Episode 416 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

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

This is Episode 416!

This is Episode 416.5!

Recorded on Sunday, July 9, 2023

Getting an early start, I’m Moss; Playing at being a mechanic again, I’m Joe; Bound for Texas, I’m Bill; trying to relax, I’m Majid

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up in the news: Mint Monthly News, Steam Deck exceeds 10,000 games, Red Hat fights public opinion, new LibreBoot is out, Google whines about their new AI search, Peppermint OS upgrades to Bookworm, a new KaOS, First Amendment fails at Supremes, and Solus 4 is released;
  • In security and privacy, StackRot is here, and so is ProtonPass;
  • Then in our Wanderings, Moss makes money, Joe goes 3D, Bill mics up, and Majid thumbs his nose at inflation;
  • In our Innards section we talk browsers;
  • And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

— Play News Transition Bumper —

The News

20 minutes

  • Mint Monthly News Moss
    • from Linux Mint blog
    • Many thanks to all the people who are testing and finding bugs in the BETA. So far we gathered 60 bug reports. Many issues were fixed already thanks to your feedback.
    • On July 9th, the final release candidate moved into Testing.
  • Steam Deck hits over 10,000 verified and playable games Joe
    • from gamingonlinux
    • A big milestone has just been hit for the Steam Deck, as there’s now over 10,000 titles rated to be either Verified or Playable. This comes nearly two months after it hit 9,000.
    • The current lists are:
      • Verified – 3472
      • Playable – 6533
      • Unsupported – 3110
    • We can see this thanks to the SteamDB list. This includes titles that are unlisted on the Steam store but still downloadable for people who own the games so it’s the best list to use.
    • Quite amazing to see such progress, for a device that has only been out for little over a year. A lot of this is thanks to Valve’s work with Proton, since that enables a ridiculously huge amount of Windows games to be playable on Steam Deck and desktop Linux. Proton is closing in on its 5 year anniversary soon too! Not to discount those developers fully supporting Native Linux builds too as it all adds up to the experience.
    • To be fully Steam Deck Verified, this is what developers need to be aware of:
      • Input – The title should have full controller support, use appropriate controller input icons, and automatically bring up the on-screen keyboard when needed.
      • Display – The game should support the default resolution of Steam Deck (1280×800 or 1280×720), have good default settings, and text should be legible.
      • Seamlessness – The title shouldn’t display any compatibility warnings, and if there’s a launcher it should be navigable with a controller.
      • System Support – If running through Proton, the game and all its middleware should be supported by Proton. This includes anti-cheat support.
    • Some of the interesting games that recently gained a Playable or Verified status include:
      • playable Everdream Valley
      • verified Kingdom Eighties
      • playable Park Beyond
      • verified Soul Survivors
      • verified Tiny Life
      • verified The Last of Us
  • Red Hat tried to address criticism over their new source code restrictions
    • from Phoronix
    • Upsetting many in the open-source community was Red Hat’s announcement last week that they would begin limiting access to the Red Hat Enterprise Linux sources by putting them behind the Red Hat Customer Portal and publicly would be limited to the CentOS Stream sources. In turn this causes problems for free-of-cost derivatives like AlmaLinux moving forward. Red Hat today issued another blog post trying to address some of the criticism.
    • Red Hat’s blog today featured a post by Mike McGrath, the VP of Core Platforms Engineering at Red Hat. In the post he talks up “Red Hat’s commitment to open source.” Some of the key takeaways include:
      • “Despite what’s currently being said about Red Hat, we make our hard work readily accessible to non-customers. Red Hat uses and will always use an open source development model. When we find a bug or write a feature, we contribute our code upstream. This benefits everyone in the community, not just Red Hat and our customers.
      • “We will always send our code upstream and abide by the open source licenses our products use, which includes the GPL. When I say we abide by the various open source licenses that apply to our code, I mean it.
      • “I feel that much of the anger from our recent decision around the downstream sources comes from either those who do not want to pay for the time, effort and resources going into RHEL or those who want to repackage it for their own profit. This demand for RHEL code is disingenuous.
      • “Simply rebuilding code, without adding value or changing it in any way, represents a real threat to open source companies everywhere. This is a real threat to open source, and one that has the potential to revert open source back into a hobbyist- and hackers-only activity.”
    • Read the post in full on Red Hat’s blog.
  • LibreBoot, FOSS BIOS replacement, sees new release Joe
    • from OMGLinux
    • Joey Sneddon writes: I’ll admit that I’m as knowledgable about boot technologies as I am BTS trivia but, my own shortcomings aside, open-source boot tech is a big deal for a lot of Linux folx.
    • Which makes the latest Libreboot release worthy of words on this blog.
    • Anyone who, like myself, is wet behind the ears on this topic: Libreboot is an open source BIOS/UEFI replacement based on coreboot, with an emphasis on security. Libreboot is to coreboot what Debian is to Linux; it makes it easier to run coreboot on supported hardware.
    • Unlike other boot firmware, Libreboot is entirely free of proprietary blobs, is free to inspect, modify, and redistribute. It also boasts solid support for booting Linux-based distros, as well as OpenBSD and FreeBSD.
    • “The type of person who would use Libreboot is the sort of person who is worried about security threats in modern UEFI firmware, especially about possible backdoors,” explains project lead Leah Rowe.
