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Reviews

Apricity: Slip Into Something More Comfortable

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Reviews

Apricity OS is a great, two-pronged Linux distro that recently reached a milestone that will ensure its continued success.

Apricity's first public beta, which was GNOME-only, was released more than a year ago. A choice of either the GNOME or Cinnamon desktops later became available in the monthly development snapshot releases.

This rolling release delivery method already provided a pleasant computing experience. Both desktop versions performed well. Each monthly build brought more functionality. I have not experienced any stability issues with the continuing stream of beta releases.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Kubuntu 16.04

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Reviews
Ubuntu

My experience with Kubuntu has done nothing to convince me that I want to use KDE in the long term. If I did want to use KDE long term then my experience with Manjaro would definitely make me lean in that direction.

This is an LTS release yet there are so many little niggles. New users to Linux will not be enamoured with having to find solutions to simple things like installing software.

The problems are worse than those that I experienced with Ubuntu. At least with Ubuntu I could install a separate application for installing the good stuff like Chrome. With Kubuntu it is command line all the way and searching forums for solutions.

With Linux Mint being so good it is hard for me to recommend Kubuntu 16.04.

I am not the only person to have issues with Kubuntu, read this review by Dedoimedo, he runs into many of the same issues as I did.

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OpenBSD 6.0 - an exercise in precision

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Reviews
BSD

The OpenBSD project is well known for its strong focus on security and for its precise documentation. The OpenBSD operating system generally gives preference to security and properly behaving software over features. OpenBSD is lightweight, sparse and relatively locked down by default. This makes the platform particularly popular among administrators who need a firewall or other minimal and stable platform.

OpenBSD 6.0 introduces many small changes and a handful of important ones. Looking through the release notes we find support for the VAX platform has been dropped. There have been several security updates to the OpenSSH secure shell service. Perhaps one of the more interesting security features in the operating system is strict enforcement of W^X: "W^X is now strictly enforced by default; a program can only violate it if the executable is marked with PT_OPENBSD_WXNEEDED and is located on a file system mounted with the wxallowed mount option. Because there are still too many ports which violate W^X, the installer mounts the /usr/local file system with wxallowed. This allows the base system to be more secure as long as /usr/local is a separate file system. If you use no W^X violating programs, consider manually revoking that option."

I decided to play with the 64-bit x86 build of OpenBSD which is 226MB in size. Booting from this ISO presents us with a text console where we are asked if we would like to install OpenBSD, upgrade an existing copy of the operating system or perform an auto-install. I chose to perform a normal installation.

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Also: OpenBSD and NetBSD machines at Open Source Conference 2016 Nagaoka

Sabayon Bizarre But Useful

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Reviews

Sabayon, which gets its name from the the Italian egg-derived dessert known as zabaione, is a distribution that we don’t hear too much about these days, although the British Linux press gave it some love a few years ago. It was unassuming…with a hint of mystery. I tried it back then, when I was still fairly new to actually using Linux and thought it was a nice effort, but a little too weird. That wasn’t their fault; that was mine. I was still clinging sharply to Ubuntu at the time. Plus, I was a bit more shallow in those days because I was really set on the idea that an operating system had to look good before I would really put some hours into using it. I still am in many respects. I’m just not crazy about boring.

So when I approached Matt with the idea of documenting a revisitation to Sabayon, he greenlighted it immediately. Team Sabayon has been very busy. It still has a hint of mystique that I find very attractive. It’s got a lot of applications at default and offers you a lot of decision-making power as well. More on that later.

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Sony Xperia X Compact review: Small Android is still good, but not much better

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Android
Reviews

Sony's Xperia X Compact is basically the newest version of the Z5 Compact that hit the US earlier this year. But just because it's a newer version of the (comparatively) tiny handset doesn't mean it's an upgrade in every way. Sony is pushing the camera sensors in the X Compact and the flagship-level XZ, as well as new features like five-axis image stabilization and HDR photo mode. Sony knows cameras, so we know the shooter in the X Compact will at least be competent. However, it has to be good enough to encourage photography buffs to shell out $499 for this unlocked handset while delivering solid performance across the board as well.

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Black Panther OS Is No Cool Cat

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OS
Reviews

Installation requires at least 10 GB of hard drive space and 1.5 GB memory. Normally, those requirements are not an issue. It becomes one, however, when installing to a virtual machine.

Avoid two annoyances with installing Black Panther OS. The cancel/next buttons on the bottom of the screen did not show until I narrowed the height of the panel bar.

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Polar M600 review: The best sports focused Android Wear smartwatch available

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Reviews

Polar created a solid Android Wear device and when you consider it is also a highly functional GPS sports watch, the $329.95 retail price is very reasonable. You can purchase one in black or white. Polar has done a great job of updating the Polar V800 sports watch so you can expect to see updates for its first Android Wear device as well.

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Uruk GNU/Linux 1.0

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Uruk GNU/Linux appears to be a fairly young project with some lofty goals, but some rough edges and unusual characteristics. I applaud the developers' attempts to provide a pure free software distribution, particularly their use of Gnash to provide a pretty good stand-in for Adobe's Flash player. Gnash is not perfect, but it should work well enough for most people.

On the other hand, Uruk does not appear to offer much above and beyond what Trisquel provides. Uruk uses Trisquel's repositories and maintains the same free software only stance, but does not appear to provide a lot that Trisquel on its own does not already offer. Uruk does feature some add-ons from Linux Mint, like the update manager. However, this tends to work against the distribution as the update manager hides most security updates by default while Mint usually shows all updates, minus just the ones known to cause problems with stability.

As I mentioned above, the package compatibility tools talked about on the Uruk website do not really deliver and are hampered by the missing alien package in the default installation. The build-from-source u-src tool may be handy in some limited cases, but it only works in very simple scenarios with specific archive types and build processes. Hopefully these package compatibility tools will be expanded for future releases.

Right now I'm not sure Uruk provides much above what Trisquel 7.0 provided two years ago. The project is still young and may grow in time. This is a 1.0 release and I would hold off trying the distribution until it has time to build toward its goals.

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2 OpenSUSE Leap 42.2 Beta2

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Reviews
SUSE

Leap 42.2 Beta2 is looking pretty good, except for the problems with Plasma 5 and the nouveau driver. That’s really an upstream issue (a “kde.org” issue). I hope that is fixed in time for the final release. Otherwise, I may have to give up on KDE for that box.

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Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 MATE - Fairly solid

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Red Hat
Reviews

Is there a perfect track record for any which distro? No. Do any two desktop environments ever behave the same? No. Is there anything really good and cool about the MATE offering? Yes, definitely. It's not the finest, but it's definitely quite all right.

You do get very decent hardware support, adequate battery life and good performance, smartphone and media support is top notch, and your applications will all run happily. On the other hand, you will struggle with Samba and Bluetooth, and there are some odd issues here and there. I think the Gnome and Xfce offerings are better, but MATE is not to be dissed as a useless relic. Far from it, this is definitely an option you ought to consider if you're into less-than-mainstream desktops, and you happen to like CentOS. To sum it all up, another goodie in the growing arsenal of CentOS fun facts. Enjoy.

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