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Reviews

Review: Enso OS 0.2

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Enso is a young distribution based on Xubuntu. Enso features the Xfce desktop environment running on the Gala window manager; Gala has been used with good effect on the elementary OS distribution. Enso also features the Panther application menu and the Plank dock. The Enso website mentions the project is trying to have a positive environmental impact: "Help plant trees while you search the web with Ecosia, the search engine that plants trees with it's ad revenue, included in Enso."

The project's latest release, Enso OS 0.2, is based on Xubuntu 16.04 and is available in just one edition for 64-bit x86 computers. The ISO we download is approximately 1.5GB in size. The downloaded media boots to a graphical screen where a window appears and asks if we would like to try Enso's live desktop environment or immediately begin the installation process. This window also lets us select our preferred language from a list.

While the live desktop uses Xfce components running on the Gala window manager, the desktop has a certain GNOME-like appearance. There is a thin top panel which includes an application menu, clock and system tray. At the bottom-left corner of the screen there is a dock (powered by Plank) which acts as both a quick-launch bar and task switcher. Enso uses bright colours for the window control buttons and the minimize, maximize and close buttons are presented in blue, green and yellow. The busy mouse cursor is shown as the macOS-style beach ball.

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Iridium Browser: A Browser for the Privacy Conscious

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Iridium is a web browser based on Chromium project. It has been customized to not share your data and thus keeping your privacy intact.
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LibreOffice 6.0 - Goodness, Gracious, Great Fonts of Fire!

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LibO
Reviews

LibreOffice 6.0 is a phenomenal release. Pro-am if you will. The very first version that can proudly wear its laurels. It's almost a completely different product. More elegant, more efficient, with better and smarter layout and work logic, improved functionality with pretty much everything. Most importantly, Microsoft Office supports is very good. It was also stable and fast.

Technically, LibreOffice is playing catchup with Microsoft Office. We probably may never achieve parity, as office suites take millions of dollars to develop and maintain. But still, in this game of hare and armadillo, the open-source beastling is making great strides forward. LibreOffice 6.0 has an expensive, elegant, refreshing feel to it. An office suite reborn. Official release notes are often three quarters hyperbole and one quarter nonsense, but in this case, it's all awesome stuff. I am extremely happy, and I urge you to install and test LibreOffice 6.0. There are few free products that warrant this much joy. 10/10. Font away.

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Linux Deepin Review – For The Record

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Linux Deepin Review. Today I take a close look at Deepin Linux. It’s a Linux distro from a company in China called Wuhan Deepin Technology Co., Ltd. Despite being a little unsure what to expect at first, I came to appreciate a lot of the thoughtful features that went into the desktop.

There are some rough edges, but overall it’s a fascinating distro taking a very different approach to blending FoSS and proprietary software.

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Review: OviOS 2.31

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OviOS is a Linux-based distribution which is designed to act as a storage appliance. OviOS can be thought of along similar lines as a network attached storage (NAS) device, a box dedicated to holding and sharing files over a network. Where OviOS differs from most NAS solutions is OviOS does not feature a graphical or web-based interface. Everything on OviOS is managed from a command line shell, typically over a secure shell (OpenSSH) connection. The OviOS distribution ships with its own, custom shell which should streamline administration. The central idea behind the project appears to be making file storage and sharing as minimal as possible, without any unnecessary features such as web-based control panels.

OviOS ships with ZFS support, giving us the ability to create multi-disk storage volumes, compress files at the file system level and create snapshots of our data. The distribution currently does not support booting on UEFI-enabled computers and runs on 64-bit x86 machines which support booting in legacy BIOS mode only.

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Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone - With Android

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Android
Reviews
Ubuntu

I ever so slightly regret the "upgrade" to Android. With a version less than the tablet, the UI changes are extremely noticeable, and the transition isn't as smooth. The device lags, and it just doesn't have enough processing power to give the necessary feel of goodness and elegance. On the other hand, you get tons of native applications that you can actually use, as opposed to the Ubuntu Touch idea. Shame really. For 'tis a compromise.
If you ask me, I wholeheartedly embrace the M10 tablet upgrade, but on the phone, you might as well keep Ubuntu unless you need the device for serious use. If it's just an opportunistic call/SMS thing for when abroad and such, or to loan to friends, the original combo is adequate. If you need apps, then Android is the way to go, but do not except any miracles. It won't be speedy, and it won't be too pretty. All in all, an okay player.