    • Up to speed? I certainly feel more aware of what Libreboot is after writing all that so, if it helped no-one but myself, job done!
    • What’s new in the latest release?
    • Libreboot 20230625 adds support for the HP EliteBook 2570p laptop, and the HP 8300 USDT and Gigabyte GA-G41M-ES2L desktops.
    • If this bump in hardware support seem small there’s a reason: recent development focused on stability, auditing the build system, and fixing bugs. You can get a good idea of how fruitful that focus was by fishing through the official release notes – they’re lengthy!
    • Additionally, this Libreboot release provides two sets of ROM images for each x86 mainboard supported: one contains CPU microcode, and the other excludes it. The project’s website has a page detailing microcode in Libreboot.
    • I don’t have any compatible hardware to try Libreboot myself, but if you’re interested in learning more and potentially using it yourself do go check out the project webpage using the many links in this post.
    • And if you’re a Libreboot user, I’d love to hear about your experiences using it!
  • Google Admits Users “Not Quite Happy” With New Search Engine Moss
    • from CNBC.com
    • Google users have long been able to append their search queries with the term “Reddit” to find helpful resources on specific topics.
    • When thousands of Reddit forums went dark earlier this month, that tactic lost its effectiveness. Many pages in search results were suddenly inaccessible or unhelpful, because moderators of some of the most popular forums turned their pages to private as part of a widespread protest of Reddit’s decision to start charging developers for access to its data.
    • It’s an issue that Google executives say is at least partially resolved by a new feature called Perspectives that was unveiled Monday. The Perspectives tab, available now on mobile web and the Google app in the U.S., promises to surface discussion forums and videos from social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Reddit and Quora.
    • At an all-hands meeting earlier this month, Prabhakar Raghavan, Google’s senior vice president in charge of search, told employees that the company was working on ways for search to display helpful resources in results without requiring users to add “Reddit” to their searches. Raghavan acknowledged that users had grown frustrated with the experience.
    • “Many of you may wonder how we have a search team that’s iterating and building all this new stuff and yet somehow, users are still not quite happy,” Raghavan said. “We need to make users happy.”
    • Raghavan was responding to an employee comment about negative user feedback because of too many ads and irrelevant results. “What can we do to improve the user experience on the core product that made Google a household name?” the employee asked, according to audio of the meeting obtained by CNBC.
    • Google is in the process of trying to revamp search to keep pace with rivals in taking advantage of the latest advances in generative artificial intelligence, which involves providing more sophisticated and conversational answers to text-based queries.
    • At its annual developer conference in May, the company said it was experimenting with an effort called Search Generative Experience, which still isn’t available to everyone, showing more in-depth results powered by generative AI. Google also launched a ChatGPT competitor called Bard earlier this year. Bard remains separate from search and is still in experimental mode.
    • Another employee question in the companywide meeting asked if Google can more easily surface “authentic discussion” since the “Reddit blackout” was making it harder to find such content.
    • CEO Sundar Pichai chimed in to to say that users don’t want “blue links” as much as they want “more comprehensive answers.” That’s why they add the name of forum sites like Reddit to their searches, he said.
    • HJ Kim, vice president of engineering in search, said at the meeting that users have been asking for more content from sites like Reddit. He said the Perspectives tab is one feature the company has been working on in response, but that it can do a better job.
    • “Over the last couple of years, search overall has developed these large, cross-functional teams to go after this kind of content,” Kim said, referring to Reddit. “We could do a better job. We realize that. And over the last couple of years, we’ve actually developed quite a bit.”
    • Raghavan said that Google would determine what’s “getting the best traction.”
    • “But the idea there is for these questions, where there are multiple opinions, instead of appending stuff, you actually go in there and get the answer right away and we’re actually seeing good early engagement on that,” Raghavan said.
    • He added that while the company is spending a lot of time in AI, it’s not the only answer to the problem.
    • “Generative AI is one aspect but it won’t fully solve this issue — I want to be clear,” he said. “We actually have teams that are running experiments,” with Perspectives as one example.
    • “We have to keep up and do a better job of addressing these new and emerging needs,” he said.
    • Lara Levin, a Google spokeswoman, told CNBC in a statement that search “satisfies the overwhelming majority of user needs, and we’re always improving Search to meet the evolving needs of every one of our users.”
    • “Features like the Perspectives filter are part of how we’re making sure people continue to find the most helpful info on Google from a wide range of sources and formats,” Levin said.
  • New Peppermint OS is out, based on Debian 12 – Majid
    • from 9to5Linux
    • The Peppermint OS team announced [July 1] the general availability for download of new ISO images based on the latest and greatest Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm” operating system series.
    • Apart from including the updated packages from Debian 12, the new Peppermint OS release comes with various improvements and refreshed artwork, including updated branding, a new theme for the Plymouth boot splash screen, as well as new Marawaita themes and Tela icons.
