2017 could be the year of the sandboxed app

One of the things that makes Linux awesome is that finding and installing common software is really fast and easy. If you use a graphical tool like GNOME’s Software, you can download and install an app in a couple clicks. If you’re a command-line commando, you can install an application with one or two relatively short console commands.

It's all thanks to the package manager. And while the trusty package manager has served as a centerpiece of Linux distributions for years, it has some serious shortfalls as well.

The problems with package managers

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4 easy Linux projects for newbies and intermediate users

It’s nearing the end of the year, and most people are busy finishing up the last week’s worth of work, and students are finishing up finals. For me, the last week and a half of December is usually a time to catch up on sleep, and take it easy. But an endless flow of cookies and Netflix can get tiresome. 

Even if the end of the year is full of family commitments, dinners, and last-minute oh-geez-what-do-I-buy-my-brother-in-law shopping, a small project that doesn’t take too long can be rewarding, and may yield future benefits. Here are a few ideas that shouldn’t take more than a few hours.

Fedora 25 try before install
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5 gifts under $50 for open-source geeks

The weeks of December are flying by, and the new year is fast approaching. While it seems that sales begin earlier and earlier every year, some people (like me) put off gift buying until the last minute. Even if you’re a more responsible gift-giver, it can be hard to pinpoint what someone might like for Christmas or Hanukkah.

If you’re shopping for an open-source geek in your life, but don’t have a ton of money to spend on hardware, there are a few stocking-stuffers and small gifts that can be had for under $50. Here are five affordable options to consider before shipping deadlines pass.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

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Support open-source projects this giving season

The holiday season is a time to panic and have eggnog-fueled meltdowns relax with family, give gifts, and eat far too many carbs. It’s also traditionally been a time when charities see big bumps in donations. Giving even has its own day, “Giving Tuesday” to follow the weekend bounded by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. There are plenty of charities to give to, but if you use free and open-source software, why not give back to the projects that create those tools that you use without charge?

The phrase  “freedom isn’t free” is usually applied to the military, but it also applies to free software. After all, somebody is paying for the server that a project lives on. If a project offers a bug bounty, that money comes from somewhere. As community projects, open-source software relies on the community’s contributions (labor) and donations (money).

If you poke around any free or open-source software project website, you’re sure to find a donation link. But if you don’t feel like fishing around, here are a few organizations that help the open-source and free software movements.

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Fedora 25 makes Linux easy enough for anyone to try

When I got the heads-up that Red Hat was readying the release of Fedora 25, it caught my attention like any new release of a major Linux distribution would. But I was in for a pleasant surprise when I went to download a copy of the image.

The first thing to know about the new version of Fedora is that you don’t have to download an ISO file and write it to a USB stick. This is an important thing to note, as preparing installation media for Linux is one of the bigger hurdles for newbies. (When I say newbies, I think of my mom trying to download and properly burn a USB image.)

As easy as it gets

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Microsoft just joined the Linux Foundation, but end users won't notice right away

If there’s one thing to be said about 2016, it’s that it’s full of surprises. This year has seen events you wouldn’t have dreamt of a decade ago. When I read that Microsoft joined the Linux Foundation, I couldn’t believe it at first. There’s plenty of exciting news for developers in this new partnership, but not much for Linux desktop users.

I first started experimenting with Linux in the late ’90s and early aughts (’00s?), back when Steve Ballmer took the reins at Microsoft. In those days, Microsoft was famously hostile to Linux, or any other OS for that matter.

Fast-forward 15 years, and Microsoft is cozying up to the very same platform that Ballmer had vilified. Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has embraced the open-source scene. 

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