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Reviews

Black Lab Linux 8.0 Is a Rare Treat

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Reviews

The latest release of Black Lab Linux, an Ubuntu 16.04-based distribution, adds a Unity desktop option. You will not find Unity offered by any other major -- or nearly any minor -- Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu.

Black Lab Linux 8.0, the consumer version of PC/OpenSystems' flagship distro, also updates several other prominent desktop options.

Black Lab Linux is a general purpose community distribution for home users and small-to-mid-sized businesses. PC/OpenSystems also offers Black Lab Enterprise Linux, a commercial counterpart for businesses that want support services.

Black Lab Linux is an outgrowth of OS4 OpenLinux, a distro the same developers released in 2008. Both the community and the commercial releases could be a great alternative for personal and business users who want to avoid the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) horrors of installing Linux in a computer bought off the shelf with Microsoft Windows preinstalled.

Black Lab offers its flagship releases with a choice of self or full support, and both come at a price upon launch. However, you can wait 45 days and get the same release with the self-support option for free. Black Lab Linux 8.0 became available for free late last year.

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Manjaro 17.0 Gellivara review

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Linux
Reviews

So overall, Manjaro 17.0 is quite a good release. It is decently stable and performance is also on decent level. Tough we experience a very little lag few times but it's negligible and can be ignored. Manjaro 17.0 packs with Linux kernel 4.9.13 LTS which provides support for many hardware and works like a charm. We recommend you to use Manjaro Linux once, it has lot to offer and it is made with love from developer team. There are different flavors in Manjaro, The flagships are Xfce and KDE. Soon, community flavors will be released too. We also explained detailed process of installing Manjaro 17.0 here. So, try it out guys and let us know if you have any problem while installing it or using it in comments Smile

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Review: Samsung Chromebook Plus has a display and build worthy of Android apps [Video]

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Android
Reviews

Over the past year, Chrome OS has evolved in huge ways, but most drastically with the addition of Android apps. The matching hardware, conversely, hasn’t changed that much. We’ve had some Chromebooks like the Acer R13 which nailed the 2-in-1 form factor, but nothing we’d call revolutionary.

That changed as the calendar flipped over to 2017. At CES 2017 we got a couple of new Chromebooks including the ASUS C302A, and two new models from Samsung. In this review, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Samsung Chromebook Plus.

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Review: The Endless Mission One is a gorgeous Linux-powered desktop with a tempting price tag

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Linux
Reviews

Companies that exclusively manufacture Linux computers are few and far between. The few that exist tend to focus on the “prosumer” or developer market niche. Endless, however, has tread a different path. The San Francisco-based manufacturer is known for its quirky line of affordable machines, all running its own bespoke Linux-based operating system, Endless OS.

Announced at CES earlier this year, the Endless Mission One is the latest in the company’s burgeoning stable of computers. And compared to the rest of Endless’ lineup, it’s a bit of an aberration.

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Fatdog64 Linux review

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Do not be mislead by the use of "fat" in the name, Fatdog64 is a very lightweight Linux distribution. It is only "fat" compared to Puppy Linux, which Fatdog originally derived from. The first release of Fatdog was as an expansion package for Puppy Linux before becoming a distribution in its own right. As such, Fatdog releases ship with more pre-installed packages than Puppy Linux, so by comparison it is "fatter."

Fatter, of course, is a relative term, so Fatdog64 710, the latest release, is much, much smaller than many other distributions. The ISO is a meagre 377MB. Despite the small download size, it still comes with a decent selection of software packed into the image. It uses Openbox as the default desktop environment with JVM being an alternative option, so no weighty GNOME or KDE, which really helps trim the proverbial fat.

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Also: This Week In Solus - Install #41

LXQt usability review – We got a long way to go

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Reviews

LXQt feels like an experiment in thinking, tinkering and development, and there does not seem to be an ultimate goal with a clearly defined end state. The prolific and colorful origins, the co-existence of its root projects, and the multitude of technologies involved present an additional layer of complexity. Then, in between versions 0.10 and 0.11, there has been only a relatively small delta in terms of quality, functionality and user-friendliness.

