mintCast 324 – Attack of the Releases (mp3)


First up, in our Wanderings, Leo suffers from new computer ills, Tony Hughes works on his cars, Moss fiddles with more distros, it’s reading and repairs for Joe, Tony Watts is rockin’ it, and Josh goes mad and gets an iPhone.

Then, in our news, Linux Mint 19.3 is almost here, Canonical has been very busy, New elementaryOS and Firefox, and more

In security, two Linux vulnerabilities and a takeover of PIA goes weird


  • Leo
    • Finally saved up and got the 5700XT I’ve been drooling over for months.
      • Works great in Windows
      • Not so much in Linux Mint. There was some really bad mouse stutter that really impacted desktop performance and made most games unplayable. I was on the latest development Mesa, version 20, but Kernel 5.3.
      • Had a Manjaro Gnome install that I knew was on a later kernel (5.4.2), and 5.4 had some Navi improvements that affected my card. Tried it, and the desktop was smooth, however, nothing I tried would let me play games. They would freeze and never recover. It was so bad that I couldn’t even hop to a new TTY.
      • Installed UKUU on Mint and upgraded to 5.4.2. Mint wins again.
    • While I was troubleshooting, and using Windows to play games, I couldn’t get over how much my workflow was tied to Linux. I’m glad to be back on Mint.
    • Got the wife a new AData SU800 512GB SSD and she gets my hand-me-down Radeon 380x. Both will be a nice upgrade for her.
  • Tony H 
    • Recorded Distrohoppers with Moss, and this went well.
    • Continuing to play with my diecast models and a few more were delivered this week, some of which were in quite good condition for their age so will be added to the display collection until something better comes along. I restored a Matchbox No. 5c Routemaster London Bus this week and just need to add the advertising decals, which I don’t currently have. I am planning to make my own but need both the decal paper and a colour inkjet or laser printer but as a set of decals for one model can be between £2-3 in the long run it will be cheaper to make my own and I could probably make some for sale as well.
    • I also got a portable spray booth and Airbrush with a mini compressor as Birthday gifts this week, I’ve set up the spray booth in my office/workshop in the spare bedroom and plan to test it out next week before heading up to Scotland until Xmas eve to visit my step son and brother in law.
    • Having new UPVC windows fitted to my garage in preparation for turning it into the Makerspace Workshop. When we lost our last venue we lost the ability to use the Laser cutter and 3D printer as we can not install these at our current meeting venue of one of our local libraries.
    • Joined the BDLL Euro show last night.     
  • Moss 
    • We had a great Episode 008 for Distrohoppers’ Digest, available now at your favorite podcatcher or from our website, This will be our last one for the year, and our next episode will be more laid back, although I’ve already installed KDE neon on my test machine.
    • I attempted to install Haiku OS on my Kudu, but learned it does not install to UEFI, so I broke out the still-unposted IdeaPad 110. I got to a certain point, and ran into informational vacuum, needing to know how to prepare the partition. I did get a nice response from the team, but have not been able to get back to it.  I learned a lot just getting that far, and maybe I’ll go on from there soon.
    • I attempted to install  Peppermint OS 10 to my test laptop. The partitioning failed. The installer crashed the second try. I reinstalled KDE neon.
    • Sabayon was refusing to load the desktop lately. I could not log in as my username, but logging in as root got me a full-screen terminal. I posted the issue to the Sabayon forum and got a quick reply. Stating that I needed to reload lightdm, with instructions as to how. That worked. As I doubt any of our listeners are running Sabayon, I won’t post the commands I used to fix the issue.
    • I did some Timeshift backups today. I keep infrequent backups of everything except Sabayon (haven’t figured out how to load Timeshift through Entropy). As part of my efforts today, I learned that my Galago Pro identifies the external backup drive as sdb, and then finds I don’t have an sdb5, which is where my Linux Mint is installed (Pearl on sdb3). So I need to keep it unplugged until after boot, or I can’t boot to either Mint or Pearl. Odd that it isn’t identified as sdcX…
    • I had a pretty good birthday, with a pleasant gift from my mother and a lot of good wishes, plus extra hours being offered at work. I have stopped looking for work, with only one possible job not yet offered. Also, a great Thanksgiving and even a Holiday Party, with my friends at the Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Education Center in Liberty Hill, TN. My wife and I feel we have found a new family.
    • And I received a donation from one of our listeners, David Lindberg. Thank you, David!  I purchased some much-needed USB-C cables.
  • Joe
    • Finished relistening to the Dresden files.  Love that series. Can’t recommend enough to everyone
      • Very well read
      • Good long series that takes some time to get through even at 4x
      • Too long since the last one but the author has had to work through a lot of issues and from what I understand the wait should not be long now.
    • Also went through the Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony
      • This is a very convoluted series where all the books are very intertwined
      • Well read and well written
    • Need to catch up on Rick and Morty new season.
    • Behind on all the tv shows.
    • Bought some LG HBS 510’s 
      • Kinda old school
      • ordered 4 for 15 dollars
      • 1 no power show fully charged
      • Battery is working fine.  Can’t find a problem with the switch.  could check all the wires across for continuity.  But won’t. need the extra parts anyway
      • One of the sides went on another set
      • 1 neither side works but connects and pause play works
        • This will probably just require shortening of the cables
      • 1 left side out 
        • obvious, the casing was cracked around the earpiece and I could see that one of the connections was off.  soldered back on and glued the casing together with jb weld. It works great may go back and fill the hole with JB Weld 
      • 1 right side out, as in it is not there.  Another cracked casing but the speaker fell off
