back to article Version 5 of the Endless OS enters testing

Endless Computers is preparing a new version of its Endless OS distro, an easy-to-use OS for computing novices of all ages. It's a unique distro which shows how desktop OSes may evolve. Endless is an American company – since 2020, a nonprofit foundation – which strives to bring computers, and computer literacy, to people who …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another interesting project!

    Not sure I love the overall trend for Linux distros towards chunky monolithic drops, but it makes sense here at least as a quasi academic project. I feel like the dashboard looks child and student friendly without going down the dumbed-down-to-duplo-blox/Baby's first *NIX rabbit hole.

    That said, it feels like we are due for a rebound. After having lived with the mess of individual package dependencies for an age and the jackboots of "approved by the man" monolithic updates for a few years we realize we overshot. The maintainers are also starting to realize that bigger and slower updates means more version branches and back-porting for the good souls doing security updates. So this may make life easier for one hand of the FOSS community, but it may encourage more burnout in another(and essential) one.

    I know part of the push for this was to allow signed and read only system partitions, but unfortunately, the distro's let Poettering get his hands on it. So now you have Linux systems that are slightly more secure from boot attacks, but have to be taken down to update core services due to monolithic signed updates.

    Why am I having to reboot UNIX machines after a software update, what is this windows?

    1. DoContra

      Re: Another interesting project!

      The maintainers are also starting to realize that bigger and slower updates means more version branches and back-porting for the good souls doing security updates. So this may make life easier for one hand of the FOSS community, but it may encourage more burnout in another(and essential) one.

      Immutable images are completely transversal to this issue (API/ABI incompatibilities/guarantees are very much still a thing). The (partial) solution for this is Flatpak/snap/AppImage et al.

      Why am I having to reboot UNIX machines after a software update, what is this windows?

      There are four-ish components where you had to reboot anyway after installing the updates[1] them (or their dependencies), and most apply to old school UNIX:

      - Kernel (there is livepatching on Linux since ~10 years ago, but it requires a subscription to someone)

      - libc (you can restart services and programs outside this list -- at your leisure even -- but the end result is almost a reboot)

      - init (systemd and pals can be fully upgraded without rebooting, except for systemd-logind which seemingly doesn't like to be restarted/will kill all active interactive user sessions on restart)

      - dbus (needrestart does have a special script to restart dbus, but like with libc it's essentially a reboot)

      (Windows has a different set of issues which require reboots for most upgrades, regarding the API/ABI promises/guarantees on file handlers which *NIX/POSIX doesn't have)

      [1]: Updates are fully installed only after no remnants of ye olde code remain running :)

    2. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Another interesting project!

      Upvoted, but punctuation failure.

      > Why am I having to reboot UNIX machines after a software update, what is this windows?

      Why am I having to reboot UNIX machines after a software update? What is this, Windows?

      Or, less likely:

      Why am I having to reboot UNIX machines after a software update, what are these windows?

      Sorry. /pedant


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another interesting project!

        What is this thing called love ?

        What ? Is this thing called love ?

        What is this thing called, love ?

        1. JamesTGrant

          Re: Another interesting project!

          We had Grandma for dinner

          And she was delicious…

          1. John 110

            Re: Another interesting project!

            Seen on a T-shirt (in my drawer...)

            Let's eat Grandad

            Let's eat, Grandad

            Commas save lives!

            1. Kev99 Silver badge

              Re: Another interesting project!

              Mommy, mommy. Can Billy come for dinner.

              No, sonny, we haven't finished Jimmy yet.

              1. Tim 49

                Re: Another interesting project!

                Mummy, mummy. Can I lick the bowl?

                No, you can flush it like everyone else.

            2. LionelB Silver badge

              Re: Another interesting project!

              A colon can change the meaning of a sentence too:

              - Jane ate her friend's sandwich.

              - Jane ate her friend's colon.

              1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

                Re: Another interesting project!

                NSFL warning.


                1. GraXXoR

                  Re: Another interesting project!

                  Jeez, I've been out of English language circulation far too long.

                  Just like it took me far too long to realise wtf those girls were actually on about... LOL.

                  I live in Japan... We have a type of snack called Collon, which looks like a slice of tripe... filled with rich, dark... chocolate.

                  Nothing like dipping a few lengths of chocolate stuffed collon into your coffee in the morning...

            3. Version 1.0 Silver badge

              Re: Another interesting project!

              “We invited the strippers, Boris, and Putin.”

              “We invited the strippers, Boris and Putin.”

          2. chivo243 Silver badge

            Re: Another interesting project!

            Let's eat Grandpa, and let's eat, Grandpa?

