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Reviews

Trying out openSUSE Tumbleweed

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Reviews
SUSE

While distribution-hopping is common among newcomers to Linux, longtime users tend to settle into a distribution they like and stay put thereafter. In the end, Linux distributions are more alike than different, and one's time is better spent getting real work done rather than looking for a shinier version of the operating system. Your editor, however, somehow never got that memo; that's what comes from ignoring Twitter, perhaps. So there is a new distribution on the main desktop machine; this time around it's openSUSE Tumbleweed.

Most rational users simply want a desktop system that works, is secure, and, hopefully, isn't too badly out of date. Tumbleweed is not intended for those users; instead, it is good for people who like to be on the leading edge with current versions of everything and who are not afraid of occasional breakage. It's for users who like an occasional surprise from their operating system. That sounds like just the sort of distribution your editor actively seeks out.

More to the point, Tumbleweed is a rolling distribution; rather than make regular releases that are months or years apart, the Tumbleweed developers update packages individually as new releases come out upstream. Unlike development distributions like Rawhide, Tumbleweed does not contain pre-release software. By waiting to ship a release until it has been declared stable upstream, Tumbleweed should be able to avoid the worst unpleasant surprises while keeping up with what the development community is doing.

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KDE neon - Weak lighting

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KDE
Reviews

KDE neon is an interesting project. If we ignore the world, it does bring some fresh new changes into the Plasma universe, with significant improvements but also a handful of bugs and glitches. If we expand our view to include all other distributions, the scintillating allure of neon begins to fade. It does not have any killer features that make it a worthy rival to other, well-established home players.

The visual distinction from Kubuntu is a small one, the smartphone support is lacking, the media support can be slightly polished, the package manager is awful, the app layer thin, and you can't really pimp the distro because the beauty framework is utterly broken. I did like that more stuff works than before, but it's like priding yourself on getting the highest fail grade in the classroom. Overall hardware support, network excluded and resource utilizations are probably the only redeeming features, but even then, by a tiny margin. Which gets quickly drowned in the sea of bugs, errors, problems, and glitches. Samba is another sore point.

At the end of the day, this distro is a cool test bed for what Plasma has in store, but it does not have the critical mass of goodies needed for any serious use. The recent wave of distros was pretty much awful, so you might be tempted to look at them, but no. Any old Ubuntu based on 14.04 is way better, and so is the new Fedora. CentOS 7, too. In the end, neon needs a lot more work before I can phrase the word recommended in association with its behavior. Overall, 5/10. But, compare it to the K-flavored Xerus, and there's still hope. To be continued.

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Open365 mail – You’ve got … something?

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OSS
Reviews

Ladies, gentlemen, everyone else. Not that long ago, I reviewed Open365, a free, open-source, cloud-based productivity suite based on LibreOffice, with some nice spicy additions. I liked it. It’s a pretty decent product, with a lot of potential. But there’s still a lot more work to be done.

The one aspect of the five-app combo you get in Open365 that I missed in the earlier article is the mail functionality. You have the three power programs – LibreOffice Writer, Calc and Impress – plus GIMP, with the mail client as the fifth element. Get the joke? Oh my. Well, it is time to right all past wrongs and give the final piece of the cloud suite its due review. Rhyme. Word.

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Trying Out & Failing With OpenIndiana, Solaris 11.3 On The Broadwell-EP System

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OS
Reviews

After testing seven Linux distributions and eight BSDs on the new Xeon E5-2609 v4 Broadwell-EP + MSI X99A WORKSTATION system, I next decided to try getting some fresh Solaris-based results.

Unfortunately, using OpenIndiana nor Oracle Solaris was successful.

With the OpenIndiana tests I was using their newest "Hipster" ISOs bundled with the MATE desktop. I was able to get to the MATE desktop after selecting the VESA driver option from the boot-loader, then it looked like things may be going well for this Illumos-based operating system on this modern Broadwell-EP system where I've been testing all these Linux/BSD distributions as of late. However, after firing up the graphical installer, as soon as the actual installation process began the installer window immediately disappeared... Then a few seconds later the system was completely unresponsive. Rebooting again, same problem.

