Tag Archives: Open

Is Open Source Becoming More Insecure? » Linux Magazine


According to a new survey by Sonatype, IT professionals are reporting an increase in security breaches in Open Source software.

According to the survey, breaches tied to open source software components increased 71% over a five-year period.

It could be interpreted in many ways. Is Open Source more insecure than proprietary software? Are more hackers targeting open source? It’s none. Open Source, by design, is more secure than proprietary software.

The blame of these breaches lies in companies like Equifax that fail to keep their software updates. Open Source software is known for patching any security hold and release fixes immediately, but ‘consumers’ of open source lack best practices to keep their stack update and then try to put the blame on Open Source.

The fact is, open source, like any other software, is prone to bugs. Bugs are part of the software development process. However, the open source development model makes it extremely easy for users to patch any such holes without having to rely on the vendor.

Another interpretation is that there is an increase in breach not because open source is becoming more insecure, but because more and more companies are now using open source without actually adopting best practices that they should.

The survey quoted Jonas Manalansan, a cybersecurity engineer of Northrup Grumman, “Successful DevSecOps projects are able to bring security into the DevOps processes without slowing them down. All in all, DevSecOps delivers reduced cost, reduced development churn, and reduced application attack surface, which delivers higher ‘security and higher confidence to the organization’.”

So, in a nutshell, there is no increase in breaches related to open source, there is an increase in the adoption of open source and these users must embrace best practices.



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GhostBSD: A Solid Linux-Like Open Source Alternative | Reviews


By Jack M. Germain

Feb 21, 2019 10:54 AM PT

GhostBSD: A Solid Linux-Like Open Source Alternative

The subject of this week’s Linux Picks and Pans is a representative of a less well-known computing platform that coexists with Linux as an open source operating system. If you thought that the Linux kernel was the only open source engine for a free OS, think again. BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) shares many of the same features that make Linux OSes viable alternatives to proprietary computing platforms.

GhostBSD is a user-friendly Linux-like desktop operating system based on
TrueOS. TrueOS is, in turn, based on FreeBSD’s development branch. TrueOS’ goal is to combine the stability and security of FreeBSD with a preinstalled GNOME, MATE, Xfce, LXDE or Openbox graphical user interface.

I stumbled on TrueOS while checking out new desktop environments and features in recent new releases of a few obscure Linux distros. Along the way, I discovered that today’s BSD computing family is not the closed source Unix platform the “BSD” name might suggest.

In last week’s Redcore Linux
review, I mentioned that the
Lumina desktop environment was under development for an upcoming Redcore Linux release. Lumina is being developed primarily for BSD OSes. That led me to circle back to a
review I wrote two years ago on Lumina being developed for Linux.

GhostBSD is a pleasant discovery. It has nothing to do with being spooky, either. That goes for both the distro and the open source computing family it exposes.

Keep reading to find out what piqued my excitement about Linux-like GhostBSD.

The Lumina Mission Unfolds

The Lumina desktop can be installed manually on a few compatible Linux distros. I wrote about that in my initial review of Lumina’s potential for Linux. However, the Lumina desktop in Linux is still not readily available without heavy-duty tinkering.

Lumina is the default desktop for a few BSD projects, so my initial hope for this week was to review TrueOS, a BSD project running the Lumina Desktop natively. Ken Moore is the founder and lead developer of the Lumina desktop environment and a developer with the former PC-BSD project that became TrueOS.

Alas, TrueOS has been discontinued as a standalone release with the Lumina desktop. Today, TrueOS is a platform for building other operating systems.

The Lumina desktop is a part of
Project Trident. Still wanting to take a closer look at the redesigned Lumina 2.0, I hoped to check it out via the Project Trident BSD release.

That approach failed. I could not get Trident to install. It does not have a live session ISO and balked at installing on my test computer’s hard drive or in a virtual machine.

Shift to Plan C

This brief foray into a Linux-like alternative piqued my curiosity about other open source alternatives. So I looked at
GhostBSD for this week’s Picks and Pans review.

