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Reviews

Excellent System Utilities: Pingnoo – traceroute/ping analyser

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OSS
Reviews

Essential System Utilities is a series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems.

The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the bottom.

This article looks at Pingnoo, an open-source cross-platform application for analysing and measuring the round trip time (latency) between two hosts. It offers a graphical representation for traceroute and ping output.

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Kubuntu Focus XE is the perfect laptop for Windows-switchers and Linux beginners [Review]

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Reviews
Ubuntu
Gadgets

Should you buy the Kubuntu Focus XE Linux laptop? If you are looking to run a Linux-based operating system and want a laptop that is guaranteed to work, it should absolutely be considered. Not only is the hardware largely great, but arguably more importantly, the included software is top-notch.

The Kubuntu operating system is wonderful, as is all of the included curated apps. Not to mention, the Kubuntu Focus enhancements including the specialized apps, Welcome Wizard, and welcome guide, will make things much easier for Linux beginners. The Kubuntu Focus team set out to deliver an excellent user experience at an affordable price with the XE laptop and they totally delivered.

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Review: Pyabr OS

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Reviews

Pyabr OS was one of the latest distributions to be added to the DistroWatch waiting list. The project refers to itself as a "Python Cloud Operating System", a Linux distribution mostly written in Python. The project, which declares it is developed in Iran with multilingual support, runs on x86_64 computers and 64-bit Raspberry Pi machines.

The project's website mentions that Pyabr is a platform written in Python which offers a desktop and applications which can be run on any Linux distribution while Pyabr OS is a Debian-based operating system that runs the Pyabr software. The operating system can reportedly be installed locally or run from live media like a thumb drive. The desktop environment resembles KDE Plasma but is a custom environment called Baran which the project says is written in Python using the Qt framework.

I was unsure going into this trial how all of this related to cloud computing or services. The term "cloud" gets thrown around on the project's website, but without a clear indication of how this affects the end user. I decided to give the project a test drive and see if I could find out.

The Pyabr OS ISO file is a small download of just 447MB. The live system always stalled early in the boot process for 90 seconds while waiting for systemd to sort out its infamous "A start job is running..." warning. After that, the distribution booted quickly and displayed the Baran desktop which does look a lot like KDE Plasma at first glance due to its shared Qt framework and theme.

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elementary OS 6 Odin Review - Beautiful and Empowering

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OS
Reviews

It's a review of elementary OS 6, codenamed Odin, a computer operating system that proudly released with the slogan Thoughtful, capable, and ethical replacement to Windows and MacOS that's now empowering modern laptops that ship worldwide. Let's see OS 6 through this review.

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KDE neon 5.22.5 - When you come undone

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KDE
Reviews

This is a short review, yes, yes, it is. But, we learned something. KDE neon is really fast. KDE neon is pretty. KDE neon 5.22.5 also brings in regressions, which I find super-annoying. We're talking the titlebar theming, we're talking network manager, we're talking scaling issues, yet again. Steam? Yup, that's another, entirely unnecessary hurdle for the common user.

On their own, these problems wouldn't be an issue. Except, toss a D&D 20-sided cube, and you get your random damage points, and that's about as arbitrary as issues that keep coming back into an otherwise solid and fun distro. I know that KDE neon is a test bed, but the User Edition is meant to be stable and robust enough. Overall, I am happy, but this wasn't the best Plasma experience. In fact, I'm on a jinx ride. Two out of two for a less than satisfactory outcome. Now, I need to cry. The end.

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Review: Getting started with Ansible

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Reviews

Ansible is a Red Hat owned tool for automating system administration tasks. It is typically used in environments where an administrator wants to perform the same task, such as deploying security updates, on many computers without logging into each computer manually. Unlike many automation tools, Ansible does not require any special software to be installed on each client machine. Each client just needs the OpenSSH service to be installed on the clients and all the work and configuration is handled by one central server.

There are a lot of reasons for working with Ansible and this guide is meant to get you up and running quickly. If you're like me, I have a terrible habit of not reading the fine manual. To quote the Simpsons character Renier Wolfcastle, "I was elected to lead not to read". To follow along with this tutorial here are the basics you will need...

