Category: Unix

Friday Roundup: May 19, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

As this is being written, the rain has been pounding the pavement in spurts. One moment, it’s a calm flow of droplets. Then comes the rapid torrent.

This week’s roundup has been like that with its various ups and downs.

Unix

With Canonical’s announcement of switching back to GNOME for Ubuntu’s default desktop, the question of how they would go about it remains. OMG Ubuntu sheds some light on this and even links to a survey asking for input.

Developers are considering some tweaks to ease the transition.

There’s some good news for the GNU GPL for the time being. Though it wasn’t meant to be treated as a contract, the license agreement itself appears to be enforceable as one for the time being.

The case revolved around Hancom and its use of Ghostscript without adhering to the GNU Affero General Public License.

To end this portion of our weekly roundup, here’s an interesting story about immigration policies possibly impacting free and open source software development. On the one hand, recent policies could impact the ability of the U.S. to bring in intelligent individuals who can lead the way in innovation.

On the other hand, the idea of promoting from within has been brought up assuming interest in the field of software development exists.

Time will tell the tale on that one.

Overlooked Pop Culture

There’s a reason many are either captivated and/or aggravated by politics. Though campaigns may portray otherwise, things are rarely black and white. Nothing demonstrates this more than with the firing of James Comey by President Trump.

Though there has been suspicion as to the President’s actual motivations, Trevor Aaronson of The intercept reminds readers that Comey himself did some things during his tenure as the head of the FBI that were questionable at best.

The aggravating portion of the political arena is why people seek an escape, even if it’s a virtual arena. An old escape may have a chance at a revival if Billy Corgan has his way after buying the rights to the National Wrestling Alliance.

He will own the rights to the trademarks as well as the NWA Championship belt.

Though the classic name in professional wrestling has waned over the years, the plan is a long term move, so nothing will change right away. Could this WCW 3.0?

Speaking of retro, 8-big video game music has been making a comeback… on vinyl that is! The LA Times has a fascinating piece on how boutique record labels have been combining the two niches together.

That’s all for this week. See you next time.

Friday Roundup: May 5, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

On the week of Star Wars Day, there have been several incredible things. However, in the interest of time today, this week’s roundup will be kept brief.

Unix

A new snapshot of OpenIndiana has been released. Support for USB 3.0, more Intel GPU’s, and updated software are included in this release update. OpenIndiana is a derivative of OpenSolaris that uses the Illumos kernel.

Overlooked Pop Culture

Those who are visually impaired may have some hope. A student has been able to synthesize an artificial retina. Though there is a long way before human trials, it’s definitely showing some promise.

That’s all for this week. There will definitely be more next week.

Friday Roundup: April 28, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

With the so called “government shutdown” delayed until next week, the roller coaster of 2017 is still building momentum, which brings us this week’s Friday Roundup.

Unix

 

FOSS Force announced the improvement of their news wire. In addition to headlines and authors, excerpts are now included. DistroWatch Weekly has a review of Ubuntu 17.04, the final series that will use Unity for the desktop environment before switching back to GNOME in the next LTS release. Jesse Smith noted an issue with Snap packages in conjunction with DEB packages.

I think it is worth mentioning that to install Snaps from Ubuntu Software, we need to have an Ubuntu One account. Sometimes, when trying to install Snaps, I would encounter authentication errors with my Ubuntu One account and I found closing Ubuntu Software and then re-opening the software manager and trying to install the Snap again would work around the issue.

I also feel it worth pointing out that Ubuntu’s three software managers (Ubuntu Software, Snap and APT) each work with a subset of the available packages. Snaps, for example, cannot be managed using the APT utilities. Likewise, we cannot use Snap to manage traditional Deb packages. The Ubuntu Software application tries to bridge this gap and works with desktop applications provided by both Snaps and Deb packages. However, Ubuntu Software does not work with non-desktop software or some games, requiring a trip to the command line to manage those items. This situation may get better in the future and we may get an all-in-one software manager, but for now we need three different utilities to manage software on Ubuntu and that makes for an awkward situation.

