian GNU/Linux operating system.
  • Pieter Hintjens In Memoriam
    Pieter Hintjens was a writer, programmer and thinker who has spent decades building large software systems and on-line communities, which he describes as "Living Systems". He was an expert in distributed computing, having written over 30 protocols and distributed software systems. He designed AMQP in 2004, and founded the ZeroMQ free software project in 2007. He was the author of the O'Reilly ZeroMQ book, "Culture and Empire", "The Psychopath Code", "Social Architecture", and "Confessions of a Necromancer". He was the president of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), and fought the software patent directive and the standardisation of the Microsoft OOXML Office format. He also organized the Internet of Things (IOT) Devroom here at FOSDEM for the last 3 years. In April 2016 he was diagnosed with terminal metastasis of a previous cancer.
  • foss-gbg on Wednesday
    The topics are Yocto Linux on FPGA-based hardware, risk and license management in open source projects and a product release by the local start-up Zifra (an encryptable SD-card). More information and free tickets are available at the foss-gbg site.

Leftovers: OSS

  • When Open Source Meets the Enterprise
    Open source solutions have long been an option for the enterprise, but lately it seems they are becoming more of a necessity for advanced data operations than merely a luxury for IT techs who like to play with code. While it’s true that open platforms tend to provide a broader feature set compared to their proprietary brethren, due to their larger and more diverse development communities, this often comes at the cost of increased operational complexity. At a time when most enterprises are looking to shed their responsibilities for infrastructure and architecture to focus instead on core money-making services, open source requires a fairly high level of in-house technical skill. But as data environments become more distributed and reliant upon increasingly complex compilations of third-party systems, open source can provide at least a base layer of commonality for resources that support a given distribution.
  • EngineerBetter CTO: the logical truth about software 'packaging'
    Technologies such as Docker have blended these responsibilities, causing developers to need to care about what operating system and native libraries are available to their applications – after years of the industry striving for more abstraction and increased decoupling!
  • What will we do when everything is automated?
    Just translate the term "productivity of American factories" into the word "automation" and you get the picture. Other workers are not taking jobs away from the gainfully employed, machines are. This is not a new trend. It's been going on since before Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. Industry creates machines that do the work of humans faster, cheaper, with more accuracy and with less failure. That's the nature of industry—nothing new here. However, what is new is the rate by which the displacement of human beings from the workforce in happening.
  • Want OpenStack benefits? Put your private cloud plan in place first
    The open source software promises hard-to-come-by cloud standards and no vendor lock-in, says Forrester's Lauren Nelson. But there's more to consider -- including containers.
  • Set the Agenda at OpenStack Summit Boston
    The next OpenStack Summit is just three months away now, and as is their custom, the organizers have once again invited you–the OpenStack Community–to vote on which presentations will and will not be featured at the event.
  • What’s new in the world of OpenStack Ambassadors
    Ambassadors act as liaisons between multiple User Groups, the Foundation and the community in their regions. Launched in 2013, the OpenStack Ambassador program aims to create a framework of community leaders to sustainably expand the reach of OpenStack around the world.
  • Boston summit preview, Ambassador program updates, and more OpenStack news

Proprietary Traps and Openwashing

  • Integrate ONLYOFFICE Online Editors with ownCloud [Ed: Proprietary software latches onto FOSS]
    ONLYOFFICE editors and ownCloud is the match made in heaven, wrote once one of our users. Inspired by this idea, we developed an integration app for you to use our online editors in ownCloud web interface.
  • Microsoft India projects itself as open source champion, says AI is the next step [Ed: Microsoft bribes to sabotage FOSS and blackmails it with patents; calls itself "open source"]
  • Open Source WSO2 IoT Server Advances Integration and Analytic Capabilities
    WSO2 has announced a new, fully-open-source WSO2 Internet of Things Server edition that "lowers the barriers to delivering enterprise-grad IoT and mobile solutions."
  • SAP license fees are due even for indirect users, court says
    SAP's named-user licensing fees apply even to related applications that only offer users indirect visibility of SAP data, a U.K. judge ruled Thursday in a case pitting SAP against Diageo, the alcoholic beverage giant behind Smirnoff vodka and Guinness beer. The consequences could be far-reaching for businesses that have integrated their customer-facing systems with an SAP database, potentially leaving them liable for license fees for every customer that accesses their online store. "If any SAP systems are being indirectly triggered, even if incidentally, and from anywhere in the world, then there are uncategorized and unpriced costs stacking up in the background," warned Robin Fry, a director at software licensing consultancy Cerno Professional Services, who has been following the case.
  • “Active Hours” in Windows 10 emphasizes how you are not in control of your own devices
    No edition of Windows 10, except Professional and Enterprise, is expected to function for more than 12 hours of the day. Microsoft most generously lets you set a block of 12 hours where you’re in control of the system, and will reserve the remaining 12 hours for it’s own purposes. How come we’re all fine with this? Windows 10 introduced the concept of “Active Hours”, a period of up to 12 hours when you expect to use the device, meant to reflect your work hours. The settings for changing the device’s active hours is hidden away among Windows Update settings, and it poorly fits with today’s lifestyles. Say you use your PC in the afternoon and into the late evening during the work week, but use it from morning to early afternoon in the weekends. You can’t fit all those hours nor accommodate home office hours in a period of just 12 hours. We’re always connected, and expect our devices to always be there for us when we need them.
  • Chrome 57 Will Permanently Enable DRM
    The next stable version of Chrome (Chrome 57) will not allow users to disable the Widevine DRM plugin anymore, therefore making it an always-on, permanent feature of Chrome. The new version of Chrome will also eliminate the “chrome://plugins” internal URL, which means if you want to disable Flash, you’ll have to do it from the Settings page.