        • Was able to take one side from the one that wont turn on and swap it in.  now it just plain works
      • Should be able to fix 3.   
      • had extra glue so also glued one of the 820s with a broken band.
        • But it did not hold very well even after a couple of days worth of drying
      • The 510s are smaller and have fewer buttons than most of the ones that I have worked with but are still usable.  the sound is not terrible and they are not too difficult to work on. a single large mic that will require more testing.  Battery life is middling. the materials are a bit flimsy considering some of the fixes that I had to put in but they are also the lightest neckband headset I have used.  No one has complained about the call quality and I have not had any issue on my side of a call. the simplistic controls do take a bit of getting used to, especially when I am still switching amongst other headsets with a more standard setup.
    • Ordered another Dell Venue 7130 for 40 dollars.  Don’t know much about it yet other than it is missing the M.2 hard drive.  But it is the i5 version so it is either 4 or 8gb version.  
      • I have extra drives for it
      • Will find out if it has a good battery
      • And a good charging port
      • But there are 2 charging ports so if the usb one is bad I may have to either buy a dock or one of the high powered ones that use the same port
      • If I get it working I will either turn around and sell it or give it to one of my kids.
    • Fixed my dad’s old Toshiba Satellite L755-S5110
      • It had this problem where during startup it would get past the splash screen and start beeping horrendously
      • Figured it was the ram so I pulled the ram sticks one at a time and tested with less ram and known good ram still the same issue
      • So I removed the keyboard and started it up.  Worked fine.
      • Tested rehooking the keyboard while it was booted and it is always triggering some keys.
      • May order a new keyboard or may just use it as a settop box.
      • Second gen core i3 but still usable.  
      • Does need a new battery
      • But other than that, it would cost 20 dollars, 13 for the keyboard and 7 for the power supply to have a working laptop
      • Like 12 dollars for a battery.
    • Also was having a problem with my garage computer randomly shutting off.
      • Hard to isolate the problem because days could go by without it happening
      • After much testing of peripherals to find the issue I discovered that it was a problem with my Thinkpad USB 3.0 docking station
      • So I am looking for a decent low cost powered replacement (probably a couple of them) 
      • Preferably 7 ports and sub 10 dollars but I am not finding anything that fits the bill. 
    • Bought a Samsung gear fit2
      • Not sure how much I like it.
      • Heart rate is iffy 
      • Step count I will have to track more
  • Tony W
    • Busy as ever with music.  
      • Formed a band of my colleagues at the office and we played at the company holiday party.  It was a resounding success.  
      • Speaking of holiday party… will be doing to my wife’s work party toward end of our show, may have to drop a bit early
      • Also solo gigs, rock band, church band…
    • Mobile recording setup:
      • Dell 7130
      • Presonus Audiobox USB
        • Metal – built like a tank
        • Works out of the box with Linux, no problems whatsoever
        • Very light and portable
        • Power draws from USB – no power plug required
      • Unidirectional microphone (Either my Behringer or a borrowed Shure SM58 – doesn’t seem to be a dramatic difference)
        • I use a unidirectional mic to avoid picking up noise in my house (space heater and server right next to me, not to mention anything else in the rest of the house, kids, dogs…)
    • Dell 7130
      • Spent more time with the machine after it being a bit idle for a while.  I tend to spend a lot of time *obsessively* getting things to work like I want, and then walk away from them after that is accomplished.
      • Batteries in both tablet and keyboard actually seem to be in pretty good shape.  Linux mint indicates keyboard will last nearly 3 hours and the tablet about 7.5 hrs (have not tested this, no idea if will actually get that much, but so far can confirm the keyboard will last 2+ hrs charging the tablet)
      • Keyboard is very glitchy.  Have to dock multiple times before the tablet will recognize keyboard/touchpad (even though battery display seems to update every time)
      • Ordered a tablet keyboard cover, maybe less issues.  Will report back on that
    • New work laptop
      • Old: Dell E6430
        • I used that laptop for 7+ years.  IT dept delayed in replacing it as it was up to spec after various upgrades
        • Processor 3rd gen i7, 8GB Ram, 500GB SSD, new battery…
        • Replaced due to touchpad button issues (may have been a Windows only problem)
      • New: Thinkpad T480.  Great machine
        • I7 model
        • I will need a USB C dock now, for working at home
  • Josh
    • Finished my mock exams (finally) after two weeks. Sorry for the absence but they say school comes first (whatever that means).
    • Released Issue 6 of micro:mag, our most popular issue yet where we got 2000 readers in the first 48 hours.
    • Got myself some 8BitDo Bluetooth Stereo Speakers after winning a gift card during a Black Friday competition. Really good for the price and work well with Linux.
    • Last time I was on the show, I was having some trouble with Google after my Pixel 3 got RMAed.
      • 3 Months of battling with them
      • Support engineers cut me off the phone a few times
      • They can’t contact the refunds team
      • Google support is the worst
      • I really don’t want to be negative, but this has happened to many other customers too
      • We contacted the retailer where I got the phone from, John Lewis, who refunded me after trying Google support from themselves and seeing how bad it was.
    • I ended up getting the iPhone 11 Pro on a really good contract with o2 here in the UK after putting some of the refund money towards it.
      • iOS is really nice
      • Camera is incredible, especially the 4k60 video
      • Smooth performance
      • 2 Day Battery life
      • Apple devices are still too expensive and i’d never buy one outright but luckily thanks to a mix of Black Friday deals and putting a bit of money upfront from what I did have. 


