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Review: Fedora 27 Workstation

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Red Hat
Reviews

On the whole there are several things to like about Fedora 27. The operating system was stable during my trial and I like that there are several session options, depending on whether we want to use Wayland or the X display server or even a more traditional-looking version of GNOME. I am happy to see Wayland is coming along to the point where it is close to on par with the X session. There are some corner cases to address, but GNOME on Wayland has improved a lot in the past year.

I like the new LibreOffice feature which lets us sign and verify documents and I like GNOME's new settings panel. These are all small, but notable steps forward for GNOME, LibreOffice and Fedora.

Most of the complaints I had this week had more to do with GNOME specifically than Fedora as an operating system. GNOME on Fedora is sluggish on my systems, both on the desktop computer and in VirtualBox, especially the Wayland session. This surprised me as when I ran GNOME's Wayland session on Ubuntu last month, the desktop performed quite a bit better. Ubuntu's GNOME on Wayland session was smooth and responsive, but Fedora's was too slow for me to use comfortably and I switched over to using the X session for most of my trial.

Two other big differences I felt keenly between Ubuntu and Fedora were with regards to how these two leading projects set up GNOME. On Ubuntu we have a dock that acts as a task switcher, making it a suitable environment for multitasking. Fedora's GNOME has no equivalent. This means Fedora's GNOME is okay for running one or two programs at a time, but I tend to run eight or nine applications at any given moment. This becomes very awkward when using Fedora's default GNOME configuration as it is hard to switch between open windows quickly, at least without installing an extension. In a similar vein, Ubuntu's GNOME has window control buttons and Fedora's version does not, which again adds a few steps to what are usually very simple, quick actions.

What it comes down to is I feel like Ubuntu takes GNOME and turns it into a full featured desktop environment, while Fedora provides us with just plain GNOME which feels more like a framework for a desktop we can then shape with extensions rather than a complete desktop environment. In fact, I think that describes Fedora's approach in general - the distribution feels more like a collection of open source utilities rather than an integrated whole. Earlier I mentioned LibreOffice can work with signed documents, but Fedora has no key manager, meaning we need to find and download one. Fedora ships with Totem, which is a fine video player, but it doesn't work with Wayland, making it an odd default choice. These little gaps or missed connections show up occasionally and it sets the distribution apart from other projects like openSUSE or Linux Mint where there is a stronger sense the pieces of the operating system working together with a unified vision.

The big puzzle for me this week was with software updates. Linux effectively solved updating software and being able to keep running without a pause, reboot or lock-up decades ago. Other mainstream distributions have fast updates - some even have atomic, on-line updates. openSUSE has software snapshots through the file system, Ubuntu has live kernel updates that do away with rebooting entirely and NixOS has atomic, versioned updates via the package manager, to name just three examples. But Fedora has taken a big step backward in making updates require an immediate reboot, and taking an unusually long time to complete the update process, neither of which benefits the user.

Fedora has some interesting features and I like that it showcases new technologies. It's a good place to see what new items are going to be landing in other projects next year. However, Fedora feels more and more like a testing ground for developers and less like a polished experience for people to use as their day-to-day operating system.

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Kubuntu 17.10 review - Hello darkness my old friend

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KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

This must be one of the worst Kubuntu releases I've tried in a long time. Part of the fault lies with the parent distro, and the heartless switch to Gnome, which just shows that the passion to making Ubuntu an important desktop player is gone. This is just inertia and apathy. Still, there's so much wrong with Kubuntu on its own that I feel like a total fool for investing my time in this effort. And it also proves that there is only one good release for every three, showing that distro teams are overstretched roughly by 300%. The whole fast-release bullshit is just the modern-era agile-crap nonsense. It helps no one. Shitty products serve no purpose. Being fast for the sake of it is like running head first into an industrial blender to have your outstretched arms finely chopped by spinning blades.

Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark makes me sad. Makes me angry. Zesty was one of the finest distros ever created. This is one of the worst. That makes no sense. How can it be? Where's the modicum of care and diligence to ensure this kind of stuff does not happen? Application crashes, kernel crashes, media bugs, weird artifacts. Horrible.

My suggestion is not to upgrade for now. And even then, the foundation of your sanity is shaken. Come the upgrade, you do not know what will happen. You're hostage to arbitrary code decisions. There's no peace and stability in the Linux desktop. You will always have to dread the update process, not knowing what will break next. That is the essence of amateurism. And I'm right there, advocating Plasma and Kubuntu like the biggest of fools in this universe. Anyway, for the sake of public sacrifice, I'll also check 17.10 in-vivo upgrades on other machines, but my expectations are low. Aardvark gets 4/10. Don't bother for now, give it six months for the bugs to be fixed before a new release erases the slate and the cycle of depression starts again.

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Also: First Look At Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia Beta

HTC U11 Life (Android One) review: Keep it simple

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Reviews

Android One has arrived in Europe, and HTC is one of the first manufacturers to ship an affordable, Google-branded phone. The Android One badge made its debut in India and parts of Asia, as Google emphasized quality software on super-cheap hardware. But with its latest round of "One" handsets, the prices are higher, the products more premium, and the hand on the software rudder a little firmer.

The Android One U11 Life — unlike the T-Mobile U.S. version we reviewed separately, running HTC Sense — runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, and comes with the promise of timely updates to future versions. It takes the fundamentals of HTC's flagship phone and downscales it into a smaller size, while trimming the specs back to the essentials.

There's a Snapdragon 630 processor — Qualcomm's latest mid-ranger, and the successor to the very capable 625/626 — along with 3GB or 4GB of RAM, and 32 or 64GB of storage, plus microSD. I've been using the 3/32GB model for the past couple of weeks, however the UK will be getting the more capacious 4/64GB model when it goes on sale.

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MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds

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Linux
Reviews

MX-17 Beta 1 images are available for download here. If you are looking for a computing platform that is a bit different and very reliable, check out the latest MX 17 Beta releases. Try out the various installation options. See how they work on your slowest legacy hardware.

If you like what you see, keep using the Beta release on USB until the final release of MX 17 comes out shortly. Then you can install it to your computer's hard drive in frugal mode, keep your existing Linux distro where it is, and choose which one to run with each new boot-up.

The beauty of MX Linux is you do not have to deal with wiping or partitioning your hard drive or fussing with the unpredictability of maintaining a dual-boot setup.

MX Linux is a powerful, easy-to-use computing platform that goes beyond lightweight performance without filling your computer with software bloat.

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LG V30 review: Good hardware design marred by bad camera, software

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Android
Reviews

Another six months, another LG flagship phone. Typically the V series has been LG's wacky, experimental line with an extra "ticker" screen on the front. This year, though, the V30 is all business. The ticker is gone in exchange for a slim-bezel device and a clean look.

With the V30, LG is still basically following the same path that Samsung travels by shipping a heavily skinned phone with a glass back and slow updates. When you do all the same things as Samsung without the marketing budget, it's hard to stand out.

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Antergos 17.11 – the Antagonist

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Reviews

Antergos shares the same roots with Manjaro. Both these distributions are in the Top 5 of Distrowatch list. However, my feelings from these operating systems are very different.
I liked Manjaro very much, and I felt disappointed by Antergos.

To certain extent, the disappointment was due to GNOME 3 desktop environment being used by default. I still dislike it, and it goes against my workflow. But there are some very Antergos-specific "features" that made me frown. Just to name a few: absence of office software in the default distribution, problem with software installation, huge memory usage.

Manjaro and Antergos. Such close brothers, so much difference.

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Ubuntu 17.10 Review – For The Record

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Reviews
Ubuntu

So who is the target user base for Ubuntu 17.10? As much as I’d like to say newbies, I simply can’t do that. The help tool is very newbie friendly and would do well to have a variation on other GNOME-based distros. But GNOME 3 itself, even with Ubuntu development tweaks, is simply not going to win over someone used to a traditional menu layout.

