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Rebellin Linux Offers Best of Both Gnome Worlds
May 24, 2016
Rebellin Linux is a smart-looking, fast distro that is both lightweight and secure. It is well worth checking out. The Rebellin line avoids the pitfalls that befall many Debian GNU/Linux derivatives. It does not maintain a warehouse full of desktop versions. It is neither a minimalistic Linux line nor a distro stuffed with bloat from packages typical users will never need.
Forked Debian Beta Is Rough Around the Edges
May 17, 2016
The Devuan GNU/Linux community's much-awaited Devuan Linux Jessie 1.0 beta release is available. It took two years for disgruntled Debian community members to make good on their promise of a systemd-free Debian distro. They rejected a Linux-wide trend to replace older init processes such as Upstart and System V with systemd. The process of forking Debian into Devuan took much longer than expected.
Simplicity Linux Digs Deeper Than Its Puppy Linux Pals
May 12, 2016
Simplicity Linux delivers a simpler way to run a fully powered Linux desktop on any computer you touch. It is derived from Puppy Linux. Two beta versions released in March offer experimental approaches that stray from the distro's standard releases. If you're familiar with Puppy Linux but have not yet taken Simplicity for a walk, you're missing out some interesting Linux computing experiences.
Vivaldi Browser Is a Breath of Fresh Air
May 9, 2016
The Vivaldi browser provides a refreshing approach to traveling along the Internet. It offers something beyond the same old thing in a different skin. Vivaldi is the brainchild of former Opera CEO Jon von Tetzchner. The developers built the Vivaldi browser on top of Chromium, which is open source, but added their own proprietary skins. Therefore, Vivaldi's code is not available for review.
Fedora-Based Sugar on a Stick Is One Sweet Desktop
May 2, 2016
The Fedora 23 Sugar on a Stick desktop offering is an unusually flexible computing desktop for children of all ages, school admins and organizations looking for the best bang for absolutely no bucks on existing computer hardware. The Sugar environment is both a desktop and a collection of activities or apps that involve user engagement. Activities automatically save results to a journal.
Bodhi Linux 3.2 Promises Clearer Path to Enlightenment
April 26, 2016
Bodhi Linux 3.2.0 is an update to the Bodhi Linux 3.x series and features key kernel and desktop improvements. It is a different kind of Linux distro. Its developers refer to it as the "Enlightened Desktop," because it draws its energy from the Enlightenment desktop. Enlightenment started as a project to build a window manager for X11 in 1996. It grew into a desktop environment in its own right.
LXLE Gives Aging Hardware a New Lease on Life
April 18, 2016
LXLE is an ideal distro for out-of-the-box functionality to handle your everyday computing needs. It's a well-oiled lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu's long-term support releases for Debian and Lubuntu Linux from a community originating in the U.S. The latest version is 14.04.4, released last month. It runs an optimized LXDE that has a comfortable look and feel.
Robust New FreeOffice Suite Proves Free Can Be Just as Good
April 12, 2016
SoftMaker's FreeOffice Linux office suite is a LibreOffice look-alike that provides strong performance compatibility with Microsoft Office documents. SoftMaker offers a line of open source offerings that compete with its commercial suite. It's a Windows/Linux cross-platform office suite with integrated applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and email management.
Qubes' Xen-Like Security Requires a Leap of Faith
April 6, 2016
If you want an effective and different approach to computer platform security, turn to the Qubes OS. Be prepared to adjust your expectations and your computing comfort zone, however. The Qubes OS does not work the way other Linux distros work in adding extra layers of security. It is based on the Fedora Linux desktop but goes well beyond Fedora's approach.
Apricity OS Is Clean and Classy
March 29, 2016
If you're looking for a quick, clean and classy Linux distro, look no further than the Apricity OS beta. Either of the two available flavors -- GNOME or Cinnamon -- is sure to give you a pleasant computing experience. The latest beta version was released last month. Betas can be frustrating and Arch Linux can be challenging, but Apricity's developers ease that pain.
