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Latest articles & site news

Dedoimedo interviews: Tuxmachines

updated December 11, 2017, category: Software & security

Interview: Tuxmachines
Spotlight corner! Dedoimedo prowls the many corners of the Web, searching for textogenic faces for a fresh new interview. Truth to be told, finding the candidate for today's slot wasn't too difficult. Roy Schestowitz is a familiar name round the Tux block. Nowadays, you will most likely find him on, a community-driven news site.

News aggregation can be tricky; finding the right balance of quality content isn't easy, but even with the relatively recent change of ownership, tuxmachines marches on with solid consistency, ardently trying to offer its readers the best the open-source world has to report. I have always been a great fan and supporter, and I approached Roy for an interview. He agreed.

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Best Gnome distro of 2017

updated December 9, 2017, category: Software & security

Best Gnome distro of 2017
Following in the best of traditions, it is that time of the year, when we wrap up the previous twelve months of hard work, software scrutiny, pain, tears, joy, and hope, all mixed and blended inside one big, scalding cauldron that we call Linux. We shall commence with the Gnome desktop environment.

If you look at my last year's summary, I was somewhat moderately enthused about Gnome, with decent results from the Fedora branch. In fact, Red Hat flavors dominated the article, with multiple Fedora versions and forks. This does not come as a surprise, given the fact Gnome is closely tied to Red Hat. But then, it was a surprise, as Gnome is not among the most efficient or ergonomic desktop environments, nor have I ever really been fond of its third reincarnation. And yet, I was rather pleased overall. This year? Let's see.

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Fedora 27 Gnome - Downhill and down

updated December 8, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora 27 Gnome
Snow, chestnuts, holiday festivities. Or perhaps, darkness, smog and dry cough. For me, the distro testing recently is definitely heading in the wrong direction, with release after release od mediocre, underwhelming, zero-QA-ed systems. But maybe Fedora can redeem us all?

My impression of the predecessor was not good. Fedora 26 is definitely not as polished and smart as Fedora 26 minus one, so I'm worried. We'll be running the experiment on the olden but golden LG RD510 machine, with 4 GB of RAM and Nvidia graphics. Sit down, relax and read.

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POP!_OS - Ubuntu, bang, curtain

updated December 6, 2017, category: Software & security

System76 POP!_OS
System76 is a known player in the Linux world - one of the few vendors that choose to ship their hardware with Linux preinstalled. So far, they've done it with Ubuntu, but now, there's a custom new operating system bearing a funky name POP!_OS. It still has Ubuntu blood underneath, but it tries to be different. The words minimalistic and developer focused are mentioned, and I'm wary. But professional Linux offerings are far and few in between. So this could be refreshing. Or maybe not.

Well, given the ultra-lukewarm performance by Ubuntu 17.10 and its siblings, I am actually quite looking forward to this test. Perhaps this new and shiny POP!_OS will be able to redeem the family and offer something nice to the users come the winter. Let's see how it goes.

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Windows 10 Fall Creators Update Build 1709 review

updated December 4, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 Build 1709
Several weeks ago, Microsoft released the fall edition of their so-called Creators Update, build number 1709. After waiting for the noise and dust to settle, I embarked on testing the new version of the operating system. Technically, it's supposed to be the same product, but with the whole agile-mantra product cycle, you never know.

So far, my impression of Windows 10 is okay - not too good, not too bad, in line with the predecessors, albeit with some extra annoyances, a less productive UI, more online and touch nonsense, and decent security. The previous Creators Update didn't bring anything too drastic to the table. Let's see what this one does. After me, brave people.

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Able2Extract PDF Converter 12 review

updated December 2, 2017, category: Software & security

Able2Extract PDF Converter 12
Over the past few years, I have had a chance to test and review different versions of Able2Extract PDF Converter, a professional document conversion software, each time invited by the company's office to examine their product and write an article about it. This year, it's even more interesting. I have been asked to take a look at the pre-release edition of the latest version, PDF Converter 12.

With the expected disclaimer that things may not be 100% polished or ready in the RC spin, I set about testing. Like the last few times, I will focus on the speed and quality of conversion of various PDF documents, the batch processing, and other features. Follow me.

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Chrome vs Vivaldi - Raw elements

updated December 1, 2017, category: Software & security

Chrome vs Vivaldi
As I've written once upon a time, like Alien vs Predator, only completely different and totally unrelated. Several weeks ago, I birthed an article pitting a number of Firefox-based browsers against each other, testing their overall goodness for daily consumption - but in a good way - especially given the radical changes introduced by Firefox 57.

You asked, so it's time to do the same for Chrome and Vivaldi. Not a browser benchmark. Again, as I've outlined in the review above, testing browser speed is not an exact science, it's an approximation that requires thousands of users, and it can never be accurately done in a lab. Even Google will tell you so. Besides, that's not the reason why we're here. More sort of, Chrome and the most popular Chromium-based browser, what gives?

