24 Dec 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017

Another year has gone. It was a nice year. A year full of new reviews and Linux-related articles. A year when many troubles went away. A year of new life. A year of hope. A year of love.

Let me wish to all of my readers

Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

I wish you all the best in the coming year!

See you all in 2017!

Stay tuned to Linux notes from DarkDuck.

And remember - the Christmas discount for you is still available on BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk.

22 Dec 2016

Top 3 Linux Performance Monitoring Tools

Performance monitoring in Linux system is a MUST and very important process. It is always suggested to get automated performance alerts through monitoring tools. Linux monitoring systems can help you with managing all critical performance tweaks so that critical issues/errors can be resolved well within the timelines.

Here we are going to discuss about top 3 Linux performance monitoring systems that can help you with monitoring Linux system's performance on routine basis.

13 Dec 2016

Zorin 12 Core: unpolished diamond

One of the most anxiously awaited distributions in the Linux world this autumn was Zorin OS.  The anxiety was intense, since the last release of Zorin OS 11 stopped receiving any updates long ago because it was based on the non-LTS version of Ubuntu. Zorin OS 12 was finally released on the 18th of November 2016 with the additional release of an updated ISO image on the 20th of November. There were no reports on the official blog about the reasons for the re-release.

Zorin OS is not a stranger to Linux notes from DarkDuck blog. There were several reviews of this operating system. There was a contest together with Zorin OS team. There was even an interview with Artyom Zorin, the Zorin OS team leader.

As you may be aware, Artyom lives with his family in Ireland. And that was the country I had to visit for my business reasons. Was it a coincidence? Maybe... But then, I had even bigger incentive to write about Zorin OS while being in its motherland.

I downloaded Zorin OS 12 Core 64-bit from the official site and burnt it onto the USB stick using the dd command. The image is 1.6 Gb in size. The USB stick is in the port of my laptop Toshiba L500-19X.

Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

6 Dec 2016

ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5: is it near-perfect?

ROSA is a Linux distribution forked some time ago from Mandriva Linux by a team of Russian developers, Rosa Lab, or officially LLC NTC-IT ROSA.

I reviewed their distributions several times: ROSA KDE R7, ROSA Desktop 2012 and even interviewed the ROSA team.

The most recent release of ROSA is now ROSA Desktop Fresh R8, which is available in several flavours: MATE, GNOME 3, KDE 4 and Plasma 5. I decided to try the Plasma 5 edition of this distribution, especially as my interest to Plasma increased after the good impression Kubuntu 16.10 left on me.

There are links to the ISO images available on the ROSA download page, and I used it to get my own version of this Linux distribution. The size of ROSA Desktop Fresh R8 Plasma 5 64-bit image is 1.9 Gb. The dd command helped me to "burn" the image to the USB stick.

So, the USB drive is attached to my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

29 Nov 2016

Does Linux community trust Microsoft?

The hype of few past weeks was all about Microsoft joining the Linux Foundation as a platinum member. I purposely don't put any link in here because only a lazy blogger missed that news in his blog. I am a lazy blogger. And I write about different things.

Does actually Linux community like Microsoft? Does actually Linux community trust Microsoft? I cannot answer the first question for sure, but I have a sure answer for the second question.

I published two articles in the last few months about cloud storage offered by two different companies in the world, and about their use with Linux. One of them was about Yandex.Disk and another about Microsoft OneDrive. Each article contains a referral link that allows you to get additional 0.5 Gb storage when you register for the service. And I get additional 0.5 Gb per user too.

Just so you could check yourselves, here are these links: Yandex.Disk and OneDrive.

Each of the services gives me statistics on how many users used my link. And the results pretty much show the trust level:

  • Yandex.Disk - 18
  • Microsoft OneDrive - 3


22 Nov 2016

Exclusive discount for the blog readers

My dear readers!

You all know that Christmas is just around the corner! This is time where we all buy and receive gifts for and from our friends and family!

What can be better than saving on some of those gifts?

Linux notes from DarkDuck give you a unique opportunity to have 10% off for the whole range of products at BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site!

This discount is available until the 7th of January 2017 if you use the coupon code Christmas2016 at the checkout.

Happy Shopping!

15 Nov 2016

Debian 8 KDE: good and evil of FOSS

If you ask old Linux users which system is most trusted, stable, solid and supported, Debian of course will be among the leaders of the list.

Linux notes from DarkDuck reviewed Debian Squeeze back in 2011-2012: Xfce, GNOME, KDE and even LXDE versions. But these were Live versions of Debian 6 Squeeze.

Debian 8 Jessie was released in April 2015, and now Debian 8.6 is the most recent update release of this operating system.

Debian exists in various flavours. Since version 7, the "default" desktop environment for Debian is Xfce, but KDE, Cinnamon, GNOME, LXDE versions are released too. There are Live versions of Debian for each of these desktop environments.

I decided to try the KDE flavour of Debian 8.6 Live 64-bit and downloaded the ISO image from the torrent. It is about 1.3 GB in size. The dd command helped me to "burn" the image onto the USB stick.

