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.

Toggle full show notes

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.

Episode #45

  Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

Venturing back to the Jurassic era, your Luddites took three tiling window managers for a spin and found that walking with dinosaurs can be a fun and productive experience. Plus, we’ve all the fortnight’s news, our first impressions of Mageia 5, and the usual thought-provoking mailbag of your feedback to chew over.

Toggle full show notes

Joe spoke about his recent purchase of a Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXPi3-4010 barebones PC with built-in projector. Since recording, Joe’s installed Trisquel 7 on the box to see how it copes with a truly Libre OS, and found it to be largely flawless. The only snag he’s hit is with Wi-Fi, which is provided by a combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth card, and which can be swapped out fairly easily.

0:06:18   News

Red Hat enters mobile software market with Samsung
Samsung sells a million Tizen-fitted Z1s in less than six months, plans Gold version
Next Tizen Smartphone is the Samsung Z3
EU agrees to eliminate roaming charges but net neutrality rules disappoint
EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes

Privacy & Security
Google Chrome Listening In To Your Room Shows The Importance Of Privacy Defense In Depth
Google removes “always listening” code from Chromium
Changes to Domain Name Rules Place User Privacy in Jeopardy
MAC address privacy inches towards standardisation
Wayback Machine’s 485 billion web pages blocked by Russian government order
Espionnage Élysé

[show #43] Joint Statement from the CC and KC
[show #44] according to Martin Wimpress, the Librem 13 is basically the same box as the Entroware Apollo; uses the same touchpad as the Librem 15 and the Apollo, and so will suffer the same touchpad issues (see the heading “touchpad driver”) as the 15 – and the Apollo, which we spoke about in our review on show #40
[show #30] The 1TB UbuTab Tablet with Ubuntu and Windows Scam Is Unfolding
Ubuntu MATE hardware partnership with LibreTrend

0:40:55   First Impressions

Joe, with a little help from Jesse, gave us his First Impressions of Mageia 5.

1:00:20   Feedback

A huge thank you to David Garth-Owen for the PayPal donation, and to Michael Perryman and Richard Clayton for becoming Monthly Supporters. And on Flattr, Robert Orzanna and Clemens Gruber were good enough to tip their hats our way.

Joe paid thanks to Gary Newell for the frequent mentions our show receives over at Everyday Linux User. Thanks, Gary.

Whilst OggCamp 2015 has yet to be officially announced, it will be held 30 October through 1 November at Liverpool John Moores University. The three Luddites are booked and ready to roll, and are looking forward to meeting many of you in person again.

Most of the full talks from the OpenTech 2015 conference are now available as audio or video from their website. If you enjoyed the interviews last show, these should be well worth checking out. And thanks to both Pete and Ron Houk for your comments about that show segment, and some of the topics it raised.

Matthew Valentine-House got in touch to give us a better idea of what Apple’s plans for Swift will likely mean in practice, whilst Will echoed our thoughts about the parlous state of SourceForge. Brian36 picked up on a point that Will also made – that we really are fortunate in the Linux world to have access to software via sensibly maintained and managed repos.

Graham made a couple of well-considered points about FOSS development in his mail from Japan, and we talked around the leadership angle a little by reference to Jesse’s Google Plus poll on this topic.

Finally, Jon “The Nice Guy” Spriggs sent us a link to a blogpost from Max Kreminski that had us nodding along. We covered similar ground comprehensively back on show #17, when revisiting The UNIX-Haters Handbook twenty years after publication, so that may be worth a listen if Max’s points have got the old grey matter ticking over.

1:16:56   Tiling Window Managers

Frequently seen as relics of the past, at least some tiling window managers are still in active development today. But why? We took awesome, xmonad and i3 for a spin to try to find out.

Whilst enthusing about i3, Paddy mentioned a Google Tech Talk given by Michael Stapelberg, i3’s primary author. It’s well worth checking out, not only to get a feel for i3, but also as a primer on some of the benefits of tiling WMs generally. Paddy also spoke about j4-dmenu-desktop, a faster .desktop based menu tool which is great for i3, but also works well with other window managers.

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 #44

  Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

Stepping out of the studio, this show Joe and Jesse bring us some interviews from the floor of the recent OpenTech 2015 conference in London. Plus, we take a Luddite Look at a suite of apps developed by one of our very own listeners.

