Episode #21

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

RISC OS for the Pi – OggCamp preview – Zorin OS 9 – can we trust the software on our computers?

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Note: this show and the next will be out a little early; we expect a return to our usual Monday release cycle from show #23 onwards.

0:05:36   News

openSUSE Factory moves to Rolling Release Development Model
Sonar GNU/Linux 2014.1 released

EFF Release Open Wireless Router Firmware
Privacy Badger released

Geneva class-rooms switching to free software
Toulouse migration to LibreOffice
Open document formats selected to meet user needs
FSF congratulates UK Government on choosing Open Document Format

GOG.com Now Supports Linux! (and accidentally gave away thousands of games)

Trend Micro Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot After Falsely Claiming That The Play Store Is Full Of Malware
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems

Android crypto blunder exposes users to highly privileged malware
Another day, another sensationalist, unfounded security story

Old Apache Code at Root of Android FakeID Mess
Popular Android apps inherit bugs from recycled code

0:29:42   Seen Elsewhere

App Grid Ubuntu Software Center Alternative Gets Stylish New Look

Next-generation lithium cells will double your phone’s battery life

Secure microkernel that uses maths to be ‘bug free’ goes open source

And finally, cool-old-term. To borrow one of Joe’s catchphrases, it’s folly; but glorious folly, and guaranteed to evoke feelings of nostalgia in those of us of a certain age.

0:35:09   First Impressions

Last show, Jesse was handed RISC OS for the Pi, which made for a more interesting First Impressions than some. DistroWatch’s Random Button gave Paddy Mepis to look at next time.

0:52:30   OggCamp

October is closer than you might think… Joe and Paddy spoke to Mark Johnson about the impending arrival of the UK’s premier free software and free culture event.

1:00:35   Feedback

A huge thank you to fwbd, vadis, johanv, defascat and four anonymous Flattrers; and to Michael Albertson, somebody who wished to remain anonymous, and all of our current Monthly Supporters for their PayPal donations. And a special welcome to Chris Atkins who joined our Monthly Supporters program – good to have you on board, Chris!

Like all of these fine folk, you too can help us out by using the links in the sidebar, or simply by telling someone you know how much you enjoy the show.

And thanks to SonOfNed, Jonathon, Michael Albertson, Isaac Carter, Jason, Danny and Joel for their thoughts following Jesse’s arrival on the show last time. Look’s as though he’s going to become a permanent fixture!

Kicking off the feedback proper, Jonathon pointed out that the window snapping we mentioned last time whilst talking about IceWM is actually pretty standard in most modern WMs.

Both Jason and Russell Dickenson expressed an interest in hearing about what customisations Paddy and Joe apply to their Xfce setups, and Paddy admitted to recently cheating on his long-standing desktop of choice.

Torin Doyle got in touch to say that whilst Xfce is awesome, it’s not as good as “the mighty MATE”. OldNerd and Paddy had a brief email exchange; and Ian Barton was surprised to see nobody using a Chromebook whilst he was on a recent trip to New York. Jason – and our very own Jesse – told us that they’ve enrolled on the Linux Foundation sponsored Introduction to Linux course, and will let us know how they find it.

Issac Carter suggested a WINE-based solution to viewing Netflix and Amazon Prime videos on Linux, which prompted Paddy to give Pipelight a whirl; and Norm Morgan had some complimentary things to say about Stella, a CentOS-based distro.

Mark from Pompey got in touch regarding the slothful nature of software updates, and Emil said that system monitors can be useful in identifying misbehaving applications.

We had a touching email from Australia that spoke of how Linux had helped somebody going through some tough personal times. You know who you are; and we’re grateful for you sharing your story with us :)

As we’d done, Jason wondered whether the race to the bottom that Microsoft appears to be stoking in the ‘netbook’ space might benefit those of us wanting cheaper portable hardware; and perhaps Microsoft weren’t so far off-base with the Surface after all?

Joel pointed out that smartwatches can be a practical proposition – in his case, for checking notifications whilst riding a motorcycle.