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Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 - Old tablet, new times

updated November 30, 2017, category: Software & security

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
The age is strong in this one. I bought my Samsung Galaxy tablet back in 2013, and at first, I found it quite adorable. But over time, I realized there were diminishing returns in the touch factor, making it useful only for casual Internet stuff. Phones make sense, because you have no expectations. So do laptops. But tablets are a false hope.

And yet, it's my duty to please that ... to conduct reviews. Indeed, I've recently converted my Ubuntu-powered Aquaris M10 machine to Android, and spent some time playing and testing. The change has given it a fresh new - and fast - beginning. So I figured, let's see if the Samsung tablet can also benefit from some airing and dusting. Shall we?

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Ultimate openSUSE Leap 42.3 usability tutorial

updated November 27, 2017, category: Software & security

openSUSE Leap 42.3 tweaks
Today, we shall pimp. Pimp this distro into submission. Make it good. My review of the situation reveals many glaring problems - hardware issues all over the place, problems with media playback, software conflicts, system hangs and freezes, and many other annoyances.

In this guide, I would like to show you a long series of tricks, workarounds and changes you will need to exact upon your openSUSE Leap 42.3 box so that it appears modern, fully cooperates with your hardware, and offers you all the delights of day-to-day stuff. Let us begin the ordeal.

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Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet - With Android

updated November 26, 2017, category: Software & security

Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet & Android
Once upon a time in the West, the hopes were high. The man with no name rode into town, promising Linux for all, on desktop and phone alike. Later on, we learned the man's name was Harmonica, and I got confused. But I really loved the dream that Canonical tried to create, and I bought myself an Aquaris phone and an Aquaris tablet. I believed this could be big.

But then, the dream was dashed, and I was left with a pretty nifty, decent, mid-range tablet gathering proverbial dust, and real dust, and nostalgia. With the choice of keeping it as is for memorabilia sake, or converting the now irrelevant Ubuntu Touch device into something with more day-to-day relevant, I opted for going Android.

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Xubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark - The winter is ... meh

updated November 24, 2017, category: Software & security

Xubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
Let's take a look at another member of the Ubuntu species. This autumn, we have a series reboot, with a fresh alphabetic start. With Ubuntu, the change was more than symbolic, including a shift from Unity to Gnome, with some rather disappointing results. Then, I tested Kubuntu 17.10, and again, the regressions and problems were aplenty, to my great chagrin, dismay and sadness.

It's time to see if the Xfce beastling can deliver - I am bracing myself for bugs that ought not to be there, even though technically, Xubuntu should not have experienced any major disruptions. It's also been relatively stable and true, with good pace of innovation without losing grip on its identity. Aardvark, show me the light please.

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Firefox 57 & Noscript 10 usage guide - 1st edition

updated November 22, 2017, category: Software & security

Noscript 10
Firefox 57 is out. And so is Noscript Security Suite 10, the first WebExtension version of this highly popular and successful Firefox addon. The redesigned addon brings in a whole range of changes and frustrations. So if you feel surprised, taken aback or just confused by the way Noscript works post 5.x series, I will try to unravel some of the fog in this tutorial.

Please note that this is the first edition of this guide - there will be updates and follow ups, as Noscript will inevitably change and improve. I will try to provide the simplest explanations and hints, so that your journey, and mine, can be more pleasant. I believe Noscript is an essential part of the Web, the primary reason to still stick with Firefox, and this is why I decide to compile this howto. Follow me.

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The Fox Hunt - Firefox and friends compared

updated November 20, 2017, category: Software & security

Firefox family comparison
Are you familiar with the lyrics of The Reflex, by Duran Duran? The reflex is a lonely child, who's waiting by the ... and so on. Well, Firefox is not a lonely child. In fact, the Firefox family has many members, and now that we're facing the crucial moment of truth, whether to use Firefox or not, at all, given the radical change a-coming' with Firefox 57, it is time to give the entire series some extra spotlight.

In other words, let's try to figure out which of the Firefox siblings is the most suitable for everyday use. We're talking look, compatibility, the ultra-important extensions, security, performance, and such. Today, we'll have a wrestling match between Firefox, Waterfox and Pale Moon. As requested by you, readers. Shall we?

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Dedoimedo Black Friday: Three Days of The Betrayed

updated November 20, 2017, category: Books

The Betrayed - Black Friday deal
Let us have some pre-holidays holiday festivities! Next week, Friday to Sunday, November 24 from midnight till November 26 11pm (2300 hours), The Betrayed, the first book in The Lost Words series, will be available at a nice, discounted price of only USD0.99. This is a very neat 67% saving compared to the original tag, so you may want to pencil the dates down and take advantage of this nifty little Kindle Countdown Deal.

As always, I welcome feedback, suggestions - and of course - reviews, so should you read it, please jot down your thoughts, whatever they may be. Either way, I hope you will find this deal valuable, and stay tuned for more news, updates and special offers as we approach the inevitable conclusion of 2017. Peace.

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Open Linux - Beyond distributions, regressions and rivalry

updated November 18, 2017, category: Software & security

Open Linux
I love Linux. Which is why, whenever there's a new distro release and it's less than optimal (read, horrible), a unicorn dies somewhere. And since unicorns are pretty much mythical, it tells you how bad the situation is. On a more serious note, I've started my autumn crop of distro testing, and the results are rather discouraging. Worse than just bad results, we get inconsistent results. This is possibly even worse than having a product that works badly. The wild emotional seesaw of love-hate, hope-despair plays havoc with users and their loyalty.

