not all change is progress
September 29, 2014
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
ZevenOS – Makulu Linux, aesthetics in FOSS software0:06:42 News
This is dangerous / Open up your head…
Wikipedia page actually not bad
Quick notes about the bash bug, its impact, and the fixes so far
Shellshock Bash bug patch is BUGGY: Infosec bods warn MILLIONS of systems still at risk
Concern over Bash vulnerability grows as exploit reported “in the wild”
Still more vulnerabilities in bash? Shellshock becomes whack-a-mole
Collection of Proof of Concepts and Potential Targets
Stephane Chazelas: the man who found the web’s ‘most dangerous’ internet security bug
Misfeatures Strike Again
Project health, and why it’s important – part of the #shellshock afterwords
Not a bash bug
Bodhi Linux is NOT Dead – It is just Changing Hands
Italy’s high court shoots down Windows tax
Google and the Competition
Want a Tizen phone to build apps for? Now’s your chance – provided you don’t need it to work
Samsung’s Decision To Stop Selling Laptops In Europe Suggests Tablets Are The Future
Confidential Documents Reveal How Google Is Trying To Limit Samsung’s Control Of Android
Google Wins the Desktop
Hack runs Android apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux computers
Installing Android apps on Chromebooks made easier by Chrome APK Packager
Odds ‘n’ Sods
LibreOffice cash-for-code strategy tests open source ethic
Micro Focus Acquiring Attachmate for $2.3B; SUSE says “Business as Usual”
Debian reverts to GNOME as their default desktop
OpenMediaVault version 1.0 (and a typical use case, and some things to consider)
Gravit – a GPLv3 Freehand/Fireworks-like graphics package; their website
Gnome 3.14 released
Fedora UK Podcast (thanks to Steven Rosenberg for the tip)
0:42:49 First Impressions
Paddy looked at ZevenOS, whilst Joe was handed GALPon MiniNo for next time.
A huge thank you to our anonymous donors who kept things ticking over on Flattr, and to Charles Malpas and David Wolski for their PayPal donations. Steven Rosenberg became the latest person to join our Monthly Supporter program; thanks to Steven, and to everyone who contributes either financially or simply by spreading the word about the show.
It was also nice to see that some folks had rated the show on iTunes, particularly so as they were positive reviews! It’s a good way to raise our visibility, so the more the merrier.
We again had a lot of feedback, and couldn’t get to everyone individually. So an upfront thanks to Cathryne, Krayon, SonOfNed, Florian, nadrimajstor, Charlie Ebert, Jezra, Andy, and everyone on Twitter and G+ for their thoughts and comments.
Returning to the topic of ownCloud, Daniel flagged up an Android app that does allow basic text editing of ODF documents. Steven Rosenberg concurred with our worries about the size of the ownCloud codebase, but also made the reasonable point that PHP/MySQL can be seen as a good implementation choice simply because of the availability of those products on cheap hosting providers. Twisted Lucidity wrote us a long and thoughtful mail covering many aspects of the whole debate, which we took some time to pick through.
Slightly getting ahead of our plans to look at alternatives on a future show, Morten Juhl-Johansen Zölde-Fejér mentioned that he happily uses Baikal for CalDav and CardDav services, Michael Albertson suggested git-annex as another option for file syncing, and Ian Barton had mostly good things to say about Syncthing.
Thankfully, at least one listener – in the form of Julian Overall – didn’t think that Paddy was talking out of his posterior for arguing that we really ought to be looking towards P2P for a lot of these services. Julian did reiterate a few of the concerns raised by Joe and Jesse on the last show though, and also caveated on ease of use.
Getting away from cloudy things and back to the desktop, Brian36 flagged up yet another good argument in favour of Wine, and Nathan D. Smith wondered about the basis of Paddy’s comments on feature creep and software bloat from last time. During the discussion, Jesse quoted from a recent interview with Linus Torvalds.
Comments from Steven Rosenberg, Russell Dickenson and some back-channel chatter suggested that there would be interest in seeing us take a walk into BSD territory, if only because of the anticipated world of pain that we’d find ourselves in. A little harsh on those OS’, I’m sure, but we’ll see what we can do on that front in a future show :)
And, finally, if any listeners are also going to be at OggCamp next weekend, do come up and say hello. It would be great to meet some of you in person.
1:19:06 Main Feature
What started out as a look at Makulu Linux rapidly turned into a broader discussion around aesthetics in FOSS software, and the viability of lesser-known distros. But the exercise did unearth a couple of interesting applications that were new to us: the Slingscold launcher; and Sunflower, a modern and lightweight (discounting the Python dependency) featureful dual-pane file manager.
Not sure if this is what you’re after, but if you want a scrollable zoomable calendar app which shows what’s in your day, try Touch Calendar.
It appears my rant didn’t fall on deaf ears, that’s exactly what I wanted! Thanks Marktech.
Now, with that praise given I’m afraid I have an instant
negative; I have a galaxy S3, as was mentioned on the
show, which while isn’t a flagship phone any more is
certainly no dinosaur, and this calendar is REALLY choppy
on it. Frustratingly, unusably choppy. Have you found
 just tried it on my Nexus 7 and it’s useable, so I’m pointing the finger of blame at my phone and/or it’s custom ROM. thanks again Marktech.
