7 Essential Things To Do After Installing Arch Linux 

By Ambarish Kumar

Things to do after installing Arch Linux

Brief: This tutorial shows you a few essential things to do after installing Arch Linux. This will help you get started with Arch Linux so that you can explore it further.

Earlier I showed you how to install Arch Linux. Today, I am going to list a few basic and yet important things to do after installing Arch Linux.

By this time, you probably already know that Arch Linux comes with a minimal installation and lets you build your own system on top of it. From installing desktop environments to media codecs and your favorite applications, everything has to be done by you.

This do-it-yourself (DIY) approach is what many Arch Linux users prefer. If you want things running out of the box, you should use Manjaro Linux. Manjaro is based on Arch minus the hassle.

Cutting down the chit-chat, let’s see what to do after installing Arch Linux.

Must to do things after installing Arch Linux

While at It’s FOSS, we focus on beginner centric approach and hence we suggest plenty of GUI based approach, this won’t be the case here.

Arch Linux is sort of expert domain and we believe if you use Arch, you are not afraid of using the terminal. This is why the steps mentioned here are command line based.

0. Update your system

You might already have used the latest release, but it’s advisable to check for the latest update for your Arch System:

sudo pacman -Syu

1. Installing X server, Desktop Environment and Display Manager

Before installing a desktop environment (DE), you will need to install the X server.

sudo pacman -S xorg

Once it’s completed, use any of the below commands to install your favorite desktop environment.

To install GNOME:

sudo pacman -S gnome gnome-extra

To install Cinnamon:

sudo pacman -S cinnamon nemo-fileroller

To install XFCE:

sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies

To install KDE:

sudo pacman -S plasma

To install MATE:

sudo pacman -S mate mate-extra

You will also need a display manager to log in to your desktop environment. For the ease, you can install LXDM.

pacman -S lxdm

Once installed, you can enable to start each time you reboot your system.

systemctl enable lxdm.service.

Reboot your system and you will see the LXDM login screen, select your desktop environment from the list and login.

This is how my system looks like with LXDM and GNOME.

Arch Linux with GNOME and LXDM

2. Install an LTS kernel

Why should you install LTS kernel in Arch Linux when it is supposed to be cutting edge?

Installing an LTS kernel means you have a more stable kernel with better support to older hardware. Also, the LTS kernels are supported for at least 2 years with bug fixes and performance enhancements.

If you rather choose to use the latest Linux kernel, you may find regression and bugs introduced by the latest kernel updates to your existing software and system. It’s not a certainty but it is definitely a possibility. For example, a Kernel update broke GNOME in Arch based Linux some time back.

This is why it is advisable to use an LTS kernel if you prefer a more stable system and/or have an older one. But the decision is yours to make.

Before you install an LTS kernel, check the Linux kernel version you are using.

uname -r

To install the LTS kernel and Linux LTS headers, type the below command:

sudo pacman -S linux-lts
sudo pacman install linux-lts-headers

At this point, the LTS version is the default one.

Once done, you can remove the older kernels by typing the below command. However, I prefer to keep it in “case” something goes wrong, I can boot into the other Linux kernel version.

sudo pacman -Rs linux

3. Installing Yaourt

Yaourt stands for Yet AnOther User Repository Tool which can be used to search, download and install packages from the official repository as well as AUR.

Arch User Repository or AUR is a community-driven repository for Arch users and contains package descriptions to compile a package from source and install it. Most of the packages that make to the official repository start in the AUR first. Users contribute their own applications which are voted for or against and once it becomes popular enough, they are included in the official repository.

AUR contains lots of useful applications that are not found in the main repo can be installed from AUR with help of Yaourt. Yaourt is similar to what Synaptic Package Manager does, and can be installed by following these steps:

Open /etc/pacman.conf file and add these lines at the bottom:

[archlinuxfr]
SigLevel = Never
Server = http://repo.archlinux.fr/$arch

Save the change. Install Yaourt with the below command

sudo pacman -Syu yaourt

Use the command below to sync Yaourt with AUR:

yaourt -Syy

To search AUR package, you can the below commands :

yaourt -S package-name

4. Install GUI Package Manager Pamac

The default package manager for Arch Linux is Pacman (Package Manager) and using Pacman is quite easy to install or remove a software.

However, it’s sometimes difficult to talk in commands. Pamac provides a GUI option for Pacman and works like Synaptic Package Manager or GNOME Software.

Pamac serves as a GUI tool for installing or updating packages and works well with Arch User Repository AUR.

How to install Pamac

Before you can use Pamac, you will need to have Yaourt (or Packer) installed first. Once done, type the below command in terminal to install Pamac.

yaourt -S pamac-aur

You can launch the GUI by searching for Add/Remove Software. It will so different packages that are available and installed and which all updates are needed.

Pamac Package Manager

However, by default, the AUR packages are not enabled. To enable it, click on the options justt beside the search option) and choose Preferences. Under the AUR tab, Enable AUR support.

Enable AUR support in Pamac

Installing software through Pamac is as easier as searching it through the GUI (which searches the community and AUR) and installing it with a click.

5. Installing Codecs and plugins

Of course, you are going to use your personal system for recreational works like watching videos and listening to your favorite song. But before that, you will have to install codecs for these audio and video files.