Why GhostBSD? Its latest release is fairly current. The latest release is Version 1812 released on Dec. 31 of last year.

When I started asking around community support boards about various BSD distributions, recommendations for it were quite positive. However, I could not delve into the Lumina desktop as originally planned with TrueOS and Project Trident.

Previous releases of GhostBSD offered two desktop choices: MATE and Xfce. The latest release is only available with MATE, though, which is an extension of the old GNOME 2 desktop. Still, MATE is an interesting user interface to compare BSD to traditional Linux distros.


GhostBSD's MATE desktop screenshot

GhostBSD’s MATE desktop offers the look and feel of any Linux distro running the same desktop environment.

– click image to enlarge –


BSD Misnomer

What once was called “BSD” no longer exists. Back in 1969, BSD was developed by a team at Bell Labs and become Unix. BSD was a closed source OS using the Assembly language.

BSD underwent significant rewriting in the C programming language. Its derivatives are the direct descendants of Unix. The macOS, the operating system driving Apple machines, is also a closed source descendant of the BSD family.

The original BSD operating system no longer exists. Its name lives on in reference to the existing family of BSD derivatives, which evolved into operating system families that were developed and supported by open source communities. They include FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD and other distributions.

FreeBSD, of which GhostBSD is a relative, targets typical users migrating to open source from Windows and Linux. FreeBSD accounts for about 80 percent of the BSD installations, according to some communities.

The differences among these open source variants are small. So are the differences between Linux and BSD.

What’s the Difference?

Linux and BSD share numerous traits. The common ground they share outweighs the differences.

The Linux OS behaves similarly to Unix. Hence it is described as being a “Unix-like” operating system. However, Linux does not have any direct connection to Unix. On the other hand, BSD started out as a closed source OS, but its derivatives are the direct descendants of Unix.

Both Linux and BSD operating systems are a collection of open source projects managed by different project maintainers. The major distinguishing trait between Linux and BSD is who controls the kernels.

No one person controls the BSD kernels. Linus Torvalds created the Linux kernel. What happens within the Linux kernel development is strictly under Torvalds’ singular control.

Linux developers use the Linux kernel to create a Linux distribution after stacking other components. The Linux kernel combined with GNU software and other components produces a Linux operating system. BSD developers create a complete operating system.

Pickier Packages

BSD package management has issues as well. Linux has more choices with its delivery system of precompiled binary packages. You can install software using package managers like APT, yum, pacman, etc.

Not so with BSD. For instance, FreeBSD relies on ports to install applications on the operating system. The FreeBSD Ports Collection includes more than 25,000 ports.

The ports contain the source code users must compile on the machine. This makes FreeBSD a bit of a challenge for unfamiliar users. However, there is some movement toward a more convenient method of installing BSD software using precompiled binary packages.

Another significant difference between Linux and BSD is how licenses regulate their distributions. Linux is distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL). The GPL is designed to eliminate closed source software. It requires any derivative work to be supplied with source code if requested.

By contrast, the BSD license is less restrictive in that binary-only distributions are allowed. The BSD License does not make it compulsory for developers to disclose the source code. It is up to the creators whether they want to make the code open source or not. This makes BSD attractive for embedded applications.

Which Is Better?

That is a loaded question — so I’ll offer a loaded answer. It depends on your needs and your technical skills. My first impressions from dabbling with BSD are twofold.

One, it looks more grown-up than it behaves. BSD resembles the scattered performance of some infant Linux distros.

Two, Linux operating systems are more reliable out of the box. Linux communities have developed better support from hardware vendors over the years.

I see BSD today in much the same place as Linux was in a decade ago. BSD replicates the look and feel of various Linux OSes with familiar desktop environments. Linux is easier to use, especially for less technically savvy users.

Ghost Apparitions

Let’s take a look at GhostBSD running the MATE desktop. Its live session ISO runs DVD and USB drive.

