Episode 422 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

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

This is Episode 422!

This is Episode 422.5!

Recorded on Sunday, October 1, 2023

What was I saying again? I’m Joe, … Moss, … Bill, The magic number, I’m Majid, …Eric

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up in the news: LMDE 6 FAYE released, Mint 21.2 EDGE iso approved, Long-term support for Linux kernel to be cut,
  • In security and privacy: Update LibreOffice Now to Fix a Security Flaw, Chinese hackers have unleashed a never-before-seen Linux backdoor,
  • Then in our Wanderings: Majid mixes his compartments, Joe, Eric, Moss
  • In our Innards section
  • And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

— Play News Transition Bumper —

The News

20 minutes

  • LMDE 6 “FAYE” released Joe
    • From the Linux Mint Blog (via londoner)
    • LMDE 6 was released on Wednesday, September 27. For those who don’t already know, LMDE is a Linux Mint project which stands for “Linux Mint Debian Edition”.
    • Its goal is to ensure Linux Mint can continue to deliver the same user experience if Ubuntu was ever to disappear. It allows the Mint team to assess how much they depend on Ubuntu and how much work would be involved in such an event. LMDE is also one of their development targets, as such it guarantees the software they develop is compatible outside of Ubuntu. Release Notes for LMDE 6
    • Instructions on How to upgrade from LMDE 5 to LMDE 6 are here.
    • A brief history written by londoner. The possibility of a Debian edition of Linux Mint was first mentioned in a blog post by Clément Lefèbvre on November 19, 2007. It was developed primarily by Clem and Ikey Doherty. At the time, regular Linux Mint was on version 4 Daryna (based on Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon) which came with a Gnome desktop environment in 32-bit form only.
    • The first official release of LMDE was almost 3 years later, on September 7, 2010. It was then a rolling-release distribution based on Debian Testing (although it was later possible to move to the Debian Stable (aka Squeeze) repositories. LMDE 1 was available at first as 32-bit only and had no code-name. A 64-bit version was released in December 2010. Later releases were made with Xfce, MATE and Cinnamon DEs in both 32- and 64-bit forms.
    • Ikey briefly worked full-time on Linux Mint from February 2011, but had to leave due to other commitments.
    • Later versions of LMDE came and were code-named Betsy, Cindy, Debbie and Elsie respectively. LMDE 2 was released with both Cinnamon and MATE. Since LMDE 3,only the Cinnamon desktop has been released, in 64- and 32-bit versions.
  • Mint 21.2 EDGE iso approved Eric
    • From londoner
    • A new “EDGE” iso of Mint 21.2 Cinnamon was approved for stable release on Friday (Sep 29) and is appearing on local mirror sites. As of writing, a formal announcement has not been made.
    • In addition to its regular ISO images, Linux Mint sometimes provides an “edge” ISO image for its latest release. This image ships with newer components to be able to support the most modern hardware chipsets and devices.
    • If you cannot boot or install Linux Mint because your hardware is too recent and is not properly detected look for an “Edge” ISO image.
  • Long-term support for Linux kernel to be cut – Majid
    • From ZD Net (via londoner)
    • At the Open Source Summit Europe, Jonathan Corbett, Linux kernel developer and executive editor of Linux Weekly News, caught everyone up with what’s new in the Linux kernel and where it’s going from here.
    • Here’s one major change coming down the road: Long-term support (LTS) for Linux kernels is being reduced from six to two years.
    • Currently, there are six LTS Linux kernels — 6.1, 5.15, 5.10, 5.4, 4.19, and 4.14. Under the process to date, 4.14 would roll off in January 2024, and another kernel would be added. Going forward, though, when the 4.14 kernel and the next two drop off, they won’t be replaced.
    • Why? Simple, Corbett explained: “There’s really no point to maintaining it for that long because people are not using them.” I agree. While I’m sure someone out there is still running 4.14 in a production Linux system, there can’t be many of them. 
    • Another reason, and a far bigger problem than simply maintaining LTS, according to Corbett, is that Linux code maintainers are burning out. It’s not that developers are a problem. The last few Linux releases have involved an average of more than 2,000 programmers — including about 200 new developers coming on board — working on each release. However, the maintainers — the people who check the code to see if it fits and works properly — are another matter.
    • Maintainers face numerous obstacles to doing their jobs. Obstacle one: Many maintainers aren’t paid to maintain. They maintain code in addition to their day jobs. On top of that, they face increasing demands on their time — because of understaffing and because of the use of fuzzers to find bugs. While fuzzers are helpful, they also uncover way too many minor bugs, each of which must be examined and then dismissed by maintainers.
    • The result? To quote Josef Bacik, Linux kernel file system developer and maintainer: “Maintainers are burning out [because] maintainers don’t scale.” Added Darrick Wong, another senior Linux kernel maintainer: “This cannot stand. We need help.”
    • How can they get help? Well, for one thing, Corbett suggests maintainers talk to their employers about paying them for their maintainer work. As Wong observed, “Most of my friends work for small companies, nonprofits, and local governments. They report the same problems with overwork, pervasive fear, and anger, and struggle to understand and adapt to new ideas that I observe here. They see the direct connection between their org’s lack of revenue and resources. They don’t understand why the hell the same happens to me and my workplace proximity associates when we all work for companies that clear hundreds of billions of dollars.”
    • That’s a good question. Companies must realize they need to give back to Linux if they want to continue to reap its benefits.