Type the below command in the terminal:

sudo pacman -S a52dec faac faad2 flac jasper lame libdca libdv libmad libmpeg2 libtheora libvorbis libxv wavpack x264 xvidcore gstreamer0.10-plugins

However, installing a media player like VLC imports all the necessary codecs and installs it.

sudo pacman -S vlc

You may add a music player too:

sudo pacman -S amarok

6. Installing productive software

For day to day use and setting up your Arch system for productive use, you need some basic applications like an office suite, email client, a web browser etc.

sudo pacman -S libreoffice thunderbird firefox gedit flashplugin skype dropbox aria2

Aria2 is a download manager, LibreOffice is the most popular open source office suite, Thunderbird is a cross-platform mail and chat client, Firefox is an open source and free web browser, Gedit is an editor, flashplugin installs flash, Skype is a popular messaging and video calling software and Dropbox – to store your file for anytime access.

Along with these, you will need archive managers

sudo pacman -S p7zip p7zip-plugins unrar tar rsync

This is of course just a suggestion. You can install essential Linux applications of your choice and your requirement.

7. Customizing the looks of your Arch Linux desktop

You can customize your Arch Linux by installing some nice flat themes or the conky monitoring tool.

Installing themes

Some of the most liked themes are Arc GTK, flatplat, Vertex and Numix, which can be installed by below command:

yaourt -S arc-gtk-theme flatplat-theme-git vertex-themes
sudo pacman -S numix-themes

Go to settings > Appearance and change the default theme from there.

Installing Conky

Conky is a free system manager application which can monitor and display memory usage, CPU statistics, disk storage, swap, CPU temperature and more.

To install conky, use below command :

sudo pacman -S conky

You can configure conky yourself which will need some digging into the ~/.conkyrc file or you can download your favorite one from web and replace the default conkyrc file. There is a detailed tutorial about conky and its configuration on the Arch Linux website.

Additional tip:

At any point in time, if you feel like removing any application (and its dependencies), you can use these commands:

sudo pacman -R package-name

It removes the package without removing the dependencies. If you want to remove the dependencies but leaving out the ones which are being used by some other application, below command will help:

sudo pacman -Rs package-name

Final Words

Arch Linux is a great distribution if you want to take control of everything, from setting up your favorite desktop environment to the tools you want to use. The Arch Wiki is a great place to learn these things and in itself more than sufficient.

In this article, we have just listed out the most important things to do after installing Arch Linux. The rest is up to you to explore.

By the way, what are the things you do after installing Arch Linux?

From: It’s FOSS

Share

Wine 3.0 Release Lets You Run Windows Applications on Linux More Effectively

By Derick Sullivan M. Lobga

Wine lets you run Windows software in Linux

The Wine team has announced the release of Wine 3.0. This comes after one year of development and comes with 6000 individual changes with a number of improvements and new features. ‘This release represents a year of development effort and over 6,000 individual changes. It contains a large number of improvements’.

The free and open source compatibility layer, Wine lets you run Windows applications on Linux and macOS.

The Wine 3.0 release has as major highlights Direct3D 10 and 11 changes, Direct3D command stream, graphics driver for Android and improved support for DirectWrite and Direct2D.

New Features and Improvements in Wine 3.0

Direct3D

There are a significant number of changes on Direct3D 10 and 11 features. Some major changes include:

  • Compute shaders
  • Layered rendering to 3D textures
  • Improved support for OpenGL core contexts in Direct3D as the core contexts can now be used by default for both Direct3D 10 and 11 on Intel and AMD graphic cards.
  • More graphics cards are now able to be recognized by the Direct3D graphics card database.

Android Graphics Driver

For Android users and developers, Wine can now be built as an APK package that will behave like a real Android application. A full-screen desktop mode is now supported for Android as a full graphics driver has been implemented.

There is also a full audio support and a limited support for OpenGL (OpenGL ES API) with Direct3D not yet supported since it cannot run on OpenGL ES.

User Interface

The built-in mouse cursors can now work on high DPI screens with higher resolution.

Other changes and improvements include DirectWrite, support for D3DX 9, Internet and Networking, ARM platforms, Kernel and many others which can be seen in the Wine Announcement.

According to the announcement, ‘a number of features that are being worked on have been deferred to the next development cycle’ because they wanted to meet up with the annual release schedule. ‘This includes in particular Direct3D 12 and Vulkan support, as well as OpenGL ES support to enable Direct3D on Android’.

Install Wine 3.0

The Wine 3.0 source is ready for download meanwhile the binary packages for macOS and Linux distros will soon be available in their respective download locations, the release said.

Download Wine 3.0

I advise you to remove any existing version of Wine already installed on your system before installing the new version.

If you are looking for professional Windows software support on Linux, you can try CrossOver 17.

Have you tried the latest release of Wine 3.0? Share your experience with the rest of us by leaving a comment below.

From: It’s FOSS

Share

No More Ubuntu! Debian is the New Choice For Google’s In-house Linux Distribution

By Abhishek Prakash

gLinux from Goobuntu

Brief: For years Google used Goobuntu, an in-house, Ubuntu-based operating system. Goobuntu is now being replaced by gLinux, which is based on Debian Testing.

If you have read Ubuntu facts, you probably already know that Google uses a Linux distribution called Goobuntu as the development platform. It is a custom Linux distribution based on…(easy to guess)… Ubuntu.

