How to Install WeChat for PC on Fedora

Disclaimer: This post follows similar steps as documented by Ferrolho on his blog post regarding installing WeChat for PC using Wine on Ubuntu so credits go to him.

In this post I will describe how to install WeChat for PC on Fedora 33 using Wine.

Installing WineHQ

Add the repository:

sudo dnf config-manager --add-repo https://dl.winehq.org/wine-builds/fedora/33/winehq.repo

Install the staging branch:

sudo dnf install winehq-staging

Install those extra dependencies to make WeChat application launch:

sudo dnf install samba samba-winbind* mesa-dri-drivers.i686

Setup Wine

Open a terminal (Ctrl + Alt + T) and run the following commands:

export WINEARCH=win32
export WINEPREFIX=~/.wine32
winecfg

When you run the winecfg command for the first time, Wine will start to setup the required environment under the specified WINEPREFIX, which in this case we set to ~/.wine32.

You should be prompted to install Wine Mono and Wine Gecko. Choose Install for both.

If you are using a HiDPI screen, it might be worth scaling the interface under Screen resolution, in the Graphics tab

Providing a Chinese font

For the Chinese characters to be rendered correctly we need to provide Wine with a Chinese font. We will use winetricks for this, which is a helper script to download and install extra Wine stuff.

Download winetricks:

wget  https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Winetricks/winetricks/master/src/winetricks

Set the executable flag:

chmod +x winetricks

Some winetricks “packages” require a few external tools to be installed. We need cabextract:

sudo dnf install cabextract

In this step, we just install all the fonts that winetricks has in its repository:

./winetricks allfonts

Finally, we need to edit regedit to enable the font we just installed. Download this .reg file.

Open regedit with the command:

./winetricks regedit

In the Menu bar, click Registry and select Import Registry File…

When the browser shows up, select the .reg file you have just downloaded and install it.

Installing WeChat

We are now ready to install WeChat itself. Download the installer from here:

Once the download has finished, install it by running:

wine ~/Downloads/WeChatSetup.exe

The installer should start. Click on Install WeChat.

Final result

After the installation has completed, you may launch WeChat. The application should be listed in the Applications drawer.

System Tray on Gnome

If you are using Gnome on Fedora, chances are you will be greeted a nasty windowed legacy system tray/

Install this Gnome Extension and the problem will be gone:

Huawei P50 is very much on track for a 2021 launch, will be powered by flagship Kirin chip: report

Source: phoneArena

Huawei P50 is very much on track for a 2021 launch, will be powered by flagship Kirin chip: report

$750 off on Galaxy S20 5G and Galaxy Note 20 5GHuawei’s next flagship phone, the P50, will be powered by the Kirin 9000, the 5nm chip that also fuels the Mate 40 series, according to The Elec.
The Chinese company typically launches two flagship series every year and it’s not unusual for it to use the same premium chipset for its Mate and P series phones.
The situation is a little different this year, as restrictions imposed by the US means Huawei’s chip-making arm HiSilicon can no longer make new processors. The Kirin 9000 could be its last in-house chip.
It was earlier reported that the company doesn’t have enough chips to power its flagship smartphones, fueling speculations that the Huawei P50 would be underpinned by either a Qualcomm or a MediaTek SoC.
9 million Kirin 9000 SoCs were apparently shipped to Huawei by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) before a US ban went into effect.
The demand for the Mate 40 series is high in China and some variants are apparently already out of stock
Simply put, we aren’t exactly sure how Huawei will divide its meager stock of Kirin chips between its two flagship series, given that demand for the Mate 40 lineup alone could be over 10 million units this year.
It will probably help that the company no longer has to worry about equipping Honor-branded phones with Kirin chips as the subsidiary has been sold

Samsung and LG will apparently make OLED panels for the Huawei P50

The Elec also says that Samsung and LG will be supplying OLED panels for the Huawei P50. It’s not clear if the company will make any more units of the Mate 40 series phones.
Huawei reportedly shipped 44 million units of P and Mate series phones in 2019. The company says its sales shrunk by 60 million units in 2019 because of the sanctions levied by the US. Needless to say, shipments will likely dip even further this year.

Windows 10 update created a major password problem

Source: TechRadar

Users no longer able to save account credentials following Windows 10 update

passwords
(Image credit: Shutterstock / vladwel)

Microsoft has detailed a temporary fix for a frustrating Windows 10 bug that prevents software from storing account credentials, meaning the user has to re-enter their username and password each time they log-in.

The flaw is also said to delete cookies held in web browsers, preventing websites from memorizing credentials and serving bespoke content to the user.

