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Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist
June 15, 2018
Every once and a great while I stumble on a Linux distro that makes me sit up and smile. Modicia O.S. is one of them. It is not that Modicia steps over the bleeding edge of innovation. It is a seemingly standard desktop Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It comes in one desktop flavor, Xfce -- but with a twist. Yet nothing is standard about Modicia O.S. That is what generates the happiness.
Desktop Consolidation Gives SparkyLinux a Clearer Focus
May 31, 2018
SparkyLinux is experiencing growing pains. You could say that this very capable Linux distribution was just too much of a great thing to last. Users previously had access to a continuously updated list of more than a dozen different download options. Depending on which variety you selected, you could choose from a wide range of desktop environments.
Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up RoboLinux Raptor
May 19, 2018
RoboLinux is a unique distro that focuses on incorporating Windows versions XP through 10 within a fully functional Linux operating system. You might never need the Stealth VM features that let you easily install and run Microsoft Windows within most any Linux distro. Still, RoboLinux is a topnotch general purpose Linux computing platform that comes with a choice of leading desktop environments.
Ubuntu Budgie Whistles Up a Better Remix
May 3, 2018
If you have yet to try the Budgie desktop, the latest release of Ubuntu Budgie is a perfect opportunity to experience a classy and user-friendly computing platform. Budgie is one of the first home-grown Linux distros to release its latest version based on Ubuntu 18.04. The independent developer announced Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 last week, coinciding with Canonical's release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity
April 19, 2018
NixOS is a modern and flexible GNU/Linux-based distribution that is both archaic to install and maddening to set up. That combination makes NixOS a reach too far for new users. That result may be an unintended consequence for a Linux operating system that is built around a very novel design approach. It is far more complex than other innovating options.
Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow
April 5, 2018
Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the OS against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right. Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of software, and a live desktop DVD.
Neptune 5: A Practically Perfect Plasma-Based Distro
March 23, 2018
ZevenOS' Neptune 5.0, released earlier this month, offers a refreshing take on a classic KDE-based Linux distro. Neptune 5 Refresh replaces version 4.5 and closes a dormant period that had produced no new releases for more than two years. The wait may be worth it for Linux fans who are devoted to the KDE Plasma desktop. Neptune 5 sports an easy-to-use USB installer tool.
Deepin Desktop Props Up Pardus Linux
March 8, 2018
The Pardus Linux distro offers an inviting computing experience with both old and new options. However, a dual development path narrows its user appeal. Pardus suffers from sharing its personality -- splitting its attention between an enterprise edition and a community version. While they both share the same distro name, they come from different developer teams.
Endless OS Helps Tear Down Linux Wall
February 22, 2018
The Endless OS is a distro with its own adapted desktop environment based on Gnome 3, and with an even simpler and more streamlined user experience. Although it looks and feels a lot like an Android shell running on a PC, Endless OS is a fully functional Linux distro designed to be easy to install and use. The latest version includes automatic updates and improved application launch speeds.
Kudos to Namib Linux for Making Arch Approachable
February 13, 2018
Namib is an ideal Linux distro for anyone who wants to ease into the Arch approach to computing. Namib is a newcomer -- the third and current release arrived late last year. However, it makes up for its lack of age by its performance. Namib makes Arch simple. Surprisingly very user-friendly as well as compatible with older computers, Namib also is very stable.
SolydXK Plasma Rewards Effort With Stunning Results
January 25, 2018
SolydXK is a Debian-based Linux distribution that comes with a choice of the Xfce or KDE desktop. The latest edition of SolydXK, released this month, provides a state-of-the-art Linux platform. Since I first reviewed the SoldXK distro back in 2013, it has grown into a reputable Linux offering built around two popular computing options. Those two desktop options drew me to the Linux OS years ago.
GeckoLinux: A Polished Distro Just Got Smoother
January 11, 2018
GeckoLinux offers both seasoned users and new distro adopters an easy way to try an openSuse-based spin that is loaded with features and an ample inventory of the leading Linux desktops. The developer released a major update of GeckoLinux earlier this week. I enjoyed testing the beta version last fall, and I was even more pleased with the added embellishments packed into this final version.
SoftMaker for Linux Is a Solid Microsoft Office Alternative
December 27, 2017
SoftMaker Office could be a first-class professional-strength replacement for Microsoft Office on the Linux desktop. The Linux OS has its share of lightweight word processors and a few nearly worthy standalone spreadsheet apps, but very few high-end integrated office suites exist for Linux users. Generally, Linux office suites lack a really solid slide presentation creation tool.
If You're Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way
December 12, 2017
Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure. ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux, which is a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.
MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds
November 16, 2017
MX Linux-17 Beta 1 is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian's "stable" branch. It is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. Normally, taking a first look at an early phase beta release means taking a few hours to get familiar with the features and performance. If too many glitches appear, it can doom the early release to a negative review.
GeckoLinux Beta Does openSuse Better
November 8, 2017
The latest developmental beta release of GeckoLinux brings this custom spinoff distro of openSuse to new levels of performance and convenience. When I first looked at GeckoLinux in late 2015, I was impressed with the developer's efforts to smooth over what I did not like about using the Suse infrastructure. GeckoLinux impressed me then. It does not disappoint me now.
