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Reviews

Zorin OS 9 review - Looking good

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Well, here we are. Zorin OS 9 is a nice distribution. It's visually pleasing, it comes with lots of goodies out of the box, and it is newb friendly. Perhaps some people dislike its image, or the fact it's trying a little too hard, or that you can choose between free and premium option, like Mandriva used to do, and this has never sat well with the community.

But if we ignore the gimmicks and marketing, as a product, Zorin OS is a balanced, aesthetic distribution that caters to a wide range of users. Old bugs have been fixed, there are no new outstanding problems, and you have the needed functionality and software to enjoy yourself from the start. I'd try to downplay the focus on mobile a bit further, but overall, it's looking good. I like this one. 9.41/10. Not bad at all.

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Leftovers: Screenshots

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elementary OS 0.3 Freya beta review

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This happens to be one of them distros what mystifies me, good and bad. On one hand, it seems to be very popular, if you look at the Distrowatch rank listing, or consult my best distro of the year vote readers' choice section, where a rather handsome portion of the audience chose elementary as their favorite spin. It's only officially at version 0.2, the last stable release was unleashed unto the nerdy crowds some 16 months back, and the latest beta is still only at version 0.3, and taking its time.

Neither the first nor the second dot oh something release managed to impress me. The desktop environment was pretty and cool, but the overall composition was quite buggy. And this brings me to the other hand of the argument. I kind of want to review it again, despite all of the above. Testing 0.3 Freya, beta. Here we go.

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Hands-on with Makulu Linux Xfce 7.0: The most beautiful Linux distro I have ever seen

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The latest release of Makulu Linux has two major things going for it: first, it is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, rather than Debian, and second, it uses the Xfce desktop. Makulu seems to be doing a tour or rotation of desktops so perhaps having Xfce shouldn't be a surprise, anyway.

The Release Announcement / Release Notes give some interesting insight into the background and development of this release, as well as the major features of this release. As always with Makulu Linux, aesthetics was a major focus, and it includes loads of beautiful wallpapers, themes, icons and fonts. The other major focus was speed, thus the choice of Xfce for the desktop, and Firefox rather than Chrome, the synapse launcher rather than slingscold, and the inclusion or omission of various other packages.

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An Everyday Linux User Review Of Xubuntu 14.10

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Ubuntu

It has been just over a year since I last reviewed Xubuntu, so this review is well overdue.

Xubuntu has been one of my favourite distributions for a long time and for a number of very good reasons.

Xubuntu comes with the XFCE desktop environment which means that it is lightweight and highly customisable.

What I also like about Xubuntu over some of the other XFCE based distributions is that it doesn't overload you with applications. You get just enough to cover the bases but it is then up to you to install what is important for your needs.

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uGet Review – Probably the Best Download Manager on Linux

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GNU
Linux
Software
Reviews

Download managers are not something new for Linux users, but it's true that apps with nice GUIs and lots of options are. uGet is definitely one of the most interesting download managers for the Linux platform and we'll now take a closer look at it.

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[Video] Hands-On Review of the Samsung Gear S wrist strap – Cobalt Blue

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Hardware
Reviews

In all respects this is the Samsung quality as the original Gear S strap you are currently using, so you know this product well, but it is currently selling for £40 in the UK, which is about $62USD. This is a good product, but it’s at a premium price and you have to ask yourself, Do I really need it?

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Purism Librem 15

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

While the Librem 15 doesn't necessarily match my personal tastes for laptop hardware due to the overall size and the mouse in particular, the mission of the company definitely does. Up until this point there were few options for laptops that ran purely Free Software, much less any that had modern hardware and a modern look and feel. I believe Purism genuinely wants to create a quality laptop that will appeal both to the Free Software community as well as privacy advocates and the Librem 15 is a nice start. In this era of pervasive surveillance, rootkits bundled with corporate software, threats of hardware backdoors by nation states, and the overall increasing sophistication of attacks, I think Purism is on to something here. As more people value transparency as a means toward security, a computer that can provide the source code for every driver, application, and firmware it uses becomes more valuable.

