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Forget Windows, Linux or MacOS: Our choice of the best alternative operating systems

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OS
GNU
Linux

If you're fed up with Windows, Linux, or macOS, you'll want to know if there's a great alternative desktop operating system that's worth using.

While there are no absolute definitive answers here – everyone's use case is different, after all – we've discovered ten distinct examples that fall outside the usual bounds.

Our list even includes a few true outsiders, independent operating systems built from the ground up which serve mainly to prove just how difficult it is to create an entire functioning OS without a large number of brains working on it.

Everything here can be tested reasonably within a virtual machine, so if something grabs your interest don't hesitate to download and give it a try.

Linux powers most of the website providers out there. Check out the best web hosting services in the world right now.

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HarmonyOS, Huawei, and a 'Foundation' in China

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OS
  • HarmonyOS - Huawei's New Open Source Mobile OS

    HarmonyOS is a lightweight, compact operating system with powerful functionality, and it will first be used for smart devices like smart watches, smart screens, in-vehicle systems, and smart speakers. Through this implementation Huawei aims to establish an integrated and shared ecosystem across devices, create a secure and reliable runtime environment, and deliver a holistic intelligent experience across every interaction with every device.

    Huawei also announced the evolution roadmap for HarmonyOS and its kernel. HarmonyOS 1.0 will be first adopted in its smart screen products, which are due to launch later this year. Over the next three years, HarmonyOS will be optimized and gradually adopted across a broader range of smart devices.

    Moving forward, Huawei will lay the foundations for HarmonyOS in the Chinese market, and then expand it further to the global ecosystem.

  • Huawei Could Rid Itself Of Spying Accusations If It Open-Sourced Its Software

    Huawei is seen as a threat to American national security because of the software loopholes in its telecom equipment, but TechRepublic's James Sanders says that Huawei could rid itself of spying accusations if it would open-source its telecom software.

    Open-sourcing its telecom software would allow third parties to see it, examine vulnerabilities, and investigate the software apart from Huawei. To open up the software would allow other companies to gain trust in Huawei and roll back the concerns of Chinese espionage that everyone has on their minds nowadays following the spying accusations.

  • Huawei's Open Source Operating System HarmonyOS Is The Answer To Google's Android

    According to the reports, Yu said that the platform supports various sizes of RAM ranging from kilobytes to gigabytes and this operating system will have no support for any root access. The platform also supports a number of applications where applications from other operating systems like Linux, Android, etc will be compatible. HarmonyOS will use ARK compiler for app development and it will also support several other languages such as Java, Kotlin, JavaScript, C, and C++.

    HarmonyOS 1.0 will be launched this year within the smart screen products. Then the next three pears are planned to optimise this operating system and make it adopt across a wider number of smart devices and other wearables, etc.

  • Huawei to help build China’s first open-source software foundation

    The foundation plan came after GitHub, the world's largest host of source code, in July prevented users in Iran and other sanctioned nations from accessing portions of its service. The incident highlights increasing geopolitical interference with global open-source tech communities, which are supposed to be fair and open to all, analysts said.

  • Huawei to help create nation's first open-source foundation
  • Huawei to help create nation's first open-source foundation

    Huawei Technologies Co said it plans to partner with other companies to set up China's first open-source software foundation, which is expected to begin to operate in a month or two to expand the nation's software community.

    The plan for the software foundation came after GitHub, the world's largest host of source code, prevented in July users in Iran and other nations sanctioned by the United States government from accessing portions of its service. The incident highlights increasing geopolitical interference with global open-source tech communities, which are supposed to be fair and open to all, analysts said.

    Wang Chenglu, president of the software department at Huawei's consumer business group, said software development relies on open-source codes and communities.

Purism and e Foundation take on the smartphone duopoly

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OS
Gadgets

For years, the devices and services we use have ever more aggressively monitored our activities and mined our data. But as consumers have grown increasingly attuned to privacy concerns, solutions have been appearing to help them evade tracking. Browsers such as Brave and search engines such as DuckDuckGo play up their privacy-first design. When it comes to the dominant mobile operating systems, Google has talked about preserving privacy by providing more transparency and exposing opt-out controls. Apple, on the other hand, has sought to create services that remove the opt-out requirement by not collecting data in the first place, turning privacy preservation into a key differentiator.