Anarchy Linux Dispels Fear of Arch
October 20, 2017
Anarchy Linux, the distro formerly known as "Arch-Anywhere Linux" has changed my tune about the terrors of Arch-based Linux as a suitable OS. In general, however, Arch-anything presents a challenge that may not be worth the effort for typical desktop needs. A potential trademark violation forced Anarchy Linux developer/maintainer Dylan Schacht to rebrand Arch-Anywhere, his homespun distro.
GNOME and Budgie: 2 Comfy Ubuntu 17.10 Environments
October 10, 2017
Ubuntu 17.10, otherwise known as "Artful Aardvark," is a paradigm shift for Canonical. The company is set to release the official version of the much anticipated Ubuntu 17.10 desktop, server and cloud distro on Oct. 19 -- it released the final beta version late last month. Ubuntu 17.10 comes with a new default desktop to replace the retired Unity interface.
ArchLabs Makes Up for Parabola's Curve Balls
October 3, 2017
If you want to stretch your Linux desktop acumen from the Debian Linux lineage to Arch Linux, Archlabs might be a better choice than Parabola. Arch Linux is something of a black sheep when it comes to installing and configuring a Linux distribution. It presents a few more stumbling blocks than other Linux options, which could make it a less welcome alternative to some users.
Bodhi Linux With Moksha Is Truly Enlightening
September 6, 2017
Bodhi Linux 4.3.1's implementation of the Enlightenment desktop, released late last month, continues this distro's tradition of providing an awesome desktop computing platform for office or home. When I last reviewed Bodhi Linux, I was attracted to the relatively new desktop environment. I recently installed the latest version on new hardware, and Bodhi Linux did not disappoint.
Window Maker Live: Cool Retro Look, Even Cooler Performance
August 28, 2017
Window Maker Live takes an unusual approach to desktop interface management. It has an old-fashioned look with a productive new feel. The latest version of Window Maker Live, released this month, is a Debian-based Linux distribution that uses the Window Maker window manager as the default GUI. It integrates well-known open source components in a surprisingly satisfying interface.
Kolab Now Is a Smooth On-Ramp for LibreOffice Online
August 23, 2017
As cloud popularity grows, so does the collection of free or low-cost online office tools that services like Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs/G Suite provide. However, those two major league offerings, along with a swarm of other cloud-based productivity platforms, are proprietary. Until now, online open source office suites have been little more than vaporware.
Ubuntu Budgie Distro: Simple, Clean and User-Friendly
August 15, 2017
Ubuntu Budgie is one of the few Linux distros to offer integration of a Budgie desktop-only edition, other than Solus OS, whose developers created it. Ubuntu Budgie is classy and user-friendly. It does not sacrifice performance for reliance on a simple design. Although based on the Ubuntu Linux family, Ubuntu Budgie is not from Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company.
SparkyLinux 5: Great All-Purpose Distro for Confident Linux Users
July 27, 2017
When I first reviewed the Game Over edition of SparkyLinux several years ago, I called it one of the best full-service Linux distros catering to game players you could find. That assessment extends to last month's release of the non-gaming edition of this distro. Based on the testing branch of Debian, SparkyLinux 5.0 features customized lightweight desktops.
Xinix Offers Linux Lovers a Path to Zen
June 27, 2017
Xinix is an innovative newcomer to the world of Linux distros. Now in beta, this distro has been spearheaded by a single developer who slowly is bringing other programmers on board to move things along. Despite its early development status, Xinix has potential for Linux fans who like to experiment with new platform concepts and do not mind trying out an OS that is not yet fully functional.
Rosa LXQt Edition's Flexibility Sets It Apart
June 14, 2017
The Rosa Desktop Fresh R series gets better with each new edition to its distro lineup. The already-established Rosa Desktop Fresh R was a hit with its series of standard desktop editions released with KDE4 and Plasma 5, as well as the GNOME 3 and MATE desktops. This latest LXQt edition adds the ability to run this powerhouse computing platform on legacy boxes with as little as 512 MB of RAM.
BitKey Unlocks Mysteries of the Bitcoin Universe
June 1, 2017
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution with specialist utilities for performing highly secure air-gapped bitcoin transactions. This distro is not for everyday computing needs, but if you are obsessed with the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be just what you need. I am a high-tech sort of guy with a keen interest in diving through Linux distros both simple and complex.
Feren OS: A Linux Desktop Game-Changer
May 18, 2017
Feren OS is a polished and well-stocked Linux distro that comes close to being an ideal replacement for Microsoft Windows and macOS. In fact, this impressive Linux OS is a very attractive replacement for any Linux distro. The only impediment to this assessment is dislike of the Cinnamon desktop. Feren OS does not give you any other desktop options, but it comes with many configuration choices.
Ultimate Edition Linux: Rough Road to a Nice Destination
May 3, 2017
Ultimate Edition has a lot going for it. However, the latest release, version 5.4, also reflects numerous missteps that developers of a seasoned Linux distro should avoid. Ultimate Edition is a fork of two popular Debian-based Linux families -- Ubuntu and Linux Mint -- that aimed to take the best of both Linux entities and blend in a fresh mix of visually stimulating features.
Tiny Core: Small Footprint, Big Potential
April 18, 2017
Tiny Core Linux 8.0, released last week, is a minimalist Linux OS built from scratch with a focus on being as small as possible. That means you should be able to run this Linux distro on a wide range of legacy machines. The tradeoff for ultra smallness, however, often is a not-so-powerful OS that can leave you longing for better options. The Core Project is based on a highly modular system.
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