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Reviews

The Enjoyable Ubuntu MATE 18.04 Beta 2

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Reviews
Ubuntu

It's beautiful, it's lovely, it's amusing, it's Ubuntu MATE 18.04 beta 2. It is an LTS version which will be supported for 3 years. It's more just-work now with a set of different appearances for Windows users ("Redmond"), for Mac OS X users ("Cupertino"), for Unity 7 users ("Mutiny"), and of course for long time Ubuntu MATE users themselves ("Traditional"). It comes with special Welcome program to introduce Ubuntu MATE for any new user, it comes with same experience like previous versions but latest applications (LibreOffice 6.0, Firefox 59, MATE Desktop 1.20) and enhancements, it needs only mid-level specs. with around 640MiB of RAM, and those all made Ubuntu MATE beta 2 really enjoyable. This short review will help you expecting what you will get on Ubuntu MATE final release later on April 26. Enjoy!

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Review: Neptune 5.0

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What I tended to find with Neptune was if I stuck with the default settings and used applications in the normal or most straight forward fashion, then things went smoothly. But when I stepped off the straight and narrow path, things tended to unravel. Trying Enlightenment or Wayland sessions, for example, did not work well, but things went smoothly while using Plasma's X session. Checking for updates as soon as I logged in resulted in no packages being found, but if I waited for things to settle in the background and gave the operating system a few minutes, I'd eventually be told updates were available and could install them with a few clicks.

There are a few rough edges here and there, but on the whole Neptune worked well. The stable Debian base combined with the latest version of Plasma, Chromium and LibreOffice were a good mixture. It gives us a solid base with lots of new features and I think that's a good combination, especially for me. There are some edge cases where I ran into minor problems and I didn't like that the settings panel didn't warn me before discarding changes, but otherwise I had a good week with Neptune. I think it's a good fit for relative newcomers to Linux and people looking for a balance between reliability and fresh desktop software.

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Video: See What's New in Ubuntu 18.04 Beta Preview. Is it Worth the Hype?

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Ubuntu 18.04 Beta has been released ahead of the final release on 26th April. I took it for a test ride and created a video of the main new features in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

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Also (Video): EzeeLinux Show 18.15 | GNU Midnight Commander

Falkon browser - Fly babe fly

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KDE
Software
Reviews
Web

Falkon and QupZilla may be the same product, but just re-branding it has already improved the overall impression. Not by a huge margin, but enough to make it interesting. Once you start using it, you do realize that it's a mix of good and odd, much like the predecessor, with some really brilliant and dubious choices packaged together. Adblocking, session manager versus fuzzy interface, missing spellcheck and database plaintext thingie. Then, the behavior is nowhere near as stellar, lithe or fast as it should be.

Still, this has been my most successful QupZilla-ed experience so far. Falkon was stable, it did not crash, there were no errors, and overall, it worked well. But the sense of unease remains. I can't put my finger to it, but there's just something slightly out of place with it. Not sure what it is. But whatever it is, it's probably the reason why there hasn't been that much uptake with this native KDE Internet-giving program. Once that part is sorted out, Plasma may have a nice and friendly browser. Worth testing, and try not to be dissuaded by the oddness.

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Gemini: Vulture gives PDA some Linux lovin'

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Linux
Reviews

During my month with Gemini I went from initial disappointment (mainly with the keyboard) through to acceptance and now, having been able to bring up a Linux desktop, being impressed with the potential.

It certainly is not for everyone. The keyboard will disappoint many at first and the lack of a display and camera on the back is frustrating. However, as a device for someone with a need to write on the move or a person who would like a penguin in their pocket without having to resort to a Bluetooth keyboard, the Gemini merits a closer look.

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A Look at Solus 3 Budgie, GNU/Linux Distribution

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Reviews

The last time I tried Solus, it was still in its infancy stages, and it wasn’t to my tastes really. I had been thinking of which Linux distro to take a look at next, and I wanted to pick something that wasn’t based off Debian / Ubuntu / Arch / Gentoo / OpenSUSE or any of the majors, so I decided to give Solus 3 a try, being a completely independent distro – And it wasn’t bad.

