not all change is progress
September 5, 2016
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
00:38:04 UbuCon Europe 2016
00:47:20 fish Shell
01:10:29 Desktop Customisation
After the news, we hear about the upcoming UbuCon Europe from two of the organisers, Jesse goes fishing for compliments on his new choice of shell, we chew over your feedback, and round things off by disagreeing about the benefits of desktop customisation.00:01:05 News
Linux turns 25, is bigger and more professional than
Live from LinuxCon – Sharing the latest news and learnings on Microsoft’s open journey
Linus Torvalds says GPL was defining factor in Linux’s success
The kernel community confronts GPL enforcement
Android Nougat drops support for Nexus 5 and 2013 Nexus
Google Wi-Fi Assistant coming to a (newish) Nexus phone near you
Google brings in-app search feature to its Android app
European Copyright Leak Exposes Plans to Force the Internet
to Subsidize Publishers
EU Copyright Law Undermines Innovation and Creativity on the Internet. Mozilla is Fighting for Reform
International Fair Use Developments: Is Fair Use Going Global?
Facebook is giving away the software it uses to understand
objects in photos
The long-awaited Maru OS source release
Raspbian OS: Consider It Compromised
Ryan Sipes: Meet the new
Community Manager at System 76 (me)
Purism announces the creation of its Advisory Board
00:38:04 UbuCon Europe 2016
We spoke with Michael Hall and Sujeevan Vijayakumaran about the European UbuCon that’ll be held in Essen 18-20 November 2016.
00:47:20 fish Shell
Jesse attempted to convince Joe and Paddy of the supposed benefits of the fish shell.
A huge thank you to Vipul Agarwal and Johan Nilsson for keeping the show on the road by becoming Monthly Supporters. If you enjoy what we do, why not join them?
Following up on our comments about IoT security, Will got in touch and Jesse mentioned that some manufacturers shockingly take this stuff seriously.
Will also had some thoughts about the Lumina Desktop, as did Florian and CubicleNate. Thanks, guys.
Kelly Price reached out to share how they’d tricked out their Acer C710 with 16GB RAM and was running GalliumOS on it. Slight overkill, maybe, but I bet it flies!
Wrapping things up, Ian Barton wondered if we’d come across sandstorm.io. Turns out it’s something none of us have looked at in more than passing, so we’ve mentally filed for a deeper dive next time we compare personal cloud solutions.
01:10:29 Desktop Customisation
Although you can still tweak a lot of desktop settings manually, both ChaletOS and Zorin OS provide simple theme changers that switch a whole lot of settings in one fell swoop — and limit your options for doing so.
With Microsoft only recently baking in a dark theme to add to the very limited desktop customisation available out of the box on Windows, we chewed around whether the ability to easily and endlessly tinker with our Linux desktops was a good thing or not.
Quick note for Jesse, Calling “exec fish” replaces the current shell, to avoid getting that annoying warning, also save some memory by not running 2x shells at once.
So you would put that at the end of your .bashrc file? A couple year ago when I tried out zsh for the first time, I put “zsh” at the end of my .bashrc file on a RedHat based system, and it hung the boot process, I assumed because something in the boot process sourced .bashrc and was waiting for the zsh process to exit.
Another alternative (the one I used back then) was to change the command used by the terminal emulator in its preferences to the alternative shell.
Great tip Campbell it works a charm, thanks so much. Well, there have been no system collapses so far…. :P
Good to hear :), btw. Will’s suggestion is better (to configure your terminal to use a different shell).
Tried fish, quite like it though found some of its defaults a bit odd, and not so discoverable, they seem open to exposing then in `fish_config` though: https://github.com/fish-shell/fish-shell/issues/3363
My suggestion worked for me, but I was thinking about it more and there are some use cases where it doesn’t help like if you use the terminal directly (not in an X session) or ssh into the system. For ssh, you could do “ssh user@host fish -l”.
(Ian Barton’s recommendation.)
After all of the WikiLeaks and Snowden stuff hit the media a couple of years ago, I got ‘all upset’ and like a lot of people, went down a deep ‘Decentrallised Internet Rabbit Hole’.
I immediately started looking for solutions to find a way out of the Dropbox, Google, Apple and Microsoft ecosystems. During this process, I stumbled upon a series of web-interviews called “Redecentralize” ( http://redecentralize.org/interviews/ ).
I watched all of their videos and then decided to put my money where my mouth was: I contributed some cash to a couple of the croud-funded projects that they mentioned, in the stark expectation that most of them would immediately fail, or eventually putter out and dissapear into obscurity.
Sandstorm was one of these.
Although the process has taken a long time and despite the fact that most of the projects have stalled, are in developmet hell, or have just dissapeared; Sandstorm actually seems to be getting somewhere.
Several months after the successful croudfunding campaign, the Sandstorm guys contacted me that saying that they’d just secured a shedload of VC money and that they’d be giving out refunds, suggesting that I should put the proceeds into the ‘Roundcube Next’ campaign.
I thought it over for a bit, then thought ‘what the hell’, letting them pass it on to Roundcube.
Roundcube then became a big part of the Sandstorm project… Go figure.
(BTW: I still have all of the email communications if you want confirmation and/or clarification of any of this.)
Anyway. Here comes my point:
The project is sound. It may now be largely targeted at enterprise users, but there is a lot of stuff which will be useful for ‘self-hosting’ users or people who want to put it up on DigitalOcean, or whatever.
As for Jesse’s comments about it being ‘OwnCloud on Steroids’; I think he’s missing the point:
This thing comes with a couple of minor pre-installed apps, but the rest of the stuff has to be brought in and installed from their ‘App Store’ thingy. You control what you want to put into it.
I hope that you don’t think that I’m pimping this thing, because the truth is that it’s been way off of my radar for a long time.