USB card is in the port of my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

8 Nov 2016

Lubuntu 16.10 - enjoyable motley lightness

Lubuntu is one flavour of the Ubuntu operating system that Linux notes from DarkDuck ignored for quite some time. The blog exists for 6 years now, but the first review of Lubuntu 16.04 was only written in September 2016, 2 months ago.

Lubuntu 16.10 was released since then, so let's have a look on this new release now. I have also written a review of Kubuntu 16.10 recently, so I will compare Lubuntu and Kubuntu here and there as we go.

I downloaded Lubuntu 16.10 64-bit from the torrent, but you can also use one of many mirrors to get your copy of ISO. It is about 850 MB in size, which is very decent nowadays, but still more than a CD size.

I used the dd command to "burn" the image to the USB stick.

If you have difficulties with downloading or burning the ISO image, you can order a disk from the BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site, and your order will be delivered anywhere in the world. Not only Lubuntu, but other Linux operating systems too.

So, the USB stick is in the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go.

1 Nov 2016

Kubuntu 16.10 - obey and not destroy

Kubuntu is an old friend of mine. It was even the best friend of mine for some time.

The times changed, and my best friend is now Xubuntu 16.04, whereas my latest attempts to try Kubuntu back in 2011 and 2012 were not so nice.

I tried more recent versions of this operating system when I got orders for DVDs through the BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site, but they impressed me so little that I didn’t bother to write anything about them.

Kubuntu 16.10 was released few weeks ago, and I decided to give it a go. The results were more impressive this time.

I downloaded the 64-bit version of Kubuntu 16.10 from the torrent, whereas you may also download it from one of many mirrors. The ISO image size is 1.5 GB. Once downloaded, I used the dd command to "burn" the image to the USB stick.

The USB memory card is in the port of my laptop Toshiba Satellite L500-19X. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

25 Oct 2016

2 Linux clients for Microsoft's OneDrive. Yes, they work, but...

The Linux notes from DarkDuck blog has recently published a How-to guide for using cloud storage from the Russian company Yandex with native Linux support: Yandex.Disk.

Of course, Yandex is not the only company that offers free and subscription-based cloud storage services. There was even a discussion about one of the alternatives in the comments for that article. You can also check the other alternatives.

My take on that discussion is that I would not trust my files to a company that only receives revenues from the cloud storage. It is like putting all your eggs in the same basket. That's why I would recommend you use a company with a diverse set of cash cows. How many of them are there? Not that many, I am afraid.

Yandex is a Russia-based company. There is another Russian company Mail.Ru that offers web storage with 25 Gb of free space per user by default. Unfortunately, its site interface is mostly in Russian, that's why I would not talk too much about it here.

Global technology companies also offer cloud storage. The most famous of them is Google Drive, of course. You all are aware that Google does not provide an official Linux client for its Google Drive. There are some unofficial alternatives including JDrivesync that you can read about.

However, there is another cloud storage from a global company. It is OneDrive from Microsoft. You can think of me being a Devil's Advocate here, but let me continue. OneDrive gives you 5Gb of storage space by default that you can extend later on. However, if you use the referral link, you get 0.5 Gb extra, and so will I. Of course, it is less than the 10 Gb you can easily obtain from Yandex, but still enough space for many who prefer US-based Microsoft to Russia-based Yandex.

There are no official clients for running OneDrive on Linux. But there are two unofficial ones.

Let me talk you through installing and using them and compare the features running Xubuntu 16.04.

18 Oct 2016

Ubuntu MATE 16.10 - quick screenshot tour

Ubuntu MATE became an officially supported family member not so long ago. Linux notes from DarkDuck have already published a review of Ubuntu MATE 16.04.

The new family of Ubuntu 16.10 distributions was released on the 13th of October 2016, just last week. Let's have a whistle-stop tour on some features of Ubuntu MATE 16.10.

11 Oct 2016

Video: How to configure keyboard layouts in Cinnamon 2 and 3

I have recently written an article where I described the process of configuration of changing the default keyboard layout in Cinnamon Desktop Environment versions 2 and 3.

Some people prefer to see the video with the same steps rather than read them. That is why I created a video for you.

You can watch it below or visiting the link https://youtu.be/cOEwNDmAYzs

Hope you have enjoyed!

6 Oct 2016

PVS-Studio is now friends with Linux

PVS-Studio is a tool for bug detection in C, C++, and C# projects. It is intended for use in finding and fixing security and quality issues in code, before they turn into vulnerabilities, crashes, or painful debugging. Until now it was working for the developers who use the Visual Studio environment.

The development team of PVS-Studio static code analyser has long and persistently been developing their product for Windows OS, and thus, proved itself as a reliable provider of high quality software.

Now the team set a bigger goal and started Linux support. In the article devoted to their Linux support the author tells about various tasks that the programmers have set on the stage of the product development. Here are some of them:

  • more complete support of GCC and Clang;
  • a new system of regression tests in Linux, so that you can track the change results in the analyser kernel and add new diagnostics;
  • compiler monitoring to help programmers quickly and easily check the project without distracting people who support makefiles and the system build in general;
  • documentation improvement, so that the user can get information with the examples about any diagnostic;
  • testing, distribution, support organisation.