The live session format makes it easier to try out than other BSD offerings. I found the live session experience to be a bit clunkier than a full hard drive installation, however.


Ghost BSD's MATE default panels and an optional docking bar.

Ghost BSD’s MATE design lets you run by default two panels and an optional docking bar.

– click image to enlarge –


GhostBSD is an operating system developed by French Canadian Eric Turgeon. He created this BSD distro to create a GNOME-style distro of FreeBSD. Its target use is to perform casual tasks. Its focus is mainly on helping Linux and Windows users get familiar with BSD.

The distro’s name is formed by heavily borrowing from that design goal. It stands for (G)nome (host)ed on Free(BSD). The original pronunciation emphasized a three-syllable sound pattern as in ‘G’ ‘host’ ‘BSD’, according to comments Turgeon posted as part of an online Question and Answer session.

Look and Feel

Anyone familiar with earlier GNOME desktop designs or the MATE desktop itself will feel right at home with GhostBSD. The only snags will come from the system usage procedures regarding software management.

The desktop design sports two panels plus an optional docking bar, or Plank. The background images include a stunning collection of nature photos.


GhostBSD appearance preferences screenshot

GhostBSD does not skimp on providing an attraction collection of background images.

– click image to enlarge –


The top panel bar holds launch buttons for the applications menu, Places and System tools on the left end. The far-right end holds the usual notifications display area for network connections, battery status, speaker controls and date.

The bottom panel holds the Show Desktop button in the far left corner. The far-right edge of the panel is preconfigured with the workspace switcher applet. It comes set with four workspaces. You can adjust the settings easily by right-clicking on the applet and selecting the Preferences option.

The large middle sections of both upper and lower panel bars are empty. You can right-click on the panel to adjust its properties or add a new panel or panel applets.

Other Navigational Niceties

The Plank sits on the bottom center of the screen. It is optional, but it is worth using as a special docking bar and Quick Launcher for frequently used applications. You also can use it in place of the bottom panel.

Either way, running applications appear as small silhouettes on the bottom panel. They also display their icons on the Plank if it is activated. A small dot appears under the icon docked on the Plank.

You can place launch icons on the bottom panel bar or add them to the Favorites column in the main menu. Just right-click on an application’s name in the menu list and select the locations where you want to add or remove them. You also can add application launch icons on the desktop.

Overall, navigating your way around the MATE desktop could not be easier. The Control Panel and other system tools make it equally easy to adjust the settings so GhostBSD will play your way.

Playing the Programs

The applications themselves in GhostBSD do not differ much, if at all, from their counterparts when running on Linux. This makes it easy to transition from Linux to at least this flavor of BSD.

Of course, someone coming directly from the Windows, OS X or macOS systems will have to get acquainted with the change in nomenclature and the way the applications perform. Even if a new BSD user is familiar with Linux applications of other Linux distros, not all of the included programs will be familiar.

In the case of adopting GhostBD, its use of the MATE desktop brings with it a proclivity for quite a few MATE-specific applications. That same situation no doubt exists with the use of KDE-flavored applications. Some distros in both Linux and BSD include applications keenly designed with that family in mind.

That can be a bit more of an issue with the BSD family of operating systems. BSD has considerably fewer applications than the computing world of Linux. BSD developers have tried to create a Linux compatibility package to run Linux applications on BSD. So far, that is a work in progress.

Some of the applications bundled with GhostBSD include standards such as the Pluma text editor, Eye of MATE Image Viewer and the Caja file manager. Other general usage applications that come with GhostBSD include Cheese Web Cam, GNOME MPlayer, Xburn CD/DVD creator, Exaile music player, and the Shotwell photo manager.

Other Linux standards included in GhostBSD are the Firefox Web browser, Pidgin Internet Messenger, Thunderbird email client and the Transmission Bittorrent download tool. You also get the CUPS printer manager and an almost current version of the LibreOffice suite.

