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Reviews

A Preview to Kubuntu 18.04 from the Beta 2

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KDE
Reviews

Kubuntu 18.04 Beta 2 is here! It arrived today at Friday, April 6, 2018 in an announcement from Steve Langasek on Ubuntu Announce mailing list. Here's the summary after I installed it freshly on my laptop: the memory usage is only about 370MiB when idle, new dark themes, new wallpaper, new applications (Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, KDE Applications 17.12.3), Muon is here again along with Plasma Discover (both are software center). This will be a good news for every Kubuntu user who is waiting for the latest LTS version of Kubuntu.

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Also: Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS) Beta 2 Released!

Getting Started with Linux Mint? Focus on These Three Tools

MX Linux: A Mid-Weight Distro Focused on Simplicity

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Linux
Reviews

MX Linux makes transitioning from just about any desktop operating system simple. Although some might find the desktop interface to be a bit less-than-modern, the distribution’s primary focus isn’t on beauty, but simplicity. To that end, MX Linux succeeds in stellar fashion. This flavor of Linux can make anyone feel right at home on Linux. Spin up this mid-weight distribution and see if it can’t serve as your daily driver.

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Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow

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Reviews

Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the operating system from scratch against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right.

Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of desktop and multimedia software in the default installation, and a live desktop DVD. The live session capability is one of Bluestar's more enticing qualities.

The live session feature lets you easily check out its operation on your own hardware before actually installing the OS to your hard drive. Even better, the installation uses the Calamares installer for a smooth, automated setup. Most other Arch installations require manual installations that involve a command line nightmare. Often that leaves hopeful users frustrated when critical components fail to work on their gear.

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Review: Gatter Linux 0.8

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Gatter Linux is an Ubuntu-based distribution which features the Openbox window manager as the default user interface. The project claims to be developing a desktop operating system which is user friendly: "For people who want switch from Windows to [the] Linux world and for people who want [a] lightweight operation system and also fully functional." I could find very little other information on the distribution on its website.

The latest release of Gatter Linux is version 0.8 and it is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. The distribution is available in one edition for 64-bit x86 computers. The ISO the project provides is approximately 830MB in size. Booting from this disc brings up a menu asking if we would like to boot into a live desktop environment, boot a live desktop displayed in safe graphics mode, or launch the project's system installer. Taking the live desktop option brings us to a graphical login screen where we can sign into the default account if we have the right password. I did not find any reference to a password on the project's website, but quickly got signed in by guessing the password "gatter".

The live disc features the Openbox window manager. Openbox has been set up with a fairly sparse layout. There is a panel placed at the top of the screen which shows four unlabeled buttons and a system tray. I soon found the four blank buttons are actually a virtual desktop switcher that lets us switch between workspaces. The theme is dark and minimal.

When we sign in a welcome window appears. This welcome screen features launchers which can open configuration tools. One button launches an application which will switch our keyboard's layout, another button opens a third-party driver manager, a third tool helps us set our time zone. One button marked Gatter Settings opens up a panel with options for changing the appearance of the Openbox environment. Another button is labelled Gatter Software. This button opens a terminal window and displays a menu of possible package-related actions such as updating the system, cleaning the package cache or performing a "dist upgrade".

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Zorin OS For Linux Newbies

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Reviews

​Zorin OS is another Linux distro for general use purposes as well as for deploying in business workplaces. It is a great free alternative operating system (OS) for Windows users seeking to try out Linux for the first time. Zorin OS provides, by default, the look and feel of MS Windows 10 but still customizable to make it look OS X friendly or GNOME-y if one feel otherwise.

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Purism Librem 13 review: This Linux-based laptop takes your privacy to the next level

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Linux
Reviews

If you're okay with using a Linux laptop, which you should be, the Librem line of laptops would make a very solid investment. Combine the specs with the incredibly well-built hardware and the privacy features, and you have a laptop that is sure to please most business users that are ready to make the jump to Linux.

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A look at Elementary OS 0.4.1 – Loki

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Reviews

So, I’ve taken a look at a number if distributions so far, like Linux Mint, Manjaro and KDE Neon, but I figured I should show another distribution that I’d highly recommend for users who are new to GNU/Linux systems; Elementary OS.

If you’re a seasoned poweruser, you’ll likely find Elementary OS to be rather boring, closed off, and annoying. However, I have installed Elementary OS on friends machines who are not very computer friendly, and they have had no problems for years now, without a single complaint.

