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Parsix 5.0 review

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Simple because I did not see any point in it. The distribution wasn’t bringing anything new to the table, and the custom-coded installer was several steps removed (in the wrong direction) from that of its parent distribution. But that was back in 2011, which for a distribution with a 6-month release cycle, is a long time. read more...
permapage | score:9969 | -finid, August 30, 2013

StartOS 6 GNOME 3 and KDE preview

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The very first edition of what is now called StartOS were based on Ubuntu, but the distribution has since dumped Ubuntu to become one that is not based on any other distribution. In other words, it is now an original or independent distribution, with its own package management system. read more...
permapage | score:9644 | -finid, July 7, 2013

Reviewing Kali Linux - the distro for security geeks

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Kali linux is a security oriented linux distribution aimed at digital forensics and penetration testing users. It is the successor of backtrack linux. In this introduction we are going to take a look at Kali Linux 1.0 and see how it looks like. read more...
permapage | score:9580 | -Silver Moon, August 7, 2013

GhostBSD 2.5 review

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GhostBSD is a desktop distribution based on FreeBSD. It comes as an installable Live DVD image and is developed by Eric Turgeon and Nahuel Sanchez. The latest edition, GhostBSD 2.5, based on FreeBSD 9, is the project’s fourth release, and was made available for public download on January 24.

This article provides the first review of this distribution on this website, and it is based on test installations of the 32-bit version. read more...
permapage | score:9571 | -finid, February 3, 2012

Linpus Lite 1.9 review

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Linpus Lite is one of those distributions that I’ve always hoped will be done right, considering that it is published by a commercial entity. However, with every release, it manages to fail in taking care of the little things that matter. Almost every desktop distribution suffers from the same problem. They get the big picture, but then it comes to delivering sane and sensible defaults and implementing features that a modern OS should have, they miss the mark. read more...
permapage | score:9555 | -finid, May 26, 2013

Fedora 16 KDE review

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Fedora 16 is the latest stable edition of Fedora, a Linux distribution whose development is sponsored by Red Hat, Inc. The main edition uses the GNOME 3 desktop environment, but there are editions, called Spins, that use other desktop environments.

The available Spins in order of popularity, based on download count, are: Fedora KDE, Fedora Xfce, Fedora LXDE, Security, Games, Design-suite, Scientific-KDE, SoaS, Robotics, and Electronic-Lab. This review is of Fedora 16 KDE. read more...
permapage | score:9506 | -finid, December 15, 2011

Pear OS Linux Panther 3 screenshot preview

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Pear OS is a new Linux desktop distribution based on Ubuntu. Development started in early August 2011, and Pear OS 1.0, the first version marked “stable,” was released on August 15 2011. The newest release is Pear OS Linux Panther 3.

I tend not to pay too much attention to Ubuntu-based distributions especially when there is no feature or features that truly distinguishes them from their parent distribution, but Pear OS appears to be different. In fact, it looks to be better than any other Ubuntu-based distribution. Perhaps even better than Ubuntu itself. read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9469 | -finid, December 16, 2011

Elementary OS 0.2 Luna review

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Rather, it uses a custom desktop interface called Pantheon, which like the Depth Desktop Environment of Linux Deepin, is built atop GNOME 3 technologies. read more...
permapage | score:9446 | -finid, August 25, 2013

Linux file manager comparison review

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Reviewing and rating six of the best Linux file managers...
The litmus test for any file manager, then, is its ability to manage large numbers of files efficiently, and this is one of the two main criteria for the applications in this roundup. Our other primary concern is advocacy. Could each file manager here help convince inexperienced Linux users that the OS can be either familiar and easy to use, or different in that it's much more flexible than what they've previously experienced?
read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9430 | -Ray, April 20, 2011

PC-BSD 8.2 review

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PC-BSD 8.2 is the latest stable release of PC-BSD, the FreeBSD-based desktop distribution. The installer sports features not available on the prior stable release. One-click disk encryption, one-click ZFS-based installation, and support for a GPT disk partitioning scheme are features just coded into SysInstaller.