        2. Kev99 Silver badge

          Re: Another interesting project!

          Third one reminds me of Benny Hill.

  2. man_iii

    Gnome and systemd

    It's all wishful thinking for the return of CDE and OLVWM or even KDE3.x

    Fvwm is still around and switching to it is like a fresh breeze what with its rootless desktop and pager and right-click menu.

    We don't need fancy, we need customisable and functional. Simple text config files and we are done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gnome and systemd

      anything is better than the current incarnation of Gnome.

      I've learned to live with systems (through gritted teeth I might add)

      This Distro looks like it may be worth checking out.

      As for snap... that is not an answer to anything. It sucks to have snap devices mounted just because the lazy-arsed devs of letsencrypt decided to only release a snap package for Linux. Bozos the lot of them.

      1. Tom 38

        Re: Gnome and systemd

        It sucks to have snap devices mounted just because the lazy-arsed devs of letsencrypt decided to only release a snap package for Linux

        For Let's Encrypt, you don't actually need certbot, you can just use any client that talks ACME. I quite like dehydrated, its just a shell script that uses openssl under the hood.

    2. Richard Crossley
      Thumb Up

      Re: Gnome and systemd

      Upvote for OLVWM, how I miss it.

      CDE can be compiled on Linux now.

      1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Gnome and systemd

        [Author here]

        > CDE can be compiled on Linux now.

        I covered the release a decade ago:

        And I looked at the then-current version last year:

    3. weladenwow

      Re: Gnome and systemd

      You can have exactly what you want.

      This is open-source. This is LINUX.


  3. cornetman Silver badge

    I don't know what it is about the obsession with "docks" and the rush to kill menus. I quite like the simplicity of menus.

    Docks and those weird hamburger menus just annoy me. It a personal preference obviously, but nothing feels as "right" and the Windows XP/7 style interface.

    In Windows 11, I find it difficult to find *anything*. Apps, system configuration dialogues, they just seem scatter-gunned all over the place with neither rhyme nor reason.

    1. Updraft102 Silver badge

      There is no such thing as a "dated" UI element or a "modern" one. There's only "it works" or "it doesn'r work." Fashion should not play a role here. The reason the "dated" taskbar has stuck around so long in Windows is that it works.

      The Windows 11 version is only really different in that it moves the start button to the center where it violates Fitts law and moves around to make it harder to find,.. both moves in the wrong direction. Once you fix those errors, it's like the one in Windows 10... but that one can be configured with small icons to be a single-high bar rather than a double-high, which I have read cannot be done with 11. Step in the wrong direction again.

      There is no need for dual bars, top and bottom. Widescreen displays already have limited vertical space, so why not waste more of it using two bars to do the work that one can do?

      1. Orv Silver badge

        I think taskbars are falling out of favor because they don't work well on touch devices. You can't open all that many windows before the buttons become too small to hit.

        1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

          So why insist that the limitations of one class of devices should apply to all devices?

          1. Pirate Dave Silver badge

            This. A hundred times this.

          2. Orv Silver badge

            I think there are a couple reasons why it's happening. One is that many devices are growing touch capability, including a lot of laptops.

            Another is that touch devices are newer, and therefore the idea of what a "modern" UI looks like ends up structured around them. A Windows 95 style taskbar says "old" to people now, even though it probably shouldn't, just like propellers on an airplane look "old" even though we have perfectly serviceable turboprops being made.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        There is no need for dual bars, top and bottom

        In MacOS both the dock and top menu bars can auto-hide..

        (Not sure about desktop linux - last time I used one [1] it was KDE 3..)

        [1] All my linux & freeBSD VMs are console-only.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge

      Scrape off the Win11 UI, and you'll find all the familiar control panels buried underneath. I was astonished that after three clicks in different "new" settings and control panels to find the old friendly stuff we remember, like advanced settings to change your page file, and tell Windows to adjust for best performance etc. If I had to use Win11 as a daily driver, my productivity would be horrible.

      What's next? Changing the order of the alphabet? And calling it progress?

  4. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    Looks like Windows 11

    They should take what is good about Windows UI (across all versions), and not the bad parts.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Looks like Windows 11

      [Author here]

      You ask the impossible.

      This is a subjective judgement. I personally strongly dislike the Windows 11 UI. For me it is inferior in every way to Win10, and Win10 is inferior to Win7.

      Some others like it.

      This is the core of the Pareto Principle. Yes, 80% of users only need 20% of the features. True and often demonstrable. But this goes both ways.

