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Reviews

elementary OS – A Beautiful OS for Open Source Lovers

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Reviews

elementary OS is an open source Ubuntu-based distro and one of the most awesome GNU/Linux distros ever. It has gained a lot of traction over years, coming in at #5 on Distro Watch’s popularity scale with 1,324 hits per day.

elementary OS is usually mentioned only in light of macOS and sometimes Windows, given that it features a beautiful and consistent UI which makes it an ideal replacement; it deserves to stand out more because its active community of developers has not only successfully delivered a unique distro, all of its apps are custom built and they are lovely!

It’s excellent for both Linux beginners and pros which is evident in how artistically comprehensive their online documentation. The team succeeded it keeping to the 3 core rules of their design philosophy which are: “concision”, “avoid configuration” and “minimal documentation”.

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Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver upgrades - Results!

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KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

A month later, two upgrades later, Kubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver is a nicer distribution than what I tested shortly after its official release. But then, it's not perfect. The older box with the Nvidia card returned better results overall, although there were some niggles. On the multi-boot laptop, I wasn't too happy with the slow-boot issue, although this is NOT a Kubuntu-specific problem, as you will learn in a few days. But it still does not give me the razor-sharp confidence I need and expect from an LTS.

In general, Ubuntu-family upgrades are reasonably robust, but they can still be more streamlined, including package removal, third-party repos and odd glitches here and there. I wonder how I'd have felt if I tested Beaver fresh, right now. Alas, I cannot delete the memory of my first encounter. With Trusty, it was just right. Here, it might be right, and I may even end up using - and loving - Plasma Bionic in my prod setup, but it will never be the amazing chemistry I had with 14.04.

But if you're wondering, by all means, worth testing and upgrading, and the post-release Kubuntu Beaver is a pretty slick and tight distro. If I had to judge in isolation, i.e. no early-May scars, then when I combine performance, looks, fonts, media, hardware support, and such, 'tis really neat. Something like 9/10. Now, just waiting for the Men In Black mind-zapping eraser thingie, so I can be blissfully happy. And we're done.

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Devuan GNU+Linux 2.0.0 "ASCII"

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OS
Reviews

When I am trying out a desktop distribution, what really tends to divide the field of Linux distributions in my mind is not whether the system uses MATE or Plasma, or whether the underlying package manager uses RPM or Deb files. What tends to leave a lasting impression with me is whether the desktop environment, its applications and controls feel like a cooperative, cohesive experience or like a jumble of individual tools that happen to be part of the same operating system. In my opinion Ubuntu running the Unity desktop and Linux Mint's Cinnamon desktop are good examples of the cohesive approach. The way openSUSE's administration tools work together provides another example. Like them or hate them, I think most people can see there is an overall design, a unifying vision, being explored with those distributions. I believe Devuan falls into the other category, presenting the user with a collection of utilities and features where some assembly is still required.

This comes across in little ways. For example, many distributions ship Mozilla's Firefox web browser and the Thunderbird e-mail client together as a set, and they generally complement each other. Devuan ships Firefox, but then its counterpart is the mutt console e-mail program which feels entirely out of place with the rest of the desktop software. The PulseAudio sound mixing utility is included, but its system tray companion is not present by default. Even the system installer, which switches back and forth between graphical windows and a text console, feels more like a collection of uncoordinated prompts rather than a unified program or script. Some people may like the mix-and-match approach, but I tend to prefer distributions where it feels like the parts are fitted together to create a unified experience.

What I found was that Devuan provided an experience where I had to stop and think about where items were or how I was going to use them rather than having the pieces seamlessly fit together. However, once I got the system set up in a way that was more to my liking, I appreciated the experience provided. Devuan offers a stable, flexible platform. Once I shaped the operating system a little, I found it to be fast, light and capable. Having a fairly large repository of software available along with Flatpak support provided a solid collection of applications on a conservative operating system foundation. It was a combination I liked.

In short, I think Devuan has some rough edges and setting it up was an unusually long and complex experience by Linux standards. I certainly wouldn't recommend Devuan to newcomers. However, a day or two into the experience, Devuan's stability and performance made it a worthwhile journey. I think Devuan may be a good alternative to people who like running Debian or other conservative distributions such as Slackware. I suspect I may soon be running Devuan's Raspberry Pi build on my home server where its lightweight nature will be welcome.

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Also: deepin 15.6 Released With New Features: Get This Beautiful Linux Distro Here

Gnome 3.28 review - Minimalism gone wrong

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GNOME
Reviews

Gnome 3.28 brings in a few interesting changes to the Gnome table - not too many, though, this version isn't a radical revamp, more sort of a gradual progression of the basic idea behind the Gnome desktop environment. Not bad in that regard. Bad in every other regard.