First reported in April, the issue is present in specific builds of Windows 10 version 2004 and affects applications such as OutlookChromeEdgeOneDrive and more.

Windows 10 passwords issue

Although users have struggled with the Windows 10 issue for months now, Microsoft has only recently acknowledged the issue in an official capacity in the form of a support notice

“After installing Windows 10 Version 2004 Build 19041.173 and related updates you will find that Outlook and other applications do not remember your password anymore,” explained the firm.

“The issue occurs when some Windows 10 Task Scheduler tasks are configured in a certain way. Until a fix is available, a workaround is to disable these tasks using Task Scheduler.”

To implement the temporary fix, right-click the Start Menu, select Windows PowerShell (Admin) and enter the following command: 

“Get-ScheduledTask | foreach { If (([xml](Export-ScheduledTask -TaskName $_.TaskName -TaskPath $_.TaskPath)).GetElementsByTagName(“LogonType”).’#text’ -eq “S4U”) { $_.TaskName } }”

If any tasks are listed in the PowerShell window, note them down and launch the Task Scheduler app. Once you’ve located the relevant tasks, disable them via the right-click drop-down menu. Restarting the affected device should then resolve the issue.

It is not clear at this stage when Microsoft will roll out a full fix for the problem.

11 Linux Distributions You Can Rely on for Your Ancient 32-bit Computer

Source: It’s FOSS

If you’ve been keeping up with the latest Linux distributions, you must have noticed that 32-bit support has been dropped from most of the popular Linux distributions. Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, everyone has dropped the support for this older architecture.

But, what if you have vintage hardware with you that still needs to be revived or you want to make use of it for something? Fret not, there are still a few options left to choose from for your 32-bit system.

In this article, I’ve tried to compile some of the best Linux distributions that will keep on supporting 32-bit platform for next few years.

Top Linux distributions that still offer 32-bit support

32 Bit Linux

This list is a bit different from our earlier list of Linux distributions for old laptops. Even 64-bit computers can be considered old if they were released before 2010. This is why some suggestions listed there included distros that only support 64-bit now.

The information presented here are correct as per my knowledge and findings but if you find otherwise, please let me know in the comment section.

Before you go on, I suppose you know how to check if you have a 32 bit or 64 bit computer.

1. Debian

Debian Screenshot
Image Credits: mrneilypops / Deviantart

Debian is a fantastic choice for 32-bit systems because they still support it with their latest stable release. At the time of writing this, the latest stable release Debian 10 “buster” offers a 32-bit version and is supported until 2024.

If you’re new to Debian, it is worth mentioning that you get solid documentation for everything on their official wiki. So, it shouldn’t be an issue to get started.

You can browse through the available installers to get it installed. However, before you proceed, I would recommend referring to the list of things to remember before installing Debian in addition to its installation manual.

Debian

2. Slax

Slax Screenshot

If you just want to quickly boot up a device for some temporary work, Slax is an impressive option.

It is based on Debian but it aims to be a portable and fast option that is meant to be run through USB devices or DVDs. You can download the 32-bit ISO file from their website for free or purchase a rewritable DVD/encrypted pendrive with Slax pre-installed.

Of course, this isn’t meant to replace a traditional desktop operating system. But, yes, you do get the 32-bit support with Debian as its base.

Slax

3. AntiX

Antix 19.1
Image Credits: Opensourcefeed

Yet another impressive Debian-based distribution. AntiX is popularly known as a systemd-free distribution which focuses on performance while being a lightweight installation.

It is perfectly suitable for just about any old 32-bit system. To give you an idea, it just needs 256 MB RAM and 2.7 GB storage space at the very least. Not just easy to install, but the user experience is focused for both newbies and experienced users as well.

You should get the latest version based on Debian’s latest stable branch available.

AntiX

4. openSUSE

Opensuse 15.1 GNOME screenshot

openSUSE is an independent Linux distribution that supports 32-bit systems as well. Even though the latest regular version (Leap) does not offer 32-bit images, the rolling release edition (Tumbleweed) does provide 32-bit image.

It will be an entirely different experience if you’re new. However, I suggest you to go through the reasons why you should be using openSUSE.

It is mostly focused for developers and system administrators but you can utilize it as an average desktop user as well. It is worth noting that openSUSE is not meant to run on vintage hardware — so you have to make sure that you have at least 2 GB RAM, 40+ GB storage space, and a dual core processor.

openSUSE

5. Emmabuntüs

Emmabuntus Xfce

Emmabuntus is an interesting distribution that aims to extend the life of the hardware to reduce waste of raw materials with 32-bit support. As a group they’re also involved in providing computers and digital technologies to schools.

