Linux Luddites

not all change is progress

August 16, 2015

Episode #49

Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg

With Android’s security woes making even the mainstream press, it’s hardly surprising that they featured in our news this show. But we also found time to bring you stories about Fedora and Ubuntu, FFmpeg, a couple of Kickstarter projects with very different outcomes, and a similarly mixed bag of news for Lenovo.

Ron Minnich has long been associated with Open Source firmware, and after the news we spoke to him about the coreboot project. In our interview we found out why Ron is so enthusiastic about Google’s Chromebooks, discovered his hopes for a new RISC ISA from Berkeley, and quizzed him on whether Purism can really deliver on their promise of a modern and truly FOSS mass-market laptop.

0:00:59   News

Fedora Linux May Further Demote i686 Support
The State Of Fedora Linux In 2015
Fork off! FFmpeg project leader quits, says he’s had enough with these forking AV libraries

Ubuntu One file syncing code Open Sourced
Canonical Has No Plans to Support DEB-Based Ubuntu Software Center
Ubuntu Now Has An Official PPA For Graphics Drivers
Install LibreOffice 5.0 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint via PPA
GOG Have Supported Linux For Just Over A Year, Announce New Linux Installer System

Stagefright Explained: The Exploit That Changed Android
Android faces SECOND patching crisis, on the same scale as Stagefright
One Class to Rule Them All: New Android Serialization Vulnerability Gives Underprivileged Apps Super Status

Google set to reboot Android One smartphone project in India

Remix Mini Android PC raises over $1 million on Kickstarter
A painful decision – we will refund your money

Lenovo CEO: We will axe 3,200 workers as our profits shrink to nowt
Lenovo used Windows anti-theft feature to install persistent crapware
Lenovo Launches New P50 And P70 Mobile Workstations With First Mobile Xeon Chips

0:36:25   Ron Minnich Interview

We spoke to Ron Minnich, who founded the LinuxBIOS project in 1999. Renamed coreboot in 2008, the project aims to provide fast and flexible Open Source EFI firmware for multiple platforms.

During the interview, we talked about how the humble BIOS has evolved over the years, touched upon the Libreboot project, discussed the ongoing controversy around Purism‘s Librem laptops, and looked forward to a possible game-changer in the shape of RISC-V.

Ron explained how supportive Google has been of the coreboot project. For further information about custom firmware for the Chromebook check out John Lewis’ website, or follow Ron’s instructions to build Chromium OS including Docker support from scratch. And for additional background, the slides from these two presentations are well worth working through.

A huge thank you to Ron for taking the time to speak with us, and we clearly wish him and the coreboot project well. As for Purism and their attempts to produce a modern, fully FOSS and mass-market laptop? I think it’s fair to say that our hopes have been slightly raised having spoken with Ron, so we’ll keep watching closely and report back on future developments as they happen.


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