Goobuntu is basically a “light skin over standard Ubuntu“. It is based on the LTS releases of Ubuntu. If you think that Google contributes to the testing or development of Ubuntu, you are wrong. Google is simply a paying customer for Canonical’s Ubuntu Advantage Program. Canonical is the parent company behind Ubuntu.

Meet gLinux: Google’s new Linux distribution based on Debian Buster

After more than five years with Ubuntu, Google is replacing Goobuntu with gLinux, a Linux distribution based on Debian testing.

As MuyLinux reports, gLinux is being built from the source code of the packages and Google introduces its own changes to it. The changes will also be contributed to the upstream.

This ‘news’ is not really new. It was announced in Debconf’17 in August last year. Somehow the story did not get the attention it deserves.

You can watch the presentation in Debconf video here. The gLinux presentation starts around 12:00.

Moving from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Debian 10 Unstable

Once Google opted Ubuntu LTS for stability. Now it is moving to Debian Unstable branch for timely testing the packages.

And how does it plan to do that? Google has developed a tool to migrate the existing systems from Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to Debian 10 Stable. Project leader Margarita claimed in the Debconf talk that tool was tested to be working fine.

Ubuntu loses a big customer!

Back in 2012, Canonical had clarified that Google is not their largest business desktop customer. However, it is safe to say that Google was a big customer for them. As Google prepares to switch to Debian, this will surely result in revenue loss for Canonical.

What do you think?

Do keep in mind that Google doesn’t restrict its developers from using any operating system. However, use of Linux is encouraged.

If you are thinking that you can get your hands on either of Goobuntu or gLinux, you’ll have to get a job at Google. It is an internal project of Google and is not accessible to the general public.

Overall, it is a good news for Debian, especially if they get changes to upstream. Cannot say the same for Ubuntu though.

What are your views on Google ditching Ubuntu for Debian?

From: It’s FOSS

Share

An Incident Worth Noticing: Linux Kernel Mailing List Website Goes Down for Days

By Abhishek Prakash

Linux Kernel Mailing List website goes down

At a time when the tech world has been rocked by Meltdown and Spectre bugs in CPU, a Linux Kernel Mailing List website goes down for several days.

Speculation: it must be somehow related to that Meltdown bug.

Reality: the website goes down because it is hosted on a home server that suffered a power outage and needed the password to boot. Problem was that owner Jasper was on vacation when this incident happened.

Just to clarify, lkml.org, one of the many websites that host the Linux Kernel Mailing List archive. It is not the official archive.

lkml.org is managed by Jasper Spanns in the Netherlands. He hosts it on a personal computer at his home.

When he was on vacation last week, his washing machine malfunctioned and caused a power outage on 9-10 January. And thus the system that hosts needed to enter LUKS passphrase. Jasper revealed the backstory on Twitter:

Yep, I’m very aware – the site’s backend is hosted on a machine at home which is waiting for someone to enter a luks passphrase after a power outage while on vacation. I should be back home, and https://t.co/MTS96wBH6B back up Saturday evening 🙁

— jasper spaans (@spaans) January 10, 2018

It was natural that people would find it amusing that a website as popular as lkml.org is self-hosted at someone’s home.

The official Linux kernel mailing list being offline for days because it’s hosted on a home Linux server that suffered a power outage is the most Linux thing ever… https://t.co/Pt5HIN5bMD

— Jake Williams (@MalwareJake) January 13, 2018

But hey! when it comes to the community, Linux enthusiasts always lend a helping hand. Several people offered their help to host the servers on a better infrastructure.

I have two options to offer help to improve this in the future: NLNOG can provide you with VMs to run https://t.co/sEy6K4juFt – or I can ship you an APC Back-UPS 700VA (BX700UI). I use those APCs for my home servers and am quite happy with them 🙂

— Job Snijders (@JobSnijders) January 11, 2018

Server hosting company Liquid Web also jumped in for the sake of Linux community.

Hey jasper, we noticed you might be looking for a Host to provide service for LKML and wanted to extend an offer! We’d like to chat about what resources you might need in a DM. We’d love to help support such an integral part of the Linux community! https://t.co/gopnZAANMe

— Liquid Web (@LiquidWeb) January 12, 2018

Heck! Someone even tagged Elon Musk to help Jasper and lkml.org servers.

Perhaps @elonmusk can hook you up with a Tesla Powerwall.

— Chris Erice (@ChrisErice) January 13, 2018

Jasper returned on Saturday evening and is in process of moving the servers to a reliable Virtual Private Server.

At present, this is the message you’ll see on lkml.org:

What started out as a power outage while I was on vacation (leading to the computer hosting the backend of this site being unable to boot) became a larger issue as the mainboard in that computer appears to be broken.

Not wanting to let you wait for a spare part to arrive, I’m currently (while being assisted by our cat Flits) busy copying over all data to a VPS, and getting things working from there.

Linux Kernel Mailing List website goes down

The website should be up and running soon.

Before someone starts outraging, no, this is not a criticism of Jasper. His contribution to the Linux community is always appreciable.

However, this amusing incident reminds us that critical infrastructure should not be hosted in a private home. Self-hosting was a thing in the 90’s but in 2018, you have the option of cloud and VPS servers and it doesn’t cost much.

What do you think? Is it still okay to host web servers at home or not? What are your views on it?

P.S. Are you okay to have these BuzzFeed style stories from time to time? Or should we stick to the ‘real stuff’?

