LWDW 119: Free As In Beard

GNOME backpedals, Electron is the future, RISC-V fanfiction and the ultimate container format has arrived.

Special Tanks:
Matt K (new patreon)
Yishan (new patreon)
Madhi19 (USB DAC from our wishzone)


Linux Weekly Daily Wednesday
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A weekly dose of all thing Linux and open source with a slice of Pi for good measure.



Colour key – Venn Pedro Jill


Abort, ABORT!

  • Turns out people who use their system to do more than post screenshots on the internet need wacky things like basic functionality.
  • Also, I can imagine an Enterprise sponsor (or three) politely asked them to perform a reverse rectal cranial inversion.
  • As we talked about last week, and what Pedro said, that this is expected functionality that was already there and then was taken away.
  • GNOME, learn from this mistake please and don’t take features away!
  • Yeah, as it turns out, this was a significant enough bit of functionality that people didn’t take kindly to GNOME just scrapping it.


Power to the 9

  • IBM “POWER” or “Performance Optimization With Enhanced RISC” was a competitor to Digital Equipment Corporation’s Alpha RISC processors, Sun’s SPARC RISC processors and Silicon Graphics MIPS RISC processors to name a few.
  • Sweet!  You can get a hold of an IBM Power9 RISC Processor workstation for under $15,000.
  • It is completely enhanced for LInux!
  • The firmware is open source, and can be completely edited all the way down to the cpu microcode.
  • The Talos II Lit motherboard only comes with 1 Proc slot though, to reduce cost.
  • And so true, Katana_Steel in chat, having 22 cores on a single cpu is awesome!
  • Here is a Power 7 RISC 16 Core processor from my collection!
  • Them PCIe 4.0 slots, though.
  • 8 slots of DDR4, which support 16GB DIMMs.
  • But only 2 built-in USB3 ports with a header for 2 more in the case.


RISC-V Fanfic

  • An open source laptop running a RISC-V workstation level processor would be wonderful!
  • Much more powerful than ARM based RISC laptops.
  • I’m afraid to ask, how much would this laptop cost?
    • $5k for the low end model.
  • Currently Nvidia’s Falcon microcontroller used in our GPUs is proprietary, and they want to move over to the RISC-V open source standard.
  • If this laptop ran a RISC-five based CPU and GPU, the performance could be incredible!

Welcome to the future

  • With everything being Electron these day it’s a good thing RAM prices are so chea… wait.
  • Remember when Flash was the hot new thing?
  • Remember when that all came crashing down and now we’re living in the embers of Adobe’s stranglehold of the web?
    • Those embers have went out.
  • Let’s not let that happen again.
  • Electron apps should work nice in ChromeOS, because reasons:  Linux.
    • And use more CPU/RAM/Battery because reasons.
  • Hmm, currently do Electron apps work better in Crostini as compared to Crouton?  Looking forward to testing that.



  • It means you might as well buy a lappy.
  • What I don’t get is, since crouton works as a chroot, why do Linux apps have to be fully containerized to run on top of what already is Linux?
  • I get that in doing so, you’re saving the base OS and allowing it to remain as stable and functional as when it was deployed
  • But people who just want the basic ChromeOS functionality aren’t going to be installing the other Linuxy stuff.
  • Not to mention you’re adding a non-negligible overhead to run even the simplest applications.
  • But again, Google did well with the Android app functionality, so my worries are probably going to be squashed.
  • This could mean a much wider audience using Linux apps!
  • The author of the article, Jack Wellen, says that Crostini will be pointless to the average user if Linux apps aren’t easy to install via a software repository or Google Play.  Most users won’t open a terminal and apt-get install.
    • I disagree, only that it is time to teach the average user command line skills as in the early days of computing, and not having to rely on a gui.
  • Interesting note:  I have noticed that Crostini, Crosh and Crouton all start with a “Cro.” Is there a new naming convention that Google is trying to tell us about?



