Episode 426 Show Notes

Welcome to mintCast

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

This is Episode 426!

This is Episode 426.5!

Recorded on Sunday, November 26, 2023

Hoping yall had a great thanksgiving im Joe; all anniversaried out, I’m Moss; Thanksgiving is over, time to put up the tree, I’m Bill; still solvent, I’m Majid; and still regretting eating so much, I’m Eric

— Play Standard Intro —

  • First up in the news: mintCast has a birthday, Mint 21.3 is named, Amazon works on a Linux fork for their devices, Ubuntu commits to Netplan, Firefox attempts Wayland, FreeBSD 14 is out, Endeavour releases Galileo, Vivaldi comes to Flathub, Google kills magazine content, OpenMandriva releases Rock 5.0, Pipewire reaches 1.0.0
  • In security and privacy: Google Chrome’s Privacy Washing;
  • Then in our Wanderings: Bill may just be losing his mind, (there are doubts?), Joe prints everything but money, Majid does VR, Moss hangs on, and Eric spends more quality time with his Linux tablet.
  • In our Innards section: Tablets. Linux tablets.
  • And finally, the feedback and a couple of suggestions

— Play News Transition Bumper —

The News

20 minutes

  • mintCast Turns 15 – Bill
    • On Thursday November 24th, mintCast celebrated it’s 15th birthday. On November 24, 2008 the very first episode of mintCast was broadcast with just a single host, Charles Olsen. It wasn’t until episode 3 that a second host joined Charles. To mark this special event, the current team have commissioned new theme music and bumpers. Also our very own Moss has updated the closing outro, replacing the long-running version made by Rob Hawkins who was a host from 2011 to 2018. Thanks to Interfection for creating the new music and to all the previous hosts for helping to make mintCast into the great show it is today. All the previous shows are available at mintcast.org, and many of the previous hosts were interviewed as part of episode 300.
  • Linux Mint 21.3 has been named – Eric
  • Amazon moves from Android Fork to Linux – Majid
    • from OMGUbuntu
    • Word of Amazon’s new OS, which is being developed under the codename ‘Vega’ comes by way of Lowpass‘ journalist Janko Roettgers.
    • Roettgers says he spoke to sources who say Amazon is building its own iOS/Android competitor and has tasked “hundreds of people” within the Amazon Device OS group with building it.
    • This includes former Mozilla engineer Zibi Braniecki, who tweeted earlier this year to say he is working at Amazon on a “next generation Operating System for Smart Home, Automotive, and other Amazon Devices product lines” (sic).
    • “Most of the OS development is already done,” Roettgers’ sources add. They say they expect Vega to begin shipping on Fire TVs early next year. An SDK is now being readied for release so developers have time to port their apps to Vega ahead of its debut.
    • “Amazon’s new operating system is also based on a flavor of Linux, and is using a more web-forward application model. App developers are being told to use React Native as an application framework, which allows them to build native apps with Javascript-powered interfaces,” Roettgers says.
    • React Native is a smart choice because it’s cross-platform, making it easy for developers who already build iOS/Android apps using it to bring them to Amazon Vega (don’t get used to the name btw, it’s possible it won’t be called this if/when announced).
    • But wait, doesn’t Amazon run Linux already?
    • Amazon produce a slate of devices, including smart TVs, displays, and speakers. These run on Fire OS, a fork of Android based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). Vega is apparently not another Android fork nor based on AOSP. It is all-new, proper Linux.
    • Amazon’s eventual goal is to move away from relying on Android for all new hardware devices.
    • Vega is primed for lower-power devices that struggle with the bloat that Android, ostensibly a mobile phone OS, comes with, meaning Fire TV, smart displays and smart speakers, IoT devices, and Amazon’s automotive ambitions (when/if they materialise).
    • So despite the appetite for one, Vega isn’t going to be an Android-killer, won’t bring an influx of big name apps to benefit regular Linux distros, nor see Amazon do something crazy cool like create a new Linux tablet interface.
    • Also, we’re talking Amazon. They can (and have) canned stuff, even after putting considerable amounts of time, money, and resources into developing it.
    • But if Vega does make it out, if it works well, and if it proves a hit with consumers, who knows what it could support, power, or run on in the future.
    • Sidenote: Someone purporting to be working at Amazon on Vega OS said “the latest versions of Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 15 already run Vega. You might notice they’re much faster than previous generations”.