From: It’s FOSS

Share

Hands on With System76’s Beautiful Linux Distro Pop!_OS

By Phillip Prado

Brief: Linux system manufacturer System76 introduced a beautiful looking Linux distribution called Pop!_OS. But is Pop OS worth an install? Read the Pop OS review and find out yourself.

When I saw that System 76 launched their #TryPopOS campaign last month I knew this was the perfect opportunity to really put Pop!_OS through its paces. I am a proud owner of the Galago Pro, which I purchased the day they launched pre-orders this Spring and it has been my primary computer since then. I use it for everything from writing articles, to browsing the internet, to light gaming, and though the machine as its quirks I am beyond happy with it.

Back when I ordered the laptop Pop!_OS wasn’t announced yet so my laptop came with stock Ubuntu, which I promptly replaced with Ubuntu GNOME. Since then I have tried a couple different options including Elementary OS, Manjaro GNOME Edition, and most recently I have settled on KDE Neon.

Everything I have thrown at it has worked great on it so far, but now it is time to try something different. Here is my experience with System 76’s Pop!_OS.

Pop OS Review

To preface, let me clarify that my Galago Pro was not the only computer I ran Pop!_OS on. First I installed it on my 2011 11 inch Acer Aspire One to see how it would do on a low spec machine.

For a mid-range experience, I ran it in a virtual machine on my Galago Pro with 2 cores, 4 GB of ram, and 128 MB of VRAM. After that, I installed it on my mid tear gaming tower. That machine has an Intel i5 processor, a Nvidia 1050 graphics card, and 16 GB of ram.

Finally, after a couple test drives, I fully installed it on my Galago Pro for about a week to see how I would like it.

To deeper understand the OS, I decided to judge it not on my personal workflow but on the quality of experience that System 76 is trying to create. That means, apart from installing Neofetch, I stayed away from the terminal for updates and application installations. I used Pop!_OS’s version of the application store, Pop Shop, for these types of things.

I also refrained from customizing the UI as much as possible. I didn’t even install GNOME Tweaks in this run, which Pop!_OS does not come preloaded with. Since Pop!_OS uses GNOME, I could have done this to install various extensions to expand my usability but decided against it for the sake of this review. I wanted the pure experience that System 76 is creating.

Background and Overview

System 76 announced Pop!_OS after Canonical decided to stop development of Unity 8. This marked the end of Canonical’s hopes of implementing convergence in Ubuntu proper and sparked the beginning of a collaborative relationship with the GNOME team.

Many people were excited about this, while others were quite disappointed, myself included. System 76 was one of those groups of people who had high hopes for Unity 8 and the future convergence had to offer. They had hung tight and stayed faithful as we all awaited the next step of Unity’s development. I don’t doubt that System 76 had thrown around the idea of creating their own OS before this happened, but I firmly believe that this announcement is what really pushed them to create what we now know as Pop!_OS.

So what is Pop!_OS? In the marketing world, the question people would ask is “what makes this different, better, special?” In short, what is the draw here? Now, I will admit, when I first heard about Pop!_OS I thought it would be just a skinned version of Ubuntu GNOME. Before they released Pop!_OS they released their own Pop OS icon pack and theme and announced the fonts they were going to use. Once I installed them I couldn’t help but think that was all Pop!_OS was going to offer. A new coat of paint on the GNOME desktop.

After some time passed, after I tested it out, and as System 76 release more and more information about their new OS I happily found that I was wrong. What is great about Pop!_OS is not what it is. At this point, it is just another distribution that honestly fragments the world of Linux just a little bit more. And I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way.

But what makes Pop!_OS different, better, special is what it can and will be. Forgive the comparison, but System 76 is in a position to take on the role of the “Apple of the Linux world.” Not only are they making the hardware, but now they have committed to making software designed for the machines they will be on. They are in a place where they can design these two separate pieces of personal computing in tandem.

This will undoubtedly make for a more seamless and clean interaction between the two. The future of Pop!_OS is where my excitement lies, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great now because it definitely is.

Compatibility

This is something that most distributions don’t have a huge problem with, but Pop!_OS takes it to the next level. On their site, System 76 offers two different Pop!_OS downloads: one for Intel/AMD drivers and one for Nvidia.

This is awesome! Seriously. Why is this not the norm at this point? It’s such a simple concept. The only difference here is that the Nvidia download AUTOMATICALLY downloads the Nivida drivers onto your system so your Nvidia graphics card should work right out of the box. It does not get more seamless than that. I tried both of these options and in my use case both worked perfectly.

All my machines worked great as expected, so as long as your system meets the based criteria of 2 GB of ram, 16 GB of storage, and a 64-bit processor then you should be good. The only “downside” I can find regarding compatibility is that they only support 64-bit architecture. But is that really a downside in 2018?

Look and Feel

Now to the fun part. Pop!_OS is easily one of the best-looking desktop environments I have ever used. I would say it is tied with Elementary OS, the Budgie desktop environment on Solus OS, Deepin, and Manjaro GNOME Edition.

That’s not to say that other distributions aren’t beautiful too or that any of these are even my favorite looking options. I am just saying that I think they are objectively some of the most beautiful options Linux has to offer. I personally prefer the default look of Plasma 5 or Unity with the Numix themes and icons installed. Plasma is simple, clean, and professional, while Unity with the Numix theme is iconic, unique, and functional.