It offers two different editions, one based on Ubuntu and the other based on Debian. If you want a longer 32-bit support, you may want to go with the Debian edition. It may not be the best option, but with a number of pre-configured software to make the Linux learning experience easy and 32-bit support, it is a decent option if you want to support their cause in the process.

Emmanbuntus

6. NixOS

Nixos Kde
Nixos KDE Edition (Image Credits: Distrowatch)

NixOS is yet another independent Linux distribution that supports 32-bit systems. It focuses on providing a reliable system where packages are isolated from each other.

This may not be directly geared towards average users but it is a KDE-powered usable distribution with a unique approach to package management. You can learn more about its features from its official website.

NixOS

7. Gentoo Linux

Gentoo Linux

If you’re an experienced Linux user and looking for a 32-bit Linux distributions, Gentoo Linux should be a great choice.

You can easily configure, compile, and install a kernel through package manager with Gentoo Linux if you want. Not just limited to its configurability, which it is popularly known for, you will also be able to run it without any issues on older hardware.

Even if you’re not an experienced user and want to give it a try, simply read through the installation instructions and you will be in for an adventure.

Gentoo Linux

8. Devuan

Devuan Beowulf

Devuan is yet another systemd-free distribution. It is technically a fork of Debian, just without systemd and encouraging Init freedom.

It may not be a very popular Linux distribution for an average user but if you want a systemd-free distribution and 32-bit support, Devuan should be a good option.

Devuan

9. Void Linux

Void Linux

Void Linux is an interesting distribution independently developed by volunteers. It aims to be a general purpose OS while offering a stable rolling release cycle. It features runit as the init system instead of systemd and gives you the option of several desktop environments.

It has an extremely impressive minimum requirement specification with just 96 MB of RAM paired up with Pentium 4 (or equivalent) chip. Try it out!

Void Linux

10. Q4OS

Q4OS Deonaire

Q4OS is another Debian-based distribution that focuses on providing a minimal and fast desktop user experience. It also happens to be one of the best lightweight Linux distributions in our list. It features the Trinity desktop for its 32-bit edition and you can find KDE Plasma support on 64-bit version.

Similar to Void Linux, Q4OS also runs on a bare minimum of at least 128 MB RAM and a 300 MHz CPU with a 3 GB storage space requirement. It should be more than enough for any vintage hardware. So, I’d say, you should definitely try it out!

To know more about it, you can also check out our review of Q4OS.

Q$OS

11: MX Linux

Mx Linux 19 2 Kde

If you’ve got a slightly decent configuration (not completely vintage but old), MX Linux would be my personal recommendation for 32-bit systems. It also happens to be one of the best Linux distributions for every type of user.

In general, MX Linux is a fantastic lightweight and customizable distribution based on Debian. You get the option to choose from KDE, XFCE or Fluxbox (which is their own desktop environment for older hardware). You can explore more about it on their official website and give it a try.

MX Linux

Honorable Mention: Funtoo

Funtoo is a Gentoo-based community-developed Linux distribution. It focuses on giving you the best performance with Gentoo Linux along with some extra packages to make the experience complete for users. It is also interesting to note that the development is actually led by Gentoo Linux’s creator Daniel Robbins.

Of course, if you’re new to Linux, you may not have the best experience here. But, it does support 32-bit systems and works well across many older Intel/AMD chipsets. Explore more about it on its official website to see if you want to try it out.

Funtoo

Wrapping Up

I focused the list on Debian-based and some Independent distributions. However, if you don’t mind long term support and just want to get your hands on a 32-bit supported image, you can try any Ubuntu 18.04 based distributions (or any official flavour) as well.

At the time of writing this, they just have a few more months of software support left. Hence, I avoided mentioning it as the primary options. But, if you like Ubuntu 18.04 based distros or any of its flavours, you do have options like LXLELinux LiteZorin Lite 15, and other official flavours.

Even though most modern desktop operating systems based on Ubuntu have dropped support for 32-bit support. You still have plenty of choices to go with.

What would you prefer to have on your 32-bit system? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Linux Lite 3.6

This Linux Distribution is definitely worth a try…

Confessions of a Technophobe

Some might say it’s “Xubuntu done right.”

