Articles about Linux

KaOS 2018.01 KDE-focused Linux distro now available with Spectre and Meltdown fixes

It can be difficult to find a quality Linux distribution that meets your needs. This is partly because there are just too many operating systems from which to choose. My suggestion is to first find a desktop environment that you prefer, and then narrow down your distro search to one that focuses on that DE. For instance, if you like KDE, both Kubuntu and Netrunner are solid choices.

With all of that said, there is another KDE-focused Linux distro that I highly recommend. Called "KaOS," it is a rolling release, meaning you can always be confident that your computer is running modern packages. Today, KaOS gets its first updated ISO for 2018, and you should definitely use it to upgrade your install media. Why? Because version 2018.01 has fixes for Spectre and Meltdown thanks to Linux kernel 4.14.14 with both AMD and Intel ucode.

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Wine 3.0 is here to run Windows software on your Linux box

When people make the switch from Windows to Linux, they often experiment with Wine. If you aren’t familiar, it is a compatibility layer that can sometimes get Windows software to run on Linux and BSD. I say "sometimes" because it isn’t a flawless experience. In fact, it can be quite frustrating to use. I suggest using native Linux software as an alternative, but understandably, that isn’t always possible.

If you depend on Wine, or want to start trying it out, I am happy to say that version 3.0 is finally available. It is quite the significant update too, as it features over 6,000 changes!

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Slack now available as a Snap for Linux

At the end of last year, the Linux desktop scored a huge win when Spotify became available as a Snap. If you aren't familiar with Snaps, please know that they are essentially software packages designed to run as a container on any Linux distro. Not only does it make installing software packages easier for users, but it makes things simpler for developers too. Ultimately, Snaps have the potential to solve the big fragmentation problem in the Linux desktop community.

Today, yet another wildly popular program gets the Snap treatment, and quite frankly, it is arguably more significant than Spotify. What is it? Slack! Yes, Canonical announces that the ubiquitous communication app can be installed as a Snap. True, Slack was already available on the Linux desktop, but this makes installing it and keeping it updated much easier.

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Fedora 28 wallpaper contest now open -- submit your image to the Linux distro!

One of the first things I do after installing a new Linux distribution is set a different wallpaper. Why? Desktop pictures really inspire me -- my mood can be positively altered by a beautiful image. The default wallpaper is often boring. For the most part, I prefer images of nature with bright colors. After all, if I am stuck indoors working on my computer, a wallpaper of the beach, mountains, or a colorful bird, for instance, can transport me to the outdoors -- in my mind.

Sadly, not every distro has beautiful high-quality images. Fedora, however, often does -- thanks to its "supplemental" wallpapers. What is particularly cool  about that operating system, is that it regularly accepts wallpaper submissions from the community as part of a contest. In other words, anybody can potentially contribute to a new version of the distro by simply uploading a photo, drawing, or other picture. Fedora 28 is the upcoming version of the OS, and the developers are now calling for wallpaper submissions for it. Will you submit an entry to the contest?

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Microsoft releases PowerShell Core 6.0 for Windows, macOS and Linux

Microsoft logo under magnifying glass

Microsoft has released an updated version of PowerShell which adds support for macOS and Linux. PowerShell Core 6.0 uses .NET Core rather than the .NET framework, and this means it is able to break out of being a Windows-only tool.

The tool is described as a "new edition of PowerShell that is cross-platform (Windows, macOS, and Linux), open-source, and built for heterogeneous environments and the hybrid cloud." The arrival of the scripting tool on new platforms will be welcomed by those working in mixed environments.

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The Linux Foundation launches 'Administering Linux on Azure' training course

Linux is very much mainstream nowadays. What was once viewed as a hobby and niche project, is transforming the world. Many of the world's servers are running Linux-based operating systems. Hell, the most popular mobile operating system on the planet, Android, is Linux-based. Even closed-source champion Microsoft is embracing Linux by integrating it into Windows 10 and offering it on its Azure platform.

Please know, Linux will only get more popular; gaining more knowledge about it is vital for your career in information technology. If you want to further your education, The Linux Foundation has your back. You see, the organization is launching a new training course called "Administering Linux on Azure."

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Meltdown and Spectre patches leave some Ubuntu systems unbootable

Stacked Ubuntu logo

As if the Meltdown and Spectre chip bugs were not enough of a problem in their own right, the patches designed to fix them are proving to be a major headache as well. The latest victims are users of Ubuntu Xenial 16.04, some of whom are reporting that installing the patches leaves their computers unbootable.

Windows users with AMD systems have run into a similar problem, causing Microsoft to halt the rollout of its patches. There have also been predictions, anecdotes and benchmarks that suggest Meltdown patches are causing performance issues, despite Intel's insistence that the impact is small. Now Ubuntu forums are lighting up with users complaining of boot problems.

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Tails 3.4 privacy-focused Linux distro now available with Meltdown and Spectre fixes

With everything going on in the world these days, it can feel like you are naked when using your computer. If you previously felt safe and secure, these last several years have probably eroded all of your confidence. Between Edward Snowden's revelations and the many vulnerabilities constantly hitting the news, it is tempting to just live in the woods without electricity.