That said, I can say that while I still dislike the handling of GNOME extensions, indicators and other desktop elements, Ubuntu 17.10 is lightning fast, stable and has the basics in place to get the job done for most people used to a Linux desktop.

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SparkyLinux 5.1

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

SparkyLinux is a Debian-based distribution for 32- and 64-bit computers. According to Sparky's website, the distro aims to "provide a ready to use, out of the box operating system with a set of slightly customised, lightweight desktop environments." There are no less than 24 desktops to choose from, as well as various "Special" editions. Like Debian, Sparky has three branches, which Sparky refers to as 'editions': Stable, Rolling and Development. For each edition there is a "Home" and "Minimal" version and, to make your choice yet more overwhelming, for each version various ISOs are available. Among others, the Home versions include ISOs for four different desktop environments and the Minimal versions include a "Linux Freedom" ISO. I couldn't find any information about the Linux Freedom version on the Sparky website but I am assuming that it ships with a libre kernel and no non-free packages.

If the download options sound complicated then that is because they are complicated. It doesn't help that the download section on the Sparky website is poorly designed. The pages feature long lists with links to dozens of ISOs and virtually no information to help you pick a suitable image. Worse, what little information is available is ambiguous. Various pages on the Sparky website state that the distro uses Debian's Testing branch while it is in fact built on all three Debian branches. Also, the download page suggests that the Stable editions are recommended - the link to the Stable ISOs is listed first and features an icon of a computer with a green monitor. The Rolling ISOs use the same icon with a red monitor, while the Development branch uses the colour black.

While trying to decide which version of Sparky to install I made the following table, which might make the available flavours a little easier to digest.

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A look at Arch Linux based Antergos

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Reviews

So, I’ve mentioned a few times for my love of Arch Linux and Manjaro, but there is another player in the mix that deserves due diligence, and has actually won over my personal use vote as well; Antergos.

The main difference between Antergos and Manjaro is updates and repositories. Manjaro holds updates for further testing, Antergos does not, and Antergos uses the Arch repos directly.

That said, when you are finished installing Antergos, you are essentially left with an Arch Linux system that has a few extra bells and whistles installed, where as Manjaro is Manjaro, based on Arch. This is over-simplifying, but the essential core difference.

Antergos can be downloaded from the homepage, and comes in either a minimal ISO or a live ISO. Both are graphically bootable and use graphical installers, it’s just that one will allow you to boot into a live system and try things first, the other will not.

The installation tool is very simple to use, and anyone with prior installation experience will have absolutely no problems using it.

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Also: Arch Linux Ends Support for 32-Bit Systems

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark - Art eater

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark is definitely one of the worst releases ever - among the few distros that I actually consider worth actually using to begin with, and probably the most underwhelming Ubuntu ever released. If Canonical really wants to revive the desktop, then it must ditch Gnome and go with Plasma. Otherwise, it's just going to be one long, neverending disaster of apathy, mediocrity and self-delusion. Fonts are the only thing that works well in this release.

Everything else is just awful - a sad live session that showcases nothing, Samba regressions, Nouveau color fiasco, application crashes, botched extensions mechanism, a neutered and counter-intuitive desktop, and the list goes on. You've read the review, no need for me to repeat itself. And the simple reason for this is Gnome. But then it's up to Canonical to do things right. Only can you really blame them for not trying? They wanted to make Linux big, but the so-called community took a proverbial dump on them. The only reason why anyone even remotely cares about Linux desktop is Ubuntu, and now it's not even that. Ubuntu is tired. The old passion is gone.

The only salvation is to reboot the whole thing. Plasma. Hopefully, come April 2018, there will be one LTS and it will be running KDE, and it will be called Ubuntu. At the moment, we're back in 2005 or so, when Ubuntu just started. Maybe other DE flavors will be better. 1/10. Hardly worth testing. You might be luckier, but if it comes to luck and not professionalism, you might as well not bother. Dedoimedo regretfully approves this review.