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Fedora 35 bridges the gap between the seasoned and the new user

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Red Hat
Reviews

For the longest time, I considered the Fedora Linux distribution to have an audience of one—those dyed-in-the-wool, experienced users. There's a good reason for that. Fedora is a bleeding-edge distribution, so things can break, go south or not work.

I've been reviewing Linux distributions for decades now, so I've experienced several Fedora releases. When this particular flavor of Linux first hit the virtual shelves, it was very much not a platform for the new user. It would break and require admin-level attention.

But something happened along the way to number 35. Fedora became really solid. This was partially bolstered with the help of the rock-solid GNOME desktop. And even with Fedora including the newest versions of GNOME didn't seem to cause the operating system to falter.

To borrow a cliché, it all just works.

However, it does more than just work. I'd go so far as to say that the last few Fedora releases have worked exceptionally well, as well as any other desktop distribution. And Fedora 35 is no exception to this new rule.

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Free Software Review: GNOME Web 3.38.2 on Debian GNU/Linux 11. A worthy replacement for your current browser?

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GNOME
Reviews
Web

With so many web browsers out there to pick from, many of them really aren’t very different from each other, and few take the time to work like the other applications on your desktop.

In Windows, nobody notices this because none of the applications (even from Microsoft) or system settings menus are consistent. They duplicate functionality, have different GUI conventions, and the entire thing is a usability hell. GNOME tries to be a bit “cleaner” than this.

In Windows 11, in fact, Microsoft tried to steal from Chrome OS, GNOME, and the Mac’s “clean” interface design, but reverted to form and immediately crapped it up with the usual junk and ads and trialware, and a store that nobody wanted to use to begin with because there’s still time to repeat that disaster again.

But the point, here, is that GNOME (and to a lesser extent) KDE for various *nix operating systems (they’re portable), try not to confound the user and present them with a giant headache of pointlessness and redundancy and bugs. Which is nice.

That’s where GNOME Web comes in. The development name is Epiphany, because that was the application’s original name, when it started as a project to build a web browser around the Mozilla rendering engine, Gecko. In the late 2000s, Mozilla decided to make it difficult to use their engine in anything but Firefox, forcing the GNOME Web developers to go a different way.

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Also: This change in Google Chrome 94 will make you switch to Firefox - itsfoss.net

Fedora 34 KDE - Modern but not polished

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KDE
Red Hat
Reviews

As you can imagine, I didn't really continue with my test. Therefore, no data on battery life, resource usage, or any of the customizations that I often have to undertake to my systems usable and productive. What would be the point really? So many things went wrong. Some of these aren't Fedora's fault, but many others are.

Slow boot time (and boot menu oddities), Wayland scaling problems, crashes, lack of third-party application by default. Fedora 34 KDE just does not feel complete. It's a distro all right, but it sure doesn't get as much love and attention as the flagship release. Not that that guarantees quality in the distrospace really, anywhere. All in all, if you want Plasma bleeding edge, Manjaro or neon can do that just as well, while providing their own share of quirks and bugs (albeit smaller). There are some small redeeming points in Fedora 34 KDE, but they are nowhere near enough to compensate for the bad stuff. All in all, sadly, my past impression holds. Oh well.

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Review: Martine OS 2.0 and Airyx 0.2.2

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OS
Reviews

I did not spend a lot of time with Airyx, just a few days. Mostly this was due to the operating system not playing well with my wireless card, an issue most flavours of BSD run into. However, while my experience was brief, I will say that I see the appeal of Airyx (and by extension helloSystem). For people who like the macOS style desktop, this experience should make people feel at home. The unified application menu on the top panel, the icons, the utility and settings panels, and the overall theme all share a strong similarity with macOS.

The system installer is quite simple and can be navigated with a few mouse clicks so the barrier to entry is relatively low, assuming your computer has at least 4GB of memory for the live media. The operating system, even running ZFS, is quite light in memory and includes some standard open source tools.

There were two weak points I encountered. The first was hardware support, which is often a problem I run into with flavours of BSD. Wireless and suspend support in particular tend to be missing. The other issue was the lack of a fully functioning package manager. I'm not sure why pkg has been hobbled in Airyx, but the fact it still refreshes repository information and installs packages from FreeBSD suggests to me that the limitation is unnecessary.

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