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Saturday
17 November, 2018


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PopOS Logo

As part of a kind of challenge, I have decided to kick the tires on Pop!_OS Since I don’t have the extra hardware to install it on “bare metal” so I have chosen to put it in a Virtual Machine. Pop!_OS can be downloaded from here. I chose the 2GB sized Intel/AMD version for this test. The Requirements are on par with nearly every other 64-bit distribution out there. It requires 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage.

Installation

The installation process Pop!_OS is a fantastic experience. The instructions are clear and  the presentation is uncluttered with a clear course of action. Very good for a new user to Linux.

After the installation and reboot of the machine, you are prompted to set up your user. It’s all pleasantly straight forward and easy to understand.  It is at this point you can choose to encrypt or not encrypt your home directory.

First Run

After you log in, you are greeted with this friendly, multilingual, interactive welcome dialog. Like the installation experience, clean and simple.

PopOS-09-Welcome

Your First task is to set your privacy settings

PopOS-12-Privacy

Nothing confusing, simple wording and asks you questions very simply; Do you want to allow applications to know your location. No techno babble, no long winded explanations. Plain, simple and clear language.

Next your asked if you want to set up any online accounts. I was not particularly interested in this feature so I did not test it.

PopOS-13-Online Accounts

Should you skip this step, it is easy to get set up accounts later. This is in the settings menu. Searching “Online Accounts” in the menu will bring it up.

That is all that will be needed to get started.

PopOS-14-Ready

And you are ready to get Pop!_OS-ing

PopOS-05-Splash Screen

Adding Software

The cleverly named Pop!_Shop which is a re-skinned ElementaryOS App Center, not the Gnome Software Center, which I originally thought.

PopOS-06-Pop Shop

I searched for and installed Telegram with the expected outcome. I searched for specific libraries to install what is needed for the Smart Card but nothing would show up. When the GUI doesn’t do as asked, there is still terminal to bail you out. Using my instructions here to make the installation.

PopOS-07-Set Up CAC.png

The process of going back and forth became a bit irritating but more on that later. Installing and testing out the Smart Card system was successful. It worked just as my instructions specified for Ubuntu and its derivatives.

What I Like

PopOS-16-Lock ScreenFor starters, this is an Ubuntu derivative, so I know I have access to… basically everything. Also, knowing this is built on a well tested base, plus the extra polish from System76, I would have no distrust of any system running this.

The installation interface is beautiful and friendly. It has fun artwork, straight forward installer. The look and the artwork in Pop!_OS is absolutely stellar. It has a fun, clean and modern looking interface. The contrast is perfect and give the Environment the same kind of


Friday
16 November, 2018


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Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

First, apologies for the delay: I actually thought I’d have to cover two weeks, but when looking at the history, I realized it would be even three weeks to cover. That probably means there were no too special issues raised in the last weeks, otherwise, I’d have remembered more explicitly to write to you. Anyway, let me catch you up on recent changes in openSUSE Tumbleweed. by covering that 6 snapshots 1029, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1110 and 1112

The major changes were

  • KDE Plasma 5.14.2 & 5.14.3
  • openSSH 7.8: make sure to use the version from the update channel, as key based auth is broken in the regular channel package
  • RPM 4.14.2
  • Snapper 0.8.0
  • Squid 4.4
  • Mozilla Thunderbird 60.3
  • NetworkManager 1.14.4 – addressed some crashes
  • GNOME 3.30.2
  • FreeType 2 enabled subpixel rendering with infinality config
  • KDE Applications 18.08.3
  • Linux kernel 4.19.1: as is, sadly, almost usual with new major kernel versions, proprietary kernel modules are not yet ready to be used

There are also quite some changes pending in the various staging projects:

  • glibc 2.28, Python 3.7, openssl 1.1.1: the three all interdepend on each other and cause a bunch of new failures – See Staging:C
  • LLVM7 / Mesa 18.2.x (VLC crashes were debugged, a workaround should is submitted and being tested)
  • systemd 239
  • meson 0.48.x
  • OpenSSH 7.9: the default config will be stricter and root won’t be allowed to perform password-based login anymore
  • Installer redesign: the sidebar is coming back (showing where in the installation workflow one is currently)
  • Linux kernel 4.19.2

 


Thursday
15 November, 2018


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CrossOver Logo

CrossOver Linux recently released version 18.0.0 (2018) which was another fine release with no regressions. I have been using CrossOver Linux (at the time CrossOver Office) since 2005. At the time, I imagined that within a few years would Linux be as ubiquitous on the desktop as Windows or Mac. After all, I bought a boxed copy of Mandrake Linux in the store which sat right next to SUSE Linux. There seemed to be a lot of momentum behind it. Now, in 2018, Linux has seemingly infiltrated every other use case, servers, phones, Internet of Things but doesn’t seem to be have as much traction on the Desktop.

