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Reviews

Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf review - Fast and spurious

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Distro time! After a quiet distro slayin' period here in Dedowood, we embark on the great hunt once more, and we pay an excessive amount of time to Ubuntu and its derivatives, starting with the original beast. If you've followed my reviews lately, you know that I found Trusty to be excellent, and Vivid was also rather cool.

Let's see what the latest in the series can do. Our test machine will be Lenovo G50, which comes with the modern obstacles of multi-boot, Windows 10, UEFI, Secure Boot, and other things that make Linux folks raise a skeptical brow. Let us.

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Huawei Watch review: the best Android Wear smartwatch

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Android
Reviews

The Huawei Watch is the best Android Wear smartwatch yet and one of the best cross-platform smartwatches. It easily passes as a traditional watch while providing access to information and notifications on your wrist.

It isn’t a standout “look at me” piece of technology, which is good if you’re more interested in function and classic design than showing off, and is comfortable to wear. The higher resolution sapphire screen is the best available at the moment and the battery lasted two days in my testing with the screen on all the time.

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The good, the bad and the Ubuntu 15.10

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Ubuntu

I had mixed feelings from my time with Ubuntu. On the one hand, the distribution feels fairly polished and the installer, applications and system tools all worked well. My desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized and this release offers us updated versions of popular software. However, in a virtual machine, Ubuntu performed poorly and this surprised me since the previous release worked quite smoothly in a VirtualBox instance. Not only that, but this version of Ubuntu used quite a bit more memory than the last version did on the same test equipment.

What really stood out most about Ubuntu 15.10 though was this release felt virtually identical in every way to Ubuntu 15.04 and very similar to 14.10. One of the few changes I noticed was that this version of Ubuntu appears to no longer support both the Upstart and systemd init programs, as the previous version did. I see this as an unfortunate (though expected) change as Canonical moves to support just one init package. On the one hand, this lack of adjustments in 15.10 is good news for people who do not want to experience a lot of change. The development team appears to have been working almost exclusively over the past year to fix bugs and keep things working as they have been. This makes Ubuntu feel like a more stable platform.

On the other hand, having a platform that does not boast any new features makes me wonder if there is a point to pushing out a new release. The minor package updates presented probably could have been handled by a backports repository for Ubuntu 15.04. While projects like openSUSE and Fedora are experimenting with new system admin tools, file system snapshots, Wayland and boot environments, Ubuntu appears to be sitting idle. I know there are behind-the-scenes changes planned (such as Snappy packages, Mir and a new version of Unity), but those items keep getting pushed back. In short, I feel this release of Ubuntu was good, but it isn't bringing anything new to the table over the previous version.

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BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously

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Linux
Reviews

You can use BackBox as your main Linux distro and do nothing more involved that run its security envelop to harden your immediate computing environment and surf the Web with anonymity.

You can use BackBox more productively to dig deep into your network to sniff out security risks and lock down your connectivity and data. BackBox's security tools are professional class.

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The OnePlus X is a low-cost Android phone in high-end disguise

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Android
Reviews

The OnePlus X is many things. It’s a 5-inch phone that feels like it should be $500, but costs only $249. It’s a device with the aesthetic quality you might expect from an established tech brand, but it’s made by a Chinese startup less than two years old. It’s also a shameless tribute to the design of older iPhones you can only buy with an invitation.

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HTC One A9 review: the Android iPhone

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Android
Reviews

At its promotional price of $399 In the United States, the HTC One A9 is an easy phone to recommend. Its refined aluminum design is much more lovable than Google’s plastic Nexus 5X, and the simple pleasure of using a phone is important when you’re considering a thing you’ll be spending most of your waking time with. But when the price jumps to $499 in a week’s time — as well as for all other regions across the world — the One A9’s value diminishes greatly. It then matches straight up against Google’s Nexus 6P, the best Android smartphone to date. The winner of that contest is always going to be Google’s handset, which also comes with the long-term assurance of receiving updates faster and for a longer time than any other device.

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Xfce Smooth: the smooth variations

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Reviews

Xfce Smooth is an interesting distribution. It shows you what you can do yourself using the [very] good distribution as a start and playing with themes, icon sets and fonts. You can change your system's look very much to your own taste.

The question is still whether you need to download a distribution that someone has already created for you, or start it yourself from scratch. The benefit of using of Xfce Smooth in this case is that it already has a lot of icon sets, fonts, themes to choose from. You do not need to search, download and install them. Just start playing with your selection!

In terms of performance, I had almost no issues with Xfce Smooth at all. It felt very snappy, fast, responsive and... really smooth! The only small issue was with the Keyring password request that appeared several times.

