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If You're Ready for Arch, ArchMerge Eases the Way
December 12, 2017
Newcomer ArchMerge Linux offers a big change for the better to those switching from the Debian Linux lineage to the Arch Linux infrastructure. ArchMerge Linux is a recent spinoff of ArchLabs Linux, which is a step up from most Arch Linux offerings in terms of installation and usability. Arch Linux distros are notorious for their challenging installation and software management processes.
MX 17 Linux: The Best of 2 Linux Worlds
November 16, 2017
MX Linux-17 Beta 1 is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution based on Debian's "stable" branch. It is a cooperative venture between the antiX and former MEPIS Linux communities. Normally, taking a first look at an early phase beta release means taking a few hours to get familiar with the features and performance. If too many glitches appear, it can doom the early release to a negative review.
GeckoLinux Beta Does openSuse Better
November 8, 2017
The latest developmental beta release of GeckoLinux brings this custom spinoff distro of openSuse to new levels of performance and convenience. When I first looked at GeckoLinux in late 2015, I was impressed with the developer's efforts to smooth over what I did not like about using the Suse infrastructure. GeckoLinux impressed me then. It does not disappoint me now.
Anarchy Linux Dispels Fear of Arch
October 20, 2017
Anarchy Linux, the distro formerly known as "Arch-Anywhere Linux" has changed my tune about the terrors of Arch-based Linux as a suitable OS. In general, however, Arch-anything presents a challenge that may not be worth the effort for typical desktop needs. A potential trademark violation forced Anarchy Linux developer/maintainer Dylan Schacht to rebrand Arch-Anywhere, his homespun distro.
GNOME and Budgie: 2 Comfy Ubuntu 17.10 Environments
October 10, 2017
Ubuntu 17.10, otherwise known as "Artful Aardvark," is a paradigm shift for Canonical. The company is set to release the official version of the much anticipated Ubuntu 17.10 desktop, server and cloud distro on Oct. 19 -- it released the final beta version late last month. Ubuntu 17.10 comes with a new default desktop to replace the retired Unity interface.
ArchLabs Makes Up for Parabola's Curve Balls
October 3, 2017
If you want to stretch your Linux desktop acumen from the Debian Linux lineage to Arch Linux, Archlabs might be a better choice than Parabola. Arch Linux is something of a black sheep when it comes to installing and configuring a Linux distribution. It presents a few more stumbling blocks than other Linux options, which could make it a less welcome alternative to some users.
Bodhi Linux With Moksha Is Truly Enlightening
September 6, 2017
Bodhi Linux 4.3.1's implementation of the Enlightenment desktop, released late last month, continues this distro's tradition of providing an awesome desktop computing platform for office or home. When I last reviewed Bodhi Linux, I was attracted to the relatively new desktop environment. I recently installed the latest version on new hardware, and Bodhi Linux did not disappoint.
Window Maker Live: Cool Retro Look, Even Cooler Performance
August 28, 2017
Window Maker Live takes an unusual approach to desktop interface management. It has an old-fashioned look with a productive new feel. The latest version of Window Maker Live, released this month, is a Debian-based Linux distribution that uses the Window Maker window manager as the default GUI. It integrates well-known open source components in a surprisingly satisfying interface.
Kolab Now Is a Smooth On-Ramp for LibreOffice Online
August 23, 2017
As cloud popularity grows, so does the collection of free or low-cost online office tools that services like Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs/G Suite provide. However, those two major league offerings, along with a swarm of other cloud-based productivity platforms, are proprietary. Until now, online open source office suites have been little more than vaporware.
Ubuntu Budgie Distro: Simple, Clean and User-Friendly
August 15, 2017
Ubuntu Budgie is one of the few Linux distros to offer integration of a Budgie desktop-only edition, other than Solus OS, whose developers created it. Ubuntu Budgie is classy and user-friendly. It does not sacrifice performance for reliance on a simple design. Although based on the Ubuntu Linux family, Ubuntu Budgie is not from Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company.
