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Reviews

SwagArch 18.02 - U Got Swag?

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Reviews

SwagArch sounds like an interesting concept. The aesthetic side of things is reasonable, although brown as a color and a dark theme make for a tricky choice. The fonts are pretty good overall. But the visual element is the least of the distro's problems. SwagArch 18.02 didn't deliver the basics, and that's what made Dedoimedo sad.

Network support plus the clock issue, horrible package management and broken programs, those are things that must work perfectly. Without them, the system has no value. So you do get multimedia support and a few unique apps, however that cannot balance out all the woes and problems that I encountered. All in all, Swag needs a lot more work. Also, it will have a tough time competing with Manjaro and Antergos, which are already established and fairly robust Arch spins. Lastly, it needs to narrow down its focus. The overall integration of elements is pretty weak. Eclectic, jumbled, not really tested. 2/10 for now. Let's see how it evolves.

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Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review – For The Record

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KDE
Reviews

Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review. Linux Mint and KDE haven’t always been on my list of favorite things. That said, Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition really surprised me – there is a lot to like! Great pulseaudio settings, an improved package manager, plus a whole lot more!

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MATE 1.20 review - Are you all right, mate?

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Reviews

Overall, MATE 1.20 is a nice desktop environment. It has its legacy quirks, especially when it comes to panel management and overall cross-integration between programs. But it can be styled and tamed and used with flair and elegance. However, you do feel that it's aged in some areas, and that those areas remain neglected. Modern does not mean better, but some aspects of the 2018 computing model are superior to what we had a decade ago. The same way some aspects of MATE (Gnome 2) remain better than the touchesque flat-fest we have today.

Xfce seems to have weathered these changes more successfully, but then it also had no identity crisis, no betrayal, and it benefits from more overall focus and attention. MATE not only had to fight Gnome 3, it also has Cinnamon to take into account. Those aside, if you do want an old-school, no-nonsense desktop environment, MATE is a good choice. Perhaps not the best one, but it will serve you loyally without any bells and whistles. Just be ready for an odd ghost of the past striking at you now and then.

Remember, once upon a time, I didn't like Xfce, like not at all, and look where it's now. So MATE has survived the rite of passage, and it's evolving steadily. The next step should be pro looks, tight integration and some acknowledgment of modernity, on a system level, and perhaps it could become the desktop environment that Gnome 3 should have been in the first place. There's still hope. Keep an eye, and let's see what happens. I guess that would be all.

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A Quick Look to Ubuntu 18.04 Beta 1

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" Beta 1 released few days ago. This Beta 1 is the first pre-release version designed for testing to prepare the final release next April. I have installed Beta 1 and this short review covers where to download Bionic Beta 1, what applications available, how the desktop looks, how much RAM it takes, and more links and information about it. In short, Bionic Beta 1 brings GNOME 3.27 and Linux Kernel 4.15, with LibreOffice 6.0 and bunch of GNOME Applications, and with Firefox Quantum beside the improved Ubuntu Software. Finally, this article is for all of you wanting to know Bionic in brief without installing it. I hope you enjoy it!

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Review: Sabayon and Antergos

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Gentoo
Reviews

Sabayon is a Gentoo-based distribution which is available in many desktop editions as well as a server edition. Sabayon strives to provide a working system out-of-the-box, saving the user a lot of time when it comes to configuring the operating system. Sabayon provides several categories of installation media. The project uses a rolling release model and the distribution's many editions are provided in Stable, Monthly and Daily snapshots. It has been about a year since the last Stable set of installation media was produced and so I decided to explore one of the monthly snapshots.

I began with the MATE edition of Sabayon's Monthly snapshot, a 2GB download which I confirmed downloaded properly using the distribution's checksums. Booting from the live media brought up a menu asking if we would like to start a live desktop environment, launch a text-based installer, start in safe mode or launch a live text console. I was surprised when taking the live desktop option booted the distribution to a text console and showed me a login prompt.