Unfortunately - and this is nothing personal, all I care for is to be happy and productive with my desktops, and Gnome 2 was my favorite thing for years and years - Gnome 3.28 is a sterile, counterproductive pseudo-touch concept that serves little purpose on the desktop. It requires significant tweaking and immense changes under the hood to make presentable and usable, and even then, it works hard against the user. Performance is really bad, a decade-old laptop with anything other than Gnome works better than a contemporary model with Gnome, and you feel the sluggishness with every little thing you do. It's life-sapping. The more you multi-task the worse it gets.

All in all, Gnome 3.28 has changed little from the original Gnome 3 a few years ago. It is still not suited for purpose, it has not evolved in any way, and in fact, there are fresh new functional regressions in the product. It's getting more and more difficult to achieve simple things, and you're fighting against the desktop. Not how it's meant to be. Maybe Linux will make it big on the phone and tablet one day, and then Gnome could be a blast. But on traditional computing devices, it's a flop. Not recommended, I'm afraid. Take care.

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Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist

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Linux
Reviews

Modicia O.S. Desktop Ultimate 18 LTS lives up to its name in terms of being an ultimate computing platform. It offers a very pleasing user experience that is ideal for office or home functions.

It has the potential to be ranked among the best of the general-purpose Linux distros. I tend to favor Linux Mint's homespun Cinnamon desktop as my primary computing workhorse. I keep a few winners on my various computers for variety and different productivity options.

Modicia has been my preferred OS the last few weeks after I stumbled upon its smile-creating capabilities. Its combination of panel types and other user-enhanced tricks soon may qualify it for the default boot choice on my primary computer.

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Alan Pope: KDE Slimbook 2 Review

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KDE
Hardware
Reviews

The kind folks at Slimbook recently sent me the latest generation of their ultrabook-style laptop line for review, the KDE Slimbook 2. You can hear my thoughts on the latest episode of the Ubuntu Podcast, released on June 7th 2018.

Slimbook are a small laptop vendor based in Spain. All the laptops ship with KDE Neon as the default operating system. In addition to their hardware, they also contribute to and facilitate local Free Software events in their area. I was sent the laptop only for review purposes. There's no other incentive provided, and Slimbook didn't see this blog post before I published it.

Being a small vendor, they don't have the same buying power with OEM vendors as other big name laptop suppliers. This is reflected in the price you pay. You're supporting a company who are themselves supporting Free Software developers and communities.

If you're after the cheapest possible laptop, and don't care about its origin or the people behind the device, then maybe this laptop isn't for you. However, if you like to vote with your wallet, then the KDE Slimbook should absolutely be on your list to seriously consider.

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Plasma Got Tricks – I like big tricks and I cannot lie

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KDE
Reviews

The Plasma desktop is fun. Rich, detailed, with loads of goodies to explore and discover and play with. I haven’t really gotten bored with it even after a couple of years of rigorous daily testing. There’s always something new and exciting and useful to do, and you constantly come across fresh, handy aspects of desktop usage you haven’t really thought about. The discovery is progressive, which also helps navigate the Plasma environment, without getting a sensory overload of too many choices.

This article showcases only a small portion of what Plasma can do. But the best part about it is: you can completely ignore all of the above and just use it like a traditional desktop. On a day you feel adventurous, it will welcome you into its fold and uncover its many cool facets. In general, the desktop should be a background thing, a canvas to let you get things done. But it does not have to be boring. In this regard, Plasma proves that practicality and functionality do not have to come at the price of fun. You do not need to sacrifice. On the contrary. It’s one giant basket of Easter eggs. Happy hunting.

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What’s new in openSUSE Leap 15 – KDE Plasma 5.12

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Reviews
SUSE

One of the most exiting new things about openSUSE Leap 15 is the updated KDE Plasma desktop environment. We are moving from Plasma 5.8 LTE to Plasma 5.12 LTE. Which means that there are a lot of new features to look forward to. Lets start with emphasizing that the KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment looks stunning. Below is a screenshot of my personal desktop, fully configured to my personal preferences. My configuration hasn’t changed much since KDE Plasma 4.3. I use 3 widgets: a folder view, an analog clock and a network monitor.

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Fedora 28 - Improvements drowned in slowness

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Red Hat
Reviews

Fedora 28 is buggy, riddled with problems and that awful performance issue, some good and brilliant points, and it takes a lot of hard work to tame and put into order. In other words, it's a perfect toy for the typical developer, I guess. For ordinary folks, the good points of being able to play music, connect phones and find nice software are definitely appreciated. But they are more than offset by Gnome 3 being useless and hard to make less useless, inadequate default font settings, tons of visual inconsistencies, occasional app and kernel crashes, and dreadful performance and resource utilization.

This distro makes sense as a test bed for software, nothing more. It is not suitable for day-to-day use, and there are too many problems. I find this sad, because RHEL and CentOS are the exact opposites of this equation, and that means a person interested in a Red Hat distro for their home use will probably have to compromise in some way. All in all, worth checking, but it's a tinkerer's trinket, not a system for serious use. None of the spring crop seem to be. Anyway, feel like testing, go ahead. But I still find the older 24/25 releases to have been much better. 4/10. Take care, freedom fighters.

