Friday, January 30, 2015

Black Lab Linux and Tax Season

Ok so its that time of year again and once again Americans have to do the one thing we hate.  File taxes.  With all the talk of taxes and in Wal-Mart, Target and other fine retailers you find the tax preparation software.  For the last 3 years Black Lab Software Inc. has worked with Intuit and H&R Block and TaxACT to make sure that the websites work flawlessly with Black Lab Linux which has also helped users of alternative distributions and OS's and this year has been no different.  We have completed testing of TurboTaxes online web app, H&R Blocks online web app and TaxACTS online web app.  And they all work properly and as they should.  So users will have no problem filing their taxes using the web applications.  Some users have asked us can they use the retail releases under Wine.  The answer is an unfortunate no.  We have offered our assistance to Intuit and H&R Block to make a retail version available and there has been 0 interest in doing so.  Even with making it compatible with Wine.  So with that said, the Web applications work very similarly to the retail versions and users should have no issues.  I have had a few people I know use an alternative Tax preparation software called Open Tax Solver.  They are currently updating for the 2015 tax season.  I did use it one year and I didnt get audited  but thats not an official endorsement.

http://opentaxsolver.sourceforge.net/

https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/

https://idp.hrblock.com/idp/Authn/DUserLogin.html

http://www.taxact.com/

Monday, January 26, 2015

An overview of Black Lab Linux

As many of you have noticed already we are back live on Distrowatch.  Its been over a year and things have changed here with us.  So for those of you that are new tuning in from Distrowatch you might have some questions about just who we are.  Remember OS/4 OpenLinux?  Well, thats what Black Lab Linux came from.  In 2013, we lost a case where we lost the rights to the name OS/4.  Well, what we have been doing since that time ?  We continued doing business. We continued to learn and adapt and we did fairly well.  We grew our commercial business and we learned a lot from it.  One of the things people kept asking us.  What about Distrowatch?  Why aren't you guys listed on Distrowatch?  So Dan, went forward and worked with the staff at Distrowatch to figure out how we could put the past behind us and move forward and thats just what we did.

Whats new with Black Lab Linux?  Black Lab Linux comes in three different flavors, Black Lab Linux, Black Lab Professional Linux which consists of Black Lab Core and Black Lab Professional Desktop, and Black Lab Education Linux.  All of our distributions are freely available to download.  With Black Lab Pro Desktop of course you are missing some features and your support options are limited to our Facebook Page and our Bug report system.  The same with Education Desktop.  Basically we are to Ubuntu what CentOS is to Red Hat Enterprise Linux.  We focus on stability more than cutting edge.  To do this we are only based on LTS technologies.  We standardize on one desktop, GNOME Shell although we do have XFCE and KDE available on our NON commercial distribution, Black Lab Linux.  Our focus is to bring you the best of breed Linux desktop system.  Something you can deploy in your business, in your home, in your school and in 15 minutes you are up and running.  So with that said we encourage you guys to go try Black Lab Linux.

Black Lab Linux 6.0 x86_64

Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR2 x86_64

To purchase Black Lab Professional Desktop visit our buy it now page.

Buy It Now

You can buy a liveDVD, liveUSB or liveSD card

If you would like to help fund development of Black Lab Linux.  You can donate here.


Friday, January 23, 2015

2015 Black Lab Linux Roadmap

Ok guys its that time of year again.  To announce our 2015 Roadmap for Black Lab Linux.  The roadmap is a look ahead to whats coming and what you guys can expect.  Of course its not a guarantee of anything.

February 1, 2015 -  Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR3 - GNOME3, KDE

March 23, 2015 - Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0 SR3 - GNOME3 Only

April 20, 2015 - Black Lab Linux 6.5 - GNOME3, XFCE, KDE

June 1, 2015 - Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR4 and Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0 SR4

September  28, 2015 - Black Lab Linux 7.0 - GNOME3, XFCE, KDE

Oct 26, 2015 - Black Lab Professional Desktop 6.0 SR5 and Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0 SR5

November 23, 2015 - Black Lab Linux 7.0 SR1

December 21, 2015 - Black Lab Professional Desktop 7.0 and Black Lab Education Desktop 7.0

During the year we will have Beta releases and other advancements, SDK, Kernel Updaters etc. available as well as a refresh of our hardware lineup.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Re-Release of Black Lab Linux XFCE

Today we are announcing the re-release of Black Lab Linux XFCE.  We had originally planned to redo the XFCE release and release it branded as Yellow Lab Linux.  Some of our users have expressed to us that it was sort of confusing and we decided we wanted to preserve our brand.  So with that we are releasing Black Lab Linux XFCE 6.0 SR1.1.

While there has not been a ton of changes since our last release of it back in October we did do some significant rework of it.  We installed all updates up to January 19, 2015.  We have also reworked the GUI so that Windows and Mac OS users who come over will not have any difficulty using the system.  So with this release what is new.

1.  Heavily customized XFCE 4.11.4 Desktop
2.  Firefox 35
3.  Thunderbird 31.4  Released on January 19, 2015
4.  GTK 3.14
5.  Font Manager
6.  Fogger for Web Apps
7.  Updated Dropbox
8.  Updated Steam client
9.  Black Lab Visual Subsystem 8
10.  Linux Kernel 3.13.44
11.  Install Script for 3.18.3

There have been over 60 updates application and system updates that have been applied.