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • Update LibreOffice Now to Fix a Security Flaw -Majid
    • From londoner
    • Following up from our last episode (#421) the WebP vulnerability we discussed then extends beyond your web browsers. LibreOffice has also been found to be affected, so any other application with WebP capabilty will probably be vulnerable too.
    • LibreOffice has released updates earlier this week. The version in the Mint repos is 7.3.7, but according to LibreOffice that version is no longer updated. The latest version on the LO website is 7.6.2. A more stable version 7.5.7 also contains the fix. Download either one from LibreOffice directly. Extract the tar.gz files and install all the DEB files. Instructions are in the Readme files.
    • More information in this article from How To Geek
  • Chinese hackers have unleashed a never-before-seen Linux backdoor – Eric
    • From Ars Technica (via londoner)
    • Researchers have discovered a never-before-seen backdoor for Linux that’s being used by a threat actor linked to the Chinese government.
    • The new backdoor originates from a Windows backdoor named Trochilus, which was first seen in 2015 by researchers from Arbor Networks, now known as Netscout. They said that Trochilus executed and ran only in memory, and the final payload never appeared on disks in most cases. That made the malware difficult to detect. Researchers from NHS Digital in the UK have said Trochilus was developed by APT10, an advanced persistent threat group linked to the Chinese government that also goes by the names Stone Panda and MenuPass.
    • Other groups eventually used it, and its source code has been available on GitHub for more than six years. Trochilus has been seen being used in campaigns that used a separate piece of malware known as RedLeaves.
    • In June, researchers from security firm Trend Micro found an encrypted binary file on a server known to be used by a group they had been tracking since 2021. By searching VirusTotal for the file name, ​​libmonitor.so.2, the researchers located an executable Linux file named “mkmon.” This executable contained credentials that could be used to decrypt the libmonitor.so.2 file and recover its original payload, leading the researchers to conclude that “mkmon” is an installation file that delivered and decrypted libmonitor.so.2.
    • The Linux malware ported several functions found in Trochilus and combined them with a new Socket Secure (SOCKS) implementation. The Trend Micro researchers eventually named their discovery SprySOCKS, with “spry” denoting its swift behavior and the added SOCKS component.
    • SprySOCKS implements the usual backdoor capabilities, including collecting system information, opening an interactive remote shell for controlling compromised systems, listing network connections, and creating a proxy based on the SOCKS protocol for uploading files and other data between the compromised system and the attacker-controlled command server.
    • After decrypting the binary and finding SprySOCKS, the researchers used the information they found to search VirusTotal for related files. Their search turned up a version of the malware with the release number 1.1. The version Trend Micro found was 1.3.6. The multiple versions suggest that the backdoor is currently under development.
    • The command-and-control server that SprySOCKS connects to has major similarities to a server that was used in a campaign with a different piece of Windows malware known as RedLeaves. Like SprySOCKS, RedLeaves was also based on Trochilus. Strings that appear in both Trochilus and RedLeaves also appear in the SOCKS component that was added to SprySOCKS. The SOCKS code was borrowed from the HP-Socket, a high-performance network framework with Chinese origins.
    • Trend Micro is attributing SprySOCKS to a threat actor it has dubbed Earth Lusca. The researchers discovered the group in 2021 and documented it the following year. Earth Lusca targets organizations around the world, primarily in governments in Asia. It uses social engineering to lure targets to watering-hole sites where targets are infected with malware. Besides showing interest in espionage activities, Earth Lusca seems financially motivated, with sights set on gambling and cryptocurrency companies.
    • The same Earth Lusca server that hosted SprySOCKS also delivered the payloads known as Cobalt Strike and Winnti. Cobalt Strike is a hacking tool used by security professionals and actors alike. It provides a full suite of tools for finding and exploiting vulnerabilities. Earth Lusca was using it to expand its access after getting an initial toehold inside a targeted environment. Winnti, meanwhile, is the name of both a suite of malware that has been in use for more than a decade as well as the identifier for a host of distinct threat groups, all connected to the Chinese government’s intelligence apparatus, which has been among the world’s most prolific hacking syndicates.
    • Monday’s Trend Micro report provides IP addresses, file hashes, and other evidence that people can use to determine if they’ve been compromised. Earth Lusca generally infects systems using recently fixed vulnerabilities often referred to as n-days. Timely patching is the best defense. Monday’s report provided no additional details on prevention or removal of the malware.

