not all change is progress
July 20, 2015
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.Intro
Joe’s been moonlighting on the Ubuntu Podcast, and shamelessly plugged the JoeRess Podcast.
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
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.
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.
I have used unity and found it ok but don’t like the stacking of windows and global menus. I find keyboard launchers ok it is different but ok. I like being able to see the menus as those remind me where I find stuff. I don’t like the desktop effects at all. I also can use dmenu run and plank with openbox which would be lighter. I don’t like cinnamon as it to flashy. I like the desktop pager in lxde or mate with where if you have a maximized window in a desktop provided by libwnck but it is a gnome environment. So might not be easy for lxqt.
this not-a-raspi-thing for education sounds like a good
idea but I too think the software choice is a missed
They should be using some FLOSS scripting language like Python the kids can toy with on every other PC and add a thin wrapper for LEDs and stuff.
Because I think teaching them coding basics is useless when they leave the class thinking “I can’t use any of this to make my PC (or god forbid, iPhone) do X anyway!”. I had some programming lessons at school when I was around 15 but it was just solving some abstract problems. Kinda fun tinkering but nothing that make me go all “Dude, I could make the PC rick-roll my sis everytime when she opens a browser window! :D” (surely not a thing around 1999 but you know, some fun little mischief). Part of it was no free Turbo Pascal compiler for everyone and no knowledge of free (or even Free as in GNU) alternatives which clearly were around on more unixy side of things.
They could even end the lessons with something useful like “and this is how you make Python/Ruby/whatever serve you a website!”.
Unsurprisingly I liked the first interview more ^^
Here’s a recent podcast of Scott Hanselman with
Kishau Rogers which also contains some bits about
introducing kids to coding:
“Systems Thinking: Less Coding, More Thinking”
(Still not through the whole episode ^^”)
Mention was made that maybe somewhere there would be
something proprietary involved with ‘BBC micro:bit’ but
the ‘M’ word was not mentioned. I think that this is
another plot by Microsoft to ensure schools become locked
into Windows as they’ll probably need to use it for the
software behind the ‘ BBC micro:bit’….. yes those evil
‘M’ people are still at it and as devious as ever. If I
am right about Microsoft’s intentions wouldn’t it be
great if someone trumped them and wrote some Linux based
software, to do the same job, before the Windows lock-in
took hold. :-)
On the question of how such a simple thing such as USB connector can not improve for such a long time, I find that professor Asanović offers a good explanation in https://youtu.be/A5kpo_ff98M?t=4m Though, instruction sets are a bit more complex than a USB connector the same reasoning still applies (and the solution is the same).
Pride goeth before a fall on the Top 500 list. In 2000 the various commercial UNIXes had a similar dominance to what Linux has now: http://www.top500.org/statistics/details/osfam/3
Things will change. Linux is not the end of kernel history.
Enjoyed the show as usual and I can confess to listening to Joe’s solo, well with Isaac, podcast as well.
There seems to be a lot talked recently of laptops being sold with Ubuntu as the native OS. A lot of these seem over priced the hardware supplied and offering compromised functionality. You guys mentioned on the podcast Lenovo’s latest offering and it’s good value at about £400. Ebuyer are offering three laptops from HP with Ubuntu, albeit 12.04 as supplied, with AMD A6, A8 or A10 processors from just under £200 to just under £300.
Mixed reviews but they are often seem to be from Windows people who are commenting on their unfamiliarity of a different OS rather than on how well the laptop works. Any of your listeners out there had any experience of these HP laptops?
Thanks for discussing my phone question. It looks like there is one alternative phone OS that is “supported” on the Nexus 5:
I hadn’t thought of myself as a tinkerer. I was hoping for something that could be a daily driver and that I wouldn’t be swapping OS’s on. I just want something that is as free as in freedom as possible and that I won’t have to struggle with to keep from routing all of my data through Apple or Google’s servers. In practice perhaps the kind of phone I want ends up being the same what a tinkerer would want given the scant alternatives to the big two (in the US especially) at the moment.
If you just want something that works well, is as free/open as possible and doesn’t rely on Google or Apple services then I strongly suggest a phone that is well supported by Cyanogenmod (or other AOSP ROMs). Don’t install the Google apps and then use F-droid. It won’t be as convenient as using Google services but you will have a much better experience than you would with any of the newer phone operating systems.
I was initially pretty annoyed by the addition of Pocket to Firefox. Mainly because I write and maintain some Firefox add-ons and Pocket is a perfect use case for an add-on. By bundling Pocket into Firefox in a non-add-on form, Mozilla seemed to say that add-ons are too hard to use and should be hidden from most users. Even so, I didn’t see why they could not have just pre-installed it as an add-on that could be removed. It feels weird to see a third-party service on the default toolbar, but really it’s not that different from Firefox coming preinstalled with Yahoo! and other search engine tools that show up in the toolbar as well. Firefox also comes with other third party services enabled (like Google’s Safe Browsing service) that are not visible to the user.
I agree with the weekly one hour show idea, shorter more
new oriented show.
I have decided to contribute again.
And I will worry that it might begin to burn out the hosts, but,,, that’s up to you.
NEWS,, I mean,,, not new…
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