mintCast 336.5 – Taking Control (mp3)


In our Innards section, we talk to Erik the Engineer

And finally, our listener feedback and a couple suggestions

Linux Innards – Erik Lietz

What was your first Linux experience? 

I’ve always been looking at non-Microsoft systems. Started with Apple IIe and then Macs while young. Linux specifically I’ve had a couple of them… In college we had Sun Microsystems – Solaris in the computer labs, running StarOffice. Later in college my roommate had RedHat – but he lost me when he said “look I can change the speed on the CPU fan”. 

Then running only Windows until early 2019 when researching what to do with Windows 7 end of life.  Windows 10 was not an option – update during client meeting.

What was the very first Linux distro you ran?

Zorin OS, which was advertised as a Windows 7 replacement. 

  • Went through the distro search
    • Ubuntu
    • the Ubuntu flavors, particularly MATE
    • Elementary
    • Mint

What’s a typical workflow for you entail?

  • Office documents – LibreOffice for word processing and spreadsheets
  • PDF editing – almost all of our final products to clients, regulators, contractors are all submitted electronically
  • Telegram – internal communication, internal teams
  • Email – thunderbird
  • Design programs – 
    • AutoCAD
    • Carlson 3D
    • Google Earth
    • Government programs
  • Zoom – client review meetings w/ CAD designs

Tell us more about your engineering setup. Why Linux Mint?

Engineering Business

Mint – familiarity with the desktop, and it just works – reliability 

Does Linux do everything you need in a system?

  • No, unfortunately, but it is close and getting closer
    • CAD and 3D design software is not well represented on Linux. 
    • Our accounting software is web browser based, but limited to Internet Explorer or Edge due to programming. 
  • More traditional businesses software it would be quite easy and reliable
    • especially if you mainly use Office type documents

Do you do any Linux Gaming?

No I don’t. I don’t have much free time outside of the business and family. 

Do you contribute to the community?

I’m active on the mintCast Telegram group. Posting on the Mint Forum. I had one laptop which had a misbehaving WiFi card. I was able to use the forums to get it fixed but it wouldn’t stick after a reboot, but went back and forth with some of the forums to get it to work for good. I have done some beta testing on LMDE 4 and some of the Ubuntu 20.04 releases.      

Community as a whole – AWESOME!  

Is there any piece of Linux and open source software, other than a browser, you could not live without?

  • Linux software would be MasterPDF, which is a competitor to Adobe Acrobat. 
  • Open source is BitWarden, I have way too many passwords to keep track of and BitWarden is by far my most favorite password manager. 

How has your experience been using LibreOffice?  Have you encountered issues with compatibility for MS Office docs?

I and my staff have really liked using LibreOffice.  

  • Still save documents in Microsoft format for compatibility outside of the office
  • LibreOffice actually has more flexibility with how documents are setup, appearance and formatting
  • Automatic numbering in Writer is awkward, but much less than in MS Word
  • The biggest issue we have is with Macros in Calc – government produced design spreadsheets 

Closing thoughts for the audience, just for the folks that are sick and tired of Windows and want something faster and more secure.

Linux allowed us to take back our IT from third parties. The stability of Linux and allowing for you to control updates is a game changer. 

Vibrations from the Ether

  • Michael

  • Leo’s response
  • Jim Daldry

sudo chattr +i /etc/resolv.conf 

    • Leo’s Response
  • Bill
  • Mike F
  • John Wallis (2)

# Configuration file for setting network variables. Please note these settings
# override /etc/sysctl.conf and /etc/sysctl.d. If you prefer to use
# /etc/sysctl.conf, please adjust IPT_SYSCTL in /etc/default/ufw. See
# Documentation/networking/ip-sysctl.txt in the kernel source code for more
# information.

Added the Martians entries to /etc/ufw/sysctl.conf.

  • Leo’s Response


Parted Magic – is a live Linux disc partitioning and secure wiping OS, Although it is Open source since late 2013 they moved to a paid model to support its development you can buy a unsupported iso for $11 and install it as many times as you like, if you want updates for 12 months a subscription will cost you $39 although I’m unclear how many iso’s you can use at once with this purchase


  • Our next episode will be at 2 pm Central US time, 7 pm UTC, June 14, 2020. That’s 8PM British Summer Time.


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

  • Hobstar for his work on the new logo
  • Josh for all his work on the website
  • Hacker Public Radio for the Mumble server we are using to record
  • 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.

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