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Reviews

elementary OS 0.4: Review and interview with the founder

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OS
Interviews
Reviews

Last month the elementary team released elementary OS “Loki” 0.4.

Needless to say, I wasted no time downloading and installing that bad boy on one of my machines. Even though I tend to use openSUSE on most of my desktops and laptops, I’ve had a soft spot for elementary since its very first release. It’s always been a high-quality, polished system—and the team behind it clearly care a great deal about the user experience.

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Ubuntu 16.10 'Yakkety Yak' Released, Let's See What's New In Ubuntu 16.10

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Linux
Reviews
HowTos

And finally after 6 months of development, Ubuntu 16.10 'Yakkety Yak' has been released today. There is definately something new, improved and fixed in this release. Let's see what new has been introduced in Ubuntu 16.10.

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Nubia Z11 review

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Android
Reviews

The Nubia Z11 may not have the most eye catching or original design, but it’s still a good looking phone that features a solid build quality. The device basically features a rectangular slab design, with a full metal unibody construction that puts its build quality at par with a lot of current generation flagships.

The rounded corners and slight tapers around the back and sides make it more comfortable to hold, but because the metal body doesn’t have any sharp or flat edges to help with the grip, the phone can be a little slippery and difficult to hold onto at times.

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Ubuntu 16.04, re-tested six months later

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Six months in between releases is just too short of a period for meaningful, well-tested releases. As soon as issues are polished in one edition with a cumulative fix edition, there's a new version of Ubuntu and the headless chicken race starts again. We will soon have 16.10, and it will most likely suck, because there will be a million little problems that could not have been fully checked in time, but schedule be schedule, release we must. Woe any delays!

Ubuntu 16.04.1 Xenial Xerus is a better release than the GA flop, but it is still not good enough to recommend. The networking stack sucks more than what Trusty does, and overall, it is slower, less responsive, less mature, less complete. It is also not as good as Fedora, and there are some big regressions slash sad neglect in the software stack that tells me the whole idea of the Linux desktop is slowly dying. People did not like the Amazon store and the payware options in USC, but it was a first sane step to offering a mature version of Ubuntu to serious people. Alas, zealots shot it down, because they value pride over progress. And now what is left is a semi-functional distro that is a pale shadow of its former self.

So yes, it works better than before. 6/10 or so. Not even remotely close to the glory of the Trusty release, which heaped accolade upon accolade, accomplishment after another. Trusty just did everything. It was and still is awesome. Xerus is just weak. And even the post-fiasco release is still somewhat lame. Not worth upgrading. Xenial is in denial. I shall now patiently wait to see what doom the Yakety Sax is going to bring us. Ought to happen very very soon, and the timing of this article couldn't have been any more perfect. Stay tuned.

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Elementary OS 0.4 'Loki' Review | An Easy To Use Linux Distribution

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Reviews

Elementary OS is one of the most beautiful Linux distros that I have ever tried. It is based on Ubuntu and the version 0.4 of Elementary OS is based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. This review has been written after using the operating system for a complete week.

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Ubuntu tablet, Oct 2016 - We need more!

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Reviews
Ubuntu

My October adventure is one of mixed emotions, again. One step forward, one step back, two to the side, a quick hopscotch through a minefield, and then you land your foot in dung but also find Cinderella's ever-so-smelly shoe amidst all that dross. That's the best way to describe the latest update and what it offers to the user.

Frankly, people would be far more inclined to ignore the stability bugs and the early release problems if they had proper apps to play with. They did it with Android. But when you have nothing meaningful to do, you start picking scabs and your nose, and one thing leads to another. In the desktop mode, there's more to do, yes. But the Store is just crippled at this point. Horrible. It causes serious damage to the Ubuntu Touch reputation. There has to be more there. More! Otherwise, it's just a sad graveyard of enthusiasm and dashed hopes. The touch side needs to shine, hook users in, make them feel that Ubuntu is all about fun and joy but also serious work.
Anyhow, nothing to be too excited about. There's more progress on the phone than the tablet, but that's understandable, the phone has been around for much longer. Still, I do hope Canonical will soon unleash dozens if not hundreds of modern and relevant apps to compensate for its other failings, and give the tablet the needed breathing space until the functional bugs can be ironed out. If not, all that users will have to play with will be issues, boredom and resentment. C'mon. Just do it!

If you'd still like a chance to win a tablet for your own games and entertainment, then take a look at my contest, link in the second paragraph of this article. There's still enough time, and plenty of opportunity. Worst case, just load it with Android. But let's hope we must never do that. Off you go reading, gents and ladies.

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Apricity: Slip Into Something More Comfortable

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Reviews

Apricity OS is a great, two-pronged Linux distro that recently reached a milestone that will ensure its continued success.

Apricity's first public beta, which was GNOME-only, was released more than a year ago. A choice of either the GNOME or Cinnamon desktops later became available in the monthly development snapshot releases.

