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Research is the key to signing the right business lease. Specifically, look at the building owner, landlord, zoning laws, environmental expectations and nuisance laws.

Know how much you have to pay, what exactly you’re covering and how much your rent will increase each year. Some leases include extra payments (e.g., utilities, insurance or maintenance), while others fold all of your expenses into one monthly lump sum.

Establish details on how your lease will be transferred if your business closes or you move. Two examples are assignment of the lease, which allows another business owner to fully take it over, and subletting.

This article is for business owners who are looking to lease a commercial space and want to ensure they understand the contract.

Signing a lease is an important step for any new business owner. Whether you’re opening a store, moving into an office space or renting out facilities for production, at some point, you’re probably going to have to reserve a space for your business. The world of commercial real estate can be complicated, and it can sometimes take years to find the space you’re looking for.

Once you’ve found that space, signing the contract could feel like an annoying final step before you can get moved in and focused on running your business. But like most legal agreements, a business lease is an important document that requires some research.

“You have to do a lot of planning when you’re moving from one space to another,” said Walter Gumersell, partner with Rivkin Radler. “Confirm the terms that you’re going to be taking.” For example, include clauses about rent, the security deposit, the term of the lease and the use of the space. “You want that to be as broad as possible,” he said.

It should be no surprise that the fine print in a commercial lease is very important. There are two basic steps to take before signing a lease: Do extensive research, and be aware of typical statutes included in business leases.

Steps for research include vetting the landlord, determining the building owner, researching zoning laws and getting a general feel for the area. Before you sign a lease, make sure you get an idea of the payment structure, your own personal risk exposure, the transfer structure, the landlord’s desired holdover rate and any nuisance clauses in your lease. These are some important things to look out for, but keep in mind that typical commercial lease practices vary by state.

Commercial lease vs. residential lease

A commercial lease is required any time a business rents a commercial property for the purpose of conducting business from that location. Nishank Khanna, chief marketing officer at Clarify Capital, said a commercial lease agreement is a legally binding contract between a landlord and a business tenant.

“The landlord agrees to rent out the business property, which is typically an office space, in exchange for money,” Khanna told Business News Daily. “Commercial leases typically last from three to five years, creating a long-term relationship between the lessor and lessee.”

Although this may sound very similar to a residential lease, there are some important distinctions between a residential lease and a business lease. For one, while both involve a landlord renting space to a tenant in exchange for money, a residential lease cannot be used for business purposes.

In addition, “commercial leases are less regulated and offer less protection than residential leases,” Khanna said. “They are typically longer in duration and offer greater flexibility when it comes to negotiating conditions than residential lease agreements.”

Another difference is that renters in a residential lease agreement are usually not responsible for paying property taxes, whereas with commercial lease agreements, it’s very common for the tenant to pay at least a portion of the property taxes.

Key Takeaway

Commercial and residential leases are similar, but there are some important differences, including how long the lease is and who pays the property taxes.

Elements of a commercial lease agreement

A commercial lease agreement is a contract, so it must include certain elements and key information for it to be valid and enforceable. At a minimum, information regarding the rent, security deposit, lease duration and any additional costs the tenant may be subject to should be clearly defined within the lease, according to Khanna.

“The ‘other costs’ category is an especially important one that should be carefully reviewed” before you sign the contract, Khanna said. “Building insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs fall under the ‘other costs’ umbrella. These additional expenses can quickly tally up to large overhead costs.”

Khanna also noted that small business owners should be aware of the difference between exclusive and permitted use. For small business owners in competitive industries, an exclusive-use contract can be especially beneficial.

“An emerging brewery, for example, would be wise to request exclusive permission to rent out space within a community market, in order to decrease opportunity for competing sales,” Khanna said. “Without exclusive permission, another brewery could rent space within the market and try to win business from the same pool of customers, thus reducing the first brewery’s profit significantly.”

Did You Know?

 There are several core elements of a commercial lease, such as the cost of rent, additional fees, the security deposit and the length of the lease.

Researching the area, landlord and lease details

Before you sign a commercial lease agreement, you’ll have to do some research. Make sure to take the following steps while investigating.

1. Understand the area.

While looking for a new property, if you’re selling a product or service to the public, analyze the area and get a good idea of your potential clientele. Location means everything for a small business to thrive, so when you’re shopping around for the right properties, take the time to find the right new home for your business. Gumersell said this process can take two years or even longer, so make sure you plan accordingly if your current lease’s end is in sight.