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Bill
  • Joe
    • I did some printing with petg again. It was ok, the stuff is still difficult to work with even after drying. Some really small things came out pretty well. I made a drip tip for my vaporizer but it shrunk in the heat but what I am really excited about making
    • I 3d printed a pair of mmcx earbuds. I was able to take the old 10mm drivers out of the lg hbs headsets that I always remove to replace with a mmcx connection and put them in a better casing which really has helped with the sound quality
    • I also slowed down my prints a lot. I dropped the speed down to 50mm/s and the quality has greatly improved
    • Then i decided to move away from using my old s7 as the brains for my octopi. It was still overheating and i didnt think that it was keeping up very well. So i pulled out my pi 4b which i use as a test bed but have not done so in a while. it was really easy to setup with the camera stack and the official pi imager.
    • Even putting the speed part way back up the prints are still better and i have had less issues in regards to extrusion. I dont know why. Maybe it is correlation and not causation or maybe the pi just works better for this task.
    • I also 3d printed some cans. I had the 50mm drivers that had been sitting waiting for this project and a brand new roll of pla. I probably should have done something like petg but i think the design would not have done well in the print stages. I like how it turned out and i was able to use a cable with a microphone in the middle so it will work well with the devices that i have.
    • I would like for their to be a bit more clamping force but i will have to design my own before i can get that. Look up the armadillo headset on thingiverse.
    • The original STL was designed for 40 mm drivers but i found the modded stls that i had created a couple of years ago in preparation for this. I was really surprised with how well the can and the grill worked considering when i made it. There were only some small issues that were not noticeable until printing was complete.
    • I needed a desk fan for work so I decided to make my own. A friend at work had a couple of extra 120mm fans and there were some stls on thingiverse that I was able to modify to make it so that I could mount the thing to a spring clip. I am still waiting on the 5 dollar part to hook it to a power supply to come from amazon but it should be here today.
    • I also pulled out the pinephone and reinstalled Manjaro. I tried arch at first but i did not like it. Manjaro was a lot easier to use. I did want to try out x2go on there and see if i could get it working.
    • I immediately fell into dependency hell and started having flashbacks to my early days of linux. I was able to slog all the way through getting nx installed and x2go only to find out that the client doesnt work on wayland without a lot more configuration. I knew that the server would not work but i was hoping that the client would. No such luck. I did find a description of how to get x11 forwarding working but i have not followed it yet. Maybe next time.
    • Also on my work from home days i was doing some 3d printing and noticed something interesting. It did take a me a little bit to get it all put together but everytime i would start a print and try to monitor it using the camera attached to the pi i would lose connection with work. Evidently the camera server was saturating the wifi connection to the point that nothing else on the same network was able to access the internet. This is an easy enough problem to solve, i will just run an ethernet cable to the pi. The issue did clear up once i removed the USB camera from the PI. Still able to print.
    • I was able to get an ethernet cable that reached over to my pi and got it wired into the internet. I have noticed that my wifi seems to be better but I have not worked since then to say if it is still being impacted
    • The pi is also showing low power alerts which is odd because i have the dedicated power supply. I will look to see if i can find another one or grab one of the high end ones that i have and see if that improves
    • You remember how in the past I was talking about my Buick needing new window rails in various windows and it was a common fault. Well the same happened in my van that my wife uses. I have not replaced the rails yet and it looks like it is not going to be an easy thing to do. But last night I did go out there and and try to do the vice grip fix on it to hold it closed.
    • Because of the complexity and how the rails are set up this was not a viable fix. I ended up use a tension rod like you use in a locker with a slit cut into the end and apiece of dowel cut down to size and wedged in tightly. This is not optimal and took me well past midnight to do but I am hoping that it will hold until next month and I can try to do the replacement the way that it should be done.
  • Moss
  • Majid
    • So since last time, I’ve been a bit quiet on the distro front. I’ve managed to resist the urge to distro-hop on my main machine again, actually gnome does work fine on a desktop interface, though maybe thats cos I am used to it on laptops/convertibles etc.
    • I was invited again onto Linux OTC last week, and found it a really fun time, really enjoyed sparring with the lads and hearing heresy from Leo about Apple (boo!)
    • It seems that my podcasting life is starting to bleed into my work! More people at work have been asking me about the various podcasts I’ve either come on as a guest or regularly host. So if theres an uptick in listeners from central england, you’ll know why!
