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Reviews

LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Ubuntu MATE 17.10

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Mate 17.10 is a pretty stable and rock solid distribution which has got most things right. There is nothing unlikable about the distro. However, I feel it could have been a lot better if they had allowed 4 windows to be snapped on each corners and done something about the opaque top panel. The software included are very much standard and even though some of their names have been changed we all know what’s under the hood. Overall Experience has been good. Having already tested Ubuntu with Gnome 3, I can say that Ubuntu Mate 17.10 feels a lot faster and quicker in terms of GUI response.

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REVIEW: The OnePlus 5T is not only a bargain, it's the best Android phone you can buy at any price

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Android
Reviews

The new OnePlus 5T is an excellent smartphone, but thing about it stands out from the rest — its $500 price.

That amount is actually near the top of what OnePlus has charged for its past smartphones. But the price is hundreds of dollars cheaper than that of many other top-of-the-line devices. Indeed, many of the latest flagship smartphones, including Apple's iPhone X and Samsung's Galaxy Note 8, cost more than $900.

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OnePlus 5T review: Come for the value, not the excitement

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Android
Reviews

OnePlus isn't interested in holding back on specs, features or capabilities to make a big reveal of a new phone just once a year. The scrappy company has settled in on a refresh cycle every six months, with a big release followed by a mid-cycle bump to bring in the latest things it's been working on. The OnePlus 5T isn't meant to be an innovative leap of technology that blows your socks off — and honestly, none of its predecessors have been particularly groundbreaking, either.

Nope, the 5T is still about value, simplicity and being tuned for what the Android enthusiast crowd craves from its phones. At $479 there wasn't much about the OnePlus 5 you could find a flaw with. Now six months later with a bigger screen, new secondary camera, neat Face Unlock feature and a $20 price bump, it's a pretty easy equation to figure out.

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OnePlus 5T review—An outstanding combination of specs, design, and price

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Android
Reviews

After launching the OnePlus 5 earlier this year, OnePlus is back with an end-of-year upgrade for the device. The OnePlus 5T takes a winning formula—high-end specs with a low price tag and a metal body—and reworks the front of the phone to dedicate as much space as possible to the screen. This device has a new screen, a new button layout, a new fingerprint reader, and a new camera setup. It almost feels like a totally new device.

We liked the OnePlus 5 from earlier in the year, but, with the more modern design, OnePlus has fixed OnePlus 5's biggest downside. The result is something that is extremely compelling—a $500 phone that makes you question exactly why you'd give $800 to those other OEMs when this has nearly everything the more expensive phones have.

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Review: Fedora 27 Workstation

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Red Hat
Reviews

On the whole there are several things to like about Fedora 27. The operating system was stable during my trial and I like that there are several session options, depending on whether we want to use Wayland or the X display server or even a more traditional-looking version of GNOME. I am happy to see Wayland is coming along to the point where it is close to on par with the X session. There are some corner cases to address, but GNOME on Wayland has improved a lot in the past year.

I like the new LibreOffice feature which lets us sign and verify documents and I like GNOME's new settings panel. These are all small, but notable steps forward for GNOME, LibreOffice and Fedora.

Most of the complaints I had this week had more to do with GNOME specifically than Fedora as an operating system. GNOME on Fedora is sluggish on my systems, both on the desktop computer and in VirtualBox, especially the Wayland session. This surprised me as when I ran GNOME's Wayland session on Ubuntu last month, the desktop performed quite a bit better. Ubuntu's GNOME on Wayland session was smooth and responsive, but Fedora's was too slow for me to use comfortably and I switched over to using the X session for most of my trial.

Two other big differences I felt keenly between Ubuntu and Fedora were with regards to how these two leading projects set up GNOME. On Ubuntu we have a dock that acts as a task switcher, making it a suitable environment for multitasking. Fedora's GNOME has no equivalent. This means Fedora's GNOME is okay for running one or two programs at a time, but I tend to run eight or nine applications at any given moment. This becomes very awkward when using Fedora's default GNOME configuration as it is hard to switch between open windows quickly, at least without installing an extension. In a similar vein, Ubuntu's GNOME has window control buttons and Fedora's version does not, which again adds a few steps to what are usually very simple, quick actions.

What it comes down to is I feel like Ubuntu takes GNOME and turns it into a full featured desktop environment, while Fedora provides us with just plain GNOME which feels more like a framework for a desktop we can then shape with extensions rather than a complete desktop environment. In fact, I think that describes Fedora's approach in general - the distribution feels more like a collection of open source utilities rather than an integrated whole. Earlier I mentioned LibreOffice can work with signed documents, but Fedora has no key manager, meaning we need to find and download one. Fedora ships with Totem, which is a fine video player, but it doesn't work with Wayland, making it an odd default choice. These little gaps or missed connections show up occasionally and it sets the distribution apart from other projects like openSUSE or Linux Mint where there is a stronger sense the pieces of the operating system working together with a unified vision.

