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Parrot Home: Enjoy the Privacy Extras
March 8, 2019
Parrot offers several options for running a Linux OS that pays much closer attention to security. If you already are handy with digital forensic tasks and want a state-of-the-art system to handle pentesting and privacy issues, check out Parrot Security, which offers a complete all-in-one environment for pentesting, privacy, digital forensics, reverse-engineering and software development.
End of the Line for Windows 7: Open Road for Hackers
March 7, 2019
Microsoft has been urging customers to upgrade from its Windows 7 operating system, while attempting to ease the transition with several options for extended support. It will stop providing routine fixes and security patches effective January 2020. Regular support for Windows Server 2008 also will end at that time. Windows 7 enterprise customers can subscribe to Extended Security Updates.
EasyOS Teaches an Old Dog New Tricks
March 5, 2019
EasyOS is an experimental Linux distribution that either will renew your passion for using something different or leave you disappointed in its oddball approach to computing. EasyOS is a blend of the best ideas from Puppy Linux and the now discontinued Quirky Linux. I have used several of the popular Puppy Linux variants over the years. I adopted Quirky Linux a few years ago as my go-to Linux distro on a USB stick.
B0r0nt0K Ransomware Threatens Linux Servers
February 27, 2019
A new cryptovirus called "B0r0nt0K" has been putting Linux and possibly Windows Web servers at risk of encrypting all of the infected domain's files. The new ransomware threat and the ransom of 20 bitcoins -- about $75,000 -- first came to light last week in a forum post. A client's website had all its files encrypted and renamed with the .rontok extension appended to them, the forum user indicated.
Android Addition Opens FIDO Password Killer to Billions
February 26, 2019
The FIDO Alliance hammered another nail into the passwords coffin with the announcement that devices running Android 7.0 or higher will be compatible with FIDO2, the latest version of its authentication solution. Certification of Android 7.0+ means devices running those versions of Google's mobile operating system will support FIDO2 out of the box or through a software update.
GhostBSD: A Solid Linux-Like Open Source Alternative
February 21, 2019
The subject of this week's Linux Picks and Pans is a representative of a less well-known computing platform that coexists with Linux as an open source operating system. If you thought that the Linux kernel was the only open source engine for a free OS, think again. BSD shares many of the same features that make Linux OSes viable alternatives to proprietary computing platforms.
Redcore Linux Gives Gentoo a Nice Facelift
February 15, 2019
Working with the Linux operating system offers a never-ending series of alternatives. One of the greatest benefits of using the Linux desktop is that you are never at risk of vendor lock-in or of being stranded if your chosen distro flavor suddenly sours. Take Redcore Linux, for example. Redcore is not a household name among typical Linux users. Neither was its predecessor, Kogaion Linux.
Apple to Raise Barrier Against VR, AR Websites
February 6, 2019
The next upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system will come with an annoying surprise for VR and AR developers. It reportedly will block Web access to the accelerometer and gyroscope in Apple mobile devices by default. That means users will have to grant permission to any Web apps or sites that need those components to function, including those with VR and AR components.
Endless OS Functionality Controls Simplify Computing
February 1, 2019
Endless OS is an unusual Linux distro in that its user interface is more like an Android smartphone or tablet than a Linux desktop computer platform. Version 3.5.4, released on Jan. 17, brings parental controls and other refinements that make this distro a cool alternative to the Chromebook for home, educational and community use. Endless OS goes a long way to eliminating the Linux learning curve.
Apple Rumored Plotting a Game Subscription Service
January 29, 2019
A "Netflix for Games" type of service may be in Apple's future. Apple has been developing a subscription service that will function for games much like Netflix does for movies and TV series, according to a report. It's still unclear what the subscription fee would be or what kinds of games would be offered on the service. Whatever the fee for the offering, it could be tough for Apple to find an audience for a streaming service.
