Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Reviews

Ubuntu Budgie Whistles Up a Better Remix

Filed under
Reviews
Ubuntu

The Budgie desktop lacks the glitz and glitter found in more seasoned desktop environments. Animation is nonexistent.

However, this latest release makes good on Ubuntu Budgie's promise to provide simplicity and elegance along with functionality. It goes further down the development pathway to improve on the simplicity to make Budgie a solid desktop choice.

Read more

Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver - Long-term uncertainty

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

The day of reckoning is upon us. Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver has been released, and with five years of promised support, it's potentially a great candidate for a production desktop setup. The emphasis is on the adverb used in the previous sentence, as we know how fickle and erratic and regressive Linux distros can be.

But I am genuinely intrigued. I may want this in my production setup. After all, Kubuntu Zesty was the ultimate Plasma release, the best Kubuntu ever, and among the finest Linux systems released in the past decade, and it spiked my interest and desire to deploy Plasma on my serious big-boy machines. With such gentle expectations, let us commence.

[...]

First impressions are everything. I remember trying Trusty, and instantly I knew, this was going to be my LTS darling. I don't feel that way about Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver. Let's start with the good things: decent app set, good performance, excellent fonts, multimedia and smartphone support, solid and slick Plasma desktop. Were this the focus on my review, we'd be celebrating with champagne now.

Alas, there were issues. Various cosmetic ones, which Plasma needs to fix, but I can sort of ignore those. The package manager is useless. Samba connectivity, a thousand unicorns died from misery over this. And worst of all, desktop crashes and freezes. That has no place in an LTS edition. That's pure amateurism. That's so bad there are no words to describe it. Yes, the memory-eating bug in Baloo will be fixed, blah blah, but the emotional scars cannot be healed with makeup and fake smiles.

Bottom line, I was expecting zero issues. I got more than a fair share of crap. In two months, this will most likely be a usable distro, perhaps much more so than most other LTS-like candidates, maybe, but for now, it's just an average offering from the forges of mediocrity and apathy. And it highlights the cardinal issue with Linux since day one. Dev-centric development, done in isolation and with no validation. Well, there you go. My first take on Beaver KDE. I will also run an in-vivo upgrade to see what gives, and follow up in a few weeks once the turds are polished. You should check it, but please rein in your colts of enthusiasm. 5/10. For now, Trusty stays.

Read more

A first look at Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop

Filed under
Reviews
Ubuntu

Canonical made a bit of a U-turn in its interface plans while developing the last interim release of Ubuntu (17.10, codenamed "Artful Aardvark")—dropping development of its homegrown Unity interface and application launcher (as well as development of an Ubuntu phone), saying goodbye to the Ambiance interface theme of old and embracing the GNOME 3.28 desktop instead. Also significant is the integration of Snapcraft's "snap" format—a universal containerized installer format for packaged applications on all Linux platforms—into Ubuntu's application store.

Ubuntu had settled on the Wayland display server for 17.10 as a default because Canonical wanted to boost 3D graphics capabilities, but it has switched back to X.org graphics server as the default for 18.04, mostly because Wayland's support for screen sharing in applications such as Google Hangouts and Skype isn't quite there. There is also support for remote desktop applications based on RDP and VNC, according to Canonical's Desktop Engineering Manager Will Cooke, and "recoverability from Shell crashes is less dramatic under Xorg." But Wayland is still pre-installed and can be selected at login, and Cooke said that Canonical would take another look at making it default for version 18.10.

Most of the major internal changes in 18.04 LTS are more important on the server side. But so far, as Ars' primary day-to-day Linux desktop user, I've been really impressed with the snappiness and usability of this latest LTS desktop.

Read more

Also: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 525

Review: Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Filed under
Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is not perfect, but it is very good. Users who are super conservative about change might want to stick to 16.04 LTS with Unity for now, but 18.04 LTS is a good desktop distribution that provides an excellent selection of default software for doing general tasks like checking e-mail and writing documents, and there is plenty of other software in the repositories for users who want to do more advanced things. There are a few rough edges that may, or may not, get cleaned up by the time 18.04.1 comes out, but none of them are bad enough to make Ubuntu 18.04 LTS unusable. At worst, the issues are minor annoyances. I realize that GNOME may not be for everyone, and may in itself be a reason to look elsewhere, but I do like Ubuntu's implementation of GNOME with the exception of the various issues with handling desktop icons. However, if GNOME is not for you, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS's other flavors provide the same Ubuntu base with other desktop environments, so check out those if GNOME is not to your liking.

