Episode 407 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

the Podcast by the Linux Mint Community for All Users of Linux

This is Episode 407!

This is Episode 407.5!

Recorded on Sunday the 5th March 2023

Joe, I think I’m awake, and I’m Moss, Driving my life away, I’m Bill

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up in the news: Mint Monthly News – February, Ubuntu Flavors Agree to Stop Using Flatpak, Linux desktop powers consider uniting for an app store, Ubuntu Devs Working on ‘Mini’ Installer, Mesa 23 released, Mozilla narcs on Android apps, Fedora caught thinking, Linux supports Apple chips, OnlyOffice integrates, Falkon accelerates,
  • In security and privacy, LastPass Devs accounts get breached, NSA wants to help
  • Then in our Wanderings
  • In our Innards section
  • And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

— Play News Transition Bumper —

The News

20 minutes

Nemo 5.8 will feature multi-threaded thumbnails. Instead of generating each thumbnail one by one, Nemo will generate multiple thumbnails in parallel. This uses more CPU but it results in loading directory content faster, especially for directories which contain a large amount of media files.

CJS 5.8, the Cinnamon Javascript interpreter, will be rebased on GJS 1.74 and make use of SpiderMonkey (libmozjs) 102. The current version of cjs uses SpiderMonkey 78.

XDG Desktop Portal implementations are being written for Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. This will provide better compatibility between desktop environments and non-native applications such as flatpaks or libAdwaita apps (though these are usually written only for GNOME anyway). Among other things this will make it possible for these apps to take screenshots or to support dark-mode.


Warpinator is designed to let people see each other and share files on the local network as easily as possible and without setup. Although access to the local network itself should be monitored/restricted in the first place, once you’re connected to it, you can see and interact with other Warpinator instances.

The SUSE security team recently performed a review of the codebase and highlighted some concerns. Discussions followed and decisions were taken to harden the security in Warpinator.

Security bugs (CVE-2022-42725) were fixed to prevent files potentially being written outside of the download directory in the case of a malicious remote copy of Warpinator.

Setting a group code became a requirement for the application to remain open indefinitely or to be started automatically after login. Only computers which share the same group code see each other and their communication is encrypted. This was done to prevent a malicious copy of Warpinator from pretending to be someone else on the network and initiate transfers, especially in cases where the target’s instance is set to automatically accept incoming requests.

People who want to casually share files now and then would communicate first, agree on timing and what’s being shared. They’d launch their instances around the same time and expect what they agreed on. In this scenario the lack of setup requirement is key and there is no significant need for a group code.

In preparation for future potential bugs or security issues, changes are currently being implemented to completely isolate Warpinator from the filesystem and make it technically unable to write anywhere other than in the incoming folder.

Warpinator is used in many different ways and in different environments. Whether it’s in an office with a secure network and a multitude of computers which trust each others and are constantly open to transfers… or on a public Wi-Fi between two friends’ laptops, or even as we recently mentioned just you sending files to yourself from/to a smartphone, a steam deck or another box. We want Warpinator to work for everyone, to be as secure as possible in environments where it’s setup to be secure (with a group code, autostart, auto-accepting requests etc..), and to require no configuration in use cases where users themselves communicate first and don’t rely on the network to trust each others.

Server upgrades

We’ve been upgrading some of the servers. This caused a little bit of downtime in the past few days on the blog and on the forums in particular. We’d like to apologize for the inconvenience.”