After reading a recent email update, I checked out their online demo and was quite impressed.
I set up a version of Sandstorm on new Ubuntu VM, on my home XenServer box and was even more impressed.
I installed several applications, then created some ‘Grains’. (These are individual, sandboxed, application instances, each utillising something called Cap’n’proto to do all of the port-fowarding and NAT-routing stuff).
Apparently, they use their own kind of Docker-style LXC container, each using a random port id for external communication and potentially encrypting internal data for extra security. (Please correct me)
In many of these so-called ‘Grains’ I found that I was able to pass data and files directly to and from my desktop Linux box (via the internet and not my LAN) using various protocols.
Please, please find time to research and test this thing and give us all a full report.
I think it might be more powerful, much simpler and potentially less distracting (or less a ‘tinker-toy’) than some other potential options.
It might also change the attitudes of some of you guys.
I think that you were all so disappointed with the early versions of this type of stuff that this has predudiced you to it’s current and potential possibilities.
Like I said, I tested a few apps out and found that they were able to sync some mobile device data including calendars, contacts todo’s etc. Notes might be sync-able to Tomboy etc. and files might be able to sync to a desktop’s storage, but I’m not at all sure. The point is that these guys are doing it the OS way and trying to integrate existing projects into their ‘Secure?’ ‘Cloud’ platform instead of trying to reinvent the wheel (in PHP).
Desktop Customization is the very reason I am such a fan of Linux (read KDE… maybe I like what it does to me). Although I agree that customization can cause issues in tech help situations but it also makes life so much easier in just getting things done. I moved from the Amiga platform to Windows where I was stuck and miserable for a few years until someone introduced me to Linux. I was back and forth between Gnome and KDE for a while until I realized I didn’t like what Gnome did to me but really liked how I could shape KDE into what I wanted for my work environment. If I didn’t have that ability or they made it difficult to access, I would be sorely irritated.
I understand the branding perspective and I respect the decisions of Ubuntu but I just find it to be lack-luster and incompatible with my work flow. When I do take the time to “desktop hop,” I just keep ending up back at KDE with the KDE tools. Fits like an old comfy and practical glove.
I really believe that the strength and weakness of Linux and tools is it’s flexibility. It is because of this I have made a list of applications and tools I like and when someone does ask me about switching to Linux, I can just point them to what works best for me with maybe an alternate or two to try.
So your’re on GAB, a closed source, centralized freemium app.net/ello type clone, but you’re not on Gnu Social nor Diaspora? You haven’t even setting up a Twitter to GS bridge.
Gnu Social is basically the old statusnet/identica universe. It’s as luddite as a Twitter clone can be!
I have also been looking at Sandstorm recently. I would be interested to hear either the hosts’ or Ian’s thoughts about it. It seems like it could be a nice project if it gets sufficiet traction. The main drawback to me is that its security model requires applications to be refactored in a specific way so that each document, chat, kanban board, etc. can be isolated. This refactoring limits the number of applications that can run on Sandstorm. Right now, they have one application of many of the most popular types of applications because the Sandstorm team has made the effort to patch these applications themselves. Ideally, if Sandstorm gains traction, projects would release patched versions for Sandstorm themselves rather than the Sandstorm team doing it. That would mean better application selection and likely more timely application updates. By the way, there is a free tier available for the hosted version of Sandstorm, so you can try it out really easily just by creating an account at oasis.sandstorm.io if you just want to see what it looks like.
The only customization I do to the UI on Linux is to switch to a dark theme for easier reading at night (maybe my lack of interest in customization is why I use GNOME Shell and don’t feel the need to try anything else). However, being able to mess with the internals of the OS is why I use Linux. I always felt locked down with Windows and MacOS and when I was trying to figure out how to do something I always had in the back of my mind that it might not be possible whereas on Linux I know that with sufficient effort pretty much anything is possible.
The discussion of fish was nice. If you want to look at another shell like that, try xonsh. It is not yet as polished as fish, but it is pretty fun especially if you like Python. Recently, I have been bouncing around between bash, zsh, fish, and xonsh and it’s mainly because of the tension you bring up between convenience and universality.
Did Sandstorm work OK for you? It was very buggy for me when I tried it a while back, but based on your – and a comment above – it sounds like it has become more stable. I really like the idea of a App Store like interface for server side software.
I’m been using a diskstation a few years, and it’s been easy to configure, stable and updates come fast and regularly. Plus it sits in my house – not in someone’s data center. Although the core apps are not as FLOSS as I’d like (runs on top of Linux/Busybox, I think), it works too well for me to care.
To start out, I have only been using Wekan. It has seemed a little slow at times but I haven’t seen bugs yet. Of course, the file and contact syncing applications would be more interesting to test.
I use Gnome because the more I tried to make KDE Plasma pretty, the worse it got and the more the extensions crashed. Tried Mate, lxde, xfce – but could’nt get keyboard shortcuts to fire on key release. In Awesome the software launcher was just too slow and I couldn’t find one as fast as the one in Gnome. That’s why I’m still in Gnome: the most stable, the fastest and most customisable for my use.
With enough time (which would be a lot of time for me!), I could perhaps fix them. But I don’t have a lot of time.
In your talk about customizations you seem to over-simplify the matter, characterizing the people who customize their systems are hobbyist/tinkers (installing themes/icon packs), compared to regular users who don’t want to waste time on such things.
IMHO this misses the point that a lot of customizations relate to productivity (custom key bindings, shell aliases, time-saving utilities and tool configurations vim config).
Like many others, I’ve had my dotfiles in git for years so I can check them out onto systems I’m using. Once its setup nicely, there is no reason to mess about tweaking things.
Comments are now closed.
The content of this website, and that of the podcasts produced by the website owners, is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.