Scott Gilbertson

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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 …
Tommy Lee Jones delivers implied facepalm. From No Country for Old Men  Copyright Miramax Pictures. 2007.

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 …

Refined player: Fedora 23's workin' it like Monday morning

Review OK, it was a slight delay – one week – but the latest Fedora, number 23, represents a significant update that was worth waiting for. That’s thanks not just to upstream projects like GNOME, now at 3.18, but also some impressive new features from team Fedora. Like its predecessor, this Fedora comes in three base configurations …
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Ubuntu 15.10: Wily Werewolf – not too hairy, not too scary

Review Ubuntu 15.10, Wily Werewolf, continues Canonical’s recent Ubuntu tradition of delivering, well, nothing earth shattering. There’s new scrollbars, borrowed from GNOME, a minor update for Unity, which is now at version 7.3.2, and an updated kernel with some new hardware support. What you won't find in this release are any major …
Leap desktop

openSUSE Leap: Middle ground between cutting edge and conservative

Linux distributions need to walk a fine line. On the one hand users want rock-solid foundations; this is why conservative distros like Debian have long ruled the server. But on the other hand, you want the most up-to-date apps on your desktop, hence the popularity of Ubuntu (rather than Debian) for laptops and PCs. This can …
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Ubuntu 15.10: More kitten than beast – but beware the claws

Review The second beta of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf has arrived and there’s not much to see here. Oh sure, there's some revamped scrollbars, Unity 7.3.2 that has some welcome bug fixes and Ubuntu's version of the 4.2.1 Linux kernel, but this is no lycanthropic beast of great transformation as the name might suggest. You won't find …
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Break from the future: Hold the new stuff and fix the web first

Peter-Paul Koch, author of The Mobile Web Handbook, published a piece this summer entitled "Stop Pushing the Web Forward". Koch argued that the relentless pace of new features on the web isn't helping it and that we – developers, along with browser makers – would do well to put on the brakes for a few months. It's not that …
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Ubuntu Wily gaggle builds 15.10 beta beachhead

The next Ubuntu – 15.10, nicknamed Wily Werewolf – is beginning to take shape but, as before, the first beta code out of the gate doesn’t belong to the main desktop. Rather, that honour belongs to the familiar clutch of Ubuntu fellow travellers – Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE and Lubuntu. The amount of new …
Edge first run

Microsoft Edge web browser: A well-presented mea culpa

Review Edge, the new web browser in Windows 10 that was released on Wednesday isn't just a browser: it's an atonement. Microsoft, it seems, wants to apologize not just for its recent Windows 8, but for the entirety of Internet Explorer. And, surprisingly, Edge turns out to be a great apology. Perhaps the most surprising and welcome …
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W3C's failed Do Not Track crusade tumbles to ad-blockers' Vietnam

The World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Do Not Track (DNT) proposal, to give users a way to tell web sites not to track them, recently reached its "Last Call" stage. Last call is what comes just before a standard becomes “recommended”, which is W3C-speak for “done”. Indeed, most browsers have already implemented at least some …
Web browsers 2015

Windows 10 Edge: Standards kinda suck yet better than Chrome?

Weary old web warhorse Internet Explorer (known to thousands of Reg readers' spouses and parents up and down the land simply as "the internet") is destined soon for the dustbin of tech history. After decades of dominance through proprietary lock-in and anti-trust-busted software bundling, the monster lurking in web developer …

Mozilla's ‘Great or Dead’ philosophy may save bloated blimp Firefox

For some time now Firefox, the once mighty web browser, has been bleeding market share and – perhaps more importantly – developer mind share. Between bundling unwanted features such as Pocket, proffering popcorn-worthy CEO dramas atop Mozilla, being led by a seemingly clueless management, and the fact that that Chrome feels …
crunchbang

Five lightweight Linux desktop worlds for extreme open-sourcers

Screenshots Linux long ago reached parity with Windows and OS X. That's great for the average user looking to make the switch from either platform to Linux. Indeed distros like Ubuntu, with its Unity desktop, make switching relatively painless. All of the common tools most users want in Windows are also available in Unity, GNOME and other …
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Linux Mint 17.2: If only all penguinista desktops were done this way