But many users aren’t comfortable even with Apple’s approach. Recently, two groups have created new platforms that avoid sharing data with Google, Apple, or any other entity behind the scenes. Nevertheless, their product-development approaches parallel the market strategies of Google and Apple, with some striking differences.

One of these is the e Foundation. Its eOS aspires to be a Google-free version of Android that has a wide range of device support. It’s not a new idea: One existing alternative to Google’s flavor of Android is LineageOS, a fork of what had been the leading Google Android alternative, CyanogenMod. However, according to Gaël Duval, head of e Foundation, producing a version of Android that is completely Google-free requires far more effort than just stripping out Google apps such as Gmail; even LineageOS sends some data through Google’s servers or relies on its services.

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Huawei launches smart TV running on HarmonyOS

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OS
Hardware

It was also the first time that the Chinese tech firm unveils the operation interface of HarmonyOS to the public.

Zhao Ming, president of Huawei Honor brand, said the 55-inch bezel-less smart screen is powered by the Honghu 818 smart chip with a pop-up selfie camera.

"The use of quad-core CPU and GPU in the screen leads the industry in multi-tasking abilities as algorithms determine the quality of image display," Zhao said.

Apart from the Honor smart screen, the HarmonyOS will also be used in more smart devices such as PCs, smartphones, smart watches and in-vehicle systems.

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Huawei announces HarmonyOS, an open-source platform for every device

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OS
OSS

“HarmonyOS 1.0 will be first adopted in its smart screen products, which are due to launch later this year. Over the next three years, HarmonyOS will be optimized and gradually adopted across a broader range of smart devices, including wearables, Huawei Vision, and head units for your car,” read an excerpt of an emailed press release.

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Q4OS Operating System Brings the Trinity Desktop to Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster"

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OS
Debian

Based on the recently released Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system series, Q4OS 3.8 "Centaurus" comes more than seven months after the Q4OS 2.7 "Scorpion" release and it is the first stable version in the 3.x series, which was in heavy development during the last few years.

For a long time, Q4OS was shipping with the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) by default, which offers users, especially those who want to switch from Windows to Linux, a very familiar interface. However, it looks like the Q4OS 3.8 "Centaurus" series uses the latest stable KDE Plasma desktop by default.

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Mobile Systems: Free Mobile Computing and New Sailfish OS

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OS
  • Escaping the Surveillance Blackhole with Free Mobile Computing

    Modern "smart" phones are designed for surveillance: multiple cameras, microphones, location tracking, permanent wireless networking, and tons of data-collection apps disguised as useful programs turn them into a blackhole that no personal data can escape.

    They also offer such useful functionality that even privacy-aware people find it very hard to resist them: looking up information on the go, getting maps and directions, keeping in touch with friends, family and business partners from anywhere are extremely valuable indeed.

    All of these desirable features are currently available on laptops, but their bulk, interaction modes and even power-up times can make their use on the go not quite as convenient. How hard could it be to build an instant-on, touchscreen "laptop" in a phone form factor, so that we could carry it in a pocket rather than in a backpack?

    That is part of the solution, but it's not the complete solution: that will require some work on networking, software, and hardware. It's all in-reach and doable today, and I refer to the combination of such lightweight hardware, software and networking, that enable us to escape the surveillance blackhole, as '''0G'''.

  • Sailfish OS given a Jolla good buffing as version 3.1 bobs gently into port

    Jolla has updated Sailfish, the Linux-based mobile OS aimed at those who prefer a little less Android and Apple in their lives.

    Trumpeting the version as the "biggest update since the launch of Sailfish 3", Jolla has named the code "Seitseminen" after a national park 50km from the company's HQ in Tampere, Finland.

    Things have had a jolly good buffing in this release, with the cosmetics coming in for attention. To be fair (and in our very subjective opinion) Sailfish was already an attractive OS (certainly when compared to some of the more alarming Linux efforts out there) but redesigns to core apps such as People, Phone and Messages will be welcome, as will improvements to email and calendar.

Zorin OS Is The Linux Distro We Wanted 10 Years Ago [Giveaway Inside]

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OS
Linux

Zorin OS is a different offering in a large pool of competition. Zorin isn’t groundbreaking but does manage to provide some features that are fairly unique. Zorin is intended to be a friendlier distribution and aims to please newcomers to Linux. While it has much to offer, it does stray from the typical Linux modus operandi.

