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Reviews

Chalet OS: good idea, bad design

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Linux
Reviews

Let me introduce you to Chalet OS. The web site of this operating system says that their main target audience is fresh Linux converts who come to the Linux world from other operating systems. Isn't it the same audience that Zorin OS is aiming at? I was baffled and intrigued!

The latest version of the Chalet OS distribution has the number 14.04.3, which gives us a proper clue that Chalet OS is actually another offspring in the Ubuntu family. This version was released in August 2015.

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A tip of the hat to Fedora 23

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Red Hat
Reviews

The Fedora distribution is a Red Hat sponsored community project which regularly ships with some of the latest software the open source community has to offer. The most recent release of the distribution, Fedora 23, features GNOME 3.18, LibreOffice 5, version 4.2 of the Linux kernel and the ability to access Google Drive from the GNOME file manager. This release also features packages built with security hardening features like address space layout randomization (ASLR) which makes it more difficult to exploit vulnerabilities in software. In addition, Fedora has almost entirely migrated from Python 2 to Python 3 with all core utilities such as the Anaconda system installer now using Python 3. A full list of changes can be found in the Fedora 23 release notes.

These days, the Fedora distribution is made available in several editions, including Workstation, Server and Cloud. I decided to download the project's Workstation edition which is available as a 1.4GB ISO. The default desktop environment for the Workstation edition is GNOME Shell, but spins of Fedora are available with alternative desktop environments.

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Also: Fedora 23 and unsupported ARM/AArch64 devices

BlackBerry Priv review

Filed under
Android
Reviews

When I was reviewing this phone, I took the Acela train from New York to DC. It's a train filled to the brim with lawyers and lobbyists — and several of them saw the BlackBerry logo atop this beautiful phone and asked me about it. One of them gestured with disdain at his iPhone, practically begging me to give him permission to cast it aside and go back to the BlackBerry. (Obviously the $699 asking price wasn't going to be a problem.)

In truth, I wanted to tell him to do it. But I couldn't. There are enough software bugs and slowdowns that I had to tell him to hold off and see if BlackBerry could finish the job it started here. Take those good ideas and buff off their rough edges, make the software just a little more stable. Because as a first effort at an Android phone, the Priv is remarkable, and I couldn't wait to see what a second push would do for it (assuming, of course, that BlackBerry gets the chance).

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Kali Linux Review

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Linux
Reviews

Good news! There’s new release of the Kali Linux which is a reincarnation of the BackTrack. If you work in forensic analysis, network security, and penetration testing, then it’s very important to keep your tools updated, so you will be protected from the latest known threats, as well as you will get the latest tools at your control.

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Review: 3 Android phones that offer something different

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Android
Reviews

New Android phones appear with regularity, but far too few of them really seem ... new.

Sure, cameras keep getting better and phones keep getting faster. For the most part, though, you'd be hard-pressed to single out many new features that aren't just tweaks for the sake of tweaking. Though manufacturers frequently customize Google's Android software to set their phones apart, those alterations often just make things worse by hiding features or breaking some apps.

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Lenovo Yoga 900 and Fedora Review

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Red Hat
Reviews

A few weeks ago, Lenovo came out with the Yoga 900, which was the successor to last years Yoga 3 pro and it in turn my Yoga 2 pro. The stats and early reviews looked pretty nice, so I ordered one.

I was hoping for a smooth Fedora experience, but sadly I ran into two issues right away after booting from a Fedora Live USB.

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BlackBerry Priv Review: BlackBerry May Win You Back With Android

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Android
Reviews

Today, the Priv has to contend with the iPhone, and Apple’s own continued focus on security and privacy. That’s one of many reasons the Priv isn’t going to put BlackBerry back on top again. Still, it is a really good phone for people who want a keyboard and a more secure Android experience. And can spend $700 to get it.

For the first time in years, BlackBerry has a phone that can win back the hearts and dollars of people it lost years ago—at least enough that I’ll once again spot a BlackBerry owner or two among my friends and colleagues.

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The Android phone that aims to save BlackBerry: review

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Android
Reviews

Priv, which is pronounced "priv" as in privilege, represents the Google-ization of BlackBerry. You can bark out “OK, Google” to activate a voice search. You can take advantage of Google Now for predictive searches Google thinks you’ll be interested in. And in opening up Android to the BlackBerry loyalist — you’re still out there — devotees get access to the complete catalog of apps in the Google Play Store. On other recent BlackBerrys you could get apps from the BlackBerry World (which you cannot get to from this phone) or the Amazon App Store.

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Side by side: openSuSE Leap and Fedora 23

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Red Hat
Reviews
SUSE

If you are a more advanced user, or you are interested in learning more in depth about Linux, then you might be a bit happier with Fedora. But that really is a gross simplification of their overall state, and with a small amount of effort either of these could be made just as suitable for any task as the other one.

