I'm not a Microsoft "hater" at all. With that said, I am not a fan of the state of Windows 10. The privacy issues alone are a reason to avoid the operating system, but that is hardly the only concern. For instance, Microsoft has been pre-loading tiles for games like Candy Crush and other apps -- a move that shows major disrespect towards its customers. Not to mention, the "Insiders" program is just a way for the company to get free beta testing -- Microsoft is all too happy to treat Windows 10 users as guinea pigs. It is all very shameful.
These days, if someone asks my advice on buying a computer, I recommend purchasing a Mac, Chromebook, or PC with a traditional desktop Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu. If you are happy with your current computer, but hate Windows 10, installing a Linux distro is very easy nowadays. I often suggest that Windows switchers try Zorin OS as it has a familiar interface. Today, that excellent operating system reaches version 12.4.
Cloud storage rules -- especially when coupled with a local backup plan. Quite frankly, it is one of the best computing innovations of all time. How cool is it that you can easily backup important files to an offsite location? Let's be honest -- before the cloud, many computer and smartphone users didn't bother backing up at all. While many still do not, the cloud has definitely improved the situation through convenience and affordability.
I have long been a proponent of the cross-platform Dropbox, as it has really been the only major cloud storage company to offer Linux support. Google, for example -- which uses the Linux kernel for both Android and Chrome OS -- shamefully never brought its Drive cloud storage platform to traditional desktop Linux. Unfortunately, Dropbox is suddenly making the cloud rain poop on Linux users. In a shocking turn of events, it is dropping support for most file systems.
Next month, students across America will be returning to school. Whether K-12 or college, technology has become increasingly important in the classroom. It is for this reason that a laptop can be an essential tool for a learner.
Microsoft recently launched the Surface Go, and while the underpowered tablet looks like a decent enough option for students on a budget, let's be honest -- it isn't a true laptop. Its floppy keyboard (which is sold separately) means it is not sturdy on a lap. Not to mention, it is more of a secondary computer -- not a main PC. If you would rather equip the student in your life with a true computer, why not turn to Linux? After all, open source is the future of computing. System76 has a new back-to-school sale that makes buying a computer running Ubuntu or Pop!_OS much more affordable.
I'm a GNOME fan, but I appreciate other desktop environments too. KDE isn't my favorite, but when implemented properly, I can definitely see the allure. My favorite KDE-focused Linux distribution is Netrunner Rolling. It is based on the rock-solid Manjaro and Arch, but more importantly, it has a very polished user interface. Since it is follows a rolling release, the packages are always up to date too. An overall excellent distro for both Linux beginners and experts alike.
As a rolling release, it isn't necessary to upgrade the operating system at milestones, as with, say, Ubuntu or Fedora. But still, periodically, the ISOs are refreshed to roll up the latest updates and fixes. This way, there is less updating needed after a fresh install. Today, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 sees release, meaning for those of you that are anal about maintaining up-to-date install media, it is time to burn a DVD or update a flash drive.
Kodi is great software for consuming media, but the best way to experience it is with a Linux distribution that focuses on it. If you aren't familiar, LibreELEC is one such distro -- it allows the user to focus exclusively on Kodi without any distractions. Best of all, it doesn't just run on traditional PC hardware, but the Raspberry Pi too. Yes, by leveraging an inexpensive Pi device, you can create a powerful media box for your television.
Today, the first Alpha of LibreELEC 9.0 becomes available for download. This follows the recent release of Kodi 18 Leia preview, and yes, LibreELEC 9.0 is based on Leia.
The GNOME Foundation does a lot of important work, such as developing the best overall Linux desktop environment (GNOME 3) and countless useful apps. Quite frankly, without GNOME, the state of desktop Linux would probably be woeful. As a non-profit, the foundation depends on donations from both organizations and individuals. For example, back in May, we learned a mystery donor pledged a staggering $1 million to the GNOME Foundation. To this day, we still do not know the donor's identity. What we do know, however, is how some of the money will be used -- the hiring of four new employees.
There is yet another sizeable donation being announced by the GNOME Foundation, but this time, the donor is not a secret. Handshake.org, which describes itself as "a decentralized, permissionless naming protocol," has pledged $400,000, with $100,000 of it being earmarked for GIMP -- the essential image editor and manipulator. As a reminder, GIMP -- which stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" -- recently started to be hosted by GNOME on GitLab. Handshake will be donating to other open source projects too.
There is no shortage of web browsers for Linux. Two of the most popular browsers -- Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox -- are easy to install and work quite brilliantly. Another fairly popular option is available too -- Opera. All three aforementioned browsers are cross-platform, making them great options not only for Linux, but Mac and Windows too.
Today, the Opera web browser for Linux becomes available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar, this means it is packaged for installation on any Linux distribution that supports Canonical's Snap format. This has the benefit of helping the developer, as they don't have to waste resources with multiple packaging options.