  • Ubuntu Flavors Agree to Stop Using Flatpak
    • from OMGUbuntu by londoner
    • “Flatpak will no longer be available “out-of-the-box” in any of Ubuntu’s official flavors.
    • In a surprise move, Ubuntu developers have agreed to stop shipping Flatpak, preinstalled Flatpak apps, and any plugins needed to install Flatpak apps through a GUI software tool in the default package set across all eight of Ubuntu’s official flavors, as of the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04 release.
    • Ubuntu says the decision will ‘improve the out-of-the-box Ubuntu experience’ for new users by making it clearer about what an “Ubuntu experience” is.
    • They reason, someone using a flavor offering Flatpak might assume the tech receives the same level of support, bug fixes, and development attention as repo and snap apps do from Ubuntu’s community of developers or Canonical themselves.
    • Which is not the case.
    • As far as Ubuntu is concerned, only deb and snap software is intrinsic to the ‘Ubuntu experience’, and that experience now needs to be offered everywhere. Flavor leads (apparently) agree, and have all agreed to mirror regular Ubuntu by not offering Flatpak features in their default install for future releases.
    • Do keep in mind that “not installed by default” is not the same as “not available to install at all”.
    • To this end, Flatpak continues to be available in the Ubuntu repos, and users of Ubuntu flavors are free to install Flatpak (and any related packages) on their system, manually, as is their wont, anytime they like.
    • Additionally, Flatpak will not be uninstalled or removed when user makes the upgrade to Ubuntu 23.04 from a version where Flatpak is already present.
    • My thoughts? (Joey Sneddon)
    • This is a controversial “agreement” — I know some will argue I’m making it controversial by covering it, but c’est la vie – cf. this site is banned from r/linux and I can guarantee they’ll be voicing opinions on it.
    • Thing is, while I can understand regular Ubuntu not wanting to ship Flatpak OOTB …flavors? Aren’t they, by their nature there to surface alternatives to the vanilla Ubuntu experience? To add and augment; plug gaps; cater to other needs? Flatpak seems like a pretty compelling one.
    • Ubuntu asking its flavors to stop using something because it doesn’t is a head scratcher. Flavors regularly use things Ubuntu doesn’t, things you could argue are more intrinsic to an “Ubuntu experience”, like installers, login managers, icon themes etc. Why single out Flatpak?
    • It’s not like Flatpak is an obscure library in universe with 0.25 developers and an infrequent commit history. Flatpak is robust, actively developed, and well maintained (and spoiler: it’s also not going anywhere).
    • Now, I don’t care which side of the ‘Flatpak vs snaps’ fence you get your posterior splinters from. I’m a massive advocate of “use what works for you”. Snaps – great! AppImages – cool! Nix – have at it! PPAs only – you do you, babe.
    • But effectively blanket banning Flatpak by making this change, and not underpinning it with any sort of technical reason why it’s necessary, seems off.
    • Ubuntu is drawing an ideological line in the sand that no-one has asked it to make.”
    • How to re-enable Flatpak support (contributed by londoner)
    • For all flavors: sudo apt install flatpak
    • For Kubuntu: sudo apt install plasma-discover-backend-flatpak
    • For all flavors: flatpak remote-add –if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo (all one line)
  • Linux desktop powers consider uniting for an app store
    • from ZDNet by londoner
    • One reason why there are so many Linux desktops is that there’s endless disagreement on what makes the best desktop. Now, GNOME and KDE are exploring the idea of uniting, using Flatpak to create a Linux desktop app store.
    • For most people who just want a desktop and its applications to just work — thank you very much — the hundreds of different Linux desktops and dozens of ways to accomplish similar goals are more annoying than enticing. 

One such problem is how you can find, install, and be certain any given program will work on your desktop. Now, leaders from the GNOME Foundation and KDE Foundation are considering solving that by building an app store on top of Flatpak, a universal Linux software deployment and package management program.

  • This idea of replacing traditional but not very friendly ways of delivering Linux desktop apps, such as DEB and RPM package management systems, has been around for a while. Besides being easier to use, Flatpak and its rivals, such as Appimage and Snaps, can also run on any Linux distribution. All the programs do this by containerizing applications with all their necessary libraries and associated files.
  • This isn’t the first time such an idea has been tried. For example, Linspire (Lindows) pioneered the “Click’n’Run” app store in the mid-2000s. 

More recently, Elementary OS has been experimenting with a “pay what you can” app store. But because it is specific to a handful or a single Linux distro, it was never that attractive to users or developers. 

Now, as laid out in former Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s Plaintext Group, the proposal is to “Promote diversity and sustainability in the Linux desktop community by adding payments, donations, and subscriptions to the Flathub app store.” 

Behind this idea are several Linux desktop leaders, such as GNOME president Robert McQueen; former GNOME executive director and Debian project leader Neil McGovern; and KDE president Aleix Pol. 

Flatpak, unlike the earlier store attempts, works on essentially all Linux distros. This makes it much more interesting.

  • Why Flatpak, instead of its chief rival, Snaps? They explained, “Flathub is a vendor-neutral service for Linux application developers to build and publish their applications directly to their end users. A healthy application ecosystem is essential for the success of the open-source software desktop, so end-users can trust and control their data and development platforms on the device in front of them.”