MakuluLinux Core OS Debuts With Impressive Desktop Design
January 28, 2019
A new Linux OS gets to the core of Linux computing with a revamped desktop environment and a new way to have fun with your daily computing tasks. Developer Jacque Montague Raymer has debuted the MakuluLinux Core OS, and hopes it becomes the crown jewel of the Series 15 release family. MakuluLinux released the latest versions of family members LinDoz and Flash several months ago.
Netrunner's Unique Blackbird Soars to New Heights
January 23, 2019
Blackbird, Netrunner's version 19.01 release, hit the download servers on Jan. 14, and this distro deserves to be considered bleeding-edge. Netrunner is a step ahead of other KDE distros, thanks to its solid integration of classic KDE desktop performance with Web-based applications and cloud services. That said, if you aren't fondness of the K Desktop, Netrunner may leave you wanting more desktop simplicity.
Blue Collar Linux: Something Borrowed, Something New
January 15, 2019
Sometimes it takes more than a few tweaks to turn an old-style desktop design into a fresh new Linux distribution. That is the case with the public release of Blue Collar Linux. Blue Collar Linux has been under development for the last four years. Until its public release this week, it has circulated only through an invitation for private use by the developer's family, friends and associates looking for an alternative to the Windows nightmare.
Top Open Source Tools for Staying on Time and on Task
January 11, 2019
Keeping up to date with multiple daily activity calendars, tons of information, and long must-do lists can be a never-ending challenge. This week's Linux Picks and Pans reviews the best open source Personal Information Managers that will serve you well on whatever Linux distribution you run. In theory, computer tools should make managing a flood of personal and business information child's play.
Where Linux Went in 2018 - and Where It's Going
January 9, 2019
For those who try to keep their finger on the Linux community's pulse, 2018 was a surprisingly eventful year. Spread over the last 12 months, we've seen various projects in the Linux ecosystem make great strides, as well as suffer their share of stumbles. All told, the year wrapped up leaving plenty to be optimistic about in the year to come, but there is much more on which we can only speculate.
Kodachi Builds Privacy Tunnel for Linux
January 3, 2019
Online and Internet security are not topics that typical computer users easily comprehend. All too often, Linux users put their blind trust in a particular distribution and assume that all Linux OSes are equally secure. However, not all Linux distros are created with the same degree of attention to security and privacy control. Kodachi Linux offers an alternative to leaving them to chance.
Q4OS: A Diamond in the Rough Gets Some Polish
December 20, 2018
Sometimes working with Linux distros is much like rustling through an old jewelry drawer. Every now and then, you find a diamond hidden among the rhinestones. That is the case with Q4OS. I took a detailed first look at this new distro in February 2015, primarily to assess the Trinity desktop. That was a version 1 beta release. Still, Trinity showed some potential. I have used it on numerous old and new computers.
Pantheon Desktop Makes Linux Elementary
December 12, 2018
Developers of U.S.-based Elementary OS recently released the community's annual major update, Juno 5. What makes this distro so nontraditional is its own desktop interface, called "Pantheon." This desktop interface is somewhat of a hybrid, inspired by Apple's Debian Ubuntu-based OS X. It combines some similarities of the GNOME 3 Shell with the visual finesse of the OS X dock.
Who's Winning the Latest Tech Industry Battles?
December 10, 2018
December has become consistent with the Chinese curse, "May You Be Born In Interesting Times." We are up to our armpits in wars. Qualcomm and Intel are fighting for 5G control, and Intel is tearing itself apart. Microsoft passed Apple in valuation, largely because it has not been focusing on Apple. The Huawei founder's daughter has just been arrested, at the request of the U.S.
End of the Line for Microsoft Edge?
December 7, 2018
Rumors circulated this week that Microsoft will be replacing the core technology in its Edge browser for Windows 10 with Chromium, the open source software from Google that is the core of the Chrome browser. Google's Blink -- the browser engine that is responsible for interpreting website coding and displaying it on a user's device -- will be basis of the new browser, codenamed "Anaheim."
