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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.
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.
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.
Review: Battlefield V Mixes Fantastic Gameplay With Intense Realism
November 15, 2018
After taking Battlefield to "the beginning" with the First World War-based Battlefield 1, developers have returned the action to World War II with Battlefield V. Anyone who's not familiar with this first-person shooter need know only that the original game, introduced in 2002 as Battlefield 1942, offers players the chance to control vehicles as well as soldiers.
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.
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.
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.
New Manjaro Beta Builds a Better Arch
October 10, 2018
Manjaro Linux offers the best of two worlds. It puts a user-friendly face on an Arch-based distro, and it gives you a choice of sensible and productive desktop interfaces. The Manjaro Linux team released its latest updates running the KDE, Xfce and GNOME desktops, Manjaro Linux 18.0 Beta 7, late last month. All three are solid performers and seem to be ready for final release.
Antergos Softens Arch Learning Curve
October 3, 2018
Antergos 8.9 is one of the better Arch Linux options. It is a powerful and modern computing platform, elegantly designed. It gives power users almost all they could desire. Arch distros are not for Linux newcomers -- but for seasoned Linux users who are new to Arch, Antergos has much to offer. One of the biggest challenges in getting started with any Arch distro is surviving the installation.
New MakuluLinux Deserves a Spot in the Majors
September 27, 2018
MakuluLinux developer Jacque Montague Raymer on Thursday announced the first major release of this year. It is a whole lot more than a mere upgrade of distro packages. MakuluLinux Series 15 offers much more than new artwork and freshly repainted themes and desktop styles. If you crave a Linux OS that is fresh and independent, MakuluLinux is a must-try Linux solution.
Cinnamon Mint for Debian Just as Tasty
September 7, 2018
The official release of version 3 of Linux Mint Debian Edition hit the download servers at summer's end, offering a subtle alternative to the distro's Ubuntu-based counterpart. Codenamed "Cindy," the new version of LMDE is based on Debian 9 Stretch and features the Cinnamon desktop environment. Its release creates an unusual situation in the world of Linux distro competition. Linux Mint developers seem to be in competition with themselves.
Enlightenment Has Limits in Bodhi Linux
August 30, 2018
Bodhi Linux is an alternative to traditional Linux OSes that can change your desktop user experience. It is one of a very few Linux distros using Moksha, a forked version of the Enlightenment desktop. Enlightenment is a Compositing Window Manager and Desktop Shell. It is radically different from other lightweight interface shells such as Xfce and LXDE.
Quirky Linux: Pleasingly Peculiar
August 23, 2018
Quirky Linux is a classic example of what makes Linux such a varied and useful operating system. Puppy Linux developer Barry Kauler earlier this month released Quirky Xerus 64 version 8.6, which comes packed with the latest innovations for doing Linux stuff differently. This latest in the "Xerus" series is a must-try if you like to push your computing experience envelope.
ExTiX 18.7 Is Not Quite an 'Ultimate Linux System'
August 2, 2018
The latest release of the ExTiX Linux distro is a major disappointment. ExTiX 18.7 has several shortcomings that make it troublesome to use. The flaws easily might be fixed in a patched follow-up release. Still, to a new Linux user, the problems inherent in ExTiX 18.7 give the Linux OS in general a black eye. New releases of any software platform never come with guarantees.
FreeOffice Suite Is Almost Blue Ribbon-Worthy
July 25, 2018
SoftMaker's FreeOffice 2018 Linux office suite is a high-end product that provides performance and compatibility with Microsoft Office and other office suites. FreeOffice 2018 is a free version that is nearly identical to the features and UI of Softmaker's commercial flagship office suite, SoftMaker Office 2018. The FreeOffice 2018 suite is a capable alternative to its commercial upgrade.
Pinguy OS Puts On a Happier GNOME 3 Face
July 17, 2018
Pinguy OS 18.04 is an Ubuntu-based distribution that offers a non-standard GNOME desktop environment intended to be friendlier for new Linux users. This distro is a solid Linux OS with a focus on simple and straightforward usability for the non-geek desktop user. If you do not like tinkering with settings or having numerous power-grabbing fancy screen animations, Pinguy OS could be a good choice.
Ribbons and Tabs Give OnlyOffice Suite a Fresh Look
July 10, 2018
Ascensio System SIA recently released its free office suite upgrade -- OnlyOffice Desktop Editors -- with a ribbon and tab interface plus numerous updated features. The refresh makes version 5.1 a potential alternative to Web versions of the Microsoft Office suite and Google Docs for Linux users. The three-module set of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors has an impressive collection of tools.
Peppermint 9 Offers Some Cool New Options
June 28, 2018
Peppermint 9 accomplishes something most other Linux distros don't: It melds the best components from other desktop environments and integrates them into a solid operating system. The latest release nearly completes a process begun several upgrades ago, using more Xfce elements and fewer LXDE components. Peppermint is a good alternative to the Linux Mint Xfce release.
Modicia: Ultimate Linux with a Twist
June 15, 2018
Every once and a great while I stumble on a Linux distro that makes me sit up and smile. Modicia O.S. is one of them. It is not that Modicia steps over the bleeding edge of innovation. It is a seemingly standard desktop Linux distribution based on Xubuntu. It comes in one desktop flavor, Xfce -- but with a twist. Yet nothing is standard about Modicia O.S. That is what generates the happiness.
Desktop Consolidation Gives SparkyLinux a Clearer Focus
May 31, 2018
SparkyLinux is experiencing growing pains. You could say that this very capable Linux distribution was just too much of a great thing to last. Users previously had access to a continuously updated list of more than a dozen different download options. Depending on which variety you selected, you could choose from a wide range of desktop environments.
Cinnamon Desktop Spices Up RoboLinux Raptor
May 19, 2018
RoboLinux is a unique distro that focuses on incorporating Windows versions XP through 10 within a fully functional Linux operating system. You might never need the Stealth VM features that let you easily install and run Microsoft Windows within most any Linux distro. Still, RoboLinux is a topnotch general purpose Linux computing platform that comes with a choice of leading desktop environments.
Ubuntu Budgie Whistles Up a Better Remix
May 3, 2018
If you have yet to try the Budgie desktop, the latest release of Ubuntu Budgie is a perfect opportunity to experience a classy and user-friendly computing platform. Budgie is one of the first home-grown Linux distros to release its latest version based on Ubuntu 18.04. The independent developer announced Ubuntu Budgie 18.04 last week, coinciding with Canonical's release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Nix This Innovative OS for Its Uninviting Complexity
April 19, 2018
NixOS is a modern and flexible GNU/Linux-based distribution that is both archaic to install and maddening to set up. That combination makes NixOS a reach too far for new users. That result may be an unintended consequence for a Linux operating system that is built around a very novel design approach. It is far more complex than other innovating options.
Bluestar Gives Arch Linux a Celestial Glow
April 5, 2018
Using most any Arch Linux distro usually involves balancing the desire for hands-on control of the OS against the attraction of convenient installation and maintenance processes. Bluestar Linux is one of the few Arch distros that gets the balancing act right. Bluestar Linux is a GNU/Linux distribution that features up-to-date packages, an impressive range of software, and a live desktop DVD.
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