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Reviews

Nubia Z11 review

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Android
Reviews

The Nubia Z11 may not have the most eye catching or original design, but it’s still a good looking phone that features a solid build quality. The device basically features a rectangular slab design, with a full metal unibody construction that puts its build quality at par with a lot of current generation flagships.

The rounded corners and slight tapers around the back and sides make it more comfortable to hold, but because the metal body doesn’t have any sharp or flat edges to help with the grip, the phone can be a little slippery and difficult to hold onto at times.

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Ubuntu 16.04, re-tested six months later

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Six months in between releases is just too short of a period for meaningful, well-tested releases. As soon as issues are polished in one edition with a cumulative fix edition, there's a new version of Ubuntu and the headless chicken race starts again. We will soon have 16.10, and it will most likely suck, because there will be a million little problems that could not have been fully checked in time, but schedule be schedule, release we must. Woe any delays!

Ubuntu 16.04.1 Xenial Xerus is a better release than the GA flop, but it is still not good enough to recommend. The networking stack sucks more than what Trusty does, and overall, it is slower, less responsive, less mature, less complete. It is also not as good as Fedora, and there are some big regressions slash sad neglect in the software stack that tells me the whole idea of the Linux desktop is slowly dying. People did not like the Amazon store and the payware options in USC, but it was a first sane step to offering a mature version of Ubuntu to serious people. Alas, zealots shot it down, because they value pride over progress. And now what is left is a semi-functional distro that is a pale shadow of its former self.

So yes, it works better than before. 6/10 or so. Not even remotely close to the glory of the Trusty release, which heaped accolade upon accolade, accomplishment after another. Trusty just did everything. It was and still is awesome. Xerus is just weak. And even the post-fiasco release is still somewhat lame. Not worth upgrading. Xenial is in denial. I shall now patiently wait to see what doom the Yakety Sax is going to bring us. Ought to happen very very soon, and the timing of this article couldn't have been any more perfect. Stay tuned.

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Elementary OS 0.4 'Loki' Review | An Easy To Use Linux Distribution

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Reviews

Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful Linux distros that I have ever tried. It is based on Ubuntu and the version 0.4 of Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This review has been written after using the operating system for a complete week.

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Ubuntu tablet, Oct 2016 - We need more!

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Reviews
Ubuntu

My October adventure is one of mixed emotions, again. One step forward, one step back, two to the side, a quick hopscotch through a minefield, and then you land your foot in dung but also find Cinderella's ever-so-smelly shoe amidst all that dross. That's the best way to describe the latest update and what it offers to the user.

Frankly, people would be far more inclined to ignore the stability bugs and the early release problems if they had proper apps to play with. They did it with Android. But when you have nothing meaningful to do, you start picking scabs and your nose, and one thing leads to another. In the desktop mode, there's more to do, yes. But the Store is just crippled at this point. Horrible. It causes serious damage to the Ubuntu Touch reputation. There has to be more there. More! Otherwise, it's just a sad graveyard of enthusiasm and dashed hopes. The touch side needs to shine, hook users in, make them feel that Ubuntu is all about fun and joy but also serious work.
Anyhow, nothing to be too excited about. There's more progress on the phone than the tablet, but that's understandable, the phone has been around for much longer. Still, I do hope Canonical will soon unleash dozens if not hundreds of modern and relevant apps to compensate for its other failings, and give the tablet the needed breathing space until the functional bugs can be ironed out. If not, all that users will have to play with will be issues, boredom and resentment. C'mon. Just do it!

If you'd still like a chance to win a tablet for your own games and entertainment, then take a look at my contest, link in the second paragraph of this article. There's still enough time, and plenty of opportunity. Worst case, just load it with Android. But let's hope we must never do that. Off you go reading, gents and ladies.

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Apricity: Slip Into Something More Comfortable

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Reviews

Apricity OS is a great, two-pronged Linux distro that recently reached a milestone that will ensure its continued success.

Apricity's first public beta, which was GNOME-only, was released more than a year ago. A choice of either the GNOME or Cinnamon desktops later became available in the monthly development snapshot releases.

