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Reviews

Trying two new distributions

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Reviews

I recently decided to do something different and, instead of reviewing one of the distributions in the DistroWatch database, I opted to select two projects at random from the waiting list. I was not sure what I would get when I spun the virtual roulette wheel, but I was eager to try something new.

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Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" Review

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Linux
Reviews

Now it has been approximately a month since I'm using Linux Mint 18 "Sarah". There is not doubt this distro is solid and newbie friendly. I always suggest Linux newbies start with Linux Mint as it makes easier for them to move around and learn Linux system. Sarah takes the same legacy forward with better look and user experience.

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Bodhi Linux review

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Linux
Reviews

These are just few reasons to think about Bodhi Linux. As it is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS it doesn't lacks in case of applications. There is an alpha release of Bodhi Linux which is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This gives us another reason to think about Bodhi Linux. Try it out and make it permanent if you like it. In our next segment we will be introducing an independent Linux distribution. So stay tuned with us and don't forget to have fun with Linux.

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LibreOffice and OpenOffice Reviews

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LibO
Reviews
OOo
  • Review: LibreOffice 5.2 — solid, unpolished alternative

    LibreOffice is an office suite that rivals Microsoft Office yet costs nothing. There are versions for Windows, OS X and Linux along with a portable edition that works from a USB drive.

    If you’re on a tight budget and have a Windows PC, LibreOffice is by far the best alternative to Office. It is more complete than Google Apps and leaves Apache OpenOffice for dead.

    OS X users have a good alternative free option. Apple’s iWorks suite is free with new Macs. Even so, you might prefer LibreOffice because it has better Microsoft Office compatibility.

    LibreOffice looks and feels more like Microsoft Office than iWorks. If you know Microsoft Office, moving to LibreOffice will be less of a wrench. It also includes a database unlike either the OS X version of Microsoft Office or iWorks. If you need a simple database and have no budget, LibreOffice would be ideal.

    Some Linux distributions include LibreOffice either as standard or as an optional download. It’s a more straightforward choice than using a tool like Wine to run Microsoft Office.

  • Apache OpenOffice 4.1.2 Review

    Every computer needs applications to do any work, and that means more money. Except for open-source software, like OpenOffice, which is free. In the case of OpenOffice, the free software looks and acts like Microsoft Office circa 2003, and includes a word processor, spreadsheet and presentation creator. Not only does OpenOffice look and feel like Office, but it also reads and writes Office files so well that most users could exchange files between the two suites and no one would know the difference.

  • Best Microsoft Office Alternatives 2016

The best Chromebook you can buy

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GNU
Linux
Google
Reviews

If you’re looking for a cheap computer, the first thing you should do is check out just how much you can get with a Chromebook.

Chromebooks are increasingly looking like the perfect laptops for a whole lot of people. Sure, they don’t have the wide desktop app ecosystem that Mac and Windows laptops have. But ask yourself how many of those apps you actually use each day, and of those, how many you actually need. Could you trade Outlook for outlook.com? Would you be fine in Google Docs instead of Office? (And if not, would your answer change if it meant saving several hundred dollars?)

Most of our time is spent online, and Chromebooks stick to the basics, offering just enough power to do that. The best of them should let you browse the web without problem and manage to impress you with how nice they are for the price.

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Mint 18 review: “Just works” Linux doesn’t get any better than this

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Linux
Reviews

Linux Mint 18 is a solid update and continues the slow but steady evolution of what may be the most popular Linux desktop out there. If you're an existing Mint user, it's definitely worth upgrading, though do bear in mind that this upgrade may be a bit more difficult compared to the very simple upgrade process for 17.x updates. As of this writing, Linux Mint has not published its usual upgrade guide, and I installed a clean copy, so I can't comment on the upgrade process.

Mint 18 remains my recommendation both for anyone who's new to Linux as well as seasoned Linux users who want a desktop that just works and gets out of the way. Thanks to its incremental development approach, its dedication to evolving features slowly, and its development of power user features and configuration options, Mint manages to serve both newcomers and Linux power users well.