2. Find out more about the landlord and building owner.

Gumersell also said that one of the most important aspects of research that is often overlooked is learning more about the landlord and building owner. Sometimes, your direct landlord may not be the true building owner. Either way, find out as much about the landlord and building owner as possible. You’re entering a business partnership together, so make sure you have an idea of who they are, what their financial situation is and whether they’re making good on their payments.

In some states, for example, if a landlord fails to make his or her payments to the building owner, or fails to make mortgage payments to a bank, the business or tenant can end up getting evicted in the event of foreclosure – even if the business has been on time with every payment. That’s just one example of how the relationship between a landlord, tenant and building owner can go awry. Gumersell said businesses can conduct a public records search to find out more about the landlord. You can also request documents related to the landlord’s limited liability company or business entity to learn more about whether it’s an ideal partner for your business.

3. Research zoning laws.

Another component to look into is the zoning laws. While your landlord may designate your space for, say, running a restaurant, you have to make sure the landlord’s aims are consistent with the laws of your municipality. There are scenarios in which a landlord or building owner may think they can lease their space to a certain type of business, but it doesn’t match standard zoning laws in the area. By aligning these two details, you can ensure that your business can operate without any major legal headaches from the town or city in which you’re operating.

4. Learn about nuisance laws and the environment.

One of the most important aspects of signing a lease is being able to operate your business to its fullest capacity once you open your doors. Many leases have extensive points on noise, smells and equipment. Ann Brookes, a tax attorney, said that when she signed a lease for a restaurant, she had to negotiate an “offensive odors stipulation.”

“The building rules said no offensive odors,” she said. “Whether a smell is offensive is subjective, so I made sure there was an exception for smells ordinary to a restaurant.”

It’s also important to research basic environmental laws regarding the property before you sign anything, Gumersell said. Landlords often miss these laws, and they could be used against your business.

Tip

Before signing a lease agreement, do your due diligence on the property. Make sure to research the local area, the landlord, the zoning laws for the area, and any other nuisance and environmental laws the property is subject to.

Important commercial lease statutes to keep in mind

There are some key points to keep in mind when you are reviewing your lease. The rent structure is probably the most basic and most important aspect of any lease. By determining how much you pay per month, as well as how much your rent will increase each year, you can better determine budgets and get a full understanding of whether you can stay in business in this new space.

The lease terms are also very important. Consider short-term versus long-term leases. Long-term leases can be a great investment if you’re opening a business in an emerging or growing area, whereas short-term leases provide you with the flexibility to move locations or shutter your business if it doesn’t pan out in the way you hoped.

Both with payment structure and term, make sure you understand exactly what you’re on the hook for each month. Ask your potential landlord about how the following expenses are paid:

Insurance

Property taxes

Maintenance (both interior and exterior)

Repairs

Security

Parking

Local nuisance laws (noise or scent)

Utilities (water, gas, electric)

Modifications (whether you can adjust the interior or exterior of your space)

Once you’ve established some basic pricing and term structures, it’s time to dive into some of the less-obvious details. While your lease will likely vary by state, here are some good examples of statutes to be aware of before signing a lease:

Transfer structure. Iron out how your lease will be transferred if you want to leave the space or your business closes. According to Gumersell, there are generally two structures for transferring a lease: assignment of the lease and subletting. Assignment of the lease means the entire lease is transferred to a new tenant. Subletting is when a current tenant keeps his or her name on the lease but receives payment from a new tenant and transfers that money to the landlord. In both instances, you usually have to establish prior written consent before the lease transfer. This is a very important aspect of your lease to work out.

Personal exposure. In some cases, you may be required to sign personal guarantees when you sign a commercial lease. These agreements mean you’re personally on the hook for aspects of the lease even if your business defaults. Work with legal counsel to negotiate this aspect of your contract. If possible, you only want your entity or legal business to take on the risk when signing a business lease.

Holdover rent. Holdover rent is a rent increase when a tenant stays after the lease has expired. It’s hard to find a lease, and sometimes when businesses are moving spaces, they end up staying longer than their current lease allows while the new one is being set up. In many contracts, landlords include a clause stating that, in these instances, businesses are responsible for up to 250% of their normal rent payment per month. So, if you stay beyond your allotted time, it could cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Gumersell recommended negotiating this aspect down to around 125%.