    • Vega will certainly reduce Amazon’s reliance on Android (and to a degree Google ), enable it to innovate more rapidly (many Fire devices still run on Android 7), and give them an agile, lightweight, and unified platform across all their devices which they can, presumably, monetize.
    • Regardless of whether you would buy something with Vega OS on it, more Linux is always a good thing.
  • Ubuntu 24.04 LTS Committing Fully To Netplan For Network Configuration Joe
    • from Phoronix
    • The Canonical-developed Netplan has served for Linux network configuration on Ubuntu Server and Cloud versions for years. With the recent Ubuntu 23.10 release, Netplan is now being used by default on the desktop. Canonical is committing to fully leveraging Netplan for network configuration with the upcoming Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release and in turn also marking the Netplan 1.0 release.
    • Netplan is Canonical’s network configuration manager for Linux systems with network interfaces being described via YAML files. Netplan considers itself as a “network configuration abstraction renderer” that in turn interfaces with NetworkManager or systemd-networkd. Netplan finally made its way to the Ubuntu 23.10 desktop by default with having better integration for knowing when connections are created/modified through NetworkManager.
    • For Ubuntu 24.04 LTS, Canonical plans to polish the Netplan codebase and deliver a Netplan 1.0 release with API/ABI stability. They are also hoping other Linux distributions begin adopting Netplan. Debian so far has decided to go with Netplan for their network stack on Debian Cloud images.
      • Netplan can be used transparently to control a workstation’s network configuration and plays hand-in-hand with many desktop environments through its tight integration with NetworkManager. It allows for easy network monitoring, using common graphical interfaces and provides a “single source of truth” to network administrators, allowing for configuration of Ubuntu Desktop fleets in a streamlined and declarative way.
    • More details on the Ubuntu Blog.
  • Firefox is going to try to ship Wayland as default Moss
    • from Phoronix
    • Guardrails have been in place where the Firefox browser has enabled Wayland by default (when running on recent GTK versions) but as of Nov 24 that code has been removed… Firefox will try to move forward with stable releases where Wayland will ship by default!
    • Mozilla Bug 1752398 to “ship the Wayland backend to release” has been closed this evening! After the ticket was open for the past two years, it’s now deemed ready to hopefully ship enabled for Firefox 121!
    • This patch drops the “early beta or earlier” check to let Wayland support be enabled by default when running on recent GTK versions (GTK 3.24.30 threshold).
    • Firefox 121 is due for release around 19 December and if all continues to hold, it will finally ship with the Wayland back-end enabled by default as another big step forward. With KDE Plasma 6.0 using Wayland by default, XWayland rootful mode improving, and other (X)Wayland progress, 2024 could very well be the year of Wayland shining in the Linux desktop limelight.
  • FreeBSD 14 Released Joe
    • from FreeBSD blog
    • The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 14.0-RELEASE. This is the first release from the stable/14 branch.
    • Some of the highlights:
      • OpenSSH has been updated to version 9.5p1.
      • OpenSSL has been updated to version 3.0.12, a major upgrade from OpenSSL 1.1.1t in FreeBSD 13.2-RELEASE.
      • The bhyve hypervisor now supports TPM and GPU passthrough.
      • FreeBSD supports up to 1024 cores on the amd64 and arm64 platforms.
      • ZFS has been upgraded to OpenZFS release 2.2, providing significant performance improvements.
      • It is now possible to perform background filesystem checks on UFS file systems running with journaled soft updates.
      • Experimental ZFS images are now available for AWS and Azure.
      • The default congestion control mechanism for TCP is now CUBIC.
      • And much more…​
    • For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the online release notes and errata list, available at:
    • For more information about FreeBSD release engineering activities, please see:
  • EndeavourOS Releases Galileo Desktop – Majid
    • from EndeavourOS blog
    • It has taken a while to develop this release but Endeavour is still here and, despite life throwing in extra challenges for each of our team members the past months, we are proud to present you our Galileo ISO with significant changes.
    • Just a reminder, the changes described here are affecting new installs, our Calamares installer, and the Live environment on the ISO only. Running systems don’t have to “upgrade” to Galileo, if you update regularly your system is fine.
    • With Galileo, the team focused on keeping EndeavourOS rolling by streamlining the workflow of the team. This meant that they had to make switches and cuts to fit the amount of work behind the scenes with the team’s day-to-day life challenges and obligations.