Bottom Line

Overall, aside from the system tools and the installation process, I did not see much not to like in running this BSD operating system. I experienced some annoyance when things failed to work just right, but I felt no frustrations that led me to give up on trying to use GhostBSD or find solutions to mishaps. I could provide a litany of Linux distros that did not measure up that well.

Some lingering problems for which I am still seeking workarounds are why my USB storage drives intermittently are not recognized and fail to mount. Another issue is why some of the preinstalled applications do not fully load. They either do not respond to launching at all, or crash before fully displaying anything beyond a white application window.

I suspect that part of the answer to the USB drive problem rests with BSD not being fully Plug N Play compatible. That is what makes GhostBSD an ideal operating system to dig into and make it more user acceptable.

Check back in upcoming weeks for more insight into running other Linux-like BSD distributions from the realms of FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, DragonFly BSD and other distributions.

One last thing: You no doubt know that Tux is the Penguin mascot for Linux. BSD has its own mascot. It is the BSD Daemon or Beastie, a cute-looking demon cartoon creature.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please
email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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Outreachy Summer 2019 Applications Open With Expanded Eligibility


FREE SOFTWARE --

Outreachy, the program formerly known as the Outreach Program for Women and intended to get more females and other under-represented groups in technology engaged with Linux/open-source projects, has opened up their application process for those seeking a summer internship while receiving a $5,500 USD stipend.

Outreachy has been going for a number of years now and for the summer 2019 round they’ve expanded the eligibility slightly to encourage more under-represented groups engaged with open-source development. The main focus of Outreachy remains with “women (both cis and trans), trans men, and genderqueer people to apply. We also expressly invite applications who are residents and nationals of the United States of America of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/[email protected], Native American/American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

But beginning this round, they are also opening the application process to “anyone who faces systemic bias or discrimination in the technology industry of their country is invited to apply.” For evaluating the systemic bias or discrimination, an essay question was added to the application process about what discrimination they may have faced or otherwise think they could face in seeking employment.

Also different beginning this round is only students (update: for non-student participants, this restriction does not apply) from the Northern Hemisphere can apply to this May to August round while the Southern Hemisphere round is being deemed the December to March round moving forward.

Another change with Outreachy for students applying is they no longer need to be full-time students but could be part-time students. Questions about school credits/classes have been dropped from the application while warning that false information is against their Code of Conduct.

Among the open-source projects participating in Outreachy for this upcoming round include Fedora to work on “Fedora Happiness Packets”, LibreHealth to improve code and documentation, OCaml with testing, OpenStack, and Wikimedia.

More details on this next round of the program at Outreachy.org.


Top Open Source Tools for Staying on Time and on Task | Reviews


By Jack M. Germain

Jan 11, 2019 10:53 AM PT

Keeping up to date with multiple daily activity calendars, tons of information, and long must-do lists can be a never-ending challenge. This week’s Linux Picks and Pans reviews the best open source Personal Information Managers (PIMs) that will serve you well on whatever Linux distribution you run.

In theory, computer tools should make managing a flood of personal and business information child’s play. In practice, however, many PIM tool sets are isolated from your other devices. This, of course, makes it difficult, if not impossible, to share essential information across your smartphone, desktop, laptop and tablet.

There are some obvious cloud solutions that ease the hassle of accessing personal and business information across devices. For instance, you can access Microsoft’s proprietary OneNote software for free via the cloud on your Linux gear, including Android and Chromebook devices.

As long as you have a free Microsoft email account, you can access your OneNote content directly from your browser or via the OneNote app available for most platforms. The only roadblock with Microsoft is using it on portable devices (laptops and tablets) beyond a certain screen size.

Google offers similar cloud-based PIM solutions with its Keep note-taking and Tasks to-do list services. Keep has numerous features for cataloging notes and imported images using labels and color options. Tasks lets you enter a simple event to track, as well as drill down to storing details and due dates.

If you use Google’s Chrome Web browser, you can integrate both the Keep and Tasks content as part of the Google Calendar display for added flexibility.