Canonical, Ubuntu and Snaps’ parent company, isn’t in the least bit fond of Flatpak, which originally sprang from Canonical rival Red Hat. Indeed, Canonical recently decided that neither Ubuntu, nor its variants, such as Kubuntu, Lubuntu, and Ubuntu Studio, will support Flatpak. You’ll still be able to add Flatpak to any of these distributions. You just won’t have Flatpak built-in to the Ubuntu family.  

On the other hand, the Flatpak store supporters state, “Our largest ‘competitor’ in the Linux app store space is Canonical’s Snap Store, which (aside from any debates as to the relative technical merits of Flatpaks versus Snaps) sits under the control of one corporate entity rather than a community-controlled nonprofit, requiring copyright assignments for contributions to both Snap and the Store, and effectively making it very hard or unappealing to run your own stores.”

Alas, where would desktop Linux be without fusses over what software is the one true and right software? Probably a lot more successful than it is now.

  • Either approach makes it much easier for a software distributor to not only bundle their programs for any customer but to be able to sell them to people or businesses. 

Be that as it may, while the proposal for a paid Flathub app store remains just an idea, it’s still one that may garner support. If this plan can generate enough support, and then the revenue, to cover its costs, it may create the first popular universal Linux app store. Then, who knows, maybe the Linux desktop will finally become broadly popular. Stranger things have happened.