But “right” is a very subjective term. Right for me is first simple, second, fast, third novice-friendly (because I prefer to use the same distro I’m sharing with so many people new to Linux, since it’s so much easier to provide support to them), and fourth suitable for modest, older hardware that can’t handle newer versions of Windows or the big fancy mainline Linux distributions. For others, Voyager is “Xubuntu done right.” For others, Linux Mint Xfce is “Xubuntu done right;” and for many others, it just doesn’t get any better than Xubuntu right out of the chute. Until I discovered Linux Lite, Xubuntu was my go-to distro. The others are all wonderful, but most were either to “heavy” for my old hardware, or not suitable for sharing with “newbies” who never used Linux before. Linux Mint Xfce would ordinarily…

View original post 536 more words

How to switch an old Windows laptop to Linux

Source: The Verge

Photo: Linux Mint

By the federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP) count in October 2020, 3.2 percent of computer users still are on Windows 7 — even though Microsoft no longer supports it for free. If you have an older system but are worried that it won’t support Windows 10 — or if you simply don’t want to deal with Windows anymore — I have a suggestion: Switch to desktop Linux.

Desktop Linux can run on your Windows 7 (and older) laptops and desktops. Machines that would bend and break under the load of Windows 10 will run like a charm. And today’s desktop Linux distributions are as easy to use as Windows or macOS.

And if you’re worried about being able to run Windows applications — don’t. For instance, you can run the free Office Online, which comes with limited versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Linux. Teams now runs on LinuxSkype has long been available on Linux. And Microsoft’s exporting its new Edge web browser to Linux. The full Office 365 suite will be coming to Linux soon — it’s only a matter of when.

For all your other desktop software needs, there’s usually a free, open-source program that can do just as good a job. Gimp, for example, instead of Photoshop. Or Thunderbird for email instead of Outlook. For a full-fledged office suite, I highly recommend LibreOffice.

You can run many native Windows programs on Linux using Wine. This can be hard to set up, but its commercial brother, CodeWeaver’s Crossover Linux, makes it easy to set up many proprietary programs, including games.

If that doesn’t work for your office’s Windows-only programs, you can always keep running Windows 7, with a lot less danger, on a virtual machine (VM) on Linux. For this job, I recommend Oracle’s great free VirtualBox VM program.

Which Linux?

There are hundreds of Linux desktop distributions (known as distros) out there. The best-known include such distros as DebianopenSUSE, and Ubuntu. But for our purposes, I’m going to tell you how to install Linux Mint. Mint’s default Cinnamon interface looks and works a lot like Windows 7.

Mint’s default Cinnamon interface looks and works a lot like Windows 7.

Besides being my personal desktop Linux favorite, it works well for Windows users. That’s because Mint’s default Cinnamon interface looks and works a lot like Windows 7’s Aero interface. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but I found it easier to pick up than Windows 10’s desktop.

Another advantage, which Mint shares with other Linux distros, is it runs on low-power hardware. You can run Mint on any of your Windows 7 PCs. All Linux Mint needs to run is an x86 processor, 1GB of RAM (you’ll be happier with 2GB or 4GB), 15GB of disk space, a graphics card that works at 1024 x 768 resolution, and a CD/DVD drive or USB port. That’s it. Heck, you can run Mint on pretty much any Windows XP PC, if you have one around.

Mint, like the other Linux desktops, is totally free. It won’t cost you a penny.

But what if you don’t like it? That’s not a worry either. You can try Mint, and if it’s not your cup of tea, you just reboot back to Windows, and you’re done. No harm, no foul.

So let’s get started. First, I’ll show you how to try Mint out, then how to install it on your machine.https://5aedec825251dac4096ac67e2d401f35.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

Try Mint out

Download Mint 

First, download the Mint ISO file. This is an image of the Mint operating system which you can use to run or install the operating system. It’s about 1.8 GB, so it may take a while to download.

First, download Linux Mint

You’re given a choice of desktops. For your first Linux desktop, I recommend going with the popular Cinnamon desktop. Once you know more about Linux, and if you want to explore, you can try one of the others.

Burn the Mint ISO file to a DVD or USB drive

You’re going to need an ISO burner program. I recommend freeware programs ImgBurn for DVDs or LinuxLive USB Creator for USB drives. Other good choices are Yumi for Windows or UNetbootin.

You’re going to need an ISO burner program such as Linux Live USB Creator
 Screenshot: Linux Live USB Creator

Once you’ve installed the burner program on your Windows system along with the Linux Mint ISO file, use that to burn the image to a USB drive. Note: while you can install Mint on older systems using a DVD, it’s really slow. And if you need to use a DVD, first check your newly burned disc for errors.

When you create a USB drive, you’ll be given the option to set it up with persistent storage. With this option, you can allocate up to half of your storage for a persistent overlay file. This lets you store new programs, files, settings, or whatever, just if that overlay file was a mini-hard drive. This way, you can kick Mint’s tires without installing a thing or changing anything on your PC. If you don’t like it, you’ll have lost nothing but some time.