SparkyLinux 5: Great All-Purpose Distro for Confident Linux Users
July 27, 2017
When I first reviewed the Game Over edition of SparkyLinux several years ago, I called it one of the best full-service Linux distros catering to game players you could find. That assessment extends to last month's release of the non-gaming edition of this distro. Based on the testing branch of Debian, SparkyLinux 5.0 features customized lightweight desktops.
Xinix Offers Linux Lovers a Path to Zen
June 27, 2017
Xinix is an innovative newcomer to the world of Linux distros. Now in beta, this distro has been spearheaded by a single developer who slowly is bringing other programmers on board to move things along. Despite its early development status, Xinix has potential for Linux fans who like to experiment with new platform concepts and do not mind trying out an OS that is not yet fully functional.
Rosa LXQt Edition's Flexibility Sets It Apart
June 14, 2017
The Rosa Desktop Fresh R series gets better with each new edition to its distro lineup. The already-established Rosa Desktop Fresh R was a hit with its series of standard desktop editions released with KDE4 and Plasma 5, as well as the GNOME 3 and MATE desktops. This latest LXQt edition adds the ability to run this powerhouse computing platform on legacy boxes with as little as 512 MB of RAM.
BitKey Unlocks Mysteries of the Bitcoin Universe
June 1, 2017
BitKey is a Debian-based live distribution with specialist utilities for performing highly secure air-gapped bitcoin transactions. This distro is not for everyday computing needs, but if you are obsessed with the use of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it might be just what you need. I am a high-tech sort of guy with a keen interest in diving through Linux distros both simple and complex.
Feren OS: A Linux Desktop Game-Changer
May 18, 2017
Feren OS is a polished and well-stocked Linux distro that comes close to being an ideal replacement for Microsoft Windows and macOS. In fact, this impressive Linux OS is a very attractive replacement for any Linux distro. The only impediment to this assessment is dislike of the Cinnamon desktop. Feren OS does not give you any other desktop options, but it comes with many configuration choices.
Ultimate Edition Linux: Rough Road to a Nice Destination
May 3, 2017
Ultimate Edition has a lot going for it. However, the latest release, version 5.4, also reflects numerous missteps that developers of a seasoned Linux distro should avoid. Ultimate Edition is a fork of two popular Debian-based Linux families -- Ubuntu and Linux Mint -- that aimed to take the best of both Linux entities and blend in a fresh mix of visually stimulating features.
Tiny Core: Small Footprint, Big Potential
April 18, 2017
Tiny Core Linux 8.0, released last week, is a minimalist Linux OS built from scratch with a focus on being as small as possible. That means you should be able to run this Linux distro on a wide range of legacy machines. The tradeoff for ultra smallness, however, often is a not-so-powerful OS that can leave you longing for better options. The Core Project is based on a highly modular system.
Fatdog64: More Bark Than Bite
April 6, 2017
Fatdog64 has the potential to serve as an alternative lightweight OS to Linux distros such as Puppy Linux, Knoppix and Zephyr. However, it has some critical usability issues that need to be fixed first. Fatdog64 seems to have lost its performance edge over earlier versions that made it more appealing as an alternative "frugal" Linux candidate. The latest update does nothing to remedy that problem.
Zephyr Linux: Zippy Performance, Zero Decor
March 30, 2017
Zephyr Linux is a newcomer to the Linux scene, and it is still morphing from developmental releases. However, it takes an interesting approach to removing desktop clutter and default software bloat. Zephyr is a collaboration between Leonard Ashley and other developers. Ashley built this distro on Devuan, a fork of Debian, and with it he gives the concept of minimalist design a fresh twist.
OpenSuse Leap Reinforces Linux Faith
March 23, 2017
OpenSuse Leap 42.2 goes a long way toward maintaining Suse's reputation for reliability and stability. That said, new users might need a push to take the leap from their familiar distros to this latest OpenSuse release. Business users can remain confident that upgrading to the latest edition, released last fall, won't put them too close to the bleeding edge of innovation.
