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The 9 Best Linux Distros

Filed under
GNU
Linux

The best Linux distro for you may not be the best Linux distro for another user. Many Linux users are distro-hoppers, regularly moving from distribution to distribution. Some may be looking for the perfect distro, while others are simply curious about the latest Linux developments.

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Installing openSuSE, Fedora and Ubuntu on my new Acer Aspire E11

Filed under
GNU
Linux
SUSE
Ubuntu

Because this is a UEFI Firmware system, the first step is to wrestle with with BIOS and UEFI configuration. Every OEM is different in this area, and sometimes even different models from the same OEM are different. The critical questions are:

How to UEFI boot from a USB stick
How to (optionally) disable UEFI Secure Boot
How to (optionally) enable Legacy Boot (MBR)
Will changes to the UEFI boot configuration be retained

I know from experience with previous Acer systems that there are two things you have to do in the BIOS to prepare for Linux installation. FIrst, you have to change the "F12 Boot Menu" option to 'Enable', so that that you can press F12 during startup and get to the Boot Select menu.

Second, if you want/need to change the UEFI boot settings, you will first have to set a "Supervisor Password" in the BIOS configuration. Once the password is set, you can disable Secure Boot and/or enable Legacy Boot as necessary.

[...]

After the installation process completed, and before I rebooted, I checked the UEFI boot configuration (efibootmgr -v). It was correct, with "opensuse-secureboot" defined and first in the boot sequence list. But then I rebooted and... it booted Windows. ARRRRGGGHHHH! NO! Acer doesn't do this kind of garbage, HP/Compaq does! I have two or three other Acer laptops around here, and the boot configuration is perfectly stable on them!

I rebooted and used F12 to get Boot Select, then selected openSuSE from there, and it came up ok. Then I checked the boot configuration again. Sure enough, the boot order had been changed back to have Windows Boot Manager first. Swine...

I rebooted again, and this time went into BIOS setup (F2). On the 'Boot' page, there is a 'Boot priority order' list, and "Windows Boot Manager" was right at the top of that list. There was nothing about "openSuSE" in the list, but there was a strange new entry for "HDD: WDE WD5000LPVX-22VOTTO", which is absolutely as clear as mud... I didn't recall seeing that entry when I was in the Boot menu the first time. I moved that item to the top of the priority list, crossed my fingers and rebooted.

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Dev board runs Yocto Linux on Altera ARM+FPGA SoC

Filed under
Linux

Newark Element14′s “Lark Board” SBC runs Yocto Linux on Altera’s ARM/FPGA Cyclone V SX SoC, and offers USB Blaster II, camera, and expansion interfaces.

The Lark Board, which sells for $940, is one of the more powerful ARM development boards you’re likely to find, at least if FPGAs are what you’re looking for. It’s designed for development of high-volume applications including automotive, medical equipment, video surveillance, and industrial control.

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Open source accelerating the pace of software

Filed under
Linux
OSS

Containers are fundamentally enabled by Linux. As I discussed in more detail recently, all the security hardening, performance tuning, reliability engineering, and certifications that apply to a bare metal or virtualized world still apply in the containerized one. And, in fact, the operating system arguably shoulders an even greater responsibility for tasks such as resource or security isolation than when individual operating system instances provided a degree of inherent isolation.

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A Pleasant Stroll Through Europe – GNU/Linux Rolls On Desktops

Filed under
GNU
Linux

Europe is a hot bed of activity with governments promoting and sharing ideas about how to implement FLOSS and GNU/Linux on clients and servers. A lot of activity is in schools where students will be introduced to FLOSS and run with it. I expect GNU/Linux to become more available and widely accepted in Europe in the next few years.

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Gizmosphere focuses on graphics in open-source computer

Filed under
Linux
Hardware

Open-source computers have so far lacked good graphics, but Gizmosphere’s new Gizmo 2 is an exception.

The Gizmo 2 is an uncased single-board computer that will sell for US$199. The computer can be used to build robots, electronics with large screens, or interactive computer systems that can recognize gestures or images.

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The Making of the Ninja Sphere: a Q&A with Daniel Friedman

Filed under
Linux
Interviews

Like the Ninja Block, the Ninja Sphere runs on Linux and incorporates an Arduino-compatible microcontroller. However, it switches from a BeagleBone Black SBC to a computer-on-module that offers much the same Cortex-A8-based TI Sitara processor and other circuitry. Instead of being limited to a 433MHz RF radio, the Sphere adds ZigBee, WiFi, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and supports Z-Wave via an add-on.