    • The fact that I’m the resident techie in our hospital, and the above notoriety about being a podcasting means that suddenly I’m supposed to know a lot about Anaesthesiology simulation. There are a variety of types of simulation, all the way from the lo-fi mannequin and props, to quite high-fidelity Sim wards. I am going to be doing some training on this during the week. But also we did run a lo-fi session last week, and it was really beneficial for the junior doctors.
    • Strikes are on-going at the hospital. Next one is this week with both junior and senior doctors walking out. I think I made my feelings clear the last time. I support, but they aint gonna work.
    • Upgraded my personal phone. Went for a OnePlus 11. Was getting a good deal with interest-free credit, and (amazingly) sold my old phone (Find X5 Pro) within 30min on ebay! I’ve been a bit of an OnePlus afficianado having had a 3, 3T, 5, 5T, 6, 7 pro, Nord & 8 Pro. I have a real love-hate relationship with this brand, and have many times sworn never to get another one (which I obviously didn’t follow!). This is a much stronger device from OnePlus then the last few years. Its a lot more of an OPPO phone (which is the parent brand) then before, but thats not a bad thing really. Great screen, great camera, great performance, but the feature I like the most is fast charging. Real fast charging, not the fake “fast charging” we see in Apple/Google/Samsung. 100W Supervooc charger going 0-100 in 25 min. Once you are used it, its a game changer, battery anxiety has disappeared. Some will say whats the point, or wont it harm the battery. Well tests have shown no real battery degradation more then the norm (MKBHD has a good video on this). As for whats the point, its not unsurprising that these innovations come from China or India market players. Places were electricity infra-structure isnt the best, and your electricity may only be there for a few hours a day. Having fast charging then is really important. There is even a Realme with 240W charging that chargers from dead to 100% in 12 min (!!!!). I suppose for me in the UK, its just a nice perk.
    • Quite liking the new AMD Lenovo laptop I’ve bought. First AMD Ryzen laptop ive ever had. Good performance and battery life. Havent got round to putting a distro on it yet… maybe Arch? Because, why not, I mean what could possibly go wrong?!
    • So i sent the Beats headphones back, got some Senheisers, really good, but not comfortable at all. went for Earfun Air Pro 3. Its not for nothing that Apple have had this stem design on the airpods which other manufacturers copy, at least for my ear shape, they are the most comfortable. no point having great audio if you cant keep them in!
    • Our experience with cat-sitting ends today, the owners are coming to pick them up. Well actually they picked one up 2 weeks ago, and were planning to get the other one last week, but my wife very inconveniently decided to get COVID (dunno if youve heard of this virus before!). So they are coming tonight. I feel like Winston in 1984 (the novel). Having spent years denying my daughter a cat…. I think we’ll buy our own. I’ve had to learn a bit about different breeds and the processes about pet ownership. I have never had a pet in my life (I suppose kids don’t count).
    • It is the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad this week, not all muslims commemorate this, but we will be, so may not be able to do Linux OTC next week as I’ll be at a local Zawiya (islamic centre) for a function of rememberance.
    • Started watching BAttlestar Galactica (the 2000s version, not the 1980s one). It regularly tops the rankings of great sci-fi. It is good, but not bingeable in the way other more modern sci-fi like The Expanse was. Enjoying the second season of Foundation, though its not as good as the first in my opinion. Also got Silo on my list
  • Eric
    • I have been spending a lot of time looking at different distributions using my usual pattern of trying them out in a virtual machine and, if they turn out to be compelling enough, trying them on hardware. Some of the ones I have looked at are Debian 12, LMDE 6, BunsenLabs, Ultramarine, risiOS, OpenMandriva ROME, siduction, and Ubuntu 23.10 (Mantic Minotaur) Beta. I haven’t gotten around to installing any of them on hardware yet but there are a few that are interesting enough that I probably will soon.
    • I have kept researching options for a Linux-based tablet and think I am going to buy a Lenovo IdeaPad Miix 510. It was released in December of 2016 positioned as a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 competitor. It has a 12.2″ IPS screen capable of 1920 x 1200 resolutions and 307 nits brightness, a sixth gen Skylake i5-6200U running at 2.3GHz, 8GB of RAM, a 256 NVMe M.2 drive, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac WiFi, Headphone jack, USB-A Type 3, USB-C, and barrel power ports, a detachable back-lit keyboard cover with integrated 3.3 x 1.8-inch button-less touch-pad, and a hypothetical 8 hour battery life with Windows. The computer portion has a kickstand very much like a Surface. It’s not going to be a powerhouse but those specs should be good enough to run most apps reasonably well. I haven’t found a lot of information about running Linux on this machine other than an article describing running Debian 10 and 11 with the cameras being the only thing not working. I don’t care too much about this if it is the case, although it would be nice to have the front facing camera for meetings.
    • I have been spending a decent chunk of my weekends participating in podcasts like Linux OTC, LinuxLUGCast, and this one! It has been a lot of fun and I hope I can keep doing it.

