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Friday, June 1, 2012

Fedora 17 'Beefy Miracle' Explored!

FREEDOM. FRIENDS. FEAUTURES. FIRST. is the philosophy of Fedora Project and they have stayed true to it with their latest and highly anticipated Fedora 17 'Beefy Miracle'.
Fedora 17 ships with the latest Gnome-Shell 3.4.1 and it is fast. As with this release Gnome-Shell will work on most hardware through software rendering so everybody can enjoy and use it. Speed is nothing without stability and Fedora 17 is quite good in that department as I have had only few crashes that were application specific and overall the system feels solid.
Fedora 17 is features packed and I would recommend that you check the Features List to get the lowdown on them.
In addition to the main Desktop Edition(Gnome), Fedora 17 is also available with KDE/Xfce/LXDE spins and all the ISO's are under 700MB.

Firefox 12.0 is your default web browser, Evolution is your mail client, Empathy is your instant messaging client, Transmission take care of of your Torrent downloading. Rhythmbox is your audio player, Movie Player(Totem) for your Videos, Brasero as your Disc Burner and Cheese for your Web cam stuff. There is no office suite by default but you can easily install the one you want from the Add/Remove Software.

If(like me) you don't fancy the Add/Remove Software then first install Yumex as it is fast, provides you the option to update your system, installing/removing packages, managing repositories, shows your Yum history and more. You can easily install yumex from the Add/Remove Software or with the following command “beesu yum -y install yumex”.
Chromium is not in the repositories so if you want it you will have to download the Chrome Rpm from here and install it(right click on the file and select Software Install).

The nice thing about Fedora 17 with the latest Gnome-Shell is that the whole system feels highly integrated. The Online Accounts gives you the option of connecting your Google, Facebook and Windows Live accounts to your system.

I had connected my Google accounts and then the system automatically configured Empathy, Evolution and Documents with that account.

Documents provides you documents from your Documents folder and your connected online accounts like it accessed files my Google Drive when I had my Google account connected and it does all that while looking super sleek. 
It also allows you to search and classify them, watch them in full screen, print it directly from there and open them in the respective default software for them. The documents in the Documents application are also show up in your Desktop Search.

Fedora offers you the pure Gnome-Shell and FREE Software experience so Flash and similar non-free codecs/software isn't present in the repositories, you have no extensions running, Right Click on the desktop will not work, there is only the close button on the title bar, the “move to trash” shortcut is Ctrl+Delete instead of just Delete and Adwaita is your default theme.
Your mileage in the Defaults dept. may vary depending on whether you are a person who likes a clean/minimalist experience or whether you like a highly tweaked/out of the box experience. I for one liked the minimalist experience as it offers you the chance to shape the system in the way you want and I found Nautilus looking quite classy with Adwaita & Gnome icons.

There are easy workaround available for the defaults mentioned above. 
The first thing that you would want to do is install the “gnome-tweak-tool”. To enable right click on the desktop, launch Advanced Settings and turn on “Have file manager handle the desktop” from Desktop. To enable maximise, minimise on the title bar, select “All” in “Arrangement of buttons on the title bar” from Shell. To install extensions go to the and install what all you like.

To get flash and other nonfree codecs/software one has to add the Rpm Fusion repositories and then install that stuff from it but an application AutoPlus makes it much simpler. Run the following command ” su -c 'yum -y --nogpgcheck install' “ in terminal and you will have autoplus installed. 
Launch autoplus and install what all you need.

To revert “Move to Trash” to the Delete key, run the following command “gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface can-change-accels true”. Now select a file or folder in Nautilus, then hover the "Move to trash" menu item in Nautilus (under "Edit") and press the DELETE key twice.
Then run the following command in terminal “gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface can-change-accels false”
Check this article if you want to see the video of how it is to be done.

All in all Fedora 17 provides you Pure Gnome-Shell experience, is stable and fast, comes with latest FREE Software and development tools and is backed by the great Fedora project community.
You can download it from here.

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Mageia 2 Explored!

