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Reviews

Manjaro 0.8.11 - The lonely goatherd

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How shall I put it? Let there be no doubt. Manjaro 0.8.11 is a better version than 0.8.5 that I tested a while back. But calling it the best and most awesomest KDE around, as I've seen here and there in various forums and social media sites is literally pushing it. Now, it does deserve a lot of praise, A LOT, regarding its visual appearance. However, that is not enough to distract from or reduce the impact of the underlying system bugs.

Desktop effects, printing, broken Steam packages, weird menu entries, misbehaving media player, an identity-confused collection of software, installation issues, missing swap use and very high memory consumption, all of these are big problems that the Manjaro dev team needs to address. But overall, the important thing here is progress.

But if you're asking me, the distro needs to simplify its mission statement, and focus on the core message of practicality. Hopefully, we will see that happen soon. Let's call it the emergence of Manjaro into its own rightful place. At the moment, it's trying to do so much, at the same time, it's like a juggler with one ball too many. Grade wise? Hmmm, well, something like 7.5-8/10, and I am being generous. However, if all else fails, it so damn beautiful. Definitely one of the top three. Imagine Plasma 5 there. Looking forward to the next version.

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AntiX MX-14.3 review

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One of the things you can count on in the Linux community is love and understanding from the wider audience, especially if you write a less favorable review of a distribution favored by a particular segment of the community. The smaller they get the fiercer the response. Most people would decide the flak was not worth their time, file relevant distributions under the ignore label, and move on to friendlier crowds.

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MakuluLinux Xfce 7.0

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Once in a while I run into a Linux distribution that surprises me in terms of how much I enjoy using it. MakuluLinux is definitely one of those distros. I found an article about it when I was doing my usual news roundup article for my blog Eye On Open on ITworld. I was intrigued enough to want to do a full review here on Desktop Linux Reviews.

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Fedora 21 review: Linux’s sprawliest distro finds a new focus

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Red Hat
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Like most Linux distros, Fedora is a massive, sprawling project. Frankly, it's sprawl-y to the point that it has felt unfocused and a bit lost at times. Just what is Fedora? The distro has served as a kind of showcase for GNOME 3 ever since GNOME 3 hit the beta stage. So Fedora in theory is meant to target everyday users, but at the same time the project pours tremendous energy into building developer tools like DevAssistant. Does that make Fedora a developer distro? A newbie-friendly GNOME showcase? A server distro? An obscure robotics distro?

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Review: Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" Xfce

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Recently, the Xfce edition of Linux Mint 17.1 "Rebecca" was released. It and the MATE edition are notable in featuring...Compiz! This really caught my eye, so I wanted to review it. There are several other changes too, so I figured that it would be worthwhile to review the Xfce edition rather than the MATE edition, given that I already tried the MATE edition of Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" not too long ago. Note that Ubuntu-based Linux Mint is sticking only to LTS releases, so a major release will roughly coincide (lagging by a month or so) with the Ubuntu LTS release, and then decimal point releases will be put out every 6 months or so and be given a new code name while still sticking with the last LTS release as its base. As far as this review goes, I tried this as usual as a live USB system made with UnetBootin. Follow the jump to see what it's like.

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Satechi Smart TV Box review: Android-based set-top box does a lot, but doesn't make it easy

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Android
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Every streaming device, from your aging Blu-ray player to your Roku, has limitations. At some point, you’re going to want to stream a service that your device doesn’t support. When that happens, your only big-screen option is to plug a laptop, tablet, or smartphone into your HDTV. That way, you get a real operating system with complete flexibility.

But that’s a hassle. These devices aren’t designed to be controlled from across a room. And even when they have remote controls, they’re usually not that good.

The Satechi Smart TV Box offers a way around this. It’s a streaming device, designed specifically for plugging into your TV and controlling from across the room. But it runs Android. If your Android phone or tablet can do it, the Smart TV Box can probably do it, too.

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Deepin Linux: A Polished Distro That's Easy to Install and Use

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I usually don't dig into new distros, unless they have something new to offer. The reason is because there are so many distros that are released everyday that it's challenging, and to some extent, pointless to track them all.

I was not very excited when I decided to download Deepin as I assumed it to be yet another distro. I was wrong. It turned out to be an extremely polished, robust and easy-to-use distribution targeted at traditional Windows or Mac users. So what makes this OS so special? Almost everything.

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Leftovers: Screenshots

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Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca review - Oops. Nope.

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What happened? I do not know. Maybe I was just being unlucky. Maybe my HP desktop sucks, and you should avoid Broadcom in Linux. But that's really a lame excuse, if you think about it, because both Qiana and Windows 7, resident on the internal hard disk, behave quite well. Which makes Rebecca a big disappointment.

I don't have a good way of glossing over the issues I've encountered during the preparation of this review. Mint 17.1 did not perform well in my tests. For a range of reasons, package management and desktop customizations were quite horrible, with crashes and hangs. Not acceptable. Then, there are a few other smaller issues that can and should be easily fixed. Overall, though, I can't recommend Rebecca. You'd better stay with Qiana. I will be doing some more testing in the future, for sure, but at the time being, you might skip this. Grade, 6/10.

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Also: First Impressions of Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Edition

Soylent 1.3 Review

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For some, food and the act of eating are merely about sustenance. That mindset is antithetical to the way I approach gastronomy. That said, when Soylent hit the crowd funding scene, I was intrigued. And I wasn’t the only one. They had over $2M in pre-orders using Tilt and have since raised roughly 1.5M from venture capitalists.

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