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Reviews

Android Wear 5.1 review: simple, useful and the best – for now

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Android
Reviews

Android Wear 5.1 has reduced Google’s emphasis on talking to your wrist, which is a good thing. The new menu system makes it easier to get to apps and settings, and the simple swipe-based interface is intuitive.

The emoji-drawing support is excellent and being able to connect remotely to a smartphone using Wi-Fi is useful for when Bluetooth won’t stretch far enough.

Android Wear’s notification-handling and quick, useful interactions powered by Google Now make it the best smartwatch platform currently available, but only if your life is plugged into Google services such as Gmail, calendar and Play Music.

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Video: MontanaLinux F22 Preview

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Linux
Red Hat
Reviews

Here is a preview video of the upcoming Fedora 22 release (running in a KVM VM). This is my personal remix (with non-Fedora provided rpmfusion-free packages, google-chrome-stable, and flash-plugin added) and I haven't bothered with the branding nor customization at all... and I don't really publicly distribute it.. but I'd be happy to share my kickstart file if anyone wants it.

In the video I show the install process, and then show all of the desktop environments that are pre-installed which include... GNOME 3.16.1, Plasma 5.3.0, LXQT 0.10, MATE 1.10, XFCE 4.12.1, and Cinnamon 2.4.8. Enjoy!

Please Note: The official Fedora live media always automatically logs the liveuser in... but on my personal remix I haven't bothered to set that up so I have to put in "liveuser". Again, the Fedora media is NOT like that.

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Rapid fire reviews: OpenIndiana 2015.03, LXLE 14.04.2, PC-BSD 11-Current

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Reviews

Most of the reviews I write for DistroWatch come about after I have installed and run a distribution for a week. I have worked my way into a routine where I grab a couple of new installation images each week, select one that looks good and/or interesting, run it for a week and then write about the experience. However, I rarely write about the distributions that, for whatever reason, do not make the cut. Each week I end up with a small collection of ISO files that will not be written about for one reason or another. Sometimes a distribution I have downloaded is too similar to one I have written about recently. Other times the rejected software did not install properly. Sometimes I think an operating system has promise, but it is still in beta and not yet ready for release. The end result is, unfortunately, that a lot of the interesting material I download does not get talked about. This week I want to take a break from my usual reviewing style and talk briefly about some operating systems I downloaded this month that I found interesting, but did not get selected for a full trial.

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Nexus Player review: A first step in Android TV

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Android
Reviews

The Nexus Player is Google's set-top box. Built by Asus and announced alongside the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9, the Nexus Player brings Android Lollipop to your TV.

It acts as a bridge, giving Google an avenue to providing content for your TV and leverages a number of familiar technologies and services to do so. For those in the Google ecosystem, it seems like an easy option.

But there's no shortage to challengers in the battle for the big screen. From smart TV platforms (including native Android TV), to cable set-top boxes and other streaming boxes - including the likes of Apple TV - this is a growing market, rich with options.

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LG G4 Review – The hero Android needs

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Android
Reviews

Life’s not so good when you’re stuck in the shadow of a big rival with deep pockets, but if anything can drag LG into the sunlight, it’s the new G4. LG’s flagship Android smartphone for 2015, the G4 takes what we loved about the G3 before it - and made it into the Android-to-have among those in the know - and hits the boost button. Screen, camera, performance, all have been in line for an upgrade. Nonetheless, the rest of the mobile world hasn’t stood still either, so does the G4 have what it takes to push back against Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S6?

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Debian 8, Codenamed ‘Jessie’, Review

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Reviews
Debian

We can’t possibly express how good Debian 8.0 really is. It is simply fantastic.

It has found the exact balance between being a distribution for advanced Linux users and veterans alike. It is also usable enough for beginners to jump right in and learn something new. So many Linux distributions have tried to get this balance right, many have come close. None that we have tested here in the Labs have got it so accurate. Debian 8.0 simply could not be any more accurate and has struck the balance right on the head.

Debian 8.0 is undoubtedly the fastest and more responsive we have ever used. It is fast to install, boots instantly and is responsive like nothing we have experienced in a Linux distribution, to date. It sets a new benchmark for all other Linux distributions.

What is equally impressive, all our testing was performed in a 64bit virtual environment, yet we still experienced such great performance. On metal, Debian 8.0 is sure to shine even more.

Debian 8.0 is pure and perfect.

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System76 Meerkat: The Perfect Mini PC for Multimedia or Desktop

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Linux
Reviews

Every so often I get the pleasure of writing a review where the biggest challenge is finding something, anything, to nitpick in order to ensure I don’t sound like I’ve been bought off by the company. Such is the case with the Meerkat, by System76. A small device that, at first blush, one might think a toy. I can assure you, this 4.5” by 4.5” device performs with the power of a machine three or four times its size.

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Debian Reviews

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Reviews
Debian
  • Fun with Debian 8.0 "Jessie"

    The Debian project has a long and rich legacy. Debian is one of the oldest surviving GNU/Linux distributions and, along the way, it has also become one of the largest (over 1,000 developers work on Debian, providing users with over 40,000 packages) and Debian has even branched out, adding GNU/FreeBSD and GNU/Hurd ports to its list of offerings. Debian is sometimes referred to as the "universal operating system" because it runs on a wide array of architectures, offering not only a production branch (Stable), but also multiple development branches (Testing, Unstable and Experimental). Debian, in short, provides a little something for everyone. This "universal" approach, which allows Debian to work just about anywhere while doing almost anything, also attracts developers who wish to build products using Debian's packages and open infrastructure. Many of the world's more popular Linux distributions, including Linux Mint and Ubuntu, have their roots in Debian.

  • Systemd hee hee: Jessie Debian gallops (slowly) into view

    The Debian Project may not be that slow with new releases, but sometimes it feels like it. The project typically releases a new version "when it's ready," which seems to work out to about once every two years lately.

    Debian 8, branded Jessie, in keeping with the Toy Story naming scheme (Jessie was the cowgirl character in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3) had its feature freeze in November 2014 and there's a been a beta and RC release available for testing. It wasn't until the end of April when Jessie was finally judged range ready.

Ubuntu 15.04 review: Beauty or “boring” is in the eye of the beholder

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Snow melts and trees blossom, but nothing really says spring around the Ars Orbital HQ like the arrival of a new version of Ubuntu Linux. Right on schedule, Canonical has recently released Ubuntu 15.04, also known as Vivid Vervet.

Ubuntu 15.04 arrived in late April and has, judging by other reviews, largely underwhelmed. According to the popular storyline, there's not much new in 15.04. Of course, a slew of changes and unforeseen features in 15.04 could have just as easily earned a negative reaction, probably from the same people calling the actual release boring. The top of the Linux mountain is a lonely, criticism-strewn place.

The truth is, this line of thought is partially correct. There isn't much new in 15.04, at least not in terms of visible changes to the Unity desktop.

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