Mageia began as a fork of Mandriva Linux in September 2010 by the former employees and contributors in Mandriva because they were not happy with the governance in the project. Unlike Mandriva which is a commercial entity, Mageia is a community project whose mission is “to build great tools for people. Further than just delivering a secure, stable and sustainable operating system, the goal is to set up a stable and trustable governance to direct collaborative projects”. Mageia is independent and in such short period it has garnered great popularity and userbase because of their great work, efforts and release system works. That will be the history lesson for the day and we come to their latest offering Mageia 2. 
Mageia 2 comes with latest stable KDE 4.8.2 and the KDE experience has simply been great. It is quite responsive and highly stable. KDE developers are doing a great job of putting out incremental releases that elevates the user experience.

The default setup of Mageia is highly productivity as you have a well laid out bottom panel with the Application Launcher set to Classic Menu style(You can easily switch to Kickoff application launcher).

The Mageia Control Center provides you a single junction from where you can take care of all your administrative work.

The Mageia 2 ISO both the 32-Bit and 64-Bit are of approximately 700MB. You also have the option to get the Gnome-Shell version and a 3.4GB DVD ISO is also present. Firefox ESR 10 is your default web browser and the versatile Konqueror is also there. Telepathy is you default instant messaging client. You have the latest Gimp 2.8 taking care of your image manipulation needs.In office you only have Okular as there is no office suite by default but you can easily install the one that you want from the Install & Remove software. I installed Calligra suite and it was at its latest 2.4.1 which is something that I can say for most of the application that I installed like Chromium, VLC, Choqok as all were at their latest and greatest. You have Amarok for your audio playing and Dragon Player for videos.
Mageia 2 doesn't ships with Flash and non free media codecs but you can easily install them. Go to the Mageia Control Center and select “Configure media sources for install and updates” from Software Management.

Check the Nonfree and Tainted Release+Updates(Core would be checked by default). Then install the Smplayer, VLC from the Tainted repos and Flash also.

Using Mageia 2 one gets to understand why Mageia has become so popular and a favourite of many as it simply works.
I highly recommend Mageia 2 KDE to anyone looking for an excellent KDE experience on a great distro backed by the superb Mageia community.
You can download it from here.

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Voyager 12.04 Explored!

The XFCE Desktop Environment has risen greatly in popularity over the past few years. The major credit for it goes to the XFCE team who have been putting out releases with incremental updates and advancements but there is a misconception among many people that XFCE is bland. I encourage you to come on a voyage with me and you may discover something splendiferous.

I present to you Voyager 12.04 , the Beautiful XFCE distro from France based on Xubuntu.
Voyager is a highly customised, beautiful and user friendly Operating System. As you can make out from the screenshot, the default setup of Voyager features a single xfce4-panel, a simple Conky and a customised Avant Window Navigator with special text icons instead of the standard application icons which look quite cool and unique.

Conky Control is among one of the most prised features of Voyager 12.04 which enables anyone even a total new user to have a taste of Conky. All you have to do is right click on the desktop and select Conky Control from the menu. Voyager 12.04 comes with 21 great Conky configurations that you can enable with a single click.
You can even choose to have multiple Conky running.
The ISO size of both the 32-Bit and 64-Bit Voyager is approximately 950MB and it is an excellent out of the box distro as it comes with a great variety of software, codecs, wallpapers and themes with the exception of Flash but it is not a big deal as you can easily install it.

Mozilla Firefox is your default web browser and it comes with the option of 9 customised startpages, many useful extensions and bookmarks. There is also a bookmark Install Flash which basically launches the Ubuntu Software Center for you to install Flash.

Then you have Thunderbird, Pidgin, Transmission, Hotot(which is my favourite Micoblogging client) with the PPA added so you get the latest version, GIMP, Darktable, Movie Player(Totem), VLC media player, Clementine, Audio-Recorder, Kazam for your screencasting, Pitivi Video Editor, Cheese, AbiWord, Gnumeric, the Synapse Launcher and much more.

The default theme of Voyager 12.04 is Ambiance-Voyager-Dark which in combination with Faenza-Dark-White icons looks stunning.
There are many more themes available and as the developer is into travel photography you have slew of picturesque wallpapers to choose from.

I highly recommend Voyager 12.04 as it is an excellent lightweight, feature packed, beautiful OS plus it is a Long Term Support release as it is based on Xubuntu 12.04 which makes it a super fine distro to try and use.
For the download links you can check the Voyager website here which is in French but Google Translate is present there so you can check the website in a language that suits you.

