not all change is progress
February 8, 2016
Direct download links: MP3 & Ogg
0:40:24 Beep Beep Yarr!
1:04:42 Tails 2.0
Kicking off with a bevy of Linux desktop news stories, we also talked containers and mobile before Joe came over all Captain Pugwash with Graham Morrison from the good ship Linux Voice. Then, after your feedback, we each grabbed the requisite two USB flash drives and took the new version of Tails for a spin.0:01:12 News
The first two X-Apps are ready
adapt install [anything]
Jonathan Riddell launched KDE Neon at FOSDEM
New Ubuntu Tablet: Everything You Need to Know
Some change is progress with LibreOffice menus
Counterpoint: India becomes world’s second-largest smartphone
market, surpasses US
Apple, Samsung Lead Smartphone Race, China’s Huawei Records Largest Growth In Shipments: IDC
Why do profit-seeking companies keep making profitless Android phones?
Report: Google wants to take “Apple-like” control over Nexus devices
Google Glass exits all social media channels, signaling
Google says 5 million Cardboard VR headsets have shipped so far
No More Deceptive Download Buttons
SourceForge and Slashdot Have Been Sold
CoreOS’s rkt Container Engine Hits 1.0
Microcontainers: Iron.io’s New Hack to Shrink Docker Containers
Docker Official Images are Moving to Alpine Linux
Mozilla to end Firefox OS smartphone support after version
2.6, no staff involvement beyond May
Firefox quietly dumps privacy feature
Jolla Tablet: Aiming for Closure
What the hell is the Turing Phone doing? Drops Android for Sailfish OS (keeps Play Store)
0:40:24 Beep Beep Yarr!
Joe spoke to Graham Morrison from Linux Voice magazine about Beep Beep Yarr!, a crowd-funded book that the LV team hope will help introduce children to the world of computer programming.
Graham mentioned the old Usborne spy books during the interview, but if your nostalgia is more for their 1980s coding books then you’d probably like to know that several are now available on-line totally legally.
A huge thank you to Tony Rein for his PayPal donation, and to Martin Wimpress and Tom Ostringall for becoming Monthly Supporters.
Joe’s ongoing browser torment evoked feedback from Joel Tomfhor, Jeremy, Will and Nigel Green. Thanks for the input, guys.
Twisted Lucidity got in touch to largely echo our sentiments about Google’s AMP initiative, and also to point us towards the text version of what looks to have been a great talk about “The Website Obesity Crisis“.
Peter Kidd contacted us to contrast his usage of Google Drive and Dropbox, which coincidentally closely mirrors how Paddy uses those services.
Returning to the topic of ad-blocking software, Robert Orzanna flagged up Stands, which allows you to decide which ads from worthwhile organisations actually get shown to you.
We wrapped things up with another comment from Nigel Green, this time in response to our segment on ReactOS and whether there’s a place for proprietary software on the Linux desktop. Thanks Nigel, and to everybody else who took the time to get in touch.
1:04:42 Tails 2.0
Tails version 2 was recently released and, with it boasting several new features, we thought it well worth revisiting. If you can get past the slightly off-putting installation process, you’ll find Tails a really solid and well put together privacy-focused distro.
Another solid show, boys. Dense and informative, just how we like it.
Tails actually has a built in updater which can update the whole system in place if the changes between versions are not too radical and if you have enough ram on the machine you’re running on. The check for new versions is made automatically on login and can also be launched manually from the command line. The update does need reboot but otherwise I’ve found it to be reasonably quick.
As you mentioned the system is updated regularly and at least every time a major security vulnerability is found on Firefox you can expect a Tails update soon after.
Is achieving full docx compatibility something that LibreOffice can reasonably do? I don’t follow the subject closely enough, but I thought Microsoft changed the standard just often enough that LibreOffice could never really catch up. In any case, I usually export from LibreOffice in the doc format because it is older and LibreOffice seems to have had time to catch up with it.