Nondisturbance agreement. In many cases, if the landlord fails to pay his or her mortgage on the property, your business will still be evicted, even if you’re making all of your payments. With a nondisturbance agreement, if this occurs, you’ll be permitted to stay and continue paying whatever entity has taken over the building from your landlord, Gumersell said.

Everything can be negotiated

While these are some good examples of things to be aware of, there are likely many aspects of your lease that can be negotiated. Work with your potential landlord – and, if necessary, an attorney – to make sure you get the best deal for you and your business.

“Where a residential lease has a fixed term, a commercial lease is often negotiable and can have a longer or shorter-term depending on the conditions set,” said Allan Borch, founder of Dotcom Dollar. “Commercial leases also have fewer legal protections because the consumer laws that apply to residential lease agreements do not cover commercial leases.”

Tip

Don’t hesitate to negotiate the terms of the lease. Many aspects of the contract, especially the length of the term, are negotiable.

Commercial lease agreement terms to know

Borch and Dan Bailey, president of WikiLawn, listed some key terms that small business owners should know regarding commercial lease agreements. The list does not include every possible term you may encounter on a commercial lease agreement, but it’s an overview of the ones you are most likely to see.

Rent amount/base rent. This amount is calculated based on the square footage of the space. Make sure the number the landlord is using actually represents usable space. This rent is not dependent on revenue.

Usable square feet. This refers to the amount of space actually reserved for the business as a tenant, in cases of shared spaces.

Rent increases. Rent increases are usually based on a percentage of the total rent, and that can change from year to year. You can negotiate with the landlord to put a cap on rent increases.

Security deposit. This is the amount to hold the space until the paperwork is finalized. The amount should be specified both ahead of time and in the lease agreement.

Length of the lease. The length of a commercial lease is usually somewhere between three and five years, as commercial landlords prefer longer lease terms. The lease agreement also often specifies the start and end dates of the lease.

Improvements. This part of the commercial lease agreement lays out the types of improvements and upgrades that can be made to the space and who is responsible for the costs. Many aspects of this section can be negotiated.

Bottom line. Make sure you understand all of the terms in a commercial lease contract and are comfortable with them before signing on the dotted line.

Grant of lease. This is the clause that states that the landlord will turn the property over to the tenant once all of the conditions (e.g., paying the security deposit) have been met and the tenant accepts the property from the landlord.

Commencement date. This is the date on which the tenant takes over the property, more commonly stated as the first day the tenant becomes responsible for paying rent and maintaining the rental property.

Extension. Both parties can agree to an extension of the agreement in writing, and it must be signed by both parties.

Late fee. If the tenant is late in paying rent, they will incur a late fee that is outlined by the commercial lease agreement. This can be a flat fee or a percentage of the monthly rent.

Taxes. This section outlines all of the taxes associated with the property (property taxes, real estate taxes) and who is responsible for paying them. Within this section, there could be subtopics, like Contest of Taxes (the tenant can contest the amount of personal or real property tax they are responsible for paying), Payment of Ordinance Assessments (the tenant usually pays for all ordinary assessments, which are obligatory, and extraordinary, which are by choice) and Change in Method of Taxation.

Obligation for repair. This section states what types of repairs the landlord is obligated to make – like defects, deficiencies, failures or deviations in materials – that are vital to the operation of the property. It also outlines the repairs that tenants are responsible for.

Permits. Both parties are to acquire all necessary permits and licenses for making improvements or repairs at the location being rented.

Covenants. These terms are different for the tenant and the landlord; each has a separate set of covenants. For example, a covenant may state that the tenant is required to pay rent even if the landlord fails to uphold some of their responsibilities as stated in the lease.

Indemnity by tenant. This clause essentially removes all liability from the landlord in the event of injury, loss, claims, or damage, unless those things are a direct result of willful acts or omissions or gross negligence on the landlord’s part.

Rent abatement/adjustment. This section states if the rent will be adjusted or eliminated in the event of property damage from a fire or other natural disaster.

Condemnation. This clause is often overlooked, but it’s important. It determines what happens if the rental property is taken from the landlord by a government agency for public use, either by condemnation or eminent domain.

Option to purchase. This clause states that, at any time during the lease, the tenant has the right to buy the property at an agreed-upon price. This clause isn’t mandatory, but it doesn’t hurt to include it. The clause can also state that the tenant does not have the right to purchase the property during the term of the lease. Either way, it’s good to have it in writing.