ZFS implementation on PC-BSD (and FreeBSD) is not at the same level as what is available on Oracle Solaris. ZFS Pool Version is at 31 and the ZFS File System Version is at 5. PC-BSD 8.2 ships with ZFS Pool Version 15 and ZFS File System Version 4. That just means that there are some cool features of ZFS that are not yet available on PC-BSD. read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9379 | -finid, March 3, 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 Preview

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An early look at the next release of Ubuntu Linux...
Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) Beta 1 is powered by Linux kernel 2.6.38, GNOME 2.32.1 and X.Org 7.5. It will included applications such as LibreOffice 3.3.2 as the default office suite, Banshee 1.9.4 as the default audio player/organizer and Mozilla Firefox 4.0 as the default web browser.

A set of seventeen new and beautiful wallpapers will also be present in the Beta release, to please every Ubuntu user out there. And now, the features we've promised...
read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9374 | -Ray, April 1, 2011

Fedora 19 review – Schrodingers Cat

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There are also specialty flavors designed for specific computing tasks (Design-suite, Electronic-Lab, Games, Jam-KDE – for the musician in you, Robotics, Security, and SoaS), and ready-to-run images for Cloud platforms. Installation images for ARM, PPC, and s390 architectures are also available. read more...
permapage | score:9368 | -finid, July 12, 2013

Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon review

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This article is a review of the Cinnamon edition, and starts by taking a look at the installation program. Keep in mind that all Linux Mint editions share the same installation program, so everything that’s written here for the Cinnamon edition also applies to the MATE edition. And also to the KDE and Xfce editions, though the final editions of those are yet to be released. read more...
permapage | score:9340 | -finid, July 5, 2013

PC-BSD 9.1 preview

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PC-BSD is a desktop-centric distribution based on FreeBSD. It used to be primarily a KDE-using distribution, but the installer now has options to install a system using other major desktop environments. read more...
permapage | score:9299 | -finid, July 21, 2012

Precise Puppy 5.7.1 review: a small and swift linux distro

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Puppy linux is a lightweight distro that is aimed towards older and low end hardware. It provides a fully featured desktop that has all the necessary applications for the average user. In this post we are taking a look at Precise puppy 5.7.1 which was recently released. read more...
permapage | score:9227 | -Silver Moon, August 15, 2013

Antergos Linux 2013.05.12 review

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What I typically look for in desktop distributions are a good graphical installation, a sane and sensible default desktop configuration that just work, and all the graphical tools that will make managing the desktop easy for all users, especially those not familiar or not willing to use the command-line.

Does this first release of Antergos meet those criteria? Read on to find out. read more...
permapage | score:9224 | -finid, May 21, 2013

Comparison Review: Ubuntu 9.10 Live CD vs. Mandriva One 2010

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Ubuntu and Mandriva are two of the most popular desktop Linux brands. Both are backed by commercial entities. Ubuntu by Canonical Ltd., and Mandriva by Mandriva. Both are free to download and use, and have a vibrant, online user community. Ubuntu is a GNOME-based distro, while Mandriva One has separate iso images for GNOME and KDE desktop environments. In order not to compare apples to oranges, this review features Ubuntu 9.10 Live CD and the GNOME edition of Mandriva One 2010.

(and here are, right on cue, some orange prints) read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9141 | -finid, November 14, 2009 (Updated: April 24, 2012)

Linux Deepin 12.12 review

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The good news is they are comparatively minor bugs, nothing that cannot be fixed before the next public release. However, what’s not a bug is not requesting authentication for using graphical management applications. That’s a bad design implementation that needs to be rolled back, for security’s sake. read more...
permapage | score:9139 | -finid, June 28, 2013

Linux hardware review: Biostar iDEQ 200V Cube

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I ordered my Biostar iDEQ 200V from Newegg a couple of weeks ago. My goal was to build a small form factor Linux system that was quiet, fast, inexpensive, reasonably flexible, and easy to work on. I also wanted a Socket A motherboard so that that I could take advantage of AMD's excellent and cheap XP 2500+ Barton core processor. I already had a Maxtor 40 GB disk drive, a Sony CD-RW drive, and a floppy drive so off to Newegg's website I went, credit card in hand.