The CEO of Thinkpenguin Inc was arrested for filming the police at a police checkpoint and may face up to a year in jail. Christopher Waid had this to say:

I was essentially arrested for filming a police checkpoint in Manchester, New Hampshire (police invoked non-existent law to interfere with recording, made multiple contradicting and confusing requests, and were quick to obstruct and damage video recording equipment). Papers please. I don’t think I’ll be posting this to the ThinkPenguin blog as its irrelevant to free software / the company / etc. However I thought people here might be interested in following the case. The entire trial will be highly publicized, recorded, etc. One of the officers humorously threatens me with a motor vehicle violation. To be clear I was not drinking, not driving, had no car nearby (got there via another driver which had his car parks two or three blocks away), and in no way under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The Debian Project is shutting down their public FTP service, though developers won’t be affected. According to SoftPedia:

This means that the upload queues for both the main (ftp://ftp.upload.debian.org) and security (ftp://security-master.debian.org) archives will be accessible to them. The rest of the world won’t be able to access ftp://ftp.debian.org, nor ftp://security.debian.org starting November 1, 2017.

Overlooked Pop Culture

 

Comic book fans may have a reason to rejoice with the upcoming Marvel Legacy one shot. It includes multiple characters telling a story of the glory days. The story will relate to future of the Marvel Universe going forward.

Podcast co-host Stephen Kelley has a review of the 2017 release of Ghost in the Shell. He does pose a warning to the Internet Outrage Machine before the review is underway:

Let’s get this first part out of the way:

If there is one thing I’m tired of in the realm of film and television, it’s pre-emptive complainers trying to de-rail everything before it even comes out. with any review of this live action American/Chinese Ghost in The Shell film, everyone has drawn battle lines in regards to the elephant in the room of “Hollywood whitewashing”; in fact, I would say you were almost expected to take a side, and if you took a side that many didn’t like you’d get lectured by the other. It’s annoying that folks are getting in fights and “unfriending” each-other because of opinions over a goofy sci-fi film, but that’s our modern society I guess. Some popular reviews from major sites didn’t even talk about the film, they just reviewed everything that was in some way perceived as racist to stoke the outrage fires, this honestly comes across like they never actually watched it.

I’m not going to dwell on this topic too much because I can see both sides and don’t think arguing over whether or not Scarlett Johanson should or should not be cast as The Major actually addresses the actual problem that Hollywood has with representation. The internet witch hunts and rage were nearly identical to what people attempted to do with both recent Star Wars films, and even last years re-boot of Ghostbusters, and I honestly don’t care anymore. I’d rather discuss a film based on an anime/manga property that I’ve loved for upwards of 20+ years, and how it turned out.

/end rant

On a lighter note, Causecon has started today and will run through Sunday. All proceeds will go towards the local Women’s Resource Center in Beckley, West Virginia.

Political underground radio talk show host Jack Blood has made his return after a lengthy hiatus. He has a Patreon page for those who have followed him over the years and want to support him. On said page, he indicated the following:

At this time, the show is 100% commercial free! It will be up to you if it stays that way.

That ends this week’s Friday Roundup. We’ll be back next week.

Corporate Media Doesn’t Get Alex Jones

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Alex Jones is made fun of for viral marketing.
He is a master of viral marketing.

In the passing weeks, there have been a plethora of stories regarding Alex Jones and his “performance artist” defense used by his attorney during his divorce hearing. Since that defense was used, it was assumed by most corporate owned outlets that he doesn’t believe what he’s selling to others.

Once again, they’re way off the mark, and this is part of the reason why so much trust has been lost regarding these established outlets.

The issue at hand is that he uses certain shock jock tactics which are really not that different from that of Rush Limbaugh or Howard Stern. He has an audience to build and maintain. The sense of urgency that he has always displayed has been a part of his viral marketing.

There’s a reason he kept encouraging his followers to copy his films and give them away for free.

That is also why I would be able to use his work for certain benchmarks in any future reviews. His discs aren’t region locked. That is a hallmark of viral marketing, and Canonical has also successfully used that tactic to make Ubuntu a house hold name.

Furthermore, when one actually looks into other venues that have covered him at length, a more complicated story appears.

