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Reviews

All about Debian 9 'Stretch,' the Linux distro that just works

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Reviews
Debian

Debian 9 "Stretch" just came out, and as far as Linux distros go, Debian stands apart as a distribution meant for stability. Sure, most desktop users might choose Ubuntu or Fedora for their desktop PC, while users who are more willing to get their hands dirty might opt for Arch or Gentoo. Hackers might gravitate to Kali, while the paranoid among us might look for something like TAILS.

There's a lot to take in with a Debian release, but there are a few key notes for the average desktop user.

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Peppermint OS 8

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Reviews

Peppermint OS is a lightweight Linux distribution built primarily from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS packages. The latest release of Peppermint, version 8, ships with support for booting on UEFI-enabled computers. Peppermint also supports loading on computers protected by Secure Boot. The distribution ships with version 4.8 of the Linux kernel with Ubuntu's Hardware Enablement (HWE) drivers so the distribution should run on most modern computers.

Perhaps the most interesting item Peppermint ships with, and what sets it apart from other lightweight Ubuntu-based projects such as Lubuntu and Linux Lite, is a feature called Ice. The Ice software helps users set up short-cuts to websites and web-apps. These short-cuts can be added to the Peppermint application menu and launched in a streamlined web browser window, giving the web-resource the appearance of a natively run application.

Peppermint 8 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the 64-bit version which is 1.2GB in size. Booting from the downloaded media brings up a menu giving us the chance to load the distribution's live desktop environment, launch the system installer, begin an OEM install or verify the integrity of the installation media.

Peppermint's live session boots to a desktop environment which contains a mixture of Xfce and LXDE components. The hybrid desktop uses LXDE's LXSession software while running the Xfwm4 window manager and Xfce's panel. The panel -- with its application menu, task switcher and system tray -- sits at the bottom of the screen. An icon on the desktop can be used to launch the distribution's system installer. The application menu is divided into two panes with the left side displaying categories of software and the right side showing specific application launchers.

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Dell Precision 5520 Mobile Workstation review: The Ubuntu Linux laptop for power developers

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Dell describes their Project Sputnik computers as systems developed by and for developers. They're right. They are. While the XPS 13 is the best known of these, it could stand a little improvement. For example, it can only hold 16GBs of RAM. For those who need even more power and memory, you can get a Dell Precision 5520 Mobile Workstation.

You can up the RAM on this powerhouse machine to 32GBs of RAM. For processing punch, the 5520 defaults to an Intel Core i5-7440HQ 2.80GHz processor, but for an extra $322 you can crank it up to a blazing-hot Intel Core Xeon 3 GHz E3-1505M v6 CPU. The I5 7440 Processor comes with the Intel 630 HD Graphics. The other processors come with a snappy Nvidia Quadro M1200 graphics processor with 4GBs of video RAM.

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The beefy Dell Precision 7520 DE can out-muscle a growing Linux laptop field

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

Project Sputnik has done an admirable job over the years of bringing a "just works" Linux experience to Dell Ultrabooks like the XPS 13 Developer Edition—in fact, we've tested and largely enjoyed those experiences multiple times now. But while the XPS 13 is a great machine that I would not hesitate to recommend for most Linux users, it does have its shortcomings. The biggest problem in my view has long been the limited amount of RAM; the XPS 13 tops out at 16GB. While that's enough for most users, there are those (software developers compiling large projects, video editors, even photographers) who would easily benefit from more.

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Review: IPFire as a home router

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Linux
Reviews

IPFire is a Linux distribution that is focused on delivering a starting point for a router and firewall solution with a web interface. It can be made to do a whole lot, but it may not be the best fit for the needs of a home network.

I’ll not go in to performance testing at all in this review as this will vary based on your hardware. You can use any x86_64 (or armv5tel) system with at least two Ethernet ports. You may need a third Ethernet port if you want to use an external wireless access point rather than configuring the box you want to use with IPFire as your access point.

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System76 Oryx Pro Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

This past weekend I was sent a System76 laptop to review (Thanks guys and gals!). So the first thing I did was install the latest Kubuntu release (17.04) and added the System76-Driver PPA.

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Debian 9 "Stretch"

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Reviews
Debian

The Debian project is one of the world's oldest surviving Linux distributions and can trace its release history back to 1993. The project attracts many developers with over one thousand people contributing to the project with code, artwork and documentation. The Debian project maintains a massive number of software packages with a very open infrastructure which makes contributing to (and borrowing from) Debian quite easy. These factors, along with Debian's famed stability, have caused over one hundred GNU/Linux distributions over the years to base themselves on Debian.