    • Despite having slimmed down the features on our ISO, Galileo is still a genuine EndeavourOS release. This means a jumpstart into Arch without too many pre-settings we think you should need, so you can tailor your system to your needs.
    • To make development and maintenance easier for the team, they switched to KDE Plasma instead of Xfce due to a more native experience for our developers with the Calamares installer. This only affects the Live environment and the offline install option. When choosing the online install option, Xfce is still there as an option to choose from. For those who like the Xfce theming they created, this option will still be available after installation through the Welcome app.
    • The community editions Sway, Qtile, BSPWM, Openbox, and Worm aren’t available anymore through the Calamares installer. Unfortunately, most of the original devs left the project and there’s nobody who picked it up from them to make them work with each Calamares update. For a while the core dev team discreetly picked up the work, but they had to make this decision in order for the project to go forward. The community editions are still available installing them manually through this GitHub page.
    • Local Hostname Resolution will be enabled on a new install: This was a community request to simplify the process to enable network printers described in our Discovery network printer article. Local Hostname Resolution being enabled doesn’t mean network printers are enabled by default, you still have to go through some steps to enable it manually.
    • When LUKS encryption with systemd-boot is chosen, the system will be installed with a stronger LUKS2 encryption using argon2id.
    • From now on only one DE/WM option can be installed within the Calamares installer to prevent issues regarding conflicting packages after installation.
  • Vivaldi comes to Flathub – Majid
    • from OMGUbuntu
    • Fans of the Vivaldi web browser will be pleased to hear it’s now available to install from Flathub.
    • Vivaldi’s Flathub package is not official or verified, as the store listing makes clear: “This package is not officially endorsed or supported by Vivaldi Technologies” — this is despite the fact it is uploaded by and maintained by a Vivaldi employee.
    • The hope/want is to make it official/verified down the line but, for now, Vivaldi’s Flathub presence is there to “test the waters”, Vivaldi’s Ruarí Ødegaard says, and help satisfy the “overwhelming demand from users” for the browser to be available on the store in some guise.
    • Vivaldi launched in 2015 offering day-one Linux support. It provides official DEB and RPM packages for major Linux distributions through its website. Those packages remain the recommended way to install the app on Linux.
    • Even so, making a Flatpak available on Flathub, even if’s not an official one yet, will help the browser reach a much wider audience – like those with a Steam Deck in their hands.
    • Why is it not official yet?
      • You’ll find a number of web browsers on Flathub, including official builds of Firefox, GNOME Web, and KDE Falkon, but few (if any) Chromium-based browsers are official or verified (and Vivaldi is also a Chromium-based browser).
      • Part of why this is the case may down to uncertainties with how secure Chromium’s sandbox is when run in a Flatpak environment.
      • Flatpak doesn’t allow important parts of the Chromium sandbox to work as it should. Chromium browsers and Electron apps distributed on Flathub all rely on a 3rd-party package called Zypak to trick Chromium into thinking its SUID sandbox is present.
      • Further testing is required to find out if important software such as browsers relying on “tricks” to function introduce any security drawbacks.
    • Trending in the right direction
      • Official or not, this addition makes it easier to install Vivaldi on Linux (no need to go fetch installers) and lets users get future updates quicker, thanks to automatic updates. The browser is also now placed to reach a wider audience, potentially growing its user-base as a result.
      • Plus, some unofficial Flathub packages became official this year, including the Thunderbird e-mail client, and the messaging app Discord which, prior to verification, had already racked up millions of installs.
      • Should Vivaldi become official in time too, it backing would signal to other software vendors that Flathub is where it’s at — because it really is. Increasingly, Flathub it not just where Linux users go to find software but where they expect to find software.
  • Google News is shutting down purchased magazine content, offering refunds Eric
    • from ArsTechnicab