Remix OS Fills Android Desktop Void
March 15, 2016
The ability to run the Android OS as a fully functional desktop on PCs took a giant leap forward this month with a release that merges the Android-x86 Project with Jide Technology's Remix OS distribution. Android-x86 Project developer Chih-Wei Huang late last month announced on the project's website a partnership with Jide. He started the Android-x86 Project in 2009.
If You Like Fedora, You'll Love Korora
March 4, 2016
The Korora Linux desktop is a solid computing platform that's loaded with options to suit a wide range of user needs. Korora 23 final was released last month. It's a Fedora-based distribution featuring many user-friendly enhancements as well as a choice of five desktop environments. Unless you are looking for bleeding-edge desktop environments, Korora gives you all the top contenders.
RebeccaBlackOS Is a Class Act
February 26, 2016
RebeccaBlackOS is a Debian Testing-based live distribution that offers a developmental view of Wayland-based Linux desktop sessions. A few other distro makers have prototypes of Wayland running, but the options for different desktop environments available all from one live-session DVD caught my attention. Anyone curious about where Wayland development is headed can get a first look from RBOS.
Glitches Mar Makulu's Appeal
February 17, 2016
Makulu 10 Xfce edition continues developer Jacque Raymer's track record of pushing the limits with useful and innovative features to keep his distro line a step ahead of the crowd. He released Makulu 10 Xfce this week after more than 12 months in the making. The focus is stability, speed and social integration. The Xfce edition can claim success with two of those three goals.
Rosa Is a Real Powerhouse
February 9, 2016
The Rosa Desktop Fresh R series optimizes desktop usage and targets advanced users and enthusiasts looking for rich functionality. Add to that mix the default KDE flavoring and you have a compelling Linux distro. The typical Rosa user already is familiar with basic Linux offerings and wants a product with customization and personalization possibilities. That is what Rosa Desktop delivers.
Zenwalk 8 Beta Led Me Down a Rocky Road
February 1, 2016
Zenwalk is a Linux distro that seems to be in a state of flux. I took a gamble with the Zenwalk 8.0 beta edition, released last month, after several colleagues raved about its improvements. Chalk that up to potentially bad advice. It's not that Zenwalk is a bad distro. It is an uncooperative and strange experience. A lot can be said about not having to struggle with a problematic OS version.
Fast Times With Nelum OS
January 26, 2016
Nelum OS is a light and fast live-installable Linux distribution family offering three separate releases. The distro is a brand-new entry to the land of Linux, with its initial release posted earlier this month. It is an unusual twist on what you usually see with a Linux release. For example, the virtual desktops can be changed simply by scrolling the mouse wheel or finger scrolling the touchpad.
Deepin Takes Linux to New Depths
January 18, 2016
The latest release of the Linux distro now called "Depth OS" deserves serious consideration. It is fast, reliable and innovative, with an impressive homegrown desktop design dubbed "Deepin Desktop Environment." Depth OS has a bit of an identity problem. The open source community that developed the distro seems to have a difficult time deciding what to call it.
Solus Project's Virtues Begin and End With Stability
January 11, 2016
The Solus Project is much like the little engine that still can't function. Version 1.0 was released last month as the first stable release from the twice-revamped Linux distro. Solus is built from scratch for the x86_64 architecture around a rewritten Budgie homemade desktop environment. Budgie offers a simplified approach to implementing the look and feel of older-style GNOME 2 functionality.
Elementary OS' Freya Dumbs Down Linux
January 6, 2016
The release last month of Elementary OS Freya version 0.3.2 showed little has changed in this new-style Linux distro that wraps its own lightweight desktop design around the Ubuntu core. I liked the beta release's fresh look and simplified approach to desktop management. However, my hopes for more features and a faster-evolving desktop environment in the latest release went unfulfilled.
Hats Off to Chapeau Linux's Better Fedora Concept
January 4, 2016
The Chapeau project's latest version arrived last month and is a good choice for enterprise users who want something a step above the traditional Fedora distro. An iconic Linux distro, Fedora is a very popular choice in enterprise shops, but it's less than ideal for home and SMB use without an IT staff to make it work. That is where Chapeau 23 comes to the rescue.