Read more

Elisa music player – Fur Elise

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

Elisa is an early beginning of something that might one day transpire into a good, meaningful, exciting project. Or become yet another pile of code created without a greater strategic imperative aimed at satisfying a primal need. At the moment, it’s a bit early to tell, but the initial showing is just okay. Reasonable looks, reasonable behavior, some bugs, and simple functionality that is neither here nor there. I would like to see more. Better yet, I’d like to see something new and unique.

In other words, think, what would make you switch? What would make you abandon your current music player and opt for Elisa as your primary choice? And what does it have that we haven’t already seen or tried in dozens of other players? At the moment, not much. True, another effort does not hurt anyone, and why not. But then, why not is not the foundation on which greatness is built. Plasma is taking off, and recently, it’s become more robust, more consistent, more professional. All and every future effort needs to align to this core mission, and Elisa should follow suit. This beginning ain’t bad, but I want more. Worth testing, just don’t expect any miracles.

Read more

In Beaver We Trust: A Lengthy, Pedantic Review of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Filed under
Reviews
Ubuntu

It's obvious that a lot of work and polish went into this release. Although no Linux-based desktop OS has yet been able to wrest much market share from Windows and Mac OS, I'd say within the last ten years it's at least moderately popular among software developers and other technology-centric folk. I applaud Canonical for being part of the reason this is true. They also get a lot of credit for supporting tons of ancilary open source projects along the way, including actively encouraging spin-offs of their OS.

The Bionic Beaver release of Ubuntu is actually pretty solid, truth be told. Although it turns out that the basic design of the window and desktop management completely prevent me from switching away from Xubuntu, I think it's a fine choice for a lot of users. To get all cliche about it: sorry Ubuntu, it's not you, it's me.

Read more

Raspberry Pi Series Part 2: Laying Out The Basics II

Filed under
Reviews

In the last article, we covered the basics of Raspberry Pi. We talked about what Raspberry Pi is and how it can help make amazing projects. In this article, I'll talk about the parts of Raspberry Pi board. So let's get started!

Read<br />
more

Review: Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.10

Filed under
Reviews

Chakra is an unusual distribution for a few reasons. It is a rare semi-rolling project, which tries to maintain a fairly stable base system while providing up to date applications. This is an interesting compromise between full rolling and static operating systems. The semi-rolling concept is an idea I like and I was curious to see how well the approach would work dealing with around six months of updates. I was pleased to find Chakra handled the massive upgrade well.

Chakra was once also considered unusual for being very KDE-focused. There are more KDE distribution these days (KaOS, Kubuntu and KDE neon come readily to mind) and I think Chakra may have lost some of its appeal as more competition has established itself in the KDE-centric arena.

I found the distribution to be easy to set up and pretty straight forward to use, but there were a few characteristics which bothered me during my trial with Chakra. One was that while updates installed cleanly, once Plasma 5.12 was installed, I experienced slow login times and reduced performance on the desktop. It could be argued that this is a Plasma problem, not a Chakra problem, but the distribution's rolling release nature means any regressions in new versions of software end up in the user's lap.

Something that tends to bother me about distributions which focus on one desktop toolkit or another is that this approach to selecting software means we are sometimes using less capable tools in the name of toolkit purity. This is not a trade-off I like as I'd rather be using more polished applications over ones which a particular affiliation.

Finally, Chakra includes a number of command line aliases which got in my way. This seems to be a problem I have been running into more often recently. Developers are trying to be helpful by aliasing common commands, but it means that for some tasks I need to change my habits or undefine the provided aliases and the feature ends up being a nuisance instead of a convenience.

Chakra seems to be a capable and useful distribution and I am sure there are people who will appreciate the rolling release nature. Many people will likely also like having lots of KDE applications, and I can see the appeal of this combination. However, one thing which makes me hesitate to recommend Chakra is that the distribution does not appear to bring any special features to the ecosystem. It's a useful operating system and, to be completely fair, users can install non-KDE alternatives if they want to use LibreOffice instead of Calligra or GIMP instead of KolourPaint. But I'm not sure Chakra brings anything unique which makes it stand apart from openSUSE's Tumbleweed or KaOS's polished Plasma offering. Chakra used to be special in its semi-rolling, KDE-focused niche, but these days the distribution has a more competition and I'm not sure the project has any special sauce to set it apart from the crowd.

