not all change is progress
May 25, 2015
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.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
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
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.
No, it’s not your imagination. The last 2 or 3 versions of Firefox (at least) have been getting steadily worse. In fact a colleague, who is a Windows-only guy, was having some serious performance problems while doing some already tedious web development troubleshooting. He eventually switched over to Chrome to complete the work, although he wasn’t happy about it — not out of an enlightened self-interest in using open source but because up until now Firefox was an extraordinarily reliable tool for the job. Another release or two like this I think those of us considering jumping ship are going to have a lot of company. It will be easier on Linux, where there are at least a couple of decent alternatives — frankly I think those on Windows are going to be royally screwed.
Full disclosure: I have not yet listened to the show.
I was interested to see this comment, as recently I started playing with ThreeJS. And sadly chromium (42) would not run a couple of basic demos offered to get into it. The constructor would not work correctly across multiple versions of the library. Then I loaded it into FF (37) and things start rendering.
Maybe on Debian stable I am not on the bleeding edge enough to have seen the issues mentioned in the show. But I’ll certainly be listening carefully when I hear mention of Mozilla/FireFox.
I haven’t experienced any problems with Firefox. However, I run it fairly stock with only a couple of add-ons.
BTW, add-ons are already supported in Firefox for Android. So the AdBlock browser seems kinda redundant since you can easily install AdBlock Plus or uBlock or uBlock Origin, or any other adblocker, in the regular Firefox for Android browser.
Regarding the Occulus Rift. They did actually deliver on their promise. They did ship a development kit years ago to their backers. However, the hardware has been revved several times since then, and the consumer version will have higher resolution and better performance, etc. So it’s kinda ironic that it’s their biggest fans — the Kickstarters backers who made it possible — are stuck with a piece of junk which will provide an inferior experience compared to when we regular people pick it up. This just reinforces my view to stay away from crowdfunding campaigns.
Hi Guys, just finished listening to episode #42 and your discussion on free and Open Source projects in need for review and better design. You asked for examples, so I thought I give you a link to my podcast app “Podcatcher Deluxe” (http://www.podcatcher-deluxe.com). It is Android only at the moment, but all free and under the GPL3. I recently tried to up my game when designing the new podcast suggestion dialog, but there are certainly parts of the app that could look (much) better. Happy to hear your thoughts and maybe implement some recommendations down the road! Best, Kevin
Hi Kevin! If you put your podcatching app in FDroid, I will give it a go.
Jezra, thanks for your reply. I’d be very happy to hear your feedback. The app cannot go on FDroid as is, since it has Dropbox Sync which is quite useful, but closed source (from their side of course, not my decision). If you don’t want to use Google Play, I can simply send you the apk? Please send me a quick note via the website and I will send it to you. Cheers, K.
Hi Kevin – we’ve had a chance to have an initial look at the Simple version of your podcatcher, and will be happy to talk about it next show. And whilst I agree that the Dropbox integration does seem very useful for those with multiple devices for keeping subscribed show lists in sync, we’re quite keen to check out the state saving/syncing and the other features that appear to only be available in the paid versions. Could you possibly drop APKs for the audio and video paid apps to our usual email address for us to play with? It should go without saying that we wouldn’t share them beyond ourselves.
Thanks Patrick, just sent the apks to the
show@-address. Contact me if you have any
Please note that alternatively to using the apks, you can also get the app(s) from Google Play and send me the order ID. I will then refund your money and you will get updates when I publish new versions. This offer is also good for any of your listeners, I’d always be happy to refund the app’s price in exchange for some feedback! Cheers, K.
Guys, Enough with the endless babble about mobile phones and Android, or rename the show Mobile Luddites. Bring back Dan and Fab! at least their content was current, relevant and not just continual pontificating and grumbling. If you don’t have the time to find proper content just check Distrowatch, there’s plenty there each week. Do a post-show edit, cut out the waffle from Jesse (and Joe) and pitch it at an hour max.
I think it is there post-show editing that makes their podcast entertaining. Dan and Fab I never much enjoyed. They defined the idea of getting lost on tangents. Instead of the term “yakshaving” we should have “dafabbing”! Anyways I do agree I could do with less smart phone talk. I always upgrade each year to the latest Nexus phone and don’t need to hear about the rest.
Interesting to hear about the Tizen phone. Windows Phone seems like a good comparison to me. It seems like something that might give a decent user experience, but I’d never want to use it personally because it is too locked down and linked to one large corporation. I wonder if Tizen will still be performing so well when it has to support several different phone models.
Also, to answer Joe’s request — I use Firefox and haven’t noticed any issues recently. I use 7 add-ons that have large impacts on the browser (e.g. NoScript), so my experience might not be representative.
In regard to the Tizen phone:
As the only phone that Samsung makes that is capable of running Samsung’s Tizen OS, does the phone have any developer options? Is it possible for a developer to write a simple app and install from a Linux desktop? How does the phone OS update? Is there a terminal? What is the keyboard like?
Hi Jezra – as the Z1 is marketed as a simple end-user device rather than a developer phone, that’s how we treated it.