I ordered the Biostar iDEQ 200V ($189), a Crucial 512 MB DDR PC-2700 DIMM ($79), and an AMD XP 2500+ (Barton) ($91) processor. [Note that some of these prices may have changed since I last checked them.]

Even though I saved a little more money by selecting the 'Free FedEx Saver Shipping' option, my order arrived in three days. I unpacked the Biostar system first. It is housed in a 210mm wide, 187mm tall, and 323mm deep aluminum case [8.3 inches wide by 7.4 inches tall by 12.7 inches deep]. Four thumbscrews on the back lets you remove either side panel and the top panel without tools. Inside the case is a red system board with an 8x AGP slot, a single full-size PCI slot, two 184 pin DDR slots for up to 2 GB of PC-2700 memory.

Already installed are all the cables you need for an IDE system, prerouted, labeled and cut to exact length. The cables snake around the chassis so cleanly that they are barely visible. The cables are labeled in easy-to-read lettering on sturdy pull-tabs. This is a very well-organized and uncluttered system.

A custom heatsink fan assembly is included, already attached inside the system. This makes the already easy task of figuring out how to mount the CPU cooler almost trivial. Once you've removed the heatsink to install the CPU, you already know how to reinstall it. While you don't really need the included manual to assemble this system, you'll probably want to scan it first just to make sure you install the parts in the recommended order. If you follow the Biostar manual, you won't wind up with one part blocking access to another.

Also included in the iDEQ shipping carton was a pair of brackets to cover the optical and floppy drive bays in the event that you don't install drives in those bays. There was also a set of cables for a serial ATA (SATA) drive. Since I'm not yet the owner of a serial ATA drive, I didn't test that feature. However, Linux kernel 2.6 will support the SATA controller included on the system board and I understand that it already works with the current 2.6 test kernel. [Update 3/7/2004: Here and here are comments based on attempts to get SATA working on 2.6 with no success. It appears that our original information was incorrect and RAID is not yet supported on this system with Linux 2.6. -Ed.]

The system comes with a 200 watt power supply, plenty for the XP 2500+, the three drives, and the AGP and PCI slots -- as long as the more power-hungry video cards are avoided.

The AMD XP 2500+ came with a large aluminum heatsink/fan with a thick copper plate on the bottom. I set it aside to use with another system and, after removing the custom Biostar cooler, plugged the CPU into the socket. The heatsink easily and firmly latches down with a pair of springy levers.

I put the Crucial 512 MB DDR333 DIMM in one of the two memory slots, then turned my attention to the drives.

The hard drive bracket slides out of its slot when you press the trigger release making it a snap to install the Maxtor disk. The floppy bay is centered beneath the 5.25" optical drive bay. I put a floppy there and then installed the Sony CD-RW drive, carefully routing the audio cable alongside the IDE cable so as not to compromise the clean look of the system's interior.

I've assembled about 25 systems and this was the easiest build so far. Everything is where it should be, there is enough room to easily install the components, and everything fits just so. I hooked up the system and popped in a Red Hat 8 installation CD. Using a distribution several months old revealed one problem -- in addition to the aforementioned issue of SATA support. The sound chip wasn't recognized. A little research showed that it, also, would be supported in Linux 2.6. Meanwhile, I bought a cheap but well-supported Creative Lab Sound Blaster 128 PCI ($24) sound card to solve the problem. After plugging the Sound Blaster into the PCI slot, I disabled the onboard audio chip on the mainboard and rerouted the CD-ROM drive audio cable to the Sound Blaster.

That produced acceptable sound without breaking the budget -- and should get me by until I can acquire and install a Linux 2.6-based distribution.

Other than that small sound support hitch, everything has worked perfectly under Linux. The iDEQ 200V is the quietest, fastest, and one of the smallest computers in the house. While it was intended to be a test machine for a while, it has quickly become my main desktop system.