This rolling release delivery method already provided a pleasant computing experience. Both desktop versions performed well. Each monthly build brought more functionality. I have not experienced any stability issues with the continuing stream of beta releases.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Kubuntu 16.04

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Reviews
Ubuntu

My experience with Kubuntu has done nothing to convince me that I want to use KDE in the long term. If I did want to use KDE long term then my experience with Manjaro would definitely make me lean in that direction.

This is an LTS release yet there are so many little niggles. New users to Linux will not be enamoured with having to find solutions to simple things like installing software.

The problems are worse than those that I experienced with Ubuntu. At least with Ubuntu I could install a separate application for installing the good stuff like Chrome. With Kubuntu it is command line all the way and searching forums for solutions.

With Linux Mint being so good it is hard for me to recommend Kubuntu 16.04.

I am not the only person to have issues with Kubuntu, read this review by Dedoimedo, he runs into many of the same issues as I did.

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OpenBSD 6.0 - an exercise in precision

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Reviews
BSD

The OpenBSD project is well known for its strong focus on security and for its precise documentation. The OpenBSD operating system generally gives preference to security and properly behaving software over features. OpenBSD is lightweight, sparse and relatively locked down by default. This makes the platform particularly popular among administrators who need a firewall or other minimal and stable platform.

OpenBSD 6.0 introduces many small changes and a handful of important ones. Looking through the release notes we find support for the VAX platform has been dropped. There have been several security updates to the OpenSSH secure shell service. Perhaps one of the more interesting security features in the operating system is strict enforcement of W^X: "W^X is now strictly enforced by default; a program can only violate it if the executable is marked with PT_OPENBSD_WXNEEDED and is located on a file system mounted with the wxallowed mount option. Because there are still too many ports which violate W^X, the installer mounts the /usr/local file system with wxallowed. This allows the base system to be more secure as long as /usr/local is a separate file system. If you use no W^X violating programs, consider manually revoking that option."

I decided to play with the 64-bit x86 build of OpenBSD which is 226MB in size. Booting from this ISO presents us with a text console where we are asked if we would like to install OpenBSD, upgrade an existing copy of the operating system or perform an auto-install. I chose to perform a normal installation.

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Also: OpenBSD and NetBSD machines at Open Source Conference 2016 Nagaoka

Sabayon Bizarre But Useful

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Reviews

Sabayon, which gets its name from the the Italian egg-derived dessert known as zabaione, is a distribution that we don’t hear too much about these days, although the British Linux press gave it some love a few years ago. It was unassuming…with a hint of mystery. I tried it back then, when I was still fairly new to actually using Linux and thought it was a nice effort, but a little too weird. That wasn’t their fault; that was mine. I was still clinging sharply to Ubuntu at the time. Plus, I was a bit more shallow in those days because I was really set on the idea that an operating system had to look good before I would really put some hours into using it. I still am in many respects. I’m just not crazy about boring.

So when I approached Matt with the idea of documenting a revisitation to Sabayon, he greenlighted it immediately. Team Sabayon has been very busy. It still has a hint of mystique that I find very attractive. It’s got a lot of applications at default and offers you a lot of decision-making power as well. More on that later.

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Sony Xperia X Compact review: Small Android is still good, but not much better

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Android
Reviews

Sony's Xperia X Compact is basically the newest version of the Z5 Compact that hit the US earlier this year. But just because it's a newer version of the (comparatively) tiny handset doesn't mean it's an upgrade in every way. Sony is pushing the camera sensors in the X Compact and the flagship-level XZ, as well as new features like five-axis image stabilization and HDR photo mode. Sony knows cameras, so we know the shooter in the X Compact will at least be competent. However, it has to be good enough to encourage photography buffs to shell out $499 for this unlocked handset while delivering solid performance across the board as well.

