Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday – Save Firefox

Google kneecaps Flash, ZFS comes to Debian, and the Pi Zero gets a camera. Then Martin Wimpress joins us to talk about MATE.

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Colour Key: Venn Pedro Mathieu


  • 4,000 developers and at least 440 different companies contribute to the kernel.
  • Over 10,800 lines of code added, 5,300 lines of code removed and over 1,875 lines of code modified. Every. Single. Day.
  • I like the fact that Microsoft and Apple once said “You win, we cannot compete”
  • Then again, Apple is only supporting a very small subset of devices and Microsoft heavily relies on vendor drivers.
  • Nah, man! People use Linux because of the politics of the desktop ideologies.



  • Welcome to the Pi Zero 1.3 (older versions will not have the connector)
  • They shoved the FPC connector from the Compute Module Dev Kit onto the Pi.
  • Requires a custom six-inch adapter cable.
    • For those Sony cameras what we mentioned a while back.
    • Having the necessary bits already on board, means others will be able to create their own camera modules for Pi Zero slightly easier.
  • Meanwhile, the RPI Zero is still out of stock.
    • The main reason for this is because the Zero had to compete for factory space /w the RasPi3.
  • There are some cool projects to be made with a solar panel, a SIM card module and a Ting subscription



  • Updates for Raspbian.
  • Created a Bluetooth plugin for the lxpanel taskbar.
  • Bluetooth support still remains limited (mice, keyboards, and audio devices)
  • New SD Card Copier allows you to backup your Pi install or migrate to a larger card.
  • Kinda underwhelming and embarrassing that this functionality wasn’t there to begin with
  • Something with the wording in the article makes me think that the author is one of those people who think apt-get dist-upgrade is for upgrading between different distribution releases (yes, some actually believe this).


Parsey McParseface

  • Parsey McParseface is built using SyntaxNet, Google’s neural network framework that they plan to open sauce.   
  • Useful to developers and researchers interested in automatic extraction of information, translation, and other core applications of NLU.
  • Slav Petrov (senior staff research scientist) said Parsey McParseface is “approaching human performance,” when applied to well-formed text.
  • This seems to be a solid alternative to NLTK, the famous Python framework for natural language processing.
  • With a name like that, no one is going to want to use NLTK anymore!


Rene K
Jordan L
MIR upped 

Licensing h264

  • MPEG-LA saw Vysor taking off and decided to collect some wet-stinkies.
  • Thus, the developer nuked the free Chrome extension and turned into a yearly subscription thing.
  • Guess who’s not using Vysor anymore?
  • What’s the problem with VP9? Why isn’t it used more? I’m sick of seeing h264 everywhere.
    • Because NO mobile CPU ARM/X86 has support for VP9 hardware encoding.
    • VP9 takes twice as long to encode on the Desktop.  
  • What the hell is Vysor: app add-on for Chrome that would allow you to access your Adevice.


Sooooo… it’s basically Ubuntu then?

  • Breaking, Linux Mint looking to become irrelevant.
  • If you check a checkbox during the installation, you get codecs out of the box in Ubuntu.
  • ^ Yip, not exactly a deal breaker for most people.
    • Then again, you know people will accidentally skip over the option.
  • I can’t even remember the last time I had to install ubuntu-restricted-extras, is this package still around?
    • It was in 14.04.
  • And of course you can install Cinnamon and Mate very easily so what’s the point of Mint now?
    • Why do you hate freedom?
  • If we add on top of that a weird update policy for packages and a recent hack on official ISOs, the future of Mint does not look very bright.


SHIELD long and prosper

  • It works:
  • As far as I could gather, this brings the original SHIELD Tablet to par with the K1.
  • Also, If you want Vulkan on Android without dropping over $600 for a Galaxy S7 or an S7 Edge, the SHIELD is your best option.
  • You could also opt-in  to the Android N Dev Preview beta in a Nexus device to get Vulkan as well.
  • Which, right now, there’s really not a whole lot of Vulkan enabled apps/games.


ZFS Debian

  • RMS isn’t going to be happy about this!
  • Debian decided to include the source code only, rather than take Ubuntu’s approach of shipping pre-built kernel modules.
  • ZFS on Linux project is an implementation of OpenZFS designed to work in a Linux environment.
  • It was my BFF back in the Solaris days *grabs ECC*
  • It’s probably the best file system you can use if you care about data integrity.


Intel Core OpenGL 4

  • Make that 4.2
  • This only applies to Skylake GMAs, for now!
  • No Haswell, not interested
  • OpenGL 4.3 support for Haswell and Skylake by the time Ubuntu 16.10 gets released would be neat.


Hold up!

  • Fine folks at the FreeDesktop want to delay Mesa 12.0 until at least one set of drivers (they’re looking at Intel) supports OpenGL 4.5
  • If this means putting pressure on the Intel folks to pull a Summer, I say do it.
  • Considering the kind of achievement it would be to have full OpenGL compliance in the open sauce drivers, even if it is just for the embedded Intel GPUs, it’s worth the wait!
  • Well guess what: it is NOT being delayed
  • (I know because I read Phoronix)
    • They’re still looking delay it for a week to get SIMD32 working in 12.0.



  • Yeah, WebRTC video under the Fox is still hit or miss.
  • Would anyone care to experiment with a UAS on Chrome and let us know if it works?
  • Only supports audio and chat.
  • Gotta love how MS can cock up something as cross-platform as WebRTC
    • Then again this is the company that looked at Flash and said That’s completely backwards and broken, let’s make our own version!”
  • Seems like this is being integrated in Ghetto Skype, which we covered last week
  • If Skype’s going to use WebRTC, can’t we all switch to one of other superior alternatives using WebRTC and let Skype die in its misery?


Google vs Oracle

  • Google is arguing that its use of the 37 APIs constitutes “fair use.”
  • In 2012, a judge ruled that APIs can’t be copyrighted but an appeals court disagreed.
  • Going from one of the biggest software vendors to a patent troll shows that Oracle isn’t relevant anymore
  • They’re claiming copyright over something they didn’t even create, they are despicable
    • Create, no. Own, yes.
  • At this point, I have way more respect for Microsoft than Oracle
    • MS is still using 310 patents to extort $$$ from Android device makers.


Private git

  • $7/month, that’s a serious price drop. Last time I checked it was $30


Flash in 2016

  • Well, his movie is probably going to suck as bad as Batman vs Superman so they are just getting prepared for the inevitable.
    • While this should be the only relevant Flash in 2016, unfortunately it isn’t.
  • Why hasn’t this been done 3 years ago?
  • Is this related to the inclusion of DRM in HTML5 A/V?
  • Top 10 sites will be whitelisted?
  • I can’t even think of 10 sites that still require Flash.
  • Why not remove Flash completely from Chrome?


Save Firefox

  • Ah, another Encrypted Media Extensions rant from the EFF, fascinating.
  • I get that EME is bad but this article is a little booga-booga!
  • “We need competition”
    • Vivaldi, Opera?
  • Do we get Netflix or do we keep open standards? Tough choice
  • Isn’t that a threat to *all* open source browsers?
  • Debian might have to dig out Iceweasel’s freshly killed corpse and bring it back to life
  • If there’s ever going to be proprietary DRM in our browsers, I’d rather have it in the form of a plugin
    • Exactly!

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