The Debian team released Debian 9 (code name Stretch) on June 18th and the new version offers a number of interesting changes. For example, the MySQL database has been replaced with its fork, MariaDB. The Debian-rebranded packages of Icedove and Iceweasel have been replaced by their upstream counterparts, Thunderbird and Firefox. According to the release announcement over 90% of Debian's huge collection of packages can now be verified through reproducible builds, which is great news for people who want to verify the source code they have access to matches the code used to make their executable files. In some situations administrators can now set up the X display software to run without root user access, making the display software a little more secure.

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Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 – new kid on the block

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Ubuntu

Generally speaking, Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 left a nice impression on me. You can order your own copy of this operating system here.

It felt solid, fast and stable. There were no glitches apart from the screen-related issue at the very beginning of the boot process.

There were issues here and there of various severities. If Debian wallpapers in Ubuntu-based distribution can only cause a smile, the software search issues in the default package manager are something that should be really dealt with.

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Xinix Offers Linux Lovers a Path to Zen

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Reviews

Normally, Linux Picks and Pans does not review such early new beta releases. However, the framework and unique features of Xinix OS make it such a radically different Linux distro that I kept coming back to tinker with it. The latest update was posted on June 15.

If you enjoy delving into unchartered territory with software, check out this latest version. It shows solid improvements over earlier efforts. Otherwise, wait for later upgrades as Xinix OS gets more developed.

Download Xinix OS here. The Vanilla Edition (VE) is for devices like desktops and laptops. The Embedded Edition (EE) is for routers and set-top boxes.

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Ubuntu Kylin, a Linux Distribution with a Microsoft Windows Experience

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Reviews

Ubuntu Kylin is an open-source Linux distribution based on Ubuntu since 2013, mainly developed by a Chinese team alongside dozens of Linux developers all over the world. It contains the basic features you would expect from Ubuntu, plus features a desktop environment and applications. As far as we know, Ubuntu Kylin is one of the most suitable Linux distributions for users who are farmiliar with Microsoft Windows, including its desktop environment, office suite and various applications.

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More in Tux Machines

Manjaro Linux Phasing out i686 (32bit) Support

In a not very surprising move by the Manjaro Linux developers, a blog post was made by Philip, the Lead Developer of the popular distribution based off Arch Linux, On Sept. 23 that reveals that 32-bit support will be phased out. In his announcement, Philip says, “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture. The decision means that v17.0.3 ISO will be the last that allows to install 32 bit Manjaro Linux. September and October will be our deprecation period, during which i686 will be still receiving upgraded packages. Starting from November 2017, packaging will no longer require that from maintainers, effectively making i686 unsupported.” Read more

Korora 26 'Bloat' Fedora-based Linux distro available for download -- now 64-bit only

Fedora is my favorite Linux distribution, but I don't always use it. Sometimes I opt for an operating system that is based on it depending on my needs at the moment. Called "Korora," it adds tweaks, repositories, codecs, and packages that aren't found in the normal Fedora operating system. As a result, Korora deviates from Red Hat's strict FOSS focus -- one of the most endearing things about Fedora. While you can add all of these things to Fedora manually, Korora can save you time by doing the work for you. Read more

BackSlash Linux Olaf

While using BackSlash, I had two serious concerns. The first was with desktop performance. The Plasma-based desktop was not as responsive as I'm used to, in either test environment. Often times disabling effects or file indexing will improve the situation, but the desktop still lagged a bit for me. My other issue was the program crashes I experienced. The Discover software manager crashed on me several times, WPS crashed on start-up the first time on both machines, I lost the settings panel once along with my changes in progress. These problems make me think BackSlash's design may be appealing to newcomers, but I have concerns with the environment's stability. Down the road, once the developers have a chance to iron out some issues and polish the interface, I think BackSlash might do well targeting former macOS users, much the same way Zorin OS tries to appeal to former Windows users. But first, I think the distribution needs to stabilize a bit and squash lingering stability bugs. Read more

BSD: Testing OpenSSH 7.6, 23 Years of FreeDOS

  • Call for testing: OpenSSH 7.6

    OpenSSH 7.6p1 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This is a bugfix release.

  • 23 Years of FreeDOS

    This eBook contains the voices of many of the users who contributed their stories, as well as the history of FreeDOS. Many individuals have helped make FreeDOS what it is, but this eBook represents only a few of them. I hope you enjoy this collection of 23 years of everything FreeDOS!