not all change is progress
October 31, 2016
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
00:41:50 Paddy’s First Taste of Pi
01:18:59 Software Engineering?
After kicking off with the latest news, this show features a frank first impression of the Raspberry Pi, your feedback, and a discussion about the state of modern software engineering.00:01:35 News
Hotfix Your Ubuntu Kernels with the Canonical Livepatch
“Most serious” Linux privilege-escalation bug ever is under active exploit
Security bug lifetime
Using Rowhammer bitflips to root Android phones is now a thing
Defending against Rowhammer in the kernel
Google Pixel XL costs $285.75 to Manufacture — in line with
Remix IO — A 4K, Nougat-powered, All-in-One device
BBC micro:bit goes global (tiny, affordable, educational computing)
Germans React to UK’s micro:bit
Smartwatch shipments are down 50 percent from a year ago (IDC
Macs are 3 times cheaper to own than Windows PCs, says IBM’s IT guy
the JS Foundation
The Linux Foundation and edX Announce New, Free DevOps Course
Linux Voice Joins the Linux New Media Family; FAQ
00:41:50 Paddy’s First Taste of Pi
After much nagging from his fellow hosts, Paddy finally plugged in his Pi and reported back on his experiences running some of the popular desktop distros. Which weren’t great, TBH. As suggested in the segment, he’s planning to look at more programming-oriented projects like Ultibo and JonesFORTH O/S for a future a show.
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Thanks to CubicleNate and Rob Landley for getting in touch
regarding Google’s propensity for leaving users in the lurch
by frequently ditching services, and to Ian Barton for his
sudo password delays. As Paddy
man pam_faildelay might be another
place to start looking if this behaviour bugs you too.
James Lewis thought we may have been a little harsh in our dismissal of the current state of Unity 8, whilst Russell Dickenson sadly agreed that the lack of full Play Store access means that Phoenix OS really isn’t a viable choice on tablets right now.
01:18:59 Software Engineering?
There’s a famous fake interview with Bjarne Stroustrup, the creator of C++, that really nails down the underlying goal of most modern software tooling and development: it isn’t designed to produce a functional product for the end-user, but rather to keep those in the computing industry in long-term and lucrative employment. Your Luddites sat down to chat around the topic, braving the thousands of outraged code monkeys that will likely start flinging poo in their direction.
Hey, great show,… regarding stability/new&shiny…
I think there a good argument to be made that we _have_ a large body of well maintained software. People aren’t writing new image-editors, audio-editors, office-suites, C/C++ compilers, 3d-animation tools… on a regular basis. The popular open-source applications in these areas are fairly well maintained.
To get nerdier – vim, bash, latex, mutt… etc, are doing OK too :)
Even with desktops – we have Mate, can’t speak for Xfce,
but its git repo shows recent activity.
I think there is a bias here to focus on projects making big changes, while other projects are being quietly maintained don’t grab our attention.
There are cases when a lot of new developments are valuable too (not just superficial fluff), so I think its not entirely fair to criticize developers for working in new areas – especially in fields that have a lot of room for improvement, failing to do so means you risk becoming irrelevant.
Another note regarding widget tool-kits (that relates to
desktop environments), while its easy to think “What we
had in the 90’s was OK…”, there are significant advances
users might not see on a regular basis:
Right to left text, unicode support, ligatures, input-method-editors (for Chinese, Japanese and Korean), scalable widgets (HI-DPI), multi-touch, accessibility support (text to speech integration).
Given advances like this which end up being expected in a widely used toolkit – I can see why developers release new (and incompatible) versions of their libraries occasionally.
Analogies to houses?
Stop double pain Windows and new furnaces and just maintain the original design?
Coal fired burners?
No no no….
OS’s are more closely compared to automobile bodies where by the frame and power plant of our car is our personal computer. You don’t want to change this car body as you move it from frame to frame. Rather the objective is to keep our car body clean and rust free.
But you can’t continue this forever as a 770′ era Buick body won’t fit in today’s Buick frame.
You can’t run potato on a uefi/i2c laptop.
In fact, even homes are tied to this conveyor belt of change. You can’t use a coal furnace anymore. You can’t buy lead paint anymore. Asbestos insulation is illegal now. Even your 5 gallon toilet is now contraband.
This isn’t all or nothing, there’s some point between
going back to typewriters
and having developers continually jump to the next fun project while the first isn’t working properly.
Erring on the side of stability wouldn’t hurt,
especially for desktop-linux
since failing or glitches performing common tasks leaves a bad impression.
Note that my previous reply focused on
am wondering now if this is more a problem for desktop environments in particular, since they need to integrate many moving parts.
Would be interesting to hear developers working on desktop-environments speak to this.
Paddy and his houses analogy!
He’s 15 years younger than me.
I challenge the luddites to use Slackware for a month!! Live in my house, The house Paddy desires..
I am not familiar with the projects that Paddy was interesed in using on the Pi. Are there practical use cases for these projects now or are they just interesting for letting you get experience with respective languages? Couldn’t you work with those languages on an x86 laptop rather than a Pi? Or do you want to use one of those systems to write something useful for the Pi and you feel that a full Linux OS is overkill for that task?