  • Linux Mint 19.3 Images Being Tested
    • Images showed up on Friday, marked as testing. Release is imminent!
  • Canonical announces Ubuntu Pro for AWS
    • These images, for a little extra money, provide 10 years of support, Kernel Livepatching, Compliance profiles for things like HIPAA and PCI, and AWS Security integration.
  • Ubuntu AWS Will Use A Rolling Kernel
    • For non Ubuntu Pro instances, you’ll still be getting some goodies.
    • The rolling kernel is the typical hardware enablement kernel with AWS features built in, and all 18.04 instances will be upgraded to 5.0 from 4.15 by default.
    • You can test early to be sure things will work
      • sudo apt install linux-aws-edge
    • Or you can force your instances to stay on 4.15.
      • sudo apt install linux-aws-lts-18.04
  • Canonical Becomes Feature Sponsor for WSLConf
    • Hayden Barnes, Developer Advocate, Ubuntu on WSL, Canonical
  • Nginx offices raided for copyright dispute with Rambler (Moss)
  • Open Source Music Notations Software Musescore 3.3 Released! (Tony W)
    • For playing, printing and creating sheet music
    • Free but can use either a free or premium account for sharing with Musescore community
  • elementary OS 5.1 Hera
    • A new Greeter and first-install process
    • Flatpak Support
    • Accessibility being treated as normal options rather than things shoved away into a corner.
    • Ubuntu’s HWE 5.0 Kernel.
    • Some app improvements
    • If you’re upgrading from Juno, you won’t get the new kernel automatically. For that, run:
      • sudo apt install –install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-18.04
  • Firefox 71
    • Picture in Picture for videos! (Windows only for now. Linux and Mac in Firefox 72)
    • Native MP3 decoding on Windows, Linux, and macOS
    • More visible tracking protection
    • Improvements to Lockwise
    • Kiosk mode
  • Zorin OS 15.1 released (Moss)
  • Ubuntu Cinnamon first release (not official flavor yet)
  • MS Teams Is Now On Linux (second link)
  • Mac Pro is here (Josh)
    • Probably one of the most powerful consumer computers out there
    • Comes with a price for the top spec – $52,748.00
      • 2.5GHz 28‑core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.4GHz
      • 1.5TB (12x128GB) of DDR4 ECC memory
      • Two Radeon Pro Vega II Duo with 2x32GB of HBM2 memory each
      • 4TB SSD storage
      • Apple Afterburner card
      • Stainless steel frame with wheels
      • Magic Mouse 2 + Magic Trackpad 2
      • Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – US English
    • Base spec is $6,000 which is very expensive for what you get
      • 3.5GHz 8‑core Intel Xeon W processor, Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz
      • 32GB (4x8GB) of DDR4 ECC memory
      • Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
      • 256GB SSD storage
      • Stainless steel frame with feet
      • Magic Mouse 2
      • Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad – US English


  • <Moss>Remember the PIA purchase by Kape Technologies? Kape is a renamed malware company owned by a former Israeli spy (not from right wing sources)
  • New Linux Vulnerability Lets Attackers Hijack VPN Connections
    • Very in depth, but the short and sweet of it is that using this vulnerability allows an attacker to inject packets regardless of encryption.
    • People with a version of systemd released after Nov 28th, 2019 are affected. However, more distributions that aren’t on systemd are affected: Devuan, Void, FreeBSD.
    • A temporary fix would be to block bogon IP addresses. Essentially bogus or fake IPs. See: 
  • Two malicious Python scripts caught stealing SSH and GPG keys
    • A result of typosquatting. Essentially naming libraries visually similar to confuse people into using the library.
    • Python3-dateutil was spoofing dateutil
    • JeIlyfish (the first l is replaced with a capital I) was spoofing Jellyfish. The spoofed JeIlyfish libraries were where the malicious code resided, and python3-dateutil would call the malicious JeIlyfish library.

Once the libraries are used, keys are sent to xxx://


  • Next Episode will be December 29, 2019, 2pm Central US time.


Before we leave, we want to make sure to acknowledge some of the people who make mintCast possible …

  • Josh for all his work on the website and the livestream
  • Bytemark Hosting for hosting and our Mumble server
  • for hosting our audio files
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about (Thanks, Clem!)

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