Episode #50

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

0:01:02 Behind the Headlines
0:33:47 Feedback
0:48:49 Semplice 7

When something many of us still think of as a presentation medium becomes a genuinely serious attack vector, you’ve got to ask whether maybe things have gone too far. And we kick off our look Behind the Headlines with a bunch of stories about how web technologies are increasingly proving a danger to our privacy and security. We also talk about Oracle, and a report that claims that commercial software is more secure than Open Source.

After your Feedback, Jesse does his level best to convince the team that Semplice 7 lives up to the standards set by its previous incarnation. On this, there was some disagreement…

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0:01:02   Behind the Headlines

How your phone’s battery life can be used to invade your privacy
Websites that ID you by how you type: Great when you’ve forgotten a password, but…
DRAM “Bitflipping” exploit for attacking PCs: Just add JavaScript
EFF, AdBlock and Others Launch New Do Not Track Standard
Privacy Badger 1.0 Is Here To Stop Online Tracking!

It’s official: Samsungs are for old people
Big, ugly, heavy laptops are surprise PC sales sweet spot

UK.gov issues internal ‘ditch Oracle NOW’ edict to end pricey addiction
Oracle security chief to customers: Stop checking our code for vulnerabilities
Commercial software more secure than open source, finds report
Linux Foundation’s CII Donates $50k+ To OpenBSD

The Pi Podcast

0:33:47   Feedback

A huge thank you to marmai and an anonymous donor for the Flattrs, Robert Forster for the PayPal donation, and to Charlie Ebert, Eoghann Walker, Christopher Atkins and Siniša Vidović for becoming Monthly Supporters – we really do appreciate knowing how much you guys value the show.

Ivor O’Connor, Nathan D. Smith and Campbell Barton all got in touch with some thoughts about GitLab, but – like Campbell – we’d still be interested in hearing a first-hand account of moving a large, active project onto that platform. Anyone?

Thanks to Richard for pointing out that the Android-x86 4.4r3 files are now available via SourceForge, rather than just on a personal Drive account; to Alex for his feedback about our Ubuntu community Over a Pint; and to Rob Landley for flagging up some thought-provoking articles that he wrote a few years back.

@AlJahom tried to sell us on the benefits of the Asus Transformer Book TF103C, and Tim Hamilton is similarly impressed with his Dell XPS 13. However, Charles Stell detailed some of the problems that he’s experienced with exactly that same machine. And thanks also to Brian Hall and Kelly Price for their thoughts on the topic.

0:48:49   Semplice 7

Way back in our second ever show, Joe brought us a gushing First Impression of Semplice 6. With version 7 now long released, and hopefully well-bedded in, we were looking forward to hearing a similarly glowing report from Jesse – which we duly did. Sadly, your other two Luddites felt the need to pour some cold water on proceedings, and pointed out just some of the myriad flaws that the distro currently suffers from. We can only hope that these issues are just a temporary blip, and that Semplice 8 will return the distro to the fine form seen previously.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, on Twitter @linuxluddites, or over at our Google Plus and Facebook Community pages.

Thanks for listening.

Episode #49

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

With Android’s security woes making even the mainstream press, it’s hardly surprising that they featured in our news this show. But we also found time to bring you stories about Fedora and Ubuntu, FFmpeg, a couple of Kickstarter projects with very different outcomes, and a similarly mixed bag of news for Lenovo.

Ron Minnich has long been associated with Open Source firmware, and after the news we spoke to him about the coreboot project. In our interview we found out why Ron is so enthusiastic about Google’s Chromebooks, discovered his hopes for a new RISC ISA from Berkeley, and quizzed him on whether Purism can really deliver on their promise of a modern and truly FOSS mass-market laptop.

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0:00:59   News

Fedora Linux May Further Demote i686 Support
The State Of Fedora Linux In 2015
Fork off! FFmpeg project leader quits, says he’s had enough with these forking AV libraries

Ubuntu One file syncing code Open Sourced
Canonical Has No Plans to Support DEB-Based Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu Now Has An Official PPA For Graphics Drivers
Install LibreOffice 5.0 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA
GOG Have Supported Linux For Just Over A Year, Announce New Linux Installer System

Stagefright Explained: The Exploit That Changed Android
Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright
One Class to Rule Them All: New Android Serialization Vulnerability Gives Underprivileged Apps Super Status

Google set to reboot Android One smartphone project in India

Remix Mini Android PC raises over $1 million on Kickstarter
A painful decision – we will refund your money

Lenovo CEO: We will axe 3,200 workers as our profits shrink to nowt
Lenovo used Windows anti-theft feature to install persistent crapware
Lenovo Launches New P50 And P70 Mobile Workstations With First Mobile Xeon Chips

0:36:25   Ron Minnich Interview

We spoke to Ron Minnich, who founded the LinuxBIOS project in 1999. Renamed coreboot in 2008, the project aims to provide fast and flexible Open Source EFI firmware for multiple platforms.

