Is SteamOS a threat to Microsoft’s desktop hegemony?

Valve recently announced its own shiny Linux distribution, unlike most Linux distributions SteamOS will be targeted to gamers and designed to be used primarily on your television. Gaming has long been a sore spot for the open source community, big budgeted games had very few incentives to port their games into a relatively small platform and it caused the classical vicious circle: Gamers don’t use Linux because most games aren’t available, most games aren’t available because gamers don’t use Linux. The current situation also affects how committed hardware companies are into making good drivers. Valve added Linux support a few… Continue Reading

So I heard you want to try Linux

We have all been there. Our first attempt at Linux. And we have all forgotten it. The human mind does a wonderful trick of glossing over less glamorous details, forgetting boring ones, heightening trauma and success, making us believe that our journey to becoming special, i.e. Linux users, was a fairly trivial man-it-up ordeal. We have long lost the touch with reality, which is, most people have no darn clue about operating systems, especially not one named Linux. Today, I would like to try something rather impossible, or at the very least, in the words of Great Vizzini, inconceivable, sans… Continue Reading

Clementine: Amarok 1 series’ true successor?

I think Netrunner’s default music player is absolutely great.¬†Tomahawk¬†offers a very good experience, it has a good interface, it looks modern, it has tons of contextual information and it plugs into the cloud with ease, but one of its defects is that your local collection management isn’t very versatile, a lot of space is used to show images from the artist, then album arts, then songs, and this default hierarchy can’t be modified, and playlist management is good but not Amarok 1.x good. It used to be that Amarok was the king of local collections, that’s no longer the case… Continue Reading

Wishfix part 2: Amarok.

Once upon a time Linux had what I think was the best music player/manager, its name was Amarok and people even brought it up as a way to try convince others to move to Linux, intelligent playlists, auto fetching of cover arts, lyrics, last.fm integration, etc, and it was great. Fast forward a few years (almost a decade to be fair) and now Amarok and all KDE music players seems to be lacking, with KDE 5.0 maybe this is the time to fix it. A cluttered mess. Look at the following picture. Is super cluttered, but what always catches my… Continue Reading

Best Xfce distro of 2013

Until about a year ago, I considered the Xfce desktop to be boring and bland and not that beautiful. I never thought it could be a decent contender for the likes of KDE and Gnome. Then, one day everything changed. It was the day Gnome 3 was born, and I figured that my favorite choice for the desktop environment was gone now, living in the shadows. While a few distributions still cling to the good ole Gnome 2, and there’s the MATE reincarnation, the landscape has been forever changed. Instability breeds opportunity, and into the vacuum came Xfce, trying to… Continue Reading

Best KDE distro of 2013

Normally, at the end of the year, I tend to run my best annual distro roundups, choosing the finest among five operating systems or flavors thereof that showed the greatest promise in terms of stability, usability, elegance, support, and other curious items in the outgoing twelve-month period. But I have never dedicated much thought to selecting the best implementation of any one particular desktop environment, regardless of the system underneath. But when you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Oftentimes, distributions rise and fall based on their desktop session, because that is what users see and interact… Continue Reading

Review: Video Transconding made easy.

More and more people own a variety of devices with different screen sizes, different resolutions and different codecs. Converting videos to a supported format, that looks good from image to subtitles, while keeping the size controlled, can be a harder task than it sounds. Thankfully there’s a pretty handy open source application called Handbrake. Useful presets Video decoding settings can be daunting to new users, and selecting the right settings requires a lot of trial and error, moreover video encoding isn’t the fastest task out there so it can end up being very time consuming. Handbrake offers a set of… Continue Reading