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Reviews

Anarchy Linux Dispels Fear of Arch

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Linux
Reviews

Arch-Anywhere/Anarchy Linux is one of the nicest Arch-based distributions I have encountered. However, Anarchy Linux still requires familiarity with terminology and processes that usually are not needed to install Linux distros from a fully-functioning live session installation disk. Not having a demo mode to preview how the OS runs on your particular hardware can be a time-consuming setback.

However, once you have Anarchy Linux up and running, it will give you a very pleasing computing experience. Much of what happens after installation depends on the desktop environment you selected.

If you have a desktop preference or prefer one of the included window manager environments instead, you can forget about the sullied reputation that comes with Arch Linux distros. For many reasons, Anarchy Linux is a winning choice.

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Ubuntu 17.10: Hands-on with Artful Aardvark

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 17.10, Artful Aardvark, has now been officially released. I have not been much of an Ubuntu fan for a long time now, but this release includes a lot of significant changes, many of which might address some of my most serious objections about Ubuntu. So I think I should take a closer look at it than I normally do.

The release announcement mentions the major updates and changes - including the biggest of all, the switch from Unity back to Gnome 3 / Gnome Shell for the desktop. As I have not liked Unity from the very first time I saw it (that's a polite way to phrase it), I am very, very pleased with this change.

The release notes (for all versions) give a more complete list of packages updated, and a list of known issues. It also includes a statement that I know some users will not be pleased with:

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Motorola Moto X4 Android One review: a Nexus by any other name

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Android
Reviews

That’s been a tough pill for many fans of the prior Nexus phones to swallow, as they frequently offered a lot of specs and performance for a lot less money than other smartphones. You could realistically get a great Nexus phone for under $500 without having to give up the traits that make them great: clean software, fast performance, and timely updates.

Enter Motorola’s new Moto X4 Android One smartphone. While not technically a Nexus phone, it shares many of the same qualities that made the Nexus line so loved. Clean build of Android? Check. Promise of fast updates and years of software support? Check. Reasonable cost? Check.

The $399 X4 won’t appeal to everyone. It’s not meant to compete with the Pixel or other premium phone in terms of features or performance, and its biggest limitation is that it’s only available on Google’s own Project Fi network. (Though it comes unlocked and works with other networks, the only way to buy this flavor of X4 is to be a Fi customer.) But if you’ve been holding on to that aging Nexus 5X hoping something would come along and pick up its mantle, the Moto X4 Android One version is it.

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Ubuntu 17.10: What’s New? [Video]

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Reviews
Ubuntu

It’s Artful Aardvark arrival day today (no, really!) and to mark the occasion we’ve made our first video in 3 years!

Prime your eyeballs and pop in some earbuds as we (try to) bring you up to speed on what’s new in Ubuntu 17.10.

At a smidgen over 3 minutes long we think our video is perfect for watching on your commute; when you’re bleary eyed in bed; or when you get the tl;dr feels thinking about our fuller, longer, and far wordier Ubuntu 17.10 review (due out shortly).

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Plasma 5.11 – Keep the momentum going

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KDE
Reviews

Just a few short days ago, the KDE team released Plasma 5.11, the latest edition of this desktop environment, plied with a range of bug fixes as well as some new features. Reason enough to celebrate, but even more so when you consider the fact that Plasma has been slowly, steadily – and consistently – improving over the past few years.

For me, the culmination of this effort is my great satisfaction with Plasma – epitomized in the shape and form of Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zoltan, including the most excellent twining of the distro with my HP Pavilion laptop. And on this very machine, I will be testing the KDE neon live edition, furnished with the latest desktop version. So let’s see what it does.

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Also: GCompris at KDE-edu sprint 2017

Review: Google Pixel 2

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Android
Google
Reviews

If I had to pick the moment I most appreciated the Google Pixel 2, it would be when our airboat driver-slash-tour guide put a hot dog and a piece of raw chicken in his pocket, dove into the New Orleans swamp, and began playing with a giant gator named Who Dat. I’m no social media whiz, but I knew there was Instagram gold unfolding in front of me. So I pulled out my Pixel 2 XL, the larger of Google’s two new models, double-clicked on the power button to open the camera, and started snapping.

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Pixel 2 and 2 XL review—The best Android phone you can buy

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Android
Reviews

Welcome to year two of Google Hardware. In 2016, Google jumped into the Android hardware space with its first self-branded device, the Google Pixel. Google's software prowess shined on the Pixel 1, offering up exclusive features like the Google Assistant, the best Android camera thanks to advanced software processing, fast day-one OS updates and betas, and the smoothest, best-performing overall build of Android. The killer software package made it the best Android phone of the previous generation.

The Pixel still represented Google's first foray into smartphone hardware, though, and it didn't offer anything special in the hardware department. It was a bland-looking iPhone clone. It had the same specs and basic design as everything else. The Pixel even skipped water resistance, which had become an expected feature at that price point. Google said it wanted to make its own hardware, but it didn't actually build special hardware.

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LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of BunsenLabs Linux

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Linux
Reviews
Ubuntu

Once upon a time there was Crunchbang Linux, and then it was no more, and then the community brought it back to life in another form known as BunsenLabs Linux. This distribution offers a lightweight and easily customizable Openbox desktop.

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Star 1.0.1 - lightweight desktops on a Devuan base

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Reviews

On the whole, I like the ideas presented in Star's design. The distribution is basically Devuan and pulls packages from Devuan's software repositories, but the live media and lightweight environments are great for testing the distribution and for breathing life into older computers. While this approach of starting light and adding only what we need is a solid concept, and proved to be very forgiving on resources, there are some rough edges in the implementation. The missing manual pages, for example, and the media player issues I ran into posed problems.

A few programs I used flashed warning messages letting me know PulseAudio was not available as Star uses the ALSA sound system by default. Strictly speaking, PulseAudio is not required most of the time and, if we do run into a situation where it is needed, we can install PulseAudio easily enough by rerunning Star's welcome script.

The default JWM environment is very plain and empty, which suited me. My only complaint was the constantly updating Conky status panel at the bottom of the screen. I was able to disable Conky, but it required digging into JWM's configuration files. Which brings me to another point: many users will probably prefer to try heavier editions of Star (like Xfce) to gain access to more user friendly configuration tools. The JWM edition is intentionally bare bones and probably best suited to more experienced users.

One last observation I had while using Star is that it is based on Devuan 1.0.0, which presents us with software that is about three years old (or more) at this point. This means some packages, like LibreOffice, are notably behind upstream versions. Since Star is best suited for older computers, this may not be an issue for most users, but it is worth keeping in mind that Star's software repository is a few years old at this point.

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Newbie's Guide to Ubuntu 17.10 Part 2

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Reviews
Ubuntu

This is Part 2 of the newbie's guide to operate Ubuntu 17.10. Here you'll learn how to operate the Nautilus File Manager. You'll do most of daily activities in Nautilus because it is your file manager, like Finder in Mac OS X or Explorer in Windows. You'll learn basic skills such as selecting & navigating, creating & deleting, searching & sorting files/folders, and also basic knowledge for keyboard shortcuts and the user interface. I wish this article helps you best to run Ubuntu 17.10 easily and happily.

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