      But you can't eliminate the other 80% because those 80% of people _don't all want the SAME 20%_. And when you add up the 20% that each of them uses, you find that there is so little overlap that actually you need 80% of the features to satisfy those 80% of people. Remove any of them and you will upset some of your customers and drive them to rivals.

      And not all customers are equal. Maybe there are 20% of your features that only 20% of your customers want... but those 20% are the ones who spend the big bucks and their voices are loud. So, you need to keep that minority happy, or they will go elsewhere.

      Result: a minority product that focuses only on the small amount of common ground will only make a few people happy.

      In a big enough market, that can be enough to be profitable, to fund and sustain development. Thus you get things that work acceptably enough to satisfy a lot of people without delighting anyone.

      Google is good at this. ChromeBooks only do one task well: the Web. But that's all a lot of people _need_.

      Google Docs is not a great office suite... but it works without being installed. That's all many office wights _need_. It doesn't matter if they _like_ it, so long as their employer can save a few hundred million a year of %CURRENCY% -- with such numbers, *which* currency doesn't matter -- by giving them usable email that throws in a poor office suite and poor shared storage, effectively for free.

      There is no single agreed-upon "what is good about Windows". All that is needed is to vaguely resemble the baseline and you're in business.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Looks like Windows 11

        I appreciate your detailed explanation.

        What bothers me though is the argument given in the article: the switch to docks is because the taskbar is "dated" (never mind that docks appeared long before the taskbar).

        The argument given is not usability, but purely cosmetic fashion. So people who already know how to use an interface to do what they need to do are forced to learn a new way to do the same thing. This forgets the inferface is only the mean toward an end, not the end itself.

        The part about minimize / maximize being present instead of removed as GNOME decided to rather shows it. At some point, one should leave good enough alone.

        This will show more and more: let's not forget that mass computer use is still a very recent phenomenon, barely more than 2 decades old, and even less for doing everything online. UIs can't keep pointlessly changing without giving pain to people who will be unable to keep pace.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Looks like Windows 11

          > the switch to docks is because the taskbar is "dated"

          OK, that part I have no quibble with at all. It's very early days, but I much preferred the old layout.

          I suggest you ask the Endless team. :-)

          1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

            Re: Looks like Windows 11

            I do wonder about the possibility (probability?) that I (and others) like the early windows generic interface - menus, taskbar, heirarchical start menu - only because that's what we learned first.

            I'm a Linux user, but prefer Mint/Cinnamon over any of the others I've tried (many, over the years, but by no means all) largely because it still maintains that simple and (to me) obvious user interface. I use Windows 10 at work, and can live with it, but I wouldn't choose it as a UI - it works for others, but not for me. Personal choice - but likely driven by early experience as well as forty year's muscle memory.

            (And it can be the tiniest things, most easily changed, that cause the most irritation: I hated the XP default background screen because it reminded me of Tellytubbies. A silly thing, but nonetheless...)

            1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

              Re: Looks like Windows 11

              > I do wonder about the possibility (probability?) that I (and others) like the early windows generic interface - menus, taskbar, heirarchical start menu - only because that's what we learned first.

              Not, it is the number of mouse clicks required to get to what you want. This is why Windows 7 was loved compared to Vista: They actually invested brain to reduce the number of mouse clicks. Windows 8 and 8.1 increased the number of needed mouse clicks, and since the extra menu was on the right, but the "start" initiation of the lower left it required significantly more mouse movement. Same for logging off: More mouse movement.

              Windows 10 improved a bit. Windows 11 was a step back, requiring more mouse clicks for the same stuff again.

              Simple example: In Windows 10 explorer I adjust the symbols on the title bar, most notably adding "new folder" as icon. One click -> new folder. Now it is at least two clicks, either via the slow menu on the top or via right click -> slow menu -> new folder. Wasting time.

              Taskbar to manage tasks: More mouse clicks, less information overview-> needs more time.

              Those tiny wastes of time kill productivity. Add the "We've upgraded, click here for" no f-off go away with such notification -> costs time. Starting edge the first time: Stupid wizard wasting time (especially for admins preparing the machine for a user). Same goes for Out-Of-The-Box "Experience" - how many stupid questions does it ask, always using the dark pattern tricks, trying to force an MS account on you unless you use x.x@x with password x to get the other option -> waste of time.

            2. TSM

              Re: Looks like Windows 11

              > I do wonder about the possibility (probability?) that I (and others) like the early windows generic interface - menus, taskbar, heirarchical start menu - only because that's what we learned first.