But Pop!_OS, as well as these other options, offer a bit of flair that is on a different level. They aren’t over the top, but they are clean and modern. I think a key signifier that a distro is “objectively beautiful” is if at first glance any person, Linux user or not, were to look at said desktop and think “whoa that is really pretty!” Of which Pop!_OS is most certainly included.

Like I mentioned earlier, Pop!_OS has it’s own desktop GTK theme and icon pack, and uses two fonts, the Roboto Slab and Fira fonts, for it’s UI. Many of us are familiar with the Roboto font family, and Fira was originally developed for Firefox OS back in 2013, so both of these fonts predate the OS. Though the theme and icons are originally based on other of other projects they add enough character to consider them a new entity on their own. I would say that the icons are not as unique as the theme. They are still dangerously similar to their source icon pack, Papirus, but still, add some changes that I think make sense. The GTK theme, which is based on the Adapta Theme, looks almost nothing like it did originally. Other than the flat elements, System 76 did a great job at making the Adapta Theme their own with the Pop GTK Theme. For what it’s worth, I also think the cursor looks nice though I am not sure if this is a new or a forked project.

That being said, the entire OS has a very flat, minimal, and clean UI that makes sense in 2018. Some people are not a fan of the flat design language, but I believe the general consensus is that this is the present standard of a modern technology UI. I for one have no problem with it. I think flat design language is beautiful, to say the least. Though it became popular with the Android Lollipop update when Google introduced their Material Design language, many other companies and designers have used that concept and made it completely unique. System 76 is no exception and I am more than satisfied with the theme they have created.

System 76 has also created their own installer experience in Pop!_OS. The installation process is kin to one of an OEM installation. That makes sense since this will be the primary option System 76 will include on their computers moving forward. This means the first person to log in after you install the OS will be prompted to set up their user account as if they turned on the laptop for the first time. This is a nice touch that adds no real confusion or fuss to the Ubuntu installation process we are already used to.

Performance and Work Flow

As far as functionality is concerned, if you are used to default GNOME then you will feel at home in Pop!_OS. The DE tries the best it can to get out of the way of your work. There is no dock, no activities bar that shows your open applications immediately on the desktop, and the system tray is very minimal by default. As per GNOME, the Activities Overview is where all of that information will pop into view, no pun intended. With a press of the super key, you will see all of your open applications laid out in a grid, the GNOME dash which is pretty much an on command dock, and all your virtual desktops.

None of this is new. This is the standard GNOME way of doing things. The difference is that Pop!_OS just looks so much more beautiful while doing so. It maintains the same smooth and quick interface, and the animations are simple. They just enough to add a feeling of quality to your desktop environment not their previously. But there is one glaring downside, in my opinion.

For a lot of us who are used to a more traditional desktop environment Pop!_OS may be a little harder to navigate at first with the omission of the minimize and maximize window buttons. It keeps the close button, but all three of these buttons are so integral to my experience that it was quite difficult to get used to not using them.

This is the same critique I have of Elementary OS. If I were to use Pop!_OS as a full-time DE I would install GNOME Tweak Tool if only to add these buttons back. Now, I said I would rate the OS based off of what System 76 was trying to achieve and not based on my personal workflow, which I am. But I genuinely think that adding this functionality by default is simply a better way of doing things, though I respect System 76’s decision not to do so.

The performance of the OS is as you would expect. I was not able to see a consistent difference between default Ubuntu GNOME and Pop!_OS. They used about the same amount of system resources at boot up, game performance was almost identical, and any form of video and image editing I did with it worked just as expected. So really there is nothing that stands out here in Pop!_OS. But that is a good thing. In fact, that’s a great thing. The OS was smooth, functional, and melted into the background just as it was intended to.

Pop!_OS gets a perfect score in the performance category.

Conclusion

So all of that is fine and great, but what is my overall opinion of System 76’s distribution? Before I answer that, I think the final question is who is Pop!_OS for? I have intentionally avoided asking this question up until this point, and I have done so for one main reason: I don’t think it matters.

Now, System 76 says directly on their site that this is a distribution for scientists, engineers, creators, makers, etc. It is designed for people who need to get things done on a technical level. The reason I say that this is that though we know who System 76’s target market is I see no reason why this distro can’t be for someone else.

In fact, I think a better question than asking “who is Pop!_OS for?” is “who is it NOT for?” That is a simpler question in my opinion because that demographic is much smaller. Pop!_OS is not for a person who either considers themselves a Linux power user, someone who is used to traditional desktop paradigms with no interest in changing that, and/or someone who just simply doesn’t like the style of Pop!_OS.

I say this may not be for a Linux power user because we are a very picky sort of bunch. Yes, I include myself in this group, so I am admitting Pop!_OS may not be for me. I know how I can get things done. I know the best workflow for my computing experience. And honestly, that is not with something like Pop!_OS. I may not be what I call a true power user like some spec happy gamers, various software engineers, or even as video game developers, but I know what I am used to and how I can get things done effectively.

Not to say I couldn’t achieve that with Pop!_OS with a few tweaks here and there. It can be made to do whatever you want because, in the end, it is still Linux. I just believe customizing it too much sort of takes away from the point of choosing something like this. Why commit to Pop!_OS to simply make it something else?

Overall, I think Pop!_OS is a fantastic distribution that most people could really enjoy if they opened up their workflow to something they may or may not be used to. It is clean, fast, and well developed. Which I think is exactly what System 76 was going for here.