  • [Moss: Why not just adopt Big-Store from Big Linux? It already has all the packages, at least for Arch…]
  • Ubuntu Devs Working on New 140MiB ‘Mini’ ISO Installer
    • from OMGUbuntu by londoner
    • “Ubuntu plan to release a new minimal ISO as part of the upcoming Ubuntu 23.04 release.
    • While there’s nothing to download or test (yet – that I’m aware of) a good overview of the project was shared on the Ubuntu developer mailing list at the weekend. Interestingly, the effort is being headed up by Dan Bungert, the maintainer of Subiquity, which is the tech underpinning Ubuntu’s new Flutter-based installer).
    • “The ubuntu-mini-iso is a small bootable iso that can be either downloaded and used on a CD/USB-drive or even via UEFI HTTP that brings up a dynamic TUI menu of what Ubuntu images you want to download/install to your target system,” Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak explains.
    • “It uses simplestreams to select which images, so it’ll be quite customizable regarding the selection. The difference is that it then downloads the iso-of-interest into memory and chain-boots into it, allowing the installation of any image as one would normally do.”
    • Sounds pretty interesting, right?
    • Further posts say the mini ISO should be around 140MiB in size, though it could even be smaller (the current bulk is “dominated by use of the existing Ubuntu initrd with a few things added on top”). Notably, this ISO will be officially supported and tested, unlike previous Ubuntu Mini ISOs (which work differently too).
    • There is also some discussion about whether the TUI (that’s ‘terminal user interface’, if you’re unfamiliar with it) that the user interacts with to selecting their desired image could also be used to list Ubuntu flavors, making the mini ISO more versatile.
    • Now, nothing about this 100% concrete as of writing. If this marvellous-sounding mini ISO doesn’t manage to materialise in a few months then please: don’t get miserly.
    • That said, things do sound promising.
    • I reckon this mini ISO could prove a massive highlight of the Lunar release.”
  • Mesa 23.0 released, new features for open source drivers
    • from Phoronix
    • After a lengthy release cycle due to blocker bugs and delays in issuing new release candidates, Mesa 23.0 was released overnight as the newest version of this collection of open-source graphics drivers used on Linux and other platforms.
    • With the last of the blocker bugs cleared, Mesa 23.0 has now been released.
      • “After a longer than average RC cycle, I’d like to announce the release of Mesa 23.0.0, the first stable release of 2023. You may put away the party streamers. Not actually too much has changed since -rc5, but we have cleared out the last of our blocking issues, and have a stable release.”
    • Mesa 23.0 brings more improvements for the Radeon RX 7900 series / RDNA3 graphics on RADV and RadeonSI, Vulkan mesh shaders being enabled by default for RDNA2 GPUs on RADV when using recent kernel versions, RADV ray-tracing optimizations, continued Intel Arc Graphics DG2/Alchemist improvements, initial Nouveau 3D support for the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 “Ampere” GPUs, continued improvements to the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan driver, and many other changes throughout the Mesa stack that have built up over the past quarter.
  • Mozilla says most Android apps have misleading privacy labels
    • from ArsTechnica
    • It looks like trusting developers to just tell the truth about data collection on Google Play isn’t working out. Just like on iOS, Android launched app privacy “nutrition labels” in the Play Store last year, with the idea being that users could quickly get a look at how much data each app collects. The obvious problem with this system is that the developers fill out the data-collection forms, and there’s nothing to stop them from lying or omitting certain data-collection policies. It’s no surprise, then, that when Mozilla recently audited the top apps on Google Play, it found that “most top apps” have “false or misleading” app privacy labels.
    • Mozilla says it surveyed 40 of the Play Store’s most popular apps by global downloads and found that “in nearly 80% of the apps we reviewed, we found some discrepancies between the apps’ privacy policies and the information they reported on Google’s Data Safety Form.” Each app received a grade of “Poor,” “Needs Improvement,” or “OK,” with 16 out of 40 apps getting the lowest rating.
    • Mozilla did not need to dig very deep to find flaws, saying that many apps’ privacy labels openly contradict their public privacy policies. Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter all claim “No data shared with third parties” on the Play Store but detail third-party sharing in their privacy policies. For free apps, the list of recipients earning a “poor” grade isn’t very surprising: Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Lite, Snapchat, Twitter, and, the one surprise, Samsung Push Services. A lot of paid games like Minecraft make the “poor” list, too.
  • Fedora considers dropping delta RPMs
    • from Phoronix
    • For many years now there has been delta RPM support built into Fedora to allow just downloading the binary difference between the currently installed RPM package and the updated version. While this made sense during the days of limited Internet connectivity/bandwidth, delta RPMs haven’t proven useful in years and now Fedora Linux is considering removing this support.
    • Delta RPMs made sense a long time ago when Internet connections were much slower and more common for users to be on a metered connection, but in more recent years the concept hasn’t proven useful. Plus those with more common Internet speeds these days and modern hardware likely would find it takes longer to reconstruct a complete RPM from a delta RPM than it would be to just download the entire fresh RPM package for the updated software. The value of DRPMs these days appears minimal while carrying infrastructure/hosting costs.
    • Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller raised the proposal this week around dropping delta RPMs. In addition to the limited direct benefits these days, given newer technologies around OSTree and container deltas, he is of the camp that it’s time to “give DeltaRPMs a sad, fond farewell.”
  • Linux officially supports Apple silicon
    • from OMGLinux, also ArsTechnica
    • Linux now officially supports Apple silicon.
    • Well, kind of.
    • See, the latest Linux 6.2 kernel release is the first version to ship with a hefty chunk of mainline support for devices powered by the Apple M1 Pro, M1 Max, and M1 Ultra chips.
    • “Mainline” is an important qualifier here as it’s been possible to run custom Linux kernel builds on Apple silicon for a while, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Asahi Linux project.
    • But though this is a notable first step, Linux Apple silicon support remains a work in progress.
    • Not all devices using M-series chips are supported by Linux 6.2, and a sizeable set of core features lack anything but rudimentary support, or in some cases, like speakers & touchpads, absolutely no support at all.
    • Yet this formative arrival in mainline Linux is significant milestone for Linux on Apple silicon.
    • That Linux is able to run at all on Apple’s new-fangled hardware is testament to the kernel’s adaptability and to the ingenuity and talent of Linux developers and the Asahi Linux project.
    • After all, Apple doesn’t directly support, document, or provide drivers to let alternative operating system run on its hardware. All of this effort is after-the-fact.
    • When the kernel carries support directly users won’t (technically) need to use Asahi Linux to run Linux on M1 computers in the future.
    • However the reality isn’t quite so simple — not yet.
    • For the moment, using an Asahi Linux build remains the only real way to get a practical, usable Linux experience on Applie Silicon. But these improvements are being upstreamed and will, in time, benefit all Linux distros.
    • Plus, with growing support from app makers for Linux on ARM in general, and hints that some major Linux distributions are prepping Apple Silicon builds, the viability of Linux on these devices is only set to improve over the coming year.
  • OnlyOffice adds integration with ChatGPT and Zoom
    • from ItsFOSS.com
    • The race to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) has begun.
    • The faster services and programs enhance their tools with AI, it is going to get more attention.
    • ChatGPT, the chatbot by OpenAI, is one such software. Almost everyone (including Microsoft for its new AI-powered Bing search) is betting big on it.
    • Now, ONLYOFFICE has added a new ChatGPT plugin to help quickly answer your questions, find information, generate texts, or add some code to your document.
    • In addition, they also introduce a plugin that makes it easy to access Zoom (video conferencing platform) from within the office suite.
    • See the article for more depth.
  • Hardware Acceleration coming to QT-based Falkon
    • from OMGLinux
    • Users of the Falkon web browser will soon be able to take advantage of hardware acceleration when using the browser on Linux.
    • A dev commit adds an option to enable this long-requested capability to the Qt-based webkit browser. The option will be available in the next stable release of the browser but it won’t be turned on by default. Users have to explicitly turn it on to benefit.
    • Why? Well, though hardware acceleration in Falkon works well (for me, and for a few others already using it) it’s not considered 100% robust enough for a wider rollout — not yet.
    • But with it the feature a mere check-box away, there’ll be wider testing and, hopefully, further contributions to improve it.
    • Better still, the feature works on both X11 and Wayland.
    • Enabling hardware acceleration allows the browser to make use of a system’s graphics hardware which, in many cases, results in video content, games, animations that perform more smoothly than when powered by the CPU alone.
    • Popular with Linux users of KDE Plasma desktop, Falkon is a cross-platform web browser also available on Microsoft Windows. The app uses the QtWebEngine for rendering with a Qt5-based GUI on top.
    • The Falkon Flathub page states “Falkon has all standard functions you expect from a web browser”, including bookmarks, history, tabs, and a built-in AdBlock plugin. Long-time Linux users may remember the app used to be called Qupzilla, but changed its name in 2017.
  • FFmpeg 6.0 released
    • from Phoronix
    • FFmpeg 6.0 shipped February 28th with hardware acceleration improvements, threading enhancements, new encoders/decoders, and a range of other additions for this widely-used multimedia project.
    • FFmpeg 6.0 is the project’s annual major release as outlined in the FOSDEM presentation from a few weeks ago. Among the FFmpeg 6.0 changes are:
      • Radiance HDR image support.
      • FFmpeg now runs every muxer in a separate thread and requires threading to be enabled for compilation.
      • VA-API encoding and decoding support for 10/12-bit 422, 10/12-bit 444 HEVC and VP9 support.
      • Wireless Application Protocol Bitmap (WBMP) image format support.
      • NVIDIA NVENC AV1 encoding support.
      • Intel oneVPL support for Quick Sync Video (QSV). There is also QSV encoding/decoding for 10/12-bit 422, 10/12-bit 444 HEVC and VP9.
      • MediaCodec encoder and decoder support.
      • WavArc decoder and demuxer.
      • CystalHD decoders have been deprecated.
      • Other new encoders, decoders, filters, and demuxers.
      • RISC-V optimizations.
    • FFmpeg 6.0 can be downloaded at FFmpeg.org.