So pick one, install it, and give it a try! Or do as I have, and install them both in a dual-boot configuration, and compare them for yourself to see which you like the best.

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GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux

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Linux
Reviews

The GALPon MiniNo distro is akin to a wolf in sheep's clothing. It will rival any of the leading Linux communities for performance.

Widespread acceptance in the educational and consumer markets with non-Spanish-speaking users is at risk. The developers have to improve on the language localization issues.

Critical packages like the system update launchers display in Spanish only. Others software titles have the same problem. Others suffer from bits and pieces of vocabulary crossover.

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More in Tux Machines

PlayOnLinux For Easier Use Of Wine

PlayOnLinux is a free program that helps to install, run, and manage Windows software on Linux. It can also manage virtual C: drives (known as Wine prefixes), and download and install certain Windows libraries for getting some software to run on Wine properly. Creating different drives using different Wine versions is also possible. It is very handy because what runs well in one version may not run as well (if at all) on a newer version. There is PlayOnMac for macOS and PlayOnBSD for FreeBSD. Read
more

Linux Kernel: KPTI, SEV, CBS

  • Experimental KPTI Support For x86 32-bit Linux
    For the Kernel Page Table Isolation (KPTI) support currently within the Linux kernel for addressing the Meltdown CPU vulnerability it's currently limited to 64-bit on the x86 side, but for the unfortunate souls still running x86 32-bit operating systems, SUSE is working on such support.
  • AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization Is Ready To Roll With Linux 4.16
    With the Linux 4.16 kernel cycle that is expected to begin immediately following the Linux 4.15 kernel debut on Sunday, AMD's Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) technology supported by their new EPYC processors will be mainline. Going back to the end of 2016 have been Linux patches for Secure Encrypted Virtualization while with Linux 4.16 it will finally be part of the mainline kernel and supported with KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) virtualization.
  • Deadline scheduler part 2 — details and usage
    Linux’s deadline scheduler is a global early deadline first scheduler for sporadic tasks with constrained deadlines. These terms were defined in the first part of this series. In this installment, the details of the Linux deadline scheduler and how it can be used will be examined. The deadline scheduler prioritizes the tasks according to the task’s job deadline: the earliest absolute deadline first. For a system with M processors, the M earliest deadline jobs will be selected to run on the M processors. The Linux deadline scheduler also implements the constant bandwidth server (CBS) algorithm, which is a resource-reservation protocol. CBS is used to guarantee that each task will receive its full run time during every period. At every activation of a task, the CBS replenishes the task’s run time. As the job runs, it consumes that time; if the task runs out, it will be throttled and descheduled. In this case, the task will be able to run only after the next replenishment at the beginning of the next period. Therefore, CBS is used to both guarantee each task’s CPU time based on its timing requirements and to prevent a misbehaving task from running for more than its run time and causing problems to other jobs.

Graphics: Mesa and AMDGPU

  • Mesa 17.3.3 Released With RADV & ANV Vulkan Driver Fixes
    Mesa 17.3.3 is now available as the latest point release for the Mesa 17.3 stable series. This bi-weekly point release to Mesa presents several RADV Vega/GFX9 fixes, various Intel ANV Vulkan driver fixes, a DRI3 fix, and random fixes to the OpenGL drivers like RadeonSI, Etnaviv, and even Swrast.
  • R600g "Soft" FP64 Shows Signs Of Life, Enabling Older GPUs To Have OpenGL 4 In 2018
    Most pre-GCN AMD graphics cards are still limited to OpenGL 3.3 support at this time due to not supporting FP64. Only the HD 5800/6900 series on R600g currently have real double-precision floating-point support working right now so at present they are on OpenGL 4.3 rather than 3.3, but those other generations may be catching up soon thanks to the "soft" FP64 code.
  • AMDGPU DC Gets More Raven Ridge Improvements, Audio Fixes
    Harry Wentland of AMD has sent out the latest batch of patches for the AMDGPU DC display code stack. Fortunately it lightens up the DRM driver by about six thousand lines thanks to removing some unused code. Besides gutting out a chunk of unused code, the DC code has a few audio fixes (no word yet on supporting newer audio formats with DC), fixes on driver unload, a "bunch" of continued Raven Ridge display updates, and various other code clean-ups.
  • AMDGPU Firmware Blobs Updated For Video Encode/Decode
    There are updated AMDGPU microcode/firmware files now available for recent Radeon GPUs. The updated firmware files now available via the main linux-firmware.git repository are centered around the video blocks: UVD video decoding, VCE video encode, and the new VCN video encode/decode block with Raven Ridge.

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