mintCast 338.5 – The Ripple Effect


In our Innards section, we ask Owen how Linux is improving the lives around him.

And finally, some feedback and a few suggestions


Owen Peery Interview

What was your first Linux experience?

  • Berkeley Linux User group in the mid 90’s by accident, I had gotten my first computer, a little Mac, I was looking for the Berkeley Macintosh User Group, and I got them confused, BLUG vs BMUG, and when I went, I didn’t understand anything, and thought, what have I gotten myself into with this Mac. I eventually found the BMUG and I only barely understood a little more.
  • I used to go skateboarding in a warehouse in San Francisco in the 90’s called Shred of Dignity. There were a group of tech obsessed folks who lived and skated there. A man named Tom set up the warehouse after he wrote some computer program and sold it to the US Army and made a lot of money doing it. There were computers there as well and I knew they were running Linux and we thought those kids were gods because they sat at those computers typing away and we had no idea what they were doing, which is why I decided to get a computer myself, but I have no idea why I got a Mac, I think because I found one used that was in my budget.

What was the very first Linux distro you ran?

  • KDE in maybe 2003 or so. I bought a used computer when I started a functional art gallery in Philadelphia. I already had a working knowledge of computers and I bought this one because it had great specs, but when I got it home I turned it on and I had no idea what I was looking at. The guy I bought it from showed me a few things and that it worked at his home, so I bought it. I had used Windows a little by then but wasn’t that familiar with it, so it worked for him, so I thought, cool, it works. I called a friend who was studying Computer Science at Drexel University and he used Linux so I knew he could help. He used KDE as well so he helped me get started, but I only kept it for about a month. I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I installed Windows and was on my way.
  • I lived in Toulouse, France from 2007-2011 and when I was there I gave Linux a chance again. I went to the local LUG, mostly because I needed to practice my French technical vocabulary, and because I assumed some folks there would know English in case I couldn’t ask my questions in French. I used Ubuntu for about 6 months then, but I always had it dual boot with Windows because I was also in a Master’s program in Designing Information Systems and some of the software we used was Windows only, think VIsual Basic, BI, and PLSQL. When I started doing a lot more screencasts, I moved back to Macs to use Camtasia and Screenflow and gave Linux a rest for a bit.

What’s a typical workflow for you entail?

  • Depends on what I’m working on for the day
  • VIdeo editing
  • Browser based work with personal and work email
  • Working on making different workspaces reflect my needs

Why/Why not Linux Mint?

  • Great for beginners, interface looks similar enough to Windows that the transition is not too hard, I moved from Macs and it’s been easy for me to figure out a lot of things.

Does Linux do everything you need in a system?

  • Yes but . . .
  • Screenflow is an amazing app that is an all in one solution for screencasting. You can capture the video, multiple monitors possible, iPad screens even, you can edit the audio and edit the video, you can add callouts, you can add transitions, it’s really comprehensive, and at the same time not too overwhelming. It has the video and audio editing features needed to make great screencasts, but fewer than full featured audio and video editors, so you have what you need, but not too much.

Do you do any Linux Gaming?

  • Trying to but I’m not a gamer. I’ve got 2 STEAM games on my machine, Super Bernie Bros bc it was free and I wanted to see STEAM integration. Since it worked well, I bought a game called Streets of Rogue bc a student recommended it to me. It was on sale for $19.99 and I bought it, but I only play it infrequently, and never enough to make much progress or feel like, This is fun. I’m torn between how much to look up tips on the internet and how much should I struggle and figure it out myself. I sometimes gamify my classroom and I understand good games, digital or table top, have built in control structures to teach you how to play, so I’m wondering where those are in Streets of Rogue.
  • I’d love to find a fun game that helps teach you how to use the Terminal and learn more commands.

Do you contribute to the community?

  • Mint forums
  • Telegram groups
  • Bug reporting when Kdenlive went from 19-20 by accident
  • Running Mint 20.04 beta but not really reporting any issues I come across, it took so much to get it all setup correctly, not bc of Mint, but getting drive partitioned correctly and the right data on the right partitions.
  • I hope to eventually use my video creation skills to help out the community once I get settled on a good workflow and dial in the software I’ll use, really trying to stick to Kdenlive but DaVinci Resolve is tempting too

What was your main motivation for refurbishing computers?

