If you want a convenient solution for playing media, Kodi should be at the top of your list. The free and open source media center is cross-platform, meaning it can run on most operating systems.
The best way to experience Kodi, however, is when it is the focus of a Linux-based operating system. For example, LibreELEC exists solely to run Kodi. Its lightweight nature allows it to run on fairly meager hardware, including Raspberry Pi. Today, a new version of LibreELEC is released. The main reason for this update is to add support for the newly released Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.
For Linux desktop users -- you know, people that just use a Linux-based operating system as a tool -- the desktop environment largely is the operating system. In other words, what's under the hood is sort of inconsequential. Hell, the distro might not even matter to the user as long as it is running their favorite DE. This is totally fine, as not everyone is a developer that is passionate about Linux or open source ideology.
For me -- and many others -- GNOME is the preferred desktop environment for Linux or BSD. It has an excellent support community, the most productive user interface, and comes with many useful native apps. Today, GNOME 3.28 becomes available, and it is full of improvements to make it the best version yet. It has the code-name 'Chongqing' because the 2017 Gnome.Asia conference was held in that Chinese city.
As Windows 10 continues its trend of being a bloated and confusing mess (tighten it up, Microsoft!), Linux-based operating systems continue to be an excellent alternative. There are no shortage of great Linux distributions from which to choose either -- Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint -- you can’t go wrong.
For those converting from Windows, one great choice is Netrunner. This is a Debian-based operating system that leverages the KDE Plasma desktop environment. It is very reminiscent of the much-loved Windows 7. The OS comes pre-loaded with a lot of useful software, and Linux beginners will really benefit from that. Today, a new version of the distro becomes available for download -- Netrunner 18.03 Idolon.
As a big fan of the GNOME desktop environment, I have long been a Fedora user. After all, that operating system uses GNOME as its primary environment. Since Canonical killed Unity and moved its focus to GNOME, I have a renewed interest in Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distributions, such as System76's wonderful Pop!_OS. I suspect I am not alone in my feelings.
Today, Ubuntu Linux 18.04 'Bionic Beaver' Beta 1 becomes available for download. Ubuntu 18.04 is significant, as it will be an LTS (Long Term Support) version. As was the case when Unity was the primary DE, GNOME is not available in this beta stage. Instead, there are other flavors from which to choose, such as Kubuntu with KDE Plasma and Xubuntu, which uses Xfce.
As Debian comes to Windows 10, should we worry Microsoft will 'embrace, extend, and extinguish' Linux?
Personally, I am not a fan of running Linux distributions on Windows 10 -- WSL, virtual machine, or otherwise. While I appreciate Microsoft's focus on Linux lately, I am of the opinion that if you want to run an operating system based on that open source kernel, then you should just do so natively -- not on top of Windows. While there is no proof that anything nefarious is afoot, it does feel like maybe the Windows-maker is hijacking the Linux movement a bit by serving distros in its store. I pray there is no "embrace, extend, and extinguish" shenanigans going on.
Just yesterday, we reported that Kali Linux was in the Microsoft Store for Windows 10. That was big news, but it was not particularly significant in the grand scheme, as Kali is not very well known. Today, there is some undeniably huge news -- Debian is joining SUSE, Ubuntu, and Kali in the Microsoft Store. Should the Linux community be worried?
It still seems unreal, but yes, you can install Linux distributions from the Microsoft Store on Windows 10. This remains shocking for many people (including me), as Microsoft was a longtime enemy of both open source and Linux. Of course, that is no longer true, as the Windows-maker embraces both nowadays.
Today, yet another Linux distribution comes to the Microsoft Store for Windows 10, joining such favorites as SUSE and Ubuntu. While not as popular as those two, Kali Linux is still an important distro, as it focuses on security and penetration testing.
With the Linux community being rather fragmented, it’s nice to know there are some organizations that aim to unify it. The Linux Foundation is one such group that has done a lot of good for the overall community. It does a great job of bringing companies -- such as Microsoft, Samsung, and AMD, to name a few -- into the Linux fold as official foundation members.
When a company becomes a Linux Foundation member, there are different tiers that can be chosen, such as Platinum, Gold, and Silver. These levels carry different annual fees. Today, The Linux Foundation announces the newest Gold member -- Oath. If you aren’t familiar with Oath, please know it is a Verizon subsidiary that is comprised of assets such as AOL, Yahoo, and more.
With Linux being at the core of Chrome OS, it perhaps seems surprising that there's no easy way to run Linux distros or applications on Chromebooks. Yes, there's a Crouton script that can help you to achieve this, but it's far from ideal as it massively lowers system security. All this could be about to change, however.