Key Takeaway

 There are a number of lease terms you should be familiar with, including usable square feet, commencement date, grant of lease, covenants and rent abatement.

Commercial lease FAQs

Commercial leases can be complex. Below are four of the most frequently asked relating to commercial leases and their answers.

What is a typical commercial lease deposit?

It is normal for the lease deposit to include a security deposit and two months of rent. The average cost is around $4,000, according to research done by a property management group in Houston.

Are utilities included in commercial leases?

The answer to this question depends on the type of lease. The utility needs of a skyrise office suite are quite different from a textile semiconductor manufacturing plant. To simplify the sheer range of leases that exist, most commercial leases are split into three categories. A gross lease covers all operating expenses, and that includes utilities. A net lease is less inclusive and usually does not cover utilities. A modified lease can be either a gross or net lease, with custom changes negotiated by both parties.

When should you buy or lease commercial property?

In the long term, owning commercial property is typically more economical than leasing. Leases are still popular because many businesses can’t devote a significant portion of their capital to commercial real estate. If a business can afford to tie up assets in commercial real estate, purchasing is the better option. If not, leasing is the way to go.

How long is a typical commercial lease?

Commercial leases are typically three to five years. That guarantees enough rental income for the landlords to recoup their investment. Leases are often negotiable, but for a commercial lease, landlords frequently allow customization of the space for the sake of the renting business. This means that landlords invest a lot more money into commercial real estate than they might for residential properties.

You're reading What To Know Before Signing A Commercial Lease

Finance Lease Vs Operating Lease

What is Finance Lease?

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Explanation

It is predominantly used for the purchase of equipment. Further, not all leases qualify as finance leases, as certain requirements should be met to be considered a finance lease. The conditions are as follows:

The lessee will have the option to purchase the asset at a bargain price after the expiry of the lease agreement.

The duration of the lease covers at least 75% of the asset’s useful life.

The present value of the future lease payments should add up to a minimum of 90% of the asset’s value.

Features of Finance Lease

The features are as follows:

The lessee picks the required asset, equipment, vehicles, software, etc.

The lessor funds the purchases of the asset and leases it to the lessee.

The lessee utilizes the asset during the lease, during which the lessee pays a series of installments to the lessor for the asset.

At the expiry of the lease, the lessee is offered the option to acquire ownership of the asset by paying a bullet payment, which is usually a bargain price.

Examples of Finance Lease

Following are the example are given below:

Example #1

Let us take the example of ASD Inc., which has leased some specialized production equipment from DFG Inc. The estimated useful life of the machinery is 5 years, and the lease term is 3 years. As per the current market, the fair value of the machinery is $10 million, while the present value of lease payments is $7 million. Determine if the lease agreement qualifies as a finance lease.

As per the given information,

The lease tenor is 60% (= 3 years / 5 years) of the equipment’s useful life, which is less than the threshold of 75%.

The present value of the lease payments is 70% (= $7 million / $10 million) of the asset value, which is also less than the threshold of 90%.

Since 2 out of the 3 three are unsatisfied, the lease doesn’t qualify as a finance lease.

Example #2

Let us take the example of another company, ERT Inc., that leased heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) from GHJ Inc. As per the lease agreement, the lessee will pay an annual lease rental of $50,000 at the end of each year of the 5-year lease chúng tôi Inc. has the option to purchase the HEMM at a bargain price after the expiry of the lease period. Determine if the lease agreement qualifies as a finance lease if the applicable interest rate is 8%, the asset’s useful life is 6 years, and the asset value is $215,000.

The lease tenor is 83.3% (= 5 years / 6 years) of the equipment’s useful life, which is more than the threshold of 75%.

The present value (PV) of the lease payments is 92.9% (= $199,636 / $215,000) of the asset value, which is more than the threshold of 90%. The calculation of PV is shown below.

PV = $50,000 * [1 – (1 + 8%)-5] / 8%

PV = $199,636

The lessee has the option to purchase the asset at a bargain price after the expiry of the lease period. Therefore, the lease agreement satisfies all the conditions and qualifies as a finance lease.

Accounting Treatment

Accounting of finance lease in the lessor’s books is done as follows:

Record the leased asset in the books with a value equal to the net investment.

Estimate the unguaranteed residual value for computing the lessor’s gross investment.

Revise the income allocation over the remaining lease term in case the estimated unguaranteed residual value is reduced.

