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Reviews

Hands-on with the Gemini PDA handheld PC with Android, Linux and a 6 inch display

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Android
Linux
Reviews

The Gemini PDA is a tiny computer that’s small enough to hold in one hand, but with a keyboard that makes it possible to touch-type… maybe.

Planet Computer introduced the Gemini PDA nearly a year ago and launched a crowdfunding campaign to take the device from prototype to shipping product. Now it’s about ready to ship.

I got a chance to check out a few pre-release units at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and it really does seem like Planet Computer has delivered on most of its promises. The little computer dual boots Google Android 7.1 and Debian Linux. It has a keyboard that’s a little cramped, but which is pretty responsive… and familiar to anyone who’s ever used an old Psion handheld. Planet Computer hired the designer of the Psion Revo and Series 5 keyboard to help design the Gemini PDA.

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LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of TrueOS A Unix Based OS

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BSD

Trust me, the name TrueOS takes me back to 1990s when Tru64 UNIX operating system made its presence. TrueOS is PC-BSD’s new unified brand built upon FreeBSD-CURRENT code base. Note that TrueOS is not a Linux distro but is BSD Unix.

​FreeBSD is known for its cutting-edge features, security, scalability, and ability to work both as a server and desktop operating system. TrueOS aims at having user-friendliness with the power of FreeBSD OS. Let us start with going into details of different aspects of the TrueOS.

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GhostBSD 11.1 - FreeBSD for the desktop

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BSD

GhostBSD is a desktop oriented operating system which is based on FreeBSD. The project takes the FreeBSD operating system and adds a desktop environment, some popular applications, a graphical package manager and Linux binary compatibility. GhostBSD is available in two flavours, MATE and Xfce, and is currently available for 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. I downloaded the MATE edition which is available as a 2.3GB ISO file.

Booting from the installation media brings up a graphical login screen where we can sign into the live desktop environment using "ghostbsd" as the account name with no password. The live MATE desktop is presented with a two panel layout. At the top of the screen we find the Applications, Places and System menus. The top panel also plays host to the system tray. The bottom panel features a task switcher and a widget for switching between virtual desktops. On the desktop we find icons for launching the Caja file manager and the GhostBSD system installer. There is also an icon which launches the HexChat IRC client and automatically connects us with the project's chat room.

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List Of Default Software I Use On Windows

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The Software market is high. It is not like the olden days when all you had were a handful of choices. Today you have more than a dozen of software that could do the same job for you. I have always been a Software-hopper.

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Review: MX Linux 17

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Having used MX for a week now, I think it is fair to say the developers have done a lot of things well and I believe a lot of their success stems from finding good compromises. MX is based on Debian's Stable branch which gives a good, solid core and a huge collection of packages. While Debian's packages tend to be older, MX updates some key components, such as the kernel and Firefox, to give users the benefit of newer technology. We can downgrade items, like the kernel, if we wish.

MX also finds middle ground in the size and performance of the distribution. MX certainly is not the lightest distribution I have used lately, in terms of memory and hard drive space consumed, but it on the lighter end of the spectrum. MX is smaller and faster than many of the mainstream distributions, such as Ubuntu, openSUSE and Fedora while offering most of the same features.

One of the few areas where I think MX loses out to the big, mainstream Linux distributions is in beginner friendliness. The installer, configuration tools and package management are all (in my opinion) geared toward people who have used Linux a time or two before. MX appears to be aimed at people who already know what packages, window managers and media codecs are. The graphical tools provided are powerful and flexible, but there isn't much hand holding. The installer expects you to know what CUPS is and the desktop configuration tool expects users to be familiar with virtual desktops, APT and compositing. If you understand those concepts and like the idea of a distribution which offers good performance with a little eye candy, then MX Linux is probably a good match for you.

Personally, I was very happy with MX, more so than I have been with most operating systems I have experimented with in the past six months. Not necessarily because MX is an objectively better distribution, but because I think the developers have similar tastes to my own. This shows up in little details. For example, I like my system to be quiet and not distracting. MX features very few notifications and sound effects are disabled. The theme is slightly dark, but not so dark as to make the contrast jarring. There is just one desktop panel, aligned vertically down the left side of the display, just the way I like it. The developers walk a middle road I like on performance, features and visuals. In short, there was very little I had to do to get MX looking and acting exactly the way I wanted and this meant I spent very little time adjusting settings or turning off features I didn't want and more time getting things done.

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LinuxAndUbuntu Review Of Peppermint Linux

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If somebody is looking for a Linux distro that is lightweight, stable and just works out of the box, then no doubt – Peppermint OS emerges as a better choice. Peppermint OS is a minimalistic masterpiece with the smallest footprint and frugal use of resources is ideal for machines with older hardware. Since its first release in 2010, each version of Peppermint seems to be a little better than the one before.
The latest Peppermint release Peppermint OS 8 Respin was released on 8th Dec 2017 and is built on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS code base. That means it is possible to install applications which are Ubuntu compatible repositories. Being said that, in case of bugs that found in Ubuntu 16.04 would also affect Peppermint OS. The Peppermint armed with an unusual application called ICE that lets you create desktop versions of web apps with a standalone browser like Chrome, Vivaldi, Firefox.

