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ChaletOS Is a Design Tweak in the Linux House
March 5, 2015
ChaletOS began as a personal project of developer Dejan Petrovic. This operating system has a familiar Windows-like style, with appealing simplicity and impressive speed. Much of that performance credit goes to the use of the Xfce desktop. The system controls are tweaked to bring unique style-changing capabilities to a classic Linux desktop environment.
Pearl OS Could Be a Gem in the Making
February 26, 2015
If you favor the OS X environment, Pearl OS might be a Linux distro to feed your fancy. Pearl OS is a revival of the discontinued Pear OS distro. It picks up where Pear left off in early 2014. Pearl OS has two desktop versions: XFCE and MATE. Both are based on Ubuntu Linux distro version 14.04 Mini release. The two flavors of Pearl OS are customized to look and act like the OS X operating system.
Korora Comes Bursting With Extras
February 18, 2015
Korora, a Linux distro based on Fedora, the community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, just keeps getting better. When I reviewed Korora 19, released in July 2013, I said it had the potential to grow in popularity among users looking for a better, more user-friendly Linux distro that reaches beyond Fedora's enterprise appeal. Korora 21 provides even more assurance of that statement's accuracy.
HandBrake Video Transcoder Gets a Grip on Linux
February 5, 2015
Converting video files from a variety of media sources can be a huge chore. That task can be much more manageable with HandBrake, a GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder. It is available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows, which makes working on more than one platform a bit more convenient. The latest version for Linux, version 0.10 released Nov. 23, has many upgrades.
Zenwalk Linux - A Walk on the Quirky Side
January 23, 2015
The developmental path and sketchy developer website may cast an unfavorable impression about Zenwalk's trustworthiness as a serious computing platform. The ho-hum impression when first running the live edition does little to encourage users to take this Linux OS for a stroll. Zenwalk Linux becomes a bit more impressive once you get beyond the awkward first-time experience.
4MLinux Is So Lightweight It's Anemic
December 11, 2014
4MLinux is a unique mini Linux distribution that tries to be what it is not. Its limited-purpose design is too basic for even lightweight distro functions. Much of any benefit users might derive from 4MLinux mimics what already is available from USB-launched pocket Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Porteus and Knoppix. However, much of their advanced functionality is missing from 4MLinux.
How Linux Works Is an OS Mechanic's Mainstay
December 10, 2014
How Linux Works: What Every Superuser Should Know offers an unglamorous view of the Linux OS. It takes readers behind the GUI into the bowels of command line operations. This second edition of Brian Ward's classic Linux reference book is completely revised. Though it offers something for everyone, casual Linux users run a slight risk of getting lost in some of the verbiage.
Puzzle GNU/Linux: Integrated Pieces Create an Intriguing OS
December 4, 2014
Puzzle GNU/Linux is a strange OS distribution that shows the value of open source ingenuity. This Linux distro is built around a hybrid desktop that is highly customizable. You might get the impression when you start using it that the desktop environment is a new creation. It's not -- but Puzzle GNU/Linux does provide a new approach to controlling the user interface.
'The Practice of Cloud System Administration' Brings Network Management Down to Earth
November 25, 2014
The Practice of Cloud System Administration, Volume 2 is a look into IT gone bad in some companies, and how doing it right can salvage enterprise use of cloud computing. The authors make 11 statements about computers and their networks on the first page of the book's preface. They ask which statements are true. You most likely will get numerous wrong answers.
Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up Makulu Linux
November 20, 2014
The Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition 1.1 marks a new path for Makulu. This latest release has numerous new features that could make it a top competitor against the Linux Mint Cinnamon edition. Makulu Cinnamon Debian Edition, or MCDE, has fewer standard apps than the previous Makulu Xfce and KDE versions offered. Dropping the kitchen sink philosophy has made it a lot less unwieldy.
CAINE Provides Sturdy Support for Forensic Specialists
November 14, 2014
CAINE, a professional-grade digital forensic Linux distro, uses an old-school desktop environment hardened with top-notch specialty tools. CAINE provides tight security and built-in digital investigation tools. It is less inviting for non-forensic specialists to use as an everyday Linux desktop, but it could serve the purpose for users who are willing to handle several interface inconveniences.
Black Lab Linux Is GNOME 3's Best Friend
November 7, 2014
Black Lab Linux is a general purpose free distribution for home users and SMBs. This particular segment of the Linux OS tries to bridge free OS and preconfigured commercial hardware/software with a flexible set of options. Black Lab Linux is an outgrowth of OS4 OpenLinux, a distro released in 2008 by the same developers. There is a blurred line between the free and enterprise versions.