However extreme and paranoid and downright cartoonish his unending stream of alarm can be, Jones believes every word he says and can prove it with a personal stash of food big enough to last three years. And if they bothered to look without prejudice, these righteous leftists would see that Jones covers issues like the drug war, the growing security state, and Monsanto’s genetic modification of food exactly the way they do, just as many of his themes were echoed by the Occupy movement. –John H Richardson for Esquire Magazine

Jones has since changed tone since Trump was elected as President of the United States, but he did cover a lot of points of view that the anti-war crowd would have agreed with during George W Bush’s time in office. As for further evidence that Jones believes what he says, look no further than Joe Rogan.

This isn’t to say that I entirely agree with Jones or his tactics that are used. What I find irritating is the mindless group think that keeps echoing each other when a misleading headline comes across the eyes of the masses.

If people are to oppose Jones and those similar to him, they need to have all their facts straight and be able to back up what is being argued.

Oh, and before anybody cheers for the ex-wife of Jones, you may want to listen to Jack Blood and what he has to say.

When one digs deeper, they find the story of an individual who doesn’t like competition and who may very well have sold out depending on the point of view. Those are points in which criticism would be valid as opposed to saying he doesn’t believe in what he’s selling.

Friday Roundup: April 21, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

StarCraft Map Editor in Wine
Though Starcraft currently doesn’t run in Wine, the map editor does.

This week has been an interesting one to say the least. Ubuntu continues to get noticed due to Canonical’s change in direction while other interesting developments in the land of make believe are on the horizon. Still, it’s time to get our nerd on.

Here’s this week’s Friday Roundup.

Unix

Canonical’s announcement of moving back to GNOME and no longer using Unity starting with the next LTS release has had some exploring their options. The conclusion of one blog post is that GNOME 3 can’t replace Unity and that there will definitely be a learning curve for those who aren’t used to it.

Luís de Sousa writes:

The take home message of this exercise is that Unity 7 and Gnome 3 are markedly different desktop environments, designed with different – sometimes almost antagonistic – goals. Gnome 3 is a low visual feedback environment, meant for a small number of workspaces and highly reliant on mouse input. In its turn, Unity 7 is far more open to keyboard interaction, embraces workspaces as a cornerstone of desktop interfacing and overall offers far more modes of interaction and features. Unity 7 comes across as a transparent environment, providing immediate visual feedback on what may be happening with each of the programmes it manages; by contrast Gnome 3 opts to hide many visual cues, preferring a clean desktop, focused entirely on the current foreground programme.

(Bolding added for emphasis)

With the switch to GNOME will come the obvious switch to Wayland as well. X11 is network oriented, while Wayland is focused on individual systems, thus cutting down on overhead and improving graphical performance.

Speaking of Ubuntu, System76 is now starting to move production and design in-house. Phase Three will be long term. Carl Richell writes:

We’re starting with desktops. There’s a lot to learn and the form factor is easiest to work with. Both design and CAD work are well along their way. We’re prototyping with acrylic and moving to metal soon. Our first in-house designed and manufactured desktops will ship next year. Laptops are more complex and will follow much later.

Last but not least by any means, Solus has a new release. In addition to the in house Budgie Desktop, MATE and GNOME editions are available. Their release notes are available here.

Overlooked Pop Culture

Apparently, there may be a mini version of the Nintendo Switch on the horizon, if analysts are correct. If true, one can only speculate what will happen to the DS line of portable consoles in the near future. In a surprising turn of events in WWE, Jinder Mahal has earned a number one contender spot for the WWE Champtionship.

Seeing as how the product is now less predictable, it may become more entertaining. Only time will tell.

In a piece that shows a lack of understanding, NBC is among the latest to pick up the story regarding Alex Jones and his performance artist defense. Jones is currently in a custody battle over his kids.

A note of correction: They claim he pushed that the moon landing was faked. That is not entirely true. There will be a future article regarding Jones and his custody battle to further explain this.

StarCraft fans have cause to celebrate this week as the original has been released for free in lieu of the Remastered Edition. Those who want to run into under Wine may be disappointed as it doesn’t work.

The good news is that the map editor still runs.

So if you’re a Windows or OS X user, you’ll be able to run this classic game and compete with your friends.

Cool Links of the Week

Lemonade is not your traditional renter’s insurance company. They operate to keep costs down and premiums low. Mozilla Thunderbird is also an amazing e-mail client, and they could use your help.