In this article, let us see what Peppermint OS offers as a Linux distro including focus on its latest release.

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Samsung Z4 review: Are Samsung underestimating Tizen’s smartphone capabilities

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Linux
Reviews

So the Samsung Z4 although is somewhat better than the Z2, is still far behind the quality that the Z3 brought as a Tizen smartphone. There were a lot of expectations which Samsung continued to not meet and hence puts a doubt on us on how far, Samsung is looking to go with Tizen as an OS for smartphones. With Samsung being the only OEMs making Tizen smartphones, our expectations of a true flagship or at least a mid-range powerful Tizen smartphone are slowly starting to vanish. And we really hope, Samsung proves us wrong if there is a next time.

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SoftMaker for Linux Is a Solid Microsoft Office Alternative

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Software
Reviews

The easy access to the free download of SoftMaker Office 2018 gives you nothing to lose in checking out its suitability as a Microsoft Office replacement. If you decide to upgrade to the paid Linux release, you will pay $69.95 for a proprietary license. That is the same price as the Home and Student editions of Microsoft Office 365.

If you opt for the free open source version, FreeOffice 2018, when it is released, you still could have a top-of-the-line alternative to other Linux tools that play well with Microsoft Office.

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Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon - quick screenshot tour

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The Linux Mint team continues to release fresh versions of their operating system approximately every 6 month, following the updates in Ubuntu LTS versions. You could read the quick screenshot overview of Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon back in July 2017. It is now turn of Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon. Let's have a whistle-stop tour through it.

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Kali Linux 2017.3 hands-on: The best alternative to Raspbian for your Raspberry Pi

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Linux
Reviews

Linux distributions designed for security analysis, penetration testing, and forensic analysis are all the rage these days. It seems like you can hardly swing a dead cat (or a dead computer) without hitting one.

As a dedicated Linux user I consider that to be a good thing, simply because choice is always good, and it is always good to have several groups of talented and dedicated people working on something. But as a long-time user of Kali Linux (and BackTrack before that) I honestly believe that Kali is still the best in the field, so I am always pleased when I hear there is a new Kali release.

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • MX Linux Review of MX-17 – For The Record
    MX Linux Review of MX-17. MX-17 is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. It’s XFCE based, lightning fast, comes with both 32 and 64-bit CPU support…and the tools. Oh man, the tools available in this distro are both reminders of Mepis past and current tech found in modern distros.
  • Samsung Halts Android 8.0 Oreo Rollouts for Galaxy S8 Due to Unexpected Reboots
    Samsung stopped the distribution of the Android 8.0 Oreo operating system update for its Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones due to unexpected reboots reported by several users. SamMobile reported the other day that Samsung halted all Android 8.0 Oreo rollouts for its Galaxy S8/S8+ series of Android smartphones after approximately a week since the initial release. But only today Samsung published a statement to inform user why it stopped the rollouts, and the cause appears to be related to a limited number of cases of unexpected reboots after installing the update.
  • Xen Project Contributor Spotlight: Kevin Tian
    The Xen Project is comprised of a diverse set of member companies and contributors that are committed to the growth and success of the Xen Project Hypervisor. The Xen Project Hypervisor is a staple technology for server and cloud vendors, and is gaining traction in the embedded, security and automotive space. This blog series highlights the companies contributing to the changes and growth being made to the Xen Project and how the Xen Project technology bolsters their business.
  • Initial Intel Icelake Support Lands In Mesa OpenGL Driver, Vulkan Support Started
    A few days back I reported on Intel Icelake patches for the i965 Mesa driver in bringing up the OpenGL support now that several kernel patch series have been published for enabling these "Gen 11" graphics within the Direct Rendering Manager driver. This Icelake support has been quick to materialize even with Cannonlake hardware not yet being available.
  • LunarG's Vulkan Layer Factory Aims To Make Writing Vulkan Layers Easier
    Introduced as part of LunarG's recent Vulkan SDK update is the VLF, the Vulkan Layer Factory. The Vulkan Layer Factory aims to creating Vulkan layers easier by taking care of a lot of the boilerplate code for dealing with the initialization, etc. This framework also provides for "interceptor objects" for overriding functions pre/post API calls for Vulkan entry points of interest.

