LWDW 141: Torvalds Returns

Chrome OS learns to share, Torvalds talks about coming back to Linux, Kernel 4.19 is ready for production and a fancy new TV HAT for your Raspberry Pi.


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

*throws chair*

  • That didn’t take long!
  • So how long until a cuss free but equally as scathing comment erupts?
  • A new code of conduct was adopted in Linus’s absence.
    • Greg Kroah-Hartman says:  By providing a document in the kernel source tree that shows that all people, developers and maintainers alike, will be treated with respect and dignity while working together, we help to create a more welcome community to those newcomers, which our very future depends on if we all wish to see this project succeed at its goals.
  • The Linux kernel is revolutionary, and it and it’s community are unlike anything else in the world, and we have to protect its uniqueness in a professional and united way.
  • Linus Torvalds quietly met with Linux’s top 40 or so developers at the Maintainers’ Summit, held in concert with Open Source Summit Europe in Scotland.
  • Now Greg Kroah-Hartman has write rights to the kernel tree and he and Linus can share the load.
  • Will he go back to making his tech tip videos?
  • He set up an email filter.
  • The outrage train has passed by so everyone should be able to get back to it.


New in 4.19

  • Linux 4.19 debuts a Raspberry Pi voltage driver, support for the Lenovo calculator key on select ThinkPad models, and users with a Creative Recon3D sound card now get proper Linux support!  The latter makes me very happy because I have one!
  • A new version of the Etcher USB ISO image writing tool has been released with bug fixes, better reliability and window handling and a new dark theme.
  • The professional video editor Lightworks 14.5 supports Ubuntu 18.04 now, and includes an H.246/MP4 export format option for “free” users.
  • Lightworks now has an improved first-run experience for new users, and the last few updates has greatly improved the interface.
  • The Linux 4.19 release will be a Long Term Support (LTS) kernel.
  • Better networking experience with the CAKE queue management algorithm.
  • Preliminary Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) support.
  • New asynchronous I/O polling interface.
  • I look forward to running it, in 2021.


Moz is doing a VPN, kinda

  • Using Proton VPN.
  • Mozilla is using ProtonVPN which is known for ProtonMail the encrypted email service we mentioned last week.
  • Opera offers free VPN web browsing, and of course, the Tor Browser, but Mozilla using ProtonVPN should be a much more robust and configurable VPN service.
  • “A small, random group of US-based Firefox users will be presented with an offer to purchase a monthly subscription to a VPN service“
    • Whomever came up with this pitch needs a firm slap on the noggin.
    • You don’t ask users to pay for the privilege of testing.
    • Also, $10 is $2 more than the Plus package from Proton.
    • Protip: I know Stripe is a legit thing, most people don’t.  
  • I’m all for new ways to fund Mozilla but this one seems a bit silly.


Chrome OS folder sharing

  • I was unaware that was not a thing.
  • Yes, in ChromeOS you could mount a samba share but not add a local folder to the GDrive sync.
  • Folder sharing is a staple of Virtual Machines.  It is odd that it wasn’t rolled out in Chrome OS version 69.


Maximum Opus

  • Opus which is developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation is an open source lossy audio coding format which is used for internet streaming, and is the backbone of many applications in Linux.
  • Opus v1.3 adds ambisonics for immersive 3D audio soundtracks, which would greatly enhance 360 videos.
  • This should bring great improvements to the audio quality of many of our favorite apps that use Ogg Vorbis, Matroska, WebM, or MPEG-TS encoding and decoding including FFmpeg, Firefox, Kdenlive, VLC and SteamOS, which uses it for streaming.
  • This will improve the sound quality in Discord as well which is currently using Opus v1.2.
  • The ultra low bitrate sample sounds not so bad.
  • Opus drives a lot of audio across a lot of different software, seeing it improve should have everyone jumping on their software maintainers to integrate the new stuff.


Buntu stats

  • Really want to know what is counted as unknown.
  • Clean installs for the win.
  • Linux uses less space than the proprietary operating systems, is more memory efficient
    and can be used on older hardware.

    • 79% of installs have only 499GBs storage space or less.
    • 51% of installs only have 1-4GBs of RAM.


Itsy bitsy browser

  • Lots of distros and window managers over the years have come with minimal web browsers to view help files and documentation, including Gnome’s Epiphany and Xfce’s Midori.
  • That’s odd, no bookmarking?  
  • Even Dillo, Lynx, Elinks, w3m and browsh do that!
  • Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve hit peak Pointlessness.
  • This is a browser, built on Electron…
  • No support for back / forward mouse navigation so it’s a nonstarter.  
  • Information from DuckDuckGo in the search bar.
  • Built-in ad and tracker blocking
  • Fuzzy search
  • Full-text search for visited pages.


Top of the H

  • One of the first things I do with htop on a new install is select “Tree view” and “Detailed CPU time” under Display Options.
  • Tree view is handy.
  • One thing a lot of people don’t realize is that htop can be navigated with your gerbil.
  • Also, I have customized top as well:

Slice of Pi


  • The Raspberry Pi TV HAT, or Hardware Attached on Top, add-on board lets you receive digital DVB-T2 TV streams on your Raspberry Pi!
  • Useless in any country that plays football with their hands.





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