Regarding the Firefox fine-grained cookie permissions, I interpret what happened there as a classic example of what can happen in a large open source project. The bug to remove the feature was left open for six years with a note that the feature was unmaintained and should be removed. Then after it was removed, people who were using the feature came forward to complain that the feature was still working okay despite being unmaintained all that time. As far as features go, I think it falls into the “cruft” category Mozilla should be trying to remove — a pop up that appears every time you visit a new website and that will likely break that web site’s functionality if you choose to deny cookies is only going to be used by a small subset of people. It’s the kind of niche feature that should be handled in an addon like Ghostery or NoScript. That said, it was poorly handled on Mozilla’s part to just rip the feature out and blank users’ cookie blacklists silently rather than showing some kind of privacy notice after upgrade for those who were using the feature.
The answer to that is yes and no.
The standard has a defined specification – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_Open_XML – but Microsoft seem to add their own special sauce, to so speak – it has often been commented that they do not live up to the standard themselves. At one point, I remember, LibreOffice tested to follow the specs better than MS-Office.
Yes, that is a good point. We should distinguish between Microsoft’s published standard and the format that MS-Office programs actually output. LibreOffice can follow the published format exactly but users will judge them based on how well they match what MS-Office actually puts out.
Listening to your description of Tails, it is indeed
quite strange to include Poedit. It is not just a
translation program as in text translation, it is for
software translation – to translate menus, interfaces and
other application components – a localization tool.
As for the updates: I do not know if it still works like it used to – but it used to be that a live distro with persistence would be able to download updates; but when you booted it, it would still start up the original image and then apply the updates to the live image in a sort of diff style, so when you had an older live OS, it would be increasingly heavy to run it with updates, app custimizations and what ever else you would drop into the persistent file.
I did some remastering of SLAX at one point where I had a Live OS on partition 1 on the USB stick and data on partition 2. That is not persistence, but it it *is* an extra data drive.
This is not really directly related to anything in this week’s show, but since you guys like to track the state of Mozilla’s decline I feel like I should make sure you see this one:
Firefox won’t be part of Pwn2Own this year. This seems like a significant milestone, as it is a fairly well respected organization basically saying that Firefox is no longer one of the major web browsers. As a long time Firefox user who sticks who values security this is tough one to take….
Luddites, excellent show!
I would take issue with two minor issues. First, augmented reality certainly has a good future. From the simple applications of overlaying infrared and ultraviolent sensors and displaying them onscreen (the way Cadillac did a number of years ago on its windshield) can make driving and walking safer in fog, night time, etc. There is also the ability to mine social media real-time and display information about people onscreen. I can think of all sorts of uses people would pay for.
Secondly, Github is imploding. They are going on an anti-White male diversity jihad, as discussed in Techinsider:
Along with getting rid of many top executives, instituting a complex hierarchy, ending remote work, etc. Github is going full diversity warrior, with their Vice President of Social Impact, Nicole Sanchez, noting that “Technology is not for White people to lead,” and “More white women does not equal tech diversity,” and “Some of the biggest barriers to progress are white women.”
A cynic might suggest, OK me, that all of this is because senior management and investors want to get rid of the costly White male older engineers and replace them with cheap H1 B visa holders. If Patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel in the 20th Century, Diversity is the first in the 21st. This suggests that management/investors believe that no more innovation and features will be required from Github, and that the service can be milked like a cash cow.
This leaves Sourceforge under new ownership all sorts of opportunities. The codebase of Github is bound to deteriorate, rapidly. Leadership at Github seems to be comprised of lawyers and PC jihadis, who have no technical skills. Since most developers are still likely to be White and male, alienating them in a cynical effort to purge the older, more costly and more skilled workforce in favor of far cheaper people from India (with few skills I might add) opens up a window.
Sourceforge can win on features, including possibly cross platform code migration assistants, and hosted compilation and testing facilities (for a fee of course). Would people switch to Sourceforge if they could cheaply compile binaries for say, Mac and Linux as well as Windows? With testing thrown in for those platforms, remotely? It is not as if Github has a bright future, given that senior management wants to cash out and run the place like a cash cow.
Heck, just by being halfway competent, Sourceforge can win by default. It is NEVER a good sign when companies value diversity over talent, it means innovation stops and they get lazy and inwardly obsessed.
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