20 Jun 2016

My first week with Ubuntu Touch

Since the release of Ubuntu Touch, there has been many articles written on the platform. And the consensus seems to be that it is not ready for prime time. I purchased the BQ Aquarius M10 tablet and I use it as my everyday tablet(I traded in my iPad. Using the Ubuntu Touch device as my everyday tablet has been extremely difficult for one reason in particular. No cloud! While others have focused their reviews on such things as the quality of the M10 or on the speed of the OS, or even the many bugs in the system, I believe that those things pale in comparison to a lack of a cloud. All the aforementioned things can be overlooked as this is a new OS that is groundbreaking. But we cannot over look the lack of a cloud.

Ubuntu Ecosystem?

The Ubuntu Ecosystem?

Ubuntu One was the infamous cloud that Canonical ran for several years til one day they announced that they were dismantling the program. This was a very bad idea. Canonical did not release any usage stats or numbers on how costly it was to keep Ubuntu One going. We suspected that it must have been low for them to get rid of it. Whatever the case, it seems that it was a poor choice especially considering that they were planning to release a mobile operating system, thus creating an ecosystem. However, they must not understand the notion of a modern tech ecosystem. No cloud, no ecosystem. Tech ecosystems rely on the cloud. Microsoft has Onedrive, Apple has iCloud, Google has Google drive. What does Ubuntu have? Own cloud? Well it’s certainly not there and not integrated.

Without such integration, I firmly believe that this project will fail in it’s current form and be abandoned. Canonical, we must have a cloud. Please bring back Ubuntu One or work in conjunction with Nextcloud. Something has to give.

Now on to the rest of my review…

The M10 tablet looks pretty sleek. Like everyone else, I believe that it seems like a mid range Android tablet in look and feel (Although it feels a bit better in my opinion). The battery life is astonishingly good (not as good as an iPad) and seems to last through the day on a full charge. However, this isn’t fully tested given the sheer lack of apps and the time that it takes for apps to load. Load time for the apps are important as this discourages use throughout the day. waiting up to 10 seconds for an app to load in 2016 makes many users move on to another task and causes distractions, and everyone is easily distracted these days.

Aquarius M10 from BQ

Aquarius M10 from BQ

The OS it self feels much different than Windows, iOS, or even Android. The concept of scopes is brilliant! It took awhile getting used to not having a home screen nor a home button. The touch maneuvers required to operate the device became more and more intuitive over time. I think the scopes method is a good idea and have now fully bought into it. But, there are not many native apps and the web apps seem to perform better than the native apps in terms of load time and crashes. I feel very disconnected from my information on this tablet as there is no cloud! Something as simple as taking down notes is a pain as my notes are stuck in 2005. I can’t put things in notes and move on to another device and pick up where I left off. This was a huge benefit to my previous Apple ecosystem with iCloud. I find myself using the tablet less and less for this very reason alone. With no cloud, I have to revert to devices where I have a cloud.

I haven’t had the chance to explore the apps and web apps as much as I would like, and there isn’t much written yet about the many apps and web apps that are available, so I may be missing some things that would solve my cloud issues. As I discover more about this OS, I will share. I am however fully invested in the Ubuntu ecosystem, mainly because it is the best Linux ecosystem available so far. But Canonical must provide a seamless cloud solution to make this OS into a bonafide ecosystem. See more from me on ecosystems here: Ecosystems.

I am still waiting on an opportunity to purchase an Ubuntu Phone. The Meizu Pro 5 seems like the best option. However they are all out of stock and have been for a few weeks! The OnePlus 3 just dropped and there will be a port for it from UBPorts. Which ever is available first, the port or the Pro 5, I will attain to help make my transition to a full Linux ecosystem.

Stay tuned….

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20 Jun 2016

OnePlus 3 Will Be an Unofficial Ubuntu Phone


It was announced on UBPorts that the OnePlus 3 is on the verge of becoming an unofficial Ubuntu Phone.