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Software and Games

Hardware With Linux

  • Raspberry Pi's new computer for industrial applications goes on sale
    The new Raspberry Pi single-board computer is smaller and cheaper than the last, but its makers aren’t expecting the same rush of buyers that previous models have seen. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 will be more of a “slow burn,” than last year’s Raspberry Pi 3, its creator Eben Upton predicted. That’s because it’s designed not for school and home use but for industrial applications. To make use of it, buyers will first need to design a product with a slot on the circuit board to accommodate it and that, he said, will take time.
  • ZeroPhone — An Open Source, Dirt Cheap, Linux-powered Smartphone Is Here
    ZeroPhone is an open source smartphone that’s powered by Raspberry Pi Zero. It runs on Linux and you can make one for yourself using parts worth $50. One can use it to make calls and SMS, run apps, and pentesting. Soon, phone’s crowdfunding is also expected to go live.
  • MSI X99A RAIDER Plays Fine With Linux
    This shouldn't be a big surprise though given the Intel X99 chipset is now rather mature and in the past I've successfully tested the MSI X99A WORKSTATION and X99S SLI PLUS motherboards on Linux. The X99A RAIDER is lower cost than these other MSI X99 motherboards I've tested, which led me in its direction, and then sticking with MSI due to the success with these other boards and MSI being a supporter of Phoronix and encouraging our Linux hardware testing compared to some other vendors.
  • First 3.5-inch Kaby Lake SBC reaches market
    Axiomtek’s 3.5-inch CAPA500 SBC taps LGA1151-ready CPUs from Intel’s 7th and 6th Generations, and offers PCIe, dual GbE, and optional “ZIO” expansion. Axiomtek’s CAPA500 is the first 3.5-inch form-factor SBC that we’ve seen that supports Intel’s latest 7th Generation “Kaby Lake” processors. Kaby Lake is similar enough to the 6th Gen “Skylake” family, sharing 14nm fabrication, Intel Gen 9 Graphics, and other features, to enable the CAPA500 to support both 7th and 6th Gen Core i7/i5/i3 CPUs as long as they use an LGA1151 socket. Advantech’s Kaby Lake based AIMB-205 Mini-ITX board supports the same socket. The CAPA500 ships with an Intel H110 chipset, and a Q170 is optional.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Debian Project launches updated Debian GNU/Linux 8.7 with bug fixes
    An updated version of Debian, a popular Linux distribution is now available for users to download and install. According to the post on the Debian website by Debian Project, the new version is 8.7. This is the seventh update to the Debian eight distribution, and the update primarily focuses on fixing bugs and security problems. This update also includes some adjustments to fix serious problems present in the previous version.
  • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, December 2016
    The number of sponsored hours did not increase but a new silver sponsor is in the process of joining. We are only missing another silver sponsor (or two to four bronze sponsors) to reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full time position.
  • APK, images and other stuff.
    Also, I was pleased to see F-droid Verification Server as a sign of F-droid progress on reproducible builds effort - I hope these changes to diffoscope will help them!
  • Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" KDE Gets a Beta Release, Ships with KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS
    After landing on the official download channels a few days ago, the Beta version of the upcoming Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" KDE Edition operating system got today, January 16, 2017, an official announcement. The KDE Edition is the last in the new Linux Mint 18.1 "Serena" stable series to be published, and it was delayed a little bit because Clement Lefebvre and his team wanted it to ship with latest KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS desktop environment from the Kubuntu Backports PPA repository.
  • Linux AIO Ubuntu 16.10 — Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu In One ISO
    Linux AIO is a multiboot ISO carrying different flavors of a single Linux distribution and eases you from the pain of keeping different bootable USBs. The latest Linux AIO Ubuntu 16.10 is now available for download in both 64-bit and 32-bit versions. It features various Ubuntu flavors including Ubuntu GNOME, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, and Xubuntu.

Top Ubuntu Editing Apps: Image, Audio, Video

It's been my experience that most people aren't aware of the scope of creative software available for Ubuntu. The reason for this is complicated, but I suspect it mostly comes down to the functional availability provided by each application title for the Linux desktop. In this article, I'm going to give you an introduction to some of the best creative software applications for Ubuntu (and other Linux distros). Read more