              I think there's more to it than that. I started on GUIs with MacOS System 3 (although it was upgraded to 7 after a year or so) at uni and Windows 3.0 at home. Windows 95 was a massive improvement over 3.x by every measure, provided you made sure to configure startup options to suit your DOS games and didn't try to run them under Windows. And most Windows versions continued to improve for quite some time. I certainly wouldn't want to go back to the Windows 95 UI, much less anything earlier.

              A key factor in making the most out of the Windows UI has always been a willingness to spend some time organising and customising things. This didn't really start to lose its effectiveness until after Windows 7. Focusing particularly on the start menu and taskbar (since the main job of the OS is to let me start applications and manage the applications that I have running), here are some things both good and bad that stand out to me version by version from 7 onwards (except enough has been said about Windows 8 so I'll ignore it here). Some of the Win 7 things are really Vista things because I never used Vista enough to count:

              Windows 7:

              * Searching on the Start Menu is OK, but if (like me) you have everything you want in tightly controlled, nested folders, it doesn't help much.

              * HomeGroup is terrific. Sharing a printer is much easier than ever before.

              * Libraries seem kind of unnecessary.

              * Taskbar is still relatively useful as long as you set it to never combine.

              * Why would I want windows to be transparent? If I'm working in one window I want to see that window, not what's underneath it.

              * Jump lists are pretty cool, if nigh-impossible to discover.

              Windows 10:

              * I see we still haven't gotten Settings and Control Panel merged after the Windows 8 mess.

              * HomeGroup is gone :( Sharing printers is back to being somewhat painful.

              * Give up on Start Menu folders. Also, accept that you won't be able to find executables for a bunch of programs.

              * Organise the Start Menu by pinning instead. (This was more a work thing than a home thing for me.) Pin every single program you use regularly to the Start Menu with a small tile, organise them into appropriate labelled groups, and set your start menu to show pinned apps by default. Then you have instant access to everything you need. On the rare occasions you need something else, it's easy enough to switch back to the all apps view and search for it.

              * Taskbar is still relatively useful as long as you set it to never combine and to show text.

              Windows 11:

              * OK, let's put the taskbar back on the left (literally the first thing I did).

              * I see we STILL haven't gotten Settings and Control Panel merged.

              * WHY CAN'T I RIGHT CLICK ON THE TASKBAR TO PULL UP TASK MANAGER? [Note: as of sometime in the last couple of weeks, this is back! Why it ever went away is beyond me - but I was very glad to know the Ctrl+Shift+Esc shortcut in the meantime.]

              * Pinning still kind of works to organise your Start Menu, but not as well: you don't have groups any more and you can't control the layout beyond "less pins" and "more pins". You can't turn off recommendations altogether, which is a pity because if I could use those last couple of lines for pinned apps I could fit all the ones I want to use on the same page and not have to scroll.

              * There's really no way to ungroup my taskbar icons? Great, let's add time and extra clicks every time I want to swap to an app that has more than one open window. That's only (unsurprisingly) all the ones I use most often. [I think I need to train myself to use the Task List button for app switching rather than the taskbar icons.]

              You might notice from the above that there's been useful UI stuff in most of the Windows versions I've used. But I haven't found anything in Windows 11 that works better for me, and several things that are quite a bit worse. It feels like the Windows 8 experience again in some ways (though certainly not as bad).

              Stuff that I don't remember well enough to attribute to a particular version, or that has been a tendency over multiple versions:

              * Taskbar functionality took a hit for me in whichever version insisted that all the windows for the same application had to be together. But the forced grouping in 11 has really killed it.

              * Why don't jump lists work on the pinned apps view? (Not sure if this was the case in 10.)

              * Steady removal of detail for customising the layout and appearance of the UI. Fairly minor for the most part and understandable from a vendor perspective. It'd be nice if everything that remained didn't get shifted around continually, I might have been able to find things sooner.

              * I actually don't want to search the internet from the Start menu pretty much ever (I will note that it is handy in the case of an app that you thought you had previously installed but actually hadn't yet; but that's a very niche case). If I did want to, I wouldn't want to use Bing.

              * Flat UI. Ugh. Borders served a purpose.

              Someone else mentioned the rise of skinny, nigh impossible to use scrollbars (especially when you're on the bus and bumping around). I only don't include it above because it only shows up in some apps and I don't know if it's an app thing or an OS thing.

              1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                Re: Looks like Windows 11

                I started on GUIs with MacOS System 3

                Newbie :-)

                (Atari ST for me - 1987/8 (ish). Followed by Acorn Archimedes. Then (at work) Windows 3.11.)

      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Looks like Windows 11

        And some details of the Win7 UI is inferior to Vista. Explorer "FullRowSelect" was a bad idea.