In the full version of the article you will find more details about the abilities of PVS-Studio for Windows and the tasks it can already solve on Linux.

This is a guest post by Andrey Karpov, Ph.D., Program Verification Systems CTO and Microsoft MVP in Visual C++ for 5 years.

27 Sept 2016

Pre-order your own disk with Ubuntu 16.10

(drum rolls)

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the release of the next generation of your favourite operating system!

Ubuntu 16.10 is less than a month away. Many of you already looking for downloading of your own ISO image of the system. Yes, that's the next version, codenamed Yakkety Yak.

But many of you are not so lucky, and will need to wait longer, because you can not or do not want to create their own DVDs with operating system images.
We can help!

You can pre-order your own copy of Ubuntu 16.10 (o Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or Kubuntu), including Ubuntu 16.10 GNOME and Ubuntu 16.10 MATE right now. It means that a DVD with your favourite OS will be burnt to you as early as possible, and dispatched on the 13th of October 2016, or soon after. Dispatched to anywhere in the world.

How you can get the DVD? Go to http://buylinuxcds.co.uk site, purchase the Ubuntu DVD from there, and in the PayPal comments state that you want version 16.10. K-, L- or Xubuntu editions are also available there. That's easy.

To help you even further, here is a mini-shop which you can use straight away. It supports PayPal checkout. And you even don't need a PayPal account to pay - you can do this with your credit a debit card!

UK (2.00 GBP):
Ubuntu 16.10 pre-order (UK)

USA (5.50 USD):
Ubuntu 16.10 pre-order (USA)

Other countries (3.50 GBP):
Ubuntu 16.10 pre-order (Other countries)

And yet another alternative: you can purchase the same disks via eBay.

20 Sept 2016

How to uninstall obsolete dependent packages

How much rubbish does your system have?

Do you say none? Then let me ask how old is your system? How often have you installed and removed software?

If your system is not fresh and you installed and removed a good dozen different applications using Synaptic or any other package manager, it is more likely than not that you have not removed all the obsolete dependent packages. They could be installed as a pre-requisite for the application you wanted, but they are not automatically uninstalled when you decide to uninstall the main application.
Do you remember being in this situation?

Let me show you how you can deal with this situation in distibutions using Synaptic package manager.

Say, I have installed an application that required some additional dependent packages to be installed.

Now I need to remove all of them to restore the system status quo.

13 Sept 2016

Lubuntu 16.04 - good operating system with a bit of disappointment

It is difficult to believe, but Linux notes from DarkDuck blog has never published a review of Lubuntu.

The Lubuntu distribution is an LXDE-based reincarnation of Ubuntu that is officially created and supported by Canonical.

Yes, there were articles where Lubuntu was used as a showcase for creating your own distribution and for LXDE keyboard configuration.

Yes, there were reviews of other Ubuntu family members: Ubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu and even Ubuntu MATE.

Yes, there were reviews of other LXDE-based distributions like Debian LXDE, ROSA Marathon, Zorin OS Lite and Knoppix.

But there has never been a separate review of Lubuntu.

The reason? I am not so fond of an LXDE desktop environment that isn't an integrated desktop environment per se, but rather a collection of different small tools under the same roof.

But anyway I thought there should be a review for this distribution, especially because it is in the Top-20 of Distrowatch rating.

As happened multiple times before, the trigger was a request from my customers. One of them ordered a disk with Lubuntu 16.04 operating system. You can order your personal copy of Lubuntu operating system too!

Bingo, I thought! Let's do a review!

I downloaded the ISO image of Lubuntu 16.04.1 64-bit from the official site using torrent. Of course, there are direct download links available too. The size of the ISO image is just under 900 Mb, however it is still called a CD on the site. You cannot burn 900 Mb on a CD, can you?

So, I burnt the ISO image onto a DVD-R. The disk is in the DVD-ROM of my Toshiba Satellite laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

6 Sept 2016

The Best Linux Review

Linux notes from DarkDuck blog publishes reviews for different Linux operating systems. Which review is the best? That was a question of the poll that was announced a month ago.

Just to remind you the list of competitors, here they are:
It is now the time to close the voting and announce the results.

30 Aug 2016

Is United Kingdom a leading country in the FOSS world?

There is no secret that I am a born Russian living in the United Kingdom. I travel to my motherland for different reasons from time to time.

I must admit that I am not that fond of the current Russian government. They more often talk about the use of free open source software than make any practical steps toward applying it. I even wrote several critical articles about this a few years ago.

Nevetherless, there are some distributions that are developed by Russian teams. Just to name a few that I reviewed: ROSA, Simply Linux, ALT Linux, Agilia Linux (now defunct).

Are they actually in use anywhere? I cannot answer this question as I have never witnessed that. But I have seen two examples of Linux use in different Russian organisations recently, and both cases are very close to the public funds. It means that Linux is something that Russian near-Government organisations actually use.

