Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Reviews

KDE Plasma Review: The Swiss Army Knife of Desktops

Filed under
KDE
Reviews

As the long-standing rival to GNOME, KDE Plasma is another one of the most popular Linux desktop environments. It’s a lot of the things people may not like about GNOME: resource efficient, unbelievably customizable, and as minimal or complex as you want it to be. This KDE Plasma review will cover performance, user interface, customization, and recommendations on how to use and who should use KDE Plasma.

[...]

As great as the defaults are, the strength of KDE lies in its customizability. It’s “have it your way” to the extreme.

If you don’t like the default Breeze theme, it’s very easy to change it with the “Global Theme” application. You can choose from any that come preinstalled, or you can choose to go out and download more to suit your needs. The customization options are all about choice, and you can easily customize it to any look you want.

Under System Settings, you can change almost every single aspect of the system, including global themes, window themes, icon themes, and more. You can make Plasma look like the following.

[...]

The beauty of all the customization Plasma offers is that everybody can use Plasma. It starts out spartan-simple, but you can change it to suit any workflow or appearance you want. You can make a very resource-efficient Windows or macOS clone. Additionally, those looking to try out Wayland without using GNOME should try out Plasma. It’s the only other full Desktop Environment that supports Wayland (with the addition of some other packages), and it’s a great place to test and experience Wayland on your system.

Read more

Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Xfce - Not quite there

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Unsurprisingly, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Xfce falls into that mid-range good category of distros. Some nice things, some average things, some bad things. The problem is, the differentiating factors by which the Linux desktop could once sway hearts and create hope - especially for wavering Windowsers - are long long gone. So having a decent desktop that checks some boxes simply isn't enough. Mint 20 Xfce is fast and does most of the basics reasonably well.

But then, the ergonomics are off, the printing thing is weird, the software selection can be better, there are quite a few rough spots, and at the end of the day, there are few super-awesome features that would distinguish this system over dozens of other Linux distros. But as long as there's no ultra-rigorous QA across the entire ecosystem, as long as even simple things like the boot sequence or fonts cannot be taken for granted, the Linux desktop will not be the "killer" replacement for Windows. Anyway, on its own Ulyana Xfce get 6/10, and now, it's time to see what the Cinnamon version can do. Stay tuned.

Read more

Zenwalk Linux Review

Filed under
Reviews

Zenwalk Linux surprise me from the very first moment with this new release. They have done a really great work at all levels: a pretty, nice, polished, and well worked XFCE desktop that works in low resources hardware, and preinstalled localization for support non US languages. As I said previously, it’s a good move to include Flatpak support since installation, because all users can access to a lot of software easily. By the way, I need to mention that Zenwalk uses Lilo and eLilo (for MBR and UEFI systems, respectively) instead of grub2. This is not a bad thing, but it’s not a standard on these days. Both Lilo and eLilo do their work perfectly, so there’s no problem with that.

Read more

Review: Linux Mint 20

Filed under
Reviews

Linux Mint is a desktop distribution which is available in two branches, one based on Debian and the other which uses Ubuntu as its base. The project recently published Linux Mint 20 which is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and promises five years of security updates. The distribution is available in three editions: Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce. These editions are available for 64-bit (x86_64) computers exclusively and the download for each edition is approximately 2GB in size.

There are a few key new features in Linux Mint 20. One is Warpinator, a simple desktop tool which makes it easy to share files in a peer-to-peer fashion with other computers running Mint on the same local network. Warpinator replaces a past Mint utility called Giver and works much the same way, making sharing files across the network a point and click experience.

This release also features the NVIDIA Prime applet that can be used to switch between using one video card and another. This is helpful when running laptops that have an Intel video card and another from NVIDIA.

The Cinnamon desktop now allows each monitor attached to the computer to have different fractional scaling and this should improve the visual experience on HiDPI screens.

Unlike its parent, Mint does not ship with support for Snap packages. In fact, Deb packages which would normally install Snap bundles (the way Ubuntu's Chromium package does) have been replaced with empty packages. Mint instead supplies Flatpak support for people wishing to run portable package formats.

The project's release notes include a few warnings and workarounds. For instance, we are told that encrypted home directories are available, but may not unmount properly when logging out of the system due to a regression between the ecryptfs software and systemd.

Guest sessions are available, though disabled by default, and can be activated through the Login Window settings module. We are also warned that Chromium web browser packages are not available in the default repositories, but can be found in an add-on repository if the browser is needed.

Read more

Elive Review: For the Enlightened Linux Users

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews

Elive is a Linux distribution based on Debian that features a great implementation of the Enlightenment desktop environment. It is a distro that is self-proclaimed as not being aimed at one particular kind of user but one that is primarily designed to be used on very old computers. The default ISO image is 32-bit and installs with Linux 3.16 by default. It uses just a hair over 160 MB RAM and runs beautifully with one CPU core and zero 3D acceleration. This allows Elive to tout itself as capable of turning a 15-year old computer into one of high performance, and I quite honestly believe it. In this Elive Review, we’ll discuss system performance, usability, and why it may or may not be the distro for you.