We wrapped things up with a plea for help from Rob Mackenzie. Rob only runs Linux, and is struggling to find a method to root his Galaxy Tab3 10.1″ tablet that doesn’t rely on Windows. Can anyone listening help?

1:11:02   Zorin OS 9

We took a good look at an Irish distro that potentially offers a painless gateway for Windows users coming over to Linux. The big question is whether three guys with fairly Spartan tastes could get past the accursed spinning cube to give the distro a fair crack of the whip. Listen on to find out…

1:37:30   Over a Pint

Partly prompted by our recent look at a Chinese distro, Joe kicked off the conversation by wondering how much we really can trust the software on our computers – even if it is Free and Open Source. Along the way, we mentioned Ken Thompson’s speech Reflections on Trusting Trust, David A. Wheeler’s Diverse Double-Compiling, a 2005 blog post from Jeff Atwood, the 2009 Delphi virus, efforts by the Tor Project to facilitate deterministic builds, and how a dedicated hacker put in the leg-work to show that Windows TrueCrypt binaries could be obtained from the published source code.

We’d really love to hear your thoughts on this or any other topic that we’ve talked about during the show. Drop us a mail or, better yet, leave a comment below the line. That way, other listeners will be able to contribute to the discussion as well.

Linux LudditesAs ever, we’d welcome your feedback about the show either here on our website, via a mail to show@, or on Twitter @linuxluddites.

Thanks for listening.


  1. Bill_MI

    For Joe, a quick suggestion about USB booting which I’ve used a few times over the last several years. Find a Windows machine and format a stick at all defaults and try it again.

    I’ve been speculating there’s so many nooks, crannies and vendor crap on these sticks there’s some parts just not handled by every method. Unfortunately, I’ve found gparted often the cause and not the solution to USB boot. Windows seems to act as another initializing perspective that’s a bit more mainstream. I wish I knew exactly why it has worked for me more than once.

    How about a topic suggestion? I’d love to find someone really really good at conveying the boot process which has taken so many twists and turns these days. I’ve totally lost track!

    Keep up the good work, guys!

  2. Easy

    I quit using Unetbootin years ago do to its limitations with some ISOs.

    I have been using Multiboot to create just that – a USB with several ISOs which I can choose from upon booting.

    Even then, some of the newer distro’s ISOs (because of UEFI booting) I’ve had to fall back to DD to create a usable drive.

    You mention that when using DD you can’t use the stick as a repository for other files. I beg to differ. I use DD AND Linux’s Disk Utility or GParted to create a 2nd ext2/4 partion of the unused part. As long as you use Linux & NOT M$ Windoze, you can see & use it as normal to store files. When booting from the DD installed distro, it’s seen as a usable partion too. So you can store session files/documents/etc on it.

    As to your problem with Unetbootin, if it were only with the newer UEFI enabled ISOs, I’d say that was the issue – it doesn’t recognize the UEFI part. That’s exactly why I’ve had to switch back to DD instead of Multiboot when trying some new distro’s live ISOs.

    But, you said you had problems with ISOs that you’ve had no problems with in the past. I can’t offer any suggestion in that case. Other than is the distro updated to use the new stupid M$ UEFI?

    Why have we kowtowed to M$’s self-serving, Non-M$ OS crippling technology. Who let them be the 800-lb gorillia in the room? Screw them!!!!

    The same goes with their behind-the-scenes sneaky backroom dealings with digital camera manufacturers to make them kowtow to using M$s proprietary file storage system to store jpegs on SD cards over 64gb in size instead of an open standard. By doing this, they can demand fees from the open source community if & when the community wants to access these SD cards from within Linux or iOS or any non-M$ OS. When are we going to knock M$’s dick in the dirt and come up with our own open source/open community code to do these things?

    When is the world finally going to see what M$ really is – the proverbial mobster/gangster/protection scam artist?