23 Aug 2016

Yandex.Disk - an alternative to Google Drive with native Linux support

Google Drive is a powerful tool. It is a cloud-based file storage and sharing service from the well-known software company. It is fast, reliable and popular. But there is a limitation for Linux users: the Google Drive client is not available for any Linux distribution.

There are a number of unofficial clients for Google Drive, and I have even written a how-to guide for one of them: Jdrivesync. However, unofficial clients are not something you can trust, especially if they are supported by a "one-man-band" team.

What is the alternative then? It is an alternative cloud-based storage. There are many alternatives for file sharing, but today I will speak about Yandex.Disk. This is a cloud storage solution by a Russian-based company Yandex that also provides search, email and several more services. Yandex.Disk has a native Linux client.

Let me show how you can use that service in your Linux operating system.

18 Aug 2016

Installing MythTV and Brother HL-2230 Laser Printer on PCLOS 2016

I want to share with you my thoughts, good and bad points, problems I had with installing MythTV, and the Brother HL-2230 Laser Printer on PCLinuxOS (PCLOS) 2016. I'll also include step by step fixes it took me to resolve these two issues.

9 Aug 2016

Emmabuntus Debian Edition 1.0: the new story begins

Emmabuntus is no stranger to Linux notes from DarkDuck blog. I have reviewed this distribution several times and even interviewed their team member.

All the previous versions of Emmabuntus were based on Xubuntu. But there was a new release recently, and Emmabuntus Debian Edition 1.0 saw the light. As you understand from the name, this distribution is based on Debian. To be specific, on Debian 8.0 Xfce.

I downloaded the image from the official Sourceforge web page of this distribution. It is 3.9 Gb in size, which is quite a lot. Only 32-bit image is available. I "burnt" the ISO image onto a USB stick using the dd command in my Xubuntu operating system.

The USB stick is in the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

2 Aug 2016

The best review article by DarkDuck in 2016

This is the 2nd part of 2016 already. I have counted that there were 10 Linux reviews this year so far.
What is your favourite? Let's vote!


26 Jul 2016

Korora 23 - is it an alternative to Linux Mint?

Cinnamon is a desktop environment that is widely promoted by the Linux Mint team. Linux Mint Cinnamon is their flagship distribution. In its turn, Linux Mint is a leader in the world of Linux distributions, especially for the newbie-oriented part of it. Unfortunately, the recent release of Linux Mint 18 made things worse, and many Linux bloggers wrote about this.

There was a comment on my recent post about Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon that asked me to look into the Korora distribution.

Korora is a distribution that is based on Fedora, similar to the way Mint bases on Ubuntu. Korora's task is to make things "just work". Let's see if this is true.

You can download Korora from one of their many mirrors when you use a special tool on their web site. Cinnamon, KDE, MATE, GNOME and Xfce flavours of Korora are available.

The ISO image of Korora 23 Cinnamon 64-bit is 2.1 Gb in size. I downloaded it and "burnt" onto a USB stick using the dd command.

The stick is in the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

19 Jul 2016

How to configure keyboard layouts in Cinnamon 2 and higher

Desktop Environments are not something set in stone. They develop and change their design.

Linux notes from DarkDuck published an article some time ago where you could learn how to configure keyboard layouts in Cinnamon Desktop Environment. That article was written in 2013 when Cinnamon 1 was available. That How-to is relevant to that release and its sub-releases only.

Cinnamon 2&3 were released since then. Cinnamon 2 is a part of Linux Mint 16 and, more importantly, Long-Term Support version Linux Mint 17. Cinnamon 3 became a part of recently published Linux Mint 18. These version of DEs have a different approach to keyboard layout settings. Let me show you how to set up different keyboard layouts in Cinnamon 3 in Linux Mint 18 and later, and in other operating systems that use Cinnamon Desktop Environment of version 3 and higher. Cinnamon 2 has a very similar approach with slightly different look of the windows.

12 Jul 2016

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon: pity, pity, pity

Linux Mint is a long-established leader of the Distrowatch rating. As I am writing this article, the gap between Linux Mint and the runner-up Debian is about 30%. That is why each new release of Linux Mint is an event in the Linux world.

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, another great distribution. Of course, there is also a Linux Mint Debian Edition version, but that is a different beast that deserves a separate discussion. Up until recently, each new release of Linux Mint followed the Ubuntu release cycle, be it "regular" or "LTS" version. But since Linux Mint 17, only Ubuntu LTS is considered to be a proper Linux Mint base.

Linux Mint 18 is the first release of Linux Mint on consecutive LTS versions of its base. Did it make any impact on this distribution? Let's check ourselves.

I have already published a quick screenshot tour through the main Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon features. Let's now have a more in-depth look into the Live version of Mint 18.

The ISO image of Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon 64-bit is about 1.7 Gb in size. You can download it either directly from one of many mirrors all around the world, or using torrent. I used the dd command to "burn" that image onto a USB stick.

The USB stick is in the port of my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

5 Jul 2016

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon: Quick Screenshot Tour

The release of Linux Mint 18 was very interesting from many aspects. The most interesting for me was the fact that it is the 1st release of Mint based on LTS version of Ubuntu after skipping several non-LTS versions. If you remember, up to Linux Mint 16, each new version was based on consecutive version of Ubuntu, being it LTS or non-LTS version. But since version 17 only Ubuntu LTS editions are used by the Mint team to build their own operating system. Mint 17 was based on Ubuntu 14.04 and Mint 18 is based on Ubuntu 16.04.

