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4MLinux Is So Lightweight It's Anemic
December 11, 2014
4MLinux is a unique mini Linux distribution that tries to be what it is not. Its limited-purpose design is too basic for even lightweight distro functions. Much of any benefit users might derive from 4MLinux mimics what already is available from USB-launched pocket Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Porteus and Knoppix. However, much of their advanced functionality is missing from 4MLinux.
How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic's Mainstay
December 10, 2014
How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know offers an unglamorous view of the Linux OS. It takes readers behind the GUI into the bowels of command line operations. This second edition of Brian Ward's classic Linux reference book is completely revised. Though it offers something for everyone, casual Linux users run a slight risk of getting lost in some of the verbiage.
Puzzle GNU/Linux: Integrated Pieces Create an Intriguing OS
December 04, 2014
Puzzle GNU/Linux is a strange OS distribution that shows the value of open source ingenuity. This Linux distro is built around a hybrid desktop that is highly customizable. You might get the impression when you start using it that the desktop environment is a new creation. It's not -- but Puzzle GNU/Linux does provide a new approach to controlling the user interface.
'The Practice of Cloud System Administration' Brings Network Management Down to Earth
November 25, 2014
The Practice of Cloud System Administration, Volume 2 is a look into IT gone bad in some companies, and how doing it right can salvage enterprise use of cloud computing. The authors make 11 statements about computers and their networks on the first page of the book's preface. They ask which statements are true. You most likely will get numerous wrong answers.
Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux
November 20, 2014
The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition, or MCDE, has fewer standard apps than the previous Makulu Xfce and KDE versions offered. Dropping the kitchen sink philosophy has made it a lot less unwieldy.
CAINE Provides Sturdy Support for Forensic Specialists
November 14, 2014
CAINE, a professional-grade digital forensic Linux distro, uses an old-school desktop environment hardened with top-notch specialty tools. CAINE provides tight security and built-in digital investigation tools. It is less inviting for non-forensic specialists to use as an everyday Linux desktop, but it could serve the purpose for users who are willing to handle several interface inconveniences.
Black Lab Linux Is GNOME 3's Best Friend
November 07, 2014
Black Lab Linux is a general purpose free distribution for home users and SMBs. This particular segment of the Linux OS tries to bridge free OS and preconfigured commercial hardware/software with a flexible set of options. Black Lab Linux is an outgrowth of OS4 OpenLinux, a distro released in 2008 by the same developers. There is a blurred line between the free and enterprise versions.
Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages
November 05, 2014
"So simple a child could do it" -- I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit. Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano's step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.
Security-Minded Qubes OS Will Satisfy Your Yen for Xen
October 31, 2014
Qubes OS is a hybrid computing technology that raises the bar for security. It takes locking down computers to a new level. It has advanced far beyond the primitive proof of concept demonstrated more than four years ago. Beta Release 2, which arrived in late September, is a powerful desktop OS. Qubes succeeds in seamless integrating security by isolation into the user experience.
Calculate Linux Provides Consistency by Design
October 23, 2014
Calculate Linux 14 is a distro designed with home and SMB users in mind. It is optimized for rapid deployment in corporate environments as well. Calculate gives users something no other Linux distro offers. The Xfce desktop session is customized to imitate the look of the KDE desktop environment. This design approach goes a long way toward making Calculate Linux a one-distro-fits-all solution.
For Gentoo Linux Initiates, Iron Penguin May Be Too Heavy
October 16, 2014
Gentoo Linux can be either an experienced Linux user's ideal desktop choice or a new user's worst computing nightmare. I am not talking about being new to the Linux OS. I mean just plain and simple new to Gentoo Linux. The Linux OS has many dozens of specialized distributions. Many of them are easy to install and need only a few settings adjustments to perform as desired.
Cylon Linux Gives GNOME Fans Glamour Galore
October 09, 2014
Cylon Linux Delivers GNOME Design with Glamour Galore Jack M. Germain Cylon is a classic Linux distro preconfigured with lots of tweaks -- kind of a Unity-less Ubuntu with bling. Cylon runs the classic GNOME 3 desktop on almost any hardware configuration made since 2007, but it is more suited to seasoned Linux users. Newcomers to Linux may not make an easy transition.
Elementary OS 'Freya' Is Worth the Wait
October 02, 2014
Elementary OS is a new style Linux distro that wraps its own sophisticated desktop design around a solid Ubuntu core. This distro first appeared in 2011, and the second major version came out last year. The latest weeks-old beta release -- the third major version, called "Freya" -- shows that Elementary OS continues to offer Linux users a dependable alternative to popular desktop options.