Review The underlying packages in Linux Mint 17.2, just released, are largely unchanged. What you will find are a lot of improvements and added polish in everyday tools like the update manager, login screen and the Software Sources app. Sticking with the Ubuntu 14.04 base has given Linux Mint developers the opportunity to focus their …
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Cinnamon 2.6 – a Linux desktop for Windows XP refugees

Review Cinnamon is best known as one of the two default desktops for Linux Mint, which is fast approaching its next major update. Mint 17.2 will include the brand new Cinnamon 2.6, just released, when delivered later this year. So far, so standard – only Cinnamon is no longer just a Linux Mint desktop. Cinnamon is now available …
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But... I... like... the... PAIN! Our secret addiction to 'free' APIs

Yahoo! is killing off several services to focus on "search, communications and digital content", it's said. Wait, Yahoo! has a search engine? Who knew? What Yahoo! won't have in the very near future is a developer favorite by the name of Yahoo! Pipes. Yahoo! Pipes has always been something of an odd duck, not just within the …
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Secure web? That'll cost you, thanks to Mozilla's HTTPS plan

Firefox shop Mozilla recently became the latest in the long line of companies big and small trying to push the web from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS protocol. In the post-Snowden world, where everyone from the NSA, GCHQ to your ISP is inspecting and sometimes altering content, HTTPS (which makes such things nearly impossible) …
Fedora 22 with Firefox

Fedora 22: Don't be glum about the demise of Yum – this is a welcome update

Review The big news with Fedora 22, just delivered, is the Fedora project actually managed to stick pretty close to its proposed schedule. Fedora 22 arrived just one week later than scheduled – but what's a week after the month-long delays of the last few release cycles? It would seem that the recent top-down restructuring of the …
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You've come a long way, Inkscape: Open-source Illustrator sneaks up

Inkscape recently released version 0.91 of their eponymous open source vector graphics application. As version numbers go this sub version 1.0 milestone is underwhelming, but – and it’s a big ”but” – it is the result of four plus years hard work that’s paid of by delivering a major leap forward for the would-be Adobe Illustrator …
Xubuntu core desktop

Stripped to the core and full of Xfce: Xubuntu Linux loses it

Review The Xubuntu project recent unveiled a stripped-down build of its Xfce-based Ubuntu: Xubuntu core. Core offers a very basic version of the Xfce desktop, along with the basic look and feel of Xubuntu, but any extras like an office suite, media player, Xfce add-ons or even a web browser will have to be installed separately. The " …
Cowgril Jessie

Systemd hee hee: Jessie Debian gallops (slowly) into view

Review The Debian Project may not be that slow with new releases, but sometimes it feels like it. The project typically releases a new version "when it's ready," which seems to work out to about once every two years lately. Debian 8, branded Jessie, in keeping with the Toy Story naming scheme (Jessie was the cowgirl character in Toy …
lightning_cropped

Low price, big power: Virtual Private Server picks for power nerds

Running your own virtual private server (VPS) was once limited to either profitable side projects or those with money to burn. The relatively high monthly costs (often $40-$60 per month) made it too expensive for personal projects that didn't generate income and more serious endeavors often used dedicated hardware, leaving VPS …
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Relax, it's just Ubuntu 15.04. AARGH! IT'S FULL OF SYSTEMD!!!

Review Systemd is here. It’s arrived in Vivid Vervet, the latest, just-released distro of Ubuntu – 15.04. Most users will notice very little overall difference in this latest Ubuntu release, but it’s this change that packs the biggest punch. There are a couple of new things that make 15.04 worth the upgrade from previous versions, but …
A US Army M1A1 Abrams tank heads out on a mission from Forward Operating Base MacKenzie in Iraq on October 27, 2004

Docker ascendancy's ignites a flak-in-the-box cloud arms race

Containerisation has taken the data centre by storm. Led by Docker, a start-up that's on a mission to make development and deployment as simple as it should be, Linux containers are fast changing the way developers work and devops teams deploy. Containerisation is such a powerful idea that it's only slightly hyperbolic to …
Xfce 4.12 desktop