This may come as a surprise but there are still 3rd party applications of which I require that I cannot run in Linux. Although, I think there are fewer now than there used to be, I still find I need a Windows compatibility layer. I can do much of in with Wine, but CodeWeavers makes it so much easier to manage.

Installation

There isn’t a repository that you can add (as far as I know), so you will have to download the RPM directly from CodeWeavers. That can be done here:

https://www.codeweavers.com/products/crossover-linux/download

I like to neatly tuck them into an rpms subfolder in my Downloads directory.

sudo zypper install ~/Downloads/rpms/crossover-18.0.0-1.rpm

Your version may vary, of course as updates and improvements are ongoing.

The fantastic feature of Crossover is that every application can be installed in it’s own bottle, the first exposure to “containers” I have ever had on Linux or any system for that matter. It is a great way to test applications without the risk of interfering with other installed applications.

CrossOver Linux-01-Main Window.png

The process to Install Windows Software is easy, intuitive and requires little explanation. If the application is supported by CodeWeavers or a Advocate, it is no more difficult than searching for the application. Selecting the name of it and Continue.

CrossOver Linux-02-StarTrek_Starfleet_Academy

If the application is not supported by CodeWeavers or an Advocate, it’s still not difficult to install; as long as you have a decent knowledge of your Windows application. Keep in mind, it may or may not work at that point.

CrossOver Linux Usage

I use CrossOver almost daily, which is in contrast to using it daily some few years ago. I tend to use LibreOffice more now than Microsoft Office but I also don’t really use office products as much as it once had. The application I use most is Rosetta Stone. I have been using it on and off for several years, now I am using it to help with home educating my kids. It’s easy for any of us to use and somehow enjoyable enough to keep us consistently using it.

I tend to use Microsoft Office, mostly for Excel. As much as I like the LibreOffice Equivalent, there are just some usability features that I appreciate more


Wednesday
14 November, 2018


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Upcoming Weblate 3.3 will bring new feature called alerts. This is one place location where you will see problems in your translations. Right now it mostly covers Weblate integration issues, but it will be extended in the future for deeper translation wide diagnostics.

This will help users to better integrate Weblate into the development process giving integration hints or highlighting problems Weblate has found in the translation. It will identify typical problems like not merged git repositories, parse errors in files or duplicate translation files. You can read more on this feature in the Weblate documentation.

Alerts in Weblate

You can enjoy this feature on Hosted Weblate right now, it will be part of upcoming 3.3 release.

Filed under: Debian English SUSE Weblate


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We’ll do this in four parts for Windows, Linux, Mac, and Android users.

Windows

  1. Go to: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  2. Download the latest version for Windows
  3. Run the installer
  4. You will now see a new folder on your Desktop. Open that and run Tor Browser.
  5. Click Connect
  6. Congrats, you are on Tor!
  7. Go to https://check.torproject.org/ in the Tor Browser

Linux

  1. Go to: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  2. Download the latest version for Linux
  3. Open a command line
  4. Unzip the application. Replace xxxxxx with the current version that you downloaded

tar -xvJf tor-browser-linux64-xxxxxx.tar.xz

  1. You will now see a new folder. Open that and run Tor Browser.

cd tor-browser_en

  1. Run the application

./start-tor-browser.desktop

  1. Click Connect
  2. Congrats, you are on Tor!
  3. Go to https://check.torproject.org/ in the Tor Browser

Mac

  1. Go to: https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html.en
  2. Download the latest version for Mac
  3. Run the installer
  4. You will now see a new folder on your Desktop. Open that and run Tor Browser.
  5. Click Connect
  6. Congrats, you are on Tor!
  7. Go to https://check.torproject.org/ in the Tor Browser

Android

  1. Go to the app store and download the following two apps: Orfox and Orbot. Both are from The Tor Project. Orbot is the Tor service. Orfox is the Android implementation of the Tor Browser. There are many “Dark Web” and “Onion” android apps and many of them are bogus and may steal your data or are just scams.
  2. Start Orbot and connect to the Tor network.
  3. Start Orfox
  4. Go to https://check.torproject.org/ in Orfox.

