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Latest articles & site news

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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Budgie Desktop - You Shall Not Pass!

updated August 31, 2017, category: Software & security

Budgie desktop
The quest for the ultimate desktop environment continues. In the last few months, we have looked at a range of Qt-based desktops, starting with Ze Papa, Plasma, and then looked at several other new and not so new players, the bold and the beautiful, the less successful and the more rad. The list covers the likes of LXQt, Liri, Nomad, and recently, Lumina, as well.

Today, we will explore Budgie. Now, this is a rather interesting one. First, we had a taste of it way back when. In the day, it was quite slow, buggy and not very appealing. But then, through my Solus OS testing in the past year or so, I've come across Budgie again, and I was rather intrigued by the look & feel and the obvious progress. While my endeavors with Solus were less glamorous, Budgie did impress me as something worth a deeper consideration. For the moment, it's Gtk and heavily interwoven with Gnome. Moving forward, it will also be using the Qt technology, starting with the upcoming release 11. Let's have a look.

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Mushroom, Mushroom!

updated August 28, 2017, category: 3D design

Mushroom interior design
Dedoimedo's XO writes: With the increased interest and Pinterest in my earlier Snail House design, I have decided to follow-up with another organically inspired interior scheme - the mushroom. While the connection to home design is rather straight forward with the snail shell, with the mushroom a slightly less obvious perspective does the trick. The room division becomes clearer from the chosen angle, allowing for a natural room flow from the entrance, through the hallway and into every other room of the house.

Yet again, this design wasn't easy. The curved walls influence the positioning of the furniture, and you will end up with what can seem as dead spaces. Fear not! Any nook and cranny can be utilized for either storage, decoration or even a creative lighting setup.

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SUSE Studio - Mix it up

updated August 26, 2017, category: Software & security

SUSE Studio
It's been a long time since I played with SUSE Studio. Eight years to be exact. That's a fairly hefty stretch of time, which means another review is due. Before you ask, no it's not a German alternative rock band, nor a night club. And yes, it is an online portal that lets you create custom SUSE images. Very clever.

In my original review, I focused on the simplicity and difficulty of use of the portal, assembling different packages into a working image, the testing, and the complexity of this whole deal. I built on my earlier experience with Kiwi and then Product Creator, and back in 2009, this was an amazing, revolutionary concept. Let's see what gives now.

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Open Source Summit Europe 2017 - Dedoimedo is coming

updated August 26, 2017, category: Software & security

Open Source Summit Europe 2017 - Dedoimedo is coming
Dedoimedo, tell us the next time you go a-gallivantin' on a conference, some of you politely emailed me. Well, that time is coming soon. Oct 23-26, Prague, Czech Republic, Open Source Summit Europe 2017 is taking place, and I am honored to have secured a speaker slot. The title: The Empire Strikes Back - We Just Need an Emperor.

If you think this fine topic - and other topics, of course - may be of interest, I invite you to join the conference, for some serious Linuxing, merry laughs, drinks, and preferably all of these combined. Then hopefully, you may even come to my session, and there shall be much rejoicing. Registration for the summit is happening pretty much as we speak, plus some discounts, so you might as well take a look what gives. Also, take a look at my presentations from 2014-2016 for deeper impressions. See you in Prague.

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Lumina desktop - Show me the light

updated August 25, 2017, category: Software & security

Lumina desktop
The good thing about Qt (as a framework and technology) is that it powers so many interesting products seamlessly, quietly, unassumingly. The bad thing is, sometimes you may use something that has Qt DNA, and yet, you wouldn't know it unless explicitly told. Such is the case with the Lumina desktop.

This less-known desktop environment powers mostly BSD operating systems, but it does not seem to have caught on in the Linux world that much. At the moment, you are most likely to find it gracing TrueOS, which uses it as its default interface. And yet, with modern architecture under the hood, it could be a suitable alternative to other mainstream desktop environments. Let's see what gives.

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I tried to install SketchUp 2017 in Linux ...

updated August 23, 2017, category: Software & security

SketchUp 2017 & Linux
As you know, running Windows applications on Linux is sort of a trip. A crazy Kessel Run attempted while blindfolded, with a band of gypsy violinists playing Ennio Morricone's music in the background. That pretty much sums the experience.