Slackel Openbox Plays Hard to Get
March 16, 2017
Slackel's Openbox edition is a lightweight operating system that offers reliable performance once you get the box open. It is not an ideal OS for every user, though. Slackel 6.0.8 Openbox was released by developer Dimitris Tzemos last fall. Slackel is a Linux distro that offers several benefits for users who step away from the typical mainstream Debian-based Linux distros.
Black Lab Linux 8.0 Is a Rare Treat
March 9, 2017
Black Lab Linux 8.0, based on Ubuntu 16.04, adds a Unity desktop option. You won't find Unity offered by any other major -- or nearly any minor -- Linux distributor outside of Ubuntu. It also updates several other prominent desktop options. Black Lab Linux is a general purpose community distribution for home users and SMBs. Black Lab Enterprise Linux targets businesses that want support services.
Zorin Desktop Is a Crowd Pleaser
March 1, 2017
Zorin OS developers on Tuesday released Version 12.1, offering Linux users a patchwork of software and hardware updates with some performance enhancements and bug fixes. Zorin 12.1 follows the introduction three months ago of the project's 12 series. It is a minor update, but the amount of tweaking applied makes it worth upgrading to the .1 release. For instance, it has an updated hardware stack.
DebianDog Is a Useful Pocket Pup
February 25, 2017
DebianDog offers a lot of functionality and customization that frees users from many of the restrictions of a Linux community tied up in developmental red tape. DebianDog is fast and focused on getting work done without a lot of distractions. However, it also is a disorganized desktop environment that can leave new users floundering. Its look and feel is eclectic, and documentation is sparse.
Lumina Adds Luster to Linux Desktop
February 14, 2017
The Lumina Desktop Environment desktop is a standout in the crowded field of Linux GUIs. Lumina is a compact, lightweight, XDG-compliant graphical desktop environment developed from scratch. Its focus is on giving users a streamlined, efficient work environment with minimal system overhead. Lumina was first developed for the BSD family of operating systems, such as FreeBSD and TrueOS.
SalentOS Switchers Will Have No Regrets
February 6, 2017
SalentOS is a Linux distro that easily can put a smile on your face. It is a flexible and accommodating desktop platform that balances demands on system resources with efficient performance. SalentOS is not well known, but it has much to offer. This distro makes it easy to leave behind your current computing choice. Salent has been around for the last few years on the Ubuntu base.
FastComputer: Fussy but Fixable
January 20, 2017
FastComputer Linux is a disappointing experience that almost fails. It is poorly designed, has little community support, and lacks its own home base and identity, all of which contribute to an identity crisis. Its home -- on Sourceforge.com -- lacks much in attractiveness, as does the distro. The Linux OS offers developers and users choice among desktop options and OS standards.
Min Browser Muffles the Web's Noise
January 9, 2017
Min is a Web browser with a minimal design that provides speedy operation with simple features. When it comes to software design, "minimal" does not mean low functionality or undeveloped potential. If you like minimal distraction tools for your text editor and note-taking applications, that same comfort appeal is evident in the Min browser. I mostly use Google Chrome, Chromium and Firefox on my desktops and laptop computers.
Absolute Linux Caters to the Slackware Crowd
January 3, 2017
Absolute Linux is a distro that raises the question: Is it really worth the bother? Any version of this Slackware-based Linux OS is just that -- a really big bother -- unless you love Unix-like systems that give you total control. It likely would be especially bothersome for less experienced users and for folks comfortable with Debian distros such as Ubuntu, Linux Mint and such.
Android Marshmallow on PC Falls Flat
December 7, 2016
Android-x86 Project eventually may become a viable operating system alternative for your desktop and laptops computers, but it's not there yet. You will have to wait a while for the developers to fix a number of failures with the latest release upgrading Android-x86 to Marshmallow 6.0.1. Android-x86 lets you run the Android OS with the Google Chrome browser on your desktop and laptop computers.
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