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Reviews

Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 - what does the future look like?

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GNOME
Reviews
Ubuntu

You could recently read reviews of different flavours of Ubuntu 17.04 on Linux notes from DarkDuck blog: Ubuntu MATE, Kubuntu, Lubuntu.

And you all remember the recent announcement from Mark Shuttleworth and Canonical that Ubuntu 17.10 will be the last version of Ubuntu coming with Unity Desktop Environment. It means that more attention in the Linux – and especially the Ubuntu – community is now on the Ubuntu GNOME version. I've never reviewed this version of Ubuntu yet.

Let's see what it is like. I downloaded the ISO image of Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 64-bit, which is 1.5 GB in size and "burnt" it onto the USB stick using the dd command.

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Also: Top 10 snaps in May

Ubuntu GNOME 17.04 - what does the future look like?

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Reviews
Ubuntu

In general, there was nothing wrong in my experience with Ubuntu GNOME 17.04. It felt solid and reliable. Yes, there were resource issues. Yes, there was a personal incompatibility with the keyboard layout switch mode. Yes, there is a learning curve to get used to in the absence of "Minimize" and "Restore" buttons, to the way of switching between the applications. But that's not too serious.

More serious is that GNOME felt a bit "empty" for me.

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ZTE Quartz watch review: The Best Android Wear value, plain and simple

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Reviews

The decision to buy any Android Watch is dependent on multiple factors, but in the ZTE Quartz’s case, there are two main ones to consider: Do you need Android Pay? Are you a T-Mobile customer?

If the answers to those questions are no and yes, respectively, then the ZTE Quartz is a no-brainer purchase (assuming it fits your wrist). At just $192, you’re not likely to find a better deal for a 3G Android Wear watch, even if you opt for one of the marked-down first-gen versions. All-day, independent connectivity is quite a feat for a sub-$200 2017 watch, and if that’s one of the features you crave, there’s very little reason reason not to pick one up.

It might not be the flashiest watch around, but with the money you save you can buy a real fancy band to go with it.

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DiRT 4 review: as engaging as DiRT Rally but without the punishing difficulty

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Reviews
Gaming

Last year, UK studio Codemasters blew my nomex racing socks off with DiRT Rally. The achievement was all the more notable because—while I tend to stick almost exclusively to racing games—I haven't really enjoyed off-road or rally games very much in the past. Now, Paul Coleman and his team at Codemasters have a new game for us that builds on the success of DiRT Rally, but it should entice a far wider audience. Enter DiRT 4, available starting June 6 on Playstation 4, Xbox One, and Steam.

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Unihertz Jelly review: a tiny phone with huge aspirations

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Android
Reviews

Is it the Jelly phone for everyone? We wouldn’t say so, but there is definitely a market for it. Some people do prefer a simpler experience with the ability to download just a few extra applications. It’s kind of like a smart feature phone of sorts… or a good secondary device for the glove compartment. And while it won’t be making anyone jelly, it is probably worth the asking price if its uniqueness piqued your interest.

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BitKey Unlocks Mysteries of the Bitcoin Universe

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Reviews
Debian

BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution with specialist utilities for performing highly secure air-gapped bitcoin transactions.

This specialty distro is not for everyday computing needs, but if you are obsessed with the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, this distro might be just what you need.

I am a high-tech sort of guy with a keen interest in diving through Linux distros both simple and complex. I'm on the lookout for new twists to old desktop environments and unique use case distros. Technologies and software solutions that make my computing life more secure and more functional are always the anticipated outcome.

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Returning to the Void

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Reviews

Void is an independently developed, rolling release Linux distribution. The Void distribution runs on 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors as well as several ARM boards including the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone and Cubieboard2. The Void distribution is available in Cinnamon, Enlightenment, LXDE, LXQt, MATE and Xfce editions with some additional desktop environments offered through the project's software repositories. There is also a plain edition which I believe sets up a minimal command line environment.

There are a number of features which set Void apart from most other Linux distributions. Void uses the XBPS package manager for working with source and binary packages. Void was an early adopter of OpenBSD's LibreSSL library which acts as a drop-in replacement for the OpenSSL security library. Further, Void has an init implementation called runit which is unusually small and simple. Another interesting feature of Void is the distribution can use one of two C libraries. Most Linux distributions use the glibc library. Void does provide glibc and also offers installation media with the lightweight musl library.

I decided to download the Void project's MATE edition which is 637MB in size. Booting from the supplied media brings up a screen where we can choose between starting the distribution's live environment or loading Void into RAM and then launching the desktop environment. The latter option uses more memory, but makes the distribution run faster and frees up the drive or port where our installation media is located.

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Void Linux - the Strangely Overlooked Distribution

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Reviews

Ahh, Void Linux. You may or may not have heard of it. If you have, more than likely it was by word of mouth, so to speak, from internet comments on a forum, YouTube video or in passing on Reddit. But this little distro rarely gets any press or recognition otherwise. Perhaps it's time that changes, as Void Linux is an interesting distro in its own right and a good alternative to something like Arch Linux. It also has a no-systemd approach.