Before you sell your house, buy a tent, and become a nomad, you should consider a Linux distribution that helps you fight back against evil governments, nefarious hackers, and other bad people. Called "Tails," this Linux-based operating system is designed to be run from a live environment, such as on a DVD or flash drive, so you can hide your tracks and enjoy your God-given right to privacy. Today, version 3.4 becomes available and if you are already a Tails user, you should upgrade immediately. Why? Because it includes kernel 4.14.12 which offers fixes for Meltdown and Spectre (partially).

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Get 'Working with Linux -- Quick Hacks for the Command Line' ($32 value) FREE for a limited time

Say goodbye to unproductive Linux habits and switch to the express lane with Working with Linux -- Quick Hacks for the Command Line from Packt Publishing.

Websites, online services, databases, and pretty much every other computer that offers public services runs on Linux. With such a broad usage, the demand for Linux specialists is ever growing. Through this book, you will improve your terminal productivity by seeing how to use different tools.

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Dell releases Ubuntu Linux-based XPS 13 Developer Edition (9370) laptop

If you want a computer pre-loaded with a Linux-based operating system, you can never go wrong with System76. After all, that company focuses entirely on Linux -- it does not sell Windows machines at all. Hell, System76 even maintains its own Ubuntu-based operating system called Pop!_OS. By supporting that company, you are also supporting the overall Linux community.

System76 is not the only company selling Linux-powered computers, however. Despite being a major Microsoft partner with Windows, Dell also sells desktops and laptops pre-loaded with Ubuntu. One of the company's most impressive computers is the svelte XPS 13 laptop. Dell sells a version with Ubuntu that it dubs "Developer Edition," but non-developers can, of course, use it too. Today, the company announces the the 7th-generation version of this notebook. The 9370, as it is called, can be purchased immediately.

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Linux Mint 19 named 'Tara'

Unfortunately, 2017 was not the much-fabled year of the Linux desktop. Hell, that might not ever happen. With Windows 10 being such a disappointment for many, however, it is definitely a possibility. Maybe 2018 will be the year...

One such desktop operating system that consistently delights users is Linux Mint. Today, we get some information about the upcoming version 19. The biggest news is that it will be called "Tara." If you aren’t aware, the operating system is always named after a woman.

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Intel chips have a huge security flaw, and the fix will slow down Windows and Linux machines

A design flaw has been discovered in Intel chips that will require major changes to be made to the Windows and Linux kernels. While patches are being worked on -- and in the case of Windows Insiders, have already rolled out -- users of both operating systems can expect to experience something of a performance hit. macOS machines running on Intel chips are also affected.

Intel is -- for the moment -- remaining tight-lipped about the specifics of the flaw that has been unearthed, but it is believed to affect processors produced in the past decade. Developers are currently estimating that systems could experience slow downs of between 5 and 30 percent.

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Lindows rises from the grave! Freespire 3.0 and Linspire 7.0 Linux distros now available

About 16 years ago, a for-pay Linux distribution caused quite a stir all because of its name -- Lindows. Yes, someone actually thought kicking the billion dollar hornets nest that is Microsoft by playing off of the "Windows" name was a good idea. To be honest, from a marketing perspective, it was brilliant -- it got tons of free press. Microsoft eventually killed the Lindows name by use of money and the legal system, however. Ultimately, the Linux distro was renamed "Linspire." Comically, there was a Lindows Insiders program way before Windows Insiders!

After losing the Lindows name, the operating system largely fell out of the spotlight, and its 15 minutes of fame ended. After all, without the gimmicky name, it was hard to compete with free Linux distros. Not to mention, Richard Stallman famously denounced the OS for its non-free ways. The company eventually created a free version of its OS called Freespire, but by 2008, both projects were shut down by its then-owner, Xandros. Today, however, a new Linspire owner emerges -- PC/OpenSystems LLC. And yes, Lindows is rising from the grave -- as Freespire 3.0 and Linspire 7.0!

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Ring in New Year 2018 with Manjaro Linux 17.1.0

Today is the big day -- New Year's Eve! Tonight, many people will celebrate ringing in the new year at midnight. They will drink champagne, dance, and generally have a fun time.

If you are a nerd like me, however, you won't be leaving the house. Instead, you will probably be watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest while eating low-quality frozen hors d'oeuvres -- there is no shame in that, though. This year, there is actually something very fun you can do while sitting on your couch -- install a Linux distribution! You see, Manjaro Linux 17.1.0 is now ready for download. Hell, installing an Arch-based Linux distro is better than going to a party, right?

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Christmas comes early! LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.2 Kodi Linux distro is here

Christmas is almost here, and I don't know about y'all, but I am thrilled. While I am looking forward to spending time with family and thinking about the birth of Jesus, I am not ashamed to say I am excited about presents too!

Today, Christmas comes a bit early thanks to a new LibreELEC (Krypton) release. Version 8.2.2 of the Kodi-focused Linux-based operating system is being called a minor release, but it is still a very special gift for users of the media center. After all, version 8.2.1 was previously called the final Krypton version, but as we now know, it wasn't.

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