Toggle full show notes
0:05:35   News

Empires Rise, Empires Fall
The Linux Foundation opens scholarship program – will you apply?
Linux Foundation Launches Node.js Foundation
GPL-Violator Allwinner Joins The Linux Foundation
Apple’s Decision to Open Source Swift Met with Developer Applause (Swift? What?)
Rebasing Ubuntu on Android?
Wine: Migrating away from Sourceforge
SourceForge grabs GIMP for Windows’ account, wraps installer in bundle-pushing adware
SourceForge commits reputational suicide
SourceForge Past, Present and Future: Working to Maintain the Integrity of Our Open Source Backbone
Project mirroring policies will be revisited with our Community Panel, existing mirrors removed
GitHub to Seek $2 Billion Valuation in Latest Funding Round

With Linux, Size Doesn’t Matter
HP kills The Machine, repurposes design around conventional technologies
Reuters: BlackBerry may launch Android device with a hardware keyboard (or maybe not)
Free embedded Linux training materials demystify Buildroot
Librem 13: A Laptop That  Respects Your Rights
Power over Ethernet for your Pi
Official Raspberry Pi case launches for £6

0:42:17   A Luddite Look

Following our offer a couple of shows ago to spotlight and provide constructive criticism on projects that listeners are working on, Kevin Hausmann bravely stepped forward and asked for a Luddite once-over of his Android GPLv3 Podcatcher Deluxe app.

0:57:40   Feedback

A huge thank you to Kelly Price, Anthony Griggs, Daniel Biskup, Félim Whiteley and Jonathan Glossop for your PayPal donations, and to all of our Monthly Supporters. And thanks also to johanv and an anonymous person for your Flattrs.

Following our discussion on the latest spat in Ubuntu-land, Jonas Rullo and Dennis Wickman got in touch to offer differing points of view. An anonymous listener posted what they claimed was a breakdown of the funding that the Kubuntu project had received from upstream, and some social media detective work on our part suggested that the commenter is indeed a member of the Community Council. But, as Esteban said, posting anonymously doesn’t do wonders for your credibility.

Thanks to Joel Tomfohr for pointing out that Jesse gets to enjoy background YouTube playing on his phone because of his subscription to Google Play Music All Access – that’s one mystery solved. And also to charlesay, who again flagged up Thomas Taschauer’s OpenDocument Reader as a viable ODF viewer for Android.

With Joe still bemoaning changes to Firefox, a number of you chipped in. Kelly Price suggested hand compiling for a speed boost, whilst David Stark kindly provided details of how to use Chrome’s PepperFlash on Firefox. But geekymcnerdypants has clearly had enough of the hand-wringing, and suggested Opera a viable drop-in replacement.

When somebody uses a turn of phrase like “elementary OS is a beautiful farce. It is a horrible piece of junk” you wonder if maybe they’ve been listening to this show for too long ;) Thanks for that, Enzro Greenidge; and also to Robert Orzanna, whose original email prompted our look at elementary OS, and who gamefully got back in touch.

A massive thank you to everyone who contacted us to say how much you enjoy the show, and how we go about producing it. We really were overwhelmed by the level of feedback we got on this topic, and read out just a couple of brief comments from Toby Slight and Brian as being indicative of the feelings many of you have expressed – thanks guys, it makes it all worthwhile.

We briefly revisited the question of show length with comments from Will and MikeF, then wrapped up a rather self-referential segment with a question from Tom Hardy.

1:26:32   OpenTech 2015

We mentioned on a recent show that Joe and Jesse were planning to attend OpenTech 2015. They found time in between sessions to speak to several of those presenting, so sit back and enjoy a flavour of the conference.

Bill Thompson
Bill is a journalist and pundit, and can be found writing on his personal blog and presenting Click on the BBC World Service. Bill’s talk at this year’s conference firmly put the onus on those of us who are tech-savvy to educate and inform, so that when public policy positions are espoused, a broad spectrum of the population will hopefully understand the issues well enough to rationally debate their merits.

Kat Matfield
Kat spoke about the trade-offs we’re willing to make in order to obtain ‘free’ on-line services in return for our data, and also about security theatre. You can find her on Twitter, at her personal blog, and working for Adaptive Lab.

Ellen Broad
Ellen is the Policy Lead for the Open Data Institute, who sponsored the OpenTech 2015 event. She spoke about encouraging and supporting the growth in use of open data within the public and private sectors.