 

 


Monday
12 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-12 Monday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail; admin; lunch, status report, sync. with Andras.

Sunday
11 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-11 Sunday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • All Saints, played bass; pizza lunch, dropped H. and M. off to the Rememberance parade & service with Scouts. Watched Man in the High Castle, and a large nativity silhouette with J. Worked on mending J's old Galaxy S3 for M. in the evening - struggled to find compatible PIT files that would not be rejected; grim. Rather unclear why Android's Download mode doesn't let you read the flash contents smoothly.

Saturday
10 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-10 Saturday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Off to Sue & Clive's - worked in the car. Saw their new porch, enjoyed a fine lunch, out for a walk - saw some deer in the fields. Adrian. Georgina & Isabelle arrived - enjoyed fireworks together. Drove home - bed extremely late.

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Wii No Longer SupportedI received a very unfortunate message on my Wii when trying to play an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation using Netflix — Nintendo will suspend all video streaming services on Wii – including the Netflix Channel – after January 30, 2019. I don’t know how many people out there still use the Wii for Netflix but I have two Wii Consoles that do use Netflix… so there are at least TWO units out there…

Oh, I know, it only supports 480p… the console has been around for over 10 years, blah, blah, blah… I just find it irritating. It is a fine piece of hardware that satisfies my needs quite nicely, it’s still fun to play games on it but now I will have to source a solution fairly soon. I would have preferred to kick that can down the road another year or three.

The other option is that I would have to somehow become smart and create a solution. There is still a lot of good information out there for developing on the Wii. Chances are, I won’t have the time or energy to really understand what to do and I will just cave and put something else in its place.

As much as I like Nintendo and the shear creativity in gaming they have provided over the years, it further underscores the tragedy of closed source, closed ecosystems to consumers. I realize, it is not a viable economic proposition to continue to support the Wii but they COULD turn it over into an open source project to keep alive for generations to come.

Further Reading

https://devices.netflix.com/en/game-consoles/wii/

http://www.codemii.com/2008/08/10/tutorial-1-setting-up-the-environment/


Friday
09 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-09 Friday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail chew; admin, board call during lunch; interview, marketing call, interview. LOTR in the evening.

Thursday
08 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-08 Thursday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail chew, lots of it. Customer call, TDF marketing, sales & marketing, ESC calls. Two partner calls. Back to some quick patch review. Some hacking in the evening on urgent code bits.

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The open-source community has a new project designed to help Linux/GNU distributions with the legal review process of licenses.

The new project called Cavil is legal review system that is collectively beneficial not only for the  openSUSE Project, but distributions and projects that want to use it.

The project provides an add-on service for the Open Build Service.

Every OBS request for openSUSE Factory goes through a legal review process to ensure licenses are compatible. Cavil indexes these and creates a legal report for every single request. Bot comments in OBS are made through the legal-auto python script, but the entire project is much larger than the script and bots.

Sebastian Riedel and Stephan Kulow have been developing the project for two years and it has been used in production for more than a year and half. The Cavil legal review system replaces an older system and provides much more efficiency. Cavil can automatically accept more than 90 percent of all new requests based on data from previous reviews, so packages are much more streamlined into openSUSE Factory.

The project has been so efficient that two lawyers who do all the legal reviews with the system, which is also used by SUSE, had reviewed about 110,000 packages this past year. The same lawyers curated a library with 27.000 license patterns for 600 licenses and 20 license patterns for 100 of the  most common licenses that are used to create legal reports. Riedel said there is a desire hope to expand that in the future with the hope of collecting new patterns with the open-source community.

The legal Data Base used by SUSE to generate reports with new license patterns  is about 2TB and has about 68.433.436 pattern matches in 27.319.682 individual files.

Like openQA, Cavil is written in Perl, with Mojolicious/Minion and PostgreSQL.

A quick look at the statistics about the content of the legal database showed the most popular open source licenses were GPL-2.0, BSD-3-Clause, GPL-Unspecified and MIT respectively.