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)

  • Android Open Source Majid
    • If you think Android is “still Linux”, you may be interested in the various branches of the Android Open Source Project, or AOSP
      • One of Android’s greatest strengths, and source of occasional frustrations, is its wide variety of software variations. Samsung, Sony, and even Google offer their own take on the core Android experience, introducing their own unique features and ideas to improve on the basic software below. This is all made possible thanks to a common base operating system (OS) that provides the core functionality. That’s right, all of the Android OS variants that you know and love are based on AOSP, or the Android Open Source Project.
      • Put simply, AOSP is an open-source operating system development project maintained by Google. Since it’s open-source, anyone is free to review and contribute code and fixes to the project repository. However, Google oversees its general direction and has the final say in the bulk of its development.
      • AOSP receives regular bug fixes, which get packaged and delivered to Android smartphones in the form of monthly security patches. Google also unveils major new features each year at its I/O developer conference, with yearly releases like Android 13.
      • In addition to being open to contributions, the Android Open Source Project is free to use and alter under an open-source license. Manufacturers like Amazon and Samsung are free to tweak the project for their own purposes and have developed their own spin-offs, including the multi-purpose Fire OS. This has turned out to be an important factor in HUAWEI’s continued development of EMUI and Harmony OS following US trade sanctions.
      • It’s also important to note that most phone manufacturers obtain versions of AOSP from chipset vendors like Qualcomm. This is because Android has to be tailored to low-level hardware via drivers. This has historically been the cause of delayed Android updates and limited years of update support. Ultimately, Google is happy with this arrangement, as it encourages developers to use Android for a wide range of internet-connected gadgets. In return, an array of companies each contribute fixes and improvements to the OS. It’s a win-win.
    • It all started with Cyanogenmod…
    • CyanogenMod
      • CyanogenMod was first made in 2009. It is entirely open-source and does have some differences with Android. For instance, CyanogenMod has FLAC codec support, CPU-overclocking abilities, and various other features and tweaks. CyanogenMod supposedly has less bloatware than Android, thus, it may run faster on a device than Android. CyanogenMod still uses the APK package system and may use Google’s Play Store if the user desires. CyanogenMod uses a customizable launcher that supported various themes/skins. Do not download CyanogenMod from a third-party because some third-parties may make a malicious installer that can cause problems and create spyware. (http://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/CyanogenMod_Installer) (http://www.cyanogenmod.org/)
    • Not only does Android have forks and derivatives, but so does CyanogenMod. Cyanfox (cyanfox-rom.com), Chameleon OS (chameleonos.org), AOSB (http://probam.net/) and others use CyanogenMod as their base.
    • LineageOS
      • Lineage OS is the successor to CyanogenMod, from which it was forked in December 2016, when Cyanogen Inc. announced it was discontinuing development and shut down the infrastructure behind the project. Since Cyanogen Inc. retained the rights to the Cyanogen name, the project rebranded its fork as LineageOS.
      • LineageOS was officially launched on 24 December 2016, with the source code available on both GitHub and GitLab. In March 2017, it reportedly had one million users with the OnePlus One being the most popular device.
    • /e/ OS
      • /e/ is a fork of LineageOS, in turn a fork of the CyanogenMod, created by Gael Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux. /e/ uses MicroG, “an open source project that hijacks Google API calls.” according to Ron Amadeo of ars Technica, as an alternative for Google Play Services, and Mozilla Location Service for geolocation.
