Posted by: duskfire | January 6, 2013

Another new year

It is now 2013. My main laptop, now over 3 years old, has 7 keys that I cannot enter using the keyboard, but must use an on-screen one instead. Along with the heat problem I have during the summer and the lack of a working CD drive, I’m hoping to get a new laptop this year. I looked at Newegg.com and there are some really good choices in the $650 to $800 range.

Near the end of the year, the Linux community received great news – a way has been found to run Netflix streaming without using a virtual machine that contains a Windows operating system. I tried it myself and it definitely works quite well, and is fairly simple to install. The one drawback is that the current solution is only for Ubuntu Linux or distributions such as Zorin and Linux Mint which are based on Ubuntu.

Together with the new Steam for Linux beta that has gotten started, I actually think that my next computer will not need to dual-boot Windows 8 at all, but run Linux full time. (Unfortunately, my budget makes it impossible to purchase from ZaReason or System76, who sell pre-installed Linux computers. Getting a computer with the graphics card and specs that I prefer at a cost under $1,000 still means buying a laptop pre-installed with Windows).

Last year I reviewed ten Linux distributions (the same as in 2011), and took a look at several popular games (Frogatto, Super Mario Kart, Super Maryo Chronicles), along with a few RPGs. I stopped blogging for a few months at the end of the year, which unfortunately meant that I never finished the Dink Smallwood RPG. I also never continued a series on learning Linux From Scratch, but hopefully I will resume that this year.

I also had written articles discussing the best casual games available for the KDE and GNOME desktops, with the idea that when your friends visit, they might enjoy some well known favorites if they ask you what there is to play on your computer.

I did try Ubuntu’s distribution in the spring finally, and mostly liked it. Their Unity desktop isn’t really my cup of tea, but there are many who do seem to like using it. But in the fall, Canonical managed to generate new controversy over a decision to partner with Amazon and offer users the ability to search and shop directly from the desktop without opening a browser. The implementation of this was widely criticized, and it remains to be seen whether Ubuntu will make substantial changes in this application before they lose more goodwill. If you are using Ubuntu, it’s quite easy to remove the Amazon shopping “lens” feature, and it really only affects people who use the default Unity desktop.

Fedora’s 18th edition was not released last year, and is scheduled for later this month. I plan to review it, but I have not really been happy with the way GNOME 3 has progressed lately. I guess it’s losing its charm for me.

Along with the major distributions that I reviewed, I discovered some little known ones (such as Peppermint OS) that proved to be quite useful.

At the moment, I’m planning to continue mixing reviews of well known distributions with others. On the list at the moment are Mageia 3, Linux Mint 15, Fedora 18, Slackware 14, possibly Ubuntu 13.04, Sabayon, openSUSE (KDE), and a few others like Chakra and Arch.

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