Jim Killock
Jim is Executive Director of the Open Rights Group. Whilst talking about site blocking and ISP filtering, Jim mentioned Blocked!, an ORG website which allows users to check the block status for specific domains. The Anderson review that Killock spoke about can be found here. Some background – and further criticism – of Scotland’s plans for a national ID system can be found in a Guardian article from earlier this year.

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 #43

  Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

In the news this show, we’ll be discussing our take on the spat between the Ubuntu Community Council and the team behind Kubuntu. We’ve all heard quite a lot from Canonical and the UCC over the last week or two, which gave your Luddites plenty to chew over. But Joe also managed to secure an interview with Jonathan Riddell after we thought that we’d put the show to bed, so listen on to hear the other side of the story.

And, following our usual feedback section, we’ll be casting our gaze over a distro that’s a bit of rarity in the FOSS ecosystem – in that the developers seem to truly appreciate the importance of design and good marketing. The big question, though, is whether that’s really all that elementary Freya has to offer, or have the devs managed to deliver a product that lives up to the glossy packaging?

Toggle full show notes

Joe’s efforts to achieve FOSS podcast ubiquity haven taken another step forward with guest appearances on both the latest and an upcoming episode of the Ubuntu Podcast.

0:04:21   News

Community Chaos
Kubuntu and Ubuntu at odds
Community Council Statement: Jonathan Riddell
Ubuntu Community Council, Jonathan Riddell discuss their recent fallout
All involved have form, as a NSFW 2013 podcast from Linux Outlaws reminds us

Births and Deaths
Fedora 22 is here!
LibreOffice comes to Android
Ubuntu Update podcast
Brand New Bq Ubuntu Phone Goes on Sale Next Week
First Ubuntu Phone with ‘Convergence’ Is Being Made by Bq
Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Phone European Release Date, Pricing Revealed
Canonical is sending all Ubuntu Insiders a Meizu MX4 running Ubuntu!
After years of struggle, Mandriva is finally no more
CEO of bankrupt Linux company says employee lawsuits put it out of business
First Steam Machines, Steam Link, Controller hit stores November 10

Google I/O 2015
Full keynote video
Google Chrome now has over 1 billion users
The 12 most important announcements from Google I/O 2015
Android M Multi-window
Google’s Project Vault Is A Secure Computing Environment On A Micro SD Card, For Any Platform
Upcoming changes to SD card and mass storage interaction
Google introduce ‘My Account‘ privacy control centre
Google announces the “Cloud Test Lab,” a free, automated testing service

0:53:38   Jonathan Riddell Interview

As we discussed in the news, tensions are still running high between the Ubuntu Community Council and the Kubuntu Council. Joe managed to catch up with Jonathan Riddell, a key figure at the centre of the ongoing dispute, to get his take on events.

1:17:48   Feedback

A huge thank you to Shaun Chiew and Kenneth Gibbs for your PayPal donations. And, as ever, our eternal thanks to our Monthly Supporters, whose regular funding help enormously both in keeping the show on air and allowing us to plan for future segments that may require a small financial outlay.

And on that topic, Peter Kidd got in touch to ask what happens to hardware (like the Firefox and Tizen phones) after we’ve aired our reviews? We explained that we try to extract maximum value from these purchases by holding on to the items so that when software updates become available we can report back – without incurring the costs associated with purchasing a new device.

Joe mentioned that, along with various UK FOSS luminaries, he and Jesse are planning to visit OpenTech 2015 on 13 June. Looks likely to be an interesting event, and may well be worth checking out if you’re anywhere near London that weekend.

And a special thanks to Brendan Perrine who pointed out that our website didn’t work properly when browsing with QupZilla (or Midori, as Paddy found out). Everything has now been fixed – and if anyone else ever encounters issues in the future, please do get in touch.

Returning to Joe’s seemingly constant unhappiness with Firefox, Rick, Will and Andres all got in touch to say that they didn’t recognise his issues. But philnc did, and Joel Tomfohr encouraged Joe to make the switch to Chromium.

Rick pointed out that whilst those who originally took part in the Oculus Rift crowd-funding campaign did receive hardware, they’ve since been left behind by the company and product. This set your Luddites off on a brief discussion about how these campaigns often seem to act as public beta test programs, where the punter willingly pays to take part.