On a slightly more serious note, I do 3D art. I think I've even produced a handful of decent models, including my steampunk crossbow, the amphibian assault ship, and the urban warfare set. I've created all these using Google SketchUp, with subsequent rendering and polish in Kerkythea. All of this, done in Windows. So what about Linux?

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Fedora 26 review - A garden implement

updated August 21, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora 26 Gnome
In my merry escapades through the Linux jungle, over the years, I started liking Fedora more, as it transitioned from a nucleus of bugs into a rather stable and fairly fast distro. I was particularly satisfied with the last two editions, Gnome no less, most imaginatively named Fedora 24 and Fedora 25. I did have to sweat some getting the apps and codecs in order, but after that, it was a pleasant, colorful and practical experience.

Now we have the latest edition of Workstation in our hands, and we need to see how it fares. I deliberately decided not to perform an in-vivo upgrade of the resident Fedora 25 instance on my Lenovo G50 box, as I wanted to see what the vanilla crop does without all the pimpage. To wit, let us commence the testing.

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Dedoimedo now runs with HTTPS enabled

updated August 21, 2017, category: Site news

HTTPS enabled
This may be of interest to some of you. A few days ago I have installed an SSL certificate on Dedoimedo, properly signed and all. Which means that Dedoimedo can now be accessed over HTTPS, or if you still like, over HTTP like before. There aren't really any logins or forms to fill on Dedoimedo, so this shouldn't make much difference, but if you are conscious about Web security and your browsing habits, you may appreciate this little change.

Everything should work normally. However, I would like to ask you to report any bugs, glitches or errors you may encounter, so that I can look into them and fix them, should they need fixing. I did remove some social media sharing buttons as they were pulling non-HTTPS traffic. Other than that, it ought to be seamlessly same. Happy browsing.

Thus endeth the news ...

Firefox 54: Speed, customization and future

updated August 19, 2017, category: Software & security

Firefox 54
Ever since Mozilla embarked on the Chrome-me-up journey a few years ago, my enthusiasm took on a six-weekly decline cadence, with each new release of the Firefox browser bringing in more of what Firefox shouldn't be and less of what made it such a cool program in the hands of its loyal users. But the best is yet to come. The true rite of passage. Only the most righteous will survive. WebExtensions.

While trying to salvage some of what it still has left while actively scuppering its fanbase and killing off its powerful extension mechanism, Mozilla is working on giving its browser a breath of fresh air. More speed, it seems, as though it is the critical factor that made people abandon ship. But assuming it is, does it make a difference? Let's test.

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Age of Empires - Rise of the Rajas - Another star

updated August 18, 2017, category: Computer games

AoE: Rise of the Rajas
Normally, I hate DLC. Because it means either a) developers were too lazy, and they remembered to add valuable stuff only later b) someone is trying to milk more money from you for something you should have received in the first place, for the original price. Indeed, if you get a game that functions less than 100%, you are being stuffed.

However, there's a third option. The game works perfectly well, but then you get new stuff - maps, scenarios, campaigns, units. At no point are you asked to do any sort of upgrades or purchases. A very passive approach to DLC. When the game in question is Age of Empires, a legend kept alive 18 years after its inception, then I am more than willing to spend money on an expansion pack. Rise of the Rajas, here we go.

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Fedora + Plasma + Unity = Nice looks?

updated August 16, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora + KDE + Unity theme
Hybrid things aren't usually the best option around. Like hybrid cars, for example. Technically, when you marry concepts, you change the energy state, and while this could make sense in that you blend the best of several worlds, when this is done in a forced manner over a short period of time rather than eons of evolution, you end with the worst bits as the product of your mutation.

I read about the United theme for Plasma a few months ago, and given that I've spent a fair deal of time fiddling with themes and icons and fonts and making different desktop environments look prettier than their defaults, I was intrigued. So I decided to see whether the notion of having Plasma look like Unity is a sane option. Let us.

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Some interesting Ubuntu themes and icons

updated August 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Ubuntu themes & icons
Sorry. I should probably say icons and themes that are most likely suitable for the wider range of Ubuntu siblings and other kin, including all and any GTK-based desktop, and that covers Gnome 3 in general and even Cinnamon. But the thing is, I've done some extra decorative work in Ubuntu lately, including some essential pimping and thoroughly testing the super-awesome Macbuntu transformation pack for the third time, with rather good results, that is, so I'm in the mood for some more fun.

