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Reviews

Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS: What’s New?

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ahead of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS release next month you may be wondering what new features and changes the update will bring.

Well, wonder no more.

In this post we round up all of the key information about the next release of one Ubuntu’s most popular community flavors.

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Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

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The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution.

There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up.

The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task.

The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description.

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SwagArch 18.02 - U Got Swag?

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SwagArch sounds like an interesting concept. The aesthetic side of things is reasonable, although brown as a color and a dark theme make for a tricky choice. The fonts are pretty good overall. But the visual element is the least of the distro's problems. SwagArch 18.02 didn't deliver the basics, and that's what made Dedoimedo sad.

Network support plus the clock issue, horrible package management and broken programs, those are things that must work perfectly. Without them, the system has no value. So you do get multimedia support and a few unique apps, however that cannot balance out all the woes and problems that I encountered. All in all, Swag needs a lot more work. Also, it will have a tough time competing with Manjaro and Antergos, which are already established and fairly robust Arch spins. Lastly, it needs to narrow down its focus. The overall integration of elements is pretty weak. Eclectic, jumbled, not really tested. 2/10 for now. Let's see how it evolves.

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Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review – For The Record

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KDE
Reviews

Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review. Linux Mint and KDE haven’t always been on my list of favorite things. That said, Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition really surprised me – there is a lot to like! Great pulseaudio settings, an improved package manager, plus a whole lot more!

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MATE 1.20 review - Are you all right, mate?

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Overall, MATE 1.20 is a nice desktop environment. It has its legacy quirks, especially when it comes to panel management and overall cross-integration between programs. But it can be styled and tamed and used with flair and elegance. However, you do feel that it's aged in some areas, and that those areas remain neglected. Modern does not mean better, but some aspects of the 2018 computing model are superior to what we had a decade ago. The same way some aspects of MATE (Gnome 2) remain better than the touchesque flat-fest we have today.

Xfce seems to have weathered these changes more successfully, but then it also had no identity crisis, no betrayal, and it benefits from more overall focus and attention. MATE not only had to fight Gnome 3, it also has Cinnamon to take into account. Those aside, if you do want an old-school, no-nonsense desktop environment, MATE is a good choice. Perhaps not the best one, but it will serve you loyally without any bells and whistles. Just be ready for an odd ghost of the past striking at you now and then.

Remember, once upon a time, I didn't like Xfce, like not at all, and look where it's now. So MATE has survived the rite of passage, and it's evolving steadily. The next step should be pro looks, tight integration and some acknowledgment of modernity, on a system level, and perhaps it could become the desktop environment that Gnome 3 should have been in the first place. There's still hope. Keep an eye, and let's see what happens. I guess that would be all.

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A Quick Look to Ubuntu 18.04 Beta 1

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Ubuntu

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS "Bionic Beaver" Beta 1 released few days ago. This Beta 1 is the first pre-release version designed for testing to prepare the final release next April. I have installed Beta 1 and this short review covers where to download Bionic Beta 1, what applications available, how the desktop looks, how much RAM it takes, and more links and information about it. In short, Bionic Beta 1 brings GNOME 3.27 and Linux Kernel 4.15, with LibreOffice 6.0 and bunch of GNOME Applications, and with Firefox Quantum beside the improved Ubuntu Software. Finally, this article is for all of you wanting to know Bionic in brief without installing it. I hope you enjoy it!

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Review: Sabayon and Antergos

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Gentoo
Reviews

Sabayon is a Gentoo-based distribution which is available in many desktop editions as well as a server edition. Sabayon strives to provide a working system out-of-the-box, saving the user a lot of time when it comes to configuring the operating system. Sabayon provides several categories of installation media. The project uses a rolling release model and the distribution's many editions are provided in Stable, Monthly and Daily snapshots. It has been about a year since the last Stable set of installation media was produced and so I decided to explore one of the monthly snapshots.

I began with the MATE edition of Sabayon's Monthly snapshot, a 2GB download which I confirmed downloaded properly using the distribution's checksums. Booting from the live media brought up a menu asking if we would like to start a live desktop environment, launch a text-based installer, start in safe mode or launch a live text console. I was surprised when taking the live desktop option booted the distribution to a text console and showed me a login prompt.

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Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 Looks like a Brilliant Upgrade

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Ubuntu

I have to say folks, Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 is shaping up to be a one heck of a release.

It’s no secret that I think the nimble GNOME-based Budgie desktop is one of the best alternatives to GNOME Shell or Unity. It is lighter and leaner than either of those, but has a more cohesive and modern design than MATE or XFCE.

Naturally I’m also a fan of Ubuntu Budgie, the official Ubuntu flavor that uses the Budgie desktop by default. It provides all the benefits of Ubuntu and its ecosystem, but feathered beneath a clean, modern looking desktop interface.

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Void Linux Review – For The Record

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Void Linux Review. Today I finally get to a requested review of Void Linux. Using Void Linux reminds me a little bit of using Arch, since it only installs what you ask it to. Void Linux configuration is straight forward, although as I mention in the video, the documentation is hit and miss.

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A look at KDE Neon – a minimal mini-distribution

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KDE
Reviews

Overall, KDE Neon is great for minimalists who want to populate their system with packages and applications themselves, rather than deal with the potential bloat of many common distributions. The downside, is that users who want a fully working, prepackaged distro that they can just install and go, will likely find KDE Neon too much for them.

As a whole however, the system runs nicely, using Ubuntu as the base has its obvious benefits and caveats just like other popular Ubuntu based systems; but if you’re looking for the latest and greatest KDE packages from upstream, and you don’t mind (or prefer) building your system up yourself a bit, give Neon a peek.

