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Reviews

Review: Auxtral 3

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Reviews

At the beginning of this review I mentioned Auxtral reminded me of Linux Mint Debian Edition. The theme, the Cinnamon desktop, and general look of the project certainly held that first impression. However, the default applications and tools (apart from the Cinnamon desktop and command line utilities) felt quite a bit different. Linux Mint has been around for several years and has earned a reputation for being beginner friendly, polished, and shipping with a lot of top-notch open source applications.

Auxtral appears to have a similar approach - similar base distribution, the same desktop environments, and a similar look. However, Auxtral does have its own personality under the surface. It ships with a quite different collection of applications, sometimes using less popular items (Brave in place of Firefox, SMPlayer instead of VLC, etc.) It has also gone its own way with software updates, preferring classic tools like APT and Synaptic over Mint's update manager.

Auxtral is off to a good start. This was my first time trying the distribution and the experience was mostly positive. The operating system is easy to install, offers multiple desktop environments, and walks a pretty good line between hand holding and staying out of the way. The application menu is uncluttered while including enough programs to be useful. Some of those programs are a bit more obscure or less beginner friendly than what you might find in Linux Mint, but otherwise it's a good collection. Virtually everything worked and worked smoothly. I was unpleasantly surprised by this distribution's memory usage, most projects consume about half as much RAM, but otherwise I liked what Auxtral had to offer. I might not recommended it to complete beginners, especially since the project does not appear to have any documentation or support options of its own, but for someone who doesn't mind a little command line work or who likes the idea of an easy to setup distribution that combines Debian with the Cinnamon (or Xfce desktop) this seems like a good option.

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Free Software Review: Yoga Image Optimizer. Google Guetzli? WHY!?

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Reviews

Many programs that write JPEG files don’t do the best job at using the format efficiently.

So, there are many suboptimal JPEGs floating around the internet, and many are up to 20-30% bigger than they need to be, because some programs do all sorts of ridiculous and unnecessary things when they write them, and also fail to use Huffman Coding correctly.

Unfortunately, JPEG is a lossy compressed format (and not even a great one), and so like an MP3 file, if you re-encode it, even back into itself, you suffer further loss in quality.

However, lossless optimization doesn’t do this. You may not get enormous improvements in file size, but it’s more like using a more aggressive dictionary search in a ZIP file.

(As lossy compression schemes broadly have two parts. One that discards data that it considers perceptually irrelevant, and then another part that does lossless compression methods on what’s left.).

I looked around to see if Debian had MozJPEG, but it didn’t. There was a open discussion about it, which is one of the bright sides of Debian. At least you know the discussions leading up to the decisions they make.

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New Atari VCS Review: Retro Tech Meets Geek Chic

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Hardware
Reviews
Debian

Among other things, the year 1977 marked the beginning of (in my humble opinion) the two greatest entertainment franchises: Star Wars and Atari. Needless to say, the former is alive and well. And until recently, the latter has lived on through the sheer tenacity of its legendary gaming heritage. Now, three years after its hugely successful Indiegogo campaign, Atari at long last quenched retro gaming fans' thirst by finally releasing its brand-new console. Officially known as the VCS 800, this truly multifunctional hybrid gaming, entertainment and computing device is an amazing time machine to both the past and future.

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Excellent System Utilities: Pingnoo – traceroute/ping analyser

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OSS
Reviews

Essential System Utilities is a series of articles highlighting essential system tools. These are small utilities, useful for system administrators as well as regular users of Linux based systems.

The series examines both graphical and text based open source utilities. For details of all tools in this series, please check the table at the bottom.

This article looks at Pingnoo, an open-source cross-platform application for analysing and measuring the round trip time (latency) between two hosts. It offers a graphical representation for traceroute and ping output.

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Kubuntu Focus XE is the perfect laptop for Windows-switchers and Linux beginners [Review]

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Reviews
Ubuntu
Gadgets

Should you buy the Kubuntu Focus XE Linux laptop? If you are looking to run a Linux-based operating system and want a laptop that is guaranteed to work, it should absolutely be considered. Not only is the hardware largely great, but arguably more importantly, the included software is top-notch.

The Kubuntu operating system is wonderful, as is all of the included curated apps. Not to mention, the Kubuntu Focus enhancements including the specialized apps, Welcome Wizard, and welcome guide, will make things much easier for Linux beginners. The Kubuntu Focus team set out to deliver an excellent user experience at an affordable price with the XE laptop and they totally delivered.

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Review: Pyabr OS

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Pyabr OS was one of the latest distributions to be added to the DistroWatch waiting list. The project refers to itself as a "Python Cloud Operating System", a Linux distribution mostly written in Python. The project, which declares it is developed in Iran with multilingual support, runs on x86_64 computers and 64-bit Raspberry Pi machines.

