Unity a year later

A year ago I wrote an article about the different directions taken by Unity and KDE respectively. Beyond describing them, I took a very firm stand: Canonical made changes for the sake of change and it was an inferior experience (KDE got its fair share of criticism too). A year later with a shiny new LTS release, I thought it was time to give Unity another chance. Obviously Ubuntu is more than Unity but is the main differentiator between it and other Ubuntu-based distributions. I will split the review in three cliché sections: The good, The Bad and The ugly…. Continue Reading

Windows user, wanna try Linux? Checklist.

Are you a Windows user who has heard of Linux and is considering trying this new operating system? Very good. You have made a very wise decision. Not the test itself, although it may be a pleasant experience, but the very fact that you have opened up your mind to new possibilities. That in itself is worth its weight in gold. But before you do anything, let me dampen your mojo a little. Your Linux experience will be inversely proportional to your expectations, as well as your level of preparedness. So, if you want to test Linux, maybe even move… Continue Reading

Free software and governments

Is proprietary software ethical? This is a hard question to tackle, one that I may attempt to answer in the future, for the time being I will content myself with trying to answer the much weaker question of what kind of software the government should use, i.e. Is the use of proprietary software by the government unethical?. However, it’s worth noting that the nature of the question is similar but differs in an important way: The general problem places the burden of moral responsibility on the developer, the second puts the burden on a specific kind of buyer. How do… Continue Reading

Opinion: More than visuals

Recently, a new team composed by extremely talented designers was formed. Their goal? Design the visual appearance of KDE 5.  Known as The Visual Design Group (VGD), they will ultimately design what will become the default look. There’re relatively newcomers on the group as well as old faces, Nuno Pinheiro the lead designer behind KDE 4′s Oxygen iconography, Plasma and desktop theme among them. Just as exciting, perhaps even more, they’re asking the community to be more involved in the design process, you can participate and share your own thoughts, drafts and mockups at the KDE forums. So far so good…. Continue Reading

How light is Netrunner?

Minimum and usable requirements are not synonyms. Recommended specifications should not be confused with usability requirements, recommended specs are are more demanding (they represent the ideal set of components). A usability requirement is the condition in which the system not only installs and more or less works, but can also be used reasonably by other human beings. According to the official documentation, the minimum requirements to run Netrunner 13.12 are: CPU 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 RAM 1GB Hard Drive Size 10GB Graphics Card Intel GMA 945 Video Memory 128MB I decided to put this to test. The machine I used is… Continue Reading

Manage my package

Yo dawg, I herd u like Linux, so I put APT in yo Linux so u can manage while u package. That’s the gist of it. And now in human-readable text. Yes. Today, we will talk about Linux package managers, the neat software that lets you search, install and remove programs, tools, utilities, fonts, and whatnot in your Linux distribution. Now, we will not be talking about the low-level stuff, like DEB and RPM. We will focus higher up. First, I am going to present a handful of command line tools, with a bunch of pros and cons and options… Continue Reading

Linux gaming: Papers, please

Thanks to the release of Steam for Linux and the announcement of Steam OS, the number of games available for Linux have been going up systematically. Valve is also preaching by example and porting many of their games to Linux, perhaps the most exciting of all is Portal 2. One of the best games ever made. Netrunner comes with Steam ready to install so, if you’re curious, the growing world of Linux gaming is only a couple of clicks away. One of the characteristics of the modern gaming industry is big studios mostly redo the same games over and over… Continue Reading

LibreOffice vs. Microsoft Office, Part Deux

I would like to apologize in advance. This article is going to feature screenshots taken on a Windows 7 machine only, which might strike you as odd, given the fact this is a Linux-related topic we are discussing here. But it is exactly why we will use Windows. Nothing like pitch black to demonstrate pure white. Or the other way around. Indeed, LibreOffice 4.2 has been officially released, and it’s a major one. This latest edition of the most popular free, open-source office suite comes with a range of new options, tons of speed improvements, a variety of fixes, and… Continue Reading