For me, the Pi is mainly interesting for the reasons Joe gave — in terms of size and cost (including power), it’s one of the best options that can run a full Linux distribution. I like having a full Linux distribution for the same reason that I might write something in Python rather than C — not because it lets me optimize for performance of the hardware but because it is easy to put a project together with a small time investment by using the work of others with pip or apt respectively.
Will — truth be told, I’m going to be looking at those coding environments simply to try to find a use case for the Pi for me. You’re right that I could code Forth or Free Pascal on a regular desktop rig, but that does feel ultimately unsatisfying to me, what with it being a ‘hosted’ environment. The one thing the Pi might give me that I’ve missed immensely as technology has ‘advanced’ is the immediacy and unmediated control of the hardware that I fondly remember with the 8 bit boxes from my youth.
Paddy, you gave more information about the Mac at IBM story than was included in the linked text. Was that from the video or somewhere else? I use Linux at IBM and the support is bare bones. There is some support documentation online that is surprisingly well presented, but live help is not available the way it is for Windows and Mac. The support options are a message board, opening a bug on the internal bug tracker for the distro, or searching the internet. Still the support costs are not negligible because someone is maintaining the IBM flavor of RHEL with the extra applications needed for business use.
The recent approval of Macs for privileged tasks worries me. The use of Linux had been growing in recent years, likely because of the privileged use cases, but I expect it to start dropping now as the company has started pushing Macs on everyone to meet a target set by the partnership with Apple. It is interesting to hear that Macs are cheaper in an enterprise setting because of the licensing and support costs. Recently, the Linux version of Lotus Notes (rebranded recently as IBM Notes) was dropped. This is not so bad because IBM is switching to IBM Verse (webmail) as its main email client but there are still other features of Notes not available from the web. As Macs drive down the Linux numbers over the employee laptop refresh cycle, I expect Linux support will continue to scale down and I’ll have to start keeping a VM open to use Linux at work.
All that I knew was from watching the video. TBH, it was the first presentation on TCO that I’ve ever been captivated by — he’s a really good speaker, and there were lots of salient stats presented (and even though actual costs were left out for obvious reasons, I was still surprised how much detail he’d been cleared to share). Well worth watching if you haven’t, and I’d be interested to know how the public pitch meshes with insider reality.
This is primarily directed toward Paddy but not exclusively. You have made comments on more than one show about the problems in maintaining a monolithic kernel and that a microkernel would be preferable. Thanks to you, I have decided to spend more of time reading to develop better understanding the argument than I really should have dedicated toward it.
After some hours, this is what I have been able to determine. Note, computer science is NOT my profession but from what I can tell, Linux is not a true monolithic kernel in the strictest sense because of the loadable kernel modules that can occur during runtime. That would lead me to believe that there could be, if desired, a very tiny Linux kernel that can have all the necessary hardware drivers loaded as needed, so, the very core part of the kernel could indeed have its code very well reviewed and tightened up for the removal of any bugs.
It is worth noting that Mac OS is a hybrid kernel and Windows is a microkernel. It seems like historically, the monolithic kernel has indeed been more stable than microkernel but I could be remiss in that conclusion.
I’d like to hear Paddy or anyone else, speak more on this subject. I’m very interested in knowing your thoughts.
First about engineering: what about building airplanes
They^WTheir technologies moves quite a bit faster than the one of building bridges. I’m not talking about the Internet of Toasters here, more like airbags, ABS or the more recent new requirements on emissions.
Isn’t this engineering, too?
On buildings in Germany… first, Jessi is somewhat right,
especially here in Berlin there wasn’t too much need to
tear down buildings older than 60yrs. Look up Berlins
“Teufelsberg”. It’s nothing but piled up rubble.
BUT: The apartment building I grew up in was restored 1956. The flat I’m living in is in an apartment building build for families of factory workers in the 30s. While you can still see where coal ovens were and nowadays unused chimneys are it got some upgrades. We got one and a half of the original apartments, central heating, those double glass windows – and our own bathroom ;)
Some of the inner districts look quite different but that’s where shopping malls and stuff got build and is rebuild again and again. But the other districts of Berlin got a lot of those older apartment buildings left.
Interesting discussion about the Pi. I have three of them (all three models) and I am using it for what I think a lot of people use it for
1 – Apple HomeKit Garage Door opener
2 – Magic Mirror
3 – Network Speaker/Apple Airplay speaker (using RuneAudio)
for these three things, the Pi is absolutely amazing. I’ve also used it in a datacenter on a ‘crash cart’ with Mate and used ssh/rdesktop to manage other servers in my rack. for short-term occasional desktop use it’s fine – but I agree that I would not want to use it as a full-time desktop – It would be too hard to go from a core i5 Mac mini from a performance perspective
I’m also using a Pi as a dedicated Apple Airplay
client to feed my nice hifi system – coupled with a
Hifiberry DAC card it really does sound rather good.
I’m using Max2Play software – which has worked very
well – but I’ll take a look at RuneAudio to see if
I’m missing anything!
For my next project, the existing Pi could easily cope with the extra workload – but they’re so cheap I’m just going to leave the hifi one there doing its stuff and get another one.
That’s very cool Simon, I went all-in and got the Tube-Amp HAT for the PI and put the whole thing inside an old 1930s Philco Intercom I got on eBay. I’ve been really impressed with RuneAudio. I put it on a 64GB MicroSD and loaded up a load of music onto it locally, so I have the option to stream or just play music that is already on it.
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