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Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Looks like a Brilliant Upgrade

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Ubuntu

I have to say folks, Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is shaping up to be a one heck of a release.

It’s no secret that I think the nimble GNOME-based Budgie desktop is one of the best alternatives to GNOME Shell or Unity. It is lighter and leaner than either of those, but has a more cohesive and modern design than MATE or XFCE.

Naturally I’m also a fan of Ubuntu Budgie, the official Ubuntu flavor that uses the Budgie desktop by default. It provides all the benefits of Ubuntu and its ecosystem, but feathered beneath a clean, modern looking desktop interface.

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Void Linux Review – For The Record

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Void Linux Review. Today I finally get to a requested review of Void Linux. Using Void Linux reminds me a little bit of using Arch, since it only installs what you ask it to. Void Linux configuration is straight forward, although as I mention in the video, the documentation is hit and miss.

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A look at KDE Neon – a minimal mini-distribution

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KDE
Reviews

Overall, KDE Neon is great for minimalists who want to populate their system with packages and applications themselves, rather than deal with the potential bloat of many common distributions. The downside, is that users who want a fully working, prepackaged distro that they can just install and go, will likely find KDE Neon too much for them.

As a whole however, the system runs nicely, using Ubuntu as the base has its obvious benefits and caveats just like other popular Ubuntu based systems; but if you’re looking for the latest and greatest KDE packages from upstream, and you don’t mind (or prefer) building your system up yourself a bit, give Neon a peek.

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Also: Import of Origin and LabPlot projects

Anarchy Linux: Arch Linux Made Easy

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Reviews
HowTos

Anarchy Linux isn’t so much its own distribution as it is a wrapper around Arch Linux. If you’re familiar with Linux Mint’s relationship with Ubuntu, you should have a good idea of what Anarchy is.

The main feature of Anarchy Linux is its installer. Arch Linux itself doesn’t have a proper installer. Anarchy fixed that. It provides a simple, yet powerful, terminal-based installer that walks you through the entire install process just as easily as a mainstream distribution like Ubuntu.

Anarchy does something else to set itself apart, too. It doesn’t install the “conventional” defaults. Instead, Anarchy sets up your system the way most people customize theirs. Anarchy gives you ZSH by default. Your browser is Chromium. The out-of-the-box text editor is Vim. Anarchy also doesn’t waste your time with nonsense apps that you won’t use. It gives you what you need, and that’s about it.

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Deepin Desktop Props Up Pardus Linux

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Linux
Reviews

The Pardus Community Edition offers 24x7 live technical support. Its goal is to find solutions to users' problems rapidly through constantly available help agents and access to an active user forum. Storage applications are added and removed in line with users' requests.

The more current versions and more organized website make the Pardus Enterprise Edition a better choice. Unless you have a diehard attraction for XFCE, the Deepin desktop is a worthy alternative.

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More in Tux Machines

Kernel Coverage at LWN (Outside Paywall Now)