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Also: Ubuntu 18.04 Daily Builds Available For Download — A New Default Theme Is (Probably) Coming

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More in Tux Machines

today's leftovers

  • State of Linux Containers
    In this video from the Stanford HPC Conference, Christian Kniep from Docker Inc. presents: State of Containers. “This talk will recap the history of and what constitutes Linux Containers, before laying out how the technology is employed by various engines and what problems these engines have to solve. Afterward, Christian will elaborate on why the advent of standards for images and runtimes moved the discussion from building and distributing containers to orchestrating containerized applications at scale. In conclusion, attendees will get an update on what problems still hinder the adoption of containers for distributed high performance workloads and how Docker is addressing these issues.”
  • ONS 2018: Networking Reimagined
    For the past seven years, Open Networking Summit (ONS) has brought together the networking industry’s ecosystem of network operators, vendors, open source projects, leading researchers, and investors to discuss the latest SDN and NFV developments that will shape the future of the networking industry. With this year’s event, taking place March 26-29, 2018 in Los Angeles, ONS will evolve its approach as the premier open source networking event. We’re excited to share three new aspects of this year’s ONS that you won’t want to miss:
  • AT&T contributes code to Linux open source edge computing project
    The Linux Foundation recently announced a new project, dubbed Akraino, to develop an open source software stack capable of supporting high-availability cloud services for edge computing systems and applications. To kick off the project, AT&T will contribute code made for carrier-scale edge computing applications running in virtual machines and containers.
  • AT&T Brings Akraino Networking Project to Edge of the Linux Foundation
    The Linux Foundation has been particularly busy in 2018 thus far consolidating its existing networking project under a single umbrella, known as LF Networking. That umbrella might need to get a bit larger, as on Feb. 20 the Linux Foundation announced the new Akraino project, with code coming initially from AT&T.
  • FreeOffice 2016 – An Efficient Alternative to Microsoft Office
    FreeOffice 2016 is the latest version of the Office software from SoftMaker. In fact, you wouldn’t be wrong if you called it the free version of SoftMaker Office 2018 seeing as it features the same suite of applications.
  • Stellaris 2.0 'Cherryh' patch & Stellaris: Apocalypse expansion released, over 1.5 million copies sold
    Stellaris: Apocalypse [Steam], the latest expansion for the grand space strategy game from Paradox Development Studio is out. The big 2.0 'Cherryh' patch is also now available. Paradox has also announced today, that Stellaris has officially passed 1.5 million copies sold making it one of their most popular games ever made. I'm not surprised by this, as I consider Stellaris their most accessible game.
  • Action-packed platformer with local and online co-op 'Vagante' has left Early Access
    After being in Early Access for quite some time, the action-packed platformer 'Vagante' [Steam, Official Site] has now officially left Early Access.
  • Gentoo has been accepted as a Google Summer of Code 2018 mentoring organization
  • Getting Debian booting on a Lenovo Yoga 720
    I recently got a new work laptop, a 13” Yoga 720. It proved difficult to install Debian on; pressing F12 would get a boot menu allowing me to select a USB stick I have EFI GRUB on, but after GRUB loaded the kernel and the initrd it would just sit there never outputting anything else that indicated the kernel was even starting. I found instructions about Ubuntu 17.10 which helped but weren’t the complete picture. What seems to be the situation is that the kernel won’t happily boot if “Legacy Support” is not enabled - enabling this (and still booting as EFI) results in a happier experience.
  • Dell PowerEdge T30
    I just did a Debian install on a Dell PowerEdge T30 for a client. The Dell web site is a bit broken at the moment, it didn’t list the price of that server or give useful specs when I was ordering it. I was under the impression that the server was limited to 8G of RAM, that’s unusually small but it wouldn’t be the first time a vendor crippled a low end model to drive sales of more expensive systems. It turned out that the T30 model I got has 4*DDR4 sockets with only one used for an 8G DIMM. It apparently can handle up to 64G of RAM.
  • Quad-Ethernet SBC and controller tap new Renesas RZ/N1D SoC
    Emtrion’s Linux-ready “SBC-RZN1D” SBC, which will soon power a “Flex2COM” controller, features a Renesas dual-core -A7 RZ/N1D SoC and 4x LAN ports, and is designed for multi-protocol fieldbus communications. Emtrion, which recently announced its emCON-RZ/G1H module based on an octa-core Renesas RZ/G1H SoC, has unveiled a Renesas based, quad-LAN port SBC-RZN1D SBC focused on industrial communication. The SBC-RZN1D taps the Renesas RZ/N1D (R9006G032), one of a new line of RZ/N1D SoCs launched last year by Renesas for industrial multi-protocol communications. Renesas recently collaborated with Avnet to ship its own dual-Ethernet Renesas RZ/N1D Solution Kit (see farther below).
  • Postage-Stamp Linux
    There was a time when big operating systems ran on big iron. IBM, Data General, Burroughs, DEC, and other computer makers built big machines with big, blinking lights, and big price tags. They ran grown-up software and they supported multiuser operating systems. If you wanted a toy, you built a microcomputer. If you wanted a real machine for serious work, you bought a mainframe. Maybe a minicomputer, if it were for lesser tasks.
  • Most Popular Android Versions In February 2018 (Always Updated List)
    Android is the most used operating system on the planet. In fact, it’s almost omnipresent in the mobile ecosystem. Even the Android versions, like Nougat, Marshmallow, Lollipop, etc. have been able to build their individual fan following.

