Scott Gilbertson

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Arch Linux: In a world of polish, DIY never felt so good

Dig through the annals of Linux journalism and you'll find a surprising amount of coverage of some pretty obscure distros. Flashy new distros like Elementary OS and Solus garner attention for their slick interfaces, and anything shipping with a MATE desktop gets coverage by simple virtue of using MATE. Thanks to television …
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Put Firefox DE and Chromium in blender. Devs... Is it pure Blisk?

Open Source Insider Firefox Developer Edition offers a fantastic array of tools for web developers. From profiling memory use to debugging WebSocket and other HTML5 APIs, Firefox DE is a very useful tool. Developer Edition is, of course based on Firefox, which isn't to every developer's liking. To say Firefox is slower than Chromium is, in my …

Ubuntu 16.10: Yakkety Yak... Unity 8's not wack

Canonical's Ubuntu 16.10, codenamed "Yakkety Yak", is nowhere near as chunky an update as 16.04 LTS was earlier this year. But that doesn't mean there's nothing new. In fact, the firm's second release of the year has quite a few fresh features to hold users over until the bright and shiny future of Unity 8 and Mir arrive some …
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The web is past peak innovation: It's all negative returns from here

Open Source Insider In all the years I have been using FOSS software, the most common complaint I've seen about FOSS software is that the "design" is "terrible", "laughable" or some witticism about forks and eyes. What's interesting about this criticism isn't its longevity, that's to be expected since for most of the people registering this …
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Unimpressed with Ubuntu 16.10? Yakkety Yak... don't talk back

Before I dive into what's new in Ubuntu 16.10, called Yakkety Yak, let's just get this sentence out of the way: Ubuntu 16.10 will not feature Unity 8 or the new Mir display server. I believe that's the seventh time I've written that since Unity 8 was announced and here we are on the second beta for 16.10. Maybe that's why …
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Fork YOU! Sure, take the code. Then what?

Open source insider There's an old adage in the open source world – if you don't like it, fork it. This advice, often given in a flippant manner, makes it seem like forking a piece of software is not a big deal. Indeed, forking a small project you find on GitHub is not a big deal. There's even a handy button to make it easy to fork it. Unlike …
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Looking good, Gnome: Digesting the Delhi in our belly

GNOME 3.20, released recently, sees the project beginning to find its footing again. It has been a long road from GNOME 2 to GNOME 3.20 and there's been plenty to complain about along the way - there still are things worthy of complaint - but 3.20 is the first release in a long time that feels like GNOME has its mojo back. …
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Fedora 24 is here. Go ahead – dive in

Review Fedora 24 is here, packing not just the standard group of changes familiar to any distro update, but also changes to fundamental elements. The biggest news in the default desktop version that I looked at – called Fedora Workstation 24 – is GNOME 3.20 and the continuing improvements to support for Wayland, the graphic stack …
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Facebook's turbo-charged Instant Articles: Another brick in the wall

Facebook recently opened up its Instant Articles platform to all publishers after an early test run with an anointed few publishers. In a nutshell, it strips out everything a publisher has festooned across their site. In its current form, it uses a specially crafted RSS feed to reformat articles for Facebook. The result is a …
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The fork? Node.js: Code showdown re-opens Open Source wounds

Open Source Insider Open source software rarely receives the kind of attention that the press lavishes on the latest hot new thing blessed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists. Yet these projects are the foundations of the web world. Without open source there would be no Slack, no Medium, no Github. Nor would there be Google, Facebook, or much …
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A perfect marriage: YOU and Ubuntu 16.04

Before I dive into what's new in Ubuntu 16.04, it's worth pausing to reflect on what's missing: Scopes online search, now off by default. That means no more potentially socially awkward search results when all you really wanted was to open Brasero (speaking of which, Brasero is gone too). Scopes, introduced four years ago, …
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Go nuts, brother: Ubuntu 16.04 beta – no more auto data-spaffing

Review Ubuntu 16.04, named after a type of African ground squirrel, Xenial Xerus, is here – in beta. And with it come welcome upgrades, quite a few new applications and upgraded features to Ubuntu. Some other, noteworthy aspects, meanwhile, have gone missing. Xenial Xerus is the first significant update to the Ubuntu desktop in two …
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Slack smackback: There's no IRC in team (software), say open-sourcers

