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Review: Motorola Moto X4 Sub Title: Moto Money

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Android
Reviews

The original Moto X should hold a special place in smartphone history. It wasn’t the most powerful device, and the camera struggled, but it was the first major phone with contextual awareness baked in, giving you a hands-free assistant with voice recognition. We all yell at Alexa from across the room these days, but in 2013 it was magic. Every Moto X was different, too. You could customize it however you liked—deck it out in bright neon colors, backed in football leather, or covered in bamboo—and Motorola would ship it to you from its assembly plant in Texas, not China.

Motorola has gone through a lot of changes since 2013, and is now owned by Lenovo, but DNA from that first Moto X shines through in the Moto X4. It’s still not all that powerful, but is comfortable to hold, now waterproof, and has a suite of useful features unique to Motorola’s handsets.

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Review: The best Linux distros for Docker and containers

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Linux
Reviews

Over the past six months I have reviewed five minimal Linux distributions that are optimized for running containers: Alpine Linux, CoreOS Container Linux, RancherOS, Red Hat Atomic Host, and VMware Photon OS. Generically known as “container operating systems,” these stripped down, purpose built Linux distributions are not the only way to run containers in production, but they provide a base that does not waste resources on anything besides container support.

The state of the industry with container deployment systems is very much like the early days of Linux distributions. You have one key element, in this case the Docker container, that is surrounded by a number of competing ecosystem components. Just as the traditional Linux distros bundled different package managers, desktop environments, system utilities, services, and apps, most container distributions mix and match various components to create what they consider an optimum solution. Take for example distributed configuration and service discovery. There are several solutions for this such as Etcd, Consul, and ZooKeeper.

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Ubuntu 17.10 - on the GNOME again

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GNOME
Reviews

Ubuntu is one of the world's most popular Linux distributions. The distribution is available in several flavours, the two most widely recognized being the Desktop and Server editions. The release of Ubuntu 17.10 introduces a number of important changes, the most visible ones mostly affecting the Desktop edition which I will focus on in this review. As 17.10 is an interim release rather than a long term support release, it will received security updates for just nine months.

One technical change in version 17.10 is the phasing out of 32-bit builds of the Desktop edition, though the Server edition is still available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds for the x86 architecture. Another significant change is the Ubuntu distribution has swapped out its in-house Unity desktop and replaced it with a customized version of the GNOME Shell desktop. Unity is still available in Ubuntu's software repositories if we wish to install it later.

I opted to download the Desktop edition of Ubuntu 17.10. The ISO for this edition is 1.4GB in size and booting from this media brings up a graphical window where we are asked if we would like to try Ubuntu's live desktop mode or launch the system installer. This screen also lets us select the system's language with the default being English.

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Linux Lite 3.6 Desktop Installation Guide with Screenshots

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Reviews

We’ve already reviewed the Linux Lite 3.6 distro some time back and even concluded that it is an excellent distro for any beginner to start with linux and then stay on forever. With a lot of wow factors in that distro, Linux Lite has come up with a more enhanced version in Linux Lite 3.6. And with the 3.6 release, Linux Lite has introduced some major changes since the release of 3.4. Let’s look at all the changes and also a step by step installation guide to install Linux Lite 3.6 in your system.

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Purism Librem 13 v2 privacy-focused Linux laptop -- great hardware, frustrating software [Review]

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

As a computer user in 2017, privacy is always on my mind -- as it should be. I suppose I have always cared about securing my information and data, but in recent years, we have learned so many troubling things about government hackers -- including the USA -- that it seems more important than ever. Patriot Edward Snowden really shone a light on the unfortunate state of privacy, or lack thereof, in modern days.

This is why I was very intrigued by the Purism line of laptops. These are computers that are designed with privacy in mind. The Librem 13 v2, which I have been testing, features two hardware kill-switches -- one will cut the webcam and microphone, while the other kills the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios. By cutting access on the hardware level, hackers cannot access these things when switched off. Instead of using a traditional bios system for booting, it even leverages Coreboot. It runs a Linux-based operating system called "Pure OS" which aims to be very secure and private. Unfortunately, the OS ends up being a little too secure, and the weak link of the overall package. But does that really matter?

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Reviews of Ubuntu MATE 17.10

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Reviews
Ubuntu
  • What’s New in Ubuntu MATE 17.10

    Ubuntu MATE 17.10 the official flavor of Ubuntu 17.10 with MATE desktop has been released and announced by the Ubuntu MATE Developer. This release ships with the latest MATE Desktop 1.18 as default desktop environment include the MATE apps 1.18 and powered the latest Linux kernel 4.13 series.

    The most important features that added in Ubuntu MATE 17.10, support for global menus and the Heads-Up Display (HUD) feature that was available in the mutiny, cupertino and Contemporary layouts user interface. The login screen has been changed to Slick Greeter, powered by LightDM, and you can now use the Super key to active menu launchers.