Looking back to similar tests in previous years, it's as if nothing has changed. We're spinning. Literally. Distro releases happen in a sort of intellectual vacuum, isolated from one another, with little to no cross-cooperation or cohesion. This got me thinking. Are there any mechanisms that could help strengthen partnership among different distro teams, so that our desktops looks and behave with more quality and consistency?

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Kubuntu 17.10 review - Hello darkness my old friend

updated November 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
ABCDEF U Kubun-tu. Yes, it's time to embark upon yet more autumn season distro testing, and we shall continue with the freshly released Aardvark edition wearing the KDE uniform. I was highly unimpressed by the new Ubuntu. It was buggy, underwhelming, just sad really. So it's interesting to see how Plasma will fare, and how much badness shall drift over across the family tree. It's happened before. When 'buntu goes down, they all go down.

This test is going to be even more intriguing because: 1) I was immensely impressed with Kubuntu Zesty, and I even crowned it the perfect distro, and it worked beautifully on my HP Pavilion laptop, equipped with Nvidia graphics 2) Plasma has just been such a stable and elegant delight recently, showing great promise and quality. To wit, we will be testing on an Nvidia-powered laptop, my older LG RD510 machine, which has recently seen a slew of reviews. Let us.

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Plasma secrets: Remove shadows in screenshots

updated November 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma secrets - screenshots without shadows
Do you occasionally take screenshots in your Plasma desktop? You do? Well, then you may have noticed that the created images (PNG) come with a relatively large transparent border, which makes image manipulation somewhat quirky. Say you want to be able to make screenshots without any borders, like Gnome or such. What now?

In this tutorial, I will actually show you three or four different methods that can help you make your images prettier, easier to use, and without any need to handle the transparency. Follow me.

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Intel microcode & Atomic update failure

updated November 13, 2017, category: Software & security

Intel microcode & Atomic update failure
The golden rule of computing is, you should never check your system error log for errors if your system is working fine. That's the quick route to madness. You will end up trying to figure out solutions to trivial issues that do not affect your day-to-day usage. But then, you may suddenly have your desktop freeze. If you're lucky, it recovers. If not, you will have to reboot to gain back your session.

Now that you should check the logs, you discover the following error in the logs just prior to the problem: *ERROR* Atomic update failure on pipe A ... Sounds ominous, and it is the topic of our article today. Let's see what gives here and how we can fix this.

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GTA Vice City Steam version - Startup errors and saves

updated November 11, 2017, category: Computer games

GTA Vice City & Steam
We all know that GTA Vice City is one of the finest games ever released. I reviewed and praised this excellent title in one of the first three or four articles ever written on Dedoimedo some eleven years ago. It's a game that blends style with nostalgia in a supreme manner, and I still play it often. In fact, recently I purchased the remastered Steam version.

Alas, I discovered a bunch of problems in trying to get the game going. One, it would crash on startup. Two, the old save games from the Retail version are not compatible with the Steam version. Now, I did battle some issues with running Vice City on Windows 7, mostly around mouse control, as I've shown you in a neat little tutorial, but this was a new set of problems. Not to worry, there's a solution to all this. Let us fix the issues and enjoy GTA!

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Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark - Art eater

updated November 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark
Fresh start. A new alphabetic series, a new desktop environment. With the unfortunate demise of Unity as its user interface, Ubuntu has now embraced Gnome 3 as the thing what users ought to experience when they use this operating system. I find this quite troubling, and with a heavy heart, I am commencing this review.

But perhaps not all is bad. This is an opportunity for Canonical to revitalize itself, to show a bold new face and take us forward. After all, the Linux desktop has been stagnant for a good few years, and a radical initiative is needed. Perhaps this might be the beginning of that adventure. Perhaps not. Let us explore.

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VLC & Playlists - Little known party tricks

updated November 8, 2017, category: Software & security

VLC playlists & skins
A question that I often get to hear is - how does one go about having a pretty interface in VLC, replete with a dope playlist and whatnot? Not in so many eloquent words, but you get the gist. People usually only get to see the one face of VideoLAN, that of a fairly utilitarian if extremely versatile media player, which hides most of its nerdy functions beneath the hood.

Today, I'd like to show you how you can make VLC ever so slightly prettier, more accessible and more fun to use. We'll focus on two major features - playlists and skins. Both these can help transform VLC into something more like a typical flashy player that you'd expect, without sacrificing any of the awesome functionality. Let us.

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Open Source Summit Europe 2017 & Dedoimedo

updated November 6, 2017, category: Software & security

OSS Europe 2017
If you've noticed a brief absence of wisdom and rant on Dedoimedo in the previous week or so, that was because I was busy attending and presenting at the Open Source Summit in Prague, Czech Republic. For those wondering, yes, this is the new unified event combining the likes of LinuxCon and CloudOpen and similar venues under a single umbrella.