Wednesday
07 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-07 Wednesday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Guilty hacking and bug-fixing through the day, poked at a perennial annoyance of not complaining when people send SSL/TLS frames to a plain HTTP port in online, timeouts on slow document conversions and more - fun. Band practice in the evening. Worked excessively late tackling some bugs.

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The YaST team is working hard in order to extend the installer, improve the new storage layer and get rid of some bugs. So after this sprint, there is quite some unfinished work that will be ready within two weeks.

However, we have some stuff that we would like you to check out:

  • Snapper takes the free space into account when cleaning up snapshots.
  • The partitioning proposal tries to use just a single disk first.
  • The description of those actions that are related to BCache and MD-RAID devices have been greatly improved.
  • YaST is now able to handle repository variables properly.
  • The log viewer displays a helpful message when no logs are found.
  • And last but not least, yast2-sshd got a new maintainer outside of the YaST team. Let’s celebrate!

Extended Snapshots Clean-up Mechanisms in Snapper

So far snapper would delete snapshots if the overall spaced used for them was above a given limit. Now, snapper is able to take the free space into account too, so it will delete snapshots when the free space of the filesystem drops below a given threshold.

Of course, the threshold can be adjusted by the user through the snapper configuration files.

Better Actions Descriptions in Storage-ng

When describing what actions will be performed for storage actions, we already collapsed related actions to one to make it better readable. Instead of:

- Create  partition /dev/sda1 (40.00 GiB)
- Set ID of partition /dev/sda1 to "Linux" (0x83)
- Create ext4 on /dev/sda1
- Add mount point /home for /dev/sda1
- Add entry for /dev/sda1 to /etc/fstab

we report:

- Create partition /dev/sda1 (40.00 GiB) with ext4 for /home

However, actions related to BCache and MD-RAID devices were not taken into account, which produced quite long (and confusing) descriptions. Fortunately, these cases are now properly handled and the description is now quite informative and concise:

Create encrypted RAID1 /dev/md0 (511.87 GiB) for /secret with xfs
from /dev/sda (512.00 GiB), /dev/sdb (512.00 GiB)

Properly Handling Repository Variables

libzypp supports variable substitution in the name and the URLs of repositories and services. So a .repo file might contain something like this (notice the $releasever variable):

[repo-oss]
name=openSUSE-Leap-$releasever
baseurl=http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/leap/$releasever/repo/oss/

libzypp will take care of injecting the correct value but the user could override those values too. So in the example above, upgrading to Leap 15.1 might be as easy as:

zypper --releasever 15.1 dup

However, YaST2 had some problems in these situations that, hopefully, have been fixed during this sprint. Now openSUSE release managers can adjust the list of online repositories in order to take advantage of such a feature. If you want to know more about variable substitution, please check libzypp documentation.

Partitioning Proposal Uses a Single Disk

Until now, the partitioning proposal that is calculated during the installation uses all available disks by default. However, according to the feedback that we have received from


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ICanFixIt

Not long ago, I had a ceiling fan stop spinning and start making an ever so slight buzzing noise. I thought maybe it was as a result of switching the rotation direction of the fan. Switching it back didn’t change anything either. I just shut off the fan motor to end the buzzing and pondered about how much I dread changing ceiling fans especially since the fan in the living room match this failed dining room fan. I really wanted to repair this Hampton Bay Ceiling fan rather than replace it.

Ceiling Fan Not Spinning-02

After doing a little Internet research, searching “repair ceiling fan”, I got a lot of cruft and useless information. Next I tried to narrow it down to “ceiling fan not spinning” and “replace ceiling fan motor” to only find more non-solutions. Then I stumbled upon this site that identified the capacitor as a possible cause of failure.

Then I did nothing about it until I was gifted a broken fan.

Donor Fan

I had no idea if this donor fan had a compatible capacitor not but it was worth a try. I started out by pulling apart the ceiling fan.

Ceiling Fan Dismantle.jpg

I removed the bulbs, shades then the three screws that hold the light kit in place. Upon removing the capacitor and it was very obvious that the capacitor had failed as it had very prominent bulging on two sides of it.

Bulging Capacitor.jpg

I took note that this is a 280V 4.5µF x 6µF x 5µF capacitor and decided to do some searching on the web for prices, because, I wasn’t sure how much such a thing would cost. I’m sure you can imagine my happy surprise when I discovered that the donor fan had the exact same capacitor my ceiling fan.