        And you still cannot set the search results to show "Details" by default, it is always that useless "content" view which, depending on the file type, does not even show the directory the file was found. And if, it is abridged.

        1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Looks like Windows 11

          > And some details of the Win7 UI is inferior to Vista.

          Yep, agreed.

          After SP1, Vista wasn't all that bad, TBH. It just became trendy to hate it, I think. A bit like Nickelback.

      3. Updraft102 Silver badge

        Re: Looks like Windows 11

        Can you please let Mozilla know all of this? They need to read this, I think.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Looks like Windows 11

          The LAST thing Mozilla needs to hear is anything that sounds anything even remotely like "Be more like Google."

          Chrome is the WORST browser, Firefox needs to be LESS like it.

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Looks like Windows 11

      Looks like a cross between MacOS and iPadOS to me.

      But then, Windows 11 is just a knock-off copy of MacOS.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Looks like Windows 11

        From a UI perspective, every version of Windows ever was a knock-off copy of the Mac.

        I was going to qualify that with some mention of Windows 95's Start menu, but really, I can't be bothered.


  5. Kev99 Silver badge

    Maybe I missed it but it would really be nice if all Linux reviews showed the actual amount of RAM and disk space as well as minimum CPU/GPU needed. Not everyone buys the latest and greatest when they come out every three months.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      The thing is that they are not hard-and-fast values. One person's "usable" is someone else's "impossibly unimaginably slow". An old PC might be perfectly fine for all daily tasks but useless for browing the modern web. If you rarely look at the web, that is acceptable, maybe even not a problem; if you look at the web all day, it's useless.

      I paid good money for a Planet Computer Gemini. I still use it regularly. I find it very handy. It fits in a pocket and I can type on it, fairly fast and fairly accurately. There are several articles on the Reg right now that were written on my Gemini.

      Friends of mine sing the praises of various tablets with keyboard covers. They tell me they are fine now. I tell them they are useless to me. They sometimes get angry and tell me they use them a lot and they are perfectly good. I tell them my Gemini is better for me.

      On cross-examination, it turns out that they work on desks, and they drive a lot, and for them, unpacking a tablet and putting it on a desk works great. I don't. I don't have a car. I take buses and trams and trains. I can't work with a tablet on a tram or on a bus. There's no table or only a tiny one. The Gemini fits fine, it works, and I don't care that it has an old version of Android.

      It's all about what you use it for.

      Me personally, I loathe wireless keyboards and mice, and headphones come to that. I don't like tablets much, and I want one solid unit with a wired-in always on keyboard. I don't want to pair, I don't want to put batteries in my mouse and in my keyboard. I detest that stuff.

      Others regard it as essential.

      I don't play video games. I don't have any streaming accounts with anyone. I don't watch streaming content. I barely even use Youtube. I don't care about that. I've seen one Haiku review that said it was no use because it won't work with (a list of streaming services). I have only seen a friend's Netflix and never owned a streaming video account. I can't judge that, I don't want it, I'm not interested and so I don't even mention it.

      But for someone else, that is essential core functionality.

      Most of my personal laptops are over 10Y old, and while most have Core i7 chips now as I gradually upgrade them, some have Core 2 Duos. I encounter people who say they couldn't do their jobs without the latest 11th or 12th gen Core i-whatever. But they are happy with terrible short-travel keyboards I can't use.

      I really demand a good keyboard with close to 1cm of travel. I detest flat chiclet keyboards. For me, a 12YO laptop with a slow-ish chip and a slow-ish SSD and a low-ish resolution screen is *much* better than a thin light laptop with big NVMe drives, a retina screen, a 3GHz chip and a rotten flat keyboard. For others, the reverse is true.

      I could tell you the minimum spec for a given distro to install at all, but it will be basically useless for everyone on that spec. It is not useful information. I could tell you what makes me happy, what for me is a useful baseline spec.

      (2 CPU cores able to boost to 2GHz, 8GB of RAM -- 6GB at a push -- a SATA SSD, and a screen res above 1280×1024, and I am happy. Windows, Linux, Mac, doesn't matter; they are all OK with that.)

      But you will find many people would find that unusably low-end.

      One size does not fit all.

      The baseline is, sadly, meaningless.

      Equally, the optimum is meaningless. Many gamers now pay good money for GPUs with hundreds of rendering units, many gigs of RAM, able to refresh 5-10 _thousand_ pixels at over 100Hz, and USB input devices that have super-high sampling rates.

