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OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith
March 23, 2017
OpenSuse Leap 42.2 goes a long way toward maintaining Suse's reputation for reliability and stability. That said, new users might need a push to take the leap from their familiar distros to this latest OpenSuse release. Business users can remain confident that upgrading to the latest edition, released last fall, won't put them too close to the bleeding edge of innovation.
Slackel Openbox Plays Hard to Get
March 16, 2017
Slackel's Openbox edition is a lightweight operating system that offers reliable performance once you get the box open. It is not an ideal OS for every user, though. Slackel 6.0.8 Openbox was released by developer Dimitris Tzemos last fall. Slackel is a Linux distro that offers several benefits for users who step away from the typical mainstream Debian-based Linux distros.
Black Lab Linux 8.0 Is a Rare Treat
March 9, 2017
Black Lab Linux 8.0, based on Ubuntu 16.04, adds a Unity desktop option. You won't find Unity offered by any other major -- or nearly any minor -- Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu. It also updates several other prominent desktop options. Black Lab Linux is a general purpose community distribution for home users and SMBs. Black Lab Enterprise Linux targets businesses that want support services.
Zorin Desktop Is a Crowd Pleaser
March 1, 2017
Zorin OS developers on Tuesday released Version 12.1, offering Linux users a patchwork of software and hardware updates with some performance enhancements and bug fixes. Zorin 12.1 follows the introduction three months ago of the project's 12 series. It is a minor update, but the amount of tweaking applied makes it worth upgrading to the .1 release. For instance, it has an updated hardware stack.
DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup
February 25, 2017
DebianDog offers a lot of functionality and customization that frees users from many of the restrictions of a Linux community tied up in developmental red tape. DebianDog is fast and focused on getting work done without a lot of distractions. However, it also is a disorganized desktop environment that can leave new users floundering. Its look and feel is eclectic, and documentation is sparse.
Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop
February 14, 2017
The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux GUIs. Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead. Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems, such as FreeBSD and TrueOS.
SalentOS Switchers Will Have No Regrets
February 6, 2017
SalentOS is a Linux distro that easily can put a smile on your face. It is a flexible and accommodating desktop platform that balances demands on system resources with efficient performance. SalentOS is not well known, but it has much to offer. This distro makes it easy to leave behind your current computing choice. Salent has been around for the last few years on the Ubuntu base.
FastComputer: Fussy but Fixable
January 20, 2017
FastComputer Linux is a disappointing experience that almost fails. It is poorly designed, has little community support, and lacks its own home base and identity, all of which contribute to an identity crisis. Its home -- on Sourceforge.com -- lacks much in attractiveness, as does the distro. The Linux OS offers developers and users choice among desktop options and OS standards.
Min Browser Muffles the Web's Noise
January 9, 2017
Min is a Web browser with a minimal design that provides speedy operation with simple features. When it comes to software design, "minimal" does not mean low functionality or undeveloped potential. If you like minimal distraction tools for your text editor and note-taking applications, that same comfort appeal is evident in the Min browser. I mostly use Google Chrome, Chromium and Firefox on my desktops and laptop computers.
Absolute Linux Caters to the Slackware Crowd
January 3, 2017
Absolute Linux is a distro that raises the question: Is it really worth the bother? Any version of this Slackware-based Linux OS is just that -- a really big bother -- unless you love Unix-like systems that give you total control. It likely would be especially bothersome for less experienced users and for folks comfortable with Debian distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and such.
Android Marshmallow on PC Falls Flat
December 7, 2016
Android-x86 Project eventually may become a viable operating system alternative for your desktop and laptops computers, but it's not there yet. You will have to wait a while for the developers to fix a number of failures with the latest release upgrading Android-x86 to Marshmallow 6.0.1. Android-x86 lets you run the Android OS with the Google Chrome browser on your desktop and laptop computers.
Refracta 8.0 Is a Pint-Sized Powerhouse
December 2, 2016
Refracta is a somewhat obscure Linux distribution that offers exceptional functionality and stability. Obscurity is not always a bad thing when it comes to Linux distros. You can find some very worthwhile alternatives to your current operating system. Refracta is a big surprise in a small package. Many look-alike desktop distros are difficult to distinguish from run-of-the-mill garden varieties.