So let me give you a somewhat longer overview of how it went and what it was like, and finally, tell you a bit more about my own presentation. Images, philosophy, chocolates, the whole nine yards, and whatnot. After me.

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PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE - Majestic and horrible

updated November 4, 2017, category: Software & security

PCLinuxOS 2017.07 KDE
PCLinuxOS. Once upon a time, this was the distro. Super friendly, unique, loaded with awesome features. But then, as years went by, my experience with it became less and less successful, until I declared a big goodbye with the 2014 Full Monty release. It was a sad moment.

Recently, I achieved rather decent results with Mageia 6 on my old-new LG RD510 laptop, so I thought this could be a good opportunity to give PCLinuxOS another shot. After all, both these are based on Mandriva, both very similar in spirit and behavior, so why not. Hence, we're testing PCLinuxOS once again, the 2017.07 KDE release. Let's do it.

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Mageia 6 review - Very refreshing

updated November 3, 2017, category: Software & security

Mageia 6
I have not tested Mageia in a long time. The primary reason is, at some point, this distro stopped booting on most of my test hardware, a range of laptops really, and I just never got around to really nailing it down. My last attempt was the unsuccessful endeavor with the third release.

However, now, with my Lenovo G50 on the blink, so to speak, I decided to give it a shot on a much older piece of hardware, a 2009-era LG RD510 machine with an Nvidia card. So let's what Mageia can do. It should definitely be an interesting experiment.

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Just a Silly Robot published in Allegory ezine

updated November 1, 2017, category: Books & short stories

Just a Silly Robot
Let's continue the month of November with some really good news. Just a Silly Robot, a sci-fi themed short story of mine, has just been published in Allegory ezine, a bi-annual online magazine of science fiction, fantasy and horror, Volume 32/59, Fall/Winter 2017.

What is the story about? Well, let's keept it short and sweet, no spoilers. Here's the pitch: The purpose of life is to be. To survive. On a space colonization mission to Epsilon Eridani, a robot faces the question of his existence - and that of his human comrades. Without further ado, take a look and enjoy!

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Fix Windows 10 time sync offset - Tutorial

updated November 1, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 time sync offset
I've noticed an interesting phenomenon. On my Lenovo G50 machine, which multi-boots Windows 10 with a host of Linux distributions, every time I launch the Microsoft operating system, the time is off by one hour. The timezone is set correctly, but the little digital widget in the right bottom corner fakes it by 60 minutes.

I started exploring, reading and checking, and realized that I should write a little tutorial on this. Now, the problem may also affect people who use Windows 10 standalone, without any reference to other operating systems. Either way, we will focus on the solution on the Windows side of things, and how we can work around the issue.

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Flatpak - St. Distro's Package

updated October 30, 2017, category: Software & security

The word best used to describe Linux is variety. That, or fragmentation. Whichever part of the desktop system you choose, from the environment to the text editor to the underlying software packaging mechanism, there's always a huge number of options. Alas, plenty != choice. In fact, most of the subsystems are incompatible with one another, leading to significant management overhead.

If you want to run your software on multiple distributions, you essentially need to compile it against many subsets of libraries, some of which follow different naming schemes and hierarchy, and it takes a lot of work to achieve simple results. Instead, what makes a lot more sense is the approach embodied in the Windows-like world; self-contained plug-n-play applications. Recently, Linux has begun adopting this weight-slimming approach with AppImage, Snap, and there's also Flatpak, which is the topic of our article today.

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Tried Elementary OS 0.4.1 Loki again - Negatory

updated October 21, 2017, category: Software & security

Elementary 0.4.1 Loki
With my Lenovo G50 machine currently out of action vis-a-vis new distro testing, I wanted to revisit my elementary Loki experience from about a year ago on a different platform. At the moment, I'm using the Nvidia-powered oldie LG machine from 2009 as my rig au test, and it has also proven a tough cookie to nail. Most distros struggle with this ancient item just as badly as they do with UEFI systems.

Anyway, the idea is to check and possibly install elementary OS alongside Antergos, the one distro currently managing the hardware reasonably well, with a couple of neat disappointment in the form of BunsenLabs Linux and Korora. Let's see how it goes, and whether my impression has changes, for better or worse. My own tolerance for problems, too. Continue, we shall.

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Franc or Champs? Spa! Second visit, racing time.

updated October 20, 2017, category: Car reviews

Circuit de Spa & Lotus Exige S
Driving cars is fun. Driving cars fast is also fun. Doing it legally is the best. Which means if you can go to a race track for a nice and elegant track day, you've got all your angles covered. This was the foundation of my second visit to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, for some more precise technical aggression.

Back in 2014, I drove a Renault Megane RS 265 in rainy conditions, and 'twas delightful. Now though, it was a bright and sunny day, dry tarmac, and the car of choice - well, more of a necessity, because that's what the RSR Spa team had available at that time - a Lotus Exige S, a two-door mid-engined sports car with 218 HP, a humble torque output of just 215 Nm from its supercharged 1.8-liter Toyota unit, and 0-100 km/h time of 4.1 seconds. On paper, this ought to be more fun than the Megane. But was it? Let's see.