To Install Ubuntu Touch onto the phone, you will need to do the following:

1. Install the required tools:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash phablet-tools

2. Reboot your device into fastboot mode (vol up + power) and Connect your device with an USB cable to your computer.

3. Flash your device using this command: (NOTE! This will wipe your phone!)

sudo ubuntu-device-flash --server=http://system-image.ubports.com touch --channel=ubuntu-touch/stable --device=op3 --bootstrap
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
158 g
Anodized aluminum
Graphite / Soft Gold
Operating System
OxygenOS based on Android™ Marshmallow

Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 820
Quad Core, Kryo™: 2x 2.2 GHz, 2x 1.6 GHz
Adreno™ 530
64GB UFS 2.0
Fingerprint sensor, Hall sensor,
Accelerometor, Gyroscope,
Proximity sensor,
Ambient light sensor and Electronic Compass

USB 2.0, Type-C
Dual nano-SIM slot
3.5 mm audio jack

3,000 mAh (non-removable)
Dash Charge (5V 4A)

Hardware keys and on-screen navigation support
Alert Slider
Custom icon packs
Gesture Control (Display On + Display Off)
OnePlus Shelf
Vibration motor
RGB LED notification light


GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz

North America model
WCDMA: Bands 1/2/4/5/8
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/4/5/7/12/17/30

Europe / Asia model
WCDMA: Bands 1/2/5/8
FDD-LTE: Bands 1/3/5/7/8/20
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/40

China model
WCDMA: Bands 1/2/5/8
FDD-LTE : Bands 1/3/7
TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41
TD-SCDMA : Bands 34/39

Wireless Standard
4G LTE (Cat. 6)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth® 4.2
NFC Enabled


Bottom-facing speaker
Dual-microphone with noise cancellation
OnePlus Music
Dirac HD Sound®




1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
401 ppi
0.755 m
Cover Glass
Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4



Aspect Ratio

16 : 9

Night Mode Display
Dark Theme
System Accent Colors

Rear Camera

Sony IMX 298 Sensor
16 MP
1.12 µm
4K resolution video at 30fps
Slow Motion
720p video at 120fps
RAW Image support

Auto-HDR, Dynamic Denoise,
Manual Control,
Clear Image

Front Camera

Sony IMX179
8 MP
1.4 µm

Fixed Focus
1080p video at 30fps
Auto selfie
Smile Capture


Audio Supported Formats
Playback: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA (v9 and v10),
Video Supported Formats
Playback: HEVC (H.265), H.264, MPEG-4, DivX,
Xvid, MPEG-2, MP4, MOV, 3GP, AVI, MKV, ASF
Recording: AVC
Image Supported Formats
Playback: JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF
Output: JPEG

In The Box

1x OnePlus 3
1x Screen Protector (pre-applied)
1x Dash Charge Type-C Cable
1x Dash Charge Adapter
1x SIM Tray Ejector
1x Quick Start Guide
1x Safety Information
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19 Jun 2016

Linux Distro To Try: Zenwalk Linux


Zenwalk Linux (formerly Minislack) is a Slackware-based GNU/Linux operating system with a goal of being slim and fast by using only one application per task and with focus on graphical desktop and multimedia usage. Zenwalk features the latest Linux technology along with a complete programming environment and libraries to provide an ideal platform for application programmers. Zenwalk’s modular approach also provides a simple way to convert Zenwalk Linux into a finely-tuned modern server (e.g. LAMP, messaging, file sharing).

This is most probably the final release candidate for the upcoming Zenwalk 8.0.

This pre-release ISO should be at 99% the stable target, you will get latest Libreoffice 5.1.3, latest Chromium 51, Mplayer 1.3, ffmpeg 3.0.1, latest Slackware current system (many upstream packages updated) featuring the Linux kernel 4.4.13, and a new desktop layout for XFCE 4.12.