Back in June, we reported that Linux Mint Debian Edition 3 BETA would be released in July. Well, LMDE 3 did make the deadline, albeit barely. Yes, today, on the final day of the month, the BETA version of the rolling release operating system becomes available.
Unlike the traditional Linux Mint operating system which is based on Ubuntu, LMDE is based on Debian. To be more precise, LMDE 3 BETA is based on Debian Stretch. While this Debian version of Mint is perfectly usable as a daily driver, its real focus is as a contingency plan in case development of Ubuntu ever ceases in the future.
Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution, but understandably, the GNOME desktop environment isn't for everyone. Thankfully, there are many flavors of the operating system with alternative DEs, such as Xubuntu with XFCe and Kubuntu with KDE. Ultimately, with so much choice, you should have no problem finding a version of Ubuntu that best meets your needs and wants.
One popular Ubuntu flavor is Lubuntu. If you aren't familiar, it uses the lightweight LXDE desktop environment which makes it a good choice for older hardware. In fact, one of the focuses of the Lubuntu developers is to support aging computers. When Lubunu 18.10 is released in October 2018, it will ditch LXDE for the newer LXQt. Despite it also being a desktop environment that is easy on resources, the Lubuntu developers are planning to drop their focus on old hardware after the transition.
The Dell XPS 13 is wonderful laptop regardless of which operating system you choose for it. While it comes with Windows 10 by default, you can also opt for the "Developer Edition" which instead comes with Ubuntu Linux.
Unfortunately for some, Dell has been shipping the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu 16.04 despite the newer 18.04 being available. This really isn't such a bad thing, as like 18.04, 16.04 is LTS (long term support) and still supported by Canonical. Some consumers probably appreciated this, as 16.04 was more proven. With yesterday's release of Ubuntu 18.04.1 and its included bug fixes, however, Dell is now ready to ship the newer operating system. Starting today, the XPS 13 Developer Edition comes with Ubuntu 18.04 pre-installed.
Ubuntu is one of the most popular desktop Linux-based operating systems in the world, and rightfully so. It's stable, fast, and offers a very polished user experience. Ubuntu has gotten even better recently too, since Canonical -- the company that develops the distribution -- switched to GNOME from the much-maligned Unity. Quite frankly, GNOME is the best overall desktop environment, but I digress.
Today, Ubuntu 18.04.1 becomes available. This is the first "point" release of 18.04 LTS Bionic Beaver. It is chock full of fixes and optimizations, which some individuals and organizations have been waiting for before upgrading. You see, while some enthusiasts will install the latest and greatest immediately, others value stability -- especially for business -- and opt to hold off until many of the bugs are worked out. If you are a longtime Windows user, think of it like waiting for Microsoft to release a service pack before upgrading -- sort of.
Cybercriminals are delving into the past to launch attacks based on some very old vulnerabilities according to the latest report from Kaspersky Lab, and they're using Linux to do it.
In the second quarter of 2018, experts have reported DDoS attacks involving a vulnerability in the Universal Plug-and-Play protocol known since 2001. Also, the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team observed an attack organized using a vulnerability in the CHARGEN protocol that was described as far back as 1983.
Microsoft is a major proponent of both Linux and open source these days. This is a shock to many old-school computer users, but for those following the "new Microsoft" under Satya Nadella's leadership, it really isn't surprising. Hell, the company now owns GitHub! The CEO keeps an open mind and is very focused on the cloud and services. While Windows still matters to the company, it is far from the main focus.
The Windows-maker releases plenty of software for Linux, such as the very popular Skype. For many, PowerShell Core has proven to be a useful tool, and today, Microsoft makes it available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar, a Snap is essentially a packaged version of a program that can be easily installed on many Linux distributions. Many see it as the future of Linux, as it has the potential to reduce fragmentation.
Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux-based desktop operating systems for a reason -- it’s really good. By leveraging the excellent Ubuntu for its base, and offering a top-notch user experience, success is pretty much a guarantee.
While the distribution primarily focuses on two desktop environments -- Mate and Cinnamon -- the latter is really the star of the show. Cinnamon is great because it uses a classic WIMP interface that users love, while also feeling modern. With Cinnamon 3.8, the Linux Mint Team focused on improving the DE's performance, and today, the team shares that it is continuing that mission with the upcoming 4.0. In particular, the team is focusing on Vsync.
Businesses are increasingly running a mix of traditional and software-defined architectures and the launch of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 is aimed at bridging the gap between the two.
It's a modular operating system that helps make traditional IT infrastructure more efficient and provides an engaging platform for developers. It also aids in integrating cloud-based platforms into enterprise systems, merging containerized development with traditional development, and combining legacy applications with microservices.