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Plasma 5.11 - Keep the momentum going

updated October 18, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma 5.11
Just a few short days ago, the KDE team released Plasma 5.11, the latest edition of this desktop environment, plied with a range of bug fixes as well as some new features. Reason enough to celebrate, but even more so when you consider the fact that Plasma has been slowly, steadily - and consistently - improving over the past few years.

For me, the culmination of this effort is my great satisfaction with Plasma - epitomized in the shape and form of Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zoltan, including the most excellent twining of the distro with my HP Pavilion laptop. And on this very machine, I will be testing the KDE neon live edition, furnished with the latest desktop version. So let's see what it does.

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Firefox 57 - Trick or Treat?

updated October 16, 2017, category: Software & security

Firefox 57
In just a few weeks, the Fist of Odin and Thor's Hammer will fall down on Firefox users. The browser switches from the old extensions model to the brave new world of WebExtensions, and everything breaks. Or does it?

I've already mentioned the upcoming Armageddon in my review of Firefox 54, and what it offered given the drastic, radical changes gripping the Mozilla world. Now, as the official release of Firefox 57 nears, it's time for another look. Join me, please.

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Korora 26 Bloat - More is less or less is more?

updated October 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Korora 26 Bloat
In general, Fedora is an okay distribution. It has steadily improved over the years, reaching a sweet spot with the 24-25 releases, and then turning rather meh with the underwhelming 26th edition. I found it just too rough, and consequently did not update my Lenovo G50 test box. But then, there's Korora.

In a way, Korora is unto Fedora what Stella is unto CentOS, Mint unto Ubuntu; an attempt to make a fully out-of-the-box usable system, without any political, ideological and other games. As it should be. My last encounter with this distro, Korora 23 Coral was reasonable if not quite the best. So let's see what we have here, shall we?

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Dedoimedo interviews: Xfce team

updated October 13, 2017, category: Software & security

Interview: Xfce team
Interviews. The bread and butter of people talking and some recording the stuff. But it's also a great opportunity to learn more about interesting people, unique projects and fun stuff. While the Linux world has not be the most engaging rollercoaster lately, Xfce does stand out as a stable, fairly mature and fairly consistent piece of technology in the wider Tuxospace.

So, I'm happy to announce an interview with a member of both the Xfce and Xubuntu teams, who will tell us more about what these guys and gals are all about, what goes behind the scenes of one of the most important and steadfast desktop environments, and what we should expect from Xfce in the coming years.

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My test laptop's NVRAM has gone read only

updated October 11, 2017, category: Software & security

G50 laptop & read-only NVRAM
If there's one person who will push their hardware to the limit, it's me. In early 2015, I purchased a Lenovo Ideapad G50-70 machine, which I've wholly dedicated to software testing, including many a Linux distro. Fast forward two and a half years, things have changed.

So what happened? The way I always do, I downloaded a fresh distro ISO, wrote it onto a thumb drive and then cycled the laptop, so it would boot from the external device. Only this did not happen. The device wasn't recognized. What. Me no likely. Thinking there was a problem with a particular version of Etcher, the software of choice for the data writing task, I tried an older version of the program, with the same result. Tried a different thumb drive. Nope. Tried three different distributions, two of which are actually installed on the box, nothing.

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BunsenLabs Linux Deuterium review - Too much work

updated October 9, 2017, category: Software & security

BunsenLabs Linux Deuterium
Today, we venture away from the more common, more popular and explore the slightly more niche (or nicher) - BunsenLabs, the spiritual and material successor to CrunchBang, a lightweight distro based on Debian and running Openbox.

I do not know why CrunchBang was EOL-ed, but then, it does not matter. We will focus on what this little system can and cannot do. The test machine is, for reasons that shall be revealed soon, my older but golder LG RD510 laptop, currently dual-booting a few distros, but it is still an interesting setup, with an Nvidia card thrown into the lot. No UEFI. Let's start.

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System76 - POP! goes my heart

updated October 7, 2017, category: Software & security

Aystem76 fonts
Music and lyrics. Distros and fonts. This is a tricky tricky topic, which is why when I hear about professional attempts to introduce new fonts into the Linux world, I always perk up and listen. System76 is a known player in the distro field, offering Ubuntu-based hardware for some time now. And recently, they've announced their own distro flavor, which is going to be using a custom theme and icon set simply known as POP! Sounds groovy.

Anyway, you have probably read my Fedora font saga and the recent attempt to actually make openSUSE usable, and like me, you are yearning for high-quality fonts, and in general, a professional level of text ergonomics. So far, Ubuntu seems to be the one distro that has it done well. And System76 aims to build on top of that. Let's see.

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Plasma secrets: Custom app launchers - WINE, too

updated October 6, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma tricks - custom & WINE icons
I believe you will find today's article to be extremely niche and yet extremely satisfying, as it offers a solution to a rather innocent but annoying problem. If you're using the icons-only task manager in Plasma, you cannot easily pin custom apps. Moreover, you cannot pin WINE programs (Windows software running through WINE). You can use widgets, but then, you can't shuffle them around.