This was not an exhaustive review by any means, but I hope you have a better idea as to what this option has to offer the Linux community as a whole. As I stated earlier, what excites me most about Pop!_OS is not what it is, but what it can be. The future of System 76’s distribution is bright, and I am excited to see where they take it moving forward.

Let me know what you think about Pop!_OS. Are you as optimistic about it as I am or do you think this was a pointless endeavor as others seem to think? Let me know either way in the comment section below, as well as any other information you think I missed in this review.

From: It’s FOSS

Share

City of Barcelona Kicks Out Microsoft in Favor of Linux and Open Source

By Derick Sullivan M. Lobga

Barcelona

Brief: Barcelona city administration has prepared the roadmap to migrate its existing system from Microsoft and proprietary software to Linux and Open Source software.

A Spanish newspaper, El País, has reported that the City of Barcelona is in the process of migrating its computer system to Open Source technologies.

According to the news report, the city plans to first replace all its user applications with alternative open source applications. This will go on until the only remaining proprietary software will be Windows where it will finally be replaced with a Linux distribution.

Barcelona will go open source by Spring 2019

The City has plans for 70% of its software budget to be invested in open source software in the coming year. The transition period, according to Francesca Bria (Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at the City Council) will be completed before the mandate of the present administrators come to an end in Spring 2019.

Migration aims to help local IT talent

For this to be accomplished, the City of Barcelona will start outsourcing IT projects to local small and medium sized enterprises. They will also be taking in 65 new developers to build software programs for their specific needs.

One of the major project envisaged is the development of a digital market – an online platform – whereby small businesses will use to take part in public tenders.

Ubuntu is the choice for Linux distributions

The Linux distro to be used may be Ubuntu as the City is already running a pilot project of 1000 Ubuntu-based desktops. The news report also reveals that Outlook mail client and Exchange Server will be replaced with Open-Xchange meanwhile Firefox and LibreOffice will take the place of Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office.

Barcelona becomes the first municipality to join “Public Money, Public Code” campaign

With this move, Barcelona becomes the first municipality to join the European campaign “Public Money, Public Code“.

It is an initiative of the Free Software Foundation of Europe and comes after an open letter that advocates that software funded publicly should be free. This call has been supported by more than about 15,000 individuals and more than 100 organizations. You can add your support as well. Just sign the petition and voice your opinion for open source.

Money is always a factor

The move from Windows to Open Source software according to Bria promotes reuse in the sense that the programs that are developed could be deployed to other municipalities in Spain or elsewhere around the world. Obviously, the migration also aims at avoiding large amounts of money to be spent on proprietary software.

What do you think?

This is a battle already won and a plus to the open source community. This was much needed especially when the city of Munich has decided to go back to Microsoft.

What is your take on the City of Barcelona going open source? Do you foresee other European cities following the suit? Share your opinion with us in the comment section.

Source: Open Source Observatory

From: It’s FOSS

Share

Sayonara is A Beautiful Lightweight Music Player for Linux

By Abhishek Prakash

Sayonara Music Player for Linux

Brief: If you are looking for a lightweight music player with clean, intuitive user interface and all the standard features, give Sayonara a try.

Sayonara is one of the lesser known music players for Linux that deserve more attention. Sayonara is a small, lightweight music player available only for Linux systems. It is written in C++ and uses Qt framework. GStreamer is used as audio backend.

It has an intuitive user interface and the default dark theme gives it a stunning look.

Sayonara player interface

This tiny music player has just released its first stable version under GPL 3 open source license.

Sayonara features

Sayonara may be a small application but it is not small on the features side. It packs all the essentials features you would expect in a regular music player. Some of the main features are:

  • Supports various music and playlist formats
  • Media library with search function
  • Directory view
  • Support for external device
  • Genre organization
  • Playlist view grouped into tabs
  • Various views ranging from equalizer to spectrum
  • Shortcut keys
  • Desktop integration with desktop notification, sound menu integration and media key integration
  • Album art
  • Internet stream with services like SoundCloud and Last.fm
  • Support for podcasts and internet radio
  • Built-in option to record streaming music

You can get the complete list of features on this page. There is a FAQ page to answer your general questions. If that doesn’t satisfy your queries, there is a dedicated forum as well.

How to install Sayonara music player

Sayonara is exclusively available for Linux. It has support for all major Linux platforms including Mageia Linux.

Let’s see how to install Sayonara audio player in Ubuntu-based Linux distributions. There are DEB packages available that you can download and install the application by double-clicking on it.

Alternatively, if you like PPA, you can use the official PPA to install it:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:lucioc/sayonara
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install sayonara

I recommend reading my tutorial on deleting an application installed by PPA if you want to delete the installed Sayonara package.

Fedora users can install Sayonara using the command below:

sudo dnf install sayonara

Arch users can find Sayonara in AUR.

Instructions for Mageia and source code can be found on its download page.

Experiencing Sayonara music player

I had a quick test run of Sayonara audio player. It claims to be a lightweight application but is it really lightweight? The answer is yes. In my test with only a few music files, it consumed only 32 MB of RAM which should be considered lightweight.

Sayonara Music Player
Easy on resources

I also noticed that it is well integrated with the desktop. I had desktop notifications for track changes. I could change the tracks, pause the music with the media key on my XPS 13 laptop.