Read more

Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” Review: The Most Complete OS For Everyone

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Last week, Linux Mint founder Clement Lefebvre released the latest long-term version — Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana.” Mint 20 is built on top of the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” which will now be supported until 2025.

Over the years, Linux Mint has grown as one of the most suitable Linux distributions for beginners alongside Ubuntu. With Mint 20, it has embarked on a new version with a number of enhancements. Hence, in this article, we’ll walk you through Linux Mint 20 which we practically tested on a bare machine.

Read more

Austrumi Linux Is Loaded With Language Laziness

Filed under
Linux
Reviews

Austrumi Linux contains all the necessary basic programs for work and entertainment. It boots from CD, flash drive or a hard drive installation and can be used on servers and workstations.

Austrumi Linux is not well known, but it checks most of the usability boxes. The only technical requirement is the ability to burn the ISO to a DVD or USB.

Do not expect much from the Austrumi web site. It is poorly designed and has no information about using the distro or getting help. Several of the pages are blank or not there.

Beyond that process, just turn on the computer and use Austrumi. No installation is needed. Nor is there any need for system configurations.

Of course, that all depends on whether Latvia is your native language.

Read more

Review of the HP Pavilion 14-ce0830nd

Filed under
Hardware
Reviews
SUSE

Would I recommend the HP Pavilion 14-ce0830nd? To be honest, its a mixed bag on openSUSE. Installation of openSUSE Leap 15.2 was very easy. And installation of a dual boot system with Windows 10 was easy as well. The laptop has an attractive look and feel. The display, speakers, keyboard and external ports are all good. The touchpad is too sensitive. The machine has enough RAM, enough storage and the hard drives are performant. The Intel CPU/GPU is great. Which means that this is a great machine for multitasking. The gaming performance on the Intel GPU on openSUSE Leap 15.2 is good enough to play various open source games on medium/high settings.

Read more

PinePhone: Community Edition (CE) Review

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Reviews
Gadgets

Following hot on the heels of my Pinebook Pro review come my impressions of the PinePhone: Community Edition (CE); a phone made by the same company, Pine64. This particular edition of the PinePhone is an updated version of their 1.1 Braveheart Edition phone, while still carrying the same $150 price tag.

Why did I decide to buy this even though I’ve already got one? Well, this new CE PinePhone has some enhancements to the printed circuit board (PCB). I wanted to see if, after buying this, I can use it as my day-to-day driver.

I ordered both the PBP and the PinePhone on the same day. Both devices suffered from delivery delay due to the COVID-19 crisis, so I upgraded my PinePhone shipping from Ascendia to DHL. I then got the phone in the mail a week after my PBP (the PBP already had DHL shipping). In all the shipping costed $30…a bit uglier than I expected, but if anything it’s probably because of the pandemic we’re in.

Before I go on ahead with my review, you may want to first skim through my original Braveheart Edition review from four months ago, as I will be skipping some of the details of the unit I’m reviewing here, since it is almost exactly the same, at least in terms of hardware.

Read more

GNOME Shell Review: Minimal Desktop with Great Performance

Filed under
GNOME
Reviews

If I had to guess, I would probably say that a huge majority of Linux users have/had used GNOME Shell in one way or another. It’s the default Desktop Environment on a huge number of very popular Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, Fedora, and Pop!_OS, and it’s an option for installation on even more. This GNOME Shell review will cover performance, user experience, and recommendations on who will find GNOME Shell to be a good fit.

Read more

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

NanoPi NEO3 Headless SBC Launched for $20 and up

Last month, we found out FriendlyELEC was working on NanoPi NEO3, a tiny SBC powered by Rockchip RK3328 processor and made for headless applications and networked storage thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 ports, as well as a 26-pin GPIO header. At the time, the board was still been finalized, but the company has now started to take orders for $20 and up depending on options which include a cute white enclosure... [...] The Wiki has been updated as well, and the company provides both Ubuntu Core 18.04 based FriendlyCore, and OpenWrt based FriendlyWrt operating systems for the board with both relying on Linux 5.4.12 kernel. I’d also expect Armbian to eventually provide Ubuntu 20.04 and Debian 10 images. Read more

Moving (parts of) the Cling REPL in Clang

Motivation
===

Over the last decade we have developed an interactive, interpretative 
C++ (aka REPL) as part of the high-energy physics (HEP) data analysis 
project -- ROOT [1-2]. We invested a significant  effort to replace the 
CINT C++ interpreter with a newly implemented REPL based on llvm -- 
cling [3]. The cling infrastructure is a core component of the data 
analysis framework of ROOT and runs in production for approximately 5 
years.

Cling is also  a standalone tool, which has a growing community outside 
of our field. Cling’s user community includes users in finance, biology 
and in a few companies with proprietary software. For example, there is 
a xeus-cling jupyter kernel [4]. One of the major challenges we face to 
foster that community is  our cling-related patches in llvm and clang 
forks. The benefits of using the LLVM community standards for code 
reviews, release cycles and integration has been mentioned a number of 
times by our "external" users.