It is silly attaching sentiments to software or hardware, but I do guess I will fondly remember the Ubuntu phone attempt as a noble idea to make something great and fun. I could have kept the device in its original state, perhaps, but in the end, it would have ended in a pile of ancient stuff you keep around for a decade until you decide you need to throw it away to leave room for fresh memories and less ancient stuff. Having a flawless Android experience would have helped soften the edge, but as it is, it remains the bittersweet attempt at what could have been a revolution. The end.

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Also: Ubuntu Desktop weekly update – February 23, 2018

Endless OS Helps Tear Down Linux Wall

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OS
Reviews

The free version of Endless OS adheres to the free license policy. It includes preinstalled video and audio codecs that are free of patents. That can limit the types of files you can play. Non-included codecs are available for purchase at the Endless OS Store.

If you dislike managing frequent system updates and new release upgrades, you may have a special liking for Endless OS. As long as you have an Internet connection, the OS periodically checks for updates and automatically downloads and applies them in the background. You get a notification to restart.

Although this desktop design should be an ideal environment for touchscreens, Endless OS does not take to touch very well. This is a major feature weakness if you have a touchscreen laptop or desktop monitor.

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Tutanota: Encrypted Open Source Email Service for Privacy Minded People

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If you are a privacy concerned netizen, try Tutanota. It is an open source email service for encrypted email communication. Here are the pros and cons of using Tutanota.
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KDE neon 5.12 review - Living on the edge

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KDE
Reviews

KDE neon 5.12 is a reasonable distro. It is MUCH better than Kubuntu Aardvark but not as sweet as my 2017 favorite, Zesty Zebra. That said, it had none of the horrible problems that I saw in the 17.10 release. It's fast, there were no real errors, you get multimedia playback out of the box, reasonable smartphone and network support, and the bleeding edge of what Plasma can deliver.

On the other hand, there are some really life-sapping annoyances in the system, which do not belong in year 2018, or even 2008 for that matter. Better hardware support is needed. The decorations need a cleanup. The software arsenal is thin. Discover needs a miracle. Overall, neon behaves like a developer-focused system, and it has that rough, test-commit feel about it. It does try to balance the best of all worlds - an LTS base combined with the latest Plasma, but that's no excuse for sloppy work or bugs.

It can do better, and we have the most splendid Kubuntu 17.04 as the golden benchmark from now on until the end of times, we few, we happy few, we band of geeks, for he who tests with me together, shall be my code brother, may his git ne'er be so vile, and the persons of all genders now in bed shall feel themselves accursed, and hold their VR sets cheap ... I think you get the idea. I got carried away. Let's summarize. KDE neon 5.12, fresh, cool, sleek, needs more apps, better package management, better overall peripheral support. But there's a lot of potential and hope, and I think we will see cool things in Plasma this year. 7.5/10. Worth checking.

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Honor 9 Lite review: Leader of the affordable Android pack

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Android
Reviews

As Huawei's budget brand, Honor handsets are well known for offering good value for money. With the Honor 9 Lite the 'good value' theme is raised a notch, thanks to an 18:9 aspect ratio 5.65-inch screen and no fewer than four cameras.

Judging by its name, you might expect the Honor 9 Lite to be a trimmed-down version of the Honor 9, but there are some significant variances that suggest the new handset is a step sideways rather than a step down.

The Honor 9's 5.15-inch 1,080-by-1,920 (16:9) screen is trumped here by a bigger, taller 5.65-inch 1,080-by-2,160 (18:9) display. There are also dual cameras front and back, whereas the Honor 9 only has dual rear cameras. At the time of writing the Honor 9 is selling for £349 (inc. VAT) direct from Honor, so the Honor 9 Lite's £199.99 looks very appealing.

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Red Hat: Education, Automation, RHEL 6.10 and More

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