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Feren OS Could Be the Best-Looking Desktop on the Market

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Reviews

Imagine taking Linux Mint, placing the Cinnamon desktop on it and then theming it to not only to serve as a perfect drop-in replacement for Windows 7 but to be one of the most beautiful Linux desktops you’ve seen in a long while. That’s what Feren OS has managed -- and has done so with aplomb.

Feren OS first arrived in 2015 and recently unleashed their 2017 iteration of the platform...with stunning results. This is truly one of those instances that, upon installation, you’ll find yourself doing a double (or triple) take, asking, “Is this really Linux?” Not that the state of the Linux desktop is behind the competition, in fact, I consider many of the Linux desktops to be light years ahead of other desktops. But, Feren OS has achieved something special; they’ve created a Linux distribution that anyone could use, for nearly any purpose, with zero learning curve.

Let’s take a look at this new(ish) distro to see exactly what makes it special. We’ll also dig deep to see what kind of caveats lay under the polish (if any).

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First Look at Devuan 1.0: A Free OS Designed for Debian Fans Who Hate systemd

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Reviews
Debian

The final release of the long-anticipated Devuan GNU/Linux 1.0.0 "Jessie" operating system was launched yesterday, ready to conquer your laptop or workstation without including systemd, nor any systemd-related packages.

Started in November 2014, Devuan project's goal was always to develop a fork of the Debian GNU/Linux distribution without the systemd init daemon. Why? Because the Debian GNU/Linux 8 "Jessie" operating system adopted systemd as default init replacement, a move that upset many users and developers.

It took two and a half years for Devuan GNU/Linux to reach the 1.0 milestone and offer its community a stable, secure and reliable computer operating system that's systemd-free. While based on the latest stable Debian release, Devuan uses its own software repository that appears to mirror the upstream development.

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Also:

  • Devuan Stable Release -- at Last!

    Devuan just released their LTS stable Jessie system

  • Devuan Jessie 1.0.0 stable LTS

    Devuan Jessie 1.0.0 Stable is a major milestone in the new path
    drawn by the Devuan project and its development has provided an
    opportunity to lay down a strong foundation for the Devuan
    community. In the last two years we have put in place a powerful
    infrastructure to support the development and growth of Devuan [...]

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BSD: OpenBSD, Benchmarking LLVM/Clang, and AMD Zen Scheduler Model Lands In LLVM

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    i That's why I decided to write my articles, including this one, in Markdown and use another tool such as lowdown to generate the XML pages for sblg.

     
  • Benchmarking LLVM/Clang's New AMD Zen Scheduler Model
    Just prior to LLVM 5.0 being branched yesterday, the AMD Zen scheduler model finally landed in LLVM and has the potential of boosting the performance of generated binaries targeting AMD's Zen "znver1" architecture. Here are some benchmarks of LLVM Clang 4.0 compared to the latest LLVM Clang compiler code when testing with both generic x86-64 optimizations and then optimized builds for the first-generation Zen CPUs, tested on a Ryzen 7 processor.
  • AMD Zen Scheduler Model Lands In LLVM, Makes It For LLVM 5.0
    It was coming down to the wire for the new AMD Zen scheduler model in LLVM 5.0 but now it's managed to land just hours before the LLVM 5.0 branching. The new Zen "znver1" scheduler model for LLVM was published by AMD in patch form last week and now this morning it's been merged to mainline LLVM. Funny enough, thanks to an Intel developer with commit rights to LLVM due to the AMD contributor not having access.

OSS: VirtualBox, AMD EPYC Platform Letdown, Choosing FOSS, Open Source Blockchain Project, and RcppAPT 0.0.4

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  • AMD EPYC Platform Security Processor Code Will Not Be Open Source
    AMD EPYC has been getting some bad word of mouth due to what Intel has been trying to portray but much has been cleared out in the official presentation. Many users that are worried about security have asked AMD to open source the AMD EPYC Platform security processor code. That will not be the case according to AMD. AMD EPYC Platform security processor is designed to keep the user safe from attacks because the OS can’t see what the PSP or IME is doing. Similarly, the user will also not know what the chips are doing. That is all great if the chip is keeping the user safe but it also means that if the defenses are breached then the user will not realize that as well.
  • Open Source: To Use Or Not To Use (And How To Choose)
    You'd like to use open source software, but you're not sure what criteria you should use when deciding whether to rely on it for a specific project or not. I have a long, complicated history with open source software.
  • Japanese Online Giant GMO Launches Open Source Blockchain Project
    Internet giant GMO Internet Inc. of Japan today announced the launch of the GMO Blockchain Open Source Software Project (GMO Blockchain OSS). The system will allow users to develop programs using blockchain as open source. In a first attempt by the company using this platform, the company has developed an open source medical record sharing system and launched it on July 6th, 2017.
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