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Reviews

The Ultimate Ubuntu MATE Installation Guide

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Ubuntu

In all truth this guide will show you how to install Ubuntu MATE on a computer with a standard BIOS. If you are looking to install on an EFI based system then a future guide will cover that.

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Leftovers: Screenshots

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Reviews

Trisquel 7.0 LTS Belenos

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I was very pleased with Trisquel 7.0 while I was using it. I found it to be incredibly stable and also very fast while I was opening and using applications. I did not experience any crashes or other overt indications of stability problems.

For me Trisquel 7.0 is pretty much what a desktop Linux distribution should be in terms of usability, software selection and stability. I had pretty much everything I needed right after my install was completed. And I had the satisfaction of knowing that I was using free software the entire time I used Trisquel 7.0.

I highly recommend that you check out Trisquel 7.0, even if you’re not a free software aficionado. It’s well worth a download. And once you get a taste of it, it may end up being your preferred desktop distribution.

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Lubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Much improved over the LTS version

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Lubuntu's Trusty Tahr LTS release actually put me off because of the Wifi bug and using nm-applet I found a workaround. My expectation was higher from the LTS release honestly. So, I started evaluating the Lubuntu's latest release, 14.10, with almost zero expectation and I was pleasantly surprised. The release note states that this release is kind of calm before the storm.

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Android 5.0 Lollipop, thoroughly reviewed

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Android
Reviews

Android updates don't matter anymore—or at least that's what many people think. Back-to-back-to-back Jelly Bean releases and a KitKat release seemed to only polish what already existed. When Google took the wraps off of "Android L" at Google I/O, though, it was clear that this release was different.

FURTHER READING

THE HISTORY OF ANDROID
Follow the endless iterations from Android 0.5 to Android 4.4.
Android 5.0 Lollipop is at least the biggest update since Android 4.0, and it's probably the biggest Android release ever. The update brings a complete visual overhaul of every app, with a beautiful new design language called "Material Design." Animations are everywhere, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a single pixel from 4.4 that was carried over into 5.0—Google even revamped the fonts.
5.0 also brings a ton of new features. Notifications are finally on the lock screen, the functionality of Recent Apps has been revamped to make multitasking a lot easier, and the voice recognition works everywhere—even when the screen is off. The under-the-hood renovations are just as extensive, including a completely new camera API with support for RAW images, a system-wide focus on battery life, and a new runtime—ART—that replaces the aging Dalvik virtual machine.

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Pisi Linux 1.1 review

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Pisi is a desktop Linux distribution forked from the old Pardus, a distribution that was developed by the Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), an arm of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

The old Pardus was an original distribution. Original, because it, unlike most distributions, was not based on another distribution. Examples of original distributions are Debian, Red Hat, Gentoo and Arch Linux.

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Introducing OpenMandriva 2014.1

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MDV
Reviews

This version of OpenMandriva was presented mostly as a bug-fix and polish release and that shows. The operating system is stable and the interface looks friendly. For the most part, the distribution worked very well for me. OpenMandriva has a sense of polish and friendliness about it which is hard to qualify, but is certainly there. The system installer, the Control Centre and the pretty (yet traditional) desktop environment all appear to be designed to be as newcomer friendly as possible. I was especially impressed by the systemd front end. Recent experiments with Arch, openSUSE and Debian have left a bad taste in my mouth has far as systemd is concerned and OpenMandriva did a beautiful job of smoothing over the details of systemd while presenting a functional front end. During my trial I ran into two minor glitches, both with package management, but nothing that really caused me any concern.

In recent years I think it has been too easy to think of the Mandriva-based projects as "also ran" distributions. The financial troubles Mandriva faced and the user friendly efforts of projects like Ubuntu and Mint have conspired to push Mandriva out of the spotlight. OpenMandriva 2014.1 is one of the best efforts I have seen to date to take back the "beginner friendly" crown. This distribution was easy to set up, easy to use, has a great control centre and should appeal to both novice users and power users alike. I was happy and a bit impressed with OpenMandriva 2014.1 and I recommend giving it a try.

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Xubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Review: Looks great but slightly disappointed with performance

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I think frankly the developers could have done better for Xubuntu 14.10. The previous LTS version was a better release from performance and stability aspects. Further, a support of 9 months do not do any good as well. I am a bit disappointed and this is the first XFCE spin that I won't recommend. It gets a score of 8.2/10 from my side, which is actually much below average. If you are already using the launchpad ppa's then except the 3.16.0 Linux kernel, you would have got all the latest stable packages in your Trusty Tahr installation already. So, I don't see any motivation to actually use this Xubuntu release.

