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KDE neon 5.22.5 - When you come undone

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KDE
Reviews

This is a short review, yes, yes, it is. But, we learned something. KDE neon is really fast. KDE neon is pretty. KDE neon 5.22.5 also brings in regressions, which I find super-annoying. We're talking the titlebar theming, we're talking network manager, we're talking scaling issues, yet again. Steam? Yup, that's another, entirely unnecessary hurdle for the common user.

On their own, these problems wouldn't be an issue. Except, toss a D&D 20-sided cube, and you get your random damage points, and that's about as arbitrary as issues that keep coming back into an otherwise solid and fun distro. I know that KDE neon is a test bed, but the User Edition is meant to be stable and robust enough. Overall, I am happy, but this wasn't the best Plasma experience. In fact, I'm on a jinx ride. Two out of two for a less than satisfactory outcome. Now, I need to cry. The end.

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Review: Getting started with Ansible

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Reviews

Ansible is a Red Hat owned tool for automating system administration tasks. It is typically used in environments where an administrator wants to perform the same task, such as deploying security updates, on many computers without logging into each computer manually. Unlike many automation tools, Ansible does not require any special software to be installed on each client machine. Each client just needs the OpenSSH service to be installed on the clients and all the work and configuration is handled by one central server.

There are a lot of reasons for working with Ansible and this guide is meant to get you up and running quickly. If you're like me, I have a terrible habit of not reading the fine manual. To quote the Simpsons character Renier Wolfcastle, "I was elected to lead not to read". To follow along with this tutorial here are the basics you will need...

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Fedora 35 bridges the gap between the seasoned and the new user

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Red Hat
Reviews

For the longest time, I considered the Fedora Linux distribution to have an audience of one—those dyed-in-the-wool, experienced users. There's a good reason for that. Fedora is a bleeding-edge distribution, so things can break, go south or not work.

I've been reviewing Linux distributions for decades now, so I've experienced several Fedora releases. When this particular flavor of Linux first hit the virtual shelves, it was very much not a platform for the new user. It would break and require admin-level attention.

But something happened along the way to number 35. Fedora became really solid. This was partially bolstered with the help of the rock-solid GNOME desktop. And even with Fedora including the newest versions of GNOME didn't seem to cause the operating system to falter.

To borrow a cliché, it all just works.

However, it does more than just work. I'd go so far as to say that the last few Fedora releases have worked exceptionally well, as well as any other desktop distribution. And Fedora 35 is no exception to this new rule.

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Free Software Review: GNOME Web 3.38.2 on Debian GNU/Linux 11. A worthy replacement for your current browser?

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GNOME
Reviews
Web

With so many web browsers out there to pick from, many of them really aren’t very different from each other, and few take the time to work like the other applications on your desktop.

In Windows, nobody notices this because none of the applications (even from Microsoft) or system settings menus are consistent. They duplicate functionality, have different GUI conventions, and the entire thing is a usability hell. GNOME tries to be a bit “cleaner” than this.

In Windows 11, in fact, Microsoft tried to steal from Chrome OS, GNOME, and the Mac’s “clean” interface design, but reverted to form and immediately crapped it up with the usual junk and ads and trialware, and a store that nobody wanted to use to begin with because there’s still time to repeat that disaster again.

But the point, here, is that GNOME (and to a lesser extent) KDE for various *nix operating systems (they’re portable), try not to confound the user and present them with a giant headache of pointlessness and redundancy and bugs. Which is nice.

That’s where GNOME Web comes in. The development name is Epiphany, because that was the application’s original name, when it started as a project to build a web browser around the Mozilla rendering engine, Gecko. In the late 2000s, Mozilla decided to make it difficult to use their engine in anything but Firefox, forcing the GNOME Web developers to go a different way.

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Also: This change in Google Chrome 94 will make you switch to Firefox - itsfoss.net

Fedora 34 KDE - Modern but not polished

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KDE
Red Hat
Reviews

As you can imagine, I didn't really continue with my test. Therefore, no data on battery life, resource usage, or any of the customizations that I often have to undertake to my systems usable and productive. What would be the point really? So many things went wrong. Some of these aren't Fedora's fault, but many others are.

Slow boot time (and boot menu oddities), Wayland scaling problems, crashes, lack of third-party application by default. Fedora 34 KDE just does not feel complete. It's a distro all right, but it sure doesn't get as much love and attention as the flagship release. Not that that guarantees quality in the distrospace really, anywhere. All in all, if you want Plasma bleeding edge, Manjaro or neon can do that just as well, while providing their own share of quirks and bugs (albeit smaller). There are some small redeeming points in Fedora 34 KDE, but they are nowhere near enough to compensate for the bad stuff. All in all, sadly, my past impression holds. Oh well.

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Review: Martine OS 2.0 and Airyx 0.2.2

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OS
Reviews

I did not spend a lot of time with Airyx, just a few days. Mostly this was due to the operating system not playing well with my wireless card, an issue most flavours of BSD run into. However, while my experience was brief, I will say that I see the appeal of Airyx (and by extension helloSystem). For people who like the macOS style desktop, this experience should make people feel at home. The unified application menu on the top panel, the icons, the utility and settings panels, and the overall theme all share a strong similarity with macOS.

The system installer is quite simple and can be navigated with a few mouse clicks so the barrier to entry is relatively low, assuming your computer has at least 4GB of memory for the live media. The operating system, even running ZFS, is quite light in memory and includes some standard open source tools.