  • So, Slackpacks?
  • No matter the container (Snap, App, Flat) they are all competing with *.deb *.rpm AUR and the like which are good enough.
  • You ever try to compete with good enough?
  • The way this is implemented is far more modular and cross compatible than what we have with Snaps or Flatpaks.
  • So much so, you can have one of these tarballs extract itself into a loadable Docker format.
  • That’s great until you realize you’re celebrating another, albeit agnostic, container to work with the other container systems.
  • It’s what happens when XKCD 927 meets Inception.
  • Makes sense, tarballs have been used since the early days of Unix computing, 1979.
  • guix pack –relocatable produces tarballs with automatically relocatable binaries.
  • You no longer have to unpack the tarball in the root file system or play tricks with the unshare command.
  • guix pack’s are bit-reproducible, anyone can rebuild them to ensure they do not contain malware #OhSnap



  • Better late than never, right?
  • At least they did it.
  • Where’s that Minecraft open source release? Where’s Lightworks open source?
  • Elon Musk is no slouch to open source and Linux.
  • SpaceX anyone?
  • Some of the copyright holders have been complaining that Tesla hasn’t been complying with their licenses.
  • It’s a first step toward Tesla fulfilling their legal obligations
  • Released two github repos.
  • The source code is going to be useful for Tesla owners with root access
  • Yes, you can root a Tesla… why do you think I am getting one?


Complete Office Support?

  • To its credit, I did open one of the most complex excel spreadsheets I use at work and everything worked.
  • Well, once I installed the microsoft fonts that is.
  • It respected cell sizes and even some custom formatting I had done.
  • I’m sure there are people with far more complex spreadsheets than mine, though.
  • That said, it also opened the laptop review spreadsheet I have with the results of all the laptops I’ve tested so far.
    • But that was made with Libreoffice so it freakin’ well better.
  • Runs fast and file size is smaller than LibreOffice and uses less memory.
  • It is nice to have another office suite that works well.
  • Why would anyone actually choose the Microsoft like Ribbon Menu instead of Classic Menus?  At least it’s an option though.


Waka waka

  • I remember playing with this several years ago, to refresh my vim command skills.  Fun and effective.
  • I should play PacVim again, since today I mostly use Nano.
    • Nano gets stuff done!


Terminal VIM (RTheren)

  • Now that’s a neat feature.
  • Interactively editing a script and running it in terminal at the same time in VIM, awesome!


IPO on hold

  • Canonical is taking it’s time before it goes IPO, and that is a good thing.
  • No IPO in 2018.
  • Mark Shuttleworth, “We know what we need to hit in terms of revenue and growth and we’re on track.”
  • Getting rid of Ubuntu pho4ne and the Unity Desktop was the first thing.
  • Canonical’s focus is now cloud infrastructure.
    • The only way Canonical is going to catch up in the cloud is if they have a time machine.
  • They are hopeful for IoT and the Ubuntu Core Snap management system?


Slice of Pi

Luggage Pi

  • And now several orders of magnitude more powerful and possibly lighter.
  • This required a Pi and an Arduino to do the translation between the old keyboard and something the Pi would recognize.
  • If those stupid bluetooth keyboards they call the ZX Spectrum Recreated weren’t so expensive, I would totally shove a Pi in one of those.
  • The cheapest Osborne 1 working computer on eBay I could find is $265.
  • That is a steal!!!  They are usually $500 and up for a working one.
  • Non working Osborne’s can be found as low as $120.  Using a Pi and Arduino to get it working would be the best way to upcycle these old computers.
  • I have .several so called “portable” computers in my collection that were Osborne clones.  Including a rare Texas Instruments 90 pound beast, that still works, but I may never find replacement parts for.  RasPi to the rescue!!!!!!
  • The one thing missing here is a way to get the floppy drives to work



  • Cool!  A cheap way to make a color changing clock that little kids can read.
  • There is a Flash app on my Chumby that can do this as well ;-D
  • Mine only flashes red, odd.



  • No, every car made after 1996 has a OBD-II port.
  • Right now it only kinda-sorta work with a BMW Mini.
  • In the future this could be a cheap device for clearing codes and the like.




Wayland live

  • You all look the same to me.

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