One of the items Twisted Lucidity touched on was the difficulty in self-hosting cloud services. This resonates with me, particularly for security. I agree that, for now, it is better to pay someone else to manage the setup, configuration, security, and maintenance because the expertise required to do it correctly is so extensive.
Having said that, there is a project that has me very
interested, because its aim is to address this problem.
I’d be curious to see what you think about arkOS:
(I know that you guys are apprehensive about reviewing pre-Beta software, but it seems pertinent to the discussion of cloud and self-hosting)
Follow-up to my previous post about Hugin…
A couple shows back Jesse suggested that my poor results
using Hugin were due to user error. If only it were
As an aside, even if it was my fault: The Microsoft solution (ICE) would still have been superior since it did not leave room for user error.
At any rate: I have continued to use Hugin, with mixed
results. Once the image was so garbled it looks like a
distorted inverted mess, with no indication that it was
ever a picture to begin with. Other times it has been
almost as good, or equivalent to, ICE. And once (so far),
it even out-performed ICE by rendering with no
I will keep using it, and hope that it continues to improve.
One more thing: Why does Hugin ask me to set my lens’ focal length? That information is embedded within jpg EXIF data. It should be imported automatically.
Correction: Hugin DOES detect focal length from EXIF
data, as noted on this page:
Confirmed in my experience, since I have not seen that dialog box prompt me for HFOV. This leaves even less room for user error. :)
Thanks for addressing my question about the Whisker Menu, I appreciate your opinions.
Jesse: The contextual search is not unique to Mint’s menu. Example: When I type “torrent” into Whisker’s search box, “Transmission” is listed in the results. This probably simply looks at programs’ descriptions and/or categorization, I doubt Cinnamon has done anything extra special in this regard.
Ha! Joe already covered this. I guess I should have finished the episode before commenting. :)
Man, I’m long-winded today….
Some thoughts on xfce: I have become an xfce convert,
partially due to your praise and enthusiasm.
BUT, I have to agree with the folks who are concerned with the lack of development. I firmly believe that no code or program can ever be perfect, and that there is no such thing as something that doesn’t need to be maintained because it is good enough. A few examples for xfce specifically:
– Accessibility. I didn’t realize this was an issue until your interview with Jonathan Nadeau.
– xscreensaver: lock screen is ugly as sin, and fade-to-black should not occur on resume from standby
– Near future: Wayland, touch interfaces
– Further future: Alternate form factors, wearables, whatever (unknowns)
Sure, not all change is progress.
But, no change at all is obsolescence.
Big Xfce fan myself and initially the reports of little recent Xfce development had me quite concerned. I wondered, when systemd rolls out on the Debian based Distros, how is Xfce going to make the jump onto systemd without Xfce developer support?.
But Fedora 20 had a Xfce spin and I found some posts from folks who are using it without problems. I’m deducing that at a minimum, Xfce in its current state (4.10) and systemd are not mutually exclusive.
I don’t find Xfce lacking for much in terms of my personal desktop needs. I share Joe “not all change is progress” Ressington’s perspective that Xfce doesn’t need to try to ‘keep up’ with the other desktops or attempt to innovate for the sake of innovation. IMHO, KDE 4, Ubuntu-Unity, Gnome Shell, and Windows 8 are all examples of desktops that were initially foisted on their unsuspecting user bases while still premature and incomplete ‘experiments in innovation’. That’s the kind of pain I can do without.
Most the other major desktops seem to be pursuing the elusive ‘convergence of desktop and mobile’ GUI. I’m not yet convinced that any of them will ever get there. As Joe mentioned about Gnome Shell specifically, “it just seems to be failing at both”. In the meantime, I am very happy that Xfce is not compromising it’s desktop in pursuit of yet to be proven viable goals.
Certainly a minimal level of developer support is needed for Xfce maintenance, and if anything major crops up (e.g. GTK 2 or X.org goes away), I’m optimistic that someone will step up to keep Xfce alive at that time. <– Look, there is another one of those ever so rare glimpses of Luddite Optimism :-)
If worse came to worst, I suspect that there there is enough Xfce love in the Linux user community that a crowd-sourced developer funding campaign could succeed in getting Xfce over major obstacles in the future.
I can confirm xfce and systemd are not mutually exclusive, as I am using both on Manjaro.
Agreed on all your points, but I still maintain that there is room for improvement without obtrusive innovation. The big example here is accessibility. Sure, it fills your and my needs, but does that mean they should stop there?
Anyway, I too hope it has a long life remaining.
Xfce works with Arch arm running on my Chromebook. However, it does seem to suffer from the screen blanking bug. Sometimes the screen just goes black and nothing will turn it back on. Not even switching to another terminal works, but I can ssh into the computer.
I know Joe suffers from a similar problem. I ave been trying to locate the bug in a bug tracker, but can’t find anything that seems relevant. Can someone point me in the right direction?