A few comments about our mobile coverage kicked off with Henry Sprog saying some nice things about Ubuntu Touch, and Esteban taking Jesse to task for his dismissal of lower-end hardware. Some criticism from Mike Allread caused Joe to enter rant-mode, and we finished with Klaatu von Schlacker, who echoed a point that we’ve made repeatedly on the show. See, it’s not just us ;P

1:43:56   elementary OS Freya

Jesse – and many others – predicted big things for elementary OS this year. Prompted by an email from listener Robert Orzanna, we decided that it was high time to see if Freya lived up to those high expectations, or is this distro just an example of style over substance?

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 #42

  Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

Whilst the tech press continues to tout the under-developed, under-powered and frankly underwhelming Firefox OS as a viable FOSS contender to the crown held by Android, another Linux-based OS seems to have largely passed them by.

After a seemingly interminable serious of launch missteps, earlier this year Samsung finally shipped a phone running Tizen into the Indian market. It’s far from perfect, suffering some minor design niggles and a potentially more serious freedom issue, but the hardware and OS are particularly impressive considering both the cost of the phone and the troubled gestation of Tizen itself.

There’s a lot to Tizen that could make it an appealing choice in the Western market, so stay with us through our usual comprehensive news and feedback segments for a hands-on with this promising platform.

Toggle full show notes
0:04:26   News

Debian / Ubuntu
Debian PPAs won’t be compatible with Ubuntu PPAs
ZFS coming to Debian? Seems Debian were a little premature
Mark Shuttleworth considering Canonical IPO
Meizu MX4 Ubuntu available in China for ¥1799.00 (~£185)

Mozilla overhauls Firefox smartphone plan to focus on quality, not cost
Mozilla gags, but supports video copy protection in Firefox 38
Adblock Plus gets its own Android browser

Raspberry Pi Model B+ price drops to $25
Neo900 inches closer to reality
Foresight Linux Project announces its retirement

Extremely serious virtual machine bug threatens cloud providers everywhere
Mobile operators plan to block online advertising
Flawed Android factory reset leaves crypto and login keys ripe for picking
Google, Samsung, and 16 others receive post-password certification

As Close to Gaming News as the Luddites Get
MAME is going open source to be a ‘learning tool for developers’
Oculus Rift Suspends Linux Development

1:05:32   Feedback

A huge thank you to our Monthly Supporters, who really do keep the show on the road and enable us to consider undertaking features like our look at the Samsung Z1 this show. Thanks guys and gals!

Thanks to Andy Mitchell for resolving Joe’s long-standing Xfce screen blanking problem. The fix? Simply adding xset s 0 0 dpms 0 0 0 to ~/.profile.

We mentioned Synfig Studio last time, and Klaatu von Schlacker got in touch to let us know how much he rates the product – and how he uses it for titling http://gnuworldorder.info.

Long time listener Morten Juhl-Johansen Zőlde-Fejér echoed Joe’s distrust of HP’s consumer hardware with a story about a laptop that ran so hot it ended up discolouring the hard drive. Caveat emptor.

steph79 got in touch to agree with Драгица Ранковић that we – along with others in the Linux community – spend too much time talking about mobile technology. Steph doesn’t think these devices are real computers, but simply devices that facilitate ‘brainless consumption’. But Nathan D. Smith questioned the validity of the creation/consumption dualism that we often hear about.

A couple of long comments from Johannes Rohr and Dave Firth led to your Luddites chewing over some thoughts around the ease of use, approachability and efficacy of FOSS. Thanks for the prompting, Johannes and Dave.

And staying on the topic of advocacy, we ended the section with an offer to provide (constructive!) on-air feedback to any developer listening who would like us to spotlight their project. You all know how to get in touch, so do so and let’s see if we can’t help the wider community in this way.

1:24:19   Samsung Z1 & Tizen 2.3

Launching a smartphone outside of the European or US market virtually guarantees that the mainstream tech press will ignore or dismiss it. That this has happened to the Tizen-powered Samsung Z1 seems a particular shame, as it’s a quality bit of low-budget kit. And all those articles mocking Tizen as a no-hoper OS? To say that we were very pleasantly surprised is a serious understatement.

Tizen clearly offers much that would appeal to a far broader audience than currently have access to it, and we’ll be watching future developments with keen interest – and hoping Samsung introduce similar devices into our own markets.

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.