That wraps up this week’s interesting, weird, and cool news. We’ll see you next week.

Friday Roundup: April 14, 2017

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

This is the first in a weekly series that rounds up the week for those who were busy with the daily grind. Here’s what you missed over the week.

Unix

Open Source luminary Eric S Raymond along with Susan Sons have been blending concepts from martial arts and hacking. They are identifying what they call different Hacker Archetypes.

… Susan Sons reports having found it very effective for motivating young and newbie martial artists. “It gave them their first glimpse of what they were trying to become,” she reports, “They both knuckled down not just in the obvious physical parts of training, but in the mental aspects, far more than they had before and far more than their age/experience peers.”

So, Susan had the idea that it might be a good idea to develop a parallel gallery of hacker archetypes to help motivate newbies. We brainstormed this on IRC for a while. One thing that had been blocking Susan is that, by her own report, she sucks at naming things. I, on the other hand, am pretty good at that; I was able to come up with names that helped the archetypes develop more definition.

The different archetypes are listed and kept up to date on ESR’s blog.

System76 has recently updated their Galago Pro line of notebook computers. It’s extremely portable and can have as much as 32 GB of RAM. They are available for pre-order and they have an offer for $50 off.

Speaking of Ubuntu, Ubuntu Mate Edition 17.04 has recently been released. Martin Wimpress had the following to say:

We’re totally over the bloody moon to announce Ubuntu MATE 17.04. This is our favourite release of Ubuntu MATE so far and, we believe, a real return to form. Ubuntu MATE 16.10 was a transitional release, in every sense, and 17.04 concludes the upheaval of migrating to GTK3+. This has been a release focused on refining the distro and sweating the details. As always, we’re never finished and eager to start work on 17.10 to bring you further improvements and refinement. But for now, we hope you enjoy Ubuntu MATE 17.04 as much as we’ve enjoyed making it for you.

Their release announcement has more details on updated features.

Overlooked Pop Culture

Tim Berners-Lee has been going back to the drawing board regarding the web. He argues that spying has taken place, while mean ideas have proliferated. Ironically, the only way to address the latter is to enable the former.

In spite of President Trump’s recent actions regarding the Middle East, Paul Joseph Watson of PrisonPlanet is still defending him.

Trump’s response to the alleged chemical weapons attack allowed him to look decisive and was a show of strength towards China and North Korea. It also served to temporarily silence the repeated accusations that he is in collusion with Russia.

Trump’s aim with the air strike was to destroy Syria’s remaining chemical weapons to make Assad follow through on the deal. If he didn’t act, Trump would have been eviscerated by his critics as being equally as weak as Obama.

Watson ends the article by claiming that if Trump were to manipulated by neo-conservatives that he would have a legacy equivalent to George W Bush’s.

To end the week with weird stuff, Tony Ortega has the latest on celebrities and their involvement with the Church of Scientology.

Have an excellent weekend and we’ll be back next Friday.

Blind Patriotism Is Unacceptable

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”  –Theodore Roosevelt

Today is President’s Day, a holiday in which

Donald Trump tweeting that the "fake news" media is the enemy of the American People.
Though we don’t always talk about politics, there are times when things like this make it necessary to do so.

we celebrate and appreciate US Presidents from history’s past. Originally George Washington’s Birthday, it was turned into a general holiday to celebrate all Presidents. One of the things that we appreciate the most as American citizens is criticism in addition to praise.

After all, no one official is supposed to have all the power and for good reason.

President Trump has referred to media that he disagrees with as the enemy of the American People. This goes beyond the simple accusations of bias, which all venues have regardless of how they try to downplay it or eliminate.

In reality, objectivity doesn’t actually exist; the only way for it to do so is if somebody were to live in a vacuum.

With that said, today is as good as any to call the President out for his foolhardiness. Not all aspects of media is inherently evil. Yes, major venues have made huge mistakes, and these companies and entities have themselves to blame for losing a tremendous amount of trust.

Whether it was not truly giving the full story regarding the Gulf War until well after the fact, pushing No Child Left Behind while taking money from the Department of Education, or falsely claiming that Kevin Mitnick was on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, there is plenty of blame to go around.

That is why competition actually exists in the realm of free thought and free expression.