Sayonara music player desktop integration
Full desktop integration

Sayonara is automatically added to system tray icon and thus giving you quick access to the player in the top (or bottom) panel.

Sayonara music player for Linux
system tray integration

It is also added to the sound menu for quick access.

Using Sayonara music player
sound menu integration

The feature of adding tracks to the current playlist is confusing. Double-clicking on a track doesn’t start to play but add it to the current playing list. This is something I found annoying.

Is Sayonara worth a try?

I’ll be frank. I don’t use desktop music player that often. I hardly have music files on my system. I prefer YouTube or Spotify for my music needs.

But I know there are people with thousands of local music files. If you are among them, a music player like Sayonara is definitely worth a shot, if you are willing to experiment.

Have you tried Sayonara audio player already? How is your experience with it?

From: It’s FOSS

Share

SuperTux: A Linux Take on Super Mario Game

By John Paul

When people usually think of PC games, they think of big titles, like Call of Duty, which often cost millions of dollars to create. While those games may be enjoyable, there are many games created by amateur programmers that are just as fun.

I am going to review one such game that I love to play. It’s called SuperTux.

What is SuperTux

Today, we will take a look at SuperTux. According to the description on the project’s website, SuperTux “is a free classic 2D jump’n run sidescroller game in a style similar to the original Super Mario games covered under the GNU GPL.”

As you would expect from the title of the game, you play as Tux, the beloved penguin mascot of the Linux kernel. In the opening sequence, Tux is having a picnic with his girlfriend Penny. While Tux dances to some funky beats from the radio, an evil monster named Nolok appears and kidnaps Penny. It’s up to Tux to rescue her. (Currently, you are not able to rescue Penny because the game is not finished, but you can still have a lot of fun working your way through the levels.)

Gameplay

Playing SuperTux is very similar to Super Mario. You play through different levels to complete a world. Along the way, you are confronted by a whole slew of enemies. The most common enemies are Mr. and Mrs. Snowball, Mr. Iceblock and Mr. Bomb. The Snowballs are this game’s version of the Goombas from Super Mario. Mr. Iceblock is the Koopa Troopa of the game. You can defeat him by stomping on him, but if you stomp on him again he will fly across the level taking out other enemies. Be careful because on the way back he’ll hit Tux and take a life away. You jump on Mr. Bomb to stun him, but be sure to move on quickly because he will explode. You can find a list of more of Tux’s enemies here.

Just like in Super Mario, Tux can jump and hit special blocks to get stuff. Most of the time, these blocks contain coins. You can also find powerups, such as eggs, which will allow you to become BigTux. The other powerups include Fireflowers, Iceflowers, Airflowers, and Earthflowers. According to the SuperTux wiki:

  • Fireflowers will allow you to kill most badguys by pressing the action key, which makes Tux throw a fireball
  • Iceflowers will allow you to freeze some badguys and kill some others by pressing the action key, which makes Tux throw a ball of ice. If they are frozen, you can kill most badguys by butt-jumping on them.
  • Airflowers will allow you to jump further, sometimes even run faster. However, it can be difficult to do certain jumps as Air Tux.
  • Earthflowers give you a light. Also, pressing the action key then down will turn you into a rock for a few seconds, which means Tux is completely invulnerable.

Occasionally, you will see a bell. That is a checkpoint. If you touch it, you will respawn at that point when you die, instead of having to go back to the beginning. You are limited to three respawns at the checkpoint before you are sent to the beginning of the level.

You are not limited to the main Iceworld map that comes with the game. You can download several extra maps from the developers and the players. The game includes a map editor.

Where to Get SuperTux

The most recent version of SuperTux is 0.5.1 and is available from the project’s website. Interestingly, you can download installers for Windows or Mac or the source code. They don’t have any Linux packages to download.

However, I’m pretty sure that SuperTux is in all the repos. I’ve never had trouble installing it on any distro I’ve tried.

Thoughts

I quite enjoyed playing SuperTux. I never played proper Mario, so I can’t really compare it. But, I think SuperTux does a good job of being its own creation.

Tux can move pretty quickly for a penguin. He also tends to slide if he changes direction too quickly. After all, he’s moving on ice.

If you want a simple platformer to keep your mind off your troubles for while, this is the game for you.

Have you ever played SuperTux? What is your favorite Tux-based or Linux game? Please let us know in the comments below. If you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it on social media.

From: It’s FOSS

Share

What Linux Users Must Know About Meltdown and Spectre Bugs Impacting CPUs

By Abhishek Prakash

Meltdown Spectre bugs and Lnux

Brief: Meltdown and Spectre are two vulnerabilities that impact almost all computers, tablets and smartphones on the earth. Does it mean you can be hacked? What can you do about it?

If you think 2017 was the year of security nightmares, 2018 looks to be even worse. The year has just started and we already have two major vulnerabilities impacting almost all the processors made in the last 20 years.

Perhaps you already read a lot about it in detail on various websites. I am going to summarize them here so that you would know the essentials of these vulnerabilities, their impacts and how can you protect yourself from Meltdown and Spectre in this short article.

First, let’s see what are these bugs actually.

What are Meltdown and Spectre bugs?

Meltdown and Spectre are similar vulnerabilities that impact the processors of a computer (also called CPU). Your smartphone and tablets are also a type of computer and thus these CPU vulnerabilities may also impact them.

