mintCast 314 – Moss Interview


  • First up, in our Wanderings, I migrate my NAS to a much smaller case, Bo has been certifying, Moss is playing with a new laptop, Josh has also been playing around with a new laptop, and Joe guest hosts on Electric City Nerds!
  • Then, our news the Linux Mint 19.2 BETA is out, Epic Games gives an Epic grant, Ubuntu 18.10 is end of life and the Pinebook Pro is available for preorder.
  • In our, still kinda new, security section, we talk EvilGnome.
  • Leo
    • Decided against my Thermaltake Core X1 and went with a Node 304 to move my NAS guts to, but it turns out, using a full sized PSU isn’t going to work with my particular mini-itx motherboard. The SATA ports are angled to the side, and butt up right against the PSU leaving no room for the cables themselves.
    • I ordered a Corsair SF450 PSU. It’s modular which is great for airflow, as you might’ve guessed from the name, it’s small form factor which gives me the room I need for the SATA cables.
  • Bo
    • Certificate Exam Mayhem. 
      • Spent a month studying and missed my first attempt by 2 points.
      • Second attempt taken on Friday and I feel confident.
      • How Do you best study?
      • Do you study the test or the material?  
  • Moss
    • I’ve been playing with my new laptop, a Lenovo Ideapad 110acl-80TJ with all AMD chips (I did it for you, @TuxDigital). It isn’t quite as robust as my T430, but I needed a larger screen and full keyboard, and it was the price of a Pinebook. There have been a lot of revelations, and I think I’d do better blogging them or sharing them on the Discord group.
    • The biggest issue is the Realtek wifi modem, which, according to some distros, is broken and I need to load an open source driver for it; other distros just see it as broken and assume I have no wifi. But Linux Mint sees it, loads the driver, and it’s full speed ahead with the installation. 
    • I managed to get OpenMandriva Lx 4 to install fully, but it didn’t write the boot sector correctly so I lose all ability to boot. I’m trying to find a fix for that in their forum. Some users are saying I need to have Secure Boot enabled, others say disabled, but that does not appear to be the issue.
    • For now, I put KDE neon in to get some Plasma love.
    • The TV that I bought my wife as a belated birthday present, which would not be recognized as a VGA monitor except at 1024×768, required us to purchase MiniDisplayPort-to-HDMI adapters, and now we’re both on HD. It has made a clear difference in our TV viewing (on my 32” TV/monitor), although I wouldn’t have cared enough to buy the adapter if it weren’t for my wife’s issue (Amazon had a set of 2 adapter cables for not much more than the price of 1). Now I get to go try to install OpenMandriva Lx 4 again and see if the external monitor is not an issue.
    • Distrohoppers’ Digest will be recorded this Wednesday, i.e., the day after this episode should hit the podcatchers. It will be different, and, despite being longer since the previous episode, may feel rushed. See next point.
    • I’m still working full time. It hurts, but it pays OK. Some day in the future the other part-time person will be hired and start, but it’s not going to be this fortnite.
  • Josh
    • I got my new Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. It’s a really nice machine!!
    • Favourite features:
    • 2K Screen 
    • 2in1 Format
    • Keyboard

Port Selection

    • I installed Deepin on my laptop which triggered BitLocker
    • My GPU failed on me this week. Random yellow and green dots and white overlay on games
    • My Phone (Pixel 3) also had to go back. I had to ship it to Poland but luckily they paid for all of that.
  • Joe
    • I have been boring
    • Listened to the spellsinger novels by Alan Dean Foster
      • But if you want to hear my opinion on it:
    • Guest spotted on ECN
      • Talked a lot of nerd
    • Had fun at the local lug
      • Discussing the difference between docker and virtualization
    • Went to Thursday night gaming
      • Played one night werewolf
        • Too complicated to explain
      • Played Pandemic
        • Also complex but a bit more fun
        • A lot like risk except you are trying to prevent things from taking over
    • Purchased several low cost 16gb micro sd cards so that I can work with my pi’s some more
    • Started moving some of the applications that I use to appimage and syncing it among my computers using btsync.
      • I only have to get the application once and then it is on all my computers
    • Went to Medieval Times with the wife and had a blast
    • Bought a set of messed up bluetooth headphones again
      • None of them were fixable.  
      • The Skullcandys were very glued together from the factory and by the time i got them apart they were not going to go back together
      • There was a set of Samsungs that I had some hope for mdr as600bt
        • They turned on and worked on one side
        • The side that did not work was closest to the controller board which is a little odd
        • Took apart and checked the connection, everything looked fine
          • It was a pain to take apart
        • Manually connected another earbud to the connections at both ends to verify the board and wire was good, it was
        • Desoldered the speaker.  
        • Took apart 3 other earbuds of differing sizes and types and tested out until i had one of a small enough size.  Very tiny delicate work
        • Had both sides working until I put it back together and the plastic started falling apart.  
        • Still got it put all together and was getting the glue to hold everything in place and did one more test.
        • The cables were now too short to be connected to the speaker and seated the right way on the board.
        • Hours of work wasted.
        • Considered pulling the controller board and battery to build something a bit more functional and said to heck with it.
        • Gave me nintendo thumbs.
  • Leo has questions! Josh about 2k (Do you scale or is it fine at 100%?). Joe about Docker (did you get anybody converted?). And about appimages (Where do you put them?)


  • Epic Games Backs Blender Foundation with $1.2m Epic MegaGrants
  • Linux Mint 19.2 beta is out!
    • Test out all of the new features we covered last episode! But, remember, a beta is a beta and may cause issues with your day-to-day stuff. Make sure you don’t mind a bug or two. Though most stuff I’ve seen on it from around the web is pretty positive.
  • Ubuntu 18.10 is EOL
    • Backup the important stuff
    • If you haven’t already gotten the message about upgrading
      • Run sudo do-release-upgrade -c to check
      • Run sudo do-release-upgrade to install
    • Or, for the GUI, in the Updates tab of the Software and Updates app, make sure the Notify option is set to “For any new version”. Close, and check for updates with the Software Updater app.
  • Pinebook Pro Available for Preorder
    • $199 for 1080p screen, Quad Core Cortex A53 CPU, Quad Core Mali T-860 GPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC storage, but a free upgrade to 128GB available for Pine64 Community members.
    • They stress in the ordering information that they’re selling this unit at this price as a service to the community, and if you think a dead pixel or two will prompt you to request a refund or chargeback, don’t order it!
  • Windows’ WSL2 Gives Custom Kernel Choice
    • The highlight here is that, in addition to the LTS kernel WSL2 will ship with, you’ll also be able to add your own kernels!


  • EvilGnome
    • Comes to us via a shell script that makes calls to Makeself to unpack and install itself.
    • Makeself makes installations easier, but in this case, is a rung in the ladder of the exploit.
    • Once installed, the malware is installed in ~/.cache/gnome-software/gnome-shell-extensions/ and the files within are named things like
    • The functions inside the malware literally do what they say: takeSound(), takeScreenshot(), and scanFolder().
    • It does a few other things, like ShooterPing which pings a command and control server and ShooterKey which seems to be an unfinished keylogger.
    • My Mint installation doesn’t have a ~/.cache/gnome-software folder. If yours does, take a look inside.

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