Any direct cost owing to the lease can either be immediately recorded in the income statement or spread across the lease tenor.

Accounting of the finance lease in the lessee’s books is done as follows:

Record asset and liability of value equal to the asset’s fair value at the start of the lease.

Divide the lease rental payments into a reduction of outstanding liability and payment of finance charges.

Pass the depreciation expense of the leased asset through the income statement.

Impact of Finance Lease

Since finance leased asset is capitalized, it results in an increase of assets as well as liabilities.

The debt-equity ratio increases due to an increase in outside liabilities leading to additional leverage.

The cash flow statement impacts both operating and financial cash flow because the principal part of the lease payments is recorded under operating cash flow, and the interest portion is recorded under financing cash flow.

Finance Lease vs Operating Lease

Some of the main differences between a finance lease and an operating lease are:

In a finance lease, asset ownership is transferred to the lessee after the expiry of the lease term. But, in the operating lease agreement, the ownership of the asset always stays with the lessor.

It may have the option of balloon/residual payment so the lessee can buy the asset. But, in an operating lease, such an option is not there.

Finance lease assets form part of the balance sheet and income statement. But operating lease assets are treated as off-balance sheet items and appear only in the income statement.

Advantages

The asset can be purchased through periodic installments rather than a large upfront investment.

The lease rentals are spread across the lease tenor, and the fixed payments usually don’t change due to changes in bank interest rates.

There are options for flexible repayment structures under finance lease contracts.

Failure to repay can result in repossession of the asset by the lessor.

The assets are not protected against bankruptcy.

Conclusion Recommended Articles

What To Know When Starting A Restaurant

2. Get as much restaurant industry experience as you can.

Getting your bearings in the restaurant industry as a first-timer can be challenging. If you don’t have previous experience in the business, it’s essential to partner with or hire someone who does.

When Costanzo Astarita started his Atlanta restaurant Baraonda in December 2000, he and his partner had worked on the food preparation and management sides of the industry. Still, he didn’t know much about commercial leases.

“I wish I had understood how to negotiate them when I started,” Astarita said. “I think that any new restaurateur who is unfamiliar with commercial leases should hire a lawyer who specializes in that field.”

Tony Doyle, owner of Hells Kitchen Hospitality Group, has worked in restaurants since age 12 and opened several successful restaurants. However, he still had a lot to learn when he opened his first establishment.

“There were a lot of things I’d never dealt with before — employees, payroll, taxes, bank account management, etc.,” Doyle said. “You need to get a general knowledge of the working of the business before you start. There are a lot of issues that people don’t see.”

3. Choose the right restaurant location.

Choosing the right business location is crucial. Without a good location, your restaurant is doomed to fail, no matter how great it is otherwise. 

In the 30 years she’s been in business, Paola Bottero moved her Manhattan eatery three times before settling on her current location. Marco Pipolo, owner of New York City’s Marcony Ristorante, has learned valuable lessons from each of the five restaurants he’s owned, but one of the most important is that location can make or break your business.

Even with a mobile eatery, location can still present an issue. Daniel Shemtob, co-founder and executive chef at Los Angeles-based TLT Food, recalled a harrowing first day working on The Lime Truck.

“[My co-founder and I] were in the middle of nowhere — we didn’t have propane to cook and the truck wouldn’t start,” said Shemtob, who recalled having to hotwire the truck and wait for someone to come help them.

“Then there are other factors, like traffic,” he added.

Tip

A mobile restaurant POS system is a game-changer for a mobile eatery, letting you ring up purchases on the fly, offer fast checkout and stay on top of inventory management.

4. Be adaptable when running your restaurant.

While food quality and service consistency are crucial for success, the restaurant business is far from static.

“I have found over the years that you constantly need to be updating, renovating and evolving with the ever-changing taste of the public to be successful,” Pipolo said.

Shemtob agreed, noting that his menu is constantly changing to allow for newer, more innovative dishes. When you come up with your concept and menu, it should be flexible enough to adapt when your customers ask for something new.

5. Put your customers first to help your restaurant succeed.

Everyone knows a successful restaurant must serve delicious food. Still, many other factors contribute to your venture’s success — and most of them boil down to happy, loyal customers. If there’s one thing Bottero wishes she had known when she started, it’s that building customer loyalty is challenging and takes time, even if your menu is top-notch.