      I strongly suspect that if someone conducted controlled, fully blinded trials, almost no human could distinguish between standard graphics cards and screens, input devices and so on, versus that stuff. I do not believe that the normal human eye can perceive such refresh rates and so on. I think it's audiophile territory: that these people have fooled themselves into believing totally fictional claims.

      Does it matter, though? If they are happy to spend the money, and enjoy the devices, is it a problem?

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        > I do not believe that the normal human eye can perceive such refresh rates and so on.

        Until you experience a Desktop, not yet game, in 120 Hz on a good screen, OLED recommended. The smoothness when moving a window, the mouse making smaller steps and is more fluent, the scrolling of webpages... Video interpolated to 120 fps is really nice too, using SVP for that!

        When it comes to gaming it depends on the game. For racing games 120 fps looks really good compared to 60 fps. For RTS on the other hand it does not matter except scrolling around the battlefield. For FPS it depends on the game whether 60 is fine or 120 is a must. Most 3rd person games play fine with 60 fps, and 120 fps is just the icing when looking around to enjoy the smoothness.

        Honestly, you should try 120 Hz. A coworker might lend you an OLED 120 screen (not QLED, IPS, TN etc, real OLED).

        1. heyrick Silver badge

          My phone claims to support 60, 90, or 144Hz refresh rates.

          I have it set at 90 because to me the only difference been that and 144Hz is the latter consuming slightly more power.

          I'd agree with OLED, however. Because the pixels themselves emit light, you can get a great contrast with pure blacks (perfect ambience for horror movies ;) ) rather than the somewhat naff behaviour of TFT panels and the like where it the brightness is enough to make the whites white, the blacks are a sort of dark grey, and if the blacks are black then everything looks washed out and dull. OLED can do good white and perfect black.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Not only that, the "worst switch time" is 2.5 ms, usually at 0.5 ms. No overdrive and similar tricks needed.

        2. Ignazio

          And a gold HDMI cable, don't forget that.

        3. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          > Video interpolated to 120 fps is really nice too

          A friend demonstrated 4K video smoothing to me. We both prefer it turned off.

          I personally can not tell 600dpi laser print from 300dpi without a handheld magnifying lens and careful inspection. I tested this with colleagues in 1995. Now I am twice that age, I probably couldn't tell _with_ a lens. Maybe with a binocular microscope. (I stress binocular because as any lab scientist knows, that is the low end of optical magnification range.)

          My iMac has a 27" Retina screen and a 27" Thunderbolt Display which is a quarter of the resolution. To my eyes, they look identical: I can't tell, even looking very closely.

          So, no, I don't believe you. I don't think I could tell.

          I am not saying *nobody* can tell. Probably some people can. But not as many as _think_ that they can.

          1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            Ou sorry! Didn't know your eyesight is so bad. Difficult to see from here. I am among the lucky with 120% at the age of 48 - as long as I wear my glasses, which I have since I was 7 or 8.

            But if you visit me we could give it a try, large screen here. You mention 27" 4k vs 27" FullHD: I'd use the FullHD variant since the DPI on the Retina variant would be too high to be comfortable, I need to be able to the pixels in my line of usage.

  6. msknight

    Missing link

    I did a search to find their site... both video links fail (one on youtube and one on vimeo) and the link to the codec licenses ends up with server IP not found. - that is the .com site. I believe there is a .org that might be working. By the time I try, the edit timer on this will likely have expired.

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Missing link

      [Author here]

      I did link to it in the article, but here:

  7. Spoobistle

    Network limited PCs

    > Part of its design is that it should be useful to people who have only intermittent or limited internet access, and that the computer is still useful when offline.

    This could be a selling point for PCs that you can't/don't want to network continuously. All the other distributions I'm familiar with assume an internet connection will be available for updates. While most can be *installed* off a downloaded ISO or similar, updating an "air gapped" PC is basically limited to reinstalling the whole lot. (I know there has been some effort to get round this but it does not seem to have got too far.)

    > Updates are handled by the Red Hat-developed OStree tool.

    I'm not familiar with this, it would be nice to know more.

  8. Updraft102 Silver badge

    "Apt, like every other conventional package manager, has no "undo" function. You can't go back to where you were."

    Well, no, not with Apt. For "undo" of some kind of mishap, you use something like Timeshift (which is integrated with the Mint updater, so if you use that distro, it makes it really easy). In the unlikely event of an update mishap, it's very quick and easy to undo to before the update. It's just a frontend for rsync or btrfs, but it works well.

  9. cream wobbly

    "Apt, like every other conventional package manager, has no "undo" function. You can't go back to where you were."

    Gee, I guess I'd better stop using `yum history undo last`…

    1. Liam Proven (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      [Author here]

      That's interesting. Thanks for that -- this is new to me. I will investigate.