We've talked about the icons-only task manager and the advantages it offers, but now, we will take this to another level. We will create custom app launchers, pin them to the task manager, move them about, everything. This also covers WINE, so seemingly something that shouldn't be be possible. Let us, let us, let us!

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How to write ISO image to USB drive in Linux - Tutorial

updated October 4, 2017, category: Software & security

Linux USB image writing
May I rhyme? Let me rhyme. UNetbootin, I am hootin', for you won't let me burn. Cue the intro. UNetbootin is a cross-platform USB image write, which you can use to create live USB systems, mostly but not limited to Linux distributions. Except the mission is easier said than done.

On a sunny day sometime in June, I spent a good hour or two fighting UNetbootin, trying to get it to do its job. Alas, it would not, giving me all sorts of problems. The two chief amongst them were: 1) not running at all in Fedora 25, Wayland or no Wayland 2) and then, it would not burn any images, as it felt the external USB drivers were not mounted, an issue that came about both in Kubuntu as well as Fedora. Let's solve them, shall we.

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UNetbootin problems - And how to overcome them

updated October 2, 2017, category: Software & security

May I rhyme? Let me rhyme. UNetbootin, I am hootin', for you won't let me burn. Cue the intro. UNetbootin is a cross-platform USB image write, which you can use to create live USB systems, mostly but not limited to Linux distributions. Except the mission is easier said than done.

On a sunny day sometime in June, I spent a good hour or two fighting UNetbootin, trying to get it to do its job. Alas, it would not, giving me all sorts of problems. The two chief amongst them were: 1) not running at all in Fedora 25, Wayland or no Wayland 2) and then, it would not burn any images, as it felt the external USB drivers were not mounted, an issue that came about both in Kubuntu as well as Fedora. Let's solve them, shall we.

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ArmA 3 War Diaries: Operation Migraine

updated September 30, 2017, category: Computer games

ArmA 3 War Diaries: Operation Migraine
Operation Migraine was supposed to be a short sabotage mission behind enemy lines, designed to disrupt the buildup of NATO forces on the island. The intelligence report indicated the enemy was trying to consolidate its positions around the towns of Athira and Frini, bringing in long-range artillery as well as a significant cargo of ATGM, which would make any offensive by our light armor prohibitive. The army command felt we needed to take the sting out of a rapidly escalating situation, and Operation Migraine was scheduled for the early afternoon hours of June 24th.

My team was tasked with this dangerous mission, having undertaken several high-risk assignments in the previous months. We were well familiar with the island's topography, we had a good sense of the terrain, and we were accustomed to the muggy summer heat.

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It's the Qt showdown

updated September 29, 2017, category: Software & security

Qt desktops comparison
Qt desktops are many and varied. So one may ask, all right, if you have to choose one, which one? Well, the answer is both complicated and philosophical. First, because taste is subjective, and my immediate answer would be Plasma, hands down. The way it is realized in Kubuntu 17.04 is just awesome. The best Linux has to offer on the market right now.

But let's say you want to choose from one of the other available Qt-based desktops. What do you do then? Well, that's why we're here, and I'd like to give you a multi-dimensional overview and comparison of these different Qt desktop environments. After all, we talked about them a fair bit recently, so let's narrow it down, shall we?

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Plasma secrets: task manager tweaks

updated September 27, 2017, category: Software & security

Plasma tricks - task manager
Recently, I have been having a lot of fun with the Plasma desktop. It all started with Zesty Zapus, a phenomenal release that redeemed KDE. In fact, I've boldly proclaimed that my next serious box to use Linux will be running Kubuntu, most likely the upcoming 2018 LTS. It hasn't been this merry since roughly 2006 or so. Happy days.

With so much time and pleasure spent on Kubuntu, I've dubbed the perfect distro, and then, I've also shown you how to deftly pimp it into sweet submission, as well as graced you with a few more tips and tricks that should make your Plasma experience sweeter still. Now, we will discuss another less known feature in this desktop environment, and that's the task manager. Shall we.

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Antergos 17.9 Gnome - Ghost riders in the Tux

updated September 25, 2017, category: Software & security

Antergos 17.9
Say no to Arch, but say yes to Arch derivatives. Pain has never been my thing, even when visiting the best Amsterdam dunge - just kidding, who has time and money for that, what. Indeed, I have never keen on doing manual work when setting up Linux distributions, with an odd exception here and there. But I do find the notion of Arch-based systems quite fascinating, as they simplify the oddly and unnecessarily laborious.

Manjaro is a good example, and getting gooder with time, it seemeth, and now I'm going to explore another player named Antergos. Unlike most of my distro tests, completed on the Lenovo G50 box, this one will take place on the older LG RD510 machine. The reasons are as follows: 1) once upon a time, Antergos would not even boot on the G50 machine, as I've shown you in my first rejection report 2) the Lenovo laptop is currently having some funky trouble with its NVRAM, and I shall tell you a story about that another time. First, let's explore Antergos. Here we go.