Loki is based on Ubuntu 16.04, and so reaps the benefits of the Ubuntu repositories.

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Neptune 5: A Practically Perfect Plasma-Based Distro

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Reviews

The integration of the Plasma 5 desktop in Neptune is smooth and smart. I have not liked much of the Plasma development as it exists in other distros.

However, in this one the Plasma 5 desktop environment is an inviting alternative to my two favorite choices -- Cinnamon and Xfce. This latest Neptune release offers a computing environment that sits comfortably between both of those desktop options.

One notable weakness: If I ever wanted to play any computer games, I would be disappointed with the few meager choices in Neptune's game menu. It offers only GNUDoQ, KBreakout, KMarjongg and KMines. What, not even a solitaire game? Come on!

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MX Linux Review – Version 17 – An Excellent All Around Linux Distribution

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Linux
Reviews

MX Linux is a popular and fast Linux distribution based on Debian stable that is currently in version 17.1. Today, I'm going to take you through my MX Linux Review to see why this distribution is so popular.

One of the best things about MX Linux is the variety of custom tools that have been built to make the life of the user easier. The team of devs at MX Linux have really outdone themselves making every single possible need as easy as possible with their MX apps.

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Manjaro 17.1.6 Hakoila Plasma - A rollercoaster of Tux

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Reviews

Wow, there could not be a more bi-polar distro than Manjaro Hakoila. On one hand, it's the state-of-art, bleeding-edge tech demonstrator with some rather brilliant and unique features, belying its Archy roots. On the other, it's rife with bugs and problems that are typical of small distros and badly integrated products. The network and smartphone side of things are particularly bad. You cannot excuse pale fonts or the menu error either, and then, if you've actually read a review, there were a dozen different issues through my test session.

That said, Manjaro 17.1.6 is pretty, inviting, elegant, largely robust and stable, fast enough on ancient hardware, it gives you Nvidia support out of the box, it gives you media goodies, it gives you the Microsoft Office access right there on your desktop, and it's got charm and character that goes beyond the bland copypasta you get elsewhere in the Linux world.

And then, I got meself thinking. I tried a few small but reasonably brilliant distros recently - Manjaro, MX Linux, Antergos. They all have unique, powerful features, all covering different angles. Imagine if they combined their efforts - MX Linux live session data import and its tools, Antergos software wizard, Manjaro office stuff. What a killer distro we could have then! But that's an article for a different time.

Back to Manjaro - I am actually liking this particular edition quite a lot. It's far from perfect, but then, with some hard work and attention to details, this could be an excellent choice for a desktop system. Perhaps more than any other distro did in recent times. Of course, there's still a huge amount of effort needed to make this a fully integrated, offline-online Windows competitor, but it's making steady progress, and I like that. A sure sign of greatness to come. Grade wise, about 7.5/10, just watch out for the buggy parts. And I will extend the testing onto my UEFI-powered Lenovo G50 laptop.

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More in Tux Machines

Red Hat Woes and Fedora 29 Plans

  • Shares of open-source giant Red Hat pounded on weaker outlook
  • Fedora 29 Aims To Offer Up Modules For Everyone
    The latest Fedora 29 feature proposal is about offering "modules for everyone" across all Fedora editions. The "modules for everyone" proposal would make it where all Fedora installations have modular repositories enabled by default. Up to now the modular functionality was just enabled by default in Fedora Server 28. The modular functionality allows Fedora users to choose alternate versions of popular software, such as different versions of Node.js and other server software components where you might want to stick to a particular version.

GNU Make, FSFE Newsletter, and FSF's BLAG Removal

  • Linux Fu: The Great Power of Make
    Over the years, Linux (well, the operating system that is commonly known as Linux which is the Linux kernel and the GNU tools) has become much more complicated than its Unix roots. That’s inevitable, of course. However, it means old-timers get to slowly grow into new features while new people have to learn all in one gulp. A good example of this is how software is typically built on a Linux system. Fundamentally, most projects use make — a program that tries to be smart about running compiles. This was especially important when your 100 MHz CPU connected to a very slow disk drive would take a day to build a significant piece of software. On the face of it, make is pretty simple. But today, looking at a typical makefile will give you a headache, and many projects use an abstraction over make that further obscures things.
  • FSFE Newsletter June 2018
  • About BLAG's removal from our list of endorsed distributions
    We recently updated our list of free GNU/Linux distributions to add a "Historical" section. BLAG Linux and GNU, based on Fedora, joined the list many years ago. But the maintainers no longer believe they can keep things running at this time. As such, they requested that they be removed from our list. The list helps users to find operating systems that come with only free software and documentation, and that do not promote any nonfree software. Being added to the list means that a distribution has gone through a rigorous screening process, and is dedicated to diligently fixing any freedom issues that may arise.