The full-blown review is also available. If you prefer a shorter version, let's do a quick whistle-blow tour through the Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon system with some applications you can find out of the box.

30 Jun 2016

Installing Arch Linux. Part 2

This is the 2nd part of the how-to guide for Arch Linux installation. Please click here for the 1st part.

Now we are finally booted into our Arch Linux computer! At this point we can install some basic packages. I will install PulseAudio and alsa-utils by entering
sudo pacman -S alsa-utils pulseaudio

23 Jun 2016

Installing Arch Linux. Part 1

Arch Linux is often rather challenging or scary when it comes to a newbie's first Linux experience. Some reasons you may want to go with Arch would be the Pacman package handler, or the fact that it comes with no bloat software that will allow you to truly make it your own. In the installation process, there is no GUI or "Press Next to Continue" to hold your hand. This usually drives people away. I also found the forums to have lots of impatient people who expect you to magically know what you're doing. Here I will try to provide an in depth guide on how to install and setup your own Arch Linux computer.

14 Jun 2016

Ubuntu MATE 16.04: there is always room for improvement

Linux bloggers have plenty of topics to write about every 6 months. These are release cycles for Ubuntu and Fedora families. Canonical and RedHat give us an opportunity to write reviews of their operating systems often enough to keep the blogs going. Many derivatives of these distributions add to the pot.

I have written three articles about Xubuntu 16.04 recently, and I am sure that there are plenty reviews of Ubuntu 16.04. But there are some other parts of that family that should be covered, should they not? Which one would I write about? That was not a question for me for one simple reason.

You know that the commercial arm of this blog sells disks with Linux distributions via BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site, helped by eBay sales. Users could purchase their own disks with different flavours of Ubuntu as I announced. Would you guess which Ubuntu flavour got most of the orders? Of course, the majority of the orders were for Ubuntu 16.04 itself. The second place was not taken by Kubuntu or Xubuntu as many would guess. It was taken by Ubuntu MATE.

What is Ubuntu MATE? Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu GNOME are the latest additions to the Ubuntu family, added when Canonical decided to release official flavours of their operating system with "new generation" desktop environments. This is not a very precise definition since MATE is a fork of "good ol'" GNOME 2 desktop environment, while GNOME 3 is used in Ubuntu GNOME. But let's put the definitions aside.

The ISO image of Ubuntu MATE 16.04 32-bit is about 1.6 Gb in size. I downloaded it using the torrent, though you can get it from one of many official mirrors too. The image is written to the DVD-R prepared for one of my customers. The disk is in the DVD-ROM of my Toshiba laptop.

Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Fasten your seatbelts. Let's go!

7 Jun 2016

ROSA Desktop Fresh R7 KDE: nothing to complain... almost

Mandriva was one of the most famous names in the Linux world just a few years ago. Unfortunately, the company behind that Linux distribution had some difficulties that inevitably created issues for the project.

Mandriva Linux also became a base for several offsprings, derivatives, and forks.

Even though the Mandriva project is no longer in its famous state, derivatives still continue their existence. The most famous of them is, of course, Mageia. I used to use Mageia versions 1 through to 5 for some time until I migrated to Ubuntu-based distributions because of some 3rd-party dependencies.

ROSA is a Linux distribution that was also forked from Mandriva some time ago. I reviewed it back in 2012, when ROSA Marathon 2012 was released.

Since then, ROSA released few more versions and the most recent of them is ROSA Desktop Fresh R7. It has been available since January 2016. Unfortunately, only the KDE version is listed on the official Download page, although a GNOME version is also available. You can download this distribution either from the Download section of the ROSA web site or via torrent. I would recommend to use this link to see all the download options you have. If you don't want to bother with downloading and making the disk, you can order one from the BuyLinuxCDs site.

The ISO image of the KDE versions of ROSA Desktop Fresh R7 is 1.9 Gb in size. I burnt it to my USB stick.

The USB stick is in the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

31 May 2016

gNewSense: past 5 years, same nuisance

Once upon a time... Oh no... 5 years ago!
...in the kingdom far far away... Oh no... in my blog!

Yes! That happened exactly 5 years ago, believe it or not. 5 years ago, 31st of May 2011, I wrote my first, and so far the last, review of the distribution supported by the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – gNewSense. That was the version 2.3 released in September 2009.

A new version was released on the 1st of May 2016. It has index 4.0 and name Ucclia. I cannot tell you much about the version name other than it is a name of an asteroid – randomly selected one from a billion?

The documentation says the distribution name gNewSense came from Gnuisance, the RMS's GPG key. Is it true? Or the whole system is just a g-nuisance? Let's check.

When I tried to open the web site of the distribution a couple of weeks ago, the speed of their pages was awful. You could easily wait for 5 minutes before each page opens. Things are better now, though some lags are still there from time to time.