“Customers make the place,” Bottero noted. “You have to earn their trust by making sure they’re taken care of and providing the best service possible. In today’s market, you also can’t succeed without social media. Good food is important, but so is good technology.”

Key Takeaway

running a gift card program to boost restaurant sales over the holidays, build brand awareness and appeal to new customers.

Getting off to a good start

Starting a restaurant can be an enormous venture, but with the proper steps, you can build a profitable business that keeps customers happy. 

As you start the process, consider your motivation. Are you looking for another source of income? Do you want your community raving about your new dish? Knowing what’s driving you can help you stay motivated during the long days and nights of working to build a successful business.

Shayna Waltower and Nicole Fallon contributed to the reporting and writing of this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

What You Need To Know

Unless you have been living under a rock, or worse – you don’t care much about how Linux works, you must have heard of systemd, the (relatively) new init system replacing the old and outdated SysV init recently adopted by most major Linux distros.

What is an init system?

From the user’s point of view this looks like starting up networking and databases, etc., but in reality there is a rather complex process taking place under the hood. Services are started, stopped and restarted, often parallel to each other. Some are run under different privileges than others, service statuses are being reported and logged, and many other tasks are performed that will make the different part of your system work and be able to interact with its users and environment.

How this is implemented, however, is far from uniform, and this really is where it all stops being common and well-defined.

The old init system

The init system used by most mainstream Linux distros up to recently was System V init (or SysV init in short), which has derived its name form UNIX System V (Pronounced “System Five”), the first commercially available UNIX system. System V OS has had a specific way to run its init process, and SysV init has kept loyal to this over the years.

And it has been many years. UNIX System V was originally released in 1983, making the init SysV init an over 30 years old approach towards starting up Linux machines.

The need for a change

As it has been noted, SysV init has been outdated and long overdue to be replaced. Some of the reasons for this include:

SysV init uses /sbin/init to start the init process, but init itself has a very limited role. init does little more than starting /etc/init.d/rc, according to the configuration read from /etc/inittab, which in turn will run scripts to do the real work of the init process. This, unless panelized explicitly (like with startpar on Debian), will happen sequentially, one script starting after the other, making the whole process slow as each script has to wait for the previous one to finish.

For system administrators trying to modify the environment under which a certain process would start, it’s quite difficult with SysV init. (In order to achieve this they will have to modify the init strcipt that is responsible to start the given process.)

There is certain functionality common to every service that SysV does not implement, but each process would have to implement itself instead, such as “daemonising” themselves (becoming a system daemon), which is an elaborate and long process. Instead of implementing these steps once, SysV requires each process to do the job themselves.

SysV also leaves certain functionality to external programs and knows nothing about services started by those.

All of the above, and many more design flaws, or rather the outdated system design of SysV, has made the creation of a modern init system long overdue.

Enter systemd

There were many attempts to create an alternative init system, of which systemd is only one of them. Ubuntu used to run its own init system called upstart. Gentoo still uses OpenRC. Other init systems include initng, busybox-init, runit, and Mudur and others.

The reason systemd is a clear winner is that it’s been adopted by most major distributions. RHL and CentOS naturally went the systemd way, as Fedora was the first distro to officially adopt systemd in 2011. But systemd has really become the one init system to rule them all, when Debian 8 officially switched to systemd, bringing Ubuntu and derivatives with it, overcoming Canonical’s (or more precisely Mark Shuttleworth’s) initial opposition towards systemd.

How is systemd different?

Systemd aims to provide a single, centralized way to handle the init process from beginning to end.

It starts and stop processes and services while keeping track of their dependencies. It can even start a process as a response to another process’ dependency requirement.

In addition to start and stop processes during boot time, Systemd can also start any time when the system is up in response to certain trigger events such as when a device is plugged in.

It also does not require processes to daemonize themselves. Unlike SysV init, systemd can handle services running without having to go through the long process of becoming daemons.

Unlike SysV init, systemd knows and tracks all processes, including PIDs, and getting information about processes is much simpler for system administrators under systemd.

Systemd supports containers that are basically isolated service environments without the requirement of virtual machines. This has great potential towards more secure and simpler system designs in the future.

Controversy

Of course systemd was not welcomed by all. In fact, many have and still do frown upon it, calling it monolithic and cumbersome, some even accusing it of going the “windows way” of having everything centralized. Many argue that it is not “the Linux way”, and certainly systemd does not seem to be in accordance with POSIX standards, and if we consider systemd as a toolkit (beyond just the binary), it is definitely hugae.

