Scott Gilbertson

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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 …
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 …