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.

Fuduntu 2012.2 Explored!

Most of you will get the connection between two popular distributions that lead to the name Fuduntu but I will mention it anyways. Fuduntu began as a distribution that wanted to give its users the base of Fedora but with user friendly approach of Ubuntu. Fuduntu was originally based on Fedora 14 but they forked themselves when Fedora 14 reached the end of its life cycle and became Independent and a Rolling Release distro .That will be the history lesson for today and we come to the latest Fuduntu 2012.2 which was released last month.

Gnome 2 is Fuduntu's Desktop Environment and they are committed to providing Gnome 2 to its users for as long as it will be humanly possible. Gnome 2 in combination with the superb Avant Window Navigator that takes care of your task management and application launchers gives you an aesthetically pleasing user experience that is highly productive.
The Fuduntu 2012.2 ISO both 32-bit and 64-bit are 900MB+ but with that you get a nice selection of software and media codecs that enables you in playing your media files out of the box.
Chromium is you default web browser, Pidgin for your instant messaging, Dropbox for your cloud related services, Tomboy Notes for your note taking, Shotwell Photo Manager, Banshee Media Player, VLC media player and more.

The favourite of many(including me) Nautilus Elementary is your File Manager in Fuduntu and it goes without saying that it looks plus works beautifully.
In Office you only have Google Docs which is basically a launcher wrapped in Chromium that takes you to Google Docs/Drive. Note that you can easily install the latest LibreOffice from the Add/Remove Software(Gnome Package Manager).

The Gnome Package Manager works Okay but I would highly recommend installing Yum Extender(Yumex) which is an excellent choice for a GUI package manager and far more functional in my opinion.

It is fast, provides you the option to update your system, installing/removing packages, managing repositories, shows your Yum history and more.
You can easily install yumex from the Add/Remove Software or with the following command “beesu yum -y install yumex”.

One thing that I generally face on Fedora and it was no different on Fuduntu is that after a fresh installation, running Software Update takes ages. In case you also face this or just want to do it faster, use the following commands in terminal :- “yum list updates” which display the list of the updated software and “beesu yum update” to download and install all updates.

Fuduntu has been highly stable in my usage with the only exception being Audacious which for some reason doesn't wants to play audio files but I installed DeaDBeeF and everything is fine. Note that Banshee also plays audio files and there is no problem in Fudunutu related to audio playback, it is only that I like lightweight audio players and Audacious is my first choice when it comes to them.

Fuduntu's Desktop effects worked out of the box for me and it was pleasant surprise to see the Desktop Cube back in action.

 Also the Expo is set to get activated when you move your cursor to the top-right and which makes switching between windows seamless and intuitive.

As I have mentioned above Fuduntu is an independent distribution, which means they manage the software packages themselves, which gives them the freedom to provide the latest software quickly to their users. For example GIMP,Chromium,LibreOffice and most software are at the latest in the Fuduntu-Stable repository and you can always enable Fuduntu-Testing or Fuduntu-Unstable to get more bleeding edge software. Sadly this also means that some software may not be present in the repositories, like Mumble is not in the repos.

This is the only downer but definitely not a deal breaker as I have clearly developed a liking for Fuduntu and it is on my recommended distros list from now on.

The Beautiful Setup of Fuduntu plus its speed and the rolling release model makes it an excellent distribution that I will highly recommend to anybody who is looking for a distro with these qualities. 
You can download Fuduntu 2012.2 from here. 

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.  

Linux Mint Debian Edition, with MATE Explored!

The move from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3 resulted in varied emotions with many people liking the much needed change and for many, lets just say that they felt devastated.

The Linux Mint team after waiting out the initial change with Mint 11, released Mint 12 with Gnome 3 and now they have their work cut out with the Gnome 2 fork MATE and the Cinnamon Shell.

Linux Mint Debian 201204 ships with both MATE and Cinnamon Shell on the same ISO which is approximately 1.2 GB for both 32Bit & 64-Bit.
They also released an Xfce edition of LMD but today we are going to have a look at LMDE with MATE.