A newly merged commit in Chromium Gerrit has been spotted which talks about a "new device policy to allow Linux VMs on Chrome OS." This would be a major change for Chromebook users, and we could see it as soon as version 66 of Chrome OS.
While Windows remains the dominant platform for PC gaming, Microsoft’s stranglehold is slowly eroding. True, Linux and macOS won’t overtake Windows 10 on the desktop anytime soon, but as developers are learning, you can make money by supporting alternative operating systems. With Linux in particular, users are very loyal -- many won’t dual boot with Windows for gaming. The only way to get their dollars is to embrace the penguin.
Developer Feral Interactive has seemingly gotten the message, as it is bringing one of its top-tier titles to both Linux and macOS. The game to which I’m referring is Rise of the Tomb Raider, featuring the iconic cave-explorer Lara Croft.
Now that the initial shock about the Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities has died down, the focus is very much on getting the problems sorted. As has been noted already, there has been concern about the impact on performance that the bug fixes will bring.
Intel has been eager to downplay any suggestion of major slowdown, but the exact performance hit will vary from system to system depending on the tasks being performed. Brendan Gregg -- a Netflix engineer whose work involves large scale cloud computing performance -- has conducted some tests into the impact patches will have on Linux systems, concluding that "patches that workaround Meltdown introduce the largest kernel performance regressions I've ever seen."
While Microsoft has long been viewed as an enemy of the Linux community -- and it still is by some -- the company has actually transformed into an open source champion. Not only does Microsoft release software for Linux, such as PowerShell Core 6.0, but it is even serving distros in its software store for Windows. Let's not forget that Microsoft even offers Linux virtual machines in Azure.
One of Microsoft's biggest Linux contributions, however, is Skype -- the wildly popular communication software. By offering that program to desktop Linux users, Microsoft enables them to easily communicate with friends and family that aren't on Linux, thanks to its cross-platform support. Today, Microsoft further embraces Linux by releasing Skype as a Snap. This comes after two other very popular apps became available in Snap form -- Spotify and Slack. Wait a minute -- Slack, Spotify, and now Skype? It's a mighty strange coincidence that popular apps that start with "S" are being made available as Snaps -- yet another "S" word!
Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which is a very secure Linux distribution. While that operating system is very easy to use, it can sometimes be limited by a lack of software. You see, for the most part, these Chromebooks are designed to only run web apps. Thanks to emerging Android support, however, this is slowly changing. Still, a traditional desktop Linux distro can be much more useful.
One of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems is Ubuntu, and today, its maker, Canonical, launches an official guide on how to get its OS running on a Chromebook. Since this tutorial is directly from the Ubuntu-maker, you can have extra confidence that it should work well.
After a long wait, the much-anticipated Linux kernel 4.15 is finally here. While these kernel releases are always important, this one is particularly noteworthy. Why? Because it largely focuses on Spectre and Meltdown mitigation. With that said, it is not only about those vulnerabilities, of course.
Linus Torvalds, the inventor of Linux, has been quite critical of Intel’s patches of the aforementioned vulnerabilities, and Microsoft seemingly agrees -- the Windows-maker has disabled one of Intel’s shoddy "fixes" with an emergency update. With kernel 4.15, Torvalds is quick to say that the work on Spectre and Meltdown is far from finished.
There are many Linux-based operating systems out there, but not many I would call great. My absolute favorite is Fedora, as I am a GNOME fan that likes using a distro that focuses on truly free and open source software. Not to mention, it quickly gets many updated packages while also retaining stability. So yeah, Fedora is great.
Another great Linux distro? Netrunner Rolling. This Manjaro-based operating system uses KDE Plasma for its desktop environment. As the name implies, it follows a rolling release, meaning it is constantly being updated to fresh packages -- no major upgrades needed. It has a lot of polish and many quality pre-installed programs which indicates the developers truly care about the overall user experience. Quite frankly, it reminds me of Windows 7 -- in a good way -- which also makes it a wise choice for those unhappy with the much-maligned Windows 10. Today, Netrunner Rolling gets its first ISO refresh of 2018.
The introduction of Ubuntu 17.10 "Artful Aardvark" saw the Linux-based distribution switching to Wayland as the default display server. However, when the next LTS release arrives this year, Canonical will offer something else instead.
Canonical says that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, codenamed "Bionic Beaver," will offer Xorg as the default graphics server. The distribution, which is set to land in April, will have Wayland available, but as an alternative.