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Antergos 18.3 Gnome - Regression celebration

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Antergos 18.3 is everything that 17.9 is not - in a bad way. My previous encounter with this distro was fairly good. There were issues, but they were not cardinal. This time around, we do gain some on the touchpad front, but everything else is a loss. Network support is bad, Nvidia didn't install outright, we have a font discrepancy between the live session and the installed system, no iPhone support, Steam crashes, and the list goes on. Virtually, everything is worse than it was.

Another thing that pops to mind - Manjaro seems to be holding well. Antergos 18.3 feels like it's been cobbled hastily, with no QA, and the end result is jarring, frustrating and saddening. I mean why? Just a few months ago, I selected this distro as the winner of my best-of-2017 Gnome list, and it really was unique, fun and colorful. The new edition retains the aesthetic spin, but it's more than negatively offset by hardware and software bugs and regressions. Unfortunately this time, I cannot recommend Antergos. 2/10. Hopefully, this is a one-time fluke, and it will go back to being a solid, refreshing alternative in the world painted Ubuntu. To be continued.

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Review: Sortix 1.0

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Sortix is a relatively new project, less than a third the age of Linux, and appears to be mostly a one-person development project. To me, this makes the progress made so far amazing. The system has a working installer and partition manager, it works with multiple file systems, has a working collection of ported GNU tools and can run graphical games. It's quite a feat of coding to get all of this working in so short a time. What really impressed me though was that the operating system's documentation (exploring what it does, what it does not yet do and how the pieces work) is clear and up to date. In that regard a lot of other open source projects could follow Sortix's example.

Unfortunately, at this time, Sortix is not a practical operating system for most scenarios. We can test it, develop code on the platform and learn from its design, but Sortix lacks networking, multi-user security and a working desktop environment. This makes the project more of a developer playground than a system for end users to run. Still, in the realm of a personal hobby project, Sortix is one of the coolest creations I have seen in a while.

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A Preview to Kubuntu 18.04 from the Beta 2

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KDE
Reviews

Kubuntu 18.04 Beta 2 is here! It arrived today at Friday, April 6, 2018 in an announcement from Steve Langasek on Ubuntu Announce mailing list. Here's the summary after I installed it freshly on my laptop: the memory usage is only about 370MiB when idle, new dark themes, new wallpaper, new applications (Firefox 59, LibreOffice 6.0, KDE Applications 17.12.3), Muon is here again along with Plasma Discover (both are software center). This will be a good news for every Kubuntu user who is waiting for the latest LTS version of Kubuntu.

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Also: Kubuntu Bionic Beaver (18.04 LTS) Beta 2 Released!

Getting Started with Linux Mint? Focus on These Three Tools

MX Linux: A Mid-Weight Distro Focused on Simplicity

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Linux
Reviews

MX Linux makes transitioning from just about any desktop operating system simple. Although some might find the desktop interface to be a bit less-than-modern, the distribution’s primary focus isn’t on beauty, but simplicity. To that end, MX Linux succeeds in stellar fashion. This flavor of Linux can make anyone feel right at home on Linux. Spin up this mid-weight distribution and see if it can’t serve as your daily driver.

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More in Tux Machines

MX Tools - A year later, the toolbox got better

Roughly fourteen full phases of the moon ago, I wrote an article on MX Tools, a unique and useful bunch of dedicated utilities packaged with the MX Linux distribution. This toolbox offered the ordinary (or new) MX Linux user a chance to perform some common configuration tasks with easy and elegance. In general, MX-16 was a great player, and the recent MX-17 is even better - and at a first glance, so is the new version of MX Tools bundled with the system. Good stuff. So I set about testing, to see what has changed, and in what way this set of utilities has improved, if at all. But I'm positive. Let us commence. [...] MX Tools turned out to be a predictable gem, just as I'd expected. Well, I'm cheating, because I wrote this article after some rather thorough testing. But then, if you look across the wider spectrum of Linux home distributions, there aren't that many unique players with distinctive features. Quite often, it's the rehash of old and familiar with some extra color, polish and rebranding. MX Linux goes the extra mile (or kilometer, if you will) in making the newbie experience meaningfully different. Future improvements could potentially include an interactive walkthrough - so users will be actively prompted and helped along in their tasks. Then of course, there's the matter of visual appearance, in the UI itself. But in general, MX Tools TNG is better than we had before. More elegant, more streamlined, better looking, and most importantly, more practical. This is a good and useful toolbox, and it makes a solid distro even more appealing. Well worth testing. So do it. And take care. Read more