      • Some /e/ applications and sources are proprietary. As of June 2022, /e/ includes a proprietary maps app. A privacy app was proprietary when first developed, then open source after release. Sources for some devices are not publicly available, according to foundation staff.
      • The Free Software Foundation declined to endorse /e/ because it “contains nonfree libraries”.
    • GrapheneOS
      • If security and privacy are your main reasons behind your search for an Android alternative, GrapheneOS fits the bill perfectly. It’s a security-hardened operating system, built with top-notch privacy protection in mind. GrapheneOS, earlier known as CopperheadOS, is also developed on Android, but the main developer, Daniel Micay has worked extensively to make GrapheneOS a completely secure mobile operating system. Even Edward Snowden endorsed GrapheneOS and said that “If I were configuring a smartphone today, I’d use Daniel Micay’s GrapheneOS as the base operating system“.
      • Currently, it only supports Pixel devices including the Pixel 6 series.
      • GrapheneOS ships with a hardened variant of Chromium called Vanadium for browsing the web, there is a security-focused PDF viewer, a secure camera app, Seedvault for encrypted backup, and a lot more. Not to mention, it does not ship with Google Play Services or microG, making it a completely deGoogled Android fork. All in all, if you are looking for a secure alternative to Android, GrapheneOS would be my top recommendation.
    • CalyxOS
      • CalyxOS preserves the Android security model, using Android’s Verified Boot system of cryptographic signing of the operating system, and running with a locked bootloader, partly thanks to an installer that guides the user through the process of unlocking and then re-locking the bootloader.
      • CalyxOS was publicly launched during their 2018–2019 fiscal year. Inspiration included Tails and Qubes OS, and goals were said to be “completely open source”, removing proprietary Google tracking, and including apps Tor, Signal and CalyxVPN for increased privacy.
      • CalyxOS supports Pixel phones Pixel 3 and newer. In April 2022, CalyxOS announced Android 12L for testing on Fairphone 4, and OnePlus 8T, 9, and 9 Pro. However, in May 2022, CalyxOS announced OnePlus builds were pulled because of a bootloader “relock issue”. As of July 2022, according to CalyxOS the OnePlus relock issue had not been resolved.
    • KaiOS
      • For feature phones, KaiOS is a great alternative to Android. We know that Android has become quite heavy at this point. So to bring a lightweight mobile operating system to the masses, KaiOS serves the purpose really well without missing out on major features. It’s a Linux-based OS, forked from the discontinued Firefox OS, and can run on devices with just 256MB of RAM.
      • KaiOS packs its own KaiStore where you can find over 500 apps which include WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google app, UC Browser, lightweight games, and more. There are hundreds of models available around the globe and the starting price of these phones is just $10 which is amazing. In India, JioPhone is quite popular which costs around $20-25 and runs KaiOS. To sum up, KaiOS is a perfect alternative to Android in regions where affordability is preferred over a long list of features.
    • Sailfish OS
      • Sailfish OS has been one of the oldest alternatives to Android, competing and developing a mobile operating system since 2013. It is currently in its 4th generation and is being actively developed by a Finnish company Jolla Ltd. Sailfish OS has been built on top of Linux along with many other open-source projects. While it’s not built on Android, Sailfish OS can run Android apps using its dedicated App Support solution. And that’s one of the selling points of Sailfish OS.
