Software review: Howdy


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May 12, 2020
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I found Howdy a few weeks ago while browsing GitHub (that's what programmers do instead of Twitter). It is supposed to be a Linux alternative to Windows Hello. I installed it on my laptop yesterday in order to try it out. My impressions so far:
  • Easy to use if you are familiar with the terminal. Currently, Howdy is configured only through the terminal (i.e. sudo howdy add to add a new face).
  • Awkward to configure. sudo howdy config opens nano with the config file.
  • Precise. I've added 5 face models of myself because it apparently doesn't recognize me in different lighting conditions.
  • Not perfect. On Plasma 5.18.5, Howdy cannot unlock my laptop from the lock screen.
  • Handy. For commands requiring sudo, Howdy can authenticate me in a second. Much better than typing a lengthy password.
  • Universally usable. When I still ran Windows on my laptop, I couldn't use Hello, presumably due to the lack of an IR camera. Howdy never complained.
Overall, I'd give Howdy 4 stars. It's not yet perfect, but definitely usable. And I trust that improvements will be made in the future, as Howdy is still being developed. I myself am considering creating a graphical interface for Howdy during Hacktoberfest.

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