    • On top of that, the Welcome screen and Peppermint Hub have been updated to remove or add new features based on user feedback, Kumo received a simplified GUI and it now uses the Lua programming language, and the neofetch was adjusted to use the basic output without a logo.
    • The Debian 12-based Peppermint OS release also comes with an updated Calamares graphical installer so that it won’t download and install packages during the installation as it took too long for the installation to complete. Also, the Peppermint documentation was updated.
    • Existing Peppermint OS users will be able to upgrade their current installations based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” to the new version based on Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm”, using Debian’s upgrade process, which involves changing the repositories to point to the Bookworm ones.
    • Alternatively, you’ll be able to use the Peppermint OS upgrade tool, which will also update the Peppermint tools. However, this tool is still in the works at the moment of writing and there’s no date set for a release.
    • Until then, if you want to install Peppermint OS on your personal computers, you can download the new ISO images for either 64-bit or 32-bit systems right now from the official website or by using the direct download links below.
    • Peppermint OS also offers Devuan-based ISO images that do not include the systemd init system. However, these are still based on the older Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series and it will take a bit longer for the team to rebase them on Debian GNU/Linux 12 “Bookworm”.
    • Peppermint OS aims to offer the Linux community a lightweight distribution for everyday use featuring the Xfce 4.18 desktop environment by default.
  • New version of KaOS is out, Arch-“inspired” with Plasma – Majid
    • from 9to5Linux
    • The KaOS developers announced today the release and general availability of KaOS 2023.06 as a new ISO snapshot for this KDE-focused and Arch Linux-inspired independent GNU/Linux distribution.
    • KaOS 2023.06 comes a little over two months after the KaOS 2023.04 snapshot, which celebrated the project’s 10th anniversary by offering users a dedicated ISO image with an early preview of the upcoming KDE Plasma 6 desktop environment series.
    • This new ISO release continues this tradition to offer adventurous users a new KDE Plasma 6 preview ISO image. However, once again, the devs warn users that this ISO is not installable as the Calamares graphical installer is not yet ready for Qt 6/Plasma 6 and that there are only a few apps built against the Qt 6 framework.
    • However, KaOS 2023.06 is here as a stable ISO release featuring the latest KDE Plasma 5.27.6 LTS desktop environment, which is accompanied by the latest KDE Gear 23.04.2 and KDE Frameworks 5.107 open-source software suites, all built against Qt 5.15.10.
    • Included in this new KaOS release is also the latest SDDM 0.20.0 display manager, which adds support for the Wayland session using the kwin_wayland shell. The KaOS devs noted the fact that this change brings their independent distro one step closer to dropping X11.
    • On top of that, the Calamares graphical installer now comes with an updated automated partitioning option to offer users the ability to install KaOS with any of the popular Linux filesystems, including Btrfs, EXT4, XFS, and ZFS, without having to perform manual partitioning.
    • Calamares installer in KaOS 2023.06
    • Under the hood, the KaOS 2023.06 release is powered by the latest Linux 6.3 kernel series and comes with an updated toolchain consisting of GCC 12.3.0, GNU C Library 2.37, GNU Binutils 2.40, Glib2 2.76.3, systemd 253.5, Python 3.10.12, Util-Linux 2.39.1, ZFS 2.1.12, GnuPG 2.4.2, libssh2 1.11.0, and others.
    • You can download KaOS 2023.06 right now from the official website or by clicking on the direct download link below. Since KaOS Linux follows a rolling-release model where you install once and receive updates forever, existing users will need only to update their installations by running the sudo pacman -Syu command.
  • Judge rules White House pressured social networks to “suppress free speechBill
    • from arsTECHNICA
    • Missouri and Louisiana sued Biden over attempts to limit COVID misinformation.
    • A federal judge ordered the Biden administration to halt a wide range of communications with social media companies, siding with Missouri and Louisiana in a lawsuit that alleges Biden and his administration violated the First Amendment by colluding with social networks “to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content.”
    • The Biden administration argued that it communicated with tech companies to counter misinformation related to elections, COVID-19, and vaccines, and that it didn’t exert illegal pressure on the companies. The communications to social media companies were not significant enough “to convert private conduct into government conduct,” Department of Justice lawyers argued in the case.
    • But Judge Terry Doughty, a Trump nominee at US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction imposing limits on the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, the US Census Bureau, the State Department, the Homeland Security Department, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and many specific officials at those agencies. The injunction also affects White House officials.
    • The agencies and officials are prohibited from communicating “with social-media companies for the purpose of urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech posted on social-media platforms,” Doughty ruled. The injunction prohibits “specifically flagging content or posts on social-media platforms and/or forwarding such to social-media companies urging, encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner for removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.”
    • Government agencies and officials are further barred from urging, encouraging, or pressuring social media companies “to change their guidelines for removing, deleting, suppressing, or reducing content containing protected free speech.” The ruling also said the government may not coordinate with third-party groups, including the Election Integrity Partnership, the Virality Project, and the Stanford Internet Observatory, to pressure social media companies.