There were two weak points I encountered. The first was hardware support, which is often a problem I run into with flavours of BSD. Wireless and suspend support in particular tend to be missing. The other issue was the lack of a fully functioning package manager. I'm not sure why pkg has been hobbled in Airyx, but the fact it still refreshes repository information and installs packages from FreeBSD suggests to me that the limitation is unnecessary.

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Pinebook Pro Review: A FOSS Laptop That Doesn't Suck

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GNU
Linux
Reviews

Pinebook's Linux-only approach to hardware development makes an attractive proposition for those wanting the all-FOSS experience. But how does its Pinebook Pro laptop stack up against more established opposition, such as the much-loved Chromebook?

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CutefishOS: Unix-y development model? Check. macOS aesthetic? Check (if you like that sort of thing)

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OS
Reviews

One of the reasons Linux has never caught on as a desktop operating system, as Linux fans know, is that Linux isn't a desktop operating system, it's a kernel. And assembling it into a coherent package users can install is the job of a distribution.

This is a very different distribution model than the one Apple or Microsoft uses, and it confuses newcomers. Windows and macOS are easier to understand, they are single things made by single companies. Canonical and Red Hat notwithstanding, Linux is not packaged and presented this way at all. I've long believed that this difference is one of the key stumbling blocks to wider Linux adoption.

Apple has macOS, Microsoft has Windows, Linux has... hundreds of awkward, confusingly named options.

This is both Linux's greatest strength, and its greatest weakness. For those who already understand and use it the options are welcome. I've been a Linux user for over a decade and I've used several dozen distros, some of them so different from one another it's difficult to believe they're built from the same base. This wealth of options is great, but it's both confusing and overwhelming for new users.

Distributions like elementary OS are popular with people switching from macOS and Windows because elementary OS offers that same highly polished, all-in-one package that makes the transition from proprietary operating systems smoother. But this is Linux, so you can't just have elementary OS.

The latest distro to catch my eye is CutefishOS, which owes considerable design debt to both elementaryOS and the operating system made by that fruit company.

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Komikku – manga reader for GNOME

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Software
OSS
GNOME
Reviews

A comic book is a magazine which consists of narrative artwork in the form of sequential images with text that represent individual scenes.

Panels are often accompanied by brief descriptive prose and written narrative, usually dialog contained in word balloons emblematic of the comics art form. Comics are used to tell a story, and are published in a number of different formats including comic strips, comic books, webcomics, Manga, and graphic novels. Some comics have been published in a tabloid form. The largest comic book market is Japan.

Komikku is a GTK-based manga reader for GNOME. The application is is written in Python.

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Zidoo M6 Arm mini PC review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

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Android
Reviews
Ubuntu

I’ve just received my first Rockchip RK3566 platform with Zidoo M6 Arm mini PC that supports Ubuntu 18.04, Android 11, and Station OS.

I was sent the standard version with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC flash that will be suitable for most applications. I’ll start Zidoo M6 review with an unboxing and a teardown to check the hardware design and “hidden” features before reviewing with the device with Android 11 and/or Ubuntu 18.04.

There’s nothing special about the package (and that’s a good thing in order to go more easily through customs), so let’s check out the package content.

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Ubuntu: Internet of Things (IoT), CyberDog, ZeroDown, and OVS (Open vSwitch)

  • Ubuntu Blog: Embedded systems: the advent of the Internet of Things – Part II

    This is the second part of the two-part blog series covering embedded Linux systems and the challenges brought about by the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In Part I, we surveyed the embedded ecosystem and the role Linux plays within that space. This blog takes you on the next step in the journey, where we explore the most demanding challenges facing manufacturers of tightly embedded IoT devices.

  • CyberDog: a four legged robot revolution with Ubuntu

    Late this year, Chinese tech giant Xiaomi unveiled CyberDog: a quadrupedal, experimental, open-source robot that the firm claims will improve the robot development environment and promote the development of the robot industry. Today, Canonical dives into the specifications of this four legged robot and discover how Ubuntu is helping the device become an open source technological platform. Xiaomi has a clear vision for its product. As Huang Changjiang, PM at Xiaomi, explains, “CyberDog is developers’ technological partner from the future. It equips inhouse-made high-performance servo motors, high computing ability, with built-in AI for visual detection system and voice interaction system, supporting a variety of bionic motion gestures.”

  • ZeroDown® Software Targets Open Source with New Canonical Partnership

    As businesses around the world and in every major industry define and accelerate their cloud strategies, the lack of open, flexible and complete high availability has become a major concern. The ZeroDown platform, built upon Canonical’s industry-leading operating system, Ubuntu, aims at integrating into Canonical’s broader Charmed OpenStack platform with its ZeroDown Ultra High-Availability TM Software, eliminating downtime and data loss for its customers, running seamlessly through planned or unplanned downtime events.

  • Data centre networking: what is OVS? | Ubuntu

    In one of our preceding blogs, we spoke about Software-Defined Networking (SDN) and the key drivers behind it. Virtualisation is one of the fundamental aspects that characterises SDN, and has influenced the architecture of network switching in the data centre. OVS (Open vSwitch) is a fundamental component of modern and open data centre SDNs, where it aggregates all the virtual machines at the server hypervisor layer. It represents the ingress point for all the traffic exiting VMs, and can be used to forward traffic between multiple virtual network functions in the form of service chains. Let’s take a closer look in order to understand what OVS is.

Compact edge AI boxes offer choice of Jetson Nano, TX2 NX, and Xavier NX

All three systems ship with the Ubuntu 18.04 with Nvidia JetPack 4.5.1. They also support Advantech’s Edge AI Suite and FaceView applications, which are available on its earlier AIR systems. Read more