Read more

Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity

Filed under
OS
Reviews

I had to keep reminding myself that I was not dealing with an extreme case of Arch Linux instead of GNU/Linux. NixOS is more demanding and definitely not a distro for users with anything less than advanced skills.

To say NixOS comes with a steep learning curve and lots of hands-on overhead is putting it mildly. If you are a typical Linux user who lacks sysadmin training, avoid NixOS like a malware attack hiding in plain sight.

Read more

KDE’s New Elisa Music Player: So Close, Yet So Far Away

Filed under
Reviews

KDE is a working on a new music player called Elisa. Can Elisa become the new default music player in most Linux distributions? Find out in this review of Elisa music player.
Read more

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

A look at Lutris – Open Gaming Platform for GNU/Linux

Lutris is quite the handy application I’ve discovered, that helps with organization and installation of games on GNU/Linux, even if they come from multiple sources. One of the project's goals is to support any game that runs on Linux regardless of whether it runs natively, through Wine, or other means. The main appeal of Lutris is that it provides an interface to manage all games installed on the machine regardless of source. While it is necessary to integrate the games in the application first, doing so is not super complicated. You may add local games right away by selecting them from the local system or visit the Lutris website to add games this way. Lutris simplifies nearly everything. Users can visit the list of support games on the Lutris website, choose to download and install the game (Note: If its a game that must be bought, you must own it first.) The website lists supported games and where you can acquire or download them. You can use filters on the site to display only free games, games of a genre, or use the built-in search to find games of interest quickly using it. Read more

GNOME Desktop: Flatpak and Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension

  • Flatpak in detail, part 2
    The first post in this series looked at runtimes and extensions. Here, we’ll look at how flatpak keeps the applications and runtimes on your system organized, with installations, repositories, branches, commits and deployments.
  • Flatpak – a history
    I’ve been working on Flatpak for almost 4 years now, and 1.0 is getting closer. I think it might be interesting at this point to take a retrospective look at the history of Flatpak.
  • Random Wallpaper Gnome Extension Changes Your Desktop Background With Images From Various Online Sources
    Random Wallpaper is an extension for Gnome Shell that can automatically fetch wallpapers from a multitude of online sources and set it as your desktop background. The automatic wallpaper changer comes with built-in support for downloading wallpapers from unsplash.com, desktopper.co, wallhaven.cc, as well as support for basic JSON APIs or files. The JSON support is in fact my favorite feature in Random Wallpaper. That's because thanks to it and the examples available on the Random Wallpaper GitHub Wiki, one can easily add Chromecast Images, NASA Picture of the day, Bing Picture of the day, and Google Earth View (Google Earth photos from a selection of around 1500 curated locations) as image sources.

today's howtos

KDE: QtPad, Celebrating 10 Years with KDE, GSoC 2018

  • QtPad - Modern Customizable Sticky Note App for Linux
    In this article, we'll focus on how to install and use QtPad on Ubuntu 18.04. Qtpad is a unique and highly customizable sticky note application written in Qt5 and Python3 tailored for Unix systems.
  • Celebrating 10 Years with KDE
    Of course I am using KDE software much longer. My first Linux distribution, SuSE 6.2 (the precursor to openSUSE), came with KDE 1.1.1 and was already released 19 years ago. But this post is not celebrating the years I am using KDE software. Exactly ten years ago, dear Albert committed my first contribution to KDE. A simple patch for a problem that looked obvious to fix, but waiting for someone to actually do the work. Not really understanding the consequences, it marks the start of my journey within the amazing KDE community.
  • GSoC 2018 – Coding Period (May 28th to June 18th): First Evaluation and Progress with LVM VG
    I got some problems during the last weeks of Google Summer of Code which made me deal with some challenges. One of these challenges was caused by a HD physical problem. I haven’t made a backup of some work and had to rework again in some parts of my code. As I already knew how to proceed, it was faster than the first time. I had to understand how the device loading process is made in Calamares to load a preview of the new LVM VG during its creation in Partition Page. I need to list it as a new storage device in this page and deal with the revert process. I’ve implemented some basic fixes and tried to improve it.