Turn your laptop into a free Chromebook

In today's open source roundup: How to try Chrome OS free on your laptop. Plus: DistroWatch reviews Ubuntu 15.10. And Linus unleashes Linux 4.3

How to try Chrome OS free on your laptop

Chromebooks have been burning up the sales charts on Amazon for ages. But now you can turn nearly any laptop into a Chromebook by using a free version of Chrome OS. This is a great way to check out Chrome OS before you actually buy a Chromebook.

James Kendrick reports for ZDNet:

Chromebooks are not for everyone and those wondering if Chrome OS will meet their needs now have a free method to check it out. All that's needed is a laptop that's not being used and an 8 or 16GB USB stick.

The key is a free installable version of CloudReady by Neverware. Following a simple set of instructions, a bootable image of Chrome is created on a USB drive. This image is live, meaning it can be booted and run directly from the USB stick without actually being installed, but to get the best impression it is recommended that it be installed to the laptop. Note that this will wipe everything off the laptop so be prepared for that.

CloudReady will work on most laptops, MacBooks included, but is recommended on those certified by Neverware. Here is a long list of certified laptops. There are clear instructions on the Neverware web site and it's recommended these be followed to make sure the installation goes smoothly.

More at ZDNet

DistroWatch reviews Ubuntu 15.10

Ubuntu 15.10 is out, and many people are wondering if it's worth an upgrade or install. This week DistroWatch has a full review of Ubuntu 15.10, and it apparently left the reviewer with mixed feelings.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

I had mixed feelings from my time with Ubuntu. On the one hand, the distribution feels fairly polished and the installer, applications and system tools all worked well. My desktop's hardware was properly detected and utilized and this release offers us updated versions of popular software. However, in a virtual machine, Ubuntu performed poorly and this surprised me since the previous release worked quite smoothly in a VirtualBox instance. Not only that, but this version of Ubuntu used quite a bit more memory than the last version did on the same test equipment.

What really stood out most about Ubuntu 15.10 though was this release felt virtually identical in every way to Ubuntu 15.04 and very similar to 14.10. One of the few changes I noticed was that this version of Ubuntu appears to no longer support both the Upstart and systemd init programs, as the previous version did. I see this as an unfortunate (though expected) change as Canonical moves to support just one init package. On the one hand, this lack of adjustments in 15.10 is good news for people who do not want to experience a lot of change. The development team appears to have been working almost exclusively over the past year to fix bugs and keep things working as they have been. This makes Ubuntu feels like a more stable platform.

On the other hand, having a platform that does not boast any new features makes me wonder if there is a point to pushing out a new release. The minor package updates presented probably could have been handled by a backports repository for Ubuntu 15.04. While projects like openSUSE and Fedora are experimenting with new system admin tools, file system snapshots, Wayland and boot environments, Ubuntu appears to be sitting idle. I know there are behind-the-scenes changes planned (such as Snappy packages, Mir and a new version of Unity), but those items keep getting pushed back. In short, I feel this release of Ubuntu was good, but it isn't bringing anything new to the table over the previous version.

More at DistroWatch

Linus unleashes Linux 4.3

Linus Torvalds has been hard at work on version 4.3 of the Linux kernel, and now it has been released into the wild.

Richard Chirgwin reports for The Register:

With fewer ugly incidents than might have been expected, and after an expletive-laden rant directed not at a coder but at code, Linux Torvalds has announced that Linux 4.3 has gone general availability.

The release includes more driver updates than you I can poke a stick at, new drivers (for example, adding Texas Instruments' DP83848 Ethernet, Sierra Wireless MC/EM 74xx devices) and some fixes in ARM.

Support has arrived for graphics provided by Intel's Skylake and AMD's R9 Fury "Fiji" graphics processors. Support for the EXT3 filesystem is gone - it's a subset of EXT4 so the pain shouldn't be acute. There's also OpenGL 3.3 support for VMware, to advance the cause of Linux on the virtual desktop.

More at The Register

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