Conclusion

For the average user it brings faster boot times and probably more reliable systems, while in the future distributions adopting it can become more “compatible” with one another. On the user end we will definitely benefit from the more up-to-date and contemporary system design it brings to our desktops.

Attila Orosz

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Everything To Consider Before Buying A Portable Solar Panel

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Working from your living room couch may be more enjoyable than a stuffy cubicle, but both setups can keep you feeling tethered to a power outlet. Luckily, there’s an easy way to cut that cord and move your workspace outdoors—without worrying about charging battery packs ahead of time. 

Portable solar panels are gaining popularity as folks look for a simple, sustainable way to juice up their devices while off the grid. Whether you’re a hardcore backpacker heading deep into the wilderness or a sunbather hoping to get some work done in your local park, there’s a personal solar panel out there suited to your needs.

Why buy a portable solar panel?

When you think of solar panels, you probably imagine a vast field of shiny black slabs angled toward the sun. The portable versions of those stationary arrays employ the exact same energy-capturing technology, just bundled within lightweight, compact designs. This makes them ideal for a variety of uses, from powering a recreational vehicle to charging your electronics on the go.

Portable solar panels are also a great way to familiarize yourself with renewable energy. While you may not be ready to install a solar roof on your house, charging a phone or laptop with a small panel can help you gauge the light levels in your area and see how well solar power may be able to meet your needs.

Factors to keep in mind

Even though most portable solar panels are easy to set up and simple to use, there’s always a lot to consider when investing in a new piece of technology. We’ve gathered what we think are the most important factors to think about before you start powering up in the great outdoors.

Wattage

Start by figuring out how much electricity you need. Some personal panels are available in a number of different wattages—a measure of pure electrical power. For example, the Goal Zero Boulder Briefcase, a panel that folds into a compact rectangle with handles for easy portability, is available in 50-watt, 100-watt, and 200-watt varieties. The designs with higher wattages are larger and more expensive, so the best panel for you will depend on what electronics you’re hoping to power. Make sure you read our guide on how to properly charge devices when you’re done here.

Lower-wattage panels won’t prove useless in your mission to stray away from traditional energy sources, but they may charge your devices more slowly than you’re used to. For best results, take a look at your device’s specifications and figure how much power their charging cables allow in. This can help prevent you from buying a panel with a wattage that exceeds your devices’ limits.

Power storage options

Many portable panels come with the necessary cables and batteries you’ll need to store electricity for later. A power bank is especially helpful if you hope to use solar energy when there’s no sun: illuminating a campsite at nighttime, charging your phone during a thunderstorm, or keeping your laptop running on a cloudy afternoon are all good examples. If you want to stock up on solar power, consider purchasing a kit that includes the necessary batteries, converters, and cables. 

[Related: Camping gear that could really help in a power outage]

It’s also possible to skip the accessories and use your solar power instantly. Many portable panels have USB ports that allow you to charge your electronics directly. A small, lightweight option may be all you need to keep your phone or laptop running on a sunny day. Foregoing batteries and cables can also help keep the cost of your solar setup low.

Portability

The size, weight, and design of your personal solar panel will all determine its portability. If you’re planning to drive to a sunny field to get some work done, a heavier and more bulky panel might be fine: you can keep it in your car until you reach your destination, so its size and weight won’t be an issue. On the other hand, backpackers and hikers should choose small, lightweight panels that won’t become a burden on long outdoor treks. Before you buy, make sure you check a panel’s weight and dimensions, as well as those of all its accessories.

Weather resistance

While most solar panels are at least somewhat weather-resistant, not all of them are truly waterproof. The last thing you want is to ruin your brand-new gadget and be stuck without electricity simply because it wasn’t designed to withstand the elements. Depending on the intensity of your outdoor excursions and the weather in your area, make a point to determine your panel’s hardiness before you buy.

Price

The last factor to consider is how much money you’re willing to spend on your new portable solar panel. It’s unlikely that such a small panel will ever pay for itself through the electricity it produces, but the freedom and access to the outdoors it can provide you is inherently valuable. 

Price will vary depending on your panel’s power output, energy storage components, and overall bulk. It’s possible to find small power packs with solar components in the $20 to $30 range, but a larger (and more powerful) panel can cost as much as a few hundred dollars. No matter your needs, there’s a panel out there that can help you venture off the beaten path.

