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Reviews

Peppermint OS 8

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Reviews

Peppermint OS is a lightweight Linux distribution built primarily from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS packages. The latest release of Peppermint, version 8, ships with support for booting on UEFI-enabled computers. Peppermint also supports loading on computers protected by Secure Boot. The distribution ships with version 4.8 of the Linux kernel with Ubuntu's Hardware Enablement (HWE) drivers so the distribution should run on most modern computers.

Perhaps the most interesting item Peppermint ships with, and what sets it apart from other lightweight Ubuntu-based projects such as Lubuntu and Linux Lite, is a feature called Ice. The Ice software helps users set up short-cuts to websites and web-apps. These short-cuts can be added to the Peppermint application menu and launched in a streamlined web browser window, giving the web-resource the appearance of a natively run application.

Peppermint 8 is available in 32-bit and 64-bit builds. I opted to download the 64-bit version which is 1.2GB in size. Booting from the downloaded media brings up a menu giving us the chance to load the distribution's live desktop environment, launch the system installer, begin an OEM install or verify the integrity of the installation media.

Peppermint's live session boots to a desktop environment which contains a mixture of Xfce and LXDE components. The hybrid desktop uses LXDE's LXSession software while running the Xfwm4 window manager and Xfce's panel. The panel -- with its application menu, task switcher and system tray -- sits at the bottom of the screen. An icon on the desktop can be used to launch the distribution's system installer. The application menu is divided into two panes with the left side displaying categories of software and the right side showing specific application launchers.

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Dell Precision 5520 Mobile Workstation review: The Ubuntu Linux laptop for power developers

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Ubuntu

Dell describes their Project Sputnik computers as systems developed by and for developers. They're right. They are. While the XPS 13 is the best known of these, it could stand a little improvement. For example, it can only hold 16GBs of RAM. For those who need even more power and memory, you can get a Dell Precision 5520 Mobile Workstation.

You can up the RAM on this powerhouse machine to 32GBs of RAM. For processing punch, the 5520 defaults to an Intel Core i5-7440HQ 2.80GHz processor, but for an extra $322 you can crank it up to a blazing-hot Intel Core Xeon 3 GHz E3-1505M v6 CPU. The I5 7440 Processor comes with the Intel 630 HD Graphics. The other processors come with a snappy Nvidia Quadro M1200 graphics processor with 4GBs of video RAM.

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The beefy Dell Precision 7520 DE can out-muscle a growing Linux laptop field

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GNU
Linux
Hardware
Reviews

Project Sputnik has done an admirable job over the years of bringing a "just works" Linux experience to Dell Ultrabooks like the XPS 13 Developer Edition—in fact, we've tested and largely enjoyed those experiences multiple times now. But while the XPS 13 is a great machine that I would not hesitate to recommend for most Linux users, it does have its shortcomings. The biggest problem in my view has long been the limited amount of RAM; the XPS 13 tops out at 16GB. While that's enough for most users, there are those (software developers compiling large projects, video editors, even photographers) who would easily benefit from more.

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Review: IPFire as a home router

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Linux
Reviews

IPFire is a Linux distribution that is focused on delivering a starting point for a router and firewall solution with a web interface. It can be made to do a whole lot, but it may not be the best fit for the needs of a home network.

I’ll not go in to performance testing at all in this review as this will vary based on your hardware. You can use any x86_64 (or armv5tel) system with at least two Ethernet ports. You may need a third Ethernet port if you want to use an external wireless access point rather than configuring the box you want to use with IPFire as your access point.

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System76 Oryx Pro Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

This past weekend I was sent a System76 laptop to review (Thanks guys and gals!). So the first thing I did was install the latest Kubuntu release (17.04) and added the System76-Driver PPA.

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Debian 9 "Stretch"

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Reviews
Debian

The Debian project is one of the world's oldest surviving Linux distributions and can trace its release history back to 1993. The project attracts many developers with over one thousand people contributing to the project with code, artwork and documentation. The Debian project maintains a massive number of software packages with a very open infrastructure which makes contributing to (and borrowing from) Debian quite easy. These factors, along with Debian's famed stability, have caused over one hundred GNU/Linux distributions over the years to base themselves on Debian.

The Debian team released Debian 9 (code name Stretch) on June 18th and the new version offers a number of interesting changes. For example, the MySQL database has been replaced with its fork, MariaDB. The Debian-rebranded packages of Icedove and Iceweasel have been replaced by their upstream counterparts, Thunderbird and Firefox. According to the release announcement over 90% of Debian's huge collection of packages can now be verified through reproducible builds, which is great news for people who want to verify the source code they have access to matches the code used to make their executable files. In some situations administrators can now set up the X display software to run without root user access, making the display software a little more secure.

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Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 – new kid on the block

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Generally speaking, Ubuntu Budgie 17.04 left a nice impression on me. You can order your own copy of this operating system here.