Mint users will find MATE familiar to what they have been using over the past few years.
You have the feature full Mint Menu that many people love and appreciate.

Gnome 2 applications have also been forked and have new names now. For example, the File Manager Nautilus fork is Caja, Gedit fork is Pluma, Eye of Gnome image viewer is now Eye of MATE image viewer and so on.

LMDE is a semi-rolling disto based on Debian Testing so you will see software at fairly latest versions. LMDE ships with many great applications like Mozzila Firefox and Thunderbird, Pidgin, Transmission, GIMP, GNOME Mplayer, VLC, the complete LibreOffice suite etc.

The LMDE includes the Mint Software Manager so installing applications is fairly simple.

You also have the Synaptic Package Manager and the Mint Update Manager which means managing and updating LMDE is a breeze.

I have been using the LMDE from quite some time now and I have had no issue with it and MATE. I will recommend LMDE to anyone looking for the GNOME 2 usability with a stable semi-rolling release experience base on Debian Testing.
You can download LMDE from here

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.

Edubuntu 12.04 Explored!

GNU/Linux and FOSS in general has changed the way in which we interact with Computers and with the World. It has opened gateways that none of us could’ve imagined. GNU/Linux contributes to the world in many ways but one contribution that I highly appreciate is that in the field of Education.

We all feel good when we see and hear about people in Africa using Puppy Linux to setup Internet Cafe, Debian GNU/Linux powering a Library in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the OLPC movement and many more.

Edubuntu is one such distribution trying to make a change in the world with their goal being ”Our aim is to put together a system that contains all the best free software available in education and make it easy to install and maintain”.

Edubuntu 12.04 which is also the first Long term support release(will be supported for 5 years) of the Edubuntu project had released on the same day with the Ubuntu 12.04 release and just in case you don’t know, Edubuntu is based on Ubuntu and is also a part of the Ubuntu family(official derivatives).

Edubuntu 12.04 ships with the Unity-Shell and Gnome Classic(you can read more about that in this post) and what is more interesting is that the Edubuntu installer asks you whether you want to make Gnome Classic the default session.

The Edubuntu 12.04 ISO both 32-bit and 64-bit are 2.6GB+ but you get quite a raft of education related applications ranging from Preschool to Tertiary level plus many of the Open Source favourites like Firefox, Thunderbird, Empathy, GIMP, Scribus, Inkspace, LibreOffice Office Suite, Totem, Rythmbox and more. 

The installer also gives you the option for selecting the education related applications that you want to install/not install which makes sense as a college student will not require Preschool and Primary level applications. While we are on education related applications, Edubuntu ships with the KDE Education Project, GCompris, Celestia, Tux4kids Entertainment Suite, Stellarium just to name a few.

You also have Epoptes (a Greek word for overseer) is an open source computer lab management and monitoring tool and the option to have the LTSP(Linux Terminal Server Project) which adds thin-client support to Linux servers hence empowering schools, businesses, and organizations all over the world to easily install and deploy desktop workstations.

All in all Edubuntu 12.04 is an excellent release in every respect and carries the contribution of FOSS to the World and Humanity in the field of Education further. 
You can download Edubuntu 12.04 from here

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others. 

Xubuntu 12.04 Explored!

I believe that what ever a computer users requirement are the Ubuntu Family(official derivatives) have them covered and such beautiful member of the family is Xubuntu.
Xubuntu comes with lightweight and highly customisable Xfce running at the current stable release 4.8.1. The default look of Xubuntu 12.04 is quite appealing.

Gtk3 is also implemented in the 12.04 release so all you Gtk3 application look and work nicely.
The Xubuntu site and branding have also been updated lately, making Xubuntu all the more exquisite.

Xubuntu is production ready from the start providing my favourites Firefox and Thunderbird as its default Web Browser and Mail Client respectively.
The highly versatile Pidgin is your default instant messaging client. AbiWord for your Documents and Gnumeric for Spreadsheets is provided under your office applications and you can easily install LibreOffice/Calligra from the Ubuntu Software Center.

Check this video to see Xubuntu 12.04 in action:
You can download Xubuntu 12.04 from here

If you have any comments/questions/suggestions please feel free to contact me via the comments section, Google+ or twitter. Also if you like what you have read, do share it with others.