Kano: The Can-Do Coding Kit for Kids of All Ages
November 5, 2014
"So simple a child could do it" -- I have heard that expression abused often in advertising. Yet it aptly applies to the Kano computer kit. Kano is a computer and coding kit that is suitable for all ages. Well, to be truthful, Kano's step-by-step instructions in the included booklets and its simplified Linux-based operating system target kids aged 6 to 14.
Security-Minded Qubes OS Will Satisfy Your Yen for Xen
October 31, 2014
Qubes OS is a hybrid computing technology that raises the bar for security. It takes locking down computers to a new level. It has advanced far beyond the primitive proof of concept demonstrated more than four years ago. Beta Release 2, which arrived in late September, is a powerful desktop OS. Qubes succeeds in seamless integrating security by isolation into the user experience.
Calculate Linux Provides Consistency by Design
October 23, 2014
Calculate Linux 14 is a distro designed with home and SMB users in mind. It is optimized for rapid deployment in corporate environments as well. Calculate gives users something no other Linux distro offers. The Xfce desktop session is customized to imitate the look of the KDE desktop environment. This design approach goes a long way toward making Calculate Linux a one-distro-fits-all solution.
For Gentoo Linux Initiates, Iron Penguin May Be Too Heavy
October 16, 2014
Gentoo Linux can be either an experienced Linux user's ideal desktop choice or a new user's worst computing nightmare. I am not talking about being new to the Linux OS. I mean just plain and simple new to Gentoo Linux. The Linux OS has many dozens of specialized distributions. Many of them are easy to install and need only a few settings adjustments to perform as desired.
Cylon Linux Gives GNOME Fans Glamour Galore
October 9, 2014
Cylon Linux Delivers GNOME Design with Glamour Galore Jack M. Germain Cylon is a classic Linux distro preconfigured with lots of tweaks -- kind of a Unity-less Ubuntu with bling. Cylon runs the classic GNOME 3 desktop on almost any hardware configuration made since 2007, but it is more suited to seasoned Linux users. Newcomers to Linux may not make an easy transition.
Elementary OS 'Freya' Is Worth the Wait
October 2, 2014
Elementary OS is a new style Linux distro that wraps its own sophisticated desktop design around a solid Ubuntu core. This distro first appeared in 2011, and the second major version came out last year. The latest weeks-old beta release -- the third major version, called "Freya" -- shows that Elementary OS continues to offer Linux users a dependable alternative to popular desktop options.
'Data Divination: Big Data Strategies' Is a Great Hip-Pocket Tool
October 2, 2014
Most of today's books about Big Data delve into highly technical tools, cloud technology, and high-level computer-assisted math calculations and algorithms. For most people in the business world, this is far from motivating readers to appreciate just what Big Data does and how to let it get you there. However, that's not so with Data Divination: Big Data Strategies by Pam Baker.
Scribbleton Has a Ton of Potential
September 30, 2014
Scribbleton is a very infant -- as in alpha -- release of an innovative note-taking app for Linux that provides cross-platform access with Windows and Apple computers. It creates a personal wiki for storing everything from quick notes to detailed checklists to outlines. It creates links between pages in Scribbleton. Think of this as an easy-to-use database to link words, phrases and pages.
Pale Moon Shines for Classic Firefox Fans
September 25, 2014
The Pale Moon Web browser project gets rid of a problem that many Mozilla Firefox users would like to solve. The Pale Moon browser is a fork of Mozilla's official browser developed by Moonchild Productions. It provides users with access to all of their favorite Firefox extensions but eliminates the Australis interface, which some dislike. Firefox debuted the new UI in late April.
Opera Sings for Linux Users, With Just a Few Sour Notes
September 18, 2014
Opera offers an interesting alternative to the Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox Web browsers, but its recent Linux release leaves some room for improvement. Opera previously enjoyed a reputation as the go-to browser of choice for mobile environments. However, Opera Software, the developer, ignored Linux users for quite a long while until now. Opera's Version 12.16 is a very usable release.
Early iPhone 6 Reviewers Might as Well Be Rating Vacuum Cleaners
September 18, 2014
With every new iPhone release, Apple delivers a handful of new iPhones to a select few industry journalists to review. How are those journalists and publications selected? First, they are known to appreciate the Apple aesthetic -- they have written dozens of positive reviews. No Apple haters allowed, which makes sense. It's important to set the stage for positive vibes.
Springseed Cultivates Note-Taking Simplicity
September 9, 2014
Springseed is a simple note-taking app for Linux that features full Markdown language support. Most Linux note and text-editing tools do not incorporate Markdown symbols. The real beauty of this feature is that you do not have to use it. You still have a minimalistic yet very efficient note-taking tool that doubles as a Markdown editor. The Markdown language lets you easily format plain text.

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Do video cameras make the world safer?
Yes - People exercise more restraint because of them.
No - We just get to see more horrible things happen.
Maybe - They might deter some kinds of crime.