Zorin OS is very much the same as other distributions, in particular, it is based on Ubuntu, so there’s a very cookie-cutter start. But beyond that, it becomes much different.

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Sailfish OS Seitseminen is now available

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OS

Sailfish OS Seitseminen is now available for download. We are very excited to bring you this Sailfish OS 3.1 update, which was named after the beautiful Seitseminen National Park. Seitseminen is located in the Pirkanmaa region, 50 kilometers away from our headquarters in Tampere.

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Also: Sailfish OS 3.1 Released As Jolla's Biggest Update In A Year

Initial Benchmarks Of Endeavour OS - The New Linux Distro Based On Arch

Filed under
OS
Graphics/Benchmarks
Linux

Following the Antergos Linux distribution being discontinued one of the new projects stemming from that decision is Endeavour OS as a new convenient to use Arch Linux distribution. Here are some early benchmarks of Endeavour OS compared to Ubuntu, Clear Linux, and other distributions on an Intel Core i9 system.

After being announced in mid-June, last week marked the first official ISO release of Endeavour OS. Endeavour aims to be "as close to Arch" as possible while still providing a friendly desktop experience.

Endeavour OS is based on Arch rolling and with last week's ISO had the Linux 5.2 kernel, defaulted to the Xfce desktop environment, uses X.Org Server 1.20.5, Mesa 19.1.2, and GCC 9.1 as the default compiler. EXT4 is the default file-system for Endeavour OS with its Calamares-powered installer.

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More in Tux Machines

KNOPPIX 8.6.0 Public Release

Version 8.6 basiert auf → Debian/stable (buster), mit einzelnen Paketen aus Debian/testing und unstable (sid) (v.a. Grafiktreiber und aktuelle Productivity-Software) und verwendet → Linux Kernel 5.2.5 sowie Xorg 7.7 (core 1.20.4) zur Unterstützung aktueller Computer-Hardware. Read more English: Knoppix 8.6 new public version is finally out !

Linux 5.3 Kernel Yielding The Best Performance Yet For AMD EPYC "Rome" CPU Performance

Among many different Linux/open-source benchmarks being worked on for the AMD EPYC "Rome" processors now that our initial launch benchmarks are out of the way are Linux distribution comparisons, checking out the BSD compatibility, and more. Some tests I wrapped up this weekend were seeing how recent Linux kernel releases perform on the AMD EPYC 7742 64-core / 128-thread processors. For some weekend analysis, here are benchmarks of Linux 4.18 through Linux 5.3 in its current development form. All tests were done on the same AMD EPYC 7742 2P server running Ubuntu 19.04 and using the latest kernels in each series via the Ubuntu Mainline Kernel PPA. Read more

Fedora 29 to 30 upgrade - How it went

Alas, my Fedora 30 experience started strong with the first review and soured since. The test on the old laptop with Nvidia graphics highlighted numerous problems, including almost ending up in an unbootable state due to the wrong driver version being selected by the software center. With the in-vivo upgrade, I almost ended up in a similar state due to some incompatibility with extensions. I wasn't pleased by other glitches and errors, and the performance improvement margin isn't as stellar as the clean install test. All in all, Fedora 30 feels like a rather buggy release, with tons of problems. I think versions 27 to 29 were quite robust overall, at least the Gnome version, but the latest edition is quite rough. That would mean I'd advise people upgrading to take care of their data, remember the possible snags like extensions, and triple check their hardware is up to the task, because apparently QA isn't cool anymore, and no one else will do this for you. All in all, Fedora 30 is very bleeding edge, finicky, definitely not for everyday use by ordinary desktop folks. It's a dev tool for devs, so if you want something stable and boring, search elsewhere. Read more

Neptune 6.0 Released, Which is based on Debian 10 (Buster)

Leszek has pleased to announce the release of the new stable release of Neptune 6.0 on 1th Aug, 2019. It’s first stable release of Neptune 6.0 based on Debian 10 “Buster”, featuring the KDE Plasma desktop with the typical Neptune tweaks and configurations. The base of the system is Linux Kernel in version 4.19.37 which provides the necessary hardware support. Plasma 5.14.5 features the stable and flexible KDE made desktop that is loved by millions. Read more