This rolling release delivery method already provided a pleasant computing experience. Both desktop versions performed well. Each monthly build brought more functionality. I have not experienced any stability issues with the continuing stream of beta releases.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Kubuntu 16.04

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Reviews
Ubuntu

My experience with Kubuntu has done nothing to convince me that I want to use KDE in the long term. If I did want to use KDE long term then my experience with Manjaro would definitely make me lean in that direction.

This is an LTS release yet there are so many little niggles. New users to Linux will not be enamoured with having to find solutions to simple things like installing software.

The problems are worse than those that I experienced with Ubuntu. At least with Ubuntu I could install a separate application for installing the good stuff like Chrome. With Kubuntu it is command line all the way and searching forums for solutions.

With Linux Mint being so good it is hard for me to recommend Kubuntu 16.04.

I am not the only person to have issues with Kubuntu, read this review by Dedoimedo, he runs into many of the same issues as I did.

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OpenBSD 6.0 - an exercise in precision

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Reviews
BSD

The OpenBSD project is well known for its strong focus on security and for its precise documentation. The OpenBSD operating system generally gives preference to security and properly behaving software over features. OpenBSD is lightweight, sparse and relatively locked down by default. This makes the platform particularly popular among administrators who need a firewall or other minimal and stable platform.

OpenBSD 6.0 introduces many small changes and a handful of important ones. Looking through the release notes we find support for the VAX platform has been dropped. There have been several security updates to the OpenSSH secure shell service. Perhaps one of the more interesting security features in the operating system is strict enforcement of W^X: "W^X is now strictly enforced by default; a program can only violate it if the executable is marked with PT_OPENBSD_WXNEEDED and is located on a file system mounted with the wxallowed mount option. Because there are still too many ports which violate W^X, the installer mounts the /usr/local file system with wxallowed. This allows the base system to be more secure as long as /usr/local is a separate file system. If you use no W^X violating programs, consider manually revoking that option."

I decided to play with the 64-bit x86 build of OpenBSD which is 226MB in size. Booting from this ISO presents us with a text console where we are asked if we would like to install OpenBSD, upgrade an existing copy of the operating system or perform an auto-install. I chose to perform a normal installation.

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Also: OpenBSD and NetBSD machines at Open Source Conference 2016 Nagaoka

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More in Tux Machines

Docker 1.13, Containers, and DevOps

  • Introducing Docker 1.13
    Today we’re releasing Docker 1.13 with lots of new features, improvements and fixes to help Docker users with New Year’s resolutions to build more and better container apps. Docker 1.13 builds on and improves Docker swarm mode introduced in Docker 1.12 and has lots of other fixes. Read on for Docker 1.13 highlights.
  • Docker 1.13 Officially Released, Docker for AWS and Azure Ready for Production
    Docker announced today the general availability of Docker 1.13, the third major update of the open-source application container engine for GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows operating systems. Docker 1.13 has been in development for the past couple of months, during which it received no less than seven RC (Release Candidate) versions that implemented numerous improvements for the new Swarm Mode introduced in Docker 1.12, a few security features, as well as a new Remote API (version 1.25) and Client.
  • Distributed Fabric: A New Architecture for Container-Based Applications
    There’s a palpable sense of excitement in the application development world around container technology. Containers bring a new level of agility and speed to app development, giving developers the ability to break large monolithic apps into small, manageable microservices that can talk to one another, be more easily tested and deployed, and operate more efficiently as a full application. However, containers also demand a new architecture for the application services managing these microservices and apps, particularly in regards to service discovery — locating and consuming the services of those microservices.
  • DevOps trends emerging for 2017 and beyond
    Finally, one of the biggest trends for 2017 will not be just a focus on engaging and implementing some of these DevOps best practices into your enterprise, but a sweeping adoption of the DevOps/agile culture. This is because one of the most important – if not the absolute most key –tenets to a successful DevOps organization is culture. The enterprises that most espouse the shared responsibility, the empowered autonomous teams, the can-do attitudes, and the continuous learning environment in which DevOps thrives will see the biggest benefits.