During the interview, we talked about how the humble BIOS has evolved over the years, touched upon the Libreboot project, discussed the ongoing controversy around Purism‘s Librem laptops, and looked forward to a possible game-changer in the shape of RISC-V.

Ron explained how supportive Google has been of the coreboot project. For further information about custom firmware for the Chromebook check out John Lewis’ website, or follow Ron’s instructions to build Chromium OS including Docker support from scratch. And for additional background, the slides from these two presentations are well worth working through.

A huge thank you to Ron for taking the time to speak with us, and we clearly wish him and the coreboot project well. As for Purism and their attempts to produce a modern, fully FOSS and mass-market laptop? I think it’s fair to say that our hopes have been slightly raised having spoken with Ron, so we’ll keep watching closely and report back on future developments as they happen.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, on Twitter @linuxluddites, or over at our Google Plus and Facebook Community pages.

Thanks for listening.

Episode #48

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

A mere seven days later, and we’re back. A couple of interesting hardware add-ons for the Pi kick off our news coverage, and we look behind some recent headlines about Google and Mozilla to see how the balance of power can so quickly change in the tech world.

After your feedback, Jesse gamely attempts to run Android-x86 as a desktop OS. Has it markedly improved in the year since we last span it up, or is it still little more than a curiosity, burdened with a user interface paradigm that simply makes no sense without touch input?

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0:04:22   News (You Might Have Missed)

Give Your Raspberry Pi Night Vision With the PiNoir Camera
Raspberry Pi gains $35 HAT-based touchscreen

Google+ and YouTube are finally splitting up
The Future of Google+, What New Research Reveals

Chrome tests “discarding” background tabs to save memory
News Sites Are Fatter and Slower Than Ever
Mozilla whines about Windows 10 – writes misguided open letter to Microsoft CEO
Antitrust: Commission fines Microsoft for non-compliance with browser choice commitments

0:24:47   Feedback

A huge thank you to johanv for the Flattr, and to Tony Jones for becoming our latest Monthly Supporter. It’s the predictable income that you guys provide that enables us to cover our regular running costs, and help us plan for future review hardware purchases. Thanks for making the show possible!

Moritz got in touch to sing the praises of GitLab as a properly Free source-code management system, that offers both self-hosted and on-line services.

Will’s mobile query from last show prompted further discussion; and both Charles Stell and Brian Hall offered some thoughts about laptops now shipping with pre-installed Linux images. During the discussion, we mentioned the current crowdsourcing by Lenovo, who are seeking feedback to inform their design decisions for a possible new ThinkPad.

0:38:49   Revisiting Android-x86

Back in March last year, Paddy reported on his attempt to live with Android-x86 as his primary desktop OS for a full week. We wondered if things had improved any in the intervening period, and asked Jesse to take a look at the latest release candidate.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, on Twitter @linuxluddites, or over at our Google Plus and Facebook Community pages.

Thanks for listening.

Episode #47

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

As the strapline reads, not all change is progress. But we’re hopeful that a shorter and more frequent Linux Luddites will be. Going forwards, we’ll be bringing you a weekly hour-long show that otherwise holds to the principles you’ve told us you value in what we do. So that means we’ll be keeping our breadth of news coverage from around the FOSS world intact, continuing to treat your feedback with the respect it deserves, and providing plenty of time to give our topics, and each other, space to breathe. We hope you’ll like the change, and find fitting your Luddite fix into busy lives just a little easier as a consequence.

After the news, this show we’ll be looking at some of the options available to the dual-booter for safely accessing your Linux data from within Windows. And we’ll be solving a conundrum facing Canonical, as we sit down over a pint and discuss what needs to be done to bring the Ubuntu Community back to full health.