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BQ's Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition is an underwhelming tablet [Review]

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Reviews
Ubuntu

The Aquaris M10 is very much a first attempt for BQ and you would expect future iterations to have some significant improvements. It’s also hard to find compelling reasons why iOS or Android fans would want to switch over to an Ubuntu tablet, but those familiar with the operating system should be excited to finally have their needs met in the tablet market.

One positive factor is that switching between tablet and desktop mode works very well for the most part, so can definitely fulfill professional needs as much as casual ones. This could be a viable option for someone who wants that flexibility and isn’t too fussed about some of the more superficial features.

Aspects such as the cameras, display and build quality could all be improved, but are about right for the price point in this unspectacular but solid device.

With the HD version costing €229.90 (£187) and the full HD tablet coming in at €279.90 (£227), the M10 offers decent value for money and provides a solid platform for BQ to build on in the future.

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Review: Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" MATE

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Linux
Reviews

That is where my time with Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" MATE ended. Overall, I can still give this a good recommendation for people who have at least a tiny bit of experience with Linux and may be looking for a stable, easy-to-use system. However, the usability issues I encountered, while each fairly minor, added up to the extent that I don't feel as confident recommending this to total newbies (because while I would be able to work through these issues easily by myself, I don't expect the same of a newbie), unless they have a more experienced friend helping them to install this (though after that, they should be OK on their own). To be able to retake the newbie demographic, I think this distribution needs just a bit more polish; I'd be excited to see what the future point releases hold, and I hope that these issues do get addressed.

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PocketCHIP quick review

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Linux
Reviews

PocketCHIP is the pocket sized Linux terminal I always used to want. Which is to say, it runs (nearly) stock Debian, X, etc, it has a physical keyboard, and the hardware and software is (nearly) non-proprietary and very hackable. Best of all, it's fun and it encourages playful learning.

It's also clunky and flawed and constructed out of cheap components. This keeps it from being something I'd actually carry around in my pocket and use regularly. The smart thing they've done though is embrace these limitations, targeting it at the hobbiest, and not trying to compete with smart phones. The PocketCHIP is its own little device in its own little niche.

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More in Tux Machines

KDE Leftovers

  • Integrate Your Android Device With Ubuntu Using KDE Connect Indicator Fork
    KDE Connect is a tool which allows your Android device to integrate with your Linux desktop. With KDE Connect Indicator, you can use KDE Connect on desktop that support AppIndicators, like Unity, Xfce (Xubuntu), and so on.
  • FirstAid – PDF Help Viewer
    in the recent months, I didn’t find much time to spend on Kate/KTextEditor development. But at least I was now able to spend a bit more time on OpenSource & Qt things even during work time in our company. Normally I am stuck there with low level binary or source analysis work. [...] Therefore, as our GUIs are developed with Qt anyways, we did take a look at libpoppler (and its Qt 5 bindings), which is the base of Okular, too.
  • KBibTeX 0.6.1-rc2 released
    After quite some delay, I finally assembled a second release candidate for KBibTeX 0.6.1. Version 0.6.1 will be the last release in the 0.6.x series.
  • Meet KDE at FOSDEM Next Month
    Next month is FOSDEM, the largest gathering of free software developers anywhere in Europe. FOSDEM 2017 is being held at the ULB Campus Solbosch on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of February. Thousands of coders, designers, maintainers and managers from projects as popular as Linux and as obscure as Tcl/Tk will descend on the European capital Brussels to talk, present, show off and drink beer.