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OpenSUSE fonts - The sleeping beauty guide

updated September 23, 2017, category: Software & security

OpenSUSE fonts
As a whole, the Linux desktop isn't the most polished family of products in the universe. Due to the chaotic nature of software products, there's a nonlinear correlation between quality and the amount of effort required to achieve it, and there just isn't enough human power to fix it all. It's easy to get to that 90% complete milestone, but then it becomes harder and harder and finally, impossible. Among all the little bugs and issues, fonts reign supreme.

Recently, I tested openSUSE Leap 42.3, and it turned out to be a very . incomplete distro. I spent ages fixing it, and finally got it working in due order. But then, if you compare the quality of fonts there to a very similar Plasma-powered system like Kubuntu 17.04, the differences are huge and appalling. Today, I shall endeavor to resolve this issue. Follow me.

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Censorship - 1984 dot now

updated September 22, 2017, category: Life topics

Recently, I've come across a bunch of references, mentions and rumors that several companies, names like Mozilla, Google, and maybe some others, are interested in introducing new, novels mechanisms to combat the phenomena of misinformation and fake news. Then, I've read some more on the Vivaldi browser and what their CEO had to say about Google, and I decided to write an article on modern censorship and how it comes to bear in the digital age dominated by a number of data companies.

Let's begin with a simple statement - mine. Censorship is horrible. It's a short and slippery slope from benevolent intentions to fascism. People do not need to be sheltered from information. If they lack the ability to exercise judgment, then they should also not be entrusted with things like cars, guns or children. Morality and law are two completely separate things. Finally, the big question, who gets to be in charge and decides what is good and what is wrong? Onwards.

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Manjaro Xfce tweaks - Seasoning and spice

updated September 20, 2017, category: Software & security

Manjaro tweaks
Xfce, the final frontier. These are the escapades of the BSS Dedo. It's continuing mission, to seek out new goats and new distributions, to boldly tweak where no one hath tweaked before. Manjaro, a nice system, founded in the blood of sacrificial animals and that distro which reviles noobs the most, AKA the special distro what Dedo won't really test. But that's not the important thing here. What we want to do is tweak Manjaro, so it's even nicer than in its default guise.

Anyway, recently, I've presented you with a fresh new pimping guide for Xfce, which elaborates on several new tips and tricks that you can use to make here be desktop environment behave in a more productive, elegant and visually pleasing way, building on the experiences way back from Ubuntu Pangolin era. Now we shall expand, but with a very specific focus on Manjaro and how it does things. After me.

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Calligra Suite does not suit me

updated September 18, 2017, category: Software & security

Calligra suite
If you happen to write or review products, I warmly recommend you go back and read some of your earlier stuff, especially if you happen to be doing a fresh article on a topic you've already covered. You may be surprised by your own findings. I sure know I was. Anyway.

Calligra Suite has never featured strongly on Dedoimedo. It just ... hasn't. No special reason. I did review the product in my 2013 office suite comparison run, and back then, it behaved reasonably well, even though it had a rather quirky, non-intuitive workflow. Now, with Kubuntu 17.04 staring at me, goading me, I decided to give the de-facto KDE office suite its full, proper run. Follow me.

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The hunt for the tabbed explorer

updated September 16, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows & tabbed explorers
Back in the 80s, Tom Clancy contemplated writing this book, but instead, he went with a more submarine-focused bestseller. Fast forward to 2017, we still do not have a real file manager with tabs, at least one sponsored by Microsoft. Windows Explorer doggedly remains a one-view application.

This isn't necessarily bad, but there are times when you might want to have tabs, or even a saved session of tabs, so you can quickly restore your work state after a reboot. All of which calls for a supplementary program. Which one? A good question. Hence the hunt.

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Kubuntu Zesty & HP Pavilion setup - Very, very sweet

updated September 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus & HP Pavilion laptop
My HP pavilion laptop comes with roughly seven years of nice memories. I remember buying the machine, configuring its dual-boot setup, playing games, enjoying the benefits and thrills of the i5 family of processors, this be the first generation I believe, a nice Nvidia graphics card, and 4 GB RAM, which were not negligible back then.

I even used it to put together my very first serious Dedoimedo video production, the artistic Frankenstein movie, with kdenline and other sweet tools, and then for a while, it ran Linux Mint, and I did a lot of testing with distros installed to external disks, then it became a pure test machine, but now I've decided to repurpose it for a more permanent usage, Linux wise. The reason? The near-perfection that Kubuntu Zesty gave me, and the decision to have some near-future edition of this distro powering my next laptop. So this is a primer, if you will. Let's see.

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Windows 10 & limited account - edit startup programs

updated September 13, 2017, category: Software & security

Windows 10 startup items & limited user
How does one go about enabling and disabling startup items in Windows 8 onwards? Very simple. You open the task manager, click on the right tab, and then enable/disable items as you see fit. However, this is not the case if you run a limited account that does not have administrative privileges by default.

In this guide, I would like to show you several convenient methods how you can selectively enable/disable startup programs if you are running a limited account in Windows 10 without having to actually log into an (the) administrator user. Let us.