Lately, system tools have been heavily improved to fully integrate Policykit privileges elevation features, enabling the unprivileged user to tweak many system parameters that require root ownership : you can now change your user password from the XFCE Panel by just entering your previous password, you can set the Xorg keyboard layout without root privileges, set your locale, set the login manager settings, set system clock, etc…). All these features can of course be hardened with Policykit to disallow automatic privileges elevation for users.

Thanks to Didier Spaier for some good advices about installer improvements, you will hopefully find it more straight forward, while remaining completely in the Slack spirit.

If you need the plethora of Slackware network servers and applications from the start : please note that you can download an original Slackware (or support the Slackware project at https://store.slackware.com/cgi-bin/store), then install the latest set of Zenwalk 8.0 packages (“z” serie of packages) on it, then reboot : you will get a genuine Zenwalk system minus the “one application per task” cleanup.

A complete list of changes will be available soon at https://distrowatch.com/

have fun

ISO is available from some zenwalk mirrors :
http://download.zenwalk.org/x86_64/8.0/ … 8.0RC2.iso
http://zen-repo.meticul.eu/x86_64/8.0/z … 8.0RC2.iso
http://slackware.uk/zenwalk/x86_64/8.0/ … 8.0RC2.iso


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18 Jun 2016

WATCH: What Is Linux?


Linux can be found on everything from servers to smartphones to desktop PCs – but what makes it different from Windows, and should you give it a try?.

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17 Jun 2016

Linux Distro To Try: RoboLinux


Robolinux is a user-friendly and intuitive operating system based on the latest stable release of Debian GNU/Linux.

One of the project’s more interesting features is the availability of a pre-configured virtual machine support pack with Windows XP or Windows 7 – a VirtualBox setup which allows the user to install and run the Windows operating system seamlessly alongside Robolinux.

This is an optional add-on that must be purchased from the project’s online store.

An announcement by the Distro’s founder read:

After receiving a 5 star review at http://topnewreview.com/robolinux-8-4… Robolinux is extremely pleased and excited to announce its new upgraded Robolinux 8.5 Raptor Cinnamon, Mate, Xfce & LXDE 32 & 64 bit versions. Undoubtedly the biggest news is that all 16 Robolinux 7 & 8 Live versions now come with a FREE OS Installer and can be downloaded for free on SourceForge. Please permit me to say it again “There is NO MORE CHARGE for our OS Installer” which was how we funded 3rd party Linux Application Developers!

Gaming enthusiasts will be thrilled because we added Steam to v8.5. We also updated Stealth VM and the Robolinux C Drive to VM for Windows XP, 7 & 10 so it works with VirtualBox 5.0 and above which is great news for Linux Mint and Ubuntu users! Please note: VirtualBox 5.0 is not yet compatible with Debian 8. We also fixed its apt-key in all Robolinux Raptor versions which Oracle broke for no reason.

All Robolinux Raptor 8.5 versions are based on 100% rock solid current Debian 8 stable source code running the newest Debian 3.16 Linux kernel plus over 250 important upstream security and Application updates, the newest Tor Browser, Firefox 47 and Thunderbird 45.1.1

As usual all four of the upgraded 32 & 64 bit Robolinux Raptor Version 8.5 Operating Systems come with over 120 custom built wifi, video & Printer drivers and can run Windows XP, 7 & 10 virus free inside. Every version is loaded with many popular one click installer applications such as the Tor browser, i2P, several very popular multimedia apps, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Skype & VirtualBox plus 12 incredibly powerful Security and Privacy apps to keep our Users safe!

Linux Beginners and Advanced Users will be very pleased indeed!

Current Robolinux 8 series users can upgrade in just one click by using the built in Robolinux Auto Upgrade button in the main menu.

Please Note: Some PC’s & Laptops with video cards manufactured before 2008 are no longer supported in the Robolinux 8 Raptor series LTS 2020 (i.e. Debian 8). However the Robolinux series 7 Operating Systems LTS 2018 do still support these old video cards.