  10. ScrappyLaptop2

    The org's curated content on the educational version is...interesting?

    First "app" under Science and Experiments is...

    "49ers EDU Digital Playbook

    The 49ers EDU Digital Playbook is an interactive educational resource, designed to further the 49ers Foundation goals of harnessing football to educate and empower Bay Area Youth."

    It's all about the San Francisco 49's & football. Not exactly "science" as I remember it...

  11. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge


    I use Linux Mint on a daily basis and although it works flawlessly most of the time I did have on occasions trouble with updates which required me to re-install the OS. It left me wondering how Linux could ever be used by complete novices and here's my answer.

    I hope Linux Mint comes up with a similar system for updating the OS.

    1. Binraider Silver badge

      Re: Agree

      Reinstalling windows isn’t exactly a rarity either. 95/98 was easily a 6 monthly occurrence. And a lot more annoying to fish out drivers etc.

      A bit of computer admin arguably should be taught in schools.

      1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Agree

        It depends on how you use it. My last fresh Windows install was in 2011, I did choose UEFI "by will", and upgraded through all versions (yes, even Windows 8.0) up to Windows 11 21H2 - until they fix a few bugs for 22H2 which are already fixed in insider builds for 23H2.

        Once BattlEye was blocking one of the Win10 upgrades, and in 2020 I went through the drivers (aka "Services" in process hacker) to weed out all old drivers which are not from MS and needed any more. Also removed some "upper-filter" "lower-filter" stuff. Requires a bit knowledge how to do that, just as linux when you actually start to use it.

        Went from I7-2500K@4.8 GHz air-cooled (lucky at silicon lottery) over i7-4960x to Ryzen 2700x/3900x/5950x, three mainboards. Still the same installation, and I DO use it a lot. And I know how to backup-restore before trying something, like a new insider build.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Agree

        95/98 was easily a 6 monthly occurrence. And a lot more annoying to fish out drivers etc

        Which is why, when I got a setup (home or work) working as well as could be expected, I'd burn a CD with the full driver set I'd used. That means, if I had to rebuild, at least I could get the normal functionality and, if desired, update any drivers that needed it.

        Of course, sometimes the driver update would seriously bork things so it would be back on the nuke/re-install gravy train.

      3. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: Agree

        > Reinstalling windows isn’t exactly a rarity either. 95/98 was easily a 6 monthly occurrence.

        Not for me. During the four years I used Windows 98se I had to reinstall it only once. And I used it a lot, including capturing analogue PAL television. With the Athlon 800 upgrade even in full 768x576 resolution.

    2. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: Agree

      > I use Linux Mint on a daily basis

      Me too.

      > and although it works flawlessly most of the time

      Me too.

      > I did have on occasions trouble with updates which required me to re-install the OS

      Me neither. This literally never happened to me.

      Would you care to explain further?


      1. nightflier

        Re: Agree

        I tried to upgrade Mint from version 16 to 17 and it completely hosed the DE. Same thing with 17 to 18. Switching to KDE restored functionality enough to back up settings and files before re-installing. Not optimal.

      2. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

        Re: Agree

        Same as the other guy below: tried to update to a new version and the installation bombed.

        1. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Agree

          Yep, likewise. For major version releases in Mint I tend towards doing a clean install rather than trying to follow the updater. Data and working files get dumped onto a separate drive to the OS so not a major pain to move.

          I'm sure some hungry linux folks looking for problems would be able to diagnose why the updates don't always work; probably taking 48 hours or so to do so. Life's too short for that unless you're in the business of actually developing for it of course; so mere mortals should go the clean install route too.

          Mint did it's job very well for several years, however, I really like the AUR functionality in Arch and Manjaro, and somewhat more bleeding edge software selection.The only thing Manjaro hasn't been able to deal with itself is an LTO drive, admittedly, a pretty niche user base. Indeed, I've only successfully got that working with RHEL7 / Centos7 and some pre-compiled binaries (despite source being available).

        2. captain veg Silver badge

          Re: Agree

          OK, I was hoping for a little more detail than that "it bombed".

          I have had one upgrade, a long time ago, that left me looking at a command prompt rather than a GUI. Fortunately I was able to use another PC to research the problem and find a fix (which was simple, but non-obvious).

          The Mint upgrade process is definitely getting more reliable. The last several have been utterly painless. So much so that on occasion I've doubted that anything changed at all until a "lsb_release -a".

          Major releases, such as the recent one to Vera tend to take a surprisingly long time. Well, surprising to me until I performed an in-place upgrade of a Windows 8.1 system to Windows 10. That took an age, then rebooted several times, then rolled back for no adequately explained reason.