OneNote, Tasks and Keep serve different purposes and let you take the PIM process only so far. All three solutions lack specific tracking and reminder features that true PIM packages provide. Still, they do provide a reliable measure of cross-platform access for basic PIM functionality.

You already may be using these Microsoft or Google cloud-based tools. However, if your needs do not require sharing information on multiple devices, one of the following more traditional Linux PIM packages may be more to your liking.

Osmo: Info Management Done Simple

Osmo is a lightweight yet feature-heavy do-it-all PIM for any Linux desktop. It is an ideal all-around PIM that manages appointments, tasks, contacts and notes.


Osmo full-featured do-it-all PIM for any Linux desktop

Osmo is a full-featured do-it-all PIM for any Linux desktop. It manages appointments, tasks, contacts and notes.


Osmo’s design is not unlike other datebook-style calendars. You can choose a horizontal or vertical orientation. The preferences panel lets you juggle several appearance and functionality options for each of the components. These include the Calendar, Task List, Contacts and Notes databases. You even can hide PIM components to match the way you use Osmo.

Osmo employs a plain XML database to store all personal data. Find this file on the hard drive and copy it to a thumb drive to make Osmo portable, and to update the PIM on other Linux devices. Osmo does not have a real file storage exchange mechanism. A backup and restore features helps to automate this process.

Moving around the app is simple. Click the tab for the desired component. The display shows the current month with markers indicating days with events entered. Below the current month’s display is a selector arrow to show previous and next month.

The day note icon pops up a note entry screen for the selected date and shows it at the bottom of the app window. The day note panel has a tool row of buttons to modify the text display of information you enter.

The Notes panel is surprisingly flexible. For instance, the opening note screen shows a file-list type of directory display. You can use its dropdown menus to select a note category. A handy search window lets you find information in the notes database rapidly. Icons let you add a new note, select an existing note for editing, or delete a note from the list.

The contact component in Osmo is fairly slick. It has an icon and tool row along with a search window similar to the Notes component. These include New, Remove and Edit buttons. The search box finds matches as you type. The contact panel also has options to show birthdays, and buttons to import and export contacts.

A nice touch is a globe button that shows a contact’s location on a map. Osmo lets you choose either Google, Bing or OpenStreetMap as a map provider source.

While Osmo does not sync with other computers or a Web-based calendar, it does much of what you would expect from a solid PIM. Osmo does very well what it was designed to do — keep track of your lists, calendar events and contacts.

Osmo’s Last Update: 8-26-2018

Journal Life With RedNotebook

RedNotebook is built around the concept of a simple design with enhanced features. This application is much more than a daily diary maker. Its flexible design is a perfect platform for storing notes and information tracking.


RedNotebook

RedNotebook’s flexible design is a perfect platform for storing notes and information tracking.


It is an information magnet that lets you add files, links, images and notes divided into categories. Assigning tags to your entries adds a sophisticated way to organize the content. The ability to insert images, files and links to websites makes it very viable as a general note-taking program.

The design incorporates tags and other cool navigational features that drive RedNotebook’s functionality. Its interface is divided into three parts.

On the left is the calendar. Click a day within any month to see the content appear in the display panel in the center. The annotations panel is to the right. Annotations are notes that elaborate on the basic diary entry. You can sort annotations into categories easily.

RedNotebook’s features include easy calendar navigation, numerous customizable templates, export functionality and word clouds. It also lets you format, tag and search your entries, something that other diary and note apps do not offer.

Along with spell-checking capability, RedNotebook has some nice advanced-level features, including the ability to export in PDF format, drag and drop content between entries, and display markup highlighting. Plus, it automatically saves at set intervals and upon exit.

To facilitate use on multiple computers, you can save your journals on a remote server. The application by default makes Zipped backup copies of all entries upon exit.

Another cool feature is Word Cloud. RedNotebook keeps track of your most-often-used words in the note entries. Click on the Clouds tab to view this list. Select your category or tag clouds by clicking on the scroll-down menu. Right click on any words in the cloud that you want removed. Or you can add these words to the blacklist menu in the Preferences menu option to filter them out.