  3. 0xf10e

    Getting the MD5sum for an modified ISO to still match the original one shouldn’t be this hard as MD5 is broken since 2004 as far as it concerns producing collisions ;)

    On the “compiler adding backdoor”-thing aka Thompson-Bug (at least to the listeners of faif.us): Bradley Kuhn said on “Free as in Freedom” (quiet some time ago by now) he once asked RMS what he used to compile the first version of GCC and RMS said he doesn’t remember. So all versions of GCC since its first day could (in theory) carry this kind of backdoor(-)adding code.
    But as we know software it probably broke after a few generations or got stripped away by GCC’s optimization routines years ago…

    PS: If I had a flattr-account I would donate just to make you read out this rather unreadable username ^^

  4. RickyFitts

    Hi Guys, I have been listening since Joe joined mintcast. I’ve enjoyed your podcast very much and Jesse is a great addition to your team.

    I would not recommend using adblock plus. It has been criticized heavily because of its ties to United Internet and its automatic white listing of so called “acceptable adds”. I prefer Adblock Edge for firefox and plain Adblock for Chrome/Chromium.

    BTW there is a phonewide adblocker for android called Adfree. It requires your phone to be rooted and can only be sideloaded. So try it at your own risk. I use it because a friend that I trust in terms of IT-security recommended it.

    Oh yeah, almost forgort to say that since I’m about to install Mint xfce I would appreciate some tips on theming and such.

    Keep up the good work.

    PS: please excuse my grammar. English is not my native language.

    PPS: Paddy don’t say that you butcher the English language. If a German can understand everything you say there’s no need to worry. :-P

    • Will

      Just to give a counterpoint:

      Disabling the nonintrusive ads in Adblock Plus requires unselecting one checkbox in the filter preferences. Adblock Edge is a fork of Adblock Plus that unselects and removes this checkbox.

      That said, I still respect the point of view that the “acceptable ads” feature itself runs counter to one’s beliefs about how the internet should be experienced. In that case, you might trust the Adblock Edge developer more than the Adblock Plus developer not to introduce other undesired changes in future updates. Personally, I have worked on a few Firefox add-ons myself and found that the Adblock Plus developer is surprisingly active and helpful in answering general Firefox development questions on various message boards, so I think his intentions are in the right place.

  5. Martin Wimpress


    I use easy2boot to enable booting multiple .iso images from USB stick. You can find the project below:

    * http://www.easy2boot.com/

    But, by far the best documentation for creating your own easy2boot USB stick using a Linux distro is available here.

    * http://linuxmusicians.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=11479

    Once you’ve created you easy2boot USB stick you just copy .iso images into folder and it rebuild interactive boot menus automatically. I have a 64GB USB stick with every iso I need on it.

  6. Steven Rosenberg

    It’s kind of obvious that unetbootin is a little broken.

    Now that we are in the post-optical-drive era, this is getting to be more of a problem.

    Oh well, we’ll always have dd.

  7. Joel

    Another great show, guys. Thank you!

    Based on your comments, I think maybe you didn’t quite understand what I was getting at regarding the Pebble watch and the motorcycle. It sounded like you thought I was checking my phone while on the motorcycle – that is not at all the case, even if I wanted to I couldn’t due to gloves. Even if I could, I wouldn’t, that’s just dangerous and stupid. Like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K59eMpWsyNE

    Anyway, your comments precisely reflect why the Pebble is useful for me, and it certainly applies for bicycle riders as well.

  8. Arold

    My comment do not really apply to this particular episode… But since there is a lot of XFCE lovers around here I thought I could share my discovery (I may be way late to the game though).

    The XFCE terminal can be used as a drop down terminal! The only thing that you have to do to get this functionality is to add this command to the keyboard shortcut list :

    xfce4-terminal –drop-down

    Then press “OK” and choose a keyboard shortcut (I suggest F12, since it is the default for Guake and Yakuake). If you haven’t use a drop down terminal before, try it. You become addicted really quickly.

    XFCE never cease to amaze me… What a great DE!

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