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Reviews

Review: Auxtral 3

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Reviews

At the beginning of this review I mentioned Auxtral reminded me of Linux Mint Debian Edition. The theme, the Cinnamon desktop, and general look of the project certainly held that first impression. However, the default applications and tools (apart from the Cinnamon desktop and command line utilities) felt quite a bit different. Linux Mint has been around for several years and has earned a reputation for being beginner friendly, polished, and shipping with a lot of top-notch open source applications.

Auxtral appears to have a similar approach - similar base distribution, the same desktop environments, and a similar look. However, Auxtral does have its own personality under the surface. It ships with a quite different collection of applications, sometimes using less popular items (Brave in place of Firefox, SMPlayer instead of VLC, etc.) It has also gone its own way with software updates, preferring classic tools like APT and Synaptic over Mint's update manager.

Auxtral is off to a good start. This was my first time trying the distribution and the experience was mostly positive. The operating system is easy to install, offers multiple desktop environments, and walks a pretty good line between hand holding and staying out of the way. The application menu is uncluttered while including enough programs to be useful. Some of those programs are a bit more obscure or less beginner friendly than what you might find in Linux Mint, but otherwise it's a good collection. Virtually everything worked and worked smoothly. I was unpleasantly surprised by this distribution's memory usage, most projects consume about half as much RAM, but otherwise I liked what Auxtral had to offer. I might not recommended it to complete beginners, especially since the project does not appear to have any documentation or support options of its own, but for someone who doesn't mind a little command line work or who likes the idea of an easy to setup distribution that combines Debian with the Cinnamon (or Xfce desktop) this seems like a good option.

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Free Software Review: Yoga Image Optimizer. Google Guetzli? WHY!?

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Reviews

Many programs that write JPEG files don’t do the best job at using the format efficiently.

So, there are many suboptimal JPEGs floating around the internet, and many are up to 20-30% bigger than they need to be, because some programs do all sorts of ridiculous and unnecessary things when they write them, and also fail to use Huffman Coding correctly.

Unfortunately, JPEG is a lossy compressed format (and not even a great one), and so like an MP3 file, if you re-encode it, even back into itself, you suffer further loss in quality.

However, lossless optimization doesn’t do this. You may not get enormous improvements in file size, but it’s more like using a more aggressive dictionary search in a ZIP file.

(As lossy compression schemes broadly have two parts. One that discards data that it considers perceptually irrelevant, and then another part that does lossless compression methods on what’s left.).

I looked around to see if Debian had MozJPEG, but it didn’t. There was a open discussion about it, which is one of the bright sides of Debian. At least you know the discussions leading up to the decisions they make.

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New Atari VCS Review: Retro Tech Meets Geek Chic

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Hardware
Reviews
Debian

Among other things, the year 1977 marked the beginning of (in my humble opinion) the two greatest entertainment franchises: Star Wars and Atari. Needless to say, the former is alive and well. And until recently, the latter has lived on through the sheer tenacity of its legendary gaming heritage. Now, three years after its hugely successful Indiegogo campaign, Atari at long last quenched retro gaming fans' thirst by finally releasing its brand-new console. Officially known as the VCS 800, this truly multifunctional hybrid gaming, entertainment and computing device is an amazing time machine to both the past and future.

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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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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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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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More in Tux Machines

Kernel and Graphics: Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA

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    Intel has teased a new tech it calls "Software Defined Silicon" (SDSi) but is saying almost nothing about it – and has told The Register it could amount to nothing. SDSi popped up around three weeks ago in a post to the Linux Kernel mailing list, in which an Intel Linux software engineer named David Box described it as "a post-manufacturing mechanism for activating additional silicon features".

  • RadeonSI Lands Another "Very Large" Optimization To Further Boost SPECViewPerf - Phoronix

    In recent months we have seen a lot of RadeonSI optimizations focused on SPECViewPerf with AMD seemingly trying to get this open-source OpenGL driver into very capable shape moving forward for workstation GL workloads. Hitting Mesa 22.0-devel today is yet another round of patches for tuning SPECViewPerf.