Use RedNotebook for a combination of things to keep track of daily information, activities and links to other reference files. You also can use it to maintain a running to-do list. The advantage to this feature is never having to enter a start or end date.

Last Update: 11-15-2018

qOrganizing for Multiple Device Use

qOrganizer goes a long way toward solving usage issues on multiple computers. This PIM does a nice job of going head-to-head with other information managers to track and manage your day.

You might have some trouble getting it from your distro’s repository, however. qOrganizer is readily available at Sourceforge, but it is available only in 32-bit architecture. You will have to unzip the archived file and manually install the program. Still, qOrganizer should run on your system and is worthy of a tryout.


qOrganizer

qOrganizer has a useful collection of tools that give it an edge over other PIM solutions.


qOrganizer is a general organizer that includes a calendar with schedule, reminders, journal/notes and a to-do list. Its comprehensive collection of components and simple interface give this app a fresh, innovative approach to tracking your important activities.

One of gOrganizer’s most unique components makes it a cool tool for the academic set, both high school and college level. Its Timetable and Booklet features are unique to general purpose PIMs.

qOrganizer has an intuitive design so it mostly works the way you would use a handwritten day planner with pen on a page. Click an entry line and type your information. All the controls are handled by icons that switch easily from Calendar to To-Do List and other features. Icons in the tool row put every control one click away.

This PIM automatically saves all your data. You can choose the storing mode: text files, an SQlite database or MySQL database for transferring over the Internet. This gives you a way to sort of sync your PIM content on all your computers.

This app prints each module as a separate page, so you can carry a printed version of just the calendar, the to-do list, the timetable or the booklet.

Finding information stored in qOrganizer is fast and easy. A search window with previous and next buttons is located on the bottom right of the display. This tool searches for the entry data in any of the components.

A neat feature is data entry shortcuts. You can enter the number in the to-do start and deadline columns. The full date appears. The Priority column lets you enter a ranking number for each task. Click the arrow that appears in the entry line to have date selection calendar pop up.

The right side of the task display is the completed column. You can enter a number to show the percent of completion. A progress bar fills in the line.

The calendar page display is a split screen. The month fills the top left. The bottom left is the daily schedule for the highlighted date. The right side of the panel is the journal or note entry for the selected calendar date.

qOrganizer has a useful collection of tools that gives it an edge over other PIM solutions. It is too bad that the developer no longer provides updates for this open source project.

Making Informational Kontact

Kontact has its roots in the K Desktop environment. Originally, it was an integral set of tools designed as part of the KDE desktop. It still is.

However, you can use this integrated PIM with nearly any Linux distro. In most cases, any dependencies will be installed along with the core Kontact components.


Kontact information manager

Kontact’s integration makes it a more powerful information manager than other tools in this roundup. It displays email, address books, calendars, tasks, news feeds and other personal or business data in one window.


The integration built into Kontact makes it a more powerful information manager than other tools in this roundup. It supports the display of email, address books, calendars, tasks, news feeds and other personal or business data in one window.

The integration includes a PIM back end and the graphical applications connecting to the back end. The components include agents to merge new data with the existing data set, such as contacts and news.

This integration involves groupware servers that give your workgroup members access to shared email folders, group task lists, calendar sharing, central address books and meeting scheduling.

Kontact is not one program. In essence, it is a symbiotic collection of essential KDE tools.

One of its key components is Akonadi. This is a framework named after the oracle goddess of justice in Ghana. This framework provides applications with a centralized database to store, index and retrieve personal information, including emails, contacts, calendars, events, journals, alarms and notes.

Kontact’s other components:

  • Akregator — to read selected news feeds;
  • KAddressBook — to manage contacts;
  • KMail — to provide mail client services;
  • KNotes — to post sticky notes on the Desktop;
  • KOrganizer — to provide calendar, scheduling and journal/notes management;
  • Summary — to display an information summary screen;
  • KJots — to organize your ideas into a notebook structure that includes calendars, information and to-do lists.

