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Reviews

Fedora 28 KDE - Call the doctor, it's not feeling well

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Red Hat
Reviews

I didn't get to test a lot of things - apps, hardware compatibility, performance, whatnot, but then, there's really no reason to persist. This is a failing distro, like so many others released recently. No validation, no care, nothing. Just random code. A lackluster showing with no pride or passion or quality. Fedora 28 KDE did give me media playback, but that's about the only thing that worked fine. The rest was all broken. Customization wasn't smooth, the fonts are meh, no smartphone support, mediocre network support, and then, a dead desktop after trying to install Nvidia drivers the same way that worked just fine in Fedora 27. Madness.

If you want to use Fedora for some reason, the Gnome edition is better, but it's still a rather average product and not suitable for day-to-say use. A steady decline since version 25, and I'm 100% sure this is all the result of the carefree approach to software development, the rapid release mania and the total disregard to validation and user needs. This one is a total flop. And I've just wasted a day and a half of my life. We're done.

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Also: Call for Fedora Women’s Day 2018 proposals

Librem 13: Review

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews

I'm been using the new laptop for a few hours now, and I'm happy so far. This is a great system.

I did end up re-installing the operating system. When I first booted the Librem, it was using the pre-installed PureOS Linux distribution. I played with it for a while, and actually did some work online with it, then decided I'd rather run the Fedora Linux distribution that I'm used to. I'll post an article later with impressions about PureOS.

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Google Peering – 10 Times Faster Internet

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Reviews

Before we talk about Google Peering, Google owns the smartphone market and this has led to the popularity of all of its services such as Google Drive, Youtube, Play Store etc. Since we spend significant time on these services it would be really great if we could get uninterrupted speeds on these web services.

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Botond Ballo: Review of the Purism Librem 13

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Reviews
Gadgets

The Purism Librem 13 has largely lived up to my goal of having a lightweight productivity laptop with a decent amount of memory (though I’m sad to say that the Firefox build has continued to get larger and slower over time, and linking is sometimes a struggle even with 16 GB of RAM…) while also going the extra mile to protect my privacy and freedoms. The Librem 13 has a few deficiencies in comparison to the ThinkPad line, but they’re mostly in the category of papercuts. At the end of the day it boils down to whether living with a few small annoyances to benefit from the additional privacy features is the right tradeoff for you. For me, so far, it has been, although I certainly hope the Purism folks take feedback like this into account and improve future iterations of the Librem line.

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Also: Software delays, lack of purpose means Microsoft’s “Andromeda” may never arrive

Lengthy Review of Linux Mint 19: A Distro for Everyone

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Reviews

Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distributions of all time. I have been seeing people using Mint everywhere on their desktops, and when I used to ask them about “Why Mint?” they simply say “It just works”. And indeed, it does.

The distribution’s developers have been on a mission since 2006 to create a user-friendly Linux distribution which would suite almost any user for it. More importantly, everything a new user for the Linux world needs is installed/ready for installation in Mint, which is not the case in other distributions with other purposes.

Linux Mint 19 “Tara” was released few days ago with huge updates for its Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE spins. You can upgrade to the new release or download the ISOs now. In this post we would like to share our experience so far with Mint 19.

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Review: Linux Mint 19

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Reviews

I was very happy this week running Linux Mint 19. The distribution gave me better than average performance, a relatively low memory footprint and a friendly interface. All my hardware was supported, I liked the default collection of applications and the distribution was very easy to set up. The new welcome window is a good addition. I think it'll make things easier for first-time users looking for tips on getting up and running.

I also must tip my hat to Mint's software centre, it is perhaps the first software manager I have encountered that makes working with traditional Deb packages and portable Flatpak packages seamless while clearly flagging Flatpaks as being different.

At first I was sceptical about the update manager's new approach to applying all updates. The ranked updates approach Mint used in the past made it easy to set up the distribution to be more stable for family and friends. Having all available security updates is nice, but when providing tech support for new Linux users I am more concerned with a kernel update breaking the system than I am the possibility that a remote kernel exploit will get through their firewall. (The former happens semi-regularly with other distributions, the latter has never happened to my knowledge.) It is too soon to tell if the overall effect of this change will be good or bad for the people I support. However, I will say that I like the way Timeshift integrates with Btrfs. With most update problems I will be able to boot an old kernel and rollback to an earlier Timeshift snapshot and that may prove to be a suitable trade-off; balancing improved security with a fairly straight forward recovery process.