AV Linux Update: Good but Not Better
November 26, 2016
AV Linux could be a music and video lover's dream come true. AV Linux is a specialty distribution that can turn a new or old PC, or an Intel-powered Mac box, into a workstation for audio/graphics/video enthusiasts. AV Linux is one of the few available fully functional Linux distros to give audio and video enthusiasts a professional level collection of tools for handling of audio-visual files.
wattOS Energizes Aging Hardware
November 15, 2016
wattOS is a stunning example of really great things coming in small packages. wattOS is a lightweight and fast desktop Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS built around the LXDE. It uses the lightweight Openbox window manager as its default user interface. To credit this 8-year-young community of developers with birthing an energy-efficient Linux distribution is an understatement.
Q4OS+Trinity Gives New Meaning to Lightweight
November 2, 2016
Q4OS is a lightweight Linux distro that offers some worthwhile alternatives to more established distros. Q4OS version 1.6.1 "Orion," released this summer, has as its main claim to fame the developing Trinity desktop. Trinity is a breakaway fork from the KDE 3 community. I took a detailed first look at this new distro last year, primarily to assess the Trinity desktop.
Battlefield 1: Big, Bombastic and Very Loosely Based
October 25, 2016
If filmmaker Michael Bay -- known for the Transformers and other over-the-top films -- were to decide to make a World War I movie, and if he chose to rely on comic books for research, the result would be very much like Electronic Arts' newly released video game Battlefield 1. This latest entry in the popular series moves the action from recent modern settings to the Great War.
Meet Maui 1, the Slick New Hawaiian Netrunner
October 18, 2016
Maui 1, which launched this summer, is one of the latest newcomers in the continuously changing list of Linux distributions. Maui Linux, with its new Hawaii desktop environment, is a replacement and rebranding of the discontinued Netrunner project. Its developers are attempting to continue the Kubuntu-based heritage, while adopting some of the latest technologies impacting other Linux distros.
Apricity: Slip Into Something More Comfortable
October 5, 2016
Apricity OS is a great, two-pronged Linux distro that recently reached a milestone that will ensure its continued success. Apricity's first public beta, which was GNOME-only, was released more than a year ago. A choice of either the GNOME or Cinnamon desktops later became available in the monthly development snapshot releases. Rolling releases provided a pleasant computing experience.
Black Panther OS Is No Cool Cat
September 28, 2016
The Black Panther OS is a bare-bones Linux distribution built around the KDE desktop. The KDE environment itself is not a minimal component, but how it is integrated within Black Panther gives you an almost-nothing-there installation until you painstakingly install system tools and applications, literally piece by piece. Black Panther OS, originally forked from Mandriva Linux, is now under independent development in Hungary.
Parsix Normalizes GNOME
September 20, 2016
Parsix is a feature-rich distro that will delight GNOME desktop users looking for a well-tweaked user experience. It offers a well-oiled, single track Linux desktop operating system. It has no distractions from multiple desktop options. It provides one of the best integrations of the latest GNOME desktop available. Parsix has been around since at least 2007. Along the way, it built a reputation for dependability.
Cub Linux Is a Worthy Chromixium Offspring
September 9, 2016
Cub Linux, an improved rebranding of the innovative Chromixium Linux distro, combines the look, feel and functionality of Google's Chrome OS with traditional Linux performance. Cub Linux provides a complete Chromebook experience on the hardware of your choice. The innovation is quite impressive. Cub Linux also runs software from the Ubuntu distro ecosystem. Linux is all about exercising options.
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.
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What's your reaction to the Turkish Crime Family's claim that it can access hundreds of millions of iCloud accounts?
I'm very worried -- I take all cyberthreats seriously.
I'm feeling secure -- I changed my password and set up 2FA.
I'm angry -- companies need to be more responsible.
I'm not at all concerned -- I trust Apple.
I'm resigned -- I expect to be breached at some point.
I don't care much -- the world has bigger problems.