Logstash 6.2.0 Released, Alfresco Grabbed by Private Equity Firm

  • Logstash 6.2.0 Release Improves Open Source Data Processing Pipeline
    The "L" in the ELK stack gets updated with new features including advanced security capabilities. Many modern enterprises have adopted the ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) stack to collect, process, search and visualize data. At the core of the ELK stack is the open-source Logstash project which defines itself as a server-side data processing pipeline - basically it helps to collect logs and then send them to a users' "stash" for searching, which in many cases is Elasticsearch.
  • Alfresco Software acquired by Private Equity Firm
    Enterprise apps company taken private in a deal that won't see a change in corporate direction. Alfresco has been developing its suite of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) technology since the company was founded back in June of 2005. On Feb. 8, Alfresco announced that it was being acquired by private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL). Financial terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

Servers and GPUs: Theano, DevOps, Kubernetes, AWS

  • Open Source Blockchain Computer Theano
    TigoCTM CEO Cindy Zimmerman says “we are excited to begin manufacturing our secure, private and open source desktops at our factory in the Panama Pacifico special economic zone. This is the first step towards a full line of secure, blockchain-powered hardware including desktops, servers, laptops, tablets, teller machines, and smartphones.” [...] Every component of each TigoCTM device is exhaustively researched and selected for its security profile based especially on open source hardware, firmware, and software. In addition, devices will run the GuldOS operating system, and open source applications like the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash blockchains. This fully auditable stack is ideal for use in enterprise signing environments such as banks and investment funds.
  • Enterprises identify 10 essential tools for DevOps [Ed: "Source code repository" and other old things co-opted to promote the stupid buzzword "devops"]
    Products branded with DevOps are everywhere, and the list of options grows every day, but the best DevOps tools are already well-known among enterprise IT pros.
  • The 4 Major Tenets of Kubernetes Security
    We look at security from the perspective of containers, Kubernetes deployment itself and network security. Such a holistic approach is needed to ensure that containers are deployed securely and that the attack surface is minimized. The best practices that arise from each of the above tenets apply to any Kubernetes deployment, whether you’re self-hosting a cluster or employing a managed service. We should note that there are related security controls outside of Kubernetes, such as the Secure Software Development Life Cycle (S-SDLC) or security monitoring, that can help reduce the likelihood of attacks and increase the defense posture. We strongly urge you to consider security across the entire application lifecycle rather than take a narrow focus on the deployment of containers with Kubernetes. However, for the sake of brevity, in this series, we will only cover security controls within the immediate Kubernetes environment.
  • GPUs on Google’s Kubernetes Engine are now available in open beta
    The Google Kubernetes Engine (previously known as the Google Container Engine and GKE) now allows all developers to attach Nvidia GPUs to their containers. GPUs on GKE (an acronym Google used to be quite fond of, but seems to be deemphasizing now) have been available in closed alpha for more than half a year. Now, however, this service is in beta and open to all developers who want to run machine learning applications or other workloads that could benefit from a GPU. As Google notes, the service offers access to both the Tesla P100 and K80 GPUs that are currently available on the Google Cloud Platform.
  • AWS lets users run SAP apps directly on SUSE Linux
  • SUSE collaborates with Amazon Web Services toaccelerate SAP migrations

Chrome and Firefox

  • The False Teeth of Chrome's Ad Filter.
    Today Google launched a new version of its Chrome browser with what they call an "ad filter"—which means that it sometimes blocks ads but is not an "ad blocker." EFF welcomes the elimination of the worst ad formats. But Google's approach here is a band-aid response to the crisis of trust in advertising that leaves massive user privacy issues unaddressed. Last year, a new industry organization, the Coalition for Better Ads, published user research investigating ad formats responsible for "bad ad experiences." The Coalition examined 55 ad formats, of which 12 were deemed unacceptable. These included various full page takeovers (prestitial, postitial, rollover), autoplay videos with sound, pop-ups of all types, and ad density of more than 35% on mobile. Google is supposed to check sites for the forbidden formats and give offenders 30 days to reform or have all their ads blocked in Chrome. Censured sites can purge the offending ads and request reexamination. [...] Some commentators have interpreted ad blocking as the "biggest boycott in history" against the abusive and intrusive nature of online advertising. Now the Coalition aims to slow the adoption of blockers by enacting minimal reforms. Pagefair, an adtech company that monitors adblocker use, estimates 600 million active users of blockers. Some see no ads at all, but most users of the two largest blockers, AdBlock and Adblock Plus, see ads "whitelisted" under the Acceptable Ads program. These companies leverage their position as gatekeepers to the user's eyeballs, obliging Google to buy back access to the "blocked" part of their user base through payments under Acceptable Ads. This is expensive (a German newspaper claims a figure as high as 25 million euros) and is viewed with disapproval by many advertisers and publishers.
  • Going Home
  • David Humphrey: Edge Cases
  • Experiments in productivity: the shared bug queue
    Over the next six months, Mozilla is planning to switch code review tools from mozreview/splinter to phabricator. Phabricator has more modern built-in tools like Herald that would have made setting up this shared queue a little easier, and that’s why I paused…briefly
  • Improving the web with small, composable tools
    Firefox Screenshots is the first Test Pilot experiment to graduate into Firefox, and it’s been surprisingly successful. You won’t see many people talking about it: it does what you expect, and it doesn’t cover new ground. Mozilla should do more of this.