Warmest regards,

John Martinson



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16 Jun 2016

See What’s New In Xubuntu 16.04


Xubuntu 16 04 LTS, the latest release of Ubuntu 16.04 Official flavors featrung Xfce 4.12 desktop environment has been released and announced by Xubuntu Team.

This release powered by long-term support Linux kernel 4.4 and Support GNOME 3.18 packages. also include new community wallpapers, and the replacement of the Ubuntu Software Centre app with the GNOME Software graphical package manager.

Updated Xubuntu Light/Dark colors schemes in Mousepad and Terminal, Xfce4 Panel Switch included are 5 preset panel layouts. 7. LibreOffice Calc and Writer replace Gnumeric and Abiword, Also include A new theme for LibreOffice called libreoffice-style-elementary

Xubuntu 16.04 LTS release notes : https://wiki.ubuntu.com/XenialXerus/F…

Download Xubuntu 16.04 LTS : http://xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/

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15 Jun 2016

Linux Distro To Try: Salix Linux

Salix is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that is simple, fast, easy to use and compatible with Slackware Linux.

Optimised for desktop use, Salix OS features one application per task, custom package repositories, advanced package management with dependency support, localised system administration tools and innovative artwork.

The Salix project, a desktop oriented distribution based on Slackware, has released a new development snapshot. The new testing release, Salix 14.2 Beta 1 “Xfce”, features an update to the distribution’s boot process and includes a number of software changes.

So here it is, Salix Xfce 14.2beta1. There has been some time since our alpha release and there are a lot of new and interesting things.

The first thing you will notice, is that when booting one of the iso images you don’t get a boot prompt anymore. What you get is a boot menu and the menu offers options to install Salix in several different languages. So you can now install Salix, not only in English, but using your own language as well! Most of the translations are only partially complete at this point, but you can help with the tranlation effort so that everything will be complete by the time we finally release 14.2.

In order to have the installation procedure completely translated you need to provide translations for the following resources at the Transifex project page for Salix:
– salix-installer: https://www.transifex.com/gapan/salix/salix-installer/
– salixtools: https://www.transifex.com/gapan/salixtools/dashboard/
– liloconfig: https://www.transifex.com/gapan/salix/liloconfig/
– eliloconfig: https://www.transifex.com/gapan/salix/eliloconfig/

The menus that the images boot to are provided by syslinux on systems equiped with BIOS. On UEFI systems, the 64-bit iso now boots using elilo, in place of grub, and it provides similar menus to syslinux. The 32-bit iso now includes both the i586 non-PAE and the i686 PAE kernels. You can choose between the two in the boot menu.

In terms of software selection, Xfce has been upgraded to 4.12. The main browser has been changed back to Firefox. Also, network configuration is now handled by NetworkManager. Pulseaudio is now controlling the audio output by default, which should help a lot with bluetooth speakers, HDMI audio etc. Other than that it’s mostly the same as in previous releases, with LibreOffice, Claws-Mail, Gimp, Parole, Transmission, Viewnior, Zim etc. Everything has been upgraded to their latest release at this point. Of course, the usual collection of Salix System Tools is included as well.

The artwork has been updated too. There is a new default background and the default widget theme is now Adwaita.

There is still some work to be done until the final release. The revamped installer still needs some polishing and there are probably going to be some new system tools to play with.

You can download this beta release either from Sourceforge, or using a torrent client with the following links:

Salix Xfce 14.2beta1 (32-bit, i586/i686)
(size: 955MB, md5: 8533a807ba865070dcba1092e7740c6e)
– Sourceforge: https://sourceforge.net/projects/salix/ … o/download
– Torrent: http://people.salixos.org/gapan/iso/sal … so.torrent

Salix64 Xfce 14.2beta1 (64-bit, x86_64)
(size: 912MB, md5: a7332d76160d0104ab560a1515dbaed4)
– Sourceforge: https://sourceforge.net/projects/salix/ … o/download
– Torrent: http://people.salixos.org/gapan/iso/sal … so.torrent


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14 Jun 2016

UPDATE: Elementary 0.4 ‘Loki’ Developmental Beta Released

The Elementary Blog announced the developmental Beta release of the new Elementary OS 0.4 Linux distro, codenamed Loki.