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • LastPass Devs Get Breached, found to have unencrypted access
    • from DevClass.com
    • LastPass has published more details about how its systems were compromised via an attack on a home computer used by one of its senior DevOps engineers, showing not only the extent of the attack, but also how developer machines can be exploited by malicious operators.
    • According to the company’s latest post, “the threat actor was able to leverage valid credentials stolen from a senior DevOps engineer to access a shared cloud-storage environment … this was accomplished by targeting the DevOps engineer’s home computer and exploiting a vulnerable third-party media software package, which enabled remote code execution capability and allowed the threat actor to implant keylogger malware. The threat actor was able to capture the employee’s master password as it was entered, after the employee authenticated with MFA, and gain access to the DevOps engineer’s LastPass corporate vault.”
    • The serious nature of the breach is underlined by the fact that this engineer was one of only “four DevOps engineers who had access to the decryption keys needed to access the cloud storage service.” Data exfiltrated included access and decryption keys for LastPass production backups stored on AWS S3, including “customer and encrypted vault data.”
    • The attack on LastPass systems overall is complex and formed of multiple incidents. It began in August 2022 with a separate attack through a “compromised developer account”, according to CEO Karim Toubba, that lasted four days. Then in December Toubba stated that this stolen information was used to obtain further data. It is this second attack that has now been described in more detail.
    • What was the media software package? A report on Ars Technica claims that it was Plex, which was itself compromised and user credentials stolen shortly after the LastPass attack, though whether the two are related is unknown.
    • The DevOps perspective on this is that in both LastPass incidents the point of entry was a compromised developer account.
  • NSA Shares Guidance on how to secure your home network
    • from bleepingcomputer
    • The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has issued guidance to help remote workers secure their home networks and defend their devices from attacks.
    • The guide published by the Defense Department’s intelligence agency on Wednesday includes a long list of recommendations, including a short list of highlights urging teleworkers to ensure their devices and software are up to date.
    • Remote workers are also advised to back up their data regularly to prevent data loss and to disconnect equipment they’re not using if it doesn’t require an active Internet connection at all times.
    • To remove non-persistent malware if one of your devices gets infected, you should also reboot them frequently or schedule a restart to further minimize this risk.
    • “At a minimum, you should schedule weekly reboots of your routing device, smartphones, and computers. Regular reboots help to remove implants and ensure security,” the NSA said.
    • Other best practices include using a non-privileged user account on your computer, enabling automatic updates whenever possible, and covering webcams and disabling microphones when not using them to block eavesdropping attempts via compromised devices or malware.
  • Iron Tiger hackers create Linux version of their custom malware
    • from BleepingComputer
    • The APT27 hacking group, aka “Iron Tiger,” has prepared a new Linux version of its SysUpdate custom remote access malware, allowing the Chinese cyberespionage group to target more services used in the enterprise.
    • According to a new report by Trend Micro, the hackers first tested the Linux version in July 2022. However, only in October 2022 did multiple payloads begin circulating in the wild.
    • The new malware variant is written in C++ using the Asio library, and its functionality is very similar to Iron Tiger’s Windows version of SysUpdate.
    • The threat actor’s interest in expanding the targeting scope to systems beyond Windows became evident last summer when SEKOIA and Trend Micro reported seeing APT27 targeting Linux and macOS systems using a new backdoor named “rshell.”
    • More info in the article