Other features of this system include a sliding door that, when closed, covers the floppy and optical drive bays; a bright blue HDD activity LED; and two depressions on the bottom of the system that provides heat contact between the processor and chipset and the case. That last clever bit of engineering turns the bottom of the aluminum case into a compnent of the cooling system and helps keep the two hottest chips in the box running cool.

The Biostar's BIOS allows control of the processor bus in 1 MHz increments. Just as a test, I stepped up the speed until I had overclocked the CPU to 2 GHz from the XP 2500+'s base speed of 1.833 GHz. Since I'm more concerned that the system run cool inside my poorly ventilated desk, overclocking was not the ultimate goal -- so I reset the bus back to 166/333 once I was satisfied that 10% overclocking was within the capability of my components.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the Biostar iDEQ 200V, the AMD XP-2500+, and the 512 MB Crucial DDR PC-2700 DIMM. The performance is excellent, it's a nice-looking system inside and out, and the price is certainly nothing to complain about.
System tested: Biostar iDEQ Barebone System for Socket A at 266/333MHz FSB AMD CPU, Model IDEQ200V

Specifications:
CPU Support: AMD Athlon XP (Socket A, Max.FSB 333)
Chipsets: VIA KM400 + VT8237
Memory: 2x 184pin (DDR333 up to 2GB)
IDE: 2x ATA133, 2x SATA(RAID)
Graphics: Integrated VIA UniChrome
Expansion Slot: 1x PCI, 1x AGP 8X
Audio: C-Media CMI9739A
LAN: 10/100 LAN
Extension Bay: 1x 3.5", 1x 5.25"
Front Panel Ports: 2x USB, 1x 1394, 1x SPDIF_Out, Audio ports
Back Panel Ports: 1x COM, 2x PS/2, 1x VGA, 1x RJ45, 2x USB, 1x 1394, 1x SPDIF_In, Audio ports
Power Supply: 200W(PFC)
Dimension: 210 x 323 x 187 mm

If you're looking for a small form factor computer that's a bit higher end, take a look at the Shuttle XPC SN25P Barebones, which supports the Socket 939 dual core chips.
mail this link | permapage | score:9120 | -Ray, December 9, 2003 (Updated: April 18, 2007)

Ubuntu 11.04 review

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Ubuntu 11.04, code-named Natty Narwhal, is the latest version of the popular Linux distribution. Its release marks the end of Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE). The major new feature in this release is Unity, a desktop interface which replaces GNOME 2 as the default desktop environment. You can still use GNOME 2 if your computer does not meet the minimum hardware requirements for running Unity, or if you do not like Unity.

This article presents a detailed review of Natty Narwhal, with a focus on Unity. read more...
mail this link | permapage | score:9116 | -finid, May 4, 2011
More articles...
Decorate your home or office with Fine Art

Selected articles

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Space Tyrant: A multiplayer network game for Linux

Programming Language Tradeoffs: 3GL vs 4GL

Space Tyrant: A threaded game server project in C

Shadow.sh: A simple directory shadowing script for Linux

Apple to Intel move no threat to Linux

How to install Ubuntu Linux on the decTOP SFF computer

The life cycle of a programmer

Librenix T-Shirts and Coffee Mugs!

Why software sucks

No, RMS, Linux is not GNU/Linux

Why Programmers are not Software Engineers

Hacker Haiku

Beneficial Computer Viruses

VPS: Xen vs. OpenVZ

Linux dominates Windows

MiniLesson: An introduction to Linux in ten commands

Mono-culture and the .NETwork effect

The short life and hard times of a Linux virus

Space Tyrant: Multithreading lessons learned on SMP hardware

Tutorial: Introduction to Linux files

Apple DIY Repair

Space Tyrant: A threaded C game project: First Code

Microsoft to push unlicensed users to Linux

Closed Source Linux Distribution Launched

The Supreme Court is wrong on Copyright Case

Currency Traders Telnet Game

The Network Computer: An opportunity for Linux

Linux vs. Windows: Why Linux will win

Graffiti Server Download Page

Missing the point of the Mac Mini

Download: Linux 3D Client for Starship Traders

Scripting: A parallel Linux backup script

 

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Articles are owned by their authors.   © 2000-2012 Ray Yeargin