But to answer your questions as best as I can. Yes, you can unlock developer options so that it supports USB debugging; I tried this on the Z1, and can confirm that it seems to work (and MTP use and USB debugging coexist). I didn’t look into using the Smart Development Bridge itself, but it seems to offer similar functionality to adb.
There were no actual OS updates as opposed to Store and app updates available whilst the phone was in my hands, but from the look of things they would be served up just like Android (and in stark comparison to the hoop jumping required with Firefox OS).
As an end-user device, there is no terminal app installed OOTB. Searching the Store, the only one that I could find was so neutered as to be quite painful. However, this probably isn’t a show-stopper – providing that the SDB works as advertised.
The default keyboard is very reminiscent of the old-style Android one, and works in a very similar way. Which is to say, pretty well.
I’m going to be popping the phone in the post back down to Joe today, so if you have any other questions be aware that it’ll be out of all our hands until the weekend.
When Samsung brings the Tizen phone to Europe I can only hope they use Joe’s comment from the podcast on their adverts: “Tizen: I thought it was going to be rubbish, but it surprised me”. Praise indeed! :-D
I was a little taken a-back regarding poor and regular people. I know as a professional when I look @ android phones, like any other purchases, I buy the phone that has the features I want and need. So NO, I don’t start looking at the expensive smart phones. In fact, I start by looking at the “low-end”. I am looking for value – and believe it or not – some of the least expensive smart phones suit me needs just fine. And as a Linux Luddite – I thought you would be on the same “wave length”. If Google can put out a new economy phone, that would be the phone I would look at FIRST. So it seems you are the type that wouldn’t be caught dead, with cheap wine, or shopping in a 99 cents store (as we have here in California), etc. But there are “non poor” people who look at function before style.
Firefox working fine. About 10 versions ago g+ did not support firefox very well (optimised for webkit? ) on phone so stopped using g+.
Nothing has been of much interest to me in the last
couple of episodes. So I thought I’ll suggest some
subjects. A couple of applications I think everybody
should be using and is perfect for a true Linux Luddites.
That is online book management.
1) http://calibre-ebook.com/ allows you to have a centralized place to hold all your books and serve them to your smart phone or whatever almost regardless of the format.
2) http://www.lesbonscomptes.com/recoll/ allows you to easily access the information without doing fancy greps and wasting minutes with what can usually be done instantaneously with recoll.
3) Start downloading books. There are countless sources of free books. Even https://www.packtpub.com/packt/offers/free-learning?utm_source=Sentori&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Free+Learning+30th+April+15 offers a free book each day that normally goes for about $50. Or use the general purpose swiss army knife of downloads for books like this https://kat.cr/usearch/category:books%20seeds:1/?field=time_add&sorder=desc
Many people have tens of thousands of online books they now use as their personal reference library. It seems to me anybody who is using Linux and is a Luddite would like a show based on this theme…
I make so many mistakes with my posts but there is no way to edit and fix them. Any chance there is something that can be done about this so we can edit our posts?
Hi Ivor – I’ve added a plugin that should allow user editing of comments for a limited time after posting. I’ve set it up with a 6 hour limit initially – do let me know if it works for you.
Thanks. Have you looked into using disqus? (disqus.com) I’m thinking of giving them a try on future sites.
It now comes back after I make a comment stating I need a username and password…
Hi Ivor – That’s disappointing. I’ve now removed this whilst we look for something more effective.
I use Chrome as my primary browser but sometimes it can’t handle a website and keeps crashing. With no special plugins. So whenever this happens, maybe once a month but last time was 5 minutes ago, I use firefox. Firefox does not crash on the same websites. I’m also a big fan of Opera and use it probably 20% of my time. Chrome 70%, Opera 20%, FF 10%. Though sometimes I get pissed off with Chrome and don’t use it for weeks at a time. I keep hoping FF will get with the program but they seem to be a bit, uh, obstinate. Maybe we should all just say only positive things about FF in the hopes they’ll stop being committee driven and start moving forward and being innovative. Hopefully by starting with full support for sqlite3.
I am not a Ubuntu fan boy in any way having run way when Unity was inflicted us poor users but I think you are being a bit harsh on the Ubuntu Phone. I own one of these devices and it has had it problems but it is still much more reliable than my S4 with its auto reboot “feature” and poor battery life. The Ubuntu phone is not perfect by any means (happy to list the issues if anybody is interested) but it has excellent battery life, 3-4 times that of the S4, and since the last update quite quick so I no longer recognise the lag that Joe mentioned. To me it’s biggest advantage is that I do not have to root it to get to get control of my device just add the terminal App and I can access most of the command line tools I use including shred which gives me at least a chance of removing doc’s securely by overwriting them with zeros. Once last good point that I found by accident was data use abroad because you are using in effect web Apps the data use is greatly reduced and is quite snappy. For example if I sent an email to three friends with my S4 with an attachment of a photo it took ages as I assume it sent three copies from my mail programme but from the Ubuntu phone once the photo was uploaded to gmail, pressing send it was gone. Maybe I am wrong but my data bill is a lot lower and I swear I used it more! So for £130 I am happy and believe that when I got it it was really only the same as a beta version of a Distro with all the rough edges that that implies but it is improving and what can you expect from a new product?
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