Donor Fan Capacitor

This was enough for me to commit fully the project. I removed the old capacitor, marked the switch side gray wire striped the wire ends to ready it for the donor capacitor. The rest of the wires were in the exact same configuration as the original so wiring this in was trivial.

Removing Dead Capacitor.jpg

I used 16-14 AWG Vinyl Insulated Butt Splice and prepared the capacitor to be installed in the ceiling fan. I tagged the gray leg that went to the switch on the donor and checked to see it was the same leg on the crippled unit.

Donor Capacitor Prepared.jpg

I realized that I wasn’t sure if the motor was damaged or not by the failed capacitor but there was no appreciable risk in trying. After crimping the capacitor into the fan, I flipped the switch and pulled the chain to have the desired result of spinning blades.

Ceiling Fan Spinning-01.jpg

I stopped, looked at my success and had a moment of smiling from ear to ear. As much as I liked this look of the light kit hanging down from the fan. I didn’t have any interest in bumping my head into it.

Ceiling Fan Spinning-02

Since the shades were off, I took this as an opportunity to hand wash


Tuesday
06 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-06 Tuesday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail chew, built ESC agenda/stats. Some patch review, admin, filed bugs.

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I’m staying in a hotel chain in London only to find a firewall that throttles interesting stuff like BBC iPlayer and YouTube. I tried going to my VPN provider. That the website is blocked to protect children and vulnerable people. What?! Meanwhile I have no trouble connecting to #4chan because they only care so much about children.

Untitled

Of course Tor is blocked also, well for other people, I got it to work anyway and now I’m writing this using it out of spite.

If I give them the benefit of the doubt, I would say that they want to keep bandwidth usage down and the best way to do that is to throttle big streaming websites and they want to close loopholes by blocking ways around that.

However the explanation kills me: to help keep children and vulnerable people safe. So this provider says that they want to help make the internet a better place by taking away the anonymity of trolls and online creeps? That makes no sense. Why even provide have internet access at all? I think the real case is above, they need to cut bandwidth costs and that’s fine but leave the nonsensical rhetoric out of it.


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Two companies were recently added to the openSUSE Sponsors page thanks to the companies generous donations to the openSUSE Project.

Both Marvell and TUXEDO Computers have provided tangible support through donations to openSUSE to promote the use and development of Linux.

“We are thoroughly pleased to have Marvell and TUXEDO Computers as sponsors of the openSUSE Project,” said Richard Brown, chairman of the openSUSE Board. “The sponsorships support and encourage open-software development. Multiple Linux distributions and the open-source community will benefit greatly from the equipment.”

Marvell, which recently completed the acquisition of Cavium, offers a broad portfolio of infrastructure solutions. Marvell donated a ThunderX2 system to the openSUSE Project. The Dual-System-on-Chip machine with 256GB RAM and 240GB SSD will extend the existing fleet of ARM build hardware. This 64-bit ThunderX2 system will bring an additional 40 ARMv8 (AArch64) concurrent build jobs to the openSUSE Open Build Service, which can now provide its users with faster AArch64 package and installation image builds.

TUXEDO Computers makes Linux hardware, notebooks and more. The company, which offers its TUXEDO InfinityBook Pro 13 with Leap 15 preinstalled, has offered to send volunteers running openSUSE booths at conferences a TUXEDO laptop for demo purposes. Volunteers who wish to demo a TUXEDO laptop at a summit, conference or other open-source technology event can request a demo laptop through a trusted person in the openSUSE. The trusted person will decide on eligibility of the volunteer on behalf of TUXEDO Computers. Contact the openSUSE Board or an openSUSE member if you are interested. TUXEDO Computers will send out the laptop and handle return shipping.


Monday
05 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-05 Monday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail chew; drove into Cambridge to swap hardware around & see Dorée home for a late lunch. Mail chew. Physics lesson for H. and Katie in the evening kindly provided by David.

Sunday
04 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-04 Sunday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Played at family service; M. reading, H. piano & organ, N. games & violin. Lots of people for shared lunch - fun. Back with Mary for some more slugging, organ practice, sheet cutting & sewing machine dis-assembly with J. relaxed variously. Stories, bed.

Saturday
03 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-03 Saturday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Cooked breakfast, H. out singing, played Paper.io with the babes. Put up fixings in M's room, nice. Caulked plasterwork - still not dry, and considered the kitchen mess.