The story of Gentoo management

I have recently made a tabular summary of (probably) all Council members and Trustees in the history of Gentoo. I think that this table provides a very succinct way of expressing the changes within management of Gentoo. While it can’t express the complete history of Gentoo, it can serve as a useful tool of reference. What questions can it answer? For example, it provides an easy way to see how many terms individuals have served, or how long Trustee terms were. You can clearly see who served both on the Council and on the Board and when those two bodies had common members. Most notably, it collects a fair amount of hard-to-find data in a single table. Read more

Success for net neutrality, success for free software

We've had great success with the United States Senate voting in support of net neutrality! Congratulations and thank you to everyone in the US for contacting your congresspeople, and all of you who helped spread the word. However, it's not over yet. Here are more actions you can take if you're in the United States. Now that the (CRA) has passed the Senate, it moves to the House of Representatives. Just as we asked you to call your senators, now it's time to call your House representatives. Find their contact info here and use the script below to ask them to support the reinstatement of net neutrality protections. The timing hasn't been set for future votes and hearings yet, but that's no reason to wait: make sure your representatives know how you feel. Read more Also: GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 18 new GNU releases!

today's leftovers

  • 10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream – For The Record
    10 Reasons Why Desktop Linux Isn’t Mainstream. Yeah, the title is totally link-bait. However, it’s worth noting that I actually deliver what the title describes and then some. Linux is awesome, but sadly, most people haven’t heard of it. Here’s why.
  • Linux Works For You
    Linux allows YOUR computer to work for you, not against you. Wearing this shirt/hoodie demonstrates to all who see it that you are not a slave to your PC. You are in control and Linux is the reason for this.
  • Robin "Roblimo" Miller
    The Linux Journal mourns the passing of Robin Miller, a longtime presence in our community.
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  • Pidgin / Libpurple SkypeWeb Plugin Sees New Stable Release
    SkypeWeb is a plugin that allows using Skype in Pidgin / libpurple chat clients. The plugin can be used to send instant messages and participate in group chats, but it does not yet support voice / video calling.
  • Feral's GameMode May Soon Have Soft Real-Time Capabilities
    Feral Interactive's Linux system tuning daemon, GameMode since being introduced earlier this year has primarily offered the ability to easily change the CPU scaling governor when gaming but not much more. Though a new feature is now in the works for GameMode.
  • Mini DebConf Hamburg
    Last week I attended the MiniDebConfHamburg. I worked on new releases of dracut and rinse. Dracut is an initramfs-tools replacement which now supports early microcode loading. Rinse is a tool similar to debootstrap for rpm distributions, which now can create Fedora 28 environments aka chroots.
  • Android and Automotive Grade Linux battle, as car becomes a data center
    Volvo’s decision to pick Intel’s Atom automotive system-on-chip (SoC) to run in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) for its new XC40 SUV highlights the intensifying competition among chipmakers in this fast growing sphere. The decision to base the system on Android also illuminates the evolving operating system scene for cars, with Linux the primary alternative in its AGL (Automotive Grade Linux) variant. However, given the complementary strengths of Android and Linux, it looks more likely that both will be deployed by many automobile makers in hybrid packages, so that they can take advantage of Android’s huge app ecosystem, encouraging plenty of third party enhancements, as well as harnessing the independence and enterprise scale of Linux. As cars become mini-data centers or edge compute…
  • Vending machine boardset works with UP or UP Squared boards
    Aaeon’s “AIOT-MSSP01” is a vending machine boardset powered by a PIC32 MCU that’s optimized to work with the UP or UP Squared SBCs. It offers vending-friendly I/O like MDB, EXE, and DEX, as well as motor controllers and 6x USB ports. The AIOT-MSSP01 is an industrial-grade vending machine controller (VMC) solution designed to run 24/7 “without a glitch,” says Aaeon. The boardset is optimized for use with the UP or UP Squared SBCs, but works with standard PCs and “most computer boards on the market.” There’s no mention of OS support for the connected computer, but the UP SBCs support Linux, Android, and Windows.