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Chromebooks: Debunking the misconceptions

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Google

Chromebooks are the little laptops that could. They are relatively inexpensive and have capabilities that can work for a wide range of companies and consumers.

That's if they are given a chance. There are some common misconceptions about Chromebooks and Chrome OS that prevent many from trying them.

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The Rich Landscape of Linux Education Software

Filed under
GNU
Linux

With regard to the various educational programs that are available for Linux, there are a number of different websites that are devoted entirely to promoting educational software for Linux based systems. The KDE Education Project, Schoolforge.net, and Kid’s Software for Linux are just a few of the websites that are devoted to promoting education software resources for children of all ages.

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Enhancing Education With FOSS

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Microsoft

So yeah, we occasionally run into people who have reinstalled Windows. We refuse to do it for them even if they supply a legitimate copy of Windows. Many of them have called after the switch to ask for help with virus or malware infections. We simply tell them that if they had left Linux on their child’s computer, we would not be having this discussion.

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More in Tux Machines

FATHOM releases Crystallon

  • FATHOM releases Crystallon, an open-source software for lattice-based design
    Lattice structures are integral to 3D printed designs, and Aaron Porterfield, an industrial designer at additive manufacturing service bureau FATHOM, has developed Crystallon, an open source project for shaping them into structures.
  • FATHOM Introduces Open Source Software Project for Generating 3D Lattice Structures
    California-based FATHOM, which expanded its on-site managed services and announced important partnerships with Stratasys and Desktop Metal last year, is introducing a fascinating new open source project called Crystallon, which uses Rhino and Grasshopper3D to create lattice structures. FATHOM industrial designer Aaron Porterfield, also an Instructables member, developed the project as an alternative to designing lattices with commercially available software. He joined the company’s design and engineering team three years ago, and is often a featured speaker for its Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) Training Program – and as the project developer, who better to explain the Crystallon project?

Kernel and Graphics: Machine Learning, Mesa, Wayland/Mir, AMDGPU

  • AI-Powered / Machine Learning Linux Performance Tuning Is Now A Thing
    A year and a half ago I wrote about a start-up working on dynamically-tuned, self-optimizing Linux servers. That company is now known as Concertio and they just launched their "AI powered" toolkit for IT administrators and performance engineers to optimize their server performance. Concertio Optimizer Studio is their product making use of machine learning that aims to optimize Linux systems with Intel CPUs for peak performance by scoping out the impact of hundreds of different tunables for trying to deliver an optimal configuration package for that workload on that hardware.
  • Pengutronix Gets Open-Source 3D Working On MX8M/GC7000 Hardware
    We've known that Pengutronix developers had been working on i.MX8M / GC7000 graphics support within their Etnaviv open-source driver stack from initial patches posted in January. Those patches back at the start of the year were for the DRM kernel driver, but it turns out they have already got basic 3D acceleration working.
  • SDL Now Disables Mir By Default In Favor Of Wayland Compatibility
    With Mir focusing on Wayland compatibility now, toolkits and other software making direct use of Mir's APIs can begin making use of any existing Wayland back-end instead. GTK4 drops the Mir back-end since the same can be achieved with the Wayland compatibility and now SDL is now making a similar move.
  • Mesa 18.1 Receives OpenGL 3.1 With ARB_compatibility For Gallium3D Drivers
    Going back to last October, Marek of AMD's open-source driver team has been working on ARB_compatibility support for Mesa with a focus on RadeonSI/Gallium3D. Today that work was finally merged. The ARB_compatibility support allows use of deprecated/removed features of OpenGL by newer versions of the specification. ARB_compatibility is particularly useful for OpenGL workstation users where there are many applications notorious for relying upon compatibility contexts / deprecated GL functionality. But ARB_compatibility is also used by a handful of Linux games too.
  • AMDGPU In Linux 4.17 Exposes WattMan Features, GPU Voltage/Power Via Hwmon
    AMD's Alex Deucher today sent in the first pull request to DRM-Next of AMDGPU (and Radeon) DRM driver feature material that will in turn be merged with the Linux 4.17 kernel down the road. There's some fun features for AMDGPU users coming with this next kernel! First up, Linux is finally getting some WattMan-like functionality after it's been available via the Windows Radeon Software driver since 2016. WattMan allows for more fine-tuning of GPU clocks, voltages, and more for trying to maximize the power efficiency. See the aforelinked article for details but currently without any GUI panel for tweaking all of the driver tunables, this WattMan-like support needs to be toggled from the command-line.

Wine and Ganes: World of Warcraft, Farm Together, Madcap Castle, Cityglitch

Security Leftovers