    • Google News is known to most people as a big pile of web links, but it actually hosts magazines, too. Before the days of the Internet, a “magazine” was a big bundle of paper full of articles you could get shipped to your door, sort of like if you printed out a website. For a time, you could pay cold, hard cash for a digital copy of a paper magazine through Google and then view that content through whatever the latest Google magazine/news app was.
    • Magazine content sales were shut down in 2020, though, and soon, Google’s magazine content will no longer be hosted online. The company announced on a support page that purchased content will be shut down starting December 18.
    • Google started selling magazines in 2012 with “Google Play Magazines.” You could buy individual magazine issues for around $8 or subscribe yearly for $11. These were all hosted by Google, with access available through the app and web. One year later, in 2013, Play Magazines was merged with another Google news app, Google Currents, to create Google Play Newsstand. Newsstand featured paid magazines and free website content. Google spent 2013–2016 rolling out purchasing support across more and more countries.
    • By 2018, Play Newsstand was replaced by the first “Google News” app, a long-overdue entry in the Google app portfolio given how much of a powerhouse Google News has been online. The new app focused more on online content but kept a spot for your magazine subscriptions. The Android Google News app still has the same package name from 2012: “com.google.android.apps.magazines.”
    • With sales of new magazines dead in 2020, it was only a matter of time until Google shut down the hosting of old, purchased magazine content. The good news is that you can download a PDF of your purchased magazine before December 18. Anyone who has purchased magazine content should be getting an email with an option to download or, for some magazines, request a refund.
    • Google says that some magazines will be refund-eligible because they “contain interactive elements that cannot be downloaded and saved for future access.” December 18 isn’t just the date for the hosting shutdown, but also the deadline for downloads or refund requests.
    • Offering a PDF download is better than nothing, but static PDFs are a lot more cumbersome and miserable than the slick user experience Google’s original magazine offering had across all your devices. Remember, all online content purchases are really just rentals.
  • OpenMandriva LX 5 released Moss
    • from OpenMandriva blog
    • OpenMandriva Lx 5.0, the long-awaited release of the independent, community controlled distribution’s fixed point release branch (as opposed to its rolling release branch), has been released.
    • This is expected to be the last major release featuring the Plasma 5 desktop.
    • In the 1.5 years since the previous fixed point release, OMLx 4.3, many things have changed.
    • Among others, the new release is based on kernel 6.6 LTS (kernel-desktop-6.6.2 – 6.7.0-rc2 is also available), Mesa 23.3.0-rc4, Qt 5.15.11+KDE Patches and 6.6.0, KDE Frameworks 5.112, KDE Gear 23.08.3, Plasma, LibreOffice 7.6.3, and other current Open Source software.
    • Outside of component updates, this is the first fixed point release that merges the / and /usr filesystems.
    • All recent security vulnerabilities (such as the frequently reported ones affecting glibc and curl) have been addressed as soon as relevant patches have been available.
    • Users of OMLx 4.x releases are strongly advised to opt for a fresh installation of 5.0 for enhanced security.
    • People using OpenMandriva ROME (Rolling release) or Cooker don’t need to update. All new features provided in 5.0 are already available on the rolling release branches and have been tested extensively there.
    • New variants of the distribution – such as a server centric spin and versions for various ARM boards, will follow shortly – we’re still working on the best way to bring features like a fully open graphics stack even on the Mali G610 GPU found, for example, in Rockchip 3588 boards. Current snapshots are promising.
    • A RISC-V port is also in progress, but will likely not be ready for a fixed point release before 6.0.
  • Pipewire reaches 1.0.0 Eric
    • From gitlab.freedesktop.org (via londoner)
    • Earlier today, Pipewire 1.0.0 (El Presidente) was released. Pipewire was originally released in June 2017 as a server for handling audio, video streams, and hardware on Linux. In most cases, including Mint, it is a replacement for pulseaudio. In April 2021, Fedora Linux 34 became the first Linux distribution to ship Pipewire for audio by default. A year later, Pop! OS adopted it as the default audio server in version 22.04. It was made the default audio server in Ubuntu beginning with version 22.10. In 2023, it was adopted as the default audio server for the GNOME desktop environment in Debian 12 Bookworm. A decision on its use in Mint has not been taken yet, although some of the components are already installed.