Speaking of Timeshift, while it does have a few limitations with regards to transferring snapshots to another computer and it is awkward working with encrypted home directories, otherwise Timeshift is a wonderfully friendly way to safeguard the operating system. I'm happy to see Mint support Timeshift and Btrfs snapshots, more distributions should make these technologies a priority in my opinion.

Mint's default selection of software is nice. I like that the team picks the more capable and user-friendly applications over programs that use a specific toolkit or design. The default look is fairly attractive without being distracting too. Personally, I would like a darker theme, but that is easy enough to change.

Early on there were a few minor things which annoyed me (trigger happy screen saver, window visual effects), but these were easily fixed and a matter of personal preference rather than bugs. I don't think I encountered any serious issues during my trial. There were no performance issues and no hurdles to getting work done. Using Mint was a pleasantly smooth and trouble-free experience for me.

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Xfce dock & global menu - Nice and elegant

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Reviews

While the setup was far from trivial, I am rather pleased with the look & feel I've achieved. The choice of the dock is less important, so go with what you like - most won't let you launch more than a single instance of an application, btw. Both Docky and Plank were stable and behaved pretty well, and they are a good choice for our Mac-ified desktop.

On the global menu side, it was much trickier, with broken packages, missing dependencies, complex compilations, and whatnot. In the end, I had it all running, albeit with some odd glitches here and there. Not perfect, but quite reasonable. Very similar to Mutiny, I have to say, if not quite as straightforward to set up. And I do understand why this is not a default set in Xfce desktops, but it would be nice to have that. Xfce has grown a lot in the past few years, and it need not lurk in the corner shyly. It can proudly wear its laurels. There. Pretty looks and functionality. All covered. I hope you enjoyed this.

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4MLinux: More Than Just Another Lightweight Distro

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

I don’t want to get up on yet another “Here’s another lightweight Linux distribution to revive your aging hardware” soapbox. So many distributions make that promise, and most of them do an outstanding job of fulfilling their mission statement. Also, many of those distributions are fairly similar: They offer a small footprint, work with 32-bit systems, and install a minimal amount of software dedicated to the task of helping you get your work done as best a lightweight operating system can do.

But then there’s 4MLinux. This particular take on the lightweight Linux distribution is a different beast altogether. First and foremost, 4MLinux doesn’t include a package manager. That’s right, the only way you can install packages on this distribution is to do so from source (unless you install the limited number of packages from within the Extensions menu (more on that in a bit). That, of course, can lead to a dependency nightmare. But if you really give it some thought, that could be a serious plus, especially if you’re looking for a distribution that could be considered an ideal desktop for end users with specific use cases. If those users only need to work with a web browser, 4MLinux allows that while preventing users from installing other applications.

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Peppermint 9 Offers Some Cool New Options

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Reviews

Peppermint 9, released June 22, accomplishes something most other Linux distros don't: It melds the best components from other desktop environments and integrates them into a solid operating system.

Peppermint OS is a lightweight Ubuntu-based distribution featuring a desktop environment mashup of Xfce and LXDE components. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components.

Peppermint is a good alternative to the Linux Mint Xfce release with a sprinkling of Cinnamon to spice up the desktop a bit more. Peppermint also uses Ice -- a cloud and Web application management tool -- which makes the operating system refreshingly different.

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Winepak – Abstraction done (almost) right

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Software
Reviews

The concept of running Windows software on top of Linux is a tricky one. First, it defies the intended usage. Second, it requires some significant digital acrobatics in order to marry two incompatible layers, the Linux system and Windows applications.

Over the years, the primary effort trying to reconcile the almost impossible yet tantalizing wedlock has been through WINE, a compatibility framework that translates Windows API into POSIX calls. Easier said than done, and if you’ve read my reviews on this topic, you will have noticed that: 1) not too many programs can run well in this fashion 2) few common, popular programs that Windows folks use fall into the previous category 3) the quality of abstraction has been going down over the years. Top that with the inherent nerdy nature of WINE, which requires a fair deal of manual labor, and the end result is not a satisfactory one. But now, a new challenger has appeared. It’s called Winepak.

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