Torvalds' temptress comes of age: Xfce 4.12 hits the streets

Review April brings not just showers but traditionally a new release of Ubuntu, this time 15.04. With Ubuntu 15.04 will come Xubuntu and with that an update to Linus Torvalds’ briefly favoured Linux desktop (Xfce), version 4.12. Some of what's new in Xfce 4.12 has already been a part of Xubuntu for some time, but Ubuntu 15.04 will see …

Locally Integrated Menus back on Vivid Vervet’s menu

Review Ubuntu 15.04, Vivid Vervet, just might be one of the biggest Ubuntu releases in several years. It might be more remarkable, though, for what you don’t see. The beta is now here, ahead of this month’s scheduled release. Anyone paying any amount of attention to the Linux world over the past couple of years has likely at least …
Peekabooty - censorship bears

Thanks a lot, Google, for snatching .dev for yourself. It's not like the rest of us wanted it

Comment The internet is gradually gaining a whole lot of new top-level domain names, from the useful (.app, .dev) to the more whimsical (.ninja, .lol), thanks to ICANN's dot-word gold rush. Most of these dot-words are available to world + dog to register fresh domains, such as theregister.science. However, some owners are keeping their …
Vivaldi

Sick of Chrome vs Firefox? Check out these 3 NEW browsers

Browsers have been making a comeback. There have been three brand new browsers released and even Firefox, which seems to be sliding further into irrelevancy every day, has released a new version aimed at developers and claims to be working on a WebKit-based version for iOS devices. It’s a refreshing moment. After an initial …

First peek at the next Ubuntu 15.04 nester line-up

Ubuntu 15.04 is here – almost. The first beta of Vivid Vervet has been delivered, and with it have come images of the penguin flock that nestles on this OS. I looked at Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME and Ubuntu MATE but there’s also Lubuntu and the China-centric Ubuntu Kylin, which I didn’t test. These are beta releases and …

Elementary, my dear penguin: It's the second beta of Freya

Review Elementary Linux has released the second beta of the imminent Freya release of its OS. Elementary follows a somewhat unusual release schedule of major updates every 18 or so months, with two betas at the six- and 12-month marks. That's not the only way Elementary differs in relation to other distros. Almost everything on the …

You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this? The answer is, of course, "yes" – or rather it's yes, but... The qualifying "but" can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game. Even if you take the …

YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

It's nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date. At the same time the distro that's closest to being a …

Fedora 21: Linux fans will LOVE it - after the install woes

Review As has become par for the course with Fedora, the latest – Fedora 21 – has arrived months behind schedule. To its credit, it's well worth the wait. This release marks the start of the Fedora.next project. The big change is that Fedora 21 is available in three flavours: cloud, server, and workstation. All three build on the same …

Why, hello there, Foxy... BYE GOOGLE! Mozilla's browser is a video star

Review Firefox 34, just released, adds support for Mozilla’s web-based Skype-competitor, Firefox Hello. Firefox 34 also drops Google as the default search engine for US users, gives Mac fans the ability to play native H.264 video and eliminates a major security vulnerability. Phew! But is it any good? This is the first version of …

Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION

Some years back, when Microsoft was mired in Windows Vista and open source issues, and web developers were on an accelerating trajectory, a quiet revolution took place. In the corridors and anterooms of tech conferences, scrunched deep into beanbags and huddled next to power outlets developers were at work, nose down, in …

We have a winner! Fresh Linux Mint 17.1 – hands down the best

Review Linux Mint 17.1 is the first example of what the Mint project team can do when they're focused on their own system rather than on making the latest Ubuntu work with Mint. That’s because Mint 17.1 sticks with the Ubuntu released earlier this year – the first time this desktop Linux has not gone with the more recent Ubuntu. It’s …
By Frank Wouters, licensed under CC 2.0

OpenSUSE 13.2: Have your gecko and eat your rolling distro too

Review The great green gecko-wielding distro has undergone a major update with its latest release, openSUSE 13.2. This edition comes on the heels of some major changes for how openSUSE releases are structured. While the main release, like this week's 13.2, remains unchanged, the openSUSE project has merged its two unstable, semi- …