Servers: Kubernetes, Oracle's Cloudwashing and Embrace of ARM

  • Bloomberg Eschews Vendors For Direct Kubernetes Involvement
    Rather than use a managed Kubernetes service or employ an outsourced provider, Bloomberg has chosen to invest in deep Kubernetes expertise and keep the skills in-house. Like many enterprise organizations, Bloomberg originally went looking for an off-the-shelf approach before settling on the decision to get involved more deeply with the open source project directly. "We started looking at Kubernetes a little over two years ago," said Steven Bower, Data and Infrastructure Lead at Bloomberg. ... "It's a great execution environment for data science," says Bower. "The real Aha! moment for us was when we realized that not only does it have all these great base primitives like pods and replica sets, but you can also define your own primitives and custom controllers that use them."
  • Oracle is changing how it reports cloud revenues, what's it hiding? [iophk: "probably Microsoft doing this too" (cloudwashing)]
     

    In short: Oracle no longer reports specific revenue for cloud PaaS, IaaS and SaaS, instead bundling them all into one reporting line which it calls 'cloud services and licence support'. This line pulled in 60% of total revenue for the quarter at $6.8 billion, up 8% year-on-year, for what it's worth.

  • Announcing the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for ARM
    Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 for the ARM architecture.
  • Oracle Linux 7 Now Ready For ARM Servers
    While Red Hat officially launched RHEL7 for ARM servers last November, on Friday Oracle finally announced the general availability of their RHEL7-derived Oracle Linux 7 for ARM. Oracle Linux 7 Update 5 is available for ARM 64-bit (ARMv8 / AArch64), including with their new Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 based on Linux 4.14.

Graphics: XWayland, Ozone-GBM, Freedreno, X.Org, RadeonSI

  • The Latest Batch Of XWayland / EGLStream Improvements Merged
    While the initial EGLStreams-based support for using the NVIDIA proprietary driver with XWayland was merged for the recent X.Org Server 1.20 release, the next xorg-server release will feature more improvements.
  • Making Use Of Chrome's Ozone-GBM Intel Graphics Support On The Linux Desktop
    Intel open-source developer Joone Hur has provided a guide about using the Chrome OS graphics stack on Intel-based Linux desktop systems. In particular, using the Chrome OS graphics stack on the Linux desktop is primarily about using the Ozone-GBM back-end to Ozone that allows for direct interaction with Intel DRM/KMS support and evdev for input.
  • Freedreno Reaches OpenGL ES 3.1 Support, Not Far From OpenGL 3.3
    The Freedreno Gallium3D driver now supports all extensions required by OpenGL ES 3.1 and is also quite close to supporting desktop OpenGL 3.3.
  • X.Org Is Looking For A North American Host For XDC2019
    If software development isn't your forte but are looking to help out a leading open-source project while logistics and hospitality are where you excel, the X.Org Foundation is soliciting bids for the XDC2019 conference. The X.Org Foundation is looking for proposals where in North America that the annual X.Org Developers' Conference should be hosted in 2019. This year it's being hosted in Spain and with the usual rotation it means that in 2019 they will jump back over the pond.
  • RadeonSI Compatibility Profile Is Close To OpenGL 4.4 Support
    It was just a few days ago that the OpenGL compatibility profile support in Mesa reached OpenGL 3.3 compliance for RadeonSI while now thanks to the latest batch of patches from one of the Valve Linux developers, it's soon going to hit OpenGL 4.4. Legendary open-source graphics driver contributor Timothy Arceri at Valve has posted 11 more patches for advancing RadeonSI's OpenGL compatibility profile support, the alternative context to the OpenGL core profile that allows mixing in deprecated OpenGL functionality. The GL compatibility profile mode is generally used by long-standing workstation software and also a small subset of Linux games.