Another handy thing about this method is that if it turns out you like Mint, you can use the USB drive as a handy pocket computer. Besides Mint, you can also use it to store your own programs, files, and desktop setup. This way, you’ve got Mint with you wherever you go and you can easily use any public computer safely with your own operating system and program.

Set up your PC for an alternative bootup

Now you’re going to reboot your system, but stop the boot-up process before Windows comes up so you can get to your PC’s UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this depends on your system.

The best thing is to do a Google search for your specific PC or laptop brand and “UEFI” (or, with older PCs, your computer brand and “BIOS”). For example, with Dell PCs, you tap the F2 key to enter system setup; with HP, you tap on the Escape key once a second; and on Lenovo systems, you tap (Fn+) F2 or (Fn+) F1 key five to 10 times after the power-on button is pressed to get to system setup.

Once you get to the BIOS or UEFI, look for a menu choice labeled “Boot,” “Boot Options,” or “Boot Order.” If you don’t see anything with the word “boot” in it, check other menu choices, such as “Advanced Options,” “Advanced BIOS Features,” or “Other Options.” Once you find it, set the boot order so that, instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the optical drive or from a USB drive.

Boot up Linux Mint

After your PC is set to boot from an alternative drive, insert your DVD or USB drive, reboot, and select “Start Linux Mint” from the first menu. In a minute or so, you’ll be running Linux Mint.

You can run Mint from an external USB drive

Give Mint a try

Take a few days if you like. Windows is still there. Anytime you reboot without the drive, it will go right back to Windows.

Like what you see? Then let’s install Mint on your PC.

INSTALL LINUX MINT

Like any serious upgrade, start with making a complete backup of your Windows system. Installing Linux shouldn’t hurt your Windows setup in the least, but I don’t believe in taking chances.

It used to be that installing Linux on Windows PCs that were loaded with UEFI and Secure Boot (a standard that makes sure you only boot approved software) was a major pain. These days it’s a non-issue. But if for some reason, you can’t install Mint with Secure Boot running on your PC, you can always turn off Secure Boot. There are many ways to switch Secure Boot off. All involve going to the UEFI control panel during the boot process and turning it off.

Now, let’s get on with the actual installation.

Make sure your PC is plugged in

This may sound elementary, but installing an operating system will give your computer a real workout, and the last thing you want is to run out of battery power in the middle of installing Linux Mint. You’ll also need an internet connection (the faster the better) and at least 8GB of free disk space.

Set up a partition for Linux Mint from Windows

To make sure you have enough space, you may want to head back into Windows, log in as the administrator, and use its disk manager to shrink the main C: disk partition to make room for a Linux partition. You can get by with as little as 15GBs but I prefer to give Linux at least 100 GBs. Then I reboot into Linux.

Use the Windows disk manager to make sure you have at least 15GB (more is better) for your Linux partition.

Boot into Linux

Once you have the Mint display up, one of your icon choices on the left will be to install Mint. Double-click it, and you’ll be on your way.

Name your system, your user ID, and set up your password

On your setup journey, you’ll be asked to choose a keyboard layout, give your system a name, pick out a username for yourself, and come up with a password. You can also choose to encrypt your home directory to keep files relatively safe from prying eyes.

Most of these decisions are simple. The one critical option can be how to partition your hard drive. This can be a real pain. But since we’ve done that in Windows earlier, you don’t need to worry about it here. In this case, pick the first option on the Installation Type menu that reads: “Install Linux Mint alongside them.”

That done, you’ll see a screen like the one below.

Select your Linux partition.

Next, you must choose which file system to use for Linux. The most popular choice is Ext 4. You also have to pick a mount point, the root directory Linux will start from. Here, I suggest you do as I do and select the common “/” for your mount point.

Set up a system snapshot

Mint 20’s setup menu enables you to set up a system snapshot with Timeshift. This way, if something goes wrong, you can restore your system files and get back a working system. I highly recommend doing this. While you’re at it, set up a regular Timeshift schedule. I set mine up on a weekly schedule.

Check for additional drivers

Next, check to see if your computer needs any additional drivers. To do this, open the applications menu, search for “Driver Manager,” and run the program. This will examine your system and search for any new or missing hardware drivers — usually, these are for graphic cards or Wi-Fi chipsets. It’s a good idea to do this even if you have a completely vanilla, generic laptop. If Driver Manager finds an appropriate update, just go ahead and install it.

You can also install proprietary multimedia codecs such as drivers to watch videos. I recommend you do this as well.

Update Mint to the latest version

You should also set it to update your system to the latest version of Mint. Unlike Windows, when you update Mint, you’re updating not just your operating system but all of your installed programs. This includes your web browser, office suite, and any other programs you’ve installed with Mint’s easy-to-use Software Manager.