Comparing the two, unfortunately, most of the visual bugs remain. Options are present in multiple locations, sometimes in more than one place. There isn’t a uniform method to control the system and its behavior, and some of the settings seem hard-coded in applications while others are ignored when you alter the defaults. Functionality, LXQt does not cooperate – or is not aware – well with non-LXQt software, if such a stack may or should be defined. The workflow is not very intuitive. There has been some progress, but not enough.

Like the old song goes, we got a long way to go and a short time to get there. At this point, I am not certain LXQt has enough oomph to weather the infancy problems and rise above the early development stage woes. This is a non-trivial effort, and mostly, it demands sharp focus and strict definitions on usability. Then again, I am not aware of any golden formulas or paradigms when it comes to UI design or user experience in Linux. Some practices are followed, but they are not enforced, definitely not across different desktop environments and applications, and some of the choices are purely development-driven. Which should not be.

It is worthy of an experiment and some rigorous testing, just to get the feel of what it does and how it works. However, LXQt is still not production ready, and it remains a niche offering for hardcore users and enthusiasts, who are interested in Qt first and foremost, rather than any wider populace of users, who just seek to fire and forget and enjoy their machines.

Well, I shall keep an eye and follow this project. I hope you enjoyed this long and possibly exhausting review. The quest for the Linux desktop perfection continues. See you.

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Zorin Desktop Is a Crowd Pleaser

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OS
Reviews

I am impressed with the Zorin OS 12.1 release. Zorin OS is not the same old GNOME distro retread. It has a well integrated and tweaked user interface that justifies the developer's moniker of "Zorin Desktop 2."

Zorin OS 12.1 is an ideal choice for large deployments in businesses, governments, schools and organizations. A key reason for its business and government suitability is the new release schedule. Major releases of Zorin OS happen only once every two years. Minor updates like version 12.1 come every few months as needed.

Users will be spared major disruptions without feeling that their operating system is aging or abandoned. The result is an efficient and healthy balance.

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DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup

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Reviews

The earlier versions of DebianDog work flawlessly, but the latest release seems to suffer from some work-in-progress flaws.

I had very little trouble running the default software as-is. When I changed system settings or configured applications a certain way, those changes either did not work or were accompanied by a variety of glitches.

I also had some trouble getting the persistent memory options to work. A related problem was setting up the personal save storage file. These issues cropped up or did not appear at all, depending on the hardware I was using. I used the same boot CD and bootable DVD drive on all of my test computers.

DebianDog Linux is a good alternative for Linux users looking for something different. It is a very good OS choice if you work on multiple computers or travel around to various work locations and want all your work files on the same OS configuration that you carry in your pocket.

DebianDog can be a very workable alternative to lugging a laptop around.

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Bodhi Linux review

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Reviews

Bodhi Linux is a lightweight Ubuntu-based distro that appeared on the scene back in 2011. Its system requirements are among the lowest out there for any desktop Linux flavour. It can even run on a non-PAE CPU with 128MB of RAM and a 300MHz processor.

We didn’t have one of those lying around, but we did have a pretty old and dusty PC which we could test it on. The OS boasts a simple Ubiquity install process (just like you get on Ubuntu) and it’s a thoroughly usable, and not at all bad-looking, distro.

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Also: Best power user Linux distros in 2017: 5 reviewed and rated

Review: Google Pixel is Android at its best (if a little boring)

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Android
Google
Reviews

The Pixel’s designs have been divisive ever since the first batch of leaks hit the interwebs, but I’ve grown quite fond of it. Maybe it’s the fact that my ‘Really Blue’ (provided to us by Verizon, thanks folks) model is in fact so incredibly blue, but really I just think the two tone look stands out. It’s instantly recognizable if you’ve seen the phone before.

