Scott Gilbertson

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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 …
Shutterstock dog mascot jumps into the air on natural pathway. PIC shutterstock/GIMP LOGO MASHUP

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 …
US cashpoint. Pic: Tax Credits

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 …
Cash on scales. Pic: Images Money, Flickr

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 …
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 …

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