FEATURE The Pop! OS desktop is the same as the standard Ubuntu GNOME desktop, but with some aesthetic tweaks something newer, System76, a Linux-focused hardware vendor, recently came out with a custom distro called Pop! OS (fave.co/2BYe48w). Open-source software Open-source software has evolved to the point that there’s a viable replacement for almost everything you’d like to use. One intriguing open-source product is Syncthing (fave.co/2BradQh), a cloud sync service that you control. You can even run non-open-source software inside open-source applications. You can run Windows in a virtual machine on a Linux box, for instance – a great option for people who need to run certain Windows applications but don’t want to use Windows as their daily driver. 68 TECH ADVISOR • MAY 2018 Worldmags.net
FEATURE Running games inside a virtual machine won’t give you a great experience, but take heart: More and more games are rolling out Linux support – a movement that owes a great debt to Steam’s push toward Linux gaming. Purists should note that neither Steam nor most of these games are open-source, though – they simply run on Linux. Open-source hardware You can also get hardware dedicated to Linux builds, such as the System76 Galago Pro ($959, around £690, from fave.co/2BWULwE), but this hardware is rarely open-source like the software running on it. In some cases you might find hardware schematics available to the public, but the components that go into it – like the CPU and GPU – are almost always proprietary. The Raspberry Pi mini-PC (£32 from fave.co/2BXqBZZ), for example, uses a closed-source ARM chip at its heart. Nevertheless, the pint-sized PC board has been a champion for open source software since its debut, and we’re enamoured with it here at Tech Advisor. Over the past 20 years, the people who make open source software have helped to create a bold new world and enabled some of our most important online infrastructure. Here’s to the next 20. Worldmags.net MAY 2018 • TECH ADVISOR 69
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