Leftovers: OSS

  • D-Wave Unveils Open-Source Software for Quantum Computing
    Canada-based D-Wave Systems has released an open-source software tool designed to help developers program quantum computers, Wired reported Wednesday.
  • D-Wave builds open quantum computing software development ecosystem
    D-Wave Systems has released an open source quantum computing chunk of software. Quantum computing, as we know, moves us on from the world of mere 1’s and 0’s in binary to the new level of ‘superposition’ qubits that can represent many more values and therefore more computing power — read this accessible piece for a simple explanation of quantum computing.
  • FOSS Compositing With Natron
    Anyone who likes to work with graphics will at one time or another find compositing software useful. Luckily, FOSS has several of the best in Blender and Natron.
  • Hadoop Creator Doug Cutting: 5 Ways to Be Successful with Open Source in 2017
    Because of my long-standing association with the Apache Software Foundation, I’m often asked the question, “What’s next for open source technology?” My typical response is variations of “I don’t know” to “the possibilities are endless.” Over the past year, we’ve seen open source technology make strong inroads into the mainstream of enterprise technology. Who would have thought that my work on Hadoop ten years ago would impact so many industries – from manufacturing to telecom to finance. They have all taken hold of the powers of the open source ecosystem not only to improve the customer experience, become more innovative and grow the bottom line, but also to support work toward the greater good of society through genomic research, precision medicine and programs to stop human trafficking, as just a few examples. Below I’ve listed five tips for folks who are curious about how to begin working with open source and what to expect from the ever-changing ecosystem.
  • Radio Free HPC Looks at New Open Source Software for Quantum Computing
    In this podcast, the Radio Free HPC team looks at D-Wave’s new open source software for quantum computing. The software is available on github along with a whitepaper written by Cray Research alums Mike Booth and Steve Reinhardt.
  • Why events matter and how to do them right
    Marina Paych was a newcomer to open source software when she left a non-governmental organization for a new start in the IT sector—on her birthday, no less. But the real surprise turned out to be open source. Fast forward two years and this head of organizational development runs an entire department, complete with a promotional staff that strategically markets her employer's open source web development services on a worldwide scale.
  • Exploring OpenStack's Trove DBaaS Cloud Servic
    You can install databases such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, or even MongoDB very quickly thanks to package management, but the installation is not even half the battle. A functioning database also needs user accounts and several configuration steps for better performance and security. This need for additional configuration poses challenges in cloud environments. You can always manually install a virtual machine in traditional settings, but cloud users want to generate an entire virtual environment from a template. Manual intervention is difficult or sometimes even impossible.
  • Mobile Edge Computing Creates ‘Tiny Data Centers’ at the Edge
    “Usually access networks include all kinds of encryption and tunneling protocols,” says Fite. “It’s not a standard, native-IP environment.” Saguna’s platform creates a bridge between the access network to a small OpenStack cloud, which works in a standard IP environment. It provides APIs about such things as location, registration for services, traffic direction, radio network services, and available bandwidth.

Leftovers: Ubuntu and Debian

  • Debian Creeps Closer To The Next Release
    I’ve been alarmed by the slow progress of Debian towards the next release. They’ve had several weird gyrations in numbers of “release-critical” bugs and still many packages fail to build from source. Last time this stage, they had only a few hundred bugs to go. Now they are over 600. I guess some of that comes from increasing the number of included packages. There are bound to be more bad interactions, like changing the C compiler. I hate that language which seems to be a moving target… Systemd seems to be smoother but it still gives me problems.
  • Mir: 2016 end of year review
    2016 was a good year for Mir – it is being used in more places, it has more and better upstream support and it is easier to use by downstream projects. 2017 will be even better and will see version 1.0 released.
  • Ubuntu Still Planning For Mir 1.0 In 2017
    Alan Griffiths of Canonical today posted a year-in-review for Mir during 2016 and a look ahead to this year.
  • Linux Mint 18.1 “Serena” KDE – BETA Release

GNU Gimp Development

  • Community-supported development of GEGL now live
    Almost every new major feature people have been asking us for, be it high bit depth support, or full CMYK support, or layer effects, would be impossible without having a robust, capable image processing core. Øyvind Kolås picked up GEGL in mid-2000s and has been working on it in his spare time ever since. He is the author of 42% of commits in GEGL and 50% of commits in babl (pixel data conversion library).
  • 2016 in review
    When we released GIMP 2.9.2 in late 2015 and stepped over into 2016, we already knew that we’d be doing mostly polishing. This turned out to be true to a larger extent, and most of the work we did was under-the-hood changes. But quite a few new features slipped in. So, what are the big user-visible changes for GIMP in 2016?