— Play Security Transition Bumper —

Security and Privacy

10 minutes

  • Google Chrome’s IP Protection is privacy washing Moss
    • from ProtonVPN Blog
    • Last month, Google launched a new feature for Chrome called IP Protection that makes it easier for the company to spy on you. No surprise, since this is Google’s business model. But what’s concerning is that Google is marketing this as a privacy feature.
    • More and more, Google is using privacy washing, a form of false advertising designed to trick people into thinking their products are private.
    • Before IP Protection, there was “enhanced ad privacy”, another Chrome feature designed to trap you inside Google’s surveillance network to the exclusion of other companies.
    • The idea behind IP Protection is much the same. It shields your computer’s IP address from other websites while passing all your web traffic through a server owned by Google. This gives Google a God’s-eye view of every website you visit at all times while using Chrome, whether you are logged in to your Google Account or not. There is zero privacy benefit to IP Protection in its current form, and we strongly recommend people do not enable it.
    • Other privacy advocates are also raising the alarm. Developers reviewing the codebase have strongly criticized Google.
    • Criticism of Google Chrome IP Protection
    • “This doesn’t have anything to do with security,” one developer wrote. “This is all about control, harvesting data, and ensuring Google’s position as the advertising leader on the internet.”
    • Google’s competitive advantage is its highly targeted advertising, with 80% of its $224 billion in revenue coming from ads. These ads are only valuable so long as Google knows all about your interests from your searches and browsing activity.
    • As the world’s most popular web browser, Chrome is Google’s window on billions of people, particularly when combined with other data sources, such as Google Search or Google Maps. If you’re logged into your Google Account, for example to access your Gmail, the company can then associate all your searches with your account. The company has ways to track you even if you’re using Incognito Mode.
    • This is why IP Protection is a sham. In its initial stage of development, Google Chrome is using its own proxy server to generate a temporary IP address to conceal your real IP address from a list of specific websites that Google owns. To enable IP Protection at this stage, you must opt in.
    • In future stages, Google says it may add a second proxy server operated by another company. The “second hop”, as they call it, would only see the temporary IP address from the first server and the website you plan to visit. This other company is supposedly independent, but Google would presumably choose the provider and define its policies.
    • The two-hop system may look like a privacy benefit — except that Google already has numerous other ways to track you. Google sees your search history, Google Analytics, your Chrome history, cookies in its ad network, mobile location, inbox, calendar, and on and on. What’s the point of a second privacy layer when Google can monitor your activity in so many other ways?
    • IP Protection is about two things: privacy washing and building a moat.
    • Google wants to convince you its service is private while simultaneously collecting your intimate data and preventing competitors from doing the same. IP Protection walls off your data from the rest of the internet while sealing Google’s surveillance apparatus on your side of the wall.
    • The article continues at the link, with various ways to enhance your protection, mostly through the use of Proton tools.

— Play Wanderings Transition Bumper —

Bi-Weekly Wanderings

30 minutes (~5-8 mins each)