  • XArray and the mainline
    The XArray data structure was the topic of the final filesystem track session at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM). XArray is a new API for the kernel's radix-tree data structure; the session was led by Matthew Wilcox, who created XArray. When asked by Dave Chinner if the session was intended to be a live review of the patches, Wilcox admitted with a grin that it might be "the only way to get a review on this damn patch set". In fact, the session was about the status of the patch set and its progress toward the mainline. Andrew Morton has taken the first eight cleanup patches, Wilcox said, which is great because there was a lot of churn there. The next set has a lot of churn as well, mostly due to renaming. The 15 patches after that actually implement XArray and apply it to the page cache. Those could be buggy, but they pass the radix-tree tests so, if they are, more tests are needed, he said.
  • Filesystem test suites
    While the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) filesystem track session was advertised as being a filesystem test suite "bakeoff", it actually focused on how to make the existing test suites more accessible. Kent Overstreet said that he has learned over the years that various filesystem developers have their own scripts for testing using QEMU and other tools. He and Ted Ts'o put the session together to try to share some of that information (and code) more widely. Most of the scripts and other code has not been polished or turned into a project, Overstreet continued. Bringing new people up to speed on the tests and how they are run takes time, but developers want to know how to run the tests before they send code to the maintainer.
  • Messiness in removing directories
    In the filesystem track at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM), Al Viro discussed some problems he has recently spotted in the implementation of rmdir(). He covered some of the history of that implementation and how things got to where they are now. He also described areas that needed to be checked because the problem may be present in different places in multiple filesystems. The fundamental problem is a race condition where operations can end up being performed on directories that have already been removed, which can lead to some rather "unpleasant" outcomes, Viro said. One warning, however: it was a difficult session to follow, with lots of gory details from deep inside the VFS, so it is quite possible that I have some (many?) of the details wrong here. Since LSFMM there has been no real discussion of the problem and its solution on the mailing lists that I have found.
  • Handling I/O errors in the kernel
    The kernel's handling of I/O errors was the topic of a discussion led by Matthew Wilcox at the 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit (LSFMM) in a combined storage and filesystem track session. At the start, he asked: "how is our error handling and what do we plan to do about it?" That led to a discussion between the developers present on the kinds of errors that can occur and on ways to handle them. Jeff Layton said that one basic problem occurs when there is an error during writeback; an application can read the block where the error occurred and get the old data without any kind of error. If the error was transient, data is lost. And if it is a permanent error, different filesystems handle it differently, which he thinks is a problem. Dave Chinner said that in order to have consistent behavior across filesystems, there needs to be a definition of what that behavior should be. There is a need to distinguish between transient and permanent failures and to create a taxonomy of how to deal with each type.
  • 4.18 Merge window, part 1
    As of this writing, 7,515 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 4.18 merge window. Things are clearly off to a strong start. The changes pulled this time around include more than the usual number of interesting new features; read on for the details.
  • Year-2038 work in 4.18
    We now have less than 20 years to wait until the time_t value used on 32-bit systems will overflow and create time-related mayhem across the planet. The grand plan for solving this problem was posted over three years ago now; progress since then has seemed slow. But quite a bit of work has happened deep inside the kernel and, in 4.18, some of the first work that will be visible to user space has been merged. The year-2038 problem is not yet solved, but things are moving in that direction. If 32-bit systems are to be able to handle times after January 2038, they will need to switch to a 64-bit version of the time_t type; the kernel will obviously need to support applications using that new type. Doing so in a way that doesn't break existing applications is going to require some careful work, though. In particular, the kernel must be able to successfully run a system where applications have been rebuilt to use a 64-bit time_t, but ancient binaries stuck on 32-bit time_t still exist; both applications should continue to work (though the old code may fail to handle times correctly). The first step is to recognize that most architectures already have support for applications running in both 64-bit and 32-bit modes in the form of the compatibility code used to run 32-bit applications on 64-bit systems. At some point, all systems will be 64-bit systems when it comes to time handling, so it makes sense to use the compatibility calls for older applications even on 32-bit systems. To that end, with 4.18, work has been done to allow both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the time-related system calls to be built on all architectures. The CONFIG_64BIT_TIME configuration symbol controls the building of the 64-bit versions on 32-bit systems, while CONFIG_COMPAT_32BIT_TIME controls the 32-bit versions.

today's leftovers

GNOME 3.29.3 Released

  • GNOME 3.29.3 released
    GNOME 3.29.3 is now available. This release is primarily notable in that all modules are buildable in this release, which is historically very rare for our development releases. This is an accomplishment! I hope we can keep this up going forward.
  • GNOME 3.29.3 Released As The Latest Step Towards GNOME 3.30
    GNOME 3.29.3 is out today as the latest development release in the road to this September's GNOME 3.30 desktop update. Highlights of the incorporated GNOME changes over the past few weeks include: - Epiphany 3.29.3 and its many notable improvements already covered on Phoronix from a reader mode to disabling NPAPI plugins by default.

Android Leftovers