Kernel Space/Linux

  • Optimizing Linux for Slow Computers
    It’s interesting, to consider what constitutes a power user of an operating system. For most people in the wider world a power user is someone who knows their way around Windows and Microsoft Office a lot, and can help them get their print jobs to come out right. For those of us in our community, and in particular Linux users though it’s a more difficult thing to nail down. If you’re a LibreOffice power user like your Windows counterpart, you’ve only really scratched the surface. Even if you’ve made your Raspberry Pi do all sorts of tricks in Python from the command line, or spent a career shepherding websites onto virtual Linux machines loaded with Apache and MySQL, are you then a power user compared to the person who knows their way around the system at the lower level and has an understanding of the kernel? Probably not. It’s like climbing a mountain with false summits, there are so many layers to power usership. So while some of you readers will be au fait with your OS at its very lowest level, most of us will be somewhere intermediate. We’ll know our way around our OS in terms of the things we do with it, and while those things might be quite advanced we’ll rely on our distribution packager to take care of the vast majority of the hard work.
  • Long-Term Maintenance, or How to (Mis-)Manage Embedded Systems for 10+ Years
    In this presentation, kernel hacker Jan Lübbe will explain why apparently reasonable approaches to long-term maintenance fail and how to establish a sustainable workflow instead.
  • Linux 4.9 Is the Next Long-Term Supported Kernel Branch, Says Greg Kroah-Hartman
    Linux kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman confirmed today, January 19, 2017, in a short message, on his Google+ page, that the Linux 4.9 branch is now marked as "longterm," or as some of you know as LTS (Long-Term Support). The story behind Linux kernel 4.9 becoming the next long-term supported series dates from way before it's launch last month, on December 11, when Linus Torvalds officially announced the new branch. It all started back on August 12, 2016, when Greg Kroah-Hartman dropped a quick Google+ post to say "4.9 == next LTS kernel."
  • Maintainers Don't Scale
    First let’s look at how the kernel community works, and how a change gets merged into Linus Torvalds’ repository. Changes are submitted as patches to mailing list, then get some review and eventually get applied by a maintainer to that maintainer’s git tree. Each maintainer then sends pull request, often directly to Linus. With a few big subsystems (networking, graphics and ARM-SoC are the major ones) there’s a second or third level of sub-maintainers in. 80% of the patches get merged this way, only 20% are committed by a maintainer directly. Most maintainers are just that, a single person, and often responsible for a bunch of different areas in the kernel with corresponding different git branches and repositories. To my knowledge there are only three subsystems that have embraced group maintainership models of different kinds: TIP (x86 and core kernel), ARM-SoC and the graphics subsystem (DRM).

Graphics in Linux

  • RADV Vulkan Driver Has Geometry Shader Support For Testing
    David Airlie has published a set of 31 patches for testing that provide initial support for geometry shaders within the RADV Radeon Vulkan driver. While RadeonSI has long supported geometry shaders, it's been a bigger work item bringing it to this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver within Mesa. The patches are enough for Vulkan geometry shaders to get working on RADV, but Airlie explains that the support isn't gold: "This is a first pass at geometry shader support on radv, all the code should be here in reviewable pieces, it seems to mostly pass CTS tests but triggers some llvm 3.9 bugs around kill, and there might still be a GPU hang in here, but this should still be a good place to start reviewing."
  • libinput 1.6.0
    This release fixes the slow touchpad acceleration on touchpads with less than 1000dpi, a missing call to normalized the deltas was the source of the issue.
  • Libinput 1.6 Released With New Touchpad Acceleration
    Libinput 1.6.0 was announced a short time ago on wayland-devel.
  • Mesa 17 Gets a First Release Candidate, Final Planned for Early February 2017
    Collabora's Emil Velikov announced today, January 19, 2017, the availability of the first of many Release Candidate (RC) development versions of the upcoming and highly anticipated Mesa 17.0.0 3D Graphics Library. Mesa 17 is shaping up to be a huge milestone that should dramatically improve the performance of the bundled open-source graphics drivers for Intel, AMD Radeon, Nvidia graphics cards on a Linux-based operating system. Just the other day it enabled OpenGL 4.5 support for Intel Haswell GPUs, which is already a big achievement.

Android Leftovers

  • Donald Trump has surrendered his Android phone
    Donald Trump has given up his beloved Android phone ahead of today’s inauguration, the Associated Press reports, though it is unclear what type of device he will use in the White House. According to The New York Times, Trump is now using a more secure, encrypted handset that was approved by the Secret Service. He also has a different phone number, the Times reports, citing people close to the president-elect. Trump doesn’t use email, but he does use his Android phone to tweet. He’s also been very accessible throughout the presidential campaign and transition, taking calls from reporters, politicians, and world leaders. Malcolm Turnbull, the prime minister of Australia, called Trump to congratulate him on his electoral victory after getting his cellphone number from professional golfer Greg Norman.
  • Best affordable Android smartphones you can buy [January 2017]
    There are new smartphones hitting the market constantly, but which is the best to pick up when you’re trying to save a buck or two? We’ve seen some great launches this summer and we’re only expecting more over the coming months, but for now, let’s go over the best affordable Android smartphones you can go pick up today…
  • A list of every Samsung phone getting Android 7.0 Nougat this year
  • WatchMaker to support Gear S2 & Gear S3, 1000s of watchfaces incoming
    WatchMaker, a popular Android and Android Wear watchface platform, has some good news for our readers. They are currently in the process of expanding their supported platforms and will be targeting Tizen and its latest wearable smartwatches, the Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S3.