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Reviews

Chalet OS: good idea, bad design

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Filed under
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

Openwashing: Microsoft, Apple and Symphony Software Foundation

Linux Foundation: Real-Time Linux (RT Linux), LF Deep Learning Foundation, OpenTracing and More

  • Developers: Prepare Your Drivers for Real-Time Linux
    Although Real-Time Linux (RT Linux) has been a staple at Embedded Linux Conferences for years -- here’s a story on the RT presentations in 2007 -- many developers have viewed the technology to be peripheral to their own embedded projects. Yet as RT, enabled via the PREEMPT_RT patch, prepares to be fully integrated into the mainline kernel, a wider circle of developers should pay attention. In particular, Linux device driver authors will need to ensure that their drivers play nice with RT-enabled kernels. At the recent Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, National Instruments software engineer Julia Cartwright, an acting maintainer on a stable release of the RT patch, gave a well-attended presentation called “What Every Driver Developer Should Know about RT.” Cartwright started with an overview of RT, which helps provide guarantees for user task execution for embedded applications that require a high level of determinism. She then described the classes of driver-related problems that can have a detrimental impact to RT, as well as potential resolutions. One of the challenges of any real-time operating system is that most target applications have two types of tasks: those with real-time requirements and latency sensitivity, and those for non-time critical tasks such as disk monitoring, throughput, or I/O. “The two classes of tasks need to run together and maybe communicate with one another with mixed criticality,” explained Cartwright. “You must resolve two different degrees of time sensitivity.” One solution is to split the tasks by using two different hardware platforms. “You could have an Arm Cortex-R, FPGA, or PLD based board for super time-critical stuff, and then a Cortex-A series board with Linux,” said Cartwright. “This offers the best isolation, but it raises the per unit costs, and it’s hard to communicate between the domains.”
  • Clarifying the Linux Real Time Issue
    I recently posted an article about the increasing development and availability of Linux-powered automation devices. This is a clear industry trend that’s unavoidable for anyone following the automation technology industry. Shortly after posting the article, I heard from a reader who wrote: “I read your article and I am surprised that you would promote the idea that anyone would use Linux for anything critical. It isn’t even a real-time control system. It can be used for non-critical applications, but the article implies that industry is adopting it for everything.” This reader brings up a valid point. Linux is not a real-time OS in and of itself. As Vibhoosh Gupta of GE Automation & Controls noted in the original article, GE uses “Type 1 hypervisor technology to run a real-time OS, such as VxWorks, running traditional control loops alongside our PAC Edge technology operating on Linux.” [...] The Linux Foundation launched the RTL (Real Time Linux) Collaborative Project in October 2015. According to the Foundation, the project was “founded by industry experts to advance technologies for the robotics, telecom, manufacturing and medical industries. The aim of the RTL collaborative project is mainlining the PREEMPT_RT patch.” While there are plenty of mission critical applications running Linux OS with real-time extensions—as highlighted by GE, Opto and Wago—the Linux Foundation notes on its site that there remains “much work to be done.”
  • Linux Launches Deep Learning Foundation For Open Source Growth In AI
    The Linux Foundation has launched the LF Deep Learning Foundation, an umbrella organisation which will support and sustain open source innovation in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning. The organisation will strive to make these critical new technologies available to developers and data scientists everywhere, said a statement published by LF. Founding members of LF Deep Learning include Amdocs, AT&T, B.Yond, Baidu, Huawei, Nokia, Tech Mahindra, Tencent, Univa, and ZTE, among others. LF Deep Learning, members are working to create a neutral space where makers and sustainers of tools and infrastructure can interact and harmonise their efforts and accelerate the broad adoption of deep learning technologies.
  • OpenTracing: Distributed Tracing’s Emerging Industry Standard
    What was traditionally known as just Monitoring has clearly been going through a renaissance over the last few years. The industry as a whole is finally moving away from having Monitoring and Logging silos – something we’ve been doing and “preaching” for years – and the term Observability emerged as the new moniker for everything that encompasses any form of infrastructure and application monitoring. Microservices have been around for a over a decade under one name or another. Now often deployed in separate containers it became obvious we need a way to trace transactions through various microservice layers, from the client all the way down to queues, storage, calls to external services, etc. This created a new interest in Transaction Tracing that, although not new, has now re-emerged as the third pillar of observability.
  • There’s a Server in Every Serverless Platform [Ed: "Serverless" is a lie. It's a server. One that you do not control; one/s that control/s you. Even Swapnil finally or belatedly gets it. The LF really likes buzzwords.]
    Serverless computing or Function as a Service (FaaS) is a new buzzword created by an industry that loves to coin new terms as market dynamics change and technologies evolve. But what exactly does it mean? What is serverless computing?
  • Take the Open Source Job Survey from Dice and The Linux Foundation
    Interest in hiring open source professionals is on the rise, with more companies than ever looking for full-time hires with open source skills and experience. To gather more information about the changing landscape and opportunities for developers, administrators, managers, and other open source professionals, Dice and The Linux Foundation have partnered to produce two open source jobs surveys — designed specifically for hiring managers and industry professionals.
  • Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan Schedule Announced [Ed: "Brian Redmond, Microsoft" so you basically go to an event about Linux and must listen to a talk from a company which attacks Linux with patent blackmail, bribes etc.]