Red Hat and Fedora: David Egts, Radcom, Google Summer of Code 2018, FOSS Wave

  • Red Hat’s David Egts: Microservices Tech Could Help Simplify App Deployment
    David Egts, chief technologist for Red Hat’s public sector, told MeriTalk in an interview published Wednesday that the microservices technology works to help the developer split complex, large applications into small components and share them with other members of the DevOps team.
  • Radcom partners with Red Hat for NFV management
    Radcom announced it is collaborating with Red Hat to provide operators with a fully virtualized network visibility solution running on Red Hat OpenStack Platform. As operators transition to NFV, a critical first step is gaining end-to-end network visibility. This collaboration enables operators to attain cloud-native network visibility without the hassle of building their own private cloud infrastructure, the vendor said. Once the operator's transition to NFV matures, integration efforts with the NFV and MANO infrastructure can be simplified.
  • The Markets Are Undervaluing these stock’s: Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), Xerox Corporation (XRX)
  • Meeder Asset Management Inc. Has $1.75 Million Holdings in Red Hat Inc (RHT)
  • Justin W. Flory: Humanitarian open source work: My internship at UNICEF
    In December, I received the happy news of an offer for a internship position at UNICEF in the Office of Innovation. The Office of Innovation drives rapid technological innovation by rapid prototyping of new ideas and building full-stack products to make a positive impact in the lives of children. This is a simple answer, but a more detailed description is on our website. My internship at UNICEF is unique: I support open source community engagement and research as my primary task for the MagicBox project. For years, I’ve done this in open source communities in my free time (namely SpigotMC and Fedora), but never in a professional role. As I navigate my way through this exciting opportunity, I plan to document some of the experience as I go through blogging. My intent is that my observations and notes will be useful to someone else in the humanitarian open source space (or maybe to a future me).
  • Fedora participating in Google Summer of Code 2018
    GSoC is a summer program aiming to bring more student developers into open source software development. It enables students to spend their summer break working with open source organizations on projects proposed by participating organizations and supported by mentors.
  • FOSS Wave with Fedora at KGISL, Coimbatore
    Recently, I was invited by Prem to NASSCOM to give a brief talk on FOSS and Technology as part of the FOSS Wave community. Prem is doing a great job there by putting his effort in helping students from Tier2 and Tier3 cities. Around twenty enthusiastic students were selected and invited to Bengaluru to take part in such events. Mine was one of them. I conducted a GitHub session after Intro to FOSS and a brief intro about Fedora Project.