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Cub Linux Is a Worthy Chromixium Offspring

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Reviews

Cub Linux 1.0 has much of the stability and maturity of a more established Linux distro.

It is a great alternative to Google's semi-proprietary Chrome OS locked into the popular Chromebook hardware.

Cub Linux is a Chrome OS clone that runs on nearly any aging or newer computer with the user's choice of the fully open-sourced Chromium Web browser or Google's Chrome browser.

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Akinsola Akinwale: How Do You Fedora?

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Red Hat
Reviews

Akinsola Akinwale is a software developer with experience writing programs for mobile subscription platforms. The subscription platforms integrate with the Ericsson billing platform. He is also a Red Hat and CentOS systems administrator. Akinwale works for VAS Consulting as a Blackberry Developer Consultant to IBM Africa. In this capacity he works with odoo and SugarCRM.

Despite reading books about Linux, Akinwale didn’t know how to obtain the operating system. To learn more, he attended a Linux boot camp in 2010. There a friend gave him a copy of Fedora, which he quickly installed in VirtualBox. He says he left Windows for good when he “realized that 99% of the things I do were Linux related.”

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Android 7.0 Nougat review

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Android
Reviews

Android 7.0 Nougat is the major revision of Android for 2016/2017. The upgrade first became available for phones in August 2016. However, depending on the device you have, there's a good chance you're still waiting. If this is the case, there's one question you'll want answered: is this Android OS update actually worth getting excited about?

If you've been hankering after a super-flashy revamp to make it seem we’ve entered a new era of Android, you may be disappointed. Android 7.0 Nougat’s goals are more about preparing for the future of Android app development, adding little tweaks here and there, with the end result being that in use your device will feel faster.

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Michael Kors Dylan Access review: Android Wear for everyone

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Android
Reviews

The Michael Kors Access line is available September 6 starting at $350 for the model above (metal/silicone), going up to $395 for the more exclusive gold-tone Bradshaw varieties. Bands begin at $40, rising to $50 for the embossed versions). (In Canada, watch prices begin at $420, rising to $475, with bands running $50 to $60.)

Despite the issues with the charger, and the imperfect display characteristics, I grew to enjoy the Access, and would certainly recommend it to anyone looking to engage with the more fashion-forward varieties of Android Wear. Like the Fossil Q Founder, this smartwatch is more about the brand than the product, and it's clear that certain decisions were made to reinforce its place alongside similarly-designed analog watches in endless glass displays.

But somehow it works: it is both fashionable and functional, the comfortable enough (with a sizeable battery) to wear all day.

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Peppermint OS 7

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Reviews

The latest release of Peppermint OS was launched back in June and I meant to take it for a test drive then. However, one exciting release after another distracted me until now. Peppermint is a project I pay attention to because it is one of the distributions I have had the most success with when it comes to transitioning people from Windows to Linux. Peppermint's lightweight nature, speed, relatively uncluttered interface and solid hardware support (thanks to its underlying Ubuntu base) have made it an attractive option. Peppermint OS 7 is based on packages available through the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repositories with a few Linux Mint utilities added for flavour. Peppermint runs the LXDE desktop by default and version 7 offers users GPT, UEFI and Secure Boot support. The distribution is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture.

The ISO for the 64-bit build of Peppermint is approximately 1GB in size. Booting from this media displays a menu where we can choose to try the live desktop environment, launch the system installer or check the disc for defects. I took the live desktop option which loads LXDE. The desktop environment is presented with a panel along the bottom of the display. This panel contains our application menu, task switcher and the system tray. The application menu uses unusually large and bold fonts, making the text easy to read. On the desktop we find a single icon we can use to launch the distribution's system installer. The desktop uses a dark theme with brightly coloured icons. Personally, I like the bright icons on a dark background coupled with the large font. I found the combination made it easy to browse the application menu and find launchers I wanted to use.