    • Doughty provided several exceptions that allow the government to communicate with social media companies about criminal activity and other speech that the First Amendment doesn’t protect. The Biden administration may continue to inform social networks about posts involving criminal activity or criminal conspiracies, national security threats, extortion, criminal efforts to suppress voting, illegal campaign contributions, cyberattacks against election infrastructure, foreign attempts to influence elections, threats to public safety and security, and posts intending to mislead voters about voting requirements and procedures.
    • The US can also exercise “permissible public government speech promoting government policies or views on matters of public concern,” communicate with social networks “in an effort to detect, prevent, or mitigate malicious cyber activity,” and “communicat[e] with social-media companies about deleting, removing, suppressing, or reducing posts on social-media platforms that are not protected free speech by the Free Speech Clause in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
    • In addition to the Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general, the plaintiffs include professors Jayanta Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff, who co-authored the October 2020 “Great Barrington Declaration” that opposed COVID lockdowns and urged a focus on reaching herd immunity. They and other plaintiffs claim they were censored by social networks.
    • The ruling was criticized by Jameel Jaffer, an adjunct professor of law and journalism who is executive director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “It can’t be that the government violates the First Amendment simply by engaging with the platforms about their content-moderation decisions and policies,” Jaffer told The New York Times, calling it “a pretty radical proposition that isn’t supported by the case law.”
    • While the government must be careful to avoid coercion in its efforts to combat false information, Jaffer said that “unfortunately, Judge Doughty’s order doesn’t reflect a serious effort to reconcile the competing principles.”
    • Stanford Law School Assistant Professor Evelyn Douek told The Washington Post that the “injunction is strikingly broad and clearly intended to chill any kind of contact between government actors and social media platforms.”
    • Doughty previously blocked federal vaccine and mask mandates in the Head Start program. In the social media case, Doughty made it clear that he expects plaintiffs to win in a 155-page memorandum ruling explaining his decision yesterday:
      • The Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits on their claim that the United States Government, through the White House and numerous federal agencies, pressured and encouraged social-media companies to suppress free speech. Defendants used meetings and communications with social-media companies to pressure those companies to take down, reduce, and suppress the free speech of American citizens.
    • They flagged posts and provided information on the type of posts they wanted suppressed. They also followed up with directives to the social-media companies to provide them with information as to action the company had taken with regard to the flagged post. This seemingly unrelenting pressure by Defendants had the intended result of suppressing millions of protected free speech postings by American citizens.
    • The federal defendants “argue they only made requests to the social-media companies, and that the decision to modify or suppress content was each social-media company’s independent decision,” Doughty wrote. “However, when a state has so involved itself in the private party’s conduct, it cannot claim the conduct occurred as a result of private choice, even if the private party would have acted independently.”
    • He found that defendants “significantly encouraged” and in some cases coerced “the social-media companies to such extent that the decision should be deemed to be the decisions of the Government.”
    • The article goes on
  • Solus 4 is released Joe
    • from getsol.us
    • We are proud to announce the immediate availability of Solus 4.4, a new Solus 4 series release named Harmony. This release delivers new desktop environment updates, software stacks, and hardware enablement.
    • Default Applications
    • All our editions feature:
      • Firefox 114.0.1
      • LibreOffice
      • Thunderbird 102.12.0
    • For audio and video multimedia playback, we offer software out-of-the-box that caters specifically to our desired experience for each edition.
      • Budgie, GNOME, and MATE editions all ship with Rhythmbox for audio playback, with the latest release of the Alternate Toolbar extension to provide a more modern user experience.
      • Budgie and GNOME ship with Celluloid for video playback.
      • MATE ships with VLC for video playback.
      • Plasma ships with Elisa for audio playback and Haruna for video playback.
    • Hardware and Kernel Enablement
    • This release of Solus ships with Linux kernel 6.3.8, enabling us to provide support for a broader range of hardware, such as:
      • Secure Boot support. See our documentation for enablement.
      • AMD Radeon RX 7600, 7900 XT, and 7900 XTX cards.
      • Intel Arc cards
      • NVIDIA 40 series cards
      • Support for laptops defaulting their NVMe controllers to RAID mode
      • Support for laptops with ATH11K wifi
      • Better support for various light sensors and accelerometers
    • Additionally, we continue to refine our kernel configuration, and this release features changes such as:
      • zram enabled by default out of the box providing a better user experience for devices with low amount of memory (< 3GB)
      • Enable CONFIG_NFT_FIB_INET to allow Firewalld/nftables to work
    • Mesa has been upgraded to 23.0.3. This introduces various improvements, such as:
      • Nouveau 3D support for NVIDIA 30 series GPUs
      • Improvements to Zink driver
      • RADV Vulkan mesh shaders
      • RADV ray-tracing changes
      • Optimizations for Intel Arc / DG2 graphics
    • Updates to the various desktops are described at the link.

