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Reviews

LinuxAndUbuntu Distro Review Of The Week - NeptuneOS

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OS
Reviews

We want a nice looking distro, don’t we? We want a distro that does the best work when it comes to stability. Don’t we? Here we come across NeptuneOS, a Linux distro based on Debian with KDE desktop environment. As we all know when it comes to stability, there are a lot of fewer distros that can match Debian. Also being based on Debian, the number of compatible software increase a lot.

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Linux Mint 18.2 "Red" Sonya - Distro the Destroyer

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Linux
Reviews

Let us a-go distro-testing! Today, we focus on Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya, freshly released with a nice sprinkling of Cinnamon on the proverbial distro pudding. For years, this was one of the best performing distributions, offering a complete experience to the Linux user. Lately though, the experience has been slightly less amazing. Serena was just ok.

But then, this spring testing season - slowly moving into the summer, cue Vivaldi music - has been pretty good overall. The Ubuntu flock seems to be behaving reasonably, with the Flagship Ubuntu and in particular the KDE-flavored Kubuntu offering a splendid revival of hope and quality. Armed with this foreknowledge, we commence.

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Fedora 26

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Red Hat
Reviews

Fedora 26 is a great release of one of the major Linux distributions. Yes, the differences between Fedora 26's and Fedora 25's Workstation variants are minimal, but the few changes that are there are solid reasons to upgrade. For users interested in different desktop environments, Fedora's various spins provide a solid Fedora core experience with different desktop environments on top. The LXQt spin in particular is an interesting new addition to the Fedora family and is worth checking out. Though, the real star of this release is the Python Classroom Lab, which is a wonderful way to provide a Python programming environment for classrooms. Even when running off live media, it is very functional, making it a great way to temporarily turn a few general purpose computers into a lab for teaching programming without a lot of work.

If the worst thing I can say is that Fedora 26 is boring, I think the developers have done a great job. I really look forward to the next few releases of Fedora, which should be much more interesting, assuming planned developments actually make it into the releases.

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Nokia 3 review

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Android
Reviews

The Nokia 3 is the lowest-end of Nokia's new line of Android phones. It's on sale in the UK for £120, but you will have to make sacrifices for that price. That converts to $156 or AU$200, although Nokia has no plans to bring the phone to the US.

The biggest problems are in the processor performance. The quad-core chip struggles to run even the stock version of Android Nougat, making swiping around the interface sluggish and stuttery. There's a noticeable delay when opening apps, too, and some apps -- including the Google Play store -- forced quit on several occasions. I found it regularly frustrating.

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Solus 2017.04.18.0 review - Second time lucky?

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Reviews

Solus 2017 looks like a nice distro, with some obvious visual caveats and tiny functional quirks. It's reasonable enough than I'm determined to test it on non-UEFI hardware, where I'll hopefully have more luck. But on a UEFI platform, it seems hopeless. I don't know there should be a problem when so many other distros do just fine without any issues. Solus seems to be a special snowflake, and it does not cooperate well with a modern and complex system.

All in all, I cannot recommend the distro, because the outcome may still be harmful. If a distro cannot install properly, the results can be unpredictable. My testing shows some very favorable things, and Budgie looks quite all right now, but as a package, Solus just doesn't handle UEFI well. I'll report back after a third, and hopefully lucky test, but you are warned to carefully proceed until the hardware side has been polished. Double sigh. Maybe another another time.

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Also: A Short Review of Linux Mint 18.2 "Sonya" Cinnamon LTS

Debian 9 Stretch - Not by a long stretch

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Reviews
Debian

Debian 9 Stretch is a horrible disappointment. It's a completely unusable product in my scenario, and I see no real reason why I should bother using it. Ubuntu and friends offer a superior experience. Perhaps Debian serves a purposes somewhere, but I fail to see it. What really irks me is that in six or so years since I've last tried it, it's as if nothing at all has changed. Exactly the same kind of issues, only different hardware and kernel modules.

Perhaps without Debian we wouldn't have Ubuntu and such. For that matter, we also wouldn't have pyramids without slaves. But that does not mean we should be grateful for slavery in giving us big stony architecture. Similarly, Debian may be a baseline for many other distributions. But on its own, without a thick layer of customization and changes, it fails horribly on the desktop. This test makes me sad and angry. Because I know an end when I see one. It's still a few years away, but it will inevitably come. Anyway, completely not recommended. My last venture into Debian this way. We're done.

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Review: Linux Mint 18.2 "Sonya" MATE

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Linux
Reviews

The quest for a replacement Linux distribution for Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" Xfce continues. With this post comes a review of the latest MATE edition of Linux Mint. Especially for regular readers of this blog, Linux Mint needs no introduction. I will just say that with the latest point release, it seems like the developers have put more polish into the distribution, including their new set of "X-apps" meant to work across MATE, Cinnamon, Xfce, and GNOME, avoiding the pitfalls of more DE-specific applications. I want to see what has changed since my last review and to see whether this would be suitable for installation and daily use on my laptop. To that end, I made a live USB system (again, on my new SanDisk Cruzer USB flash drive) using the "dd" command. Follow the jump to see what it's like. Note that I'll frequently reference that previous review, noting only changes and overall important points as needed.

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Moto Z2 Play review - Android Authority

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Android
Reviews

Lenovo and Motorola brought their modular functionality concept to the mid-range with the Moto Z Play last year. This device was one of our favorite value smartphones of 2016, and now its successor, the Moto Z2 Play, features some key improvements and even more Moto Mod accessories.