It felt solid, fast and stable. There were no glitches apart from the screen-related issue at the very beginning of the boot process.

There were issues here and there of various severities. If Debian wallpapers in Ubuntu-based distribution can only cause a smile, the software search issues in the default package manager are something that should be really dealt with.

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Xinix Offers Linux Lovers a Path to Zen

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Normally, Linux Picks and Pans does not review such early new beta releases. However, the framework and unique features of Xinix OS make it such a radically different Linux distro that I kept coming back to tinker with it. The latest update was posted on June 15.

If you enjoy delving into unchartered territory with software, check out this latest version. It shows solid improvements over earlier efforts. Otherwise, wait for later upgrades as Xinix OS gets more developed.

Download Xinix OS here. The Vanilla Edition (VE) is for devices like desktops and laptops. The Embedded Edition (EE) is for routers and set-top boxes.

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Ubuntu Kylin, a Linux Distribution with a Microsoft Windows Experience

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Reviews

Ubuntu Kylin is an open-source Linux distribution based on Ubuntu since 2013, mainly developed by a Chinese team alongside dozens of Linux developers all over the world. It contains the basic features you would expect from Ubuntu, plus features a desktop environment and applications. As far as we know, Ubuntu Kylin is one of the most suitable Linux distributions for users who are farmiliar with Microsoft Windows, including its desktop environment, office suite and various applications.

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OnePlus 5 review: This mid-range Android phone is speedy inside, but stale outside

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Android
Reviews

There are certain things you can usually count on in a OnePlus phone: great performance, an awesome price, and a touch of originality. But with the OnePlus 5, you’re only getting the first two parts of the three-part equation.

The OnePlus 5 is packed with the latest components on the inside, but its display is nothing special. It’s still a good deal cheaper than other premium phones, but even at a starting price of $479, it’s not quite a killer bargain. And its design, while nice-looking, is derivative of both previous OnePlus phones as well as Apple’s aging iPhone 7 Plus.

This time around, OnePlus’s new flagship isn’t about being different. It’s about fitting in. Indeed, OnePlus’s marketing slogan may be “Never Settle,” but it feels like we’re doing an awful lot of settling with the OnePlus 5.

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today's howtos

Linux 4.15, Linux 4.16, and Linux Foundation's CNCF and CII

  • Linux 4.15 Gets Fixed To Report Current CPU Frequency Via /proc/cpuinfo
    A change recently in the Linux kernel led the CPU MHz reported value via /proc/cpuinfo to either be the nominal CPU frequency or the most recently requested frequency. This behavior changed compared to pre-4.13 kernels while now it's been fixed up to report the current CPU frequency.
  • Linux 4.16 Will Be Another Big Cycle For Intel's DRM Driver
    We are just through week one of two for the Linux 4.15 merge window followed by eight or so weeks after that before this next kernel is officially released. But Intel's open-source driver developers have already begun building up a growing stack of changes for Linux 4.16 when it comes to their DRM graphics driver.
  • CNCF Wants You to Use 'Certified Kubernetes'
  • Open Source Threat Modeling
    Application threat modeling is a structured approach to identifying ways that an adversary might try to attack an application and then designing mitigations to prevent, detect or reduce the impact of those attacks. The description of an application’s threat model is identified as one of the criteria for the Linux CII Best Practises Silver badge.

Linux World Domination and Microsoft Corruption in Munich

Programming/Development: 'DevOps', NumPy, Google SLING

  • 5 DevOps leadership priorities in 2018
    This week, DevOps professionals gathered in San Francisco to talk about the state of DevOps in the enterprise. At 1,400 attendees, the sold-out DevOps Enterprise Summit has doubled in size since 2014 – a testament to the growth of the DevOps movement itself. With an ear to this event and an eye on the explosion of tweets coming out of it, here are five key priorities we think IT leaders should be aware of as they take their DevOps efforts into the new year.
  • NumPy Plan for dropping Python 2.7 support
    The Python core team plans to stop supporting Python 2 in 2020. The NumPy project has supported both Python 2 and Python 3 in parallel since 2010, and has found that supporting Python 2 is an increasing burden on our limited resources; thus, we plan to eventually drop Python 2 support as well. Now that we're entering the final years of community-supported Python 2, the NumPy project wants to clarify our plans, with the goal of to helping our downstream ecosystem make plans and accomplish the transition with as little disruption as possible.
  • Google SLING: An Open Source Natural Language Parser
    Google Research has just released an open source project that might be of interest if you are into natural language processing. SLING is a combination of recurrent neural networks and frame based parsing. Natural language parsing is an important topic. You can get meaning from structure and parsing is how you get structure. It is important in processing both text and voice. If you have any hope that Siri, Cortana or Alexa are going to get any better then you need to have better natural language understanding - not just the slot and filler systems currently in use.