To get your system current, click on the menu bar’s shield icon. By default, you’ll find the menu bar on the bottom of the screen, with the shield update icon on the right. Once clicked, it will ask you for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Enter your password, say yes, and after it updates, you’ll be ready to put your new up-to-date Mint system to work.

The setup routine also offers to let you look at system settings and find new programs with the Software Manager, but since you’re probably a new user, you can skip those for now.

Reset your computer to boot from your main drive 

Finally, go back to the beginning and reset your system to boot from your hard drive. Then, the next time you boot up, you’ll be given a choice as to which operating system you want to boot from. No matter which one you pick, you’ll get a few seconds to switch to the other operating system.

And, that’s it. You’re ready to go. I’ve installed Linux hundreds of times, and it takes me about an hour from starting my download (the blessings of a 400Mbps internet connection) to go from a Windows PC to running Mint on my computer. If you’ve never done it before, allow yourself several hours for the job, just in case.

I run Windows, multiple Linux distros, and macOS. But I spend almost all of my desktop time on Linux Mint. You may not fall in love with Linux as quickly as I did when I switched from Windows 3.1 in 1993, but if you give it a chance, I think you’ll find you’ll like Linux nearly as much as I do.

Best Linux server distributions of 2020

Source: TechRepublic

Jack Wallen offers up his list of best servers for 2020, any of which would be a great platform for your business needs.

troubleshooting-linux-cover-copyspectral-design.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

Let the yearly wrap-ups begin! Thanks to COVID-19, we’ll start them out just a wee bit early. And why not? It’s not as if the last two months of the year are nearly as productive as the first 10. As we start to wind down the year, let’s wind up the lists. This time around, I want to take a look back at what I believe to be the best Linux server distributions of 2020.

Even though it was a tough year, there were still some exciting things to arrive in the tech industry. With Linux continuing to see big gains, especially in the world of enterprise computing, it should come as no surprise that the server world is being absolutely dominated by the open source platform.

What are the best server operating systems of the year? I doubt this list will raise any eyebrows, as there have been no new Linux server distributions to take the landscape by storm in the past few years. That consistency in the Linux server distributions is one of the very reasons why these select few always remain at the top of their class.

With that said, let’s get to the list.

SEE: Best Linux server distributions of 2020 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Ubuntu Server

ubuntu.jpg
Image: Canonical

It should come as no surprise that Ubuntu Server tops this list. Of all the available Linux server platforms, Ubuntu Server finds that sweet spot between complexity and user-friendliness. No other operating system on this list makes it so easy to deploy nearly anything you need to service your company and your customers. 

Ubuntu is rock solid, fast, secure, and everything you need in a server operating system. It’s as cloud- and container-friendly as it is user-friendly. Because Ubuntu makes it very easy to add a number of enterprise-centric services, such as Prometheus and MAAS, during the initial installation, you won’t have to spend extra time getting those up and running post-install. 

Another very appealing aspect of Ubuntu (and one reason why so many opt to go this route) is the Long Term Support (LTS) releases. With the LTS release, you enjoy five years of support, so you don’t have to worry about upgrading to the newest release for half a decade–that’s quite a long time for an operating system. With Ubuntu Server, you know that installation is going to run as well after five years as it did during the first year. That, my friends, is worth its weight in clouds, containers, and stacks.

Considering that Canonical claims over 55% of OpenStack clouds already run on Ubuntu, this server distribution is a lock for remaining in such lists for a long time to come.

SEE: Top cloud providers in 2020: AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, hybrid, SaaS players (TechRepublic download)

CentOS

centoshero.jpg
Image: CentOS

Next in line is the server distribution that ups the ante on security and reminds every user why Linux has been so rock solid for such a long time. CentOS may not share the ease of use that it’s Ubuntu sibling offers, but it makes up for it in many ways.

First, it’s very much a server based in and on the Linux ethos: It’s powerful, stable, secure, and once you have it up and running, it will serve you well. Even though CentOS is a very popular choice among businesses and admins, it isn’t quite as simple as Ubuntu. You have SELinux to contend with–a fact that should not be considered a weakness. In fact, that SELinux takes such central focus with CentOS means the security of the platform is that much stronger. 

Because CentOS is based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, you know that it is more than capable to serve your company’s needs.

To sweeten the deal, CentOS makes it easy for you to add a desktop environment during installation. Although you probably won’t be using a GUI if you’re deploying CentOS to the likes of AWSGoogle Cloud, or Azure, it certainly can make using CentOS a bit easier–especially for those admins on your team that aren’t as knowledgeable about Linux.  