Friday
02 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-02 Friday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Fixed some gtk / webkit goodness Tor has produced to use our Online view inside a gtk+ frame - for easy debugging, testing. Might be a good route for a more attractive minimal viewer & editor on the Linux Desktop one day. Watched LOTR-ness in the evening with the babes.

Thursday
01 November, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-11-01 Thursday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Mail, sync with Olivier, got my Android development environment into some sort of state; lots of downloading. Bought an iPad to test with an expensive hobby. Caught the last part of the ESC call. Dinner. Back to install more Java/Android-ness.

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For those that haven’t been paying attention, IBM announced on Sunday (28-10-2018) that it will pay $34 billion to acquire Red Hat and the deal is on pace to close in the second half of 2019.

Many were shocked by the news as I see lot of discussion regrading this kind of thing on Fedora user mailing list, IRC channels, Reddit and etc.

Lot of people from Fedora and Centos communities are throwing all kind of comments, thoughts, reaction and response. Everyone are curious what happen next especially on RHEL, Fedora and Centos. Plus, Java developers also wondering what kinds of changes are coming to the Java ecosystem too.

BTW, I think Oracle has to hate this deal because Oracle’s Linux (the kernel part) is based on Red Hat.

The news are wildly spread on Fedora 30 released date and few days later, Red Hat 7.6 Beta are released. Are this is the last and final version of Fedora and RHEL released? Red Hat, Fedora and Centos are great things but there are alternatives out there such as SLES / OpenSuse or jump to Debian, Arch, BSD or other distribution if you worry to much about that. Seem many people are worried if IBM will WRECK Red Hat!

Since Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems, Oracle has eliminated multiple products that were formerly competitive products (from Sun Microsystem). Are this kind of style will happen again to Red Hat product? Who know..I just hopping IBM will get rid AIX, because I don’t like it ( from my experience with AIX 7, this OS are lack of package and so weird compare to major linux distribution. But the perfomance are damm good!)

AFAIK, Red Hat have lot of awesome thing under his hats such as support, virtualization solutions, training, cloud and more. Yeah, now IBM will be getting money on their business after acquisition.

Dont make bad decisionfrom http://dilbert.com/strip/1994-04-30

last not least, please don’t rebrand Fedora and Centos to other weird name such Blue Hat, Purple Hat, Grey Hat or else. It will be bad, from my opinion.

There is lot of gossip but I hope they (IBM’s) don’t screw it up and wish the best to take care everything from Red Hat services and products,


Wednesday
31 October, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-10-31 Wednesday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Up early; briefly strengthened ceiling joist mostly suspended by plasterboard. Dean arrived to fix leak & plaster things up.
  • Mail chew, more C'bra mgmt hangout goodness; interview. Out to Band practice, then the pub with two Chris' and Max.

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HP_TouchPad-19-Title.pngEarlier this year, I repaired and updated my HP TouchPad with the latest firmware I could find. I have used it regularly since for numerous tasks and even tried to shoe horn it into other tasks to see if it would improve my workflow. Was all that effort worth it? Did I really need to take the time to fix and update a device long past it’s end of life date? Here is what I can tell you about its usage.

Issues with the HP TouchPad

It’s old and a bit slow, really but it has a fantastic screen, especially since it is 7 years old. My expectations are not real high for its reliability but overall, it has surprised me. Every so often, the thing will lock up and shut down but I haven’t been able to determine the cause, just random fluke.

Updating The HP TouchPad

Unfortunately this process isn’t automatic but, it isn’t exactly difficult. Really, if you have done this much to your HP TouchPad, this shouldn’t be that much of an issue. The latest firmware can be downloaded from here, which is the same source for firmware I used earlier this year. To install the update, it required a reboot into the bootloader and install it from there. There were no issues installing the update.

HP_TouchPad-11-Update

Unfortunately, this is an older version, LineageOS 11 which is still Android version 4.4.4. It doesn’t appear to be a problem for the applications I am using.

Applications

There are several basic applications I use on a regular basis. They work great and I use them reliably on a near daily basis. Outside of the vanilla LineageOS applications, these are what I have installed to enhance the capabilities of this Tablet.

