Linux Luddites

not all change is progress

March 31, 2014

Episode #12

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

Bridge Linux – a wasted decade? – ShellCheck, vnstat


Shuttleworth: ACPI, firmware and your security …but… Can we have an open phone please? The case of the Ubuntu Phone

Ubuntu GNOME and Lubuntu get LTS status (probably will negatively impact Linux Lite, which is a shame as it’s a nice little OS Correction: Linux Lite runs XFCE, not LXDE)

Sharing what’s up our sleeve: Android coming to wearables

Better integration for open web apps on Android

Free eBook Download: Android on x86 An Introduction to Optimizing for Intel Architecture

GNU C Library Alternative Musl Libc Hits 1.0 Milestone

European Union in talks to move to the Open Document Format

Linux and botnets: It’s not Linux’s fault! (apparently it’s all your fault, dear Linux administrators and users…)

Linux Mint might use the same LTS base for Mint 17, 18, 19 AND 20

GNOME 3.12 released

Red Hat reveals CentOS plans

KDE community refutes Canonical developer’s claim “the display server doesn’t matter”

First Impressions

A couple of shows back, DistroWatch’s random distribution button gave Paddy Bridge Linux. We dropped the segment last show to make time for our interview with Rob Landley; was the wait worth it? And, breaking with tradition, Paddy ignored DistroWatch and chose Q4OS for Joe to look at on the next show.


Thanks to Mikael Inscius, Johan Vervloet, and our usual anonymous Flattrers for their help in supporting the show. And a special thank you to Martin Greenfield and Lawrence Bain for their PayPal donations.

Also, thanks as usual to Rob Mackenzie, and to Julian (@julian_overall), for their Twitter comments.

A lot of positive feedback on our interview last time with Rob Landley. Even when folks didn’t agree with everything Rob said, they were all pleased that we had aired the segment.

Ian Barton and Rob Walker both said that they don’t usually hear pieces like this on other podcasts, with Rob contrasting our interview with “the regular fluff that Linux podcasts cover”. Fin and Stilvoid seconded and thirded Rob Walker’s comment, and Greg said that whilst he wouldn’t want this sort of segment every show, he’d found it “a great insight into the OSS/Linux back rooms”.

Richard offered some thoughts about the incompatibilities between GPLv2 and GPLv3, and also speculated that Google may eventually move Android over to a BSD licensed kernel to totally remove GPL code from that ecosystem. Rob Landley responded, suggesting that the development methodology that Linux brought to the party (as discussed in Eric S. Raymond’s ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar‘) is probably a larger factor in the success of the Linux environment than any licensing choices.

HankB, Oskar and SonOfNed also said some positive things about the interview, again with Rob Landley chiming in with helpful links for further reading.

Finally, Ken Fallon from Hacker Public Radio heard the show, and asked if he could replay it on HPR. The episode is currently scheduled to air as HPR1486, on 14 April 2014. Thanks for that, Ken!

In general show feedback, Steve Engledow asked if we’d come across GoboLinux. We have, but only in passing, so will think about featuring it on a future show; and probably contrasting it with NixOS, which goes in totally the opposite direction.

Jack Dennahower gave us an update on his tablet experiences, and Dave is still sitting in an empty IRC channel; sorry, Dave, but it doesn’t seem as if any other listeners are interested in us picking that up.

Ray Woods is having issues rolling back to a prior GVFS on his laptop, as the current version isn’t working for him. Any offers, or are we talking DLL library hell?

Richard Kline asked us for suggestions of a good Debian-based distro with a Steam client, as he was struggling to get it running under CrunchBang. Paddy proposed SolydXK, an increasingly popular semi-rolling distro which comes with Steam pre-installed.

Gimp questioned Joe’s continuing use of proprietary audio software, whilst Hank Barta wondered if we could do a segment on WMs/DEs. Stephen Martinez said some nice things about us, Hank B wondered how much pre-installs are responsible for the ongoing dominance of Windows, and Robert Horn pointed out that, yes, installing Linux on a Chromebook is actually very straightforward.

We asked on Chris Leffelman’s behalf last show if any listeners has suggestions for good, generalist, trainee sysadmin texts. Jed Reynolds suggested the “UNIX and Linux System Administration Handbook“, whilst philnc recommended Æleen Frisch’s “Essential System Administration“. Both are a few years old now, but good reviews abound elsewhere.

Reto from Zurich asked why we encode our shows at 128kb/s. Joe tossed this back to the audience – what do you guys think? Is this too high? Would you prefer a smaller download?

SonOfNed offered some thoughts on the shakeups currently going on in the Linux world, in particular in the mobile space and regarding the Wayland/Mir issue.

Ian Barton gave us a link to his look at some online Markdown editors, and wondered if Paddy isn’t sometimes a little hard on developers. This thought was also picked up by Campbell Barton from Blender, who let us have his feedback born of working on a complex, cross-platform, and million line project. Campbell also linked to an interesting interview with Hans-Joachim Popp, CIO at the German Aerospace Centre, on the amount of effort put into software quality for space missions.

A Wasted Decade?

Our show’s strapline is “Not all change is progress”. But is that necessarily true? We decided to see how the thesis stood up regarding the Linux desktop by taking a look at two distros released 10 years ago – the very first Ubuntu (Warty Warthog) and Mandrake 10. Were they really usable? How much better are modern distros?

Over a Pint

May 2014 will mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of “The UNIX-Haters Handbook“. Following on from our theme this show of looking at how much things have changed over the years, Paddy read out a provocative quote from the book, and explained that we’d be taking a look at some of the criticism that it contains in a show during May. We’d very much welcome your thoughts on this; although polemical in tone, the book is actually quite amusing, so why not give it a read and tell us how well you think it describes the Linux we all love and use today?

Off the Beaten Path

Again thinking about the aspiring sysadmin, we briefly talked about a shell script checking utility called ShellCheck (source on GitHub), and vnstat, a very lightweight network traffic monitor.


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