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Goofing around in ArmA 3

updated September 11, 2017, category: Computer games

ArmA 3 goofing
In between difficult, life-sapping missions in ArmA 3, now and then, you want to relax. Step back from the gritty realism and just enjoy the game for its wonderful graphics, smooth physics, and a colorful plethora of accurate weaponry. And then, also exploit the game's notoriously buggy runtime engine, which has almost become a tradition, even since the glorious days of Operation Flashpoint. Indeed.

So let me showcase some silly, crazy, pointless moments, captured for posterity through screenshots over the many hours of fun I've had this with ArmA 3 in the past few years. We're talking bad scripting, input validation, stupidity, and just pure nonsense. In essence, the same mature, sensible stuff we did in ArmA 2, and then some. Party time, excellent!

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Xfce tweaks - Make your desktop prettier

updated September 9, 2017, category: Software & security

Xfce tweaks
Welcome, children of the Internet. Uncle Dedo is going to show you some nice wizardly tricks on how you can improve the look and feel of your Xfce desktop environment. Simple things that are not always available by default, and yet they make so much difference, especially to people used to a higher level of functional aesthetics.

Say you've switched from Plasma, Gnome or Windows to Xfce, and now you're wondering why some things look so awkward. Not to worry. We will fix all them woes. Inspired by my recent testing and exploration of Manjaro 17.0.1 Gellivara. Now, roll your sleeves. We begin.

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Two more sites added to the Hall of Fame

updated September 6, 2017, category: Best of the best

Greatest sites
The greatest list of best websites on, well, the Web, has grown plus two. Proudly suggesting, Atlas Obscure and Jupiter Broadcasting. In a few more words: weird historic facts, odd places, oddest facts about weirdest places, culture and nature. Atlas Obscura covers them all, but to make it more interesting, it usually goes for the less obvious, the less popular, the hidden and the forgotten in its narrative. Which is why it tickled my eye and left me browsing more than a day's worth of Internet.

And then, I am not fond of video blogs. Or any sort of casting. Normally, I do not have time nor patience to sit and listen/watch, in real time, other people debate topics of life, philosophy, science and technology. Without participating myself. The presenters must have exceptional skills to keep me engaged. Indeed, Jupiter Broadcasting is an exception to the rule.

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MBAM + Ataport.sys BSOD = What now?

updated September 6, 2017, category: Software & security

MBAM + Ataport.sys BSOD
If you've been reading Dedoimedo for the past elevenish years, you know that I'm not too fond of security software. But I do test security products, just to see how they behave in the wider scope of things. Such a selfless practice also allows me to compare and judge software, especially against the golden benchmark of Windows security programs, the most glorious, useful and no-nonsense EMET. There.

Anyway, a few months ago, I ran a scan with a MalwareBytes Anti-Malware (MBAM) on a Windows 7 machine, and in the middle of the scan, I had a Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Not good. Upon recovery, I started the mother of all investigations. Follow me.

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OpenSUSE Leap 42.3 Plasma - No Linux, No Love

updated September 4, 2017, category: Software & security

openSUSE Leap 42.3
You know I have a soft spot for SUSE in my heart. This will always be the case with your first distro. Which is why my heart always breaks a little when there's a bad release, and it's been like this for a long while now. OpenSUSE seems to have lost the gusto that it once had, and releases are too rushed, and software support funky.

But then, I always reset the emotions meter and start fresh, whenever there's a new release out there, and there's one like that right now. Numbered 42.3, it's the third Leap edition. So let's test it a rather complicated multi-boot setup and see if it can deliver the perfect experience that it had once. Onward, commence.

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Eurotrip: BMW M4 takes on Germany and Belgium

updated September 2, 2017, category: Car reviews

Eurotrip in BMW M4: Germany and Belgium
The Eurotrip saga continues. So far, we've visited a bunch of countries, in a bunch of cars. We started off with Croatia, in a diesel Opel Insignia, followed it up in a Ford C-Max through Italy, and then bravely ventured into Belgium and Germany in a very posh and elegant Skoda Superb estate. After that, we did our Netherlands journey, driving a Volvo XC60, and finally ended up on the British isles, with a variety of cars. It is time to ... go back to Germany and Belgium! Forsprung durch trip!

The car of choice is the most awesome BMW M4 - you've already seen it in my namesake review, but then I should tell you some more about the whole cross-country driving experience. Six days, seven nights, hi hi, and about 1,100 km of roads covered, with and without speed limits. And of course, how could we not, Spa-Francorchamps. Follow me.

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Oh my darling, oh my darling Clementine

updated September 1, 2017, category: Software & security

Is there a perfect media player? Of course not. All right, then how about a reasonable one, combining a pleasant and intuitive interface plus a wide rage of great features? That sounds like a nice, ambitious idea, but I have yet to find the software that ticks all the relevant boxes.

For the past decade and a half, I've mostly resorted to using whatever default program operating systems throw at me, slowly gravitating toward VideoLAN (VLC) as my app of choice, mostly because of its super-powerful codec backend. But then I've also played with many other software, with a sweet spot for Amarok. Now, I think I may have found my unicorn, and Clementine be its name.

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