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • StackRot, a new Linux Kernel privilege escalation vulnerability Bill
    • from SecurityAffairs, July 7
    • StackRot is a new security vulnerability in the Linux kernel that could be exploited to gain elevated privileges on a target system.
    • A security vulnerability, dubbed StackRot was found impacting Linux versions 6.1 through 6.4. The issue, tracked as CVE-2023-3269, (CVSS score: 7.8), is a privilege escalation issue that resides in the memory management subsystem. An unprivileged local user can trigger the flaw to compromise the kernel and escalate privileges.
    • The vulnerability was discovered in the handling of stack expansion in the Linux kernel 6.1 through 6.4.
    • “As StackRot is a Linux kernel vulnerability found in the memory management subsystem, it affects almost all kernel configurations and requires minimal capabilities to trigger. However, it should be noted that maple nodes are freed using RCU callbacks, delaying the actual memory deallocation until after the RCU grace period. Consequently, exploiting this vulnerability is considered challenging.” reads the advisory published by security researcher Ruihan Li from Peking University.
    • The researcher pointed out that this is the first exploit targeting use-after-free-by-RCU (UAFBR) bugs.
    • “This marks the first instance where UAFBR bugs have been proven to be exploitable, even without the presence of CONFIG_PREEMPT or CONFIG_SLAB_MERGE_DEFAULT settings.” continues the advisory. “Notably, this exploit has been successfully demonstrated in the environment provided by [Google kCTF VRP][ctf] ([bzImage_upstream_6.1.25][img], [config][cfg]).”
    • The vulnerability was disclosed on June 15, 2023, and it has been addressed on July 1, 2023.
    • The flaw was introduced with the Linux kernel version 6.1 due to the migration to maple trees. [Maple
    • trees][mt] are RCU-safe B-tree data structures optimized for storing non-overlapping ranges. Li pointed out that the intricate nature of maple trees adds complexity to the codebase and introduces the StackRot vulnerability.
    • The good news is that at this time, there is no evidence that the vulnerability has been exploited in attacks in the wild.
    • Additional technical details about the issue will be publicly released by the end of the month, along with a proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit.
  • Introducing Proton Pass – Majid
    • from Proton Blog
    • Proton announced the global launch of Proton Pass on June 28, available now as a browser extension on most major browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Brave, and more) and iPhone/iPad and Android. As the name suggests, Proton Pass is a password manager, one of the most highly demanded services from the Proton community in our annual surveys since we first launched Proton Mail, our encrypted email service, in 2014.
    • At its core, a password manager is a tool that helps you generate secure passwords and save them so you never forget a password again. If you care about your security and privacy, you should use a service like Proton Pass because passwords are still the first line of defense for most online accounts.
    • Proton Pass makes it easy to follow security best practices, like using a passphrase instead of a password or using a unique password for every website, without worrying about forgetting your passwords. It also saves you time by letting you log in with one click when you return to a website. Proton Pass does all this for free, but also with Proton’s unparalleled attention to privacy and encryption.
    • However, as participants in the Proton Pass beta on a Proton Lifetime, Visionary, or Family plan know, Proton Pass is more than just a password manager — it’s an identity manager, which is a much more powerful concept.