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More in Tux Machines

Leftovers: Ubuntu

  • Budgie-Remix Makes Progress With Ubuntu 16.10 Base, Beta 2 Released
    Budgie-Remix, the unofficial Ubuntu spin making use of the Budgie Desktop, has released its 16.10 Beta 2 milestone following this week's Yakkety Yak Beta 2 release. Budgie-Remix is re-based to the latest Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety package changes. In addition, a number of the Budgie-0Remix packages have been working their way into Debian proper and thus are available to Ubuntu 16.10 users via the official channels. Now available this way is the budgie-desktop package, Moka icon theme, Faba icon theme, and the Arc theme. The Ubuntu repository has also pulled in the Budgie artwork and wallpaper packages too.
  • Yakkety Yak Final Beta Released
  • Canonical Launches Commercial Support for Kubernetes
    Canonical, the lead commercial vendor behind the open-source Ubuntu Linux operating system, is getting into the Kubernetes market. Canonical now offers a freely available implementation of Kubernetes as well as commercial-support options. "I have no doubt that Kubernetes will be one of the major container co-ordination systems," Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu, told ServerWatch.
  • [How To] Build an Ubuntu Controlled Sous-Vide Cooker
    I’ll be honest with you from the off: I had zero idea what sous-vide cooking was before I started writing this post. Wikipedia dutifully informs me that’s Sous-Vide is a style of cooking that involves a vacuum, bags, and steam.
  • Mintbox Mini Pro Linux Mini PC Launches For $395
    This week a new version of the popular Mintbox Mini Linux PC has been launched for $395 in the form of the Mintbox Mini Pro which is now equipped with 120 GB of SSD mSATA together with 64-bit AMD A10-Micro6700T system-on-a-chip with Radeon R6 graphics and features 8GB of DDR3L. The latest Mintbox Mini Pro is shipped preloaded with the awesome Linux Mint 18 operating system and includes a microSD card slot a serial port, and a micro SIM card reader. The new Mintbox Mini Pro is the same size as the original and measures 4.3 x 3.3 x 0.9 inches in size and weighs in at around 255g. The Linux mini PC incorporates a fanless design and features an all-metal case made of aluminium and zinc.

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Minijail: Running Untrusted Programs Safely by Jorge Lucangeli Obes, Google
  • Minijail: Google’s Tool To Safely Run Untrusted Programs
    Google’s Minijail sandboxing tool could be used by developers and sysadmins to run untrusted programs safely for debugging and security checks, according to Google Software Engineer Jorge Lucangeli Obes, who spoke last month at the Linux Security Summit. Obes is the platform security lead for Brillo, Google's Android-based operating system for Internet-connected devices. Minijail was designed for sandboxing on Chrome OS and Android, to handle “anything that the Linux kernels grew.” Obes shared that Google teams use it on the server side, for build farms, for fuzzing, and pretty much everywhere. Since “essentially one bug separates you and any random attacker,” Google wanted to create a reliable means to swiftly identify problems with privileges and exploits in app development and easily enable developers to “do the right thing.” The tool is designed to assist admins who struggle with deciding what permissions their software actually needs, and developers who are vexed with trying to second guess which environment the software is going to run in. In both cases, sandboxing and privilege dropping tends to be a hit or miss affair. Even when developers use the privilege dropping mechanisms provided by the Linux kernel, sometimes things go awry due to numerous pitfalls along that path. One common example Obes cited was trying to ride a switch user function that will drop-root and then forgetting to check the result of the situation relief, or setuid function, afterwards.
  • Intel and Cloudera Give Apache an Open Source Data/Security Tool
    For the past year, we've taken note of the many Big Data projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to Big Data and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves Big Data projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support. Recently, the foundation announced that Apache Kudu has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). Kudu is an open source columnar storage engine built for the Apache Hadoop ecosystem designed to enable flexible, high-performance analytic pipelines. And, Apache Twill has graduated as well. Twill is an abstraction over Apache Hadoop YARN that reduces the complexity of developing distributed Hadoop applications, allowing developers to focus more on their application logic. In another Apache-related Big Data move, Cloudera and Intel have announced that they've contributed a new open-source project to the Apache Software Foundation targeted at using Big Data analytics and machine learning for cybersecurity.
  • Twitter Open Sources Stream Processing Engine Heron
    Twitter announced the open sourcing of Heron, a stream-processing engine that is a successor to Apache Storm. Heron is backwards compatible with Apache Storm, which eases its adoption amongst developers. Heron has replaced Apache Storm as the stream data processing engine inside Twitter due to its scalability, debug-ability, ability to work in a shared cluster infrastructure and better performance. A comprehensive list of features is listed in the documentation.
  • Tencent: Transforming Networks with SDN
    “SDN can really transform the way we do networks,” said Tom Bie, VP of Technology & Operation of Data Center, Networking and Server, Tencent, during his Wednesday keynote address at the Open Daylight Summit. The China telecom giant should know about the issues of massive scale networks: they have more than 200 million users for QQ instant messaging, 300 million users of their payment service, and more than 800 million users of their VChat service. Bie noted that Tencent also operates one of the largest gaming networks in the world, along with video services, audio services, online literature services, news portals, and a range other digital content services.
  • The Second Wave of Platforms, an Interview with Cloud Foundry’s Sam Ramji
    In today’s world of platforms, services are increasingly connected. In the past, PaaS offerings were pretty much isolated. It’s that new connected infrastructure that is driving the growth of Cloud Foundry, the open source, service-oriented platform technology. Sam Ramji is CEO of Cloud Foundry, which is holding its European event in Frankfurt this week. At the conference, we spoke with Ramji to discuss, among other topics:
  • How to Find Your First OpenStack Job
  • LibreOffice 5.2.2 Now Available to Download
  • EC approves Slovenia courts data exchange solution
    First CEF AS4-compliant b2b solution developed as open source by a public administration The European Commission has tested and approved Laurentius, an eDelivery court documents and case exchange solution compliant with the AS4 profile of the OASIS ebMS standard. In September, Laurentius passed all tests by the EC’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) for its so-called “e-SENS AS4 conformant solutions”.
  • SDL 2.0.5 Is Readying For Release: Relative Mouse Mode For Wayland/Mir, Audio Capture
    SDL 2.0 point releases have ranged from being a few months apart to as much as two years apart. Fortunately, SDL 2.0.5 is now being put together for release just nine months after SDL 2.0.4. With the Mercurial repository, Sam Lantinga bumped the version in preparation for the SDL 2.0.5 release. The SDL 2.0.5 release hasn't officially happened yet, but it should be here soon.
  • Open standards default at Slovenia supreme court
    The use of open ICT standards is an IT requirement at Slovenia’s Supreme Court, responsible for the IT support of the entire court system in the country. The Supreme Court’s IT department has a strong preference for the development of modular, reusable software solutions. This strategy provides agility and flexibility, says Bojan Muršec, director of IT. The focus on open standards frees up the IT department to concentrate on the business, Muršec says. The IT department takes the modular approach serious: the first reusable module ever developed by the court - a court documents dispatch and delivery system - is re-used by all IT systems across the courts. “Making everything reusable prevents creation of silos in the organisation”, the IT director says. A positive side effect of the IT strategy is that the court uses mostly open source software solutions. This in turn helps to keep IT costs down, says the IT director, who estimates that the court saves EUR 400 to 500 thousand per year on licence fees: “The cost of proprietary licences always goes up.”
  • Why there is no CSS4 - explaining CSS Levels
    We had CSS1, and CSS2. We even had CSS2.1 and we then moved onto CSS3 – or did we? This post is a quick explanation of how CSS is versioned today. CSS versions 1 and 2 were monolithic specifications. All of CSS was included in one massive document. Selectors, positioning, colour – it was all in there. The problem with monolithic specifications is that in order to finish the spec, every component part also has to be finished. As CSS has grown in complexity, and new features are added, it doesn’t make sense to draw a line at which all work is stopped on all parts of CSS in order to declare that CSS version finished. Therefore, after CSS2.1 all the things that had been part of the 2.1 specification were broken down into modules. As the new CSS modules included all that had gone before plus any new features, they all came into being at Level 3. Hence CSS3, and people like me who understood CSS as a single specification referred to the group of Level 3 modules as “CSS3”.