However, Motorola seems to have made a few compromises this time around. The Z2 Play has a much smaller battery than before, and also went up in price. Will this be another home run like the original Z Play, or did the company make too many compromises? Find out, in our full Moto Z2 Play review!

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Review: Debian 9 "Stretch" MATE

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Reviews
Debian

It has been about 2 months since the support cycle for Linux Mint 13 LTS "Maya" ended. Since then, I haven't been able to update Mozilla Firefox or Adobe Flash, and concurrently, I haven't been able to use the latest versions of Google Hangouts or Skype, the former of which I already cannot use to the fullest extent, and the latter of which I am still somehow able to use but am counting the days when that will end too. Given that, it is urgent that I upgrade the Linux distribution that I use soon, so today, I am trying Debian.

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All about Debian 9 'Stretch,' the Linux distro that just works

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Reviews
Debian

Debian 9 "Stretch" just came out, and as far as Linux distros go, Debian stands apart as a distribution meant for stability. Sure, most desktop users might choose Ubuntu or Fedora for their desktop PC, while users who are more willing to get their hands dirty might opt for Arch or Gentoo. Hackers might gravitate to Kali, while the paranoid among us might look for something like TAILS.

There's a lot to take in with a Debian release, but there are a few key notes for the average desktop user.

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More in Tux Machines

OSS Leftovers

  • Canada’s Spy Agency Releases its Cyber-Defense Tool for Public
  • Canadian govt spooks open source anti-malware analytics tool
    The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said the AssemblyLine tool is designed to analyse large volumes of files, and can automatically rebalance workloads.
  • Microservices served on blockchain, in open source
    Cloud application marketplace company Wireline is working with open source blockchain project developer Qtum The new union is intended to provide a conduit to consuming microservices at [web] scale using blockchain at the core. As we know, microservices offer the ability to create Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) without having to manage the underlying hardware and software infrastructure. [...] The Qtum a blockchain application platform combines the functions of Bitcoin Core, an account abstraction layer allowing for multiple virtual machines and a proof-of-stake consensus protocol aimed at tackling industry-use cases. The Qtum Foundation, headquartered in Singapore, is the decision-making body that drives the project’s development.
  • Rendering HTML5 video in Servo with GStreamer
    At the Web Engines Hackfest in A Coruña at the beginning of October 2017, I was working on adding some proof-of-concept code to Servo to render HTML5 videos with GStreamer. For the impatient, the results can be seen in this video here
  • Working Intel CET Bits Now Land In GCC8
    A few days back I wrote about Intel's work on Control-flow Enforcement Technology beginning to land in GCC. This "CET" work for future Intel CPUs has now landed in full for GCC 8. The bits wiring up this control-flow instrumentation and enforcement support are now all present in mainline GCC SVN/Git for next year's GCC 8.1 release.
  • Using Gitea and/or Github to host blog comments
    After having moved from FSFE’s wordpress instance I thought long about whether I still want to have comments on the new blog. And how I would be able to do it with a statically generated site. I think I have found/created a pretty good solution that I document below.

Security Leftovers

  • Where Did That Software Come From?
    The article explores how cryptography, especially hashing and code signing, can be use to establish the source and integrity. It examines how source code control systems and automated build systems are a key part of the software provenance story. (Provenance means “a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.” It is increasingly being applied to software.)
  • Judge: MalwareTech is no longer under curfew, GPS monitoring [Updated]
    A judge in Milwaukee has modified the pre-trial release conditions of Marcus Hutchins, also known online as "MalwareTech," who was indicted two months ago on federal criminal charges. Under US Magistrate Judge William Duffin’s Thursday order, Hutchins, who is currently living in Los Angeles, will no longer be subject to a curfew or to GPS monitoring.
  • [Older] Leicester teen tries to hack CIA and FBI chiefs' computers
    A teenager attempted to hack senior US government officials' computers from his home. Kane Gamble, 18, from Coalville, Leicestershire, pleaded guilty to 10 charges relating to computer hacking. His targets included the then CIA director John Brennan and former FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano.

Debian: pk4, Freexian and More

Kernel and Graphics: ZenStates, AMDGPU, RADV, Vulkan, NVIDIA

  • ZenStates Allows Adjusting Zen P-States, Other Tweaking Under Linux
    ZenStates is an independent effort to offer P-States-based overclocking from the Linux desktop of AMD Ryzen processors and other tuning. ZenStates-Linux is an open-source Python script inspired by some available Windows programs for offering Ryzen/Zen CPU overclocking from the desktop by manipulating the performance states of the processor.
  • AMDGPU DC Gets A Final Batch Of Changes Before Linux 4.15
    The AMDGPU DC display code has a final batch of feature updates that were sent in this weekend for DRM-Next staging and is the last set besides fixes for the "DC" code for the 4.15 target.
  • Valve Developer Lands VK_EXT_global_priority For RADV Vulkan Driver
  • Vulkan 1.0.64 Adds In Another AMD-Developed Extension
    Vulkan 1.0.64 is out this weekend as the newest specification refinement to this high-performance graphics/compute API. As usual, most of the changes for this minor Vulkan revision are just documentation clarifications and corrections. This week's update brings just under a dozen fixes.
  • NVIDIA TX2 / Tegra186 Display Support Isn't Ready For Linux 4.15
    While the Jetson TX2 has been out since this past March and it's a phenomenal ARM development board, sadly the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver support for it still isn't ready with the mainline Linux kernel. Thierry Reding of NVIDIA sent in the Tegra DRM driver changes for DRM-Next that in turn is staged for Linux 4.15. Reding commented that there is prepatory work for the TX2 (Tegra186) but it's not all ready for upstream yet.