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Moss
    • I’ve spent the past week trying to get enough sleep, and also got my usual podcasts done. My review for Distrohoppers’ Digest was Debian 12 Mate, and I was a lot more comfortable with it than I’ve been for any previous Debian release.
    • I’m still having issues with Xfinity keeping signal coming to my house 24/7, and can’t wait until KUB gets fiber to my neighborhood, projected for May of 2024.
    • I actually sold $37 worth of music during May 2023, probably my high month at least since my professional-quality CD came out many years back. I guess it’s not time to retire on my music earnings just yet.
    • I finished reading Demon Squad to my old friend up in Detroit. Only 10 books so far, but there is an 11th in the works. I’ve started reading the Paper Magician series by Charlie M. Holmberg to her.
    • I tried to edit my personal website, and was told the proxy server refused the connection. I turned off my VPN and it worked fine. My webhost told me I needed to turn off UFC; I did that, and got the same result. Which is odd, because he’s on the same VPN account and server.
  • Joe
    • I have been spending a lot of time at work talking to the interns. I enjoy talking to them. They actually are very knowledgeable and also willing to learn. I have introduced them to mintCast and I hope they like it and find it informative. So if you are listening please enjoy the show, Mike, Sebastion and Yeuen.
    • I attempted to make my own neckband headphones using the same methods that I did with the other Bluetooth devices that I made. The 3d design came out well but I did not finish putting it together because I did not like the size that they ended up being. Part of this is because the battery that I wanted to use was the 14500 battery, which is about the size of a double a battery but is 3.7 volts. The battery should last a very long time and with the stock charger would also take a very long time to charge. It was a first iteration and I may try a few more things or I may go all the way back to cad board and using smaller lithium batteries I way make something closer to the low profile Skullcandys or JBLs that have seen. If I stick with something close to this design I will redo portions that hold the bt device and the closures
    • 3D printed a Pinecil case for next time I go traveling. I got the STL from Thingiverse and I mention the print because it required a single 608 bearing for the hot holder. I was able to get 10 of them for less than 5 dollars and this leaves me a lot to play around with other prints with. I don’t know if I want to make a fidget spinner but there are several other things that I will be printing in the near future. But next up I am 3d printing a replacement spool roller for the top of my Ender 3 the stock one is not very good and puts a lot of tension on the filament. The one that I have that sits beside the machine is nice and works well but it takes up space and it would be nice to put the spool on top again and use that space for something else. Plus I want to see what size the bearings are in that one
    • Also 3d printed some mini phone stands that will fit on a key chain. I think that they are cool and will make awesome gifts. I will probably put two on my keychain and use both to help with balance. I did not like the original design on this so did throw it into tinkercad and readjust some of the angles so that the phone would stand up properly it both orientations and have slightly better balance when only using one
    • I am thinking about trying out some PLA with carbon fiber because it prints well and makes for sturdier prints but if I want to start 3d printing things for my car I will need to switch to something like PETG abs or nylon which all print better with an enclosure. You can do petg without an enclosure but it has to be pretty dry and I need to order more dessicant for my dryer
    • Started my journey with openscad. I have a lot to learn but I was doing a bit of coding to get some positioning and some shapes. Simple things really but I was making a 3d printed business card with my name and phone number on it. I want to add a qr code later that will go to my resume and or my linked in account. This should be fun in the future. Tinkercad is useful but extremely simple and I would like to use something a little more robust eventually.
    • Also found out that it is what I will be using to modify all of those thingiverse models with the word customizable in the title. If I get good enough at it maybe I will bring it to one of the Saturday shows
    • Had some trouble with a LUKS encrypted drive. Nothing important really on it but after the power went out at my house and my computer restarted I was no longer able to decrypt the drive. Everything looked to be working with the drive it mounted and the partitioned showed in disks. I was trying a few things out and saw that it was always a permission issue so I switched to root and was able to decrypt and mount as root. After changing around the permissions I was also able to access the drive through Nemo as a regular user but not decrypt it. Something must be corrupted but at least I am able to get the information off. I have also attempted testing the filesystem and it shows as nothing wrong…