Deepin Builds a Better Linux Desktop
December 5, 2018
Deepin 15.8, released last month, is loaded with more efficient layout tweaks that give the distribution greater functionality and maturity. Deepin, based in China, shed its Ubuntu base when with the 2015 release of version 15, which favored Debian Linux. That brought numerous subtle changes in the code base and software roots. Ubuntu Linux itself is based on Debian.
Void Linux: Built From Scratch for Full Independence
November 29, 2018
Void Linux is a bit out of the ordinary. It offers an unusually interesting alternative to many of the traditional Linux distros affiliated with a larger Linux family such as Debian or Ubuntu or Arch. Void Linux is an independently developed, rolling-release, general-purpose operating system. That means that its software is either homegrown or plain-vanilla compiled.
Free Personal Finance Apps You Can Take to the Bank
November 21, 2018
Today's Linux platform accommodates a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. That was not always the case, however. Not quite 10 years ago, I scoured Linux repositories in a quest for replacement applications for popular Microsoft Windows tools. Back then, the pickings were mighty slim.
Google Shows Off New Android Dev Tools
November 13, 2018
Google has announced support for a range of new Android tools for application developers, chief among them the creation of a new support category for foldable devices. After years of speculation, it finally looks as though foldable screen smartphones are headed to market. Google's dev announcement followed closely on the heels of Samsung's announcement of a folding phone/tablet prototype.
Got a Screwdriver? GalliumOS Can Turn Chromebooks Into Linux Boxes
November 8, 2018
GalliumOS is a Chromebook-specific Linux variant. It lets you put a real Linux distro on a Chromebook. My recent review of a new Chromebook feature -- the ability to run Linux apps on some Chromebook models -- sparked my interest in other technologies that run complete Linux distros on some Chromebooks without using ChromeOS. GalliumOS can be a handy workaround.
Overcoming Your Terror of Arch Linux
November 7, 2018
A recent episode of a Linux news podcast I keep up with featured an interview with a journalist who had written a piece for a non-Linux audience about giving it a try. It was surprisingly widely read. The writer's experience with some of the more popular desktop distributions had been overwhelmingly positive, and he said as much in his piece and during the subsequent podcast interview.
Feren OS Delivers Richer Cinnamon Flavor
November 2, 2018
Feren OS is a nice alternative to Linux Mint and an easy stepping stone to transition to Linux from Microsoft Windows or macOS. I am a long-time user of Linux Mint, but I am falling out of love with it. Mint is getting stale. That diagnosis started me thinking about a suitable replacement distro that runs the Cinnamon desktop with a bit more innovation and flare.
$34B Red Hat Acquisition Is a Bolt Out of Big Blue
October 31, 2018
The cloud computing landscape may look much different to enterprise users following the announcement earlier this week of IBM's agreement to acquire Red Hat. IBM plans to purchase Red Hat, a major provider of open source cloud software, for $34 billion. IBM will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Red Hat for $190 per share in cash, under terms of the deal.
Another Milestone Achieved: Run Linux Apps on a Chromebook
October 25, 2018
Linux apps now can run in a Chromebook's Chrome OS environment. However, the process can be tricky, and it depends on your hardware's design and Google's whims. It is somewhat similar to running Android apps on your Chromebook, but the Linux connection is far less forgiving. If it works in your Chromebook's flavor, though, the computer becomes much more useful with more flexible options.
2nd New MakuluLinux Release Offers Flash and Substance
October 18, 2018
The MakuluLinux Flash distro is splashy and fast with a spiffy new look and new features. MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer just announced the second of this year's three major releases in the Series 15 distro family. The Flash edition follows last month's LinDoz edition release. The much-awaited innovative Core edition will debut between the end of November and mid-December.
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Which type of cybersecurity threat concerns you the most?
Theft of my personal assets
A serious privacy invasion affecting me or a close family member
Reputation damage affecting my business
Child pornography, drug and weapon sales, and other Dark Web crimes
Activities that might compromise free and fair elections
A life-threatening attack on the nation's infrastructure