      • In Sailfish OS, user data is fully encrypted by its sandboxing solution called Firejail. All the connectivity and traffic runs behind a firewall with support for VPN. In terms of security, Sailfish OS is quite good and the company is making an investment to make it even more secure. Apart from all that, Sailfish OS has a distinct visual style and the gesture-based apps are fun to use. You can try Sailfish OS on Sony Xperia phones and Gemini PDA.
    • Other Androids
      • Android Open Kang Project (AOKP) is another Android fork. AOKP started in 2011 with the release of Ice-Cream-Sandwich (Android ICS). Like CyanogenMod, AOKP supports APK and is entirely open-source. AOKP is highly customizable. AOKP can even be set to vibrate differently depending on who calls you. If you like customizing your mobile system and you wish to use a fork of Android, then AOKP may be the system for you. (http://www.aokp.co/)
      • Baidu Yi is a Chinese fork of Android. The company “Baidu” develops Baidu Yi and has replaced many of the Google applications with their own. Baidu Yi contains proprietary code. (http://rom.baidu.com/home)
      • LeWa OS (also called “Music Frogs” or “жабка”) is a Android derivative that is optimized for the Chinese language. In other words, this is a localized system. LeWa OS uses the APK packaging system and contains some proprietary code. (English: http://www.lewaos.com/en/) (Chinese: http://www.lewaos.com/)
      • MIUI (pronounced as “me you I” and stands for “Mobile Internet User Interface”) is an iOS-like Android derivative. MIUI still uses the Linux kernel and supports the APK packaging system. However, the system contains a lot of closed-source code and looks like iOS. MIUI has a virus scanner and is slowly becoming less like Android. MIUI and MIUI devices can be obtained from the company Xiaomi. (http://www.mi.com/en/)
      • The company Maizu develops smart phones with their own remix of Android called Flyme OS. (http://en.meizu.com/)
      • OPhone uses some code from Android, but OPhone is not a Android derivative. However, it is still an embedded mobile Linux system. (www.ophonesdn.com)
      • OmniROM is entirely open-source and uses APK although use of Google’s Play Store is discouraged, but permitted. OmniROM has a lot in common with CyanogenMod. (http://omnirom.org/ and https://github.com/omnirom/)
      • Replicant is a like CyanogenMod or AOKP, but the focus of the Replicant project is security rather than performance or customizability. Replicant still supports APK and uses the Linux kernel. If you wish to use a derivative of Android and security is an concern of yours, then Replicant is probably the best choice for you. (http://www.replicant.us/)
      • XobotOS is an experimental project to replace Android’s Java code with C#. The project is no longer maintained. Its purpose was a proof of concept by Miguel de Icaza. Even though XobotOS is no longer used, its existence can still teach us that an OS can still function while being written in a different programming language. It also proves that Android does not need to be written in more than one language. We can hope future programmers learn from Miguel’s experiment. Thank you Miguel de Icaza! (https://github.com/xamarin/XobotOS)
  • Fire OS is a proprietary Android derivative that still uses APK and the Linux kernel. Many people use this operating system and they probably have no idea it is an Android derivative. Many of you using the device that Fire OS was made for may not even know that Fire OS is the name of the OS on the device. So, what is the name of the device that uses Fire OS…….. The Kindle-Fire! Yes, the Kindle Fire is using an Android derivative and it is using the Linux kernel. (https://developer.amazon.com/sdk/fireos.html)

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Vibrations from the Ether

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Check This Out

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

  • Someone for our audio editing
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  • Hobstar for our logo, initrd for the animated Discord logo
  • Londoner for our time syncs and various other contributions
  • 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!>

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