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Kubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn - That's better

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KDE
Reviews
Ubuntu

Kubuntu has one definite advantage. It's predictable. Predictable in the sense that it will never give you a fully satisfying experience out of the box, and it will do its best to be controversial, bi-polar and restrained by default. You get a very good and modern system, but then it's almost purposefully crippled by boredom, a conservative choice of programs and missing functionality. Why, oh why. It could be such a shiny star.

Utopic Unicorn is a pretty solid release, but it does suffer from some alarming issues. The graphics stack, first and foremost. Desktop effects are also missing, and Samba printing is simply disappointing. The rest worked fine, the system was robust, there's good evidence of polish and improvements, but then it lacks pride and color. I would say 8/10, but that's not enough to win people's hearts. We've all been there, every six months, so something new is needed. Maybe Plasma 5? Aha! Stay tuned.

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Red Hat and Fedora

Android Leftovers

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing

  • Apache Graduates Another Big Data Project to Top Level
    For the past year, we've taken note of the many 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. Only days ago, 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 now, 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.
  • Spark 2.0 takes an all-in-one approach to big data
    Apache Spark, the in-memory processing system that's fast become a centerpiece of modern big data frameworks, has officially released its long-awaited version 2.0. Aside from some major usability and performance improvements, Spark 2.0's mission is to become a total solution for streaming and real-time data. This comes as a number of other projects -- including others from the Apache Foundation -- provide their own ways to boost real-time and in-memory processing.
  • Why Uber Engineering Switched from Postgres to MySQL
    The early architecture of Uber consisted of a monolithic backend application written in Python that used Postgres for data persistence. Since that time, the architecture of Uber has changed significantly, to a model of microservices and new data platforms. Specifically, in many of the cases where we previously used Postgres, we now use Schemaless, a novel database sharding layer built on top of MySQL. In this article, we’ll explore some of the drawbacks we found with Postgres and explain the decision to build Schemaless and other backend services on top of MySQL.
  • GNU Hyperbole 6.0.1 for Emacs 24.4 to 25 is released
    GNU Hyperbole (pronounced Ga-new Hi-per-bo-lee), or just Hyperbole, is an amazing programmable hypertextual information management system implemented as a GNU Emacs package. This is the first public release in 2016. Hyperbole has been greatly expanded and modernized for use with the latest Emacs 25 releases; it supports GNU Emacs 24.4 or above. It contains an extensive set of improvements that can greatly boost your day-to-day productivity with Emacs and your ability to manage information stored across many different machines on the internet. People who get used to Hyperbole find it helps them so much that they prefer never to use Emacs without it.
  • Belgium mulls reuse of banking mobile eID app
    The Belgium government wants to reuse ‘Belgian Mobile ID’ a smartphone app for electronic identification, developed by banks and telecom providers in the country. The eID app could be used for eGovernment services, and the federal IT service agency, Fedict, is working on the app’s integration.
  • Water resilience that flows: Open source technologies keep an eye on the water flow
    Communities around the world are familiar with the devastation brought on by floods and droughts. Scientists are concerned that, in light of global climate change, these events will only become more frequent and intense. Water variability, at its worst, can threaten the lives and well-beings of countless people. Sadly, humans cannot control the weather to protect themselves. But according to Silja Hund, a researcher at the University of British Columbia, communities can build resilience to water resource stress. Hund studies the occurrence and behavior of water. In particular, she studies rivers and streams. These have features (like water volume) that can change quickly. According to Hund, it is essential for communities to understand local water systems. Knowledge of water resources is helpful in developing effective water strategies. And one of the best ways to understand dynamic water bodies like rivers is to collect lots of data.

Development News

  • JavaScript keeps its spot atop programming language rankings
    U.K.-based technology analyst firm RedMonk just released the latest version of its biannual rankings of programming languages, and once again JavaScript tops the list, followed by Java and PHP. Those are same three languages that topped RedMonk’s list in January. In fact, the entire top 10 remains the same as it was it was six months ago. Perhaps the biggest surprise in Redmonk’s list—compiling the “performance of programming languages relative to one another on GitHub and Stack Overflow”—is that there are so few surprises, at least in the top 10.
  • Plenty of fish in the C, IEEE finds in language popularity contest
    It's no surprise that C and Java share the top two spots in the IEEE Spectrum's latest Interactive Top Programming Languages survey, but R at number five? That's a surprise. This month's raking from TIOBE put Java at number one and C at number two, while the IEEE reverses those two, and the IEEE doesn't rank assembly as a top-ten language like TIOBE does. It's worth noting however that the IEEE's sources are extremely diverse: the index comprises search results from Google, Twitter, GitHub, StackOverflow, Reddit, Hacker News, CareerBuilder, Dice, and the institute's own eXplore Digital Library. Even then, there are some oddities in the 48 programming environments assessed: several commenters to the index have already remarked that “Arduino” shouldn't be considered a language, because code for the teeny breadboard is written in C or C++.