Version 4.0 of this Linux distribution is only available in NetInstall and GNOME options. The ISO image of gNewSense 4.0 GNOME is about 1.1 Gb in size, and you can get it either from several mirrors or via torrent.

If you read the article I wrote five years ago, you learn that I had a long-winded way to get gNewSense Live system running that time. I was a bit luckier this time, although the dd command failed to create a bootable USB stick for me.

The documentation says that Linux users can create a USB stick with the $cat command. However, it does not mention that it should actually be #cat. At least, for my Xubuntu system, neither $cat nor $sudo cat gave me the desired result. They simply stopped with "bash: /dev/sdb: Permission denied" error. But everything worked after switching to sudo su.

So, USB stick with the gNewSense 4.0 GNOME is in the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose too boot from USB. Let’s go!

24 May 2016

CentOS 7 KDE: not for home users

CentOS is one of those operating systems in the Linux world that are often recommended for students who want to continue their career as Linux system administrators. There is no wonder here, because CentOS is a re-branded compilation of the corporate operating systems leader RedHat.

I wrote my last review of CentOS almost 5 (five!) years ago, and that was CentOS 6 GNOME. That time I complained that the only version of CentOS available for the users was GNOME.

Since then I approached CentOS only once when I wanted to use it for my home file server. Unfortunately, I was out of luck as CentOS dropped support of processors without pae. That was the case for my laptop that time.

Has anything changed there? If you visit the download section of CentOS, you notice that first of all, there is version 7 of CentOS now; second, Live media is available in GNOME and KDE editions. That's a bit of progress. However, you need to dig further if you need a 32-bit version of CentOS 7. So, if you wanted to use a rock-solid, stable, and powerful operating system to rejuvenate your old computer and use it as a small family server, you need to be patient in your searches.

Apart from the Live version, there are Minimal, DVD and Everything ISOs. They can be used for direct installation of the operating system. I did not check any of these, because my choice was CentOS 7 Live KDE. You can download it directly from any of the mirrors or using torrent. The latest image is dated December 2015.

The ISO image of CentOS 7 Live KDE is just under 1.8 Gb. I downloaded it and "burnt" onto a USB stick using the dd command.

The USB stick is in the port of my laptop Toshiba Satellite L500-19X. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

17 May 2016

Xubuntu 16.04 - install and enjoy?

This is the third and hopefully the last post in the series about Xubuntu 16.04. First we had a quick screenshot tour and then a more in-depth review of the Live Xubuntu 16.04.

After all of that, I installed this operating system on my laptop. Now I want to share with you some findings of the installed version of Xubuntu 16.04 LTS.

12 May 2016

Will Ubuntu keep the title of the best Desktop OS?

While working at Dell Inc. in the 2011 I met some Linux enthusiasts that introduced me to Ubuntu. I have heard about SUSE, Debian and Red Hat before but they were never promoted as real alternatives to Windows and OS X. But Ubuntu changed my mindset toward Linux so I decided to give it a try. At the beginning I felt it was too hard to understand so I went back and forth between Ubuntu and Windows until I got used to Ubuntu. My first barrier was the fact that on Windows everything was fixed by installing a software that will do everything for you  and on Linux it was all about the Terminal. But once you realize that you don't need to deal with malware and slow performance anymore you simply don't look back at Windows.

3 May 2016

Xubuntu 16.04: not for Linux beginners

The previous post about Xubuntu 16.04 that I published just a week ago had a great success. That's why I continue the series of these posts.

As I have mentioned, Xubuntu 16.04 is a part of Ubuntu 16.04 family that was released by Canonical on the 21st of April 2016. You can get any of these operating systems on the DVD through the order on BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site.

I decided to try Xubuntu 16.04 in a Live run myself.

The 64-bit ISO image of this Linux operating system is about 1.2 Gb in size. You can download it either via torrent or from one of many mirrors that Canonical supports. I used the torrent way.

I "burnt" the ISO image to the USB stick using the built-in Ubuntu tool. The USB stick is plugged into the port of my Toshiba laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!

26 Apr 2016

Xubuntu 16.04 - quick screenshot tour

Canonical released the new range of its operating systems last week which includes many members of Ubuntu 16.04 family: Ubuntu itself, Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu GNOME and, of course, Xubuntu.

Of course, you can purchase your own disk with any of these and many other distributions through the Buy Linux CDs site. It is easy and cheap.

Let's have a quick whistle-stop tour through Xubuntu 16.04. A more detailed review is here and a post-installation thoughts are here.

Once you finish the boot sequence, you're greeted with a welcome screen in simple blue colours.

Xubuntu 16.04 welcome screen
If you don't like the default wallpaper, you can change it to any other. Quite a few come with the distribution itself.
Xubuntu 16.04 choice of wallpapers
There are not many applications in the default distributions. The choice if Internet tools is shown on this screenshot.

Xubuntu 16.04 Internet tools
There are some simple tools to work with graphics in Xubuntu 16.04.

Xubuntu 16.04 graphic tools
Two simple games are available out of the box.

Xubuntu 16.04 games

LibreOffice is a fresh representative of productivity tools.