Ian, I found this in the Xfce bugzilla: https://bugzilla.xfce.org/show_bug.cgi?id=10535
I am very uncertain if it accounts for the problem(s) you and Joe are experiencing, but there is discussion in this bugzilla report of recent Xfce screen blanking problems with laptops and power management. I realize that this may not match the characterizaion of your problem exactly, but hopefully the bugzilla discussion offers some new clues for you to pursue in your investigation.
Thanks, I had already seen that. However, my problem happens even when I don’t suspend. Nevertheless, your comment is very timely! I am sitting in front of the TV aka a MythTV frontend running XfCE and the problem doesn’t happen on that box. Auto unrecoverable screen blanking during Coronation Street would result in imprisonment in the cellar. So, I just need to work out what’s different between the two systems.
I had a problem like this in Debian Wheezy a while back and came up with a shell script that I ran as a startup program whenever I logged in with Xfce. Here are the details: http://stevenrosenberg.net/blog/desktops/Xfce/2013_0109_xfce_screenblanking_fix
If this is really bothering you, the script is really worth trying.
Thanks Steven, I’ll give it a go. I only seem to get the problem on my Chromebook. We have three boxes running Xfce that are MythTV front/backends and the problem doesn’t seem to happen with them.
+1 on xscreensaver. It works, but that lock screen is horrible.
I must say a huge thank-you for your discovery of the Sunflower file manager. In this age of ‘simplified’ single pane file managers, this a great piece of software to know about.
Like Paddy, I think this might find a home on my desktop.
Agreed, thanks guys for highlighting Sunflower, good find.
I have played around with it a bit and it appeals to my preference for keyboard centric FM navigation/operations, and Python based plugins look promising for attracting extension development. Nice to see that it’s still getting active development after a couple of years too.
Joe or Jesse mentioned that they missed the “bread crumb trail” navigation option that Thunar offers for navigating directories. In Thunar I _really_ like to use ALT + left/right arrow to walk up and down the ‘bread crumbs’ for the current directory path.
FWIW, I found in Sunflower that I could get a close approximation by using BACKSPACE to walk back the directory path, and using CTRL + BACKSPACE to pop open the navigation history window when I want to walk back down the directory path. The navigation history window displays the history as a stack, which can then be navigated using the up/down arrow keys. Sunflower leaves the fully qualified directory path displayed while walking up and down the directories, dimming the subdirectories as you navigate up towards the root.
Compared to Thunar, Sunflower adds one keystroke when I navigate down the directory path, but still allows me to keep my hands on the keyboard, so I’m a happy camper.
… it’s ALT + up/down arrow to walk the directory path in Thunar. I still type too fast.
Touch calendar works a treat for me too.
This is on a HTC one x 2.5 years old and running cm7.
I just remembered that you mentioned graphical representations of system resource usage on the desktop in the last show, as I found a very nice way to integrate them in Gnome. There is an extension to Gnome 3.x, simply called System Monitor, that puts graphs on cpu, ram and network usage in the top bar, with a pop up window that shows numbers and further data (like cpu temperature). It’s quite neat and a good example of how Gnome Shell can be used well, here is a screenshot:.
Ghost BSD just had a release: http://www.ghostbsd.org/4.0-release
From the release notes:
– Mate is the default Desktop.
Go forth, Luddites, install and review.
I tried to load it up, using the .img file and a USB stick. It wouldn’t boot.
A little disappointed as well. I tried the beta of Ghost BSD a couple of weeks back, and it was fine apart from some X configuration issues. Having spun up the release, I found that they’d fixed that and the desktop environment seemed to work well. But the installer hung halfway through with an rsync error (same result on two different machines). I intend to revisit in a week or so, as I guess it’ll have had a few more eyeballs – and bug fixes – by then.
On the wider point, I get the feeling that ‘desktop BSD’ is largely where ‘desktop Linux’ was just before Canonical got involved – it mostly works, most of the time, but only if you are an enthusiast; it’s simply not ‘consumer-grade’ yet. Even PC-BSD, which is arguably the flagship end-user BSD desktop experience, is pretty rough IMHO. Not only resource heavy and aesthetically way off the mark, it has a history – I guess due to the FreeBSD underpinnings – of chucking half-baked technology at the user (something, as a Fedora user, Steven would probably view as a positive <g>). So, some way to go yet, but – for those of us with concerns about how things seem to be developing on ‘our side of the fence’ – it’s really reassuring that FOSS alternatives to Linux continue to thrive and improve.
Jesse, I have really been enjoying your contributions, you’ve been a great addition to the show.
re: running a Plex (or any) 24×7 server at home. Years back I ran a couple of 2 Ghz Pentium 4 servers at home until I realized that they were drawing 70watts each (at idle), which was adding about $125 USD apiece to my annual electric bill. It’s definitely worth factoring in the electrical operating cost into home server planning.
I ended up consolidating onto a low power ARMv5 system that draws 20 watts at idle, 10 watts once the drives hibernate. It’s adequate for light NAS and syncing, but not for any serious media serving.
Now that the Intel NUC, R-Pi, and other low power systems have emerged I am starting to think about new options for a 24 x 7 home server, with the hope of getting a big processing increase while still keeping down the electric bill. Thanks for sharing your experience with your Plex project.
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