Security: Updates, GrayKey, Google and Cilium

  • Security updates for Wednesday
  • Hackers Leaked The Code Of iPhone Cracking Device “GrayKey”, Attempted Extortion
    The mysterious piece of hardware GrayKey might give a sense of happiness to cops because they can get inside most of the iPhone models currently active, including the iPhone X. The $30,000 device is known to crack a 4-digit iPhone passcode in a matter of a few hours, and a six-digit passcode in 3 days, or possibly 11 hours in ideal scenarios. That’s why security experts suggest that iOS users should keep an alphanumeric passcode instead of an all-number passcode.
  • Someone Is Trying to Extort iPhone Crackers GrayShift With Leaked Code
    Law enforcement agencies across the country are buying or have expressed interest in buying GrayKey, a device that can unlock up-to-date iPhones. But Grayshift, the company that makes the device, has attracted some other attention as well. Last week, an unknown party quietly leaked portions of GrayKey code onto the internet, and demanded over $15,000 from Grayshift—ironically, the price of an entry-level GrayKey—in order to stop publishing the material. The code itself does not appear to be particularly sensitive, but Grayshift confirmed to Motherboard the brief data leak that led to the extortion attempt.
  • It's not you, it's Big G: Sneaky spammers slip strangers spoofed spam, swamp Gmail sent files
    Google has confirmed spammers can not only send out spoofed emails that appear to have been sent by Gmail users, but said messages also appear in those users' sent mail folders. The Chocolate Factory on Monday told The Register that someone has indeed created and sent spam with forged email headers. These not only override the send address, so that it appears a legit Gmail user sent the message, but it also mysteriously shows up in that person's sent box as if they had typed it and emitted themselves. In turn, the messages would also appear in their inboxes as sent mail.
  • Cilium 1.0 Advances Container Networking With Improved Security
    For last two decades, the IPtables technology has been the cornerstone of Linux networking implementations, including new container models. On April 24, the open-source Cilium 1.0 release was launched, providing a new alternative to IPtables by using BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter), which improves both networking and security. The Cilium project's GitHub code repository defines the effort as Linux Native, HTTP Aware Network Security for Containers. Cilium development has been driven to date by stealth startup Covalent, which is led by CEO Dan Wendlandt, who well-known in the networking community for his work at VMware on software-defined networking, and CTO Thomas Graf, who is a core Linux kernel networking developer.

Applications: KStars, Kurly, Pamac, QEMU

  • KStars 2.9.5 is out!
    Autofocus module users would be happy to learn that the HFR value is now responsive to changing seeing conditions. Previously, the first successful autofocus operation would set the HFR Threshold value of which subsequent measurements are compared against during the in-sequence-focusing step.
  • Kurly – An Alternative to Most Widely Used Curl Program
    Kurly is a free open source, simple but effective, cross-platform alternative to the popular curl command-line tool. It is written in Go programming language and works in the same way as curl but only aims to offer common usage options and procedures, with emphasis on the HTTP(S) operations. In this tutorial we will learn how to install and use kurly program – an alternative to most widely used curl command in Linux.
  • Pamac – Easily Install and Manage Software on Arch Linux
    Arch Linux is one of the most popular Linux distribution available despite its apparent technicality. Its default package manager pacman is powerful but as time always tells, it is a lot easier to get certain things done using a mouse because GUI apps barely require any typing nor do they require you to remember any commands; and this is where Pamac comes in. Pamac is a Gtk3 frontend for libalpm and it is the GUI tool that Arch Linux users turn to the most when they aren’t in the mood to manage their software packages via the terminal; and who can blame them? It was specifically created to be used with Pacman.
  • QEMU 2.12 Released With RISC-V, Spectre/Meltdown & Intel vGPU Action
    QEMU 2.12 is now officially available as the latest stable feature update to this important component to the open-source Linux virtualization stack.