Last year we were awarded an NSF grant to improve cling's sustainability 
and make it a standalone tool. We thank the LLVM Foundation Board for 
supporting us with a non-binding letter of collaboration which was 
essential for getting this grant.


Background
===

Cling is a C++ interpreter built on top of clang and llvm. In a 
nutshell, it uses clang's incremental compilation facilities to process 
code chunk-by-chunk by assuming an ever-growing translation unit [5]. 
Then code is lowered into llvm IR and run by the llvm jit. Cling has 
implemented some language "extensions" such as execution statements on 
the global scope and error recovery. Cling is in the core of HEP -- it 
is heavily used during data analysis of exabytes of particle physics 
data coming from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and other particle 
physics experiments.


Plans
===

The project foresees three main directions -- move parts of cling 
upstream along with the clang and llvm features that enable them; extend 
and generalize the language interoperability layer around cling; and 
extend and generalize the OpenCL/CUDA support in cling. We are at the 
early stages of the project and this email intends to be an RFC for the 
first part -- upstreaming parts of cling. Please do share your thoughts 
on the rest, too.


Moving Parts of Cling Upstream
---

Over the years we have slowly moved some patches upstream. However we 
still have around 100 patches in the clang fork. Most of them are in the 
context of extending the incremental compilation support for clang. The 
incremental compilation poses some challenges in the clang 
infrastructure. For example, we need to tune CodeGen to work with 
multiple llvm::Module instances, and finalize per each 
end-of-translation unit (we have multiple of them). Other changes 
include small adjustments in the FileManager's caching mechanism, and 
bug fixes in the SourceManager (code which can be reached mostly from 
within our setup). One conclusion we can draw from our research is that 
the clang infrastructure fits amazingly well to something which was not 
its main use case. The grand total of our diffs against clang-9 is: `62 
files changed, 1294 insertions(+), 231 deletions(-)`. Cling is currently 
being upgraded from llvm-5 to llvm-9.

A major weakness of cling's infrastructure is that it does not work with 
the clang Action infrastructure due to the lack of an 
IncrementalAction.  A possible way forward would be to implement a 
clang::IncrementalAction as a starting point. This way we should be able 
to reduce the amount of setup necessary to use the incremental 
infrastructure in clang. However, this will be a bit of a testing 
challenge -- cling lives downstream and some of the new code may be 
impossible to pick straight away and use. Building a mainline example 
tool such as clang-repl which gives us a way to test that incremental 
case or repurpose the already existing clang-interpreter may  be able to 
address the issue. The major risk of the task is avoiding code in the 
clang mainline which is untested by its HEP production environment.
There are several other types of patches to the ROOT fork of Clang, 
including ones  in the context of performance,towards  C++ modules 
support (D41416), and storage (does not have a patch yet but has an open 
projects entry and somebody working on it). These patches can be 
considered in parallel independently on the rest.

Extend and Generalize the Language Interoperability Layer Around Cling
---

HEP has extensive experience with on-demand python interoperability 
using cppyy[6], which is built around the type information provided by 
cling. Unlike tools with custom parsers such as swig and sip and tools 
built on top of C-APIs such as boost.python and pybind11, cling can 
provide information about memory management patterns (eg refcounting) 
and instantiate templates on the fly.We feel that functionality may not 
be of general interest to the llvm community but we will prepare another 
RFC and send it here later on to gather feedback.


Extend and Generalize the OpenCL/CUDA Support in Cling
---

Cling can incrementally compile CUDA code [7-8] allowing easier set up 
and enabling some interesting use cases. There are a number of planned 
improvements including talking to HIP [9] and SYCL to support more 
hardware architectures.



The primary focus of our work is to upstreaming functionality required 
to build an incremental compiler and rework cling build against vanilla 
clang and llvm. The last two points are to give the scope of the work 
which we will be doing the next 2-3 years. We will send here RFCs for 
both of them to trigger technical discussion if there is interest in 
pursuing this direction.


Collaboration
===

Open source development nowadays relies on reviewers. LLVM is no 
different and we will probably disturb a good number of people in the 
community ;)We would like to invite anybody interested in joining our 
incremental C++ activities to our open every second week calls. 
Announcements will be done via google group: compiler-research-announce 
(https://groups.google.com/g/compiler-research-announce).



Many thanks!


David & Vassil

Read more Also: Cling C++ Interpreter Looking To Upstream More Code Into LLVM

This week in KDE: New features galore!

Tons and tons of awesome new features and UI polish landed this week, alongside an equally weighty ton of important bugfixes. Read more

Elive 3.8.14 beta released

The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 3.8.14 This new version includes: Kernel updated to 5.6.14 retrowave special theme themes, designs, icons improvements and more customizations included bootup with a much more friendly graphical menu, it now remembers your last selected OS, all the options are in the same menu instead of submenus, disabled useless recovery options, improved resolution, fixed wallpaper issue on encrypted installations SWAP space is much more performant now, feedbacks welcome Read more