not all change is progress
August 16, 2015
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
With Android’s security woes making even the mainstream press, it’s hardly surprising that they featured in our news this show. But we also found time to bring you stories about Fedora and Ubuntu, FFmpeg, a couple of Kickstarter projects with very different outcomes, and a similarly mixed bag of news for Lenovo.
Ron Minnich has long been associated with Open Source firmware, and after the news we spoke to him about the coreboot project. In our interview we found out why Ron is so enthusiastic about Google’s Chromebooks, discovered his hopes for a new RISC ISA from Berkeley, and quizzed him on whether Purism can really deliver on their promise of a modern and truly FOSS mass-market laptop.0:00:59 News
Fedora Linux May Further Demote i686 Support
The State Of Fedora Linux In 2015
Fork off! FFmpeg project leader quits, says he’s had enough with these forking AV libraries
Ubuntu One file syncing code Open Sourced
Canonical Has No Plans to Support DEB-Based Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu Now Has An Official PPA For Graphics Drivers
Install LibreOffice 5.0 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA
GOG Have Supported Linux For Just Over A Year, Announce New Linux Installer System
Stagefright Explained: The Exploit That Changed
Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright
One Class to Rule Them All: New Android Serialization Vulnerability Gives Underprivileged Apps Super Status
Google set to reboot Android One smartphone project in
Remix Mini Android PC raises over $1 million on
A painful decision – we will refund your money
Lenovo CEO: We will axe 3,200 workers as our profits shrink
Lenovo used Windows anti-theft feature to install persistent crapware
Lenovo Launches New P50 And P70 Mobile Workstations With First Mobile Xeon Chips
0:36:25 Ron Minnich Interview
We spoke to Ron Minnich, who founded the LinuxBIOS project in 1999. Renamed coreboot in 2008, the project aims to provide fast and flexible Open Source EFI firmware for multiple platforms.
During the interview, we talked about how the humble BIOS has evolved over the years, touched upon the Libreboot project, discussed the ongoing controversy around Purism‘s Librem laptops, and looked forward to a possible game-changer in the shape of RISC-V.
Ron explained how supportive Google has been of the coreboot project. For further information about custom firmware for the Chromebook check out John Lewis’ website, or follow Ron’s instructions to build Chromium OS including Docker support from scratch. And for additional background, the slides from these two presentations are well worth working through.
A huge thank you to Ron for taking the time to speak with us, and we clearly wish him and the coreboot project well. As for Purism and their attempts to produce a modern, fully FOSS and mass-market laptop? I think it’s fair to say that our hopes have been slightly raised having spoken with Ron, so we’ll keep watching closely and report back on future developments as they happen.
ffmpeg is one of those tools that is almost indispensable if you do any sort of video processing. However, the project has been beset with “problems” for years. No stable releases (unless that’s changed recently), arbitrary changes in command line switches, etc. The pain of trying to keep abreast of all this has lead some projects e.g. MythTV and Handbrake to use statically linked snapshots of ffmpeg and do a painful resync with the bleeding edge at infrequent intervals to lessen the pain.
While active development and experimental stuff is welcomed a bit more attention to a stable core, which has new features added in a more controlled fashion would be welcome.
Great show as always, guys. I’d like to see completely open source systems become a practical reality some day, so I appreciate you bringing someone central to that work onto the show. That said, I was a bit baffled by the things Ron said. I was expecting him to tear Purism down as others in that field have down. I also didn’t realize Google played such a large role in this area. I think there is some room for optimism in this area though. As you guys mentioned yourselves, as Moore’s Law comes to an end, it takes longer for devices to be obsoleted by newer versions, and hopefully that will eventually give people working on open hardware and open firmware the time to catch up.
Another excellent show, boys. Excellent interview with Ron Minnich. It was really educational and ties into so many things you’ve discussed over the last 18 months, from the “end” of Moore’s Law to skepticism over SystemD.
As for Android’s latest round of security fears, I’m more disappointed in the tech press exaggerating the latest threats than the security holes themselves. Android is still a relatively secure OS, and as Joe said, if more people bought phones directly from the manufacturers or Google (Nexus), security updates would be delivered more timely as opposed to waiting for a carrier to decide if sending out an update is even worth its time.
Another excellent show.
I was cracking up at the top of the show when you were talking about Fedora. I run Fedora 22 as my main desktop and I use a lot of Centos server side. I also have a Mac laptop. You guys were spot on in your description of a Fedora user.
That being said, the Fedora server team have been making a real push as of late to change the mindset of users in regards to using Fedora as a server. Their work with RoleKit and Cockpit had added a lot of value to the distribution (https://getfedora.org/en/server/). I’ve been starting to use Fedora on tasks that I’m not too worried about to test the waters and thus far, no issues.
Though Centos 7 is fairly new there are already some developers who won’t keep supporting the somewhat older, stable versions of some Centos packages. I’m sure this won’t be an issue for big apps but, for instance, the people who develop the RSS reader ‘News’ for OwnCloud just dropped Centos 7 support and moved to a newer version of PHP. Since Centos has such a long support life I’m sure we’ll see more of this as time goes by, as we did/do with Centos 6. As that happens, and as Fedora continues to gain steam and improve, moving over certain tasks will make sense. I don’t expect to need to move my KVM hosts or NFS servers over to Fedora but perhaps some of the VMs on top of that core will…
I’ve been using linux since 2002 (And I spent WEEKS getting dual displays working on my Slackware install back in the day…) but I’ve been running Fedora as my main desktop since version 19 and I haven’t had any stability issues. I boot the net-install from a thumb drive, do a reasonably spartan MATE desktop install, install Fedy, and I’m good to go. I’ve never thought of myself as being a ‘bleeding edge’ computer user; I just prefer Yum to Apt-get. I didn’t know that was a common stereo type of Fedora users. :)
Thanks for making the show. It’s the highlight of my commute.
I’m afraid we need those optimists to drive things forward, those “oh, bummer, you’re right, this doesn’t work” “told you so.” “You did? Huh. Well, you know, I got this other GREAT idea…” folks. Because, you know, we pessimists may be good on realism but are not so great on having big visions for the future ;)
Just want to comment regarding Joe’s comment about PPAs. I have had zero problems with PPAs. I ‘ve been using a libreoffice PPA and a ffmpeg PPA for several years and it works great. PPAs give one the ability to get the latest release while (or as you Brits say: whilst) on a LTS linux version.
I really enjoyed your interview regarding core boot, had lots of good information.
I’m pretty sure any rise in Fedora is a sign of weakness in Ubuntu rather than anything Red Hat did
If a phone requires a monthly subscription to be of any use at all, and its identity is tied to that subscription, what’s the point of buying it rather than leasing it? It’s not fewer bills to pay per month. You can do it, but it’s not necessarily compelling.
In the UK you can switch providers very easily as long as you bought your phone.
just as a side note to the bloated carrier android roms being pushed on handsets: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/08/25/begone_bloatware_vodafone_android_google/
looks like vodafone might be listening to slow updates and hated 3rd party apps.
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