  • Had a large closet full of older computers just sitting there at school, old mostly Windows 7 machines
  • Many families did not have a computer or not enough computers, if they had 3 children for example.
  • I had already been using Mint for about a year on an old laptop so I knew it worked well on older hardware
  • It saved the school money so we didn’t have to eWaste another load of computers
  • It gave families computers who needed them 
  • I teach computer science, not tech use, at school and it gave students much better computers to use than the Chromebooks the district was lending
  • District lent Chromebooks, but the backlog, wait, and locations weren’t that convenient, so we came up with our own system
  • We say in my district that in computer science we don’t just use tech we make it, so giving out Linux computers where there are no restrictions also furthers this idea, if you want your computer to do X well you can, you just have to learn how, there is nothing preventing you from making it work exactly how you want

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

  • Not really but I love using Peek. I have made over 10,000 video tutorials and screencasts, but recently I have fallen in love with making short animated gifs for simple how to things instead of a full video. Peek is so simple and the file size is small, so I use it a lot to visually model how to do things. It’s easier to email or put in a Google Slide deck or even put on a website for how to help.


  • jack

  • Leo’s response
  • More Jack!
  • Benjamin Moser
  • Travelinrob on ep337

  • DaveW 
  • John Wallis Saga Episode x+1

I managed to get one test resolved, installing and configuring a PAM.  I

would appreciate your help with resolving the following, please:

* Consider running ARP monitoring software (arpwatch,arpon) [NETW-3032]

I have installed Arpwatch and invoked arpwatch -i for both Ethernet and

wireless port, but re-running the scan makes no difference.  I look

forward to hearing from you.

  • Leo’s Response

Glad to hear from you again. I installed arpwatch and tinkered around with it a bit and it seems like there was a lot of digging for answers that aren’t fully addressed in the man page!

I’m not sure how familiar you are with layer 2 networking (MAC addresses, etc) so I’ll leave that alone for now. I can go into it more if you’d like.

Here’s the deal. Since you’ve got it installed, we’ll start from there. Check the status of the arpwatch service with systemctl status arpwatch . For me, the status was active (exited) but had these errors in the journal below:

Jun 09 16:06:39 maya arpwatch[2546]: chdir(/var/lib/arpwatch): Permission denied

Jun 09 16:06:39 maya arpwatch[2546]: (using current working directory)

Jun 09 16:06:39 maya arpwatch[2546]: pcap open wlp3s0: wlp3s0: You don’t have permission to capture

It seems there are two issues here. The first, I assume, is the fact that I didn’t create an arp.dat file. In the man page, it says you must do this first. The line is below.

Note that an empty arp.dat file must be created before the first time you run arpwatch.

However, it doesn’t exactly tell you where… Further down, though, it does say the default arpwatch directory was /var/lib/arpwatch, so I just shrugged my shoulders and created it there. It seems to have stopped complaining. As a note, I changed ownership and group ownership of the arp.dat file to the arpwatch user and group, and removed the read permissions from the other’s group.

The other issue is the pcap line above. pcap requires root permissions to run, so a sudo, or running arpwatch as root, is required.

After that, watching journalctl will allow you to monitor arpwatch in real-time. Below is an example of arpwatch “discovering” a new device banging around on layer 2.

Jun 09 16:41:21 maya arpwatch[3917]: new station 10.x.x.x xx:xx:xx:75:81:d7 wlp3s0

I’ve subbed in some x’s for paranoia’s sake.

You can also grep or search the journal at a later date:

journalctl | grep “new station”

I hope this helps!

  1. Without knowing much about your network, I’m going to assume it’s for the home. You probably only want one device running arpwatch per subnet, or more precisely, broadcast domain. Since pcap is working in promiscuous mode, it should see any layer 2 frame that touches the interface regardless of destination. However, there are certainly arguments for running multiple instances



The next show will be Sunday, the 12th of July at 7PM UTC, 2PM US Central Time, 8PM British Summer Time


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