    • I had a lot of things to do this weekend. The schedule has been hectic. I worked yesterday and had to go to a going away event for some friends afterwards. Thankfully one of my coworkers was willing to cover the overlap
    • On Friday another one of my window controllers broke in the buick this was the third one and sadly it is one that I had to fix. The drivers side front. Need to be able to roll that window down. This is a very common problem for that model and year of buick. The plastic gears age and crack and break and then the cables bind in the motor. Previously I have had this fixed from a shop and to have them do it cost about 300 dollars. Because of the current financial times I was not going to be able to do that. The rail and motor come in one piece and I was able to order it from Amazon for 45 dollars. It got here last night and I need my window working before tomorrow so I went out there this morning and took the door apart and fixed it. Thank you YouTube for the tutorials. I will probably work on the other two in the near future. It was kinda nice working on a car again but it also kinda sucked cause it rained this morning right before I went out there.
    • But still, for how easy it was, you cant complain about saving 250 dollars by doing it yourself
    • Couple of other things also will need to be fixed in the car eventually and I am sure that I will talk about them on the show when I get to them. The hvac control needs to be replaced some of the functionality is missing but it works well enough for now. I want to replace the stereo because tape decks are useless and I want to get rid of some of the adapters. Dont know what kind of stereo I want to go with though. I could do Android Drive or whatever it is called or I could go with a raspberry pi DIY build but I would have my concerns about whatever screen I could source for that in the Texas heat. I want to pull the old ashtray out of the front along with the accessory port that is there and replace it with more accessory ports and some built in usb ports. The front windshield needs replaced but I don’t think that I can do that one by myself so I will probably need to pay someone to do it.
    • The new pills the VA has me on are OK. I think that I will need to start taking them a little bit later in the mornings because the crash is hard. Or just wait until the afternoon before I have any kind of caffeine.
  • Bill
    • I’ve been sick lately but I’ll soldier on. I’ve got a new microphone – a condensor mic made by NEEWER, a company which I happen to like. They make all the boom arms, and studio lighting that I use. This thing only costed $18 which seems rediculous, but it really seems to work. As I said – it’s a condensor, so it works more like the human ear, picking up more of the ambient sound in the environment. You have to enable 48V power to use one of these so basically you have to run a peripheral audio interface, which I do. I’m going to give it a try and see if it works for my use case. If it picks up too much of the TV upstairs, or kids running around playing, or the wife talking on the phone, I’ll have to go back to the Q2U.
    • I’ve been tweaking on the Rockpro64 which has been sitting dormant since I decided to run all the websites in Docker containers. My use of SBC’s has lessened as of late in favor or the more powerful machines. One thing that’s been peaking my curiosity is how well Nextcloud would run in a docker container on one of these machines. After installing Armbian, and getting docker up and running I have to say it runs as well as bare metal without many of the headaches of setting up everything from scratch.
  • Majid
    • In the UK, inflation has hit 9%. Why is this relevant? Well I need to start rethinking some of my tech purchases and habits. I took a bit of a stock-count and realised how much superfluous tech I have. Now, most of it isn’t of really high value, but cumulatively I could get about a grand. Been using Facebook marketplace, but its full of scammers. I had stopped using eBay due to their high fees, but at least you are less likely to get scammed…. I think!
    • This doesn’t mean I have completely stopped buying stuff. I’ve replaced my (work) Pixel 7 with a Note 20 Ultra. Battery life so much better and the S-Pen comes in handy for me.
    • More specifically when it comes to Linux, I am waiting for the next 21.2 Mint final release. I really want to try Mint properly again after almost a decade. I also want to see how the touchpad gestures will work.
    • Work has been busy, more strikes happening. Now the attendings are going to be going on-strike…so that includes me! I’m still mulling it over, but quite excited by the novelty of being on a picket-line.
    • We have been cat-sitting. This has been an experience, never had cats before, in fact never even had a proper pet before. I quite like having cats. I am clearly not the boss in that relationship. Cats really look to us as servants! The owners had apple air-tags on them. I can see how ecosystem lock-in works. These iDevices do work quite well together, if you can pay for the privilege.