  • Bill
    • Work around the holidays for me is either a mad dash or a complete stand still – and you can experience both of those things within a single week. Usually I don’t experience the same kinds of freight slow-downs other drivers do at certain times of the year mostly due to the wide level of diversity my company has in terms of the different types of freight. We’re not a general purpose freight chasing dry van company; rather we utilize dry-vans, end dumps, roll-offs, flat beds, low-boys, drop-decks, and even the occasional tank trailer. We have specialized place in the industry which for the driver that can do all of those things, steady income is certain. I realized early on that if I was to be successful at this line of work, it would be wise to widen my skill-set. I’m glad I did because we do have people who only do one or two things, and they tend to suffer a bit during certain times of the year.
    • Christmas shopping tends to be the thing that occupies my mind during this time of the year. In recent years it was put on the back burner, meaning we waited to the last minute which caused undue stress for my wife and I and made it difficult to get the things we know everyone wants. This year, we’re happy to report that at the time of writing this (Black Friday) we are about 85% done with the shopping and all of the big-ticket items are already purchased, wrapped and ready for the big day! This is all in stark contrast to last year when by this same time, we hadn’t purchased a single gift.
    • On a less positive note, we had a holiday incident that I’m struggling a bit to explain and cope with. On the last episode of Linux OTC we (I say “we”) had a conversation about iMessage and the confusion caused at times by the way Android based phones will spell out the reactions made by people sending messages from iMessage on iPhones. This was particularly relevant to me given only a day or so earlier, during a group text consisting of my brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, 9 of my nieces and nephews, my two oldest sons, as well as my wife and I the information going back and forth got so confusing – three of us (including me) believed this years Thanksgiving had been canceled. My brother, sister-in-law and most of his kids are iPhone users and go mad with the silly iMessage reactions. I was only made aware of the mix up toward the end of last week. As interesting as all of that is, what happened on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day) is what has me worried about my own mental health.
      • Upon learning Thanksgiving was indeed on and scheduled for Black Friday, I immediately had to re-schedule the annual 3 Fat Truckers Black Friday Dinner which is held at Bill’s Steak House up north of Coldwater, Michigan. So, the whole thing was well and truly in my head, meaning I was quite confident of what days we were doing what – or at least that’s what I thought. Some how my mind got things mixed up and we cooked all the food we were taking to my brother’s house on Thursday morning, and arrived at his house at 4 PM to find no one there. I texted to ask where everyone was, and it was at that moment I experienced “total-recall.”
    • A cooler full of ice and beer is at the time of writing this still in the back of my pickup truck. It’s getting chilly here, so I may have not lost all of the ice, but I will check it before we leave and buy another bag if necessary. I’m genuinely concerned about how I could have mixed up the days given what effort it involved to reschedule the 3FT dinner. What makes the whole ordeal even more strange is that my wife, a person who never screws up a schedule, also got the day wrong. Her family had Thanksgiving on Thursday, and we totally blew them off because we believed my brother’s thing was that day. I may get my head scanned in the near future; I’ll report the findings as soon as they are made available.
    • OK, so the company Focusrite, the makers of the “Scarlett” line of professional audio interfaces has released their 4th Generation line of gear. I’ve been using their 3rd generation “Solo” audio interface for slightly less than a year and have loved it, which is to say it hasn’t given me any problems. I’ve tried cheaper interfaces and have been frustrated by the cheap USB-B plugs that connect the device to the computer frequently shorting. I went with the more expensive Scarlett because it uses the more modern USB-C interface which seems to be more reliable for just about everything. I think Moss can attest to some of the frustrations I had in the past. The Solo is great, but this time I decided to go with the “2i2” which is the next model up from the solo, offering the ability to connect two XLR microphone inputs. This may become useful in the future because I’ve had a couple people say they may like to come to my little studio to do interviews for 3 Fat Truckers. In addition to more inputs, the 2i2 also offers another audio enhancing feature to add a bit of dimension to the sound. All Scarlett devices offer a feature called “Air” which is an enhancement to add clarity to voice signal. The 2i2 offers two levels of that enhancement to add clarity to voice of multiple registers, perhaps meaning one setting may work better for people with a higher register of voice, while the other will be a better choice for those with a lower register. I’m enjoying the new interface, though at first it wasn’t quite the case. The 2i2 is interpreted by pulseaudio as a “multi-channel” input device which at first I believed only meant that the unit has two XLR inputs, though I now know that is not the case. What confused me at first was that the unit was looping my output back into the input which sounds ok at first but it meant