Category: Linux

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: 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.

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.

Operational Security Update

SSL has now been enabled.
Privacy conscious users can now celebrate.

Thomas Holbrook II | The *Nixed Report

In the past few months, it’s become obvious how important the mission of the site has become. The unfortunate, inevitable truth is that major news and media networks are trying to figure out how they could have gotten the election year so wrong while not actually coming upon the correct answer.

In reality, they blame so called “fake news” outlets for their own failings.

In light of this, and revelations over the years, it’s still important to have operational security in mind no matter what any given website is about. For that reason, we have enabled SSL encryption.

In the coming days, the about page will be updated so that anybody who wants to e-mail any of us will not only have an available e-mail address but an encryption key as well. I will also remove my personal site and set up a new one to free up resources for this site.

My Libertarian Conscience will simply be set up in a new home, and the podcast will be converted to a YouTube show instead.

In light of media incompetence, civil liberties concerns, and the revelations from Edward Snowden, I knew that it was time to make things a bit more secure. What he did was not without controversy, and there were unintended consequences.

With that said, the cat is already out of the bag and everybody should be thinking about their privacy.

Even if one has nothing to fear from their own government, there are still identity thieves and others with less than honorable intentions. Protecting your identity and privacy is generally a good idea.

It’s like wearing a helmet when getting on a bike or safety goggles when you’re doing a job that requires eye protection.

That’s also why I don’t begrudge those who use ad blocking. I don’t blame any readers who have no desire to be tracked and traced.

I’ve only begun to keep things updated here. Stay tuned for more articles and more podcasts.

Equipment Acquisition and Site Update

RCA 10 Pro Edition
This tablet currently runs Android KitKat.

By Thomas Holbrook II

The first tablet that I’ve ever owned was a Viewsonic gtablet.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t Google certified, so the official app store was not accessible.  I eventually gave it up and wouldn’t own another one for about four years.

I now am the proud owner of an RCA 10 Pro Edition Tablet, and it has the following specs:

  • 1.5 GHz Quad Core Cortex A9 processor
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 1 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 16 GB of internal storage
  • 32 GB microSD card (upgrade)
  • 0.3 Megapixel front-facing camera and 2.0 Megapixel rear camera
  • Micro USB
  • Keyboard folio case
  • Battery life of up to six hours
  • 10″ diagonal screen (1024×600 resoltuion)
  • The usual features of a multi-touch capacitive screen (with auto-rotate)
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Headphone jack
  • Mini HDMI port

The best part is that I have access to the Google Play store.  Although some apps are incompatible with this tablet, I am looking forward to putting it to good use.  With that said, I would also like to take the time to explain what’s been going on with the website.

I’ve been meaning to convert the existing PDF magazines to a web-based format.  In the middle of that, life happened.  Some things come to an end so that others can begin.

A door on one chapter of my life has closed and thus another opens.  The world headquarters for this media venue has been moved back to Warrensburg, Missouri.  This means that Shaggy and I will have an easier time getting together for podcast episodes and other potential projects.

This also means that converting the remainder of the PDF’s to a web-based format will take a bit more time.  More than copying and pasting is involved.  I have to place images in the correct order and add bonus content to entice readers to subscribe to the magazine.

Yes, you read correctly.

Though the online version will remain free for all, there will be a few extras for those who subscribe:

  • Exclusive content, such as video episodes embedded via HTML 5
  • No insertion of Google Ads
  • Other bonuses and incentives as they become available (think exclusive copies of independent films, music albums, and more)

Those who subscribe will get a CD-ROM in the mail with the digital magazine on it.  It’s a throwback to what was once done in the late 1990’s.

Having specific printing equipment for glossy looking magazines would be very cost prohibitive, while having each issue as an individual PDF would only work well as long as the file size remains relatively small.

A web-based format that’s published on CD-ROM would be the best of both worlds as individuals can easily make copies to give away to all their friends.  Yes, I want you to make copies and give them away so that others know we exist!

Once all the existing issues are converted over, I will begin working on the newest issue.  It won’t be perfect as it will be a work in progress.  In fact, it will always be as such.

Still, I am looking forward to this endeavor.  With that said, I shall now conclude this post and begin to celebrate my 32nd birthday.  Have a wonderful afternoon, everybody.

Reglue Project Fundraiser Extended

Reglue Logo
They donate Linux – based computers to kids in need.

Ken Starks, known as HeliOS online, is the head of The Reglue Project, an organization that serves all of Central Texas. Their mission is to bridge the digital divide by providing computers to the kids of families who can’t afford one.

Internet access is also paid three months in advance in order to allow the parents or legal guardians to budget for it.

According to their annual funding campaign on IndieGoGo,  “What good is being granted a vehicle if we can’t afford the fuel to do computer installations? Or to buy the parts needed to fix that computer? The majority of grant foundations are simply not offering assistance to help with those things any more.

There was only over two weeks left, and they’re far from their goal of $9,000 USD. Fortunately, it appears that IndieGoGo has extended the campaign and as of writing this, there are 31 days left. So far, $3,380 has been pledged.

Below is a keynote from Starks for this year’s Ohio Linux Fest. Due to surgery that he will have over the holidays, the keynote may be his last public speaking event.

In order to prevent any more bouts with cancer, he is having his larynx removed and will no longer be able to speak vocally.

Throwback Thursday: Zip Disks and Red Hat 5.2

An unopened Zip disk and Red Hat 5.2
Steven Tompkins really outdid himself with this find.

The latest issue of the magazine was a bit late, but the delay was worth it.

Steven Tompkins, our fellow podcast co-host came upon an unopened Zip Disk and a copy of Red Hat 5.2 at the local Salvation Army.  Talk about throwbacks!

Back when it was called Central Missouri State University, I job shadowed somebody who was a web developer.  I was eventually led to another part of the campus that was technologically oriented.

When I entered one room, I was told that no Microsoft products were on any of the machines.  I was shown WindowMaker and GNOME if memory serves.  Among the distros that was mentioned was Red Hat.

Zip Disks themselves were designed by Iomega to be used as a successor to floppy disks, but were replaced by flash storage instead.  I remember every computer on that campus having a Zip drive.

My how far we’ve come!