LWDW: Mini Ballmers

Microsoft buys GitHub, Linus isn’t ready for Linux 5.0, counting bees with a Raspberry Pi and support for the Dell Canvas lands upstream.

Special thanks to:
Nine Bullets (latest patreon)
Orderly Unicode (latest patreon)


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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


Pick a team!

  • As a linux user I am constantly aware of the give and take of the Chrome browser and the privacy of the Firefox browser, and often switch back and forth between the two.
  • Most of the time though I use Firefox, but I also like to use Vivaldi, which is Chromium based, and unlike Chrome does NOT send usage statistics back to Google.
    • Yeah, Foxfire just randomly installs ads for Mr. ROBOT on your system without consent.
  • Am I the only person capable of using four different browsers?
  • Anyone still use Opera?
  • Now that Quantum has been out for a bit, I’ve had the chance to test Firefox and Chrome on my laptops.
  • On the X240, Firefox uses 2W less watching a 720p video on Youtube than Chrome does with the exact same video, according to powertop.
  • That’s significant, since that laptop the way I’ve set it averages 6-9W on internet browsing workloads.
  • So while I do still use Chrome on my desktop, the laptops all run the Fox.
  • Everyone in the business of collecting and distributing data considered them snake oil salesman.
  • “I can’t even remember why I decided to use Chrome in the first place.”
    • Oh let me refresh your memory.
    • It was because Firefox had become a crashy bloated mess.
    • Now, OOTB Firefox is by far more privacy focused and they should be applauded for that.
    • That said, after reading the article all I could think was Y U NO Privacy badger?
    • And on the Cambridge Analytica topic, yeah.


Ultimate Gitlab

  • Now free for Educational institutions & Open source projects.
  • GitLab Ultimate is self-hosted, whereas GitLab Gold is hosted on GitLab.com.
  • Unlimited access to Epics, Roadmap, Static Application Security Testing, Container Scanning
  • Does not come with support but you can buy some for 95% off, at $4.95 per user per month.


Put it in your Pocket, too

  • Slimmer, faster, lighter version of the GPD Pocket with one extra USB port and shallower (read crappier) keyboard.
  • No backlighting on the keys, either.
  • And as with the original GPD Pocket, the Pocket 2 should play well with Linux.
  • The first GPD Pocket got very good reviews for being fast enough to play up to mid-level games in Steam on Linux and great for emulators.
  • Honestly, I have been wanting one as a nice travelling gaming companion, since I bought an ultraportable Thinkpad X120e just for that purpose.
  • I love mini computers and this one would be a nice addition to my collection.


Lite 4 OS

  • Version 4 is based on 18.04.
  • The focus remains the same: a transition distro for Windows users looking into Linux and being light on resources.
  • I like they’re specifically mentioning the way to disable the VirtualBox stuff, if you’re doing a native install on a low power machine which wouldn’t be virtualizing anything.
  • There are several other distros in this space, including Peppermint OS and Lubuntu.  They use the lighter LXDE desktop, but Linux Lite which uses the heavier XFCE desktop actually takes less memory to run.
  • And Linux Lite is lighter than Xubuntu as well.


Dude you’re getting a canvas

  • I have been waiting for Linux driver support for these large format graphic tablets!  They are starting be be used extensively in art, design, animation and gaming houses and would help the adoption of linux apps in these industries.
  • I have spent many years using an “editing knob” to zoom in and out of video/audio timelines with large projects in Adobe Premiere etc.
  • It would be wonderful to have this capability with Kdenlive and DaVinci Resolve.
  • As much as I suspect Nory would love a Canvas, that $1.8k price tag is going to remain a very high barrier.


Don’t, panic

  • Seriously, calm down.
  • It’s not like Microsoft has a history of buying companies and turning them in hot piles of garbage with a quickness.
  • I don’t understand the apocalyptic overreaction.
  • Older Linux devs are paranoid about old Microsoft and while it might be justifiable.
  • Today’s Microsoft under Nadella is absolutely not that Microsoft.
  • However, there is still plenty of Ballmer DNA floating around in the company.
  • And who is to say the next CEO will not be a mini-Ballmer.
  • You heard it here first, folks.
  • Microsoft is engaged in illegal human cloning experiments.
  • Twist: Next week Oracle buys Gitlab.
  • I am sure Microsoft won’t make major changes anytime soon because they wouldn’t want to scare off the community.
  • We have to remember that GitHub is a business whose goal is to make as much money as possible for its investors, creators and staff.
  • GitHub could have been charging for all their accounts.
  • GitHub is closed source with a little bit of open source thrown in, just like M$.
  • The new CEO, Nat Friedman, is the co-founder of Gnome.
  • Again, Microsoft cannot change the GNU General Public License or the laws that protect it.
  • And so it begins, the mass migration to the completely open source GitLab . . .
  • You can use GitLab or Bitbucket instead, or roll your own revision control server like Icculus does and the Blender Foundation uses.
    • As mfoxdogg in chat reminds us, that Blender self hosted because they were worried about GitHub being taken over by someone worse, and concerns with copyright.
  • Maybe this will put SourceForge back on the map again?
    • That reputation is still tarnished and a little too recent in people’s memories.
  • Might even see the rise of a decentralized repository and version control system.
  • But yes, over 10’000 projects packed their stuff and moved to Gitlab on Monday morning.
  • That tells us that yes, people are still very much aware of what Microsoft can do.
  • We all remember Skype.
  • It’s gotta sting a little bit, when Github bragged not too recently that they were the biggest and had had their best year yet.
  • It will take a long time to beat 2017.
  • You want to earn some trust, MS?
  • Release the source for Skype 4.X (server & client) and we shall talk.


There are three Ubuntus

  • One for each software store available in Ubuntu.
  • So there are two versions and metapackage… gotcha!
  • The metapackage “Ubuntu” is provided without an LTS version number, but the latest will be installed when it is released.


5 point no

  • “No, I didn’t call it 5.0, even though all the git object count numerology was in place for that. It will happen in the not _too_distant future, and I’m told all the release scripts on kernel.org are ready for it, but I didn’t feel there was any real reason for it. I suspect that around 4.20 – which is I run out of fingers and toes to keep track of minor releases, and thus start getting mightily confused – I’ll switch over. That was what happened for 4.0, after all.” – Linus
    • Kernel versioning is base 10.
  • Also, I’m pretty sure I owned that mouse.
  • Linus likes to keep us on our toes with a little bit, or a lot, of snark thrown in ;-)

Slice of Pi

Counting Bees

  • A RasPi with a camera and using TensorFlow can count how many bees are in an image.
  • This information could also be very helpful to beekeepers for keeping track of bee colonies and their effect on pollination of crops on farms.
  • It would be really wonderful to find a way to track the size of the bee so you can keep track of the Queen from the rest of the colony, and visa versa.


Paper Pi




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