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Joe
    • Got the Waveshare GamePi20 working. I had a bit of fun with the soldering iron getting it all setup. The pin header went on easy enough with a bit of flux and some patience. Then I had the software but I grabbed the software for the Pi Zero W2 when I was using the Pi Zero W. That took some figuring out because the device would turn on and connect to network but would not load into emulation station. It was also fun trying to read everything on the very tiny screen. So I hooked up to HDMI. Was able to get everything larger but it was also upside down. Still I was able to get all the updates with an OTG USB keyboard. Also it was fun getting games onto it over wifi. I think if I do it again I will make sure to load up the sd card before I close the device all the way.
    • It means imaging the sd turning on the device and logging in the first time and expanding the file system then pulling the microsd and loading the games into the folders created.
    • It took many hours and many dropped files to get everything on there and I am still working on getting mama and neogeo working proper.
    • Sega and nintendo are working good. I did have to remap keys for sega and I also had to try a couple of different emulators but it was fun finally getting my favorite games working well.
    • I have not played it as much as I want to but I am taking another forced vacation this week. Also very much bordering on burn out. Or maybe im past it I don’t know
    • Had my resume professionally redone. Posted it on a couple of sites and started getting calls almost immediately. It is something I have done before and the investment lasts a while. I don’t like the job hunting process but I do like some of the opening offers I have been quoted. So I will get something eventually. Rising cost of living is pricing me out of my current job.
    • Also I refurbished my 3d printer enclosure that was built from a lack table and some plexi-glass I redid all the seals around the edges with some silicone. I drilled a new hole for the filament in the top that will cause less pressure with the ender and filled in the old one. Also filled a couple of other large holes in the wood.
    • The previous printer that was in there had a very large control unit. Monoprice maker select v2 if you are curious. And it was wired to the rest of the device so I had to cut a much larger hole in the back to get it through. I had previously tried to reattach the plastic but that did not work as well as I would have liked so I 3d designed and printed a top piece a bottom piece and a sliding center piece where I can control the size of the hole and easily run cables through without issues and minimize draft.
    • I also put a neodimium magnet on the front and screwed in a washer so that it would hold closed easily.
    • Then after all that work I go to put the ender in there and the enclosure is too short.
    • I also iterativley designed and printed a small foot pedal adapter for my usb switcher. It only took a few tries and I like the final result. It is a pretty simple lever design and is the simplest solution that makes it very easy for me to quickly switch the mouse and keyboard between devices.
    • Granted now I want to do the same for the hdmi switcher that I have. No I do not want a KVM switch because sometimes I want the display to stay the same but control another computer.
    • I think that I have talked about my gazelle workout machine before. Not my favorite way of getting in cardio but it works for steady state, folds down fairly flat and is cheap to replace. I think I mentioned previously that I had created a way to mount my phone on the sides which allows me to use it to control my computer using kde. I also recently designed a replacement for the end plug on the other side and also designed a printed a variation of one of the modular desk mounts that will hold a cup holder. Now I can have a water bottle or an energy drink right next to me and get in a longer workout session.
  • Moss
    • I spent the past two weeks fighting with my new Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) phone. Apparently there are some interesting glitches, which there shouldn’t be in pretty vanilla Android 12. Sometimes the screen I’m trying to work with goes to quarter-size and the screen freezes; on Amazon.com, I can scroll halfway down a page and then the phone freezes, but if I wait sufficiently long it catches up and resumes. This can take as long as 2 or 3 minutes. It seems to be ironing itself out over time. On the plus side, I’m using Google apps again, and on the negative side, I’m using Google again. Overall, I am happy with the phone, and the glitches are occurring less often. It is a significant upgrade to my Pixel 3a XL except in the speakers.
    • The Distrohoppers’ Digest team had agreed to review blendOS as a team, but we had to scrap that idea as the system is just too new to be relied upon. I’m hoping Rudra gets things worked on and more ready. I should have known better than to commit to review a distro whose life could be measured in single-digit weeks.
    • Bodhi lead developer Robert Wylee has been having serious health issues, which has been delaying the overdue release of Bodhi 7. His medical bills are beyond what he can afford. There is a crowdfunding page for those who wish to support him, but he will get the money faster if you just PayPal it to him. The team is doing what it can, but at this time Robert is the only team member who can make ISOs.
  • Bill
    • Not much to report this week. Work has been keeping me busy for the most part. I am happy to say our new show Linux OTC seems to be doing well. We are getting a descent amount of feed back on the website and the discord server. Which is to say “an appropriate amount” of interaction given how long we’ve been recording. Currently, we have 4 episodes available with number 4 beginning a series on self-hosting.
    • When we began streaming episode 406 I was irritated to find my studio lighting not working. I was running two thin rectangular lights that perched above my middle monitor on each side of the main webcam. They were made by a company named Humancentrics. The lights worked satisfactorily for my use case – right up until they didn’t. So I ended up streaming that episode with no proper lighting. This week I received the replacement in the form of two larger, rectangular lights made by Neewer which came with two telescoping tri-pods which I replaced with the same kind of extendable arms I use for my microphone; also made by Neewer. So far I think I’m happy with the performance. The main difference I’ve noticed so far is that they have separate power plugs where the other set shared one power supply. Also, they can be adjusted independently. Time will tell how well they work out. The first set barely made it a year. Not exactly stellar given the fact I’m only down here on the weekends and recording for maybe 4 or 5 hours of that time.
    • I also replaced my audio interface just yesterday. I have been using the XTuGH E-22 for the last year, and although overall I’ve been happy with the performance, the unit had a nasty habit of shorting when ever it got bumped. The unit connects to the computer via a USB-B socket in the back, and the connection is not as tight as it probably should be. I’ve replaced the interface with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo, which runs on USB-C and seems to be more of an industry standard for audio interfaces in podcasting. As with most things, the official support is with Windows but given it’s a purely USB class compliant device, I don’t forsee any problems, and if you’re hearing me it means it’s working fine.