The big puzzle for me this week was with software updates. Linux effectively solved updating software and being able to keep running without a pause, reboot or lock-up decades ago. Other mainstream distributions have fast updates - some even have atomic, on-line updates. openSUSE has software snapshots through the file system, Ubuntu has live kernel updates that do away with rebooting entirely and NixOS has atomic, versioned updates via the package manager, to name just three examples. But Fedora has taken a big step backward in making updates require an immediate reboot, and taking an unusually long time to complete the update process, neither of which benefits the user.

Fedora has some interesting features and I like that it showcases new technologies. It's a good place to see what new items are going to be landing in other projects next year. However, Fedora feels more and more like a testing ground for developers and less like a polished experience for people to use as their day-to-day operating system.

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Kubuntu 17.10 review - Hello darkness my old friend

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KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

This must be one of the worst Kubuntu releases I've tried in a long time. Part of the fault lies with the parent distro, and the heartless switch to Gnome, which just shows that the passion to making Ubuntu an important desktop player is gone. This is just inertia and apathy. Still, there's so much wrong with Kubuntu on its own that I feel like a total fool for investing my time in this effort. And it also proves that there is only one good release for every three, showing that distro teams are overstretched roughly by 300%. The whole fast-release bullshit is just the modern-era agile-crap nonsense. It helps no one. Shitty products serve no purpose. Being fast for the sake of it is like running head first into an industrial blender to have your outstretched arms finely chopped by spinning blades.

Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark makes me sad. Makes me angry. Zesty was one of the finest distros ever created. This is one of the worst. That makes no sense. How can it be? Where's the modicum of care and diligence to ensure this kind of stuff does not happen? Application crashes, kernel crashes, media bugs, weird artifacts. Horrible.

My suggestion is not to upgrade for now. And even then, the foundation of your sanity is shaken. Come the upgrade, you do not know what will happen. You're hostage to arbitrary code decisions. There's no peace and stability in the Linux desktop. You will always have to dread the update process, not knowing what will break next. That is the essence of amateurism. And I'm right there, advocating Plasma and Kubuntu like the biggest of fools in this universe. Anyway, for the sake of public sacrifice, I'll also check 17.10 in-vivo upgrades on other machines, but my expectations are low. Aardvark gets 4/10. Don't bother for now, give it six months for the bugs to be fixed before a new release erases the slate and the cycle of depression starts again.

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Also: First Look At Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia Beta

HTC U11 Life (Android One) review: Keep it simple

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Reviews

Android One has arrived in Europe, and HTC is one of the first manufacturers to ship an affordable, Google-branded phone. The Android One badge made its debut in India and parts of Asia, as Google emphasized quality software on super-cheap hardware. But with its latest round of "One" handsets, the prices are higher, the products more premium, and the hand on the software rudder a little firmer.

The Android One U11 Life — unlike the T-Mobile U.S. version we reviewed separately, running HTC Sense — runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and comes with the promise of timely updates to future versions. It takes the fundamentals of HTC's flagship phone and downscales it into a smaller size, while trimming the specs back to the essentials.

There's a Snapdragon 630 processor — Qualcomm's latest mid-ranger, and the successor to the very capable 625/626 — along with 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and 32 or 64GB of storage, plus microSD. I've been using the 3/32GB model for the past couple of weeks, however the UK will be getting the more capacious 4/64GB model when it goes on sale.

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MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds

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Linux
Reviews

MX-17 Beta 1 images are available for download here. If you are looking for a computing platform that is a bit different and very reliable, check out the latest MX 17 Beta releases. Try out the various installation options. See how they work on your slowest legacy hardware.

If you like what you see, keep using the Beta release on USB until the final release of MX 17 comes out shortly. Then you can install it to your computer's hard drive in frugal mode, keep your existing Linux distro where it is, and choose which one to run with each new boot-up.

The beauty of MX Linux is you do not have to deal with wiping or partitioning your hard drive or fussing with the unpredictability of maintaining a dual-boot setup.

MX Linux is a powerful, easy-to-use computing platform that goes beyond lightweight performance without filling your computer with software bloat.

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LG V30 review: Good hardware design marred by bad camera, software

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Android
Reviews

Another six months, another LG flagship phone. Typically the V series has been LG's wacky, experimental line with an extra "ticker" screen on the front. This year, though, the V30 is all business. The ticker is gone in exchange for a slim-bezel device and a clean look.

With the V30, LG is still basically following the same path that Samsung travels by shipping a heavily skinned phone with a glass back and slow updates. When you do all the same things as Samsung without the marketing budget, it's hard to stand out.

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Antergos 17.11 – the Antagonist

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Reviews

Antergos shares the same roots with Manjaro. Both these distributions are in the Top 5 of Distrowatch list. However, my feelings from these operating systems are very different.
I liked Manjaro very much, and I felt disappointed by Antergos.

To certain extent, the disappointment was due to GNOME 3 desktop environment being used by default. I still dislike it, and it goes against my workflow. But there are some very Antergos-specific "features" that made me frown. Just to name a few: absence of office software in the default distribution, problem with software installation, huge memory usage.

Manjaro and Antergos. Such close brothers, so much difference.

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