Linux Mint Upgrade Sparkles
December 17, 2015
Linux Mint upgrade to version 17.3 Rosa is one upgrade regular users do not want to skip. This latest release in downloadable ISO format, available in the MATE and Cinnamon desktop editions, hit servers earlier this month. Several days later, the upgrade was available from within the package management repository for existing Linux Mint users. That eliminates the need for a clean installation.
GeckoLinux: This Baby Knows What It's Doing
December 11, 2015
GeckoLinux is a custom spin of the openSuse project. It offers an impressive variety of options and easier operation than typical Suse-based Linux distros provide. GeckoLinux is a newcomer. I mean very new. Its first release was last week. You shouldn't view this distro as a wailing infant, however. It's based on openSuse Leap 42.1 and was leapfrogged into near-instant maturity from Suse Studio.
Hot New BunsenLabs Linux Eases Pain of CrunchBang Loss
December 7, 2015
BunsenLabs Linux does a bang-up job of picking up where CrunchBang Linux left off. Developer Philip Newborough retired the popular minimalist distro earlier this year. In a world of feature-packed operating systems and bloated Linux distros, he felt his CrunchBang alternative served no further purpose. BunsenLabs is one of three CrunchBang replacements that mimic the lightweight but functional OS.
Sluggish Download and Install Subtract From Netrunner's Pluses
December 3, 2015
The Netrunner Rolling 2015.11 version is a disappointing release. It seems sluggish and unimpressive right from the start. Linux Picks and Pans last reviewed Netrunner in 2013 and gave it five stars. This was the standard Netrunner edition built upon Kubuntu, Ubuntu's KDE desktop version. The Netrunner Rolling edition, released in 2014, is based on packages from the Manjaro distribution.
Vinux Enhances Productivity for Visually Impaired Users
November 23, 2015
Vinux 5.0 is a striking example of the flexibility and usability of the Linux OS. Vinux is a fully functional Linux distro that caters to blind and partially sighted users. It's based on Ubuntu Trusty Tahr 14.04.3 LTS and gives users support through 2019. The latest version was released earlier this month. It greatly improves on the usability features of other Linux distributions.
Ubuntu Studio Is a Treasure Trove for Creative Types
November 17, 2015
Ubuntu Studio 15.10 is a one-stop Linux OS shop for most creative people. It bundles a nearly full range of multimedia content-creation applications for workflows involving audio, graphics, video, photography and publishing. The developers describe this distro as a multimedia content-creation hub for all five creative workflows. The last element -- publishing -- is the weakest link.
Purism's Librem 13 Linux Laptop Is Sleek, Private and Secure
November 12, 2015
The combination of custom-made hardware paired with a tweaked Linux OS makes the Librem laptop lineup a unique offering with several innovative security features not offered in any other computer. The Librem line is a work in progress. The operating system just reached version 2.0 and comes preinstalled on the hardware built with the modified Linux kernel in mind.
GALPon MiniNo Makes Kid-Friendly Lightweight Linux
November 4, 2015
GALPon MiniNo is one of the strangest and most distinctive Linux distros to grace the Linux Picks and Pans computer screens. Those two traits make it an almost ideal option for anyone looking for a reliable operating system for youngsters and educational facilities that cater to early education students. PicarOS Diego 2015 is the latest in the GALPon MiniNo family of Linux products.
BackBox Takes Its Security Tools Seriously
October 30, 2015
BackBox Linux 4.4 is a great Linux distro for IT and other techies who want to do their own penetration tests and security assessments. The latest version, released this month, is an Ubuntu 14.04.3-based distribution that's speedy and simple to use. It's a fully functional Linux distro that comes well stocked with standard software and runs a desktop environment based on the Xfce window manager.
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Google just announced Home, a voice-activated speaker similar to Amazon's Echo. What do you think of these devices?
I have an Echo and I love it.
I have an Echo but rarely use it.
I plan to buy an Echo or Home.
Google's Home will be much better than Echo.
They're expensive novelties.
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