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0:02:46   News

LibreOffice Should Now Be Working Okay On Wayland
The Road to LibreOffice 5.0

The French want to BAN .doc and .xls files from Le Gouvernement
EU Starts Geo-Blocking Antitrust Case Against US Movie Studios

Intel, Micron reveal Xpoint, a new memory architecture that could outclass DDR4 and NAND
The new memory from Intel and Micron will do to SSDs what SSDs did to disk drives

Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition now available for direct purchase
Ubuntu Phone review: years in the making, but still not consumer-ready
golem.de on the MX4 (German)

Plasma Mobile launched, with initial support for the Nexus 5
Sebastian Kügler: KDE’s Plasma Mobile is running on Plasma 5 and Kubuntu
Video of Shashlik presentation at Akademy 2015

Thanks to Jason Irwin for flagging up this year’s LinuxBierWanderung

0:26:52   Group Test

Joe and Paddy took a whistle-stop tour around four applications that could make the life of a dual-booter just that little bit simpler. Whilst DiskInternals Linux Reader and Ext2Read provide read-only access to your Linux partitions from within Windows, Paragon ExtFS and the really rather good ext2Fsd give you the full read/write experience.

0:44:17   Over a Pint

How important is a vibrant Community to a successful FOSS project? With the Ubuntu Community looking decidedly ragged, we chewed over what impact reduced Community input might mean for that distro, and what steps Canonical might profitably take if it genuinely wanted to halt the ongoing decline in outside contributions and developer mind-share.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, on Twitter @linuxluddites, or over at our Google Plus and Facebook Community pages.

Thanks for listening.

Episode #46

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

Free Software and Open Hardware are increasingly being used within education across the globe. This show, a news item and two interviews with people working within the sector got us thinking about the apparent lack of emphasis being placed upon those freedoms whilst teaching computing to our children.

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Joe’s been moonlighting on the Ubuntu Podcast, and shamelessly plugged the JoeRess Podcast.

0:05:04   News

Moz Woz Soz
Mozilla’s plans for Firefox: More partnerships, better add-ons, and faster updates
Startup lands $100 million to challenge smartphone superpowers Apple and Google
Firefox blacklists Flash player due to unpatched 0-day vulnerabilities

Hacking Team hacked: firm sold spying tools to repressive regimes, documents claim
UK and US demands to access encrypted data are ‘unprincipled and unworkable’
High court rules data retention and surveillance legislation unlawful

Canonical Bashing
Free software fans land crucial punch in Ubuntu row – but it’s not over
Canonical’s Ubuntu IP policy is garbage

Ubuntu to ship on Lenovo laptops in India
This is the BBC Micro Bit mini-PC for UK students
WeTek OpenELEC launched
Jolla cuts hardware biz loose to concentrate on Sailfish licensing
Crowdfunded reversible micro-USB connectors are just like buses
Or would you prefer a pseudo MagSafe connector?
Linux still rules supercomputing

0:52:30   Egham Jam Interviews

Joe spoke to Stacey Driver from Ragworm UK about their efforts to get children involved in coding and hardware hacking.

He also spoke to Cat Lamin, a primary school maths and computing teacher, about introducing children and other teachers to the Raspberry Pi. Cat mentioned the Coding Evening initiative, and can also be found writing at her personal blog.

1:24:44   Feedback

A huge thank you to Robert Meineke and Patrick Hogan for joining the ranks of our Monthly Supporters, and to all of our existing supporters. And to DeepGeek and an anonymous donor for your Flattrs. Thanks, guys!

And thanks to Dave Allan for the mail about Swift. Too detailed for the show, but valuable background for your Luddites – thanks, Dave.

A number of you got in touch to broadly agree with our views on tiling window managers – that there’s a definite learning curve there, but the productivity gains can be great if you put in the effort. Several of you also picked up on how stacking window managers have been borrowing features and keyboard short-cuts from their tiling brethren. Thanks to Tom Hardy, Digi Owl, Oliver Agar, Joel Ewing, Igor, Campbell Barton, Ron Houk, Rolf Riis Bjørnsen and b-yeezi for your comments and insights.

Both 0xf10e and Nigel Verity chipped in on the great net neutrality debate, whilst Will encouraged us to return to the topic for a more in-depth look.

On the mobile front, Jezra suspected that Samsung’s strategy with Tizen will not encourage developer take-up, whilst Henry Sprogg is still hoping that a more FOSS-friendly competitor to Android will emerge.

And rounding things off in a similar vein, Will S got in touch looking for some smartphone purchasing advice for the user who does care about software freedom.

1:46:15   Over a Pint

Are modern desktop environments really that bad? Joe and Jesse chewed over the topic.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, on Twitter @linuxluddites, or over at our Google Plus and Facebook Community pages.

Thanks for listening.