The announcement read:

This release brings tons of fixes and new features for both users and developers. Over 20 blueprints were implemented and over 800 issues closed. Time to break it all down and reveal what the future holds for the next version of elementary OS!

Beta Means Beta

If you’ve never tried beta software before, there’s something very important you should know: beta quality software is not finished and contains known issues.

The purpose of releasing a beta is to give developers time to update their apps prior to stable release, give our translation teams time to translate, and give our documentation teams time to update documentation. Beta represents a more-or-less feature-complete release, but it does not represent a stable release. So if you decide to install Loki Beta, hold onto your butts because things are going to be a bit bumpy.

Loki is being built with the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS repository, which means it comes with Gtk 3.18, Vala 0.32, and Linux 4.4 as well as a multitude of other updated libraries.

One of the significant new features is the removal of tools which make it easy to (accidentally) install software which has not been vetted.

Some major known issues with the beta release are listed below, of course it’s not a beta release without any beta release issues.

Major Known Issues

It wouldn’t be a beta without some of these! For a full list of Loki-targeted issues, see the RC1 Milestone. Here’re some of the big ones:

DOWNLOAD THE BETA RELEASE HERE: http://elementary.io/developer

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13 Jun 2016

See What’s New In Linux Lite 3.0


Linux Lite 3.0 has been released by Linux Lite creator Jerry Bezencon, based Ubuntu 16.04 LTS featuring Xfce 4.12 desktop environment.

This release also comes with a brand new look based on the beautiful Arc GTK theme, including the Arc, Arc-Dark and Arc-Darker layouts, a series of new wallpapers, as well as a revamped boot splash theme.

The Lite Software graphical package manager has received a major overhaul in this release, bringing support for installing multiple applications simultaneously, along with the ability to install the Calibre, Audacity, and Pinta apps.

Also, Lite Software now displays icons instead of select boxes, for easy identification of apps.

Also new in Linux Lite 3.0 is folder access support to the Applications Menu, allow users to upload screenshots to the Imgur free image hosting service.

Linux Lite 3.0 release announcements https://www.linuxliteos.com/forums/re…

Download Linux Lite 3.0 : https://www.linuxliteos.com/download….

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12 Jun 2016

Antergos Repo Updates To Include The Latest MATE, Cinnamon Packages

It was announced Sunday, June 12th that Antergos Repos will update to include the latest MATE and Cinnamon packages.

Antergos announcement read:

The package manager (pacman) reads a configuration file to determine which software repositories to use for installing and updating packages. The order of repositories in the configuration file matters; repositories listed first will take precedence over those listed later in the file when packages in two repositories have identical names, regardless of version number. In the past, during new Antergos installations, the antergos repo was appended to  /etc/pacman.conf so that it would appear after all other repos in the file. At the time that decision was made we didn’t see any need to insert our repo before the Arch repos as we had no plans to package anything that was already being packaged by Arch and we couldn’t think of any scenarios where we would want/need to do so.

Fast-forward to today and circumstances have changed. We’re not going to go into all the details here, but suffice it to say we have decided to package the latest versions of MATE and Cinnamon until such time it no longer makes sense to do so. However, in order for existing Antergos users who installed their systems more than a month ago to receive the updated packages automatically, the priority of the Antergos repo must be changed in /etc/pacman.conf. We’ve created a special package to assist those affected users with this change so that it is as quick and painless as possible. Though it will still require some manual action from the user. For complete details check out this wiki article.


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