'Data Divination: Big Data Strategies' Is a Great Hip-Pocket Tool
October 02, 2014
Most of today's books about Big Data delve into highly technical tools, cloud technology, and high-level computer-assisted math calculations and algorithms. For most people in the business world, this is far from motivating readers to appreciate just what Big Data does and how to let it get you there. However, that's not so with Data Divination: Big Data Strategies by Pam Baker.
Scribbleton Has a Ton of Potential
September 30, 2014
Scribbleton is a very infant -- as in alpha -- release of an innovative note-taking app for Linux that provides cross-platform access with Windows and Apple computers. It creates a personal wiki for storing everything from quick notes to detailed checklists to outlines. It creates links between pages in Scribbleton. Think of this as an easy-to-use database to link words, phrases and pages.
Pale Moon Shines for Classic Firefox Fans
September 25, 2014
The Pale Moon Web browser project gets rid of a problem that many Mozilla Firefox users would like to solve. The Pale Moon browser is a fork of Mozilla's official browser developed by Moonchild Productions. It provides users with access to all of their favorite Firefox extensions but eliminates the Australis interface, which some dislike. Firefox debuted the new UI in late April.
Opera Sings for Linux Users, With Just a Few Sour Notes
September 18, 2014
Opera offers an interesting alternative to the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers, but its recent Linux release leaves some room for improvement. Opera previously enjoyed a reputation as the go-to browser of choice for mobile environments. However, Opera Software, the developer, ignored Linux users for quite a long while until now. Opera's Version 12.16 is a very usable release.
Early iPhone 6 Reviewers Might as Well Be Rating Vacuum Cleaners
September 18, 2014
With every new iPhone release, Apple delivers a handful of new iPhones to a select few industry journalists to review. How are those journalists and publications selected? First, they are known to appreciate the Apple aesthetic -- they have written dozens of positive reviews. No Apple haters allowed, which makes sense. It's important to set the stage for positive vibes.
Springseed Cultivates Note-Taking Simplicity
September 09, 2014
Springseed is a simple note-taking app for Linux that features full Markdown language support. Most Linux note and text-editing tools do not incorporate Markdown symbols. The real beauty of this feature is that you do not have to use it. You still have a minimalistic yet very efficient note-taking tool that doubles as a Markdown editor. The Markdown language lets you easily format plain text.
SparkyLinux GameOver Is a Winning Work-Play Combo
August 20, 2014
The SparkyLinux GameOver 3.4 Edition may be one of the best Linux distros catering to game players you will find. It is a full-service specialty Linux OS with a focus on gaming. Linux distro developers usually do one of two things about games. One, they provide none or only a few low-impact card and puzzle titles. Two, they build in links to the PlayOnLinux and Steam websites.
OpenMandriva Lx: Not the KDE You Knew
August 14, 2014
OpenMandriva Lx 2014 is a KDE-only Linux distribution that has some rough edges but is otherwise a solid and reliable choice for user-friendly computing. This latest version, dubbed "Phosphorus," is based on the Mandriva Linux project and ROSA, a Russian Linux distro. ROSA forked from Mandriva Linux in 2012. It integrated many of Mandriva's original tools and utilities with its own enhancements.
Peppermint OS 5: Light, Refreshing Linux
August 08, 2014
The Peppermint OS is built around a concept that may be unique among desktop environments. It is a hybrid of traditional Linux desktop applications and cloud-based apps. This innovative approach puts the latest release, Peppermint OS 5, well ahead of the curve. It brings cloud apps to the Linux desktop with the ease and flexibility of a Chromebook, and it supports installed software as well.
MyNotex Strikes an Almost Perfect Note
July 31, 2014
Note-taking applications in Linux are a dime a dozen. It can be difficult to sort through the feature sets to find the best solution. MyNotex has a near-perfect combination of features and uniqueness to put it into a class of its own. MyNotex is a multipurpose tool to take notes, file documents, and manage information or research. It is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit Deb and RPM packages.
Skype for Linux Redesign Is Ugly but Functional
July 23, 2014
If you do not mind having a free non-open source Microsoft product on your Linux computer, the latest Skype for Linux release catches up to the Windows and Mac versions, providing most of the features they've had for some time. Microsoft rolled out Skype version 4.3.0.37 in mid June. The catch-up release has an updated user interface, some additional features, and lots of bug fixes.

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