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Also: Import of Origin and LabPlot projects

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • CRI: The Second Boom of Container Runtimes
    Harry (Lei) Zhang, together with the CTO of HyperHQ, Xu Wang, will present “CRI: The Second Boom of Container Runtimes” at KubeCon + CloudNativeCon EU 2018, May 2-4 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The presentation will clarify about more about CRI, container runtimes, KataContainers and where they are going. Please join them if you are interested in learning more.
  • Meet Gloo, the ‘Function Gateway’ That Unifies Legacy APIs, Microservices, and Serverless
    Gloo, a single binary file written in Go, can be deployed as a Kubernetes pod, in a Docker container, and now also on Cloud Foundry. The setup also requires a copy of Envoy, though the installation process can be greatly simplified through additional software developed by the company, TheTool. The user then writes configuration objects to capture the workflow logic.
  • Why is the kernel community replacing iptables with BPF?

    The Linux kernel community recently announced bpfilter, which will replace the long-standing in-kernel implementation of iptables with high-performance network filtering powered by Linux BPF, all while guaranteeing a non-disruptive transition for Linux users.

  • The developer of Helium Rain gave an update on their sales, low overall sales but a high Linux percentage
    Helium Rain [Steam, Official Site], the gorgeous space sim from Deimos Games is really quite good so it's a shame they've seen such low overall sales. In total, they've had around 14,000€ (~$17,000) in sales which is not a lot for a game at all. The good news, is that out of the two thousand copies they say they've sold, a huge 14% of them have come from Linux. It's worth noting, that number has actually gone up since we last spoke to them, where they gave us a figure of 11% sales on Linux.
  • Want to try Wild Terra Online? We have another load of keys to give away (update: all gone)
    Wild Terra Online [Steam], the MMO from Juvty Worlds has a small but dedicated following, now is your chance to see if it's for you.
  • Arch Linux Finally Rolling Out Glibc 2.27
    Arch Linux is finally transitioning to glibc 2.27, which may make for a faster system. Glibc 2.27 was released at the start of February. This updated GNU C Library shipped with many performance optimizations particularly for Intel/x86_64 but also some ARM tuning and more. Glibc 2.27 also has memory protection keys support and other feature additions, but the performance potential has been most interesting to us.
  • Installed nvidia driver
  • Stephen Smoogen: Fedora Infrastructure Hackathon (day 1-5)
  • Design and Web team summary – 20 April 2018
    The team manages all web projects across Canonical. From www.ubuntu.com to the Juju GUI we help to bring beauty and consistency to all the web projects.
  • Costales: UbuCon Europe 2018 | 1 Week to go!!
    We'll have an awesome weekend of conferences (with 4 parallel talks), podcasts, stands, social events... Most of them are in English, but there will be in Spanish & Asturian too.
  • Tough, modular embedded PCs start at $875
    Advantech has launched two rugged, Linux-ready embedded DIN-rail computers with Intel Bay Trail SoCs and iDoor expansion: an “UNO-1372G-E” with 3x GbE ports and a smaller UNO-1372G-J with only 2x GbE, but with more serial and USB ports.

OSS Leftovers

  • IRS Website Crash Reminder of HealthCare.gov Debacle as OMB Pushes Open Source
    OMB is increasingly pushing agencies to adopt open source solutions, and in 2016 launched a pilot project requiring at least 20 percent of custom developed code to be released as open source – partly to strengthen and help maintain it by tapping a community of developers. OMB memo M-16-21 further asks agencies to make any code they develop available throughout the federal government in order to encourage its reuse. “Open source solutions give agencies access to a broad community of developers and the latest advancements in technology, which can help alleviate the issues of stagnated or out-dated systems while increasing flexibility as agency missions evolve over time,” says Henry Sowell, chief information security officer at Hortonworks Federal. “Enterprise open source also allows government agencies to reduce the risk of vendor lock-in and the vulnerabilities of un-supported software,” he adds.
  • Migrations: the sole scalable fix to tech debt.

    Migrations are both essential and frustratingly frequent as your codebase ages and your business grows: most tools and processes only support about one order of magnitude of growth before becoming ineffective, so rapid growth makes them a way of life. This isn't because they're bad processes or poor tools, quite the opposite: the fact that something stops working at significantly increased scale is a sign that it was designed appropriately to the previous constraints rather than being over designed.

  • Gui development is broken

    Why is this so hard? I just want low-level access to write a simple graphical interface in a somewhat obscure language.

OpenBSD and NetBSD

Security: Twitter and Facebook

  • Twitter banned Kaspersky Lab from advertising in Jan
     

    Twitter has banned advertising from Russian security vendor Kaspersky Lab since January, the head of the firm, Eugene Kaspersky, has disclosed.  

  • When you go to a security conference, and its mobile app leaks your data
     

    A mobile application built by a third party for the RSA security conference in San Francisco this week was found to have a few security issues of its own—including hard-coded security keys and passwords that allowed a researcher to extract the conference's attendee list. The conference organizers acknowledged the vulnerability on Twitter, but they say that only the first and last names of 114 attendees were exposed.

  • The Security Risks of Logging in With Facebook
     

    In a yet-to-be peer-reviewed study published on Freedom To Tinker, a site hosted by Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, three researchers document how third-party tracking scripts have the capability to scoop up information from Facebook's login API without users knowing. The tracking scripts documented by Steven Englehardt, Gunes Acar, and Arvind Narayanan represent a small slice of the invisible tracking ecosystem that follows users around the web largely without their knowledge.

  • Facebook Login data hijacked by hidden JavaScript trackers
     

    If you login to websites through Facebook, we've got some bad news: hidden trackers can suck up more of your data than you'd intended to give away, potentially opening it up to abuse.