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Reviews

Refracta 8.0 Is a Pint-Sized Powerhouse

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Refracta is a somewhat obscure Linux distribution that offers exceptional functionality and stability.

Obscurity is not always a bad thing when it comes to Linux distros. You can find some very worthwhile alternatives to your current operating system. Refracta is a big surprise in a small package.

Many look-alike desktop distros are difficult to distinguish from run-of-the-mill garden varieties. Others offer new adopters something unique that makes using them fun and productive.

Refracta is one of the few full-service Linux distros that makes an easy and more convenient replacement for pocket Linux options such as Puppy Linux. Not all Linux distros that install to a USB drive -- and have the ability to save files and system settings in a persistent mode -- work equally well.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Q4OS - Part 2

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OS
Reviews

So now I have all the software I need installed, all hardware setup and running and I am using Q4OS on a daily basis.

As an operating system I am finding the performance is extremely good and everything is extremely stable.

Check out this guide which shows how to make Q4OS look like Windows XP, 2000, 7, 8 and 10.

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Lenovo Yoga Book (Android) review: A unique 2-in-1 for note-taking, drawing, and more

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Android
Reviews

Lenovo's Yoga Book is really great at being a tablet. As far as playing games and watching movies goes, I was as comfortable using the Yoga Book as I am with my iPad Air 2.

As far as productivity goes, this device wasn't for me. Of course, that doesn't mean that it's not for anyone. My version of productivity involves a keyboard (I type a lot, if you haven't guessed), while for others, it might involve switching between a keyboard and pen input, and for those people, the Yoga Book is nearly perfect.

Ultimately, Lenovo's Yoga Book is a truly innovative device, offering a number of features that aren't seen anywhere else. It is, of course, a first-generation product, and if Lenovo stays the course, the second-generation model will be a real winner.

I'd say that it's worth buying, as long as you know what you're getting. It's an excellent consumption tablet, and it's also fantastic for taking notes and drawing, as well as a bit of light typing.

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AV Linux Update: Good but Not Better

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

If you plan on checking out AV Linux, keep in mind that the live session ISO (which you must run in order to install or even load) requires a user name and a password to log in. You will find these necessities hidden in the ISO file name.

For the 64-bit version, the user name is isotester. The password is avl64. The 32-bit version is similar. Use isotester with avl32. For security reasons, you can not access root accounts on the LiveISO.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Q4OS 1.8

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Reviews

Q4OS is fairly straight forward to get to grips with and it runs like a dream.

When I tried it last year it was on a much older machine and really worked well. On this machine it performs magnificently.

The Windows look and feel might not be to everybody's taste especially the use of "My Documents" and "My Pictures" etc but you can easily rename them.

The desktop environment is Trinity and it lacks certain features such as window snapping.

I haven't tried Q4OS out with my NAS drive or printer and other hardware yet but I did last time around and it had no issues so I suspect it will be the same this time. I will update you in the next blog post about this. I will also update you as to whether Steam works or not.

As with last time around I can't really fault Q4OS on anything. Well I suppoes there are a couple of things that could be improved such as dual booting and the network manager should be installed by default as the one that comes with Q4OS is a bit inconsistent.

After just a couple of hours effort I had Q4OS installed with every application I need including PyCharm. I am now able to listen to music, watch films, surf the web, write software, edit documents, read and send mail, use DropBox, use Skype and play games.

Q4OS also comes with WINE which is useful for running Windows software.

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System76 Oryx Pro review: Linux in a laptop has never been better

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Linux
Reviews

Laptops preloaded with Linux aren't as rare as they used to be. In fact, big name hardware companies like Dell have whole lines of laptops that ship with Ubuntu installed, and if you want to stretch things a bit you could argue that a Chromebook is a kind of Linux machine (though it takes a bit of tinkering to get actual Linux installed). Still, there's no question the Linux user of today has a wealth of options compared with the dark ages of just a few years ago when "I use Linux" was code for "I spend all my time looking for hardware drivers."

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OnePlus 3T review: A slightly better OnePlus 3 for slightly more money

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Android
Reviews

OnePlus started its existence by hyping up the Android community to a completely irresponsible degree in advance of the release of the OnePlus One. Lucky for them the OPO was a pretty good phone. However, the breakdown of OnePlus' relationship with Cyanogen Inc. made the OnePlus 2 a less appealing device. It was lacking in a few hardware areas and the software was very barebones. The OnePlus 3 was a clear improvement, but just a few months later OnePlus has given it the boot in favor of the OnePlus 3T.

As the name implies, this phone is very similar to the OnePlus 3. In fact, the OnePlus 3T has the same chassis as the OP3 and shares most of the same specs. The big additions here are the Snapdragon 821 (up from 820) and 3400mAh battery (previously 3000mAh). With the spec bump also comes a price bump—the OnePlus 3T starts at $440 instead of $400. I don't know that the additions are going to change the experience, but the OnePlus 3T is still a good deal. OnePlus knows its niche.