Today, I will show you a few more themes and icon packs that I've put through my aesthetic grinder, and which ended up gracing my box. Which means you may not find them tasteful enough. Or you may go, what about XYZ? Well, I cant possibly cover all of them, and some refused to install, some installed but did nothing, others yet were not suitable enough for this article. But let us proceed.

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Zazu App - Intelligent artificialness

updated August 12, 2017, category: Software & security

Intelligent desktop helper tools are not a new thing. Long before cloud-powered assistants with sexy female voices came about, we had these applications trying to help us make smart decisions. Clippy, for instance. Then, Mozilla had Ubiquity. More recently, Ubuntu unleashed a product of its own, and they named it Dash. This thing was popular before the Internet became hot, and it will be with us till the planet goes kaput.

Zazu App is another attempt to make an intelligent launcher, except it aims to please hackers, nerds and tinkerers, people who want to do things semi-dev-like rather than just click shiny buttons in a shinier GUI. Well, as a man on a holy mission of efficiency, I had to take this utility for a spin. Plus, it came about as a recommendation from Joe, and you don't argue when Joe writes.

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Rclone - Rsync for cloud storage

updated July 28, 2017, category: Software & security

Here's a bunch of interesting concepts. Rsync is the data moving workhorse of the Linux world, and I've blessed you with a detailed tutorial on this topic a while ago. Then, cloud is a new and brave concept where you can have your stuff saved to remote servers. You do this through a browser or a dedicated app.

But then, what happens when you have multiple cloud providers? The plot thickens and the complexity, uh well, biggens. Which is where programs like odrive come into play, except I never really got to master the finer side of things with this one. So, we need a browser, a dedicated app, and maybe command line? Aha. Enter Rclone.

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Decay has been published!

updated July 28, 2017, category: Books

Ladies, gentlemen, zombies et al, it's alive, it's alive! Decay, it's out there. Both paperback and Kindle editions are available, affordably and justly priced. Decay is a first-person zombie-themed novella, told from the perspective of a zombie. Hopefully, it justifies the narrative and the theme.

I've never done first person before. Zombies are another first. And telling the story from the perspective of a living dead is yet another novelty for me. Thrice the hype, thrice the risk, but you may yet be entertained. This is the first installment in the Humanz series, or more aptly, Humanz 1.0, one of many to come. If you are interested in reviewing the book, drop me a note, and I will gladly send you a copy. Onwards, readers, onwards!

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Linux Mint 18.2 "Red" Sonya - Distro the Destroyer

updated July 17, 2017, category: Software & security

Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya
Let us a-go distro-testing! Today, we focus on Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya, freshly released with a nice sprinkling of Cinnamon on the proverbial distro pudding. For years, this was one of the best performing distributions, offering a complete experience to the Linux user. Lately though, the experience has been slightly less amazing. Serena was just ok.

But then, this spring testing season - slowly moving into the summer, cue Vivaldi music - has been pretty good overall. The Ubuntu flock seems to be behaving reasonably, with the Flagship Ubuntu and in particular the KDE-flavored Kubuntu offering a splendid revival of hope and quality. Armed with this foreknowledge, we commence.

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Solus 2017.04.18.0 review - Second time lucky?

updated July 15, 2017, category: Software & security

Solus 2017.04
It is time to give Solus another shot. Approximately six months ago, I tried Solus 1.2. The test commenced with a promise of many good things to come, but then it was cut short by an installation error. Solus was unable to setup the bootloader, and subsequently, my system was rendered inoperable until I applied some rigorous fixing.

There's a new Solus out, and it carries the 2017 version label. I will try to get Solus running, because I liked what I've seen so far. Elegance, style, easy access to goodies, and continuous improvement of a solid baseline, with some rather impressive results from Budgie, a desktop that is growing to be an interesting contender in the Linux space.

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NitroShare - Simple file sharing solution for all

updated July 14, 2017, category: Software & security

Sharing is caring they say. But what do you do when you have a heterogeneous operating systems environment, with Windows and Linux and maybe other stuff, too, all different versions, filesystems, protocols?

For most people, the answer is not trivial, as you need to setup sharing services, install drivers, do all sorts of nerdy magic to get files copied from one machine to another. Most often, you will be hosting stuff on Windows boxes, as Linux has it easier accessing files on Windows systems than the other way around. Or you could try NitroShare.