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)

  • Android applications
    • Joe
      • audiobookshelf
      • resilio sync
      • openvpn
      • alexa
      • calendar
      • kde connect
      • google voice
      • digits
      • youtube
      • discord
      • whatsapp
      • authy
      • standard notes
      • mumla
      • @voice
      • calculator
      • droidcam
      • easytether
      • nextcloud
      • tasker
      • ifttt
      • samsung health
      • oct4a
      • ring
      • FBM
    • Bill
      • Bank and Credit union apps
      • Bitwarden
      • Collabora Office
      • DAVx⁵
      • Nextcloud
      • F-Droid
      • Fennec
      • Floris-Board
      • Esurance
      • Jellyfin
      • Netflix, Hulu, Prime, HBO Max, Paramount Plus
      • K-9 Mail
      • Kroger
      • Shipt
      • Love’s, Pilot, TA
      • Mozilla VPN
      • Parkview My Chart
      • NewPipe
      • Mastodon
      • Philo
      • Proton Mail
      • Tutanota Mail
      • Signal
      • QKSMS or Simple SMS
      • Samsara Driver
      • Quick Settings
      • Steam
      • Termux
      • Turbo Tax
      • Twitter
      • CAT Weigh my Truck
      • Trucker Path
      • WireGuard
      • WordPress
      • Xbox Family
      • YT Studio
      • ZArchiver
      • VLC
      • AntennaPod
      • Amazon Shopping
      • Archwiki Viewer
      • Arch packages
      • AURdroid
      • audio-bookshelf
      • Classic Phone Ring-tones
      • Disney+
      • ParentSquare
    • Moss
      • Alexa
      • Amazon Shopping
      • Army Knife
      • Bitwarden
      • Box
      • Carfax
      • CBC News
      • Chess Time
      • Citi Mobile
      • College Baskeball (also NFL and College Football, but I don’t leave them on my phone off-season)
      • ColorNote
      • Discord
      • Drive
      • eBay
      • F-Droid
      • FillUp
      • Firefox
      • Fireplace
      • Gmail
      • Healow
      • Healthy Benefits
      • Kroger
      • LibreTube
      • Maps
      • MeWe
      • Google News
      • Nighthawk
      • Nova Launcher
      • OldSchoolText
      • Ollo Card
      • PayPal
      • PenFed
      • Pi & Pi Browser
      • PocketBook
      • Proton Calendar, Drive, Mail, and VPN
      • QR & Barcode Reader
      • ReadEra
      • Robinhood
      • SmartFind (work app for sub teachers)
      • SymboTalk
      • Telegram
      • Travelers (Insurance)
      • Tusky
      • Venmo
      • Walmart
      • Washington Post
      • Weather
      • Wikipedia
      • Xfinity
      • YouTube
      • Zillow

— Play Vibrations Transition Bumper —

Vibrations from the Ether

20 minutes (~5 minutes each)

— Play Check This Transition Bumper —

Check This Out

10 minutes

The “Horizontal OSD” extension for Linux Mint (yes, Linux Mint has extensions too) reformats Cinnamon’s default volume and screen brightness indicators from a vertical box to a horizontal bar. It’s a subtle tweak that I think gives the Cinnamon desktop an extra splash of modernity (GNOME Shell switched its OSD from boxes to bars last year).

While the look of the horizontal OSD blends in perfectly with the rest of the Linux Mint’s default look (meaning out of the box it looks totally native) you do get ample controls to adjust the appearance.

From the extension’s settings, you can fine-tune almost every element of the OSD, from the colours and opacity of the background to the width of the bar; the height of the value bar; and the border radius. For ultimate control you can even apply your own custom .CSS.

  • There are also behaviour controls to make the OSD appear on screen for longer (or shorter) than Linux Mint’s default values. You also get controls to adjust the position of the OSD bubble relative to the screen size. By playing around with these settings you can basically reposition the bar to any part of the screen.

Interested? You can get Horizontal OSD on Cinnamon Spices, or (a faster way) install it in using the Cinnamon desktop’s Extensions app. Just find the ‘Horizontal OSD’ in the “Downloads” tab and hit the install icon, then switch back to the “Manage” tab, select the extension, and hit the ‘+’ icon to enable it.

Housekeeping & Announcements

  • Thank you for listening to this episode of mintCast!
  • If you see something that you’d like to hear about, tell us!

Send us email at [email protected]

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

  • ??? for our audio editing
  • Archive.org for hosting our audio files
  • Hobstar for our logo, initrd for the animated Discord logo
  • Londoner for our time syncs
  • Bill Houser for hosting the Pi400 which runs our website, website maintenance, and the NextCloud server on which we host our show notes and raw audio
  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about <Thanks, Clem and co!>

— Play Closing Music and Standard Outro —

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