  • Ubuntu Mate 17.10 Review

    Looking for a Linux distribution that is both easy to use and extremely customizable? Look no further than Ubuntu Mate! Ubuntu Mate has proven to be a very popular distribution ever since its release. The latest release, 17.10, should prove just as popular, as there are a whole host of improvements.

Google Pixelbook review: Prepared today for the possible reality of tomorrow

Filed under
OS
Google
Reviews

Chromebooks may be most popular in the classroom, but Google wants to ride that train out of schools and into the next phase of students' lives. The Pixelbook is the manifestation of that idea, the piece of hardware that combines Google's revamped design aesthetic and Internet-based software with the needs and wants of a younger generation.

Google stopped selling the original Chromebook Pixel, but seemingly only because the company wants to shine the spotlight on its new Chrome OS laptop. No distractions, no other (potentially) cheaper options: if you're someone who grew up using Chrome OS in school, this $999 convertible is the one you should get if you want to continue using Chrome OS later in life.

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Rough Edges of the ROSA Desktop Fresh R9 LXQt

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MDV
Reviews

LXQt is a desktop environment that is under heavy development. Unfortunately, there are still some rough edges in it.

ROSA Desktop Fresh R9 is not the first distribution from that team to feature LXQt. But you still can feel these rough edges here and there.

It generally feels OK. The only major issue I can name is a problem with video playback on one of the tested sites. But there were many smaller issues. All-in-all, I would say that ROSA R9 LXQt is still a distribution for those who like to get their hands dirty, who like to help developers and who like some challenges. It is not a distribution for newbies, but a a good distribution for real Linux fans to have fun with.

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Teclast T10 Review: A 10-Inch Android Tablet For Under $250

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Android
Reviews

The Android software version here is 7.0, which is starting to be a bit dated. Given that Teclast is a Chinese OEM, I wouldn't expect quick updates to Oreo anytime soon. But at least the software here is mostly stock, with the exception of two bloatware Chinese apps that cannot be uninstalled.

Android as a software platform has matured a lot in recent years, so using it on what is essentially a blown-up mobile screen is no longer as awkward as a couple years ago. Sure, some apps like Instagram still look ridiculous running on a tablet screen -- not to mention Instagram Stories refuses to run on the T10 -- but other apps like Facebook, Gmail and YouTube have been optimized for larger displays and they look wonderful on the T10. In Gmail, for example, you get two separate columns for list of emails and email summary respectively.

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ArchLabs Linux Mínimo

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Reviews

ArchLabs is a great combination of lightweight and, thanks to its Arch base, constantly up-to-date software. While probably not for everyone, ArchLabs is a polished distribution that anyone looking for an Arch-based distribution that has a pre-configured desktop and software selection should check out. The only drawback is that, like many lightweight distributions, selecting applications based on what is deemed best for an individual task can result in an odd hodgepodge of applications that all behave differently. Of course, the choice of what to install is up to the user, so that might not be a problem for some, but having applications from Xfce, GNOME, KDE, etc., can lead to a jumbled user experience.

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Games Leftovers

Linux and Linux Foundation

  • V3D DRM Driver Steps Towards Mainline Kernel, Renamed From VC5
    The Broadcom VC5 driver stack is being renamed to V3D and developer Eric Anholt is looking at merging it into the mainline Linux kernel. The VC5 DRM/KMS and Mesa code has been for supporting the next-generation Broadcom VideoCore 5 graphics hardware that's only now beginning to appear in some devices, well, it seems one device so far. Though as I pointed out a few months back, there's already "VC6" activity going on too as the apparent successor to VC5 already being in development.
  • Azure Sphere Makes Microsoft an Arm Linux Player for IoT [Ed: Microsoft marketing at LF (only runs on/with Windows and Visual Studio etc.)]
  • Keynotes Announced for Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan [Ed: "Senior Software Engineer, Microsoft" in there; LF has once again let Microsoft infiltrate Linux events; in the words of Microsoft’s chief evangelist, “I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. […] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”]
    Automotive Linux Summit connects those driving innovation in automotive Linux from the developer community with the vendors and users providing and using the code, in order to propel the future of embedded devices in the automotive arena.

Android Leftovers

ExTiX, the Ultimate Linux Operating System, Is Now Based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

ExTiX is dubbed the "Ultimate Linux System," and it's been updated earlier today by developer Arne Exton to version 18.4, based on Canonical's upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS operating system. However, ExTiX is using the lightweight and modern LXQt 0.12.0 as default desktop environment instead of GNOME, and it's powered by the latest Linux 4.16.2 kernel. "After removing GNOME I have installed LXQt 0.12.0," said Arne Exton in today's announcement. "Programs won’t crash or anything like that. And I haven’t discovered any bugs to report. While running ExTiX LXQt 18.4 live or from the hard drive you can use Refracta tools (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. A ten-year child can do it." Read more