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Reviews

Seamonkey review: Firefox’s lightweight hyper-functional cousin

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Moz/FF
Reviews
Web

Seamonkey has an interesting history, in that it is both older and younger than Firefox. Older, because originally it was built from Mozilla Suite code (for those of you that don’t know, Mozilla Application Suite is the parent of Firefox, and was originally built from the code of Netscape Navigator which was open-sourced in 1998).

Seamonkey is also younger than Firefox in that Seamonkey’s first version, 1.0, was not released until 2006, 2 years after Firefox 1.0. Quite a few people are not even aware of the existence of Seamonkey or the Mozilla Suite, thinking that Firefox was the successor to Netscape Navigator, created deliberately to enact their vendetta against Microsoft for their monopolistic practices that killed Netscape. But glorious fantasies aside, Mozilla Application Suite was the real successor.

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Review: Dell's Ubuntu-powered M3800 Mobile Workstation is a desktop destroyer

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Dell has offered a Linux (Ubuntu) option on some laptops (and servers) for a few years now. Considering my general love for all things Linux, combined with my (often) overpowering desire to play with new hardware, it's rather odd that I've never gotten my hands on a Linux-powered Dell laptop.

That rather egregious offense has now been remedied.

Right in front of me sits the Dell M3800 Mobile Workstation – a 15.6-inch laptop that doubles as a Linux-powered desktop replacement.

No. "Desktop Replacement" doesn't really do this rig justice. This beast of a machine is a desktop destroyer.

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Netrunner 15 Review: Looks fantastic as usual but lags a bit in performance

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Reviews

On 16th February 2015, Clemens Toennies has announced the release of Netrunner 15, a desktop Linux distribution based on Kubuntu 14.10 and featuring the new KDE Plasma 5.2.0 desktop: "We are proud to announce the official release of Netrunner 15 'Prometheus'. Netrunner 15 is revised from the ground up - as the first distribution, it officially ships the new KDE Plasma Desktop 5.2. Therefore, an upgrade from previous Netrunner series with KDE 4.x is neither officially available nor really recommended. This release is 64-bit only. What's new? This release features the brand new KDE Plasma Desktop 5.2, packed together with the freshly released KDE Frameworks 5.7 and Qt 5.4. It takes a great deal of Oxygen and a little of Breeze and mixes them into a blend of tradition and modern. All previous settings and add-ons have been carefully restored to work in this new environment. With Netrunner 15 we took the chance to ship a finely revised set of applications."

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Review: LibreOffice 4.4 raises the bar

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LibO
Reviews

The developers behind LibreOffice, the free and open source productivity suite forked from OpenOffice, have sweated and bled to advance the toolkit over the past couple of years. The effort has paid off: It’s a no-brainer to recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice, thanks to Libre’s consistent release schedule and the increasingly polished quality of the product.

Now for the bigger question: Can you recommend LibreOffice in the same breath as Microsoft Office? The short answer: Maybe. To its credit, LibreOffice 4.4 handles old- and new-school Microsoft Office documents better than ever before -- no small feat considering how prohibitively complex such documents can be. If you plan on using LibreOffice as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office, know that document compatibility is still a roll of the dice -- but with each revision LibreOffice is improving the odds.

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LXLE Linux 14.04.1 review - Champagne without bubbles

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Linux
Reviews

Ubuntu derivatives are many and varied. Most build on the same base, and then add a new work environment in order to infuse the distro with a unique spin. LXLE 14.04.1 does this by applying an almost namesake desktop environment on the latest LTS Ubuntu release, and so a new fork is born.

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First look at Sabayon 15.02

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Gentoo
Reviews

Sabayon offers four editions of the distribution -- GNOME, KDE, Xfce and Minimal. Each edition is available for 64-bit x86 machines exclusively. I opted to download the KDE image which is 2.2GB in size. Booting from the live media brings up a boot menu where we can choose to launch a live desktop environment, run the system installer, install a media centre edition of the distribution or install Steam Big Picture. We can also choose to launch a console only mode, handy for trouble-shooting problems. I will come back to the media centre and Steam interfaces a little later.

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First impressions of Korora 21

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Red Hat
Reviews

The Korora distribution is available in four editions -- Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE and Xfce. There was previously a MATE edition, but at the time of writing that flavour of Korora appears to have been discontinued. Each edition of Korora is available for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 machines. Since I tried the default GNOME edition of Fedora a few months ago I decided to get some variety by installing Korora's KDE edition. The download for Korora's KDE flavour is 2.5GB in size.

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Review: New Chromebook Pixel is still lovely hardware with limited appeal

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Chromebooks are cheap. They work best that way. It’s rare to find one north of $400, and the sweet spot is between $200 and $300. While they've got shortcomings, the cost is reasonable for what you get. In some cases, the limitations are even desirable.

Only one Chromebook has truly gone against that grain—the Chromebook Pixel. It was the polar opposite of every other device bearing the name. The Pixel was high-quality hardware where others are low-rent, but even though it cost five times what you could pay for a regular Chromebook it didn't really do much more. It's a laptop as nice as it is niche.

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Leftovers: Screenshots

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Development News

OSS Leftovers

  • The most in demand skills you need for an open source job
    With coding and software development in serious need of talent, it’s essentially a graduate’s market, but you still need the right combination of skills and attributes to beat the competition. When it comes to open source and DevOps, a deeper understanding is essential.
  • Why the Open Source Cloud Is Important
    To this end, foundations such as the Cloud Foundry Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Open Container Initiative (OCI) at The Linux Foundation are actively bringing in new open source projects and engaging member companies to create industry standards for new cloud-native technologies. The goal is to help improve interoperability and create a stable base for container operations on which companies can safely build commercial dependencies.
  • AI Platforms Welcome Devs With Open Arms
    Two leaders in the field of artificial intelligence have announced that they're open-sourcing their AI platforms. After investing in building rich simulated environments to serve as laboratories for AI research, Google's DeepMind Lab on Saturday said it would open the platform for the broader research community's use. DeepMind has been using its AI lab for some time, and it has "only barely scratched the surface of what is possible" in it, noted team members Charlie Beattie, Joel Leibo, Stig Petersen and Shane Legg in an online post.
  • The Linux Foundation Seeks Technical and Business Speakers for Open Networking Summit 2017
  • Pencils down: Why open source is the future of standardized testing
    Administering standardized tests online is trickier than it sounds. Underneath the facade of simple multiple choice forms, any workable platform needs a complex web of features to ensure that databases don’t buckle under the pressure of tens of thousands of test takers at once. On top of that, it also needs to ensure that responses are scored correctly and that it’s impossible for students to cheat.
  • LLVM 4.0 Planned For Release At End Of February, Will Move To New Versioning Scheme
    Hans Wennborg has laid out plans to release the LLVM 4.0 (and Clang 4.0, along with other LLVM sub-projects) toward the end of February. The proposal by continuing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg puts the 4.0 branching followed by RC1 at 12 January, RC2 at 1 February, and the official release around 21 February.

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