While the vulnerabilities are similar, they are not the same. There are some differences.

Meltdown

Meltdown vulnerability allows a program to access the kernel’s private memory areas. This memory can contain the secrets (including passwords) of other programs and the operating system.

This makes your system vulnerable to attacks where a malicious program (even a JavaScript running on a website) can try to find the passwords from other programs in the kernel’s private memory zone.

This vulnerability is exclusive to Intel CPUs and it can be exploited on shared cloud systems. Thankfully, it can be patched by system updates. Microsoft, Linux, Google and Apple have already started to provide the fix.

Spectre

Spectre also deals with kernel memory but it is slightly different. This vulnerability actually allows a malicious program to trick another process running on the same system to leak their private information.

This means a malicious program can trick other programs like your web browser to reveal the password in use.

This vulnerability impacts Intel, AMD and ARM devices. This also means that chips used in smartphones and tablets are also at risk here.

Spectre is hard to patch but it is hard to exploit as well. Discussions are ongoing to provide a workaround through a software patch.

I recommend reading this article on The Register to get the technical details about Meltdown and Spectre bugs.

Is it catastrophic?

It was Google who first identified these vulnerabilities in June last year and alerted Intel, AMD and ARM. As per CNBC, security researchers had to sign the non-disclosure agreement and keep it a secret while working to fix the flaw.

Interestingly, Canonical claims that it was agreed by all the operating systems to provide the fix on 9th January 2018 at the same time as the public disclosure of the security vulnerability but this didn’t happen.

While these bugs impact a huge number of devices, there has been no widespread attacks so far. This is because it’s not straightforward to get the sensitive data from the kernel memory. It’s a possibility but not a certainty. So you should not start panicking just yet.

How to protect your computer from Meltdown and Spectre?

Well, there is nothing you can do on your side except for waiting for the updates to arrive. Ubuntu should be receiving the fixes on or before 9th of January. Other Linux distributions and operating systems should also get the fix soon (if they haven’t got it already).

Will the Meltdown fix slow down your computer?

The short answer to this question is yes, it will. If you use Intel CPU, you may notice a drop of 10-30% in the performance after you apply the software update for Meltdown. In fact, several researchers claim that Intel deliberately kept the vulnerability open in order to get the slight performance boost over its competitor AMD.

Intel calls Meltdown bug “working as designed”

What’s worse is that Intel tried to defend it in a sugar-coated Press Release that reads only one thing: everything works as designed.

Linux creator Linus Torvalds seems to be unhappy with Intel’s excuses and accused Intel of not willing to provide a fix. The Register has even more hilarious takedown on Intel’s press release.

Since the vulnerability has been disclosed, Intel’s share prices have fall down and AMD’s have gone up.

From: It’s FOSS

Share

Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Codename Has been Announced

By Abhishek Prakash

Linux Mint 19 Release Date and Feature

Brief: This is a continually updated article to inform you about Linux Mint 19 release date, features and everything important associated with it.

Linux Mint 19 codename has just been released. The first release of the upcoming Linux Mint 19 series will be called “Tara”.

Linux Mint 19 Release Date

Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint doesn’t follow a strict schedule. Therefore you only get an estimated release date for Linux Mint. Normally, a new major Mint version comes out around two months after the base Ubuntu release.

Linux Mint 19 series will be based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Considering that Ubuntu 18.04 is coming in April’18, you can expect Linux Mint 19 somewhere around May or June 2018. Linux Mint team has hinted the same.

Linux Mint 19 series will be supported until 2023.

Linux Mint version number trivia

A little bit of history and trivia here. You might already know that Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. Earlier, Linux Mint used to release a new version based on every release of Ubuntu, be it LTS or non-LTS release. But this was changed with Linux Mint 17 series which was based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release.

Instead of releasing a new version based on Ubuntu 14.10, 15.04 etc, Linux Mint team decided to keep the releases on Ubuntu LTS version. And thus instead of going like Linux Mint 18 directly, they released Linux Mint 17.1, 17.2.

So what is the difference between Linux Mint 17.1 and 17.2? They are both based on Ubuntu 16.04. So the base remains the same. However, 17.2 consists of several new improvements and features. This way anyone using Mint 17.1 will get all the new changes directly from the new ISO instead of getting 17.0 and then upgrading it after the install to get all those new changes.

If you were using Linux Mint 17.0, continuous system updates would automatically put you on 17.1, 17.2 and so on. Linux Mint 17 series will be supported till 2019.

Similarly, Linux Mint 18.x series is based on Ubuntu 16.04 and will be supported till 2021.

Linux Mint codename trivia

If you read my previous article about Linux distributions codenames, you already know that Mint uses a female name in alphabetical order. All releases in a series have codenames with the same alphabets. This is why Linux Mint 17.3 was called Rosa, 18 was called Sarah, 18.1 Serena, 18.2 Sonya and finally Mint 19 is codenamed Tara.

No prizes for guessing that 19.1 will also have a codename starting with letter T.

What’s new in Linux Mint 19?

The development of the new version has just started so it’s a bit early to give details about the new features in Linux Mint 19.

So far, the only information is that Linux Mint 19.x will use GTK 3.22.

GTK 3.22 is a major stable release for GTK3. From there on, the theming engine and the APIs are stable.

I’ll update this article with more details on Linux Mint 19 features in the future. Stay tuned.

From: It’s FOSS

Share