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Reviews

Vector Linux 5.9: Light, fast Slackware-based distro

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Vector Linux 5.9, released in late December of last year, is a Slackware 12.0-based distribution that uses Xfce 4.4.2 as its default user interface. Generally speaking, Xfce requires less horsepower than other UIs, like GNOME and KDE, and so Vector Linux bills itself as an excellent operating system to install on older, lower-powered computers. I've been using it for the past two weeks, and like what I see.

KDE 4.0: Everything that has an end, has a beginning

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By now, every Linux user's heard of KDE 4.0, and the controversy surrounding its release. Here's one partisan KDE user's take on it — with screenshots.

openSUSE 10.3 in review: A solid Linux desktop

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openSUSE is a popular German Linux distribution that Distrowatch.com lists as one of the "top ten." Version 10.3 was released on October 4th. Underneath its new green artwork, the new version's improvements include cutting down the time it takes to reach the graphical login screen; speeding up and streamlining its package management utility; and making it easier for users to install software using a new "one-click install" process. There's a lot to like here.

Beta Review: Kanotix 2007 "Thorhammer" RC5B

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The last Kanotix release (based on Debian Sid) came out in October, 2006. Shortly thereafter, a Kanotix co-developer (and many of Kanotix's other developers) left the project, mainly due to a disagreement over whether Kanotix should be based on Sid (Debian's unstable branch) or something less volatile, like Etch (Debian's current stable branch) or Ubuntu. Kanotix's founder now has a new, Etch-based version of Kanotix in development, code-named "Thorhammer."

Sidux 2007-03.1 "Gaia": A closer look

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Unless you're able to deal with such esoteric problems as diagnosing a buggy post-install script, or figuring out how to deal with a major change in the directory structure of X.org, you might occasionally find running a Debian Sid-based system to be more than you can handle. And that's where Sidux comes in. Sidux's goal is to allow mere mortals the ability to run Debian Sid on the desktop, in order to take advantage of the latest Debian software available. Its development team helps guide its users through the occasional bumps in Sid, via IRC and its user forum. Another goal is to offer a consistent release cycle. Sidux comes with a variety of "convenience scripts" and utilities you won't find in Debian proper, that make it easier to do such things as administer your system and install proprietary software.

Slackware 12: The anti-'buntu

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Slackware is the oldest surviving Linux distribution; its first version came out in 1993. Version 12 was recently released. As its Wikipedia entry notes, it's got a reputation for sacrificing ease-of-use (in terms of configuration and package management tools provided by the distribution) in favor of letting the end user configure the system and its software by herself.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 2)

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Part 2 of the Fedora 7 "Moonshine" review.

Fedora 7 "Moonshine": Freedom vs. Ease-of-Use (Part 1)

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Fedora 7, a.k.a. "Moonshine," released on May 31, is an odd duck. On the one hand, it's hugely popular. On the other hand, these days, there seems to be an emphasis on being user-friendly (think "Ubuntu"). But Fedora's creators have consciously limited what it can do out of the box.

Linux Mint 3.0-BETA-012 Cassandra Quickie

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I was anxious to test the new Linux Mint release in hopes that wireless might be working, but alas, I spent the better part of 4 days downloading in vain.

Blue Belle: Running PCLinuxOS Test 4

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PCLinuxOS is an up-and-coming distribution that recently made it into Distrowatch.com's list of Top Ten Distributions. I installed PCLinuxOS Test 4 on a 10 GB partition (with a separate 1 GB /home partition) on an AMD Athlon 2600+ with 640 MB of RAM and an NVIDIA GeForce 6200 LE graphics card. This hardware is no great shakes nowadays, but it's plenty fast enough to run PCLinuxOS with all the bells and whistles.

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More in Tux Machines

Linux and Linux Foundation

  • Linux, Linus, Bradley, and Open Source Protection
    In a nutshell, this rather heated (and at times unnecessarily personal) debate has focused on when is the right time to defend the rights on the GPL. Bradley is of the view that these rights should be intrinsically defended as they are as important (if not more important) than the code. Linus is of the view that the practicalities of the software industry mean sending in the lawyers can potentially have an even more damaging effect as companies will tense up and choose to stay away.
  • Evolving a Best-of-Breed IoT Framework by Gregory Burns
  • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Tetevi Placide Ekon: Learning Computer Science Online
    Tetevi Placide Ekon is a graduate student studying civil engineering at the 2iE Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced this month. Since receiving his bachelor’s degree in water and environmental engineering and moving onto graduate school, he has nurtured a passion for computer science, and especially open source. Tetevi has completed free courses covering Linux, Apache big data systems and more, and he plans to use this scholarship to pursue more advanced training.
  • Raspberry Pi Zero Will Likely Be Supported On Linux 4.9
    It's looking like the Raspberry Pi Zero might be playing fine out-of-the-box with the upcoming Linux 4.9 kernel cycle. Eric Anholt posted his weekly VC4 driver status/changes. In there the Intel-turned-Broadcom developer commented, "Finally, I landed Stefan Wahren's Raspberry Pi Zero devicetree for upstream. If nothing goes wrong, the Zero should be supported in 4.9."
  • Running Caffe AlexNet/GoogleNet On Some CPUs Compared To NVIDIA CUDA
    With working on some Broadwell-EP Linux comparison benchmarks this weekend, as part of that onslaught of benchmarks I decided to run the CPU-only Caffe build on a few different Intel CPUs. For fun, afterwards I checked to see how the performance compares to Caffe with CUDA+cuDNN on a few Maxwell/Pascal GPUs.
  • A Slew Of RadeonSI Gallium3D Fixes To Kick Off The Week
    After already making a ton of improvements to the RadeonSI Gallium3D stack this month, Marek Olšák is looking to end the month on a high note with yet more fixes to the open-source AMD driver. What's more fun than seeing on a Monday morning [PATCH 00/20] Plenty of RadeonSI fixes. The 20 patches take care of a variety of RadeonSI fixes. Marek commented, "This series contains mostly fixes, i.e. for DCC, cubemaps, tessellation, texture views, Gather4, viewport depth range, etc. There are also some new HUD queries."