Debian

debian-logo.jpg
Image: Debian

Debian is the “mother of all distributions.” Why? Because Ubuntu is based on Debian and so many other distributions are based on Ubuntu. That speaks very highly of Debian and it also helps to explain why this platform lands squarely on this list.

But, why include Debian, when Ubuntu is already here? Because, although Ubuntu is based on Debian, it’s not Debian. Although the platforms are very different, Debian and CentOS share one important trait–the developers focus a lot of attention on reliability. 

With Debian, there are three releases to choose from: Unstable, Testing, and Stable. In order to become a part of the Stable release, a piece of software must have been reviewed, via the testing release, for several months. That translates to one thing: When you use Debian Stable, you know it’s going to work. One of the biggest selling points of Debian Stable is that it doesn’t break. Ever. It’s as rock-solid a server platform as you’ll ever use. Besides a few small differences, it’s very similar to Ubuntu. Along with that stability, Debian includes a level of user-friendliness not found in many server operating systems.

Fedora CoreOS

fedoracoreos.jpg
Image: Jack Wallen

I’m going to confess that when I write about containers, I’m usually working with an on-premise instance of Ubuntu Server. However, in the real world, most enterprise environments are deploying those containers from Linux instances on cloud-based platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. When doing so, most developers and admins are using their general-purpose Linux server of choice. However, when you want to get as performant as possible, you might opt for a single-purpose operating system that was designed specifically for containers. 

Fedora CoreOS is just that distribution. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Soon after CoreOS joined Red Hat, it was rolled into OpenShift and all CoreOS images removed from download sites and from cloud providers. That’s when the Fedora team stepped in and forked CoreOS into what we have now. This flavor of Linux was purpose-built for container deployments at cloud-level scale. Fedora CoreOS is an auto-updating platform that does an outstanding job of deploying and scaling containers to meet your enterprise needs. 

Now that Fedora CoreOS has been in development for a while, it’s deployable from all of the popular cloud providers. 

Red Hat Enterprise Linux

redhat.jpg
Image: Red Hat

No list of Linux server distributions is complete without Red Hat Enterprise Linux. This is the best Linux server distribution to use if your business requires a remarkably stable and secure operating system that offers world-class support and certification on most hardware and cloud providers. 

Although Red Hat Enterprise Linux is open source, it is built for commercial use. If you want a community version of RHEL, you’ll be using CentOS (which, as you know, is a great choice). If you need to lean on some of the best support you’ll never experience, you must purchase a license for RHEL. That license will get you a server that is equal to the offered support.

RHEL isn’t just about it’s service; this server platform is perfectly suited for the cloud, IoT, big data, visualization, and containers. 

Conclusion

No matter what your server needs are, any one of these platforms will not only meet, but exceed your needs. From typical server software such as web and database servers to cloud, container, virtualization, IoT, development, automation, and everything in between, you’ll find your perfect operating system among this list.

Microsoft Edge Browser on Linux: Surprisingly good

Source: ZDNet

Microsoft just released its new Chromium-based browser on Linux. Believe it or not, it’s quite good.

No one asked Microsoft to port its Edge browser to Linux. Indeed, very few people asked for Edge on Windows. But, here it is. So, how good — or not — is it?

First, you should know that the experts always knew Edge would run on Linux. Today’s Microsoft Edge isn’t the one that first shipped. This model, which went into beta on Windows last year, is built on the open-source Chromium codebase. Besides being the foundation for Google Chrome, Chromium is the bedrock that almost all web browsers, with the exception of Firefox, are built on these days.  So, bringing Edge over to Linux isn’t anything as difficult as, say, bringing on-premise Microsoft Office to Linux.

Now, the first beta of Edge on Linux is here. The new release comes ready to run on UbuntuDebianFedora, and openSUSE Linux distributions. It should run on any Linux using DEB or RPM packaging. Microsoft is planning to release weekly builds, just as it does with the Dev Channel builds for other platforms.

To get started, users can download and install a .deb or .rpm package directly from the Edge Insider site. This also configures a system to get future automatic updates. If you don’t trust Microsoft that much, you can also install Edge via Microsoft’s Linux Software Repository for Microsoft Products. More detailed instructions are available on Microsoft’s Edge-on-Linux blog post

This initial release is meant for developers who want to build and test their sites and apps on Linux. It’s not meant for ordinary users. This preview does come with the key web platform and developer tools features. These include core rendering behaviors, extensions, browser DevTools, and test automation features. These should work just as they do with Edge on macOS and Windows.