[Related: Best solar generators of 2023]

What You Need To Know About Apple Icloud

Have you ever wanted to know exactly what everyone means every time someone says “iCloud”? Simply defined, iCloud is the name for all of the services Apple delivers through the cloud. That includes iCloud Drive, iCloud Photo Library, and all the information saved from your iOS device. iCloud provides all iPhone users a way to back up their iPhone and iPad in case it needs to be restored at any future point. So how does it all work?

What Is iCloud?

iCloud is the umbrella name Apple has given to its entire range of cloud-based services. It is also the place where all of your Apple information is stored online. Your data can be accessed on any Apple device, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac and even Windows computers. You can also visit chúng tôi log in and find a web-based resource for a good chunk of your iCloud data.

What Can iCloud Do?

Think about all of the people in your Contacts app. With iCloud, all of your contacts will sync automatically across your iOS and macOS devices. You only need to maintain one list of contacts, and if you delete or add a name, it syncs with the rest of your iOS devices. The same goes for your Calendar app. All of your events, birthdays, and holidays will sync across all of your Apple devices. This is also the case for Notes, Reminders, iWork and more. Even your iMessages are backed up to iCloud and can sync to all of your devices.

iCloud Drive, on the other hand, is something akin to Google Drive, Dropbox, etc. You can create folders, and drag and drop stuff into your iCloud Drive from elsewhere on your Mac. If you are familiar with any other cloud storage service, iCloud works in the exact same way. Like all those other services, changes you make in iCloud Drive are synced across all of your macOS and iOS devices. The “Files” app is your central hub for iCloud Drive and comes pre-installed on all iOS devices.

What Does iCloud Cost?

The good news is that Apple provides all of its customers with 5GB of free storage. That can be used for iCloud backup for your device, iMessages, photos, and iCloud Drive. While 5GB of storage can work for a number of iPhone customers, there is a strong chance you will need more. Purchasing more storage means you have more room to back up all of your apps, data, files, pictures and more. So what does iCloud cost if you need more storage?

For $0.99 a month, you will receive 50GB of storage.

For $2.99 a month, you receive 200GB of storage.

For $9.99 a month, you get 2TB of storage.

For the most part, those rates are extremely competitive. For its part, Google Drive offers 15GB free with plans starting at $1.99 a month for 100GB, $2.99 a month for 200GB and so on. Dropbox matches iCloud with 2TB of storage at $9.99 per month while their free plan offers a meager 2GB of storage. With these examples, it’s easy to see iCloud as very competitive in the space.

Enabling iCloud Drive

The easiest way to set up iCloud Drive is during the initial setup of any new iOS or Mac device. Halfway through the setup process, iOS will ask if you want to use iCloud. If yes, it will then walk you through the steps. If you choose not to activate during setup, you can enable it later on through each device’s settings. Here is how to do that across any iCloud-enabled platform.

iOS or iPadOS

2. Tap iCloud and turn it on.

3. You can also see everything taking up your existing iCloud storage on this screen. Apps, photos, mail, contacts, iOS backups, etc.

macOS

2. Select iCloud and sign in with your Apple ID if you have not already done so.

3. Enable iCloud Drive and then select what you want to sync.

Windows

1. Download iCloud for Windows or download directly from the Microsoft Store.

3. Log in with your Apple ID.

1. Sign in to chúng tôi with your Apple ID.

2. You will see all of your folders from iCloud Drive as well as Notes, Reminders, Mail, Contacts and much more.

3. Most of these web apps offer similar. if not the same, functionality as their native app counterparts.

iCloud Family Sharing

Like other cloud services, Apple and iCloud also allow for Family Sharing. Not only does this allow you to share App Stores and an Apple Music subscription, but also available iCloud Drive storage. As a privacy-driven company, Apple also makes it a point to say that even as a family plan, all photos and documents are private and hidden from each family member.

2. At this screen, you have the option to add up to six people from your household. It’s worth noting that the main organizer can add family members. In that case, the “primary” user should be whoever is being charged for the iCloud Drive account.

3. Inside this screen, you can also turn on Purchase Sharing, iCloud Storage, Apple Arcade, Apple News+ accounts, Location Sharing and more.

Since its inception, iCloud has become an invaluable part of the iOS and macOS experience. Even if you are an Android user, you still can access iCloud from your handset or log into iCloud from other devices. Do you use iCloud with your iOS device(s)?

David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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