      3. 42656e4d203239 Silver badge

        Re: Agree

        >This literally never happened to me.

        >Would you care to explain further?

        The only thing that has killed Mint upgrades for me is nVidia graphics cards being deemed too old by nVidia to update the drivers any more. Wound up a couple of times with a CLI only box becasue of that until I remembered not to update that machine.

        Not irretrievable but still a right royal PITA and no I don't want to use the Nouveau drivers cos they were, last time I Iooked, sadly lacking in functionality... thinking about it the newwer Mint releases don't support the older drivers either so its Nouveau or CLI or don't update.

        Don't get me wrong - I appreciate that this is down to nVidia, and their approach to Linux drivers, not Mint, however the fact remains that the thing i was apparently doing (updating the OS) borked the installation.

  12. Blackjack Silver badge

    Sounds like the thing to install in the computers of people that shouldn't be trusted to use a computer.

  13. IGotOut Silver badge

    This actually appeals to me.

    An OS that isn't in a constant state of updates, happy to be offline and quick and easy to use.

    Reminds me of the good old days of Win98SE.

    1. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: This actually appeals to me.

      Was that OSR2?


  14. martinusher Silver badge

    UI is not an operating system

    Despite all the Windows and Mac and general marketing hype a UI is an application, not an operating system. Like a shell its an application that is used to launch other applications by a human user, that's all.

    The confusion may have started way back in the 1980s when early PC type systems had a monitor type program for users to launch programs. Early graphical programs on these machines were described as 'event driven' by their writers/users which was due to them being 'inside out' -- the application was primarily a loop that was called by the system whenever an event such as a keypress, a mouse move or the system timer fired. Each menu -- visible part of the program -- could spawn other menus, using a stack of who created what and where everything was returned to. The overall effect was looked a bit like an operating system was running on the computer. It wasn't, but the idea (after decades and generations of programmers) seems to have stuck.

  15. Plest Silver badge

    As someone who's used Linux since 1994 ( yes, I still have my original Yggdrasil CD! ) the problem is not the UI, it's the O/S.

    Fred, Wilma and Johnny want to get a computer device and run any software they like, they see nice office suite or a game, they want to just download it and run it. If it doesn't do that first time, without any attempt to think, then it will fail. You think I'm just gaslighting, you need to meet my Dad's mate. If an app on a phone doesn't work perfectly, first time and do excatly as expected, my Dad's mate goes into a right fit and moans like crazy, he does that with lots of stuff. If it says it will X on the box, if it does then the company is gonna hear about it!! It's mental!

    The Linux device I've come accross so far that's even close to this miracle is SteamDeck. This is a Linux based O/S that can run the very latest Windows games, I mean games released in the last couple of months, perfectly! It can run Windows software and games from the last 20 years almost flawlessly and where it can't they're improving it every day. I bought one to play games on the move and it's unreal that this thing will run state of the art graphics intensive Windows software off the bat on top of Linux almost always without a single tweak. It ain't easy but it's doable.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      As someone who's used Linux since 1994 ( yes, I still have my original Yggdrasil CD! )

      Slackware SLS 0.99pl15 for me.. somewhere in the early 1990's. And I certainly don't have the install media - it was from a set of 3.5" floppies that a friend downloaded for me because his work had internet and mine didn't..

      Took several attempts because I had only cheap floppies and every 3rd one would fail.

  16. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    Don't badmouth "conventional package managers"

    Apt, like every other conventional package manager, has no "undo" function.

    I'll raise you "dnf history rollback" and "dnf history undo".

    I am adamant that dnf is as conventional as they come. No, it probably does not target the intended audience of Endless OS, but neither does apt.

  17. Bartholomew Bronze badge

    Probaby a stupid question, but ...

    Is there any OS where a update can happen without a reboot.

    Where the old current kernel is running on one hart/CPU, the newer kernel is running on another hart/CPU, both synchronise all data structures. The older kernel hands the conductors baton, once both sides are happy that everything is shipshape and bristol fashion, over to the newer kernel. And the newer kernel is ready to rollback time of all data structures and hand the conductors baton back to the older kernel if any problems are found. And if everything is well then the older kernel is fully unloaded from memory.

    1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

      Re: Probaby a stupid question, but ...

      There is, if one pays for the amount of work there. Result: Too expensive in 99.99999% of cases. Especially since clustering, VM livemigration, kubernetes stuff etc are available.

  18. Kev99 Silver badge

    But how fat is it? How much space does it take on the drive? In RAM?

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