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Endless OS 3.0.5

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OS
Reviews

Endless OS is a Linux-based operating system which seeks to provide a streamlined, simplified user experience. A large part of the user experience is provided by a custom desktop environment (EOS Shell) which is a fork of GNOME 3.8. The distribution is available in two editions, a 1.5GB Basic edition and a larger (approximately 13GB) Full edition. The Basic edition offers a small number of applications and is suitable for most situations where the user has an Internet connection. The Full edition ships with a large collection of software and is therefore more suited to off-line installations.

The Endless OS website mentions that support for audio formats, such as OGG and MP3, are built into the operating system, but most video formats are not supported. Video codecs and Netflix support are available for purchase through the Endless on-line store.

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OnePlus 3T review

Filed under
Android
Reviews

So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the OnePlus 3T review! If you already have the OnePlus 3, the 3T isn’t compelling enough to justify an upgrade. The improvements are nice, but the overall experience isn’t significantly different between the two, and if software updates are a concern, the good news is that both devices will receive them at the same time.

On the other hand, those who have been waiting to see what Google had to offer with their smartphones and were holding off on buying the OnePlus 3 will certainly be elated. Given the upgrades, the $40 and $80 difference in price from the OnePlus 3 is completely understandable, and still undercuts a lot of other flagships. What you get for the money does make the OnePlus 3T one of the best deals you can get for an Android flagship, and is a smart move by the company.

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Kubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak - Cautiously good?

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

Let us draw the verdict. It's a strange one. Oddly, this is probably the best Kubuntu that I've tested in a long time. Sadly, that's like saying losing one finger in a freak chainsaw accident is better than losing two fingers. Not the best measure stick. Not something to be proud of. There are many, many problems in Yakkety Yak Plasma, including but not limited to the application stack, stability, performance, package management, and the ability to customize. That's not a happy list.

Brave face on, we also have a lot of goodies to focus on. A very decent - and FIRST for Plasma - smartphone support stack and multimedia playback as they should be. Lots of old bugs have been fixed. If only we had Samba printing support out of the box, and the network card driver was given a little bit of love, this might be a reasonable distro.

Kubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak is nothing to be proud of, but it is an okay Plasma release that has redeemed a whole generation of failed distributions in the past year or so. It's funny how it's gone from being my favorite to a pariah, and now it's slowly recovering. Such a waste of effort. And why? There was really no need for this whole regression saga. Anyhow, the road to success is still a long and perilous one. It will take a lot more before Kubuntu becomes a recommended household item again. But at the very least, 16.10 is showing a little of that promise. 7/10, if I'm being generous, more like 6/10, but you might want to give it a spin and see what gives. QED.

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Development News

Security Leftovers

  • How To Improve The Linux System’s Security Using Firejail
    As you already know, Linux kernel is secure by default. But, it doesn’t mean that the softwares on the Linux system are completely secure. Say for example, there is a possibility that any add-ons on your web browser may cause some serious security issues. While doing financial transactions over internet, some key logger may be active in browser which you are not aware of. Even though, we can’t completely give the bullet-proof security to our Linux box, we still can add an extra pinch of security using an application called Firejail. It is a security utility which can sandbox any such application and let it to run in a controlled environment. To put this simply, Firejail is a SUID (Set owner User ID up on execution) program that reduces the risk of security breaches by restricting the running environment of untrusted applications.
  • “Httpd and Relayd Mastery” off to copyedit
  • Kalyna Block Cipher

Containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs

  • Setting the Record Straight: containers vs. Zones vs. Jails vs. VMs
    I’m tired of having the same conversation over and over again with people so I figured I would put it into a blog post. Many people ask me if I have tried or what I think of Solaris Zones / BSD Jails. The answer is simply: I have tried them and I definitely like them. The conversation then heads towards them telling me how Zones and Jails are far superior to containers and that I should basically just give up with Linux containers and use VMs. Which to be honest is a bit forward to someone who has spent a large portion of her career working with containers and trying to make containers more secure. Here is what I tell them:
  • [Old] Hadoop Has Failed Us, Tech Experts Say

    The Hadoop community has so far failed to account for the poor performance and high complexity of Hadoop, Johnson says. “The Hadoop ecosystem is still basically in the hands of a small number of experts,” he says. “If you have that power and you’ve learned know how to use these tools and you’re programmer, then this thing is super powerful. But there aren’t a lot of those people. I’ve read all these things how we need another million data scientists in the world, which I think means our tools aren’t very good.”

Wine and Games

  • [Wine] Packaging changes
    Today we want to announce some important changes regarding the Wine Staging packages provided at repos.wine-staging.com and dl.winehq.org. We completely reworked our build system to make the packages available sooner after a release and also added some new features, like downloading old packages for Debian / Ubuntu. The complete list of changes can be found in the announcement email on the Wine mailing list.
  • Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition Announced for PC, Mac, Linux, and Mobile
  • Podcast #6 with Ethan Lee, Porter on Fez, Transistor
    Have you ever played Fez on Linux ? Transistor ? Speed Runners ? Shenzen I/O ? Bastion ? or more recently, Owlboy ? Well if you have, you have benefited from the work of Flibitijibibo who is directly responsible for the port of such titles to your platform.