Some end-user features and services aren’t fully enabled. In particular, the initial release only supports local accounts. It doesn’t support signing in to Microsoft Edge via a Microsoft Account or Azure Active Directory (AAD) account. Therefore, you also can use features such as syncing your settings and bookmarks, which require you to sign in to a Microsoft service. These features will appear in a future beta.

Since I’ve been benchmarking web browsers since Mosaic rolled off the bit assembly line, I benchmarked the first Edge browser and Chrome 86 and Firefox 81 on my main Linux production PC. This is a Dell Precision Tower 3431. It’s powered by an 8-Core 3GHz Intel Core i7-9700. For graphics, it uses a built-in Intel UHD Graphics 630 chipset. On this, I run my favorite Linux desktop distribution, Linux Mint 20. For networking, the system uses a 100Mbps internet connection via a Gigabit Ethernet switch. 

JETSTREAM 2

First up: JetStream 2.0, which is made up of 64 smaller tests. This JavaScript and WebAssembly benchmark suite focuses on advanced web applications. It rewards browsers that start up quickly, execute code quickly, and run smoothly. Higher scores are better on this benchmark.

JetStream’s top-scorer — drumroll please — was Edge with 136.971. But, right behind it within the margin of error, was Chrome with a score of 132.413. This isn’t too surprising. They are, after all, built on the same platform. Back in the back was Firefox with 102.131.

KRAKEN 1.1

Next up: Kraken 1.1. This benchmark, which is based on the long-obsolete SunSpider, measures JavaScript performance. To this basic JavaScript testing, it added typical use-case scenarios. Mozilla, Firefox’s parent organization, created Kraken. With this benchmark, the lower the score, the better the result.

To no great surprise, Firefox took first place here with 810.1 milliseconds (ms). Following it was Chrome with 904.5ms and then Edge with 958.8ms.

OCTANE 2.0

Octane 2.0, Google’s JavaScript benchmark, is no longer supported, but it’s still a useful benchmark thanks to its scenario testing for interactive web applications. Octane is not Chrome-specific. For example, it tests how fast Microsoft’s TypeScript compiles itself. In this benchmark, the higher the score, the better.

On this Google benchmark, Edge took the blue ribbon with a score of 52,149. Right behind it in second place was Chrome with 51,389. Then, way back in last place, you’ll find Firefox at 37,405.

WEBXPRT 3.0

The latest version of WebXPRT is today’s best browser benchmark. It’s produced by the benchmark professionals at Principled Technology This company’s executives were the founders of the Ziff Davis Benchmark Operation, the gold-standard of PC benchmarking.

WebXPRT uses scenarios created to mirror everyday tasks. These include Photo Enhancement, Organize Album, Stock Option Pricing, Local Notes, Sales Graphs, and DNA Sequencing. Here, the higher the score, the better the browser.

On this benchmark, Firefox shines. It was an easy winner with a score of 272. Chrome edges out Edge 233 to 230. 

HTML 5 WEB STANDARD

You’d think by 2020, every browser would comply with the HTML 5 web standard, which became a standard in 2014. Nope. You’d be wrong. This “test” isn’t a benchmark. It just shows how close each browser comes to being in sync with the HTML 5 standard. A perfect score, which none got, would have been 550.

Here, Chrome and Edge tied for first with 528. Firefox scored 511.

FINAL RESULTS

Oddly, Edge, which turned in a poor performance when I recently benchmarked it on Windows, did well on Linux. Who’d have guessed?

That said, I can’t see myself moving to it. No, it’s not because I’m still mad at what Microsoft did to Linux as revealed in the Halloween documents of 1998. It’s that Chrome is more than fast enough for my purposes and I don’t want my information tied into the Microsoft ecosystem. For better or worse, mine’s already locked into the Googleverse and I can live with that. 

Honestly, I don’t see any compelling performance reasons to switch from Chrome or Firefox to Edge on Linux. I’ve been happily using Chrome for years now across platforms, and I won’t be changing. If you’re happy using Firefox or one of the others, go ahead and stick with it. There’s no compelling reason to switch to Edge. 

That said, Edge is a good, fast browser on Linux. If you’re a Windows user coming over to Linux or you’re doing development work aimed at Edge, then by all means try Edge on Linux. It works and it works well. 

Q&A Regarding China’s Recent Residence Permit Entry

From September 28, 2020, foreign nationals holding valid residence permits for work, family reunions, or personal affairs may be allowed entry to China. However, those who had their residence permits in those approved categories but expired after March 28, 2020, may apply for a new entry visa at a Chinese embassy or consulate.

This announcement has generated several questions that we have compiled here, a Q&A article that we hope can address most of these questions.

If you feel a question is missing, feel free to add it in the comments section.