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)

  • In this week’s episode we’re going to get into web browsers. What are their differences, similarities, and which ones to keep your eye on.
  • For the Sake of description, we’ll first divide up the most popular (or well known) browsers by the web engine their built upon: Lets do this roundtable style
    • Blink – a browser engine developed as part of the Chromium project with contributions from Google, Meta, Microsoft, Opera Software, Adobe, Intel, IBM, Samsung, and others. It was first announced in April 2013. Some of the browsers that run on the Blink browser engine include but are not limited to:
      • Google Chrome
        • Joe
          • This is my Browser of choice. Just for ease of use and I don’t have to worry about webpages not working
          • I know the problems with google tracking everything but that is the world we live in and I think that it is going to worse
          • I use it because of how useful it is
          • I do use several extensions with chrome which I think add to the functionality. I also know that several of the extensions that I use have been banned over the years for various nefarious reasons
          • I use an equalizer extentions a dark mode extension, pia for when I cannot use a vpn for everything, a plex speed extension which really works with all videos but interferes with youtubes speed control and ublock origin. There are others in there but those are the ones that I use the most
          • This is also the basis for chromeos on chromebooks
          • I also use this on my phone because my history and my bookmarks work with it.
      • Chromium
        • Joe
          • I used to use this one a lot. Especially back when I was doing more on the pi and there was no version of chrome available. It used to allow you to use your chrome account and load all the same extensions and import all the bookmarks and everything I have not used in a while but I think that they changed that
          • I know there at least is a chromium OS project but I do not know how far along they are
          • Chromium is the back end for a lot of your other browsers. Because it is open source and free to use so long as you include the chromium branding
            • It lacks the following Chrome features
            • Automatic browser updates
            • API keys for some google services
            • Browser syncing(history)
            • Widevine DRM
            • certain codecs
            • Tracking for usage and crash reports
          • I think that reason that google allows this is that since a lot of people code for chromium they can use then use the useful portions in chrome
        • Bill
          • Chromium is my go to for specific purposes. This is the browser which like it or not, many of the projects we use test on, therefore sometimes functionality and reliability is improved by using the Chromium browser for certain tasks. Nextcloud for example seems to work better with Chromium – especailly when using Nextcloud Office. I also use Chromium to run VDO.ninja which again, is tested on that browser because of it’s appearant improved audio and video stack.
          • Chromium has a well-maintained PWA mechanism which is use to create web-apps for services that I use often enough to want in the system menu. Another benefit of running stuff that way is that Chromium will run the site in a seperate process with a seperate profile. Meaning settings and caching is isolated from other chromium instances. I run VDO.ninja in three different PWA’s for the three shows I do. This gives me the ability to get these things up and running quickly with different settings for each show
      • Microsoft Edge
        • Joe
          • I use this for work because some of the sites that I go to require it. I still use chrome where I can but this is installed and does come up often.
          • It works as far as I can tell but there is nothing exceptional about it.
          • The chromium back end does make some of it look familiar but it is so heavily skinned im not sure that that is much more than an impression
        • Bill
          • I use edge for the very few Microsoft specific tasks including managing the Gamepass accounts for the kids. Not much more than that.
          • I will say that it gets used on my Windows 11 KVM. It’s ok it’s a bit bloated but runs as well as you would expect.
      • Opera
        • Joe
          • I tried this out in the distant past when I did a bit of browser hoping
          • it was supposed to be more secure and give more freedom
          • I will say that it has provided some of the impetus for improving other browsers
            • speed dial
            • pop-up blocking
            • reopening recently closed pages
            • private browsing
            • tabbed browsing
            • ad blocking built in
            • tracking blocking
          • I think it was the pop up blocking and tracking blocking that first got me to use it also in 2016 they added a VPN to the browser(web proxy really) but this was appreciated at the time
      • Vivaldi
      • Brave
      • Amazon Silk
      • KDE Falkon (QtWebEngine)
    • Geckoa browser engine developed by Mozilla. It is used in the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email client, and many other projects. A few examples of browsers that utilize the Gecko Web engine include:
      • Mozilla Firefox
        • Joe
          • This is my backup browser and while I don’t use it much now I did a lot more in the past because of its history and relation to Netscape Navigator and the fact that it was not controlled by Microsoft
          • I used it before I used chrome because it existed before chrome
          • Currently I use firefox only for certain log ins that I don’t want too attached to my chrome browser, such as all the mintcast log ins. I don’t save the passwords locally for that one and I don’t want to have to be jumping back and forth between profiles
          • Also sometimes vdoninja will give me trouble on chrome and the easiest solution is to jump over to firefox
          • I should also mention that for a long time I used iceweasel on the pi which was later rebranded back to firefox. I think I was using because there was a version that allowed access to the silverlight/widevine drm which allowed access to streaming services
      • Librewolf
      • Pale Moon
      • GNU IceCat
      • Waterfox
    • It’s worth noting that most of these browsers are “re-branded” Firefox browsers, some from ESR, some from versions using older screen drawing tools. This is due to the (perhaps intentional) difficulty of building anything upon the Gecko engine; in stark contrast to the Blink engine, made evident by the number of web browsers built upon it, utilizing Chromium technologies.
    • Do you guys use something different for mobile browsing?
      • Joe
        • Mostly Chrome as mentioned before although I did used to keep another browser loaded that was meant to be private when I did not want a search attached to google and I did not want any history kept
      • Moss
        • Firefox Beta has yet to fail me on my phone.
    • WebKit – a browser engine developed by Apple and primarily used in its Safari web browser, as well as all web browsers on iOS and iPadOS. WebKit is also used by the PlayStation consoles beginning from the PS3, the Tizen mobile operating systems, the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, Nintendo consoles beginning from the 3DS Internet Browser, and the discontinued BlackBerry Browser. WebKit’s C++ application programming interface (API) provides a set of classes to display Web content in windows, and implements browser features such as following links when clicked by the user, managing a back-forward list, and managing a history of pages recently visited. Some examples of web browsers utilizing the WebKit engine include:
      • Apple Safari
      • Gnome Web (Epiphany)
        • Would Gnome make up its mind on the name of this browser?
        • Recent updates have some reviewers saying this one is ready to use now; hasn’t been in past versions
  • Other things going on:
    • Firefox also implements “Safe Browsing,” a proprietary protocol from Google used to exchange data related with phishing and malware protection. Some of the more open-source versions, such as LibreFox, strip this (and other proprietary features) out.

— Play Vibrations Transition Bumper —

Vibrations from the Ether

20 minutes (~5 minutes each)

  • No Love

— Play Check This Transition Bumper —

Check This Out

10 minutes

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]

Join us live on Youtube

Post at the mintCast subreddit

Chat with us on Telegram and Discord,

Or post directly at https://mintcast.org


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

  • Someone (probably Bill, perhaps Joe, loud cry for help) 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 server 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 —

Linux Mint

The distribution that spawned a podcast. Support us by supporting them. Donate here.


We currently host our podcast at archive.org. Support us by supporting them. Donate here.


They’ve made post-production of our podcast possible. Support us by supporting them. Contribute here.

mintCast on the Web

This work is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

This Website Is Hosted On:

Thank You for Visiting