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openSUSE : Distro Review Of The Week

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Linux
Reviews

openSUSE is one of the best Linux distributions in the world. Apart from Ubuntu, openSUSE is probably one of the best multi-purpose distribution around.The distro is geared towards desktop users and developers working on desktop or server. openSUSE is based on SUSE Linux Enterprise.

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Mesa News

  • Mesa 13 Lands In Fedora 25
    While it was disappointing that Fedora 25 shipped with Mesa 12.0, the Mesa 13.0 version has now been sent down as a stable release update.
  • Stable Mesa PPA Offers Latest Drivers on Ubuntu
    Games company Feral Interactive’s call for a PPA be set up to offer the latest Stable Mesa drivers on Ubuntu has been semi-answered. Emphasis on semi, there. As noted by Gaming on Linux, a new stable Mesa PPA is now available — hurrah — but it is not “official” in the way that the stress-tested Nvidia drivers PPA is — boo.
  • Ubuntu now has a community-built PPA for stable versions of Mesa
    Feral Interactive's call for a stable Mesa PPA has already made progress, as there's now a stable PPA available for Mesa. Paulo Dias "Padoka" has setup another PPA here: https://launchpad.net/~paulo-miguel-dias/+archive/ubuntu/pkppa Note: This is a community-run PPA, so it's possible it may someday go out of date and/or have issues at times. This is likely a stop-gap measure until something more official is done. It currently hosts Mesa 13.0.2 and LLVM 3.9 along with RADV and ANV the AMD and Intel open source Vulkan drivers.

ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5: is it near-perfect?

ROSA is a Linux distribution forked some time ago from Mandriva Linux by a team of Russian developers, Rosa Lab, or officially LLC NTC-IT ROSA. I reviewed their distributions several times: ROSA KDE R7, ROSA Desktop 2012 and even interviewed the ROSA team. The most recent release of ROSA is now ROSA Desktop Fresh R8, which is available in several flavours: MATE, GNOME 3, KDE 4 and Plasma 5. I decided to try the Plasma 5 edition of this distribution, especially as my interest to Plasma increased after the good impression Kubuntu 16.10 left on me. There are links to the ISO images available on the ROSA download page, and I used it to get my own version of this Linux distribution. The size of ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5 64-bit image is 1.9 Gb. The dd command helped me to "burn" the image to the USB stick. So, the USB drive is attached to my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go! Read more

Korora 25 Unleashed, Best KDE Distro, Notorious B.U.G.

Fedora-based Korora 25 was released Wednesday in 64-bit versions. Users are urged to upgrade. Elsewhere, Jack Wallen was seriously impressed by Fedora 25 and blogger DarkDuck said ROSA R8 is "near-perfect." Bruce Byfield discussed obstacles to Linux security just as a new kernel vulnerability comes to light. Dedoimedo declared the best KDE distro of 2016 and FOSSBYTES has 10 reasons to use Ubuntu. Read more

OnePlus 3T review: One of the best Android phones gets a little better

OnePlus has never been one to play by the rules. Back when it made its entrance into the crowded smartphone market with the One, it set itself apart by selling a premium handset at a mid-tier price and offering invitation-only purchases instead of the standard preorders. The 3T very much fits with this rebellious nature. Essentially a refreshed version of the 6-month-old OnePlus 3, the new phone undermines another smartphone constant: the yearly update. iPhone users are familiar with the concept of the mid-cycle model—a handset that keeps the same enclosure but beefs up features and internal components. But there’s always been a special hook with Apple’s S phones, a reason for current owners to rush out and buy the new model. The 3T could be seen as OnePlus’ attempt to mimic the success Apple has had with the formula (and in fact, the company says it picked T for the new phone’s surname simply because it’s a letter higher than S). Read more