OSS Leftovers

  • Comment: Many happy returns to open source
    Twenty years ago the phrase “open source” was first used and the development of software – and hardware – was changed forever. Very few designers today will not use some element of open source software in their development projects.
  • Percona Unveils Full Conference Session Schedule for the Annual Percona Live Open Source Database Conference 2018
  • Worth seeing in Barcelona: Open source for white box vRAN solutions
    News this week from cloud and carrier infrastructure platform company Kontron builds on our earlier coverage of the emerging virtual radio access network (vRAN); a promising technology that could help the evolution to 5G by maximising available bandwidth while lowering costs. The market for open vRAN solutions is gaining wider acceptance as operators seek more cost-effective approaches to network architectures and deployment. According to analyst firm Research and Markets, the growth of the vRAN market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 125 per cent during the next three years.
  • Barcelona is the first city council to join the FSFE's "Public Money? Public Code!" campaign
  • Earlham Institute releases open source software to help identify gene families
    Researchers at Earlham Institute (EI) have released ‘GeneSeqToFamily’, an open-source Galaxy workflow that helps scientists to find gene families based on the ‘EnsemblCompara GeneTrees’ pipeline. Published in Gigascience, the open source Galaxy workflow aims to make researchers job of finding find gene families much easier.
  • 3 reasons to say 'no' in DevOps
    DevOps, it has often been pointed out, is a culture that emphasizes mutual respect, cooperation, continual improvement, and aligning responsibility with authority. Instead of saying no, it may be helpful to take a hint from improv comedy and say, "Yes, and..." or "Yes, but...". This opens the request from the binary nature of "yes" and "no" toward having a nuanced discussion around priority, capacity, and responsibility.
  • 5 rules for having genuine community relationships
    As I wrote in the first article of this three-part series on the power and importance of communities, building a community of passionate and committed members is difficult. When we launched the NethServer community, we realized early that to play the open source game, we needed to follow the open source rules. No shortcuts. We realized we had to convert the company in an open organization and start to work out in the open.
  •  
  • Rust Typestates
    A long time ago, the Rust language was a language with typestate. Officially, typestates were dropped long before Rust 1.0. In this entry, I’ll get you in on the worst kept secret of the Rust community: Rust still has typestates.
  • It's Time To Do CMake Right
    Not so long ago I got the task of rethinking our build system. The idea was to evaluate existing components, dependencies, but most importantly, to establish a superior design by making use of modern CMake features and paradigms. Most people I know would have avoided such enterprise at all costs, but there is something about writing find modules that makes my brain release endorphins. I thought I was up for an amusing ride. Boy was I wrong.

OpenBSD Gets Mitigated For Meltdown CPU Vulnerability

  • OpenBSD Gets Mitigated For Meltdown CPU Vulnerability
    A few days back FreeBSD 11 stable was mitigated for Meltdown (and Spectre vulnerabilities), which came more than one month after these nasty CPU vulnerabilities were disclosed while DragonFlyBSD was quickly mitigated and the first of the BSDs to do so. While OpenBSD is known for its security features and focus, only today did it land its initial Meltdown mitigation.
  • Meltdown fix committed by guenther@

    Meltdown mitigation is coming to OpenBSD. Philip Guenther (guenther@) has just committed a diff that implements a new mitigation technique to OpenBSD: Separation of page tables for kernel and userland. This fixes the Meltdown problems that affect most CPUs from Intel. Both Philip and Mike Larkin (mlarkin@) spent a lot of time implementing this solution, talking to various people from other projects on best approaches.

    In the commit message, Philip briefly describes the implementation [...]