The project's website mentions that Pyabr is a platform written in Python which offers a desktop and applications which can be run on any Linux distribution while Pyabr OS is a Debian-based operating system that runs the Pyabr software. The operating system can reportedly be installed locally or run from live media like a thumb drive. The desktop environment resembles KDE Plasma but is a custom environment called Baran which the project says is written in Python using the Qt framework.

I was unsure going into this trial how all of this related to cloud computing or services. The term "cloud" gets thrown around on the project's website, but without a clear indication of how this affects the end user. I decided to give the project a test drive and see if I could find out.

The Pyabr OS ISO file is a small download of just 447MB. The live system always stalled early in the boot process for 90 seconds while waiting for systemd to sort out its infamous "A start job is running..." warning. After that, the distribution booted quickly and displayed the Baran desktop which does look a lot like KDE Plasma at first glance due to its shared Qt framework and theme.

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elementary OS 6 Odin Review - Beautiful and Empowering

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OS
Reviews

It's a review of elementary OS 6, codenamed Odin, a computer operating system that proudly released with the slogan Thoughtful, capable, and ethical replacement to Windows and MacOS that's now empowering modern laptops that ship worldwide. Let's see OS 6 through this review.

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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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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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More in Tux Machines

CuteFish – An Elegant, Beautiful and Easy-to-Use Linux Desktop

CutefishOS is a new free and open-source desktop environment for Linux operating systems with a focus on simplicity, beauty, and practicality. Its goal is to create a better computing experience for Linux users. Cutefish OS is among the newest kids on the block of desktop environments. And since it has been born at such a time when the KDE aesthetic leads in the UI/UX stand for Linux users, it features a design that is strikingly similar. Given its goal of making a better desktop experience, the team uses KDE Frameworks, KDE Plasma 5, and Qt. My guess is that Qt is the source of its “cute” name. They seem to have collaborated heavily with JingOS, a beautiful Linux OS targeted at Tablets. Read more

Former Microsoft Security Analyst Claims Office 365 Knowingly Hosted Malware For Years

Malware on Windows devices has become a real problem in the last few years, specifically with a recent uptick in ransomware. It appears that Microsoft has been trying to combat this issue, though, with updates to Microsoft Defender, so it has more teeth than ever before. However, what if Microsoft is part of the problem too? On Friday, cybersecurity researcher TheAnalyst explained on Twitter how BazarLoader malware leads to ransomware that can severely affect healthcare, among other industries. He then called out Microsoft, asking if the company has “any responsibility in this when they KNOWINGLY are hosting hundreds of files leading to this,” alongside an image of what appears to be malicious files being hosted in OneDrive. Read more

today's leftovers

  • pam-krb5 4.11

    The primary change in this release of my Kerberos PAM module is support for calling pam_end with PAM_DATA_SILENT. I had not known that the intent of this flag was to signal that only process resources were being cleaned up and external resources should not be (in part because an older version of the man page doesn't make this clear).

  • QB64 Hits Version 2.0, Gets Enhanced Debugging | Hackaday

    Despite the name, BASIC isn’t exactly a language recommended for beginners these days. Technology has moved on, and now most people would steer you towards Python if you wanted to get your feet wet with software development. But for those who got their first taste of programming by copying lines of BASIC out of a computer magazine, the language still holds a certain nostalgic appeal.

  • All Things Open: Diversity Event Today - Big Top Goes Up Monday! - FOSS Force

    By now things are going full tilt boogie in downtown Raleigh, as the All Things Open conference is well into its “pre” day. Keeping with the trend set by other conferences, All Things Open opens a day ahead of time, partially to stage free event’s that aren’t officially a part of the main show, but which offer attendees from out-of-town a reason to fly in a day early to settle in. This is good for the travelling attendees, because they don’t spend the first day suffering for jet lag or other forms of travel fatigue, and good for the event, because it means that more people are in place to fill seats and attend presentations, beginning with the opening keynote. [...] At ATO, the registration desks are open on Sunday from noon until 5:30 Eastern Time, and the pre-conference is a free Inclusion and Diversity Event that started at noon and will run until 5pm, emceed by Rikki Endsley, formally with Red Hat and now a community marketing manager at Amazon Web Services.

  • [Older] Arduino Nano Pros and Cons: Is the Cheapest Arduino Worth It?

    While there is quite an array of Arduino boards to choose from, the Nano is a versatile board suitable for almost all DIY electronic projects. These tiny micro controllers make compact DIY hardware development available to more people than ever before. In the past we have covered reasons you may not want to choose a genuine Arduino for your projects, but today lets take a look at the positives and negatives of the Arduino Nano.

  • Pnevmo-Capsula: Domiki rolls onto Windows, Mac and Linux

    Usually the term "on rails" refers to a highly linear experience over which the player has little control. But sometimes it's meant far more literally than that, as is the case in Pomeshkin Valentin Igorevich's recently released steampunk adventure, Pnevmo-Capsula: Domiki.

  • How to install Thinkorswim Desktop on a Chromebook in 2021

    Today we are looking at how to install Thinkorswim Desktop on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

Digital Restrictions (DRM) on Printers