Xubuntu 16.04 productivity tools
Of course, there are some tools for multimedia as well. Just enough to get you started.

Xubuntu 16.04 productivity tools
If you are interested in a more detailed Xubuntu 16.04 review, please stay tuned. It will come soon,

19 Apr 2016

PCLOS 2016.03 KDE: good job

I published an extremely short review of PC Linux OS not so long ago. It was short because I could not connect to my wireless network from the Live run of that Operating System.

At the same time I mentioned that the most recent version of PCLOS was about 1.5 years old - too much even for the rolling release distribution.

I am not sure if that was the driver, but PC Linux OS team made some efforts and now version 2016.03 is available. As it happened many times, it was my customer from Buy Linux CDs site who made me try this new release through testing of the disk for the order.

The ISO image of PC Linux OS 2016.03 KDE 64-bit is just under 1.9 Gb in size. You can download it through torrent or from one of the mirrors.

So, the DVD-disk with PC Linux OS 2016.03 KDE is ready. It is in the drive of my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

12 Apr 2016

Users more await for the new Ubuntu than Fedora release

Fedora 24 and Ubuntu 16.04 families are due to release within next month or so.

Just about a month ago the Linux notes from DarkDuck blog started a poll where you could vote which of these two distributions you await more. It is time to give the results of that poll now.

Let me do this without any further delay.

5 Apr 2016

Funny guests

It is quite rare these days, but it still happens.

DarkDuck makes guest posts on other blogs.

The latest one happened on Everyday Linux User's blog, where I wrote an article about the Open Source internet messengers. Welcome to read!

And if you want to believe everything in that article, just remember that it was posted on the 1st of April.

1 Apr 2016

Internet Explorer for Linux is available for download

You won't believe the news, but that finally happened!

Congratulations to all the Linux fans! You have been waiting for that for far too long, but the day has come!

Microsoft released the new version of Internet Explorer, and this time it is specifically for Linux! This time they partnered with Amazon to give you even better experience.


Please meet IE12L!

The abbreviation IE does not require additional explanations, as Internet Explorer is the world's best Internet browser, and 12 is the version number. However, what does L stand for? There were many debates about this.

The most obvious would be L for Linux, pointing it specifically to the operating system we all love and adore.

But there were some other suggestions:

  • L for Love that Microsoft feels to all the Linux fans.
  • L for Long loading time, which can be up to 5 minutes in the best-case scenario.
  • L for Long Support Cycle, meaning you won’t get any updates for more than 2 years.
  • L for Low-Cost, as this isn't the free software, but will rather cost you $9.99 to download.
  • L for Limited edition, as Microsoft will only allow 10 billion installations and no one more.

Maybe you have better suggestions? Please share them below.

PS. Happy Fools' Day

29 Mar 2016

Manjaro 15.12 KDE - close, but not perfect

When I published an article few months ago about Manjaro 15.09 Xfce, I received quite a few recommendations to try the Manjaro KDE flavour as well. Even if I was very happy about the Xfce flavour, people kept telling me that KDE version is even better.

Was I too busy or too lazy these months? Let's leave it outside of this discussion. But, as it often happens, another order from Buy Linux CDs site made me try the Manjaro KDE version. Yes, there was somebody who wanted me to prepare a disk of Manjaro KDE 64-bit for him, and off I went. As I always test the disks myself, I had an opportunity to explore the new operating system.

You can download Manjaro either directly from one of the mirrors, or via torrent. The size of ISO image of Manjaro 15.12 KDE 64-bit is about 1.8 Gb.

So, the DVD with Manjaro KDE is ready and inserted into the DVD-ROM of my Toshiba Satellite L500-19X laptop. Fasten your seatbelts! Reboot! Choose to boot from DVD. Let's go!

22 Mar 2016

Order any flavour of Ubuntu 16.04 now!

(drum rolls)

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you the release of the next generation of your favourite operating system!

Ubuntu 16.04 is just a month away. Many of you already looking for downloading of your own ISO image of the system. Yes, that's the next long-term support version, codenamed Xenial Xerus.

But many of you are not so lucky, and will need to wait longer, because you can not or do not want to create their own DVDs with operating system images.
We can help!

You can pre-order your own copy of Ubuntu 16.04 (or Xubuntu, or Lubuntu, or Kubuntu), including Ubuntu 16.04 GNOME and Ubuntu 06.04 MATE right now. It means that a DVD with your favourite OS will be burnt to you as early as possible, and dispatched on the 21st of April 2016, or soon after. Dispatched to anywhere in the world.

How you can get the DVD? Go to http://buylinuxcds.co.uk site, purchase the Ubuntu DVD from there, and in the PayPal comments state that you want version 16.04. K-, L- or Xubuntu editions are also available there. That's easy.

To help you even further, here is a mini-shop which you can use straight away. It supports PayPal checkout. And you even don't need a PayPal account to pay - you can do this with your credit a debit card!

UK (2.00 GBP):
Ubuntu 16.04 pre-order (UK)

USA (5.50 USD):
Ubuntu 16.04 pre-order (USA)

Other countries (3.50 GBP):
Ubuntu 16.04 pre-order (Other countries)

And yet another alternative: you can purchase the same disks via eBay.