Open-source software is not possible without collaboration and collaboration is not possible without communication. Collaborative communication in open source projects typically means some form of distributed chat. In the past, and indeed the present for most projects, that has meant IRC. IRC has some disadvantages, though, …
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Solus: A welcome ground-up break from the Linux herd

Review The Linux world is full of spin-offs, clones and branded distros. The most famous lineage is Mint, based on Ubuntu, which is in turn based on Debian. What's less common is entirely new distros, starting from zero and building their own stack. That's exactly what Solus has done. That's not to say Solus doesn't, like any …
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Baby Ubuntus toddle forth into the big scary world of beta

Review Canonical's next version of Linux-based operating system Ubuntu has hit its first beta stage – and while Ubuntu's Unity release is sitting out its first beta, as is Kubuntu, there are plenty of changes and new features in the rest of the Ubuntu family. This release cycle is gearing up for the next Long Term Support release, …
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Crowd-funded OpenShot 2.0 delivers graphic Linux package

Review It's been nearly two and a half years since the OpenShot video editor released an update. The long-awaited OpenShot 2.0 was beginning to feel like vaporware until a Kickstarter campaign raised more than $45,000 and promised a cross-platform release. The Kickstarter backers got their first look at OpenShot 2.0 beta at the end …
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Remember WordPress' Pingbacks? The W3C wants us to use them across the whole web

Something called Webmentions – which looks remarkably like the old WordPress pingbacks, once popular in the late 2000s – is grinding through the machinery of the mighty, and slow-moving, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). But don’t be deceived. Lurking behind that unassuming name lies something that might eventually offer users …
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Containers! Containers! Containers! And RHEL 7.2. Employ as you wish

Review Red Hat closed 2015 with an update to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) that bumps the venerable distro to version 7.2. That might sound innocuous but don't let the minor version number fool you, with huge leaps in software versions, a newfound love of all things cloud container and systemd updates under the hood, this is one of …
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After-dinner Mint? Stylish desktop finale released as last of the 17 line

Review Linux Mint 17.3, recently released, will be the last release of the Mint 17 line. It is the culmination of work that began two years ago, and the final edition of Mint based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS . With the stability of an Ubuntu LTS release as the base system, Linux Mint has had eighteen months of development time to focus on …
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2015 was the Year of the Linux Phone ... Nah, we're messing with you

For the desktop Linux user, 2015 was a great year. There were major updates for nearly every single desktop available, launches of brand new desktops, even an impressive new distro that's forging its own path. Popular software packages also saw impressive updates – like GIMP, Inkscape and LibreOffice to name just a few – and …
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Longing to bin Photoshop? Rock-solid GIMP a major leap forward

Review Despite its relatively obscure version number, GIMP 2.9.2, released recently, represents a major leap forward for the popular image editing suite. Like all odd-numbered GIMP releases, 2.9.2 is considered a technical preview, but the features here will form the base of the stable release GIMP 2.10. In the mean time, I've found …
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Beyond iTunes: XML boffins target sheet music

One of the world's oldest and most successful "standards" – so standard in fact that western musical notation is simply called standard notation – does not yet have a standard way to be displayed on the web. But a W3C group formed earlier this year, in the summer of 2015, hopes to change that. The Music Notation Community …
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Feeling abandoned by Adobe? Check out the video editing suites for penguins

When it comes to video editing, Windows and Mac rule the screen. Professional apps by the likes of Adobe, Avid and Apple only run in the Win/Mac world and Apple even throws in a pretty sophisticated video editor (iMovie) for free. No matter how much you love Linux and open source software, you're never going to get Adobe …

Are you the keymaster? Alternatives in a LogMeIn/LastPass universe

LogMeIn's purchase of LastPass password manager service was not well received by LastPass users. In fact that outrage was sufficient that LastPass quickly shut down comments on its blog. Why the outrage and who is LogMeIn? LogMeIn may be best known as the company that shut down its free remote desktop sharing service with a …
Firefox developer edition

All hail Firefox Dev Edition 44 – animations, memory and all

Review When Mozilla released the first Firefox Developer Edition there wasn't much difference from the regular Firefox release, but all that changed recently. Firefox DE 44, delivered in early November, packs in a wealth of new features and improvements, particularly for anyone working with HTML5 and CSS3 animation. The Developer …