Would I use this distribution myself? Probably not. I am not a fancier of different fonts, icon and mouse pointer styles to play with them. I would rather stick to something more classic.

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Plasma 5 Powers KaOS Productivity

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Linux
Reviews

KaOS has a few known issues, but these mostly affect specific hardware configurations. For example, to use a GUID Partition Table, or GPT, on a BIOS system, make sure you set it up following a guide available on the KaOS website. The installer's partitioner can only handle GPT correctly for the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface.

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GhostBSD 10.1: Ghost in the machine

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Reviews
BSD

I like the GhostBSD project and its goal. I think, in the past, there has generally not been enough work done to make FreeBSD a good operating system for desktop use. FreeBSD works well in the role of a server operating system, it's stable, fast and the project evolves in such a way that it is fairly easy to upgrade a FreeBSD system over time. However, FreeBSD (while it can be used as a desktop operating system) lacks many of the characteristics one might want on the desktop, such as a graphical installer, multimedia support, a graphical package manager and an attractive, pre-configured desktop environment. While these features can be added or enabled on FreeBSD, most users will want those tools to be in place and to just work right from the start.

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More in Tux Machines

GNU: The GNU C Library 2.28 and Guix on Android

  • Glibc 2.28 Upstream Will Build/Run Cleanly On GNU Hurd
    While Linux distributions are still migrating to Glibc 2.27, in the two months since the release changes have continued building up for what will eventually become the GNU C Library 2.28. The Glibc 2.28 work queued thus far isn't nearly as exciting as all the performance optimizations and more introduced with Glibc 2.27, but it's a start. Most notable at this point for Glibc 2.28 is that it will now build and run cleanly on GNU/Hurd without requiring any out-of-tree patches. There has been a ton of Hurd-related commits to Glibc over the past month.
  • Guix on Android!
    Last year I thought to myself: since my phone is just a computer running an operating system called Android (or Replicant!), and that Android is based on a Linux kernel, it's just another foreign distribution I could install GNU Guix on, right? It turned out it was absolutely the case. Today I was reminded on IRC of my attempt last year at installing GNU Guix on my phone. Hence this blog post. I'll try to give you all the knowledge and commands required to install it on your own Android device.
  • GNU Guix Wrangled To Run On Android
    The GNU Guix transactional package manager can be made to run on Android smartphones/tablets, but not without lots of hoops to jump through first.

Node.js 10.9 and npm milestone

  • Open Source Node.js Hits v10, with Better Security, Performance, More
    Speaking of which, the brand-new Node.js 10.0 is expected to soon support npm version 6 (currently Node.js ships with npm 5.7.x). The company npm Inc., which maintains the npm software package management application, today announced that major update, called npm@6. The npm company said its JavaScript software installer tool includes new security features for developers working with open source code.
  • Announcing npm@6
    In coordination with today’s announcement of Node.js v10, we’re excited to announce npm@6. This major update to npm includes powerful new security features for every developer who works with open source code. Read on to understand why this matters.

Openwashing: Sony, Scality and Ericsson

Voyage/Open Autonomous Safety (OAS) Now on GitHub

  • Voyage open-sources autonomous driving safety practices
    Dubbed Open Autonomous Safety, the initiative aims to help autonomous driving startups implement better safety-testing practices. Companies looking to access the documents, safety procedures and test code can do so via a GitHub repository.
  • Open-Sourcing Our Approach to Autonomous Safety
    Without a driver to help identify and mitigate failures, autonomous vehicle systems need incredibly robust safety requirements and an equally comprehensive and well-defined process for analyzing risks and assessing capabilities. Voyage models its safety approach after the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, taking the best practices from the automotive industry and applying them to autonomous technology. The automotive industry continues to reach for new levels of safety in manufacturing vehicles, and we are inspired by that approach.
  • Startup Voyage Wants to Open Source Self-Driving Car Safety
    Under what the company calls its Open Autonomous Safety initiative, Voyage is publishing information on its safety procedures, materials, and test code in a series of releases. The goal is to create an open-source library of safety procedures that multiple companies can use as a standard, a Voyage blog post said.
  • This startup’s CEO wants to open-source self-driving car safety testing
    The initial release, which Voyage calls Open Autonomous Safety (OAS), will take the form of a GitHub repository containing documents and code. The functional safety requirements are Voyage's interpretation of the ISO 26262 standard for automotive safety, updated for autonomous vehicles. "This is our internal driving test for any particular software build," says Cameron. "It lets us evaluate our designs and look for the different ways they can fail in the real world."