Security Leftovers

  • Linux.Mirai Trojan causing mayhem with DDoS attacks
    A Trojan named Linux.Mirai has been found to be carrying out DDoS attacks. The malicious program first appeared in May 2016, detected by Doctor Web after being added to its virus database under the name Linux.DDoS.87. The Trojan can work with with the SPARC, ARM, MIPS, SH-4, M68K architectures and Intel x86 computers.
  • Don't Hide DRM in a Security Update
    Over 10,000 of you have joined EFF in calling on HP to make amends for its self-destructing printers in the past few days. Looks like we got the company’s attention: today, HP posted a response on its blog. Apparently recognizing that its customers are more likely to see an update that limits interoperability as a bug than as a feature, HP says that it will issue an optional firmware update rolling back the changes that it had made. We’re very glad to see HP making this step. But a number of questions remain. First, we’d like to know what HP’s plans are for informing users about the optional firmware update. Right now, the vast majority of people who use the affected printers likely do not know why their printers lost functionality, nor do they know that it’s possible to restore it. All of those customers should be able to use their printers free of artificial restrictions, not just the relatively few who have been closely following this story.
  • 6 Ways Driverless Cars Are Going To Kill Lots Of People
    You've probably read a few articles about driverless cars over the past couple of years. The technology is coming along quickly, with fleets of test cars already on the roads in some states. It seems like soon we'll achieve the American dream of stuffing our faces and texting all we want while still managing to avoid public transportation. But the reality is quite different. We're diving into this technology a little too quickly and ignoring all the warning signs about how we are going to screw up on the way to Driverless Car Utopia.

Red Hat and Fedora

  • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) Downgraded by Zacks Investment Research to “Hold”
  • Earnings Estimate Report: Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC) , Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
  • Switched to HTTPS
    Perhaps you already noticed it, I have switched all the sites for a secured browsing using HTTPS. So, new addresses are: https://blog.remirepo.net/ for this Blog (with an automatic and permanent redirection) https://forum.remirepo.net/ for the Forum (with an automatic and permanent redirection) https://rpms.remirepo.net/ for the Repository, but classical address stay available.
  • Fedora Hubs: Getting started
    Fedora Hubs provides a consistent contributor experience across all Fedora teams and will serve as an “intranet” page for the Fedora Project. There are many different projects in Fedora with different processes and workflows. Hubs will serve as a single place for contributors to learn about and contribute to them in a standardized format. Hubs will also be a social network for Fedora contributors. It is designed as one place to go to keep up with everything and everybody across the project in ways that aren’t currently possible.