Leftovers: Software

  • A Quick Hands-On With Chatty, A Desktop Twitch Chat Client
    Chatty is a desktop Twitch Chat client for Windows, macOS and Linux written in Ja
  • HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 Adds Support for Linux Mint 18, Fedora 24
    The open-source HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) project has been updated on August 29, 2016, to version 3.16.8, a maintenance update that adds support for new printers and GNU/Linux operating systems. According to the release notes, HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.16.8 adds support for new all-in-one HP printers, including HP OfficeJet Pro 6970, HP OfficeJet Pro 6960, HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile, HP DeskJet 3700, as well as HP DeskJet Ink Advantage 3700. Also new in the HPLIP 3.16.8 update is support for the recently released Linux Mint 18 "Sarah" Cinnamon, MATE, Xfce, and the upcoming KDE editions, the Fedora 24 Linux operating system, as well as the Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 "Jessie" distribution. So if you're using any of these OSes, you can now update to the latest HPLIP release.
  • MPlayer-Based MPV 0.20.0 Video Player Released with New Options and Commands
    The popular, open-source, and cross-platform MPV video player software received a new update, version 0.20.0, which comes only two weeks after the previous 0.19.0 maintenance release. MPV 0.20.0 is not a major update, and, according to the release notes, it only implements a couple of new options and commands, such as "--video-unscaled=downscale-big" for changing the aspect ratio. Additionally, the MPlayer-based video playback application also gets the "--image-display-duration" option for controlling the duration of image display, and a new "dcomposition" flag for controlling DirectComposition.
  • FFmpeg 3.1.3 "Laplace" Open-Source Multimedia Framework Now Available for Linux
    The major FFmpeg 3.1 "Laplace" open-source and cross-platform multimedia framework has received recently its third maintenance update, version 3.1.3, which brings updated components. FFmpeg 3.1 was announced two months ago, at the end of June, and it introduced a multitude of new features to make the popular multimedia backend even more reliable and handy to game and application developers. Dubbed Laplace, FFmpeg 3.1 is currently the most advanced FFmpeg release, cut from Git master on June 26, 2016.
  • GNU Scientific Library 2.2 released
    Version 2.2 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C. This release contains new linear algebra routines (Pivoted and Modified Cholesky, Complete Orthogonal Decomposition, matrix condition number estimation) as well as a completely rewritten nonlinear least squares module, including support for Levenberg-Marquardt, dogleg, double-dogleg, and Steihaug-Toint methods. The full NEWS file entry is appended below.

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Leftovers: OSS

  • Report: If DOD Doesn't Embrace Open Source, It'll 'Be Left Behind'
    Unless the Defense Department and its military components levy increased importance on software development, they risk losing military technical superiority, according to a new report from the Center for a New American Security. In the report, the Washington, D.C.-based bipartisan think tank argues the Pentagon, which for years has relied heavily on proprietary software systems, “must actively embrace open source software” and buck the status quo. Currently, DOD uses open source software “infrequently and on an ad hoc basis,” unlike tech companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook that wouldn’t exist without open source software.
  • The Honey Trap of Copy/Pasting Open Source Code
    I couldn’t agree more with Bill Sourour’s article ‘Copy.Paste.Code?’ which says that copying and pasting code snippets from sources like Google and StackOverflow is fine as long as you understand how they work. However, the same logic can’t be applied to open source code. When I started open source coding at the tender age of fourteen, I was none the wiser to the pitfalls of copy/pasting open source code. I took it for granted that if a particular snippet performed my desired function, I could just insert it into my code, revelling in the fact that I'd just gotten one step closer to getting my software up and running. Yet, since then, through much trial and error, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to use open source code effectively.
  • Affordable, Open Source, 3D Printable CNC Machine is Now on Kickstarter
    The appeals of Kickstarter campaigns are many. There are the rewards for backers, frequently taking the form of either deep discounts on the final product or unusual items that can’t be found anywhere else. Pledging to support any crowdfunding campaign is a gamble, but it’s an exciting gamble; just browsing Kickstarter is pretty exciting, in fact, especially in the technological categories. Inventive individuals and startups offer new twists on machines like 3D printers and CNC machines – often for much less cost than others on the market.
  • Open Standards and Open Source
    Much has changed in the telecommunications industry in the years since Standards Development Organization (SDOs) such as 3GPP, ITU and OMA were formed. In the early days of telecom and the Internet, as fundamental technology was being invented, it was imperative for the growth of the new markets that standards were established prior to large-scale deployment of technology and related services. The process for development of these standards followed a traditional "waterfall" approach, which helped to harmonize (sometimes competing) pre-standard technical solutions to market needs.