You can download Black Lab Linux XFCE 6 from our Sourceforge Page

Black Lab Linux XFCE 6.0 SR1.1 x86_64

Black Lab Linux XFCE is also available in a Professional Desktop build

If you would like to purchase or donate to the Black Lab Linux Project you can do that here:

Donate to the Black Lab Linux Project

Purchase a Live USB, LiveSD, LiveDVD

Purchase Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1.1


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Black Lab Linux KDE 6.0 SR1 Released

Today we are announcing that back by popular demand is the KDE release of Black Lab Linux.  We have a long history with KDE and  it has always been one of our more popular releases and the KDE desktop is the most requested desktops for our custom build service.  With this release we are bringing it to the general public.  With this release we made many changes to the KDE desktop to make it more friendly to novices as well as power users alike.  The KDE release like all of our releases of Black Lab Linux is based on the LTS version of Ubuntu and so you can be rest assured of continued support by us and by Canonical


Built on the base of Black Lab Linux 6, the KDE release contains the following software.

KDE 4.14.2
LibreOffice
Firefox 35
Thunderbird with the Lightning Extension
Spotify
Steam
Dropbox
TimeShift
Backup Utility
Dragon Player
VLC
Digikam
All multimedia codecs
Muon Software Center
Firewall utility

And many, many more software packages included and many more waiting to be discovered.

Some of the customizations that we make with Black Lab Linux KDE is that we cut off all unnecessary services and effects so we trim down the memory requirements for the system.  Many people have asked, what do we get that we wouldnt get with vanilla Kubuntu?  We include everything you need as a desktop system completely out of box.  You get streaming music, audio and video, office applications, system management tools, gaming facilities, and the ability to create your own desktop webapps.  So if you use Google Docs, Microsoft Office Online you can use them with Black Lab Linux.  Filesharing is made easy both by industry standard networking tools as well as through Dropbox.  So with that lets go ahead an answer a few questions that users may have.

Q) Will you guys be switching from GNOME3 to KDE now?
A) No, GNOME3 will continue to be our default window manager we are offering KDE as an alternative desktop for users.  Rightfully so because demand has been so high.

Q) Will KDE be offered alongside GNOME3 for professional desktop users?
A) Yes, KDE and GNOME3 are the only two choices users get on the Pro Desktop series. 

Known issues
----------------------

Installer still sports Kubuntu Branding - We are working on a new installer
Older NVIDIA cards may not work in live mode but the direct install option does work.
No installer on desktop in live mode - Open the menu and go to the system submenu and the installer is there.

You can download Black Lab Linux KDE from our Sourceforge Page

Black Lab Linux KDE 6.0 SR1 x86_64

If you are would like installable media or are on bandwith restrictions or you would like to purchase Black Lab Linux KDE on a Live USB, Live SD card or Live DVD please visit our store:

Buy Black Lab Linux


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 XFCE released

Today we released the XFCE version of Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1.  With this release we build in all of the updates and application fixes in our mainstream release but instead of GNOME we use XFCE.

So whats the purpose of the XFCE release?  The XFCE release is for people who like XFCE, and those situations where the graphics card or the system is not capable of running the GNOME desktop environment.

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 is based on LTS technologies so users can be rest assured that you will receive feature and functionality updates until 2017 and security updates until 2020.

With Service Release 1 you also have all security updates from October to December 19, 2014.  These include.

Linux kernel 3.13.0-43.50
Linux kernel 3.17.6 for kernel 3.17 users
Firefox 34
Thunderbird 31.3
Updated Steam client
XFCE 4.11

All together there are about 170 updates to the  system.

Users who dont need a new ISO can simply update their systems with the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Users and new users who would like to get a new ISO can download it from our Sourceforge page, 64 bit only.

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 XFCE x86_64

If you would like to support the Black Lab Linux Project you can purchase install media and preinstalled hard drives from us.  Our holiday pricing is still in effect until January 3, 2015.

Buy It Now

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 Released

Today we are pleased to announce the release of Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1, which is Service Release 1.  The purpose of our service releases is to focus on security and application updates rather than new features.  Service Releases are provided every two to three months in between our 6 month release schedule.  Black Lab Linux 6.0 is based on LTS technologies so users can be rest assured that you will receive feature and functionality updates until 2017 and security updates until 2020.

With Service Release 1 we have tweaked the user experience per user and customer feedback to move from a Unity type look to a more traditional GNOME/Mate experience.  You also have all security updates from October to December 14, 2014.  These include.

Linux kernel 3.13.0-43.50
Linux kernel 3.17.6 for kernel 3.17 users
Firefox 34
Thunderbird 31.3
GNOME 3.10.4
GTK 3.10.8

All together there are about 200 updates to the  system.

Users who dont need a new ISO can simply update their systems with the following commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Users and new users who would like to get a new ISO can download it from our Sourceforge page, 64 bit only.

Black Lab Linux 6.0 SR1 x86_64

If you would like to support the Black Lab Linux Project you can purchase install media and preinstalled hard drives from us.  Our holiday pricing is still in effect until January 3, 2015.

Buy It Now