KDE Conenct

For the media player controls over my main machine. I use this often to start and stop media I use for helping in Home Education as well as a remote control over the living room computer so I can stop the Netflix. Great for those Saturday mornings when the kids need to take a break from relaxing and knock out some chores. Also, very conveniently, copying text to the clipboard on the computer or the tablet will allow me to share its contents back and forth. So, I can copy a URL from the computer and paste it into the browser, sit and read the page on the couch as if I were curled up with a good book.

Syncthing

Only synchronizing the “Default Folder” as I don’t take pictures with this so the “Camera” folder which I don’t use on this common share. The primary purpose is to quickly share something with the tablet, like a PDF or a screenshot from my Linux machine for convenient portability.

Ghost Commander

My  new favorite file manager on Android. It is reminiscent of the “Midnight Commander” file manager from times

HP_TouchPad-13-Ghost Commander.png

Fennec F-Droid Web Browser

This is a build


Tuesday
30 October, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-10-30 Tuesday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Up, interested in the water dripping through the roof: an exciting new experience - thank goodness it wasn't plastered first, placed a lunch-box underneath.
  • Listened to the IBM/RedHat webcast - hybridize your clouds, RedHat is a great company, perhaps IBM's sales teams will do great things for their existing products. I guess Microfocus' sale of SUSE for only $2.5bn looks like a bargin.
  • Mail, tech mgmt call, picked up E. from school; mgmt call. Up late, fixing kitchen lights, packing the extension loft void with fibreglass: a giant blanket of thick goodness; hopefully it helps somewhat.

Jason Evans: My Day with Fedora

18:08 UTCmember

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I used Fedora 28 today for work instead of my usual OpenSUSE Leap 15 installation. Here’s how it went.

My setup:

  • Intel© Core™ i7-4500U CPU @ 1.80GHz × 2
  • 16GB Ram
  • 250G SSD

Here’s the software that I needed for work today:

  • Synergy
  • LibreOffice > 6.0
  • Chromium Browser
  • Spotify
  • NFS
  • virt-manager
  • Graphical multi-tab text editor
  • Tilix
  • Pidgin
  • Hexchat
  • KeepassXC

I use Synergy as a virtual KVM between my home server machine that handles my storage, email, etc. and this brings us our first real problems. The “software” application in Gnome doesn’t list Synergy even when I search for it and I was wondering if I would have to go download the RPM it’s creator (I have a valid license so that’s not really a problem). I ran ‘dnf search synergy’ and there it was. If your software installation tool only covers “best of” software but not everything then it’s usefulness is only marginal at best.

I installed Synergy and when I ran it I received an error that I shouldn’t close it because there is no systray available. This is a pet peeve that I have with a lot of distros who use Gnome 3. Either the systray isn’t enabled or isn’t available at all. The fact is that a lot of applications still use it. Of the ones that I use, Synergy, Pidgin, KeepassXC, and Hexchat all fall into those categories. I like having a clean work environment and being able to minimize apps to the systray helps with that. And so I said goodbye to the pure Fedora experience and installed Cinnamon (It also wasn’t available from the GUI software application) and the rest of the apps from the CLI.

Everything else went as expected. I didn’t have any more hiccups as long as I used the dnf command to install the apps. I mounted the directories from my home server to my workstation with NFS so I didn’t have to worry about data loss. I did notice lag from the time that some apps were launched until they were ready that I didn’t notice with OpenSUSE, but I didn’t do a real measurement so that was entirely subjective.

There really wasn’t anything keeping me from doing my work that couldn’t be worked around in a matter of minutes.

Suggestions for Fedora:

  • Bring back the systray into Gnome 3
  • Remember yumex? It was an awkward but very powerful graphical tool for Yum. Bring it back at make it your primary software installation tool.

Monday
29 October, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-10-29 Monday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Dean arrived to fit a new Velux window on the kitchen - fun. Spent a while squeezing myself into a very, very small cavity along with lots of fibre-glass to try to make the extension somewhat warmer.
  • Couple of calls, lots of mail, C'bra mgmt meeting bits.

Sunday
28 October, 2018


Michael Meeks: 2018-10-28 Sunday

21:00 UTCmember

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  • Band in the morning, Max, Angie & Noah over for lunch, out to a fine concert at All Saints, part of Beethoven's 5th piano concerto curiously instrumented for piano & organ. H. played the organ too. Wine, cheese, fund-raising for naitbabies. Great talk from Cedric on the research they're doing to address it.

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