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Leftovers: OSS

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    A CDN, or content delivery network, is a network of strategically placed servers located around the world used for the purpose of delivering files faster to users. A traditional CDN will allow you to accelerate your website's images, CSS files, JS files, and any other piece of static content. This allows website owners to accelerate all of their own content as well as provide them with additional features and configuration options. These premium services typically require payment based on the amount of bandwidth a project uses. However, if your project doesn't justify the cost of implementing a traditional CDN, the use of an open source CDN may be more suitable. Typically, these types of CDNs allow you to link to popular web-based libraries (CSS/JS frameworks, for example), which are then delivered to your web visitors from the free CDN's servers. Although CDN services for open source libraries do not allow you to upload your own content to their servers, they can help you accelerate libraries globally and improve your website's redundancy.
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Huawei, Google supercharge Android with new Raspberry Pi-like board

Prepare to run Android at blazing fast speeds on a new Raspberry Pi-like computer developed by Huawei. Huawei's HiKey 960 computer board is priced at US$239 but has some of the latest CPU and GPU technologies. Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker all played roles in developing the board. The HiKey 960 is meant to be a go-to PC for Android or a tool to develop software and drivers for the OS. The board development was backed by Linaro, an organization that develops software packages for the Android OS and ARM architecture. Read more

Debian Derivatives: Q4OS and Devuan

  • Debian-Based Q4OS 1.8.4 Operating System Lets Users Select Alternative Desktops
    Today, April 26, 2017, the developers behind the Debian-based Q4OS GNU/Linux distribution announced the release of the fourth stability and security update of the Q4OS 1.8 "Orion" series. Q4OS 1.8.4 comes almost two months after the release of the previous point release, and besides incorporating all the security patches backported from the upstream repositories of the Debian GNU/Linux 8 "Jessie" operating system series, it adds an exciting new feature, namely the integration of alternative desktop environments.
  • Which is Free, Which is Open … [Also]

    Devuan and Debian need not defer to the Open Source Initiative regarding what is Open Source, since the OSI is just using Debian's Free Software Guidelines. Debian's Free Software Guidelines are a definition of Free Software, not specifically Open Source. At the time they were created, RMS personally approved of them as "a good definition of Free Software".

Leftovers: Software

  • Luminance HDR 2.5.0 Released, Here’s How to Install it on Ubuntu
    Luminance HDR is an open-source tool that lets you create and edit high-dynamic-range images (HDR) on Linux, Windows and macOS. The app recently got its first major update in several years and I figured it was something a few of you might wanna know about (and hey, we’ve featured a couple of other photography tools recently).
  • SMPlayer 17.4.2 Open-Source Media Player Supports MPlayer's ffhevcvdpau Decoder
    A new stable update of the open-source and cross-platform SMPlayer media player was announced recently, versioned 17.4.2, for all supported operating systems, including GNU/Linux and Microsoft Windows. SMPlayer 17.4.2 is now the latest stable release of the popular media player applications, and it looks like it ships with various exciting improvements and new features. One of these is support for using the ffhevcvdpau decoder from the MPlayer project, but only on Linux-based operating systems.
  • Gyazo – An Easy Way to Capture Screenshots, GIFs and Save Websites
    Gyazo is a screen capturing application with which you can quickly take quality shots of your screen and also create GIFs on the fly with a simple click. It is as simple to use as another screen capture tool we wrote on earlier, Peek, but Gyazo seems to have an edge in terms of functionality, customizability, and extension; at least, for now.
  • The many ways of running firefox on OpenBSD

    Maybe i haven't talked about it enough on the lists, but since i've been maintaining the various mozillas in the portstree (cvs log says i started around firefox 3.6.something... 7 years ago. *sigh*) a lot of things changed, so i wanted take the 6.1 release as an occasion to sum up the various ways one could run which version of which firefox on which version of OpenBSD.