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A look at Linux Mint 19 Beta

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Beta versions of Linux Mint 19 "Tara" are out; the Linux Mint development team released Cinnamon, MATE and XFCE beta versions of the upcoming new version of Linux Mint today.

Note: Beta versions are not necessarily ready for use in production environments. They are designed for testing and if you run Linux Mint in production environments, you may want to install Linux Mint 19 Beta in a virtual machine or a spare-machine to test new functionality and see what has changed.

It will be possible to update from Linux Mint 19 Beta to Stable once the stable version is released; systems with Linux Mint 18.3 can also be upgrade to the new version directly.

The release notes linked at the bottom of the article link to downloads. Just follow the links and download the desired edition of Linux Mint 19 Beta to your system.

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More in Tux Machines

Making GNOME Look Like Apple's Operating System

  • A macOS Mojave Inspired GTK Theme Appears
    A new GTK theme brings the luscious look of macOS Mojave to the Linux desktop. Not that you should be surprised; we’ve written before about how easy it is to make Ubuntu look like a Mac. But thanks to this new macOS Mojave inspired GTK theme that fact is truer, and more faithful, than ever.
  • Make Ubuntu Look Like macOS Mojave’s Dark Mode
    If you’re a Linux user who likes the look of the dark mode coming in macOS Mojave, you’re in luck: there’s a GTK theme just for you. The theme is available on Gnome-Look.org alongside several other macOS inspired themes. You’re looking for the one titled McOS-MJV-Dark-mode, but feel free to download more if you think you might want to switch it up later. Installing is a little tricky: you need to create a .themes directory in your home folder, then extract the folder in the downloaded archive into that folder. Next you need to install Gnome Tweaks in the Ubuntu Software Store, which you can use to change the theme. You can also use Gnome Tweaks to move the buttons to the left side of the window, where they belong. Fight me.

Android Leftovers

Servers With GNU/Linux

  • Linux Foundation Shifts Network Infrastructure to Kubernetes
    The Linux Networking Fund (LNF) is making significant progress toward embracing Kubernetes as a platform for delivering a range of networking services that are expected to be widely embraced by telecommunications carriers and cloud service providers (CSP). Arpit Joshipura, general manager of networking an orchestration for The Linux Foundation, says the latest Beijing release of the Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) contains several modules that have been ported to Kubernetes, with more to follow once the Casablanca release of ONAP is released.
  • A Platform Of A Certain Age And Respectability
    But seriously. The many rivals of the OS/400 platform and its follow-ons since that June 21, 1988, launch of the Application System/400 are now gone or not even on life support. We can all rattle them off, but the important ones that drove innovation for OS/400 and its children through to the current IBM i are DEC’s VMS for the VAX and Alpha systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s MPE for the HP 3000 and HP-UX for the HP 9000s, and Sun Microsystems’ Solaris for the Sparc systems. You could throw in SCO Unix, Novell NetWare, and a slew of proprietary operating systems in Europe and Japan, and while you are at it, you should probably also include the IBM System/38’s CPF operating system and the IBM System/36’s SSP operating system. Even OS/2 and its PS/2 platform actually predate the AS/400 by 10 months – and they are long, long gone.
  • Uptycs Raises $13M, Launches Osquery-Based Security Platform
    No. 2 is the growing popularity of Mac and Linux-based infrastructure. Traditional enterprise workloads are deployed on Windows, so that’s where malicious activity historically occurred. But now more companies are using Mac infrastructure and transitioning new workloads to Linux in the cloud. Companies need to monitor and secure these environments as well, and Uptycs’ security platform covers all of the above.
  • CeBIT 2018: Huawei to roll-out KunLun V5 server
    Huawei is set to launch the latest server in its KunLun mission critical range with the V5, teaming up once more with Suse, further confirming that the company’s Linux Enterprise Server system is its preferred standard for the range.
  • Why an Infrastructure Transition is the Perfect Time to Invest in Security
    The idea behind containers has been around since the 1970s, when the technology was first used to isolate application code on Unix systems. However, the use of containers only became widespread in 2013 with the advent of Docker, and container orchestration tools like Kubernetes are even newer than that.

A look at Lutris – Open Gaming Platform for GNU/Linux

Lutris is quite the handy application I’ve discovered, that helps with organization and installation of games on GNU/Linux, even if they come from multiple sources. One of the project's goals is to support any game that runs on Linux regardless of whether it runs natively, through Wine, or other means. The main appeal of Lutris is that it provides an interface to manage all games installed on the machine regardless of source. While it is necessary to integrate the games in the application first, doing so is not super complicated. You may add local games right away by selecting them from the local system or visit the Lutris website to add games this way. Lutris simplifies nearly everything. Users can visit the list of support games on the Lutris website, choose to download and install the game (Note: If its a game that must be bought, you must own it first.) The website lists supported games and where you can acquire or download them. You can use filters on the site to display only free games, games of a genre, or use the built-in search to find games of interest quickly using it. Read more