everything I was hearing was being looped around and sent back through the microphone feed. I first learned this when while trying to have a pre-show conversation with Eric and Leo, they were hearing their own voices echoing back at them. I couldn’t figure it out quickly, so I hooked the Solo back up so that we could record OTC. After the show I took the time to figure it out. It Turns out the device is made to do that so that audio from an application can be incorporated into the recording of another application. I can see the use case for this, but it’s not likely to be anything I’ll use. These devices are made for Windows and Mac and the company makes the companion software for those OS’s, so problems are not necessarily obvious. At least not to me. It turns out that if you go to pavucontrol, which is not installed on Mint by default I might add, and hit the button to expand the channel volume sliders for the input tab, you find there’s indeed four individual volume sliders labeled Front Left, Front Right, Rear Left, and Rear Right. It is the Rear channels which supply the loop feed and a simple sliding of the level all the way to the left does away with the loop back sound completely. All is well with the universe! There is currently an effort to port the “Scarlett Control” software to Linux which is likely to succeed, but at the time of writing this, that isn’t available yet. The software is necessary to take all Scarletts out of “Easy Start” mode, disabling the block storage mode. It’s also the only way to change the sample rate of the device. The whole thing can be achieved easily by passing the USB device off to a KVM running Windows to do the necessary initial setting up, firmware upgrade, and from that point the device is perfectly usable on Linux.
  • Joe
    • Busy week at work. Always is this time of year with all the work related parties and people going on vacation and all the comp days due to holidays. It has made things a little hectic especially since we lost another person on second shift leaving us with only two. This means that I will probably be working a lot of split shifts and we are probably going to have to have a second shift rotation.
    • But I was able to get some things worked on. Previously I had print out a full headphone for over the ears. It worked out really well but I was not completely satisfied with the result. I have started designing my own that provides a bit more and possibly adjustable clamping force and also a channel through the middle for some wires.
    • I also was able to get my hands on a 7inch screen and print out a frame for it that I plan on mounting to an adjustable stand that will go on a spring clip if it doesn’t end up being too heavy.
    • I have already tested and with an adapter it works with Dex and my phone. This will hopefully allow me to do some more intensive testing in the near future with some of the remote access stuff that I already have set up.
    • I also want to redo the frame for it with some adapters built in to save on the wiring nightmare that it becomes and have just the USB-C and maybe some USB ports exposed.
    • It will also make a good test screen for Raspberry Pis if I need something smaller than the one that I already have set up.
    • I also found another reason why the bed on my printer was not staying level on the first layer. I thought that it might be some play on the X arm causing it to move up and down unevenly and I guess it kinda was but it was not because it was loose. It was because the mount for the Z motor was working itself loose and the entire assembly was moving up and down a bit. After I tightened it it worked much better for a while and then I had to tighten again. I almost want to use some Locktite but I also want to be able to take it apart in the future.
    • I also ended up needing to lube the Z rod a bit to even out the occasional stutter that it had. I did not have the proper oil handy so ended up using some WD40 for now. I know that is not a good idea but I did not have anything else handy. I am still looking for my sewing machine oil and will give a proper clean and lube later.
  • Moss
    • I’ve taken a few days off work to take my wife to various pre-surgical appointments, plus the days off due to holidays.
    • We got Distrohoppers’ Digest done by miracle and magic (Dale Miracle and Eric Magic), should be released any day now. And I’m current on Full Circle Weekly News, should have a new file to work on today or tomorrow.
    • We’ve had a whole lot of stressful things going on, some due to the holidays, some due to my work, a lot due to my wife’s upcoming knee surgery. I’ve barely held myself together some days, and others… well, let’s just be glad I have forgiving friends.
    • I wanted to get a PineTab 2, but then noticed they have loaded it with a beta version of an Arch distro, and $279 was a bit steep. I guess I’m sticking with my Fire HD 8 for now. We are still looking at upgrading phones, but will wait until after the surgery and we find out how many more thousands of dollars we will have to pay. Right now we are leaning toward the Pixel 7. Oddly, the cheaper 7A is not cheaper in used phones.
    • I have not had any reason to even pick up my guitars. And nobody has been serious about buying the three I have for sale. Ditto for computers.
    • I got a book to review for Full Circle Magazine. It was on Raspberry Pi. I was a tad disappointed when it arrived, with a 2017 copyright date and only covering Pi 3s, but that’s the only Pi I can find right now anyhow so I’ll give it a shot.
  • Majid
    • I’ve had a reasonably quiet fortnight. The first week seemed to get taken over with meetings and admin, while the second week has been a lot more clinical with most of my time being in the Operating Room.