This multifaceted PIM package helps you manage your information overload more easily. The result is better productivity and efficiency. The combination of tools and back-end servers offers additional benefits of group collaboration as a business tool.

Makagiga: The All-in-One PIM

Makagiga is an easy-to-use PIM solution that does everything. The project is about four years young. In fact, compared to the other products in this roundup, it is one of the most modern approaches to managing personal information.


Makagiga interface

Makagiga uses a modern, smart interface that contributes to its intuitive ability to handle to-do listing, text editing and RSS reading. It uses add-ons to implement its various capabilities.


Makagiga does just about anything you need it to do. It is a capable to-do manager. It handles note-taking with ease. It edits images you package into your notes.

Plus, it uses plug-ins to provide Web searching, an OpenStreetMap viewer, a thesaurus, and a LaTex/ Markdown/BB Code previewer. It can capture screenshots to integrate as notes, and it can generate bar codes.

Makagiga uses a modern, smart interface that contributes to its intuitive ability to handle to-do listing, text editing and RSS reading. It uses add-ons to implement its various capabilities.

Among them are a collection of widgets to provide calendars and sticky notes.

The main window displays a tree directory view for folders and feeds to the left. It shows a large pin board to the right. The window uses tabs to show changing content in the pin board — Widgets, Calendar and To-Do list.

A horizontal menu bar sits at the top of the main window.

A settings dialog sits under the settings option of both the View and Tools menu. Dialogues configure the software. The menu structure changes when a pin board tab is activated.

You can find the settings dialog for designing the view by selecting the Widgets tab. The three context-sensitive menus (Wallpaper, Colors and Border, Workspaces) are used to enhance the pin board’s visual appearance. Basic modifications are performed in the Tools | Settings menu.

The To-Do manager is one of the best in this roundup. You can set task priorities, assign them dates/times, and even organize them into categories. You also can add colors and tags for more organizational distinctions.

The Image editor has options to resize, rotate or flip pictures. It also has simple annotation tools and an inventory of filters and special effects.

The Notepad is more basic than I prefer. It limps along without a find-and-replace function. It does have word count, syntax highlighting and an HTML preview.

This application has mouse gesture support for 17 actions you can perform easily.

Latest version: Makagiga 6.4 | 11-17-2018

Bottom Line

Personal Information Management is a software category being overshadowed by cloud services and dedicated apps on portable devices. That is one reason there are few new contenders among open source PIM applications available for the Linux platform.

The titles in this roundup are solid performers. They offer a variety of options. They also share a similar look and feel. So trying out several of these PIMs is easy. Compare the features, and choose the best tool to meet your needs.

Want to Suggest a Review?

Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please
email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!


Jack M. Germain has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2003. His main areas of focus are enterprise IT, Linux and open source technologies. He has written numerous reviews of Linux distros and other open source software.
Email Jack.





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Microsoft Gets an Open Source Web Browser » Linux Magazine


The “new” Microsoft under Satya Nadella is now going deeper with Open Source. The company is dropping its own technologies that power its Edge web browser, which replaced Internet Explore. But instead of reinventing the wheel and creating their browser from scratch, Microsoft will use Google’s Open Source Chromium browser as the base of its web browser.

Microsoft will cease to use the EdgeHTML rendering engine for its Chromium-based web browser and will use Google’s Blink rendering engine.

“We will move to a Chromium-compatible web platform for Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Our intent is to align the Microsoft Edge web platform simultaneously (a) with web standards and (b) with other Chromium-based browsers,” said Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of Windows in a blog post.“

Microsoft is also planning to bring its Chromium-based web browser to competing platforms like macOS. “We also expect this work to enable us to bring Microsoft Edge to other platforms like macOS. Improving the web-platform experience for both end users and developers requires that the web platform and the browser be consistently available to as many devices as possible,” said Belfiore.

Will, it also come to Linux? Does this also mean that one day we may see Linux-powered Windows? Time will tell.



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