  • Vendors Including NVIDIA Talk Up New OpenCL Extensions For Vulkan Interop, NN Inference - Phoronix

    Last Friday night we spotted OpenCL 3.0.9 with several new extensions included. Today The Khronos Group is formally announcing these latest OpenCL additions focused on Vulkan interoperability as well as neural network inferencing. These new extensions for OpenCL 3.0 include an integer dot product extension for neural network inferencing (cl_khr_integer_dot_product) with a focus on 8-bit integer support.

  • RadeonSI Enables NGG Shader Culling For Navi 1x Consumer GPUs - Phoronix

    As another possible performance win for RadeonSI Gallium3D as AMD's open-source Radeon OpenGL driver on Linux systems is enabling of NGG culling for Navi 1x consumer graphics processors rather than limiting it only to newer Navi 2x (RDNA2) GPUs. Merged on Monday was a patch to enable shader culling for Navi 1x consumer SKUs with no longer limiting it to Navi 2x / GFX10.3 or when using various debug options. This culling was also enabled for Navi 1x GPUs but only for the "Pro" graphics SKUs.

Databases: Managing Database Migrations, PostgreSQL-Related Releases

KDE Plasma 5.18.8, Bugfix Release for October

Plasma 5.18 was released in February 2020 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience. Read more

today's howtos

  • Speak to me! – Purism

    My trusty laptop’s speakers gave up the ghost. I don’t like to sit around in headphones all the time, I don’t have any other speakers, and the replacements are still being manhandled by the postman. I’d get used to the austerity if I hadn’t started missing calls from a friend. That’s unacceptable! But what am I supposed to do? Buy extra gadgets just to throw them away after a week? Nope, I’m not that kind of a person. But hey – I have a Librem 5! It has a speaker. It’s open. I have control over it, and I’m a hacker too. So I should be able to come up with a hack to turn it into a speaker for my laptop, right? Pulseaudio to the rescue. I look through the guide. There it is: forwarding audio over a network.

  • How To Install CSF Firewall on Debian 11 - idroot

    In this tutorial, we will show you how to install CSF Firewall on Debian 11. For those of you who didn’t know, CSF is also known as “Config Server Firewall” is a free and advanced firewall for Linux systems. We should use ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) since this CSF have more advanced and comprehensive features than other firewall application such as UFW, Firewalld, or Iptables. Compared to the other Linux firewall application, CSF is more user-friendly and effective which is mostly used by web hosting providers. This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the ConfigServer Security & Firewall (CSF) on a Debian 11 (Bullseye).

  • What are the differences between SQL and MySQL | FOSS Linux

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  • How to install Funkin' Psych Engine on a Chromebook

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  • How to Use an SSH Key with Non-root Users - Unixcop

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  • Allow Port Through Firewall in Ubuntu 20.04 - Linux Nightly

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  • Some regex tests with grep, sed and AWK

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  • Upgrade to Fedora 35 from Fedora 34 using DNF – If Not True Then False

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  • Jenkins: Basic security settings - Anto ./ Online

    Jenkins contains sensitive information. Thus it must be secured, like any other sensitive platform. Thankfully Jenkins provides you with many security options. This guide will show you all the essential bits that you need to know. You access these features on the Configure Global Security page under manage Jenkins.

  • LDAP query from Python · Pablo Iranzo Gómez's blog

    Recently, some colleagues commented about validating if users in a Telegram group were or not employees anymore, so that the process could be automated without having to chase down the users that left the company. One of the fields that can be configured by each user, is the link to other platforms (Github, LinkedIn, Twitter, Telegram, etc), so querying an LDAP server could suffice to get the list of users. First, we need to get some data required, in our case, we do anonymous binding to our LDAP server and the field to search for containing the ‘other platform’ links.