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Debian 9 Stretch - Not by a long stretch

updated July 12, 2017, category: Software & security

Debian 9 Stretch
In my long history as a distro tester, I've only tried pure Debian twice, version 5 in 2010, and then version 6 (Squeeze) in 2011. The former was an okay exercise, somewhat similar to my early endeavors with CentOS. The latter was an absolute flop. In both case, the network side of things was terrible, but it was a dealbreaker the second time around.

Fast forward to 2017, I am inclined to say Debian is a great foundation, like a great recipe, but a recipe and a tasty cake are two different things. If you're wondering, then by this analogy Arch Linux is harvesting your own corn and milking your own cow. Anyway, my tolerance levels for un-PnP features of the Linux desktop have dropped significantly, and so I was reluctant to try Debian. But a new version is out. Let's give it a try.

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Kubuntu Zesty is shaping up to be a perfect distro

updated July 10, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu, perfect distro
Some articles serve no higher purpose. Normally, when I write, I try to achieve a goal, usually an educational one. I try to teach people or help them work around their problems, and there's usually an issue at hand, which needs a solution, or a product that mandates a review. Either way, I follow a relatively familiar and predictable pattern.

Today, I have no such agenda. I'm merely sharing how I feel about Kubuntu 17.04, which I've been using with extreme delight for the past few months. True, it still graces a test box, but the more I'm running it, the more I'm pleased with the results. Hence this article, which is nothing more than a deluge of fanboyism. Enjoy if you will.

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Fedora fonts: The Font Strikes Back

updated July 8, 2017, category: Software & security

Fedora fonts
If you happen to be a person who finds the Linux font rendering to be good enough for your ocular sensors, you are a happy bunny. If you are like me, then it's only Ubuntu that gives you the right sharpness and contrast, and all other distros be heavily lacking in this space. Fedora, first and foremost, which is why I've spent months trying to perfect its layout and reading clarity.

I ranted about the whole font problem in Linux some time ago, and then we also discussed the use of Ubuntu fonts on top of Fedora a couple of months back in another OCS-Mag article. Now, I want to revisit the topic for a third time, and see if we can somehow improve on Fedora's stock Gnome look, and the way it draws text on the screen. Let us commence hence forth.

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ArmA 3 2017 SITREP - Still bloody awesome

updated July 7, 2017, category: Computer games

ArmA 3: 2017 SITREP
As big as the game industry is, in the past 17 years, the ONLY company making serious war simulators has been Bohemia Interactive. Everything else is just heavily-scripted movie-like arcade. It all started with the legendary Operation Flashpoint. Then we had ArmA 2, and now ArmA 3. A game that will test your soul, your persistence and your keyboard. Not necessarily in that order.

I've already written a handful of reviews on ArmA 3, most notably my first encounter plus a nice zombie mission, so it would seem another article is unnecessary. You'd be wrong. Having recently invested several hundred hours more in ArmA on private servers, with friends and whatnot, all ex-military, just like Bohemia's dev team, I found fresh passion and interest in this amazing first person shooter slash combined-arms simulation. So let's salivate a bit more.

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Etcher - Etched in Linux

updated July 5, 2017, category: Software & security

What's the color of the boathouse at Hereford? This question has the same implication as asking someone, what's the best USB image writer for Linux? Since there can be no single definitive answer, one must embark on a quest of trial & error, frustration & glee.

Almost every distro has its own tool, different desktop environments have their own utilities, and each one comes with its own level of reliability. All of them work, but then, not quite. And yet, all you want to do, once you've downloaded an ISO file, is to have it committed to a USB thumb drive, so you can actually boot and run that particular distro. A way out of this confusion? Etcher.

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How to turn Kubuntu into a perfect desktop

updated July 3, 2017, category: Software & security

Kubuntu & pimp
Here's a little wannabe guide. Shiny, happy, full of adjectives and superlatives but no laxatives. With a good reason. I'm psyched, and this without ingesting any chemicals. The reason being, the very recent Kubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus is a mighty good little distro, and I'm pleased to actually be using it on a daily basis, something that hasn't happened with KDE for at least 5-6 years.

To commemorate this revolutionary moment, we have this little pimping guide, akin to my many other pimping guides, which should help you make your Kubuntu into a mean, lean productivity machine. Let's see what you can or should do. Voluntary, optional and fun.

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