The problem with Trump referring to certain media venues as an enemy of the American People is that it bolsters this “us vs them” mentality to the point where we become even more divided than ever.

When a major player of Fox News is balking at such a statement, it’s time to pay attention.

If it weren’t for any media that operates freely in this country, we wouldn’t know certain unpleasant truths. One of those truths is the fact that Trump is using an outdated Android Phone to tweet, thus leaving him vulnerable to those who want to obtain state secrets.

The additional problem is also two fold. For starters, it can potentially create an adversarial divide between the people and media in general. The other issue is that it could potentially cause independent venues to be blamed for this, whether they had a hand in it or not.

In other words, what Trump is doing is attacking the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution. This is not a good sign, no matter who is inside the Oval Office.

Mr President, that was not an acceptable statement.

Unexpected Powerhouse

HP Desktop
This was found at the local Salvation Army store.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Last year, a used system was purchased from the local Salvation Army store in Warrensburg, Missouri. For several months it sat inside of our world headquarters.

It was either a system that could be salvaged for parts or something that could be put to good use.

Early Tuesday morning, it was plugged into a TV via VGA and powered on. It turned out that spending approximately $5 USD was going to yield a pleasant surprise. Preliminary specs are as follows:

  • AMD Phenom quad core CPU
  • 7 GB of RAM
  • AMD Readon HD 5340 with 1 GB of RAM
  • 500 GB Hard Drive

The system itself currently has Windows Vista Home Premium. It seems it was set up for World of Warcraft. Whether it can handle a Linux distribution at this point with the precarious situation regarding AMD graphics will remain to be seen.

Though it’s not the most that has ever been had, this desktop has the most memory out of all the desktop systems in a long time.

Further research will be needed to see if it can hold more memory. Depending on what it can handle, it may very well replace the main desktop.

Three Past Media Sins

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

Brian Williams Fake News
Major media itself has been just as guilty of perpetuating false or misleading news.

The past several weeks have seen accusations of media venues peddling fake news and that something has to be done about it. Believe it or not, major venues are not without sin in that category. Here are just three instances in which major media publications and networks got things wrong.

Kevin Mitnick

He was a computer hacker who had mastered the art of social engineering. Mitnick got himself into some trouble in the 1990’s to the point where John Markoff was writing sensationalist stories about him. Markoff claimed he was the FBI’s most wanted computer hacker (he wasn’t), and even claimed that Mitnick broke into the computer systems of a bank in order to distribute a fake press release.

In reality, the so called fake “$400 million loss,” was actually human error as opposed to malicious intent. As for being the most wanted by the FBI, he was on a US Marshall’s poster, but that’s not quite the same thing. Due to such sensationalist stories, Mitnick’s civil liberties were blatantly violated as he was prevented from even having a trial (he plead out so he would no longer be placed in solitary confinement).

Fortunately, Mitnick is now a successful consultant who helps businesses keep their information secure. He is also a successful author of multiple books.

Iraq and WMD’s

As Jon Schwarz of The Intercept points out, major media outlets are still getting this one wrong. The false premise of invading Iraq was that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was aiding Al Qaeda. In reality, both were bitter enemies.

As for the weapons that were found, they were the very same weapons that existed well before Dessert Storm and Shield. They were holdovers from the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980’s. Some of the weapons couldn’t be destroyed safely due to their very nature, and Hussein was not about to attempt to utilize them.

The world would have discovered it quickly.

The other weapons were ones that Hussein didn’t know about as his regime lost track of them. They weren’t the only military force to lose track of resources as the US Military has also done the same.

Numerous casualties and injuries would result from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

New York Times and Their Fake News Problem

Remember Jayson Blair? He was let go because he plagiarized or outright faked his news coverage. Salon has an interesting piece describing a big problem in terms of media coverage.

Blair wasn’t the only one who played a part in misleading the public. Another individual was involved in pushing the talking points of George W Bush’s administration. Among said points includes the previously covered instance above.

Conclusion

Accusations of bias and being fake aren’t necessarily new nor are actual acts of either. Multiple mainstream venues have indeed made mistakes in terms of accuracy and are not without sin.

So the next time you hear somebody ask about fake news, you may want to ask them, “Remember Brian Williams?”