17 Mar 2016

Top 3 Linux Password Managers

Everyone today needs security and when it comes to things like data, PC, messaging, cloud etc then one become much paranoid about it. Security is required in all the fields these days. Be it dual verification from Gmail, Cinavia Message Code 3 for BluRay players or any other similar thing, every one getting curious about adding more and more layers of safety so that any mishap can be avoided.

Although Linux systems are supposed to be way more safer and liable than other competitor's, but still there is nothing wrong in adding an extra layer of security that can protect user's information from getting leaked to any unauthorized vendor. One way to do so is to encrypt your data. Another was is with help of various Linux Password Managers available online. Here we will talk about some of the best Linux password managers that can be used to secure your data in Linux machines.

8 Mar 2016

Fedora or Ubuntu: what do you await more?

The poll is now closed. Please check the results here.

There will be 2 major releases in the next couple of months.

First, end of April 2016 will see the release of Ubuntu 16.04, the next Long Term Support release of Ubuntu, the distribution with an indisputable authority in the Linux world.

Second, mid-May 2016 will bring us a new release of Fedora 24, another big name in the Linux world.

Both distributions are supported by big companies, Canonical for Ubuntu and RedHat for Fedora.

Both distributions have their army of followers.

Each distribution has its pros and contras.

But which of them is most awaited by the Linux community?

Let's see! Please show your position and cast your vote! You may also comment about the reasons of your vote. The most interesting comments will feature in the voting results that I will publish on the 12th of April, about a week before the Ubuntu 16.04 release.

In the meantime, you can read my latest reviews: Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 and Fedora 22 GNOME.

1 Mar 2016

How to create list for LibreOffice Calc cell (video)

Spreadsheet is a convenient tool to make calculations. But that's the not the only use the spreadsheets have now.

Many people use spreadsheets as a tool to exchange information. For example, you can get a spreadsheet from your supplier with request to list your order details there. On another side, you can create a similar spreadsheet to your customer, or even for household needs: keeping budget, or inviting friends to the party. The range of spreadsheets' use is large.

There are many cases when you want to help either yourself or another people with working with the spreadsheet you composed. For example, you want to advise that certain cells can only contain a pre-defined set of values and nothing else. The best way to do so is to give users a drop-down list to choose from.

24 Feb 2016

Who wants to be a triple millionaire???

Back in August 2012 I ran a very simple contest: you had to fix the moment when the visitors' counter on this blog showed the 1,000,000.
It's time when the counter is close to another large and round value, and it is time to announce yet another similar contest.
The rules are the same as they were last time, except for the value you need to show on the screenshot: 3,000,000.

16 Feb 2016

PCLinuxOS: the walking dead

You have probably noticed that BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk site has recently changed its design. The first order that came from the redesigned site contained a highly unexpected item: PCLinuxOS. But unexpected or not, you certainly can purchase a disk with this operating system from BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk, along with many others on offer.

Of course I always test the disks before sending them to customers, so I tried to run that distribution myself too.

To start with, the design of the official web site of PCLinuxOS is so cool outdated that you can see it with a naked eye. They are stuck somewhere in 2007, I suspect.

Second, the latest version of PCLinuxOS KDE that you can download from the official web site is dated December 2014. Though there are some updates on the front page, new versions of the browsers, kernel or other software are released almost every day. But why can't the team create a newer edition of their OS with all the updates? Isn't it better for the user to download the image with the latest versions of software once than download 1.8 GB of an outdated ISO image and then get the same amount of updates separately?

Nevertheless, I had an order to fulfill. I burnt the ISO image to the DVD-R disk.

Reboot. Choose to boot from the optical drive. Let's go!

9 Feb 2016

Zorin OS 11 Core: quick screenshot tour

Zorin OS 11 continues the line of Linux distributions for the users who migrate from other operating systems. It was released at the beginning of February 2016.

Let's have a whistle-stop tour for the main features of this operating system.

2 Feb 2016

Brand New BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk

What? - you may ask. You only changed the BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk design back in October 2015! And now again?

Yes, again! - I will tell you.

BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk is a commercial arm of this blog. You can order a disk with your favourite operating system on that site and it will be delivered to your door.

So, what has changed on that site?

The root cause of all the other changes, the site now runs a proper E-Com platform instead of using a third-party hosted script for processing your orders. It gives me more convenience in running the site. It works better for you!

Site navigation is now clearer and E-Com oriented.

The list of distributions you can order from the site is now re-worked. Some defunct distributions are gone, some more added.

The price determination procedure is now fully automated and extended. There are now 4 different prices that will be determined on your location:

  • 2.00 GBP for UK customers.
  • 4.50 EUR for customers in Europe, plus ex-USSR republics.
  • 5.50 USD for USA and Canada customers.
  • 3.50 GBP for the customers in other parts of the world.

Just to celebrate the launch of this new web site, BuyLinuxCDs.co.uk offers you a 10% discount from above prices in February 2016. To get the discount, use the coupon code LAUNCH.