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The Peppermint Twist Is Still Cool
August 29, 2016
The Peppermint operating system is built around a concept not found in most Linux distros. It is a hybrid combination of traditional Linux desktop applications and cloud-based infrastructure. Peppermint 7 is a lightweight distribution based on Ubuntu 16.04. The key to its process of linking full desktop functionality to cloud apps is an in-house developed application dubbed "Ice."
Latest Slackware Version Doesn't Cut Newbies any Slack
August 22, 2016
Slackware is one of those Linux distros often described as being difficult to use. The Slackware Project version 14.2 released on July 1 does little to change that view -- at least, as far as installing it is concerned. Its KDE desktop is probably the most contemporary trait. Other than an update under the hood, it offers little that's new in terms of usability and few new features.
Linux Mint 18: Fresher Than Ever
August 9, 2016
The Linux Mint 18 Sarah will please long-time users and impress new adopters for its growth in features and overall consistent performance. Linux Mint 18, released at the end of June, is a long-term edition supported through 2021. The in-house built Cinnamon desktop and the GNOME 2 fork MATE desktop were available at its introduction. The Xfce edition became available earlier this month.
Homegrown Budgie Desktop Shows Off the Beauty - and Beastliness - of Solus Simplicity
July 29, 2016
The Solus Project version 1.2 shows considerable maturity in the homegrown Budgie desktop. Solus 1.2 is the second minor release in the Shannon series, built around a custom Budgie desktop developed in-house and the eopkg package manager forked from PiSi. Solus is a Linux distribution built from scratch. The Budgie desktop can be set to emulate the look and feel of the GNOME 2 desktop.
Android, Chromebook Make a Sweet Couple
July 23, 2016
Chrome OS and Android Apps now run together on some Chromebooks. Many, but not all, Chromebook models will get the operating system update that allows it as fall approaches. The Asus Chromebook Flip C100P -- the first Chromebook to get the upgrade -- is an impressive example of what will come with the hybrid integration of Chrome OS and Android apps.
HandyLinux Is a Great Toolbox for Linux Newbies
July 9, 2016
HandyLinux is a distro that offers a simplified approach to using the Linux desktop operating system. HandyLinux first appeared about three years ago. The latest version, 2.5, was released in early June. The developers make it easy to peel off the "Handy" layers to reveal a more standard Linux environment as users learn the system. Those who no longer need the IT tools included with the initial installation can remove them easily.
Makulu's LinDoz Is a Smooth Windows-Cinnamon Blend
June 29, 2016
If you want a classy distro with the look and feel of the Microsoft platform, the MakuluLinux LinDoz edition will feed your nostalgia. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer released MakuluLinux 11 LinDoz edition earlier this month after a year and a half in the making. Forked from the Original Aero Edition, it first appeared with the MakuluLinux 9 series.
New Linux Lite Is a Powerhouse Distro in Disguise
June 15, 2016
Linux Lite 3.0 is anything but what its name implies. It is a full-featured operating system that lets you get down to serious business right out of the box. It is one of the few out-of-the-box experiences I have had testing Linux distros in which I actually was set up and working in less than five minutes. Linux Lite runs only the lightweight Xfce desktop environment.
ReactOS Is a Promising Open Source Windows Replacement
June 7, 2016
If you want to run a clone of Microsoft Windows to escape the drama of upgrading to Windows 10, try ReactOS -- but do not expect it to be a fully functional replacement any time soon. ReactOS is a free, open source operating system built on the design principles found in the Windows NT architecture. Just remember that ReactOS is a Windows clone and not a Linux distro.
Voyager Offers a Mostly Smooth-Sailing Linux Adventure
June 2, 2016
Voyager Live 16.04 is a Linux distro that could be an ideal choice for everyday computing tasks -- but first it has to step away from its branding with Xubuntu. The once-per-year release of Voyager Live, which hit servers last month, is an Xubuntu-based distribution showcasing the Xfce 4.12.2 desktop environment. It will receive three years of security updates.
Tiny HopperGo Neatly Stashes Loads of Mobile Entertainment
May 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to change the way we view recorded TV. It made location-shifting as easy as time-shifting via its Sling technology, and its Hopper let users transfer recordings to a mobile device. Now it has introduced another option for taking recorded content anywhere: the HopperGO, a compact DVR hard disk drive that lets users transfer content from a set-top box to the portable unit.
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.
Dish Networks' Hopper 3 Takes a Leap and a Bound
March 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to up its game with its whole-home TV set-top box and accompanying devices. Since introducing its Sling-based TV-anywhere solution and whole-home DVR three years ago, Dish has remained one hop ahead of the competition. Since its launch, the Hopper has featured Sling technology that allowed for the streaming of content from the living room to almost anywhere.
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.
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.
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