    • For reasons which I can only put down to capitalism, we do black friday and cyber monday, even though we dont do thanksgiving. Normally this is my time to buy even more unnecessary tech, but this time I’ve been relatively restrained. I’ve been tempted with getting a new television, and there have been some good deals around, but I realised nowadays I watch most of content on my tablet in bed. I use mainly a Samsung Galaxy Tab s8+ with a 12in screen. That OLED display is sooo good! Watching Silo and Monarch at the moment.
    • I did buy some stuff though, went for Meta quest 2, got it for about 200 quid which was a good deal. Its been a long time since I’ve used VR, and there have definetly been significant improvements since Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
    • Had a realy good episode of Linux OTC last week.There were some spirited discussions. Leo likes his Apple stuff! It made me reflect on my own choices. I came to a slightly startling conclusion. I like the Canonical way rather then the Apple way! What I mean by that is that Canonical make some big calls on the way they want to present Ubuntu and Linux in general.GNOME 3, snaps etc. In a sense its no different to Apple making decisions for the user. However there is still a lot more agency when using Ubuntu. Dont like GNOME? Different DEs available. Dont like snap? Install flatpak etc etc
    • Speaking of Ubuntu, I’ve installed it on my work laptop. Had some issues around the windows 11 install having Bitlocker enabled, but was still abale to change it relatively easily.
    • Manjaro is still on my home laptop. I’m slowly getting to grips with Arch and the AUR. It is definelty not as polished as an experience as the Ubuntu/Debian world. I’m still mulling over whether to keep it going. I suppose the next distrohop witll be to Fedora, I just remember that Fedora never worked well with dual-booting, though that was a while ago (2016-ish).
    • Decided to go multi-monitor, might as well use stuff I’ve got lying around!
    • So, secret societies/clubs etc is something I’ve always been interested in. Maybe a problem to do with being a 2nd generation immigrant. Found we have a Masonic Lodge a few miles from my house. So made some enquiries… well thats brought some surprises!
    • Was going to go on a Peace Demostration, but been advised that it may cause issues with my work. I suppose all I can do is pray for peace
    • Suddenly turned cold here 5C/40F, this meant that my sons car battery died. I think its time to buy a separate battery pack rather then just using jump cables.
  • Eric
    • I’m not quite sure how my fellow show members are able to get so much done in a fortnight which leaves me wandering if they are overachievers or I am opposite. To save face, I’m going to claim that I’m somewhere in the middle.
    • I continue to try to find the best option for me on the Dell Latitude tablet. If you recall, I was dual booting Windows 11 and Fedora 39 but surprisingly, wasn’t happy with either. I did enjoy Gnome 45 and Wayland so I wanted to continue using them, but on a different base than Fedora.
    • But before I went down that path, I decided to try Chrome OS Flex. It’s seems to be a bit out of left field but I had previously used a Chrome OS convertible device that was woefully underpowered and made using it an agonizing chore. It didn’t seem like Chrome OS was the culprit so I wanted to try better hardware to find out. This seemed like a good opportunity to test that theory. I made a backup using Rescuezilla so I could undo the change if so desired and installed Flex. It was fine for the most part and I can see the appeal to a more casual computer users, especially one that uses a lot of Google software, but it wasn’t for me. After all, the entire point of getting a PC tablet was to run a full Linux distro. So after a few days, I wiped it and restored my previous setup.
    • At this point, I wanted to try a different base but still have Gnome 45 and Wayland so I went with Ubuntu 23.10. I was tempted to remove the Ubuntu session and install the vanilla one instead but decided to stay with the stock one. In practice, having the dock is helpful when using a mouse and keyboard and doesn’t get in the way when using it as a tablet. It’s early days so far but I am enjoying using it so far. I have removed most of the snap-based apps in favor of either flatpaks or native packages since I still contend that snaps are not great on the desktop. Servers, absolutely amazing, but not the desktop, not yet at least.
    • The battery came with about 60% health left so I’m only getting a few hours of runtime on a charge. I wish Linux was better optimized for battery use by default but it doesn’t seem to be a priority, as surprising as that may seem. In any case, I will probably be replacing the battery so I can specifically get more tablet use. Watching videos absolutely destroys the battery so I’m hoping that a healthy battery and possibly some tweaks can remedy that problem.

— Play Innards Transition Bumper —

Linux Innards

30 minutes (~5-8 minutes each)

  • free form tablet talk
    • DEs/WMs touch capabilities
    • Pen input
    • On screen keyboard
    • Ease of use
      • facial recognition, biometrics
    • Battery optimization, or lack thereof
  • ARM vs x86
  • convertible vs desktop replacement

— 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

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  • Someone (probably Bill) for our audio editing
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  • The Linux Mint development team for the fine distro we love to talk about <Thanks, Clem … and co!>

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