LWDW 149: Automatic For The Penguin

MIPS goes open source, Raspberry Pi powered hamsters, AMI joins LVFS, and a look at the Linux powered XPS 13 Developer’s Edition.


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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 Jill Jordan

18.04 vs 2018 XPS

  • It is so wonderful to see that the new XPS 13 with Ubuntu 18.04 is getting even better reviews than even the older 16.04 models that are so well loved.
  • Dell’s Project Sputnik has not just achieved creating a model developer edition Linux laptop but an awesome Linux laptop for everyone that we can all be proud of.
  • “Ubuntu 18.04, which is perhaps the best mainstream version of Linux ever released.”
    • Isn’t that right, internet.
  • It’s well built but the UHD display option is power hungry.
  • Bit of warning about DPI scaling in GNOME, you have option 1 and option 2.
  • Still ships with up-your-nose cam.
  • USB c all the things but you get an adapter.
  • For the most part things work out of the box.
  • Price: $890 / $1,680
  • They remind me a bit of those old white clamshell macbooks
  • Lacking at least one vanilla usb 3 port is a bit of a misstep IMO
  • I know a lot of people with the last gen XPS and they’re solid laptops.
  • Curious if the ram is soldered onboard


KDEnLive update

  • Kdenlive 18.12 has been released with many bug fixes, and some news on the upcoming 19.04 release!
  • Fixed backport crash on image sequence import!  This is extremely important, as this form of import is industry standard and I often import image sequences of PNGs and TGAs for higher quality instead of video file formats.
  • Looking forward to the 19.04 release which will include the ability to use parallel processing for render speed improvements.
  • A new developer joined the team and is fixing MOVIT (GPU effects) support.
  • The team has also started brainstorming the interface redesign.
  • I keep forgetting a windows build exists and by all accounts is still a steaming pile of nope.



  • Neat, and a welcome addition but I think the RISC-V train has already left the station.
  • MIPS SoCs have the advantage though, because they are already an industry standard, are already in most devices and have been around for years.
    • They are in many embedded devices and routers, and historically in our video game consoles, such as the Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation, PlayStation 2 etc., and early computer workstations and servers, such as in the DEC Alpha and SGI machines
  • This is really great to have a competitive open source system on chip alternative to RISC-V.
  • MIPS is practically a dead architecture.
  • There is no standard 64 bit architecture for MIPS and the incompatibility between the different implementations is massive.
  • They are in a gang of routers, even my nighthawk V2 sports a MediaTek MT7621.
  • That now makes three. Sparc, MIPS and RISC-V.
  • The last thing I think I owned that used a MIPS processor was the n64
  • It’s good to see some additional competition in the architecture space, if only for people to scavenge it from parts


AMI joins LVFS (Rtheren)

  • Richard Hughes has brought us yet another important announcement about the LVFS!
  • American Megatrends, the world’s largest BIOS firmware vender, who supplies firmware and tools to customers such as Asus, Intel, AMD and many others, joins the Linux Vendor Firmware Service!
  • This is huge, and means “LVFS Support” becomes a first class citizen alongside Windows Update for the motherboard manufacturers.
    • Whatevs, we do what we wanna –System76
  • Also, expect another large vendor announcement soon? SPECULATE!
  • Honestly, if they didnt’ expand the initialism I wouldn’t have made the connection
  • This is good though.  It’d be nice to have BIOS updates as easily as a yum update away
  • Specially cuz some vendors will just straight up require you to DD a bootable CDROM ISO to a flash drive in order to update their bios *cough* lenovo*cough*


Accelerated demise of G+

  • Sad, really.
  • I have seen several small but active communities go poof over the past few months.
  • Google+ and all Google+ APIs will be deprecated earlier than expected, from August 2019 to April 2019.
  • Another bug was detected in November with a software update of Google+ affecting a Google+ API.  
  • It was fixed within a week and no third party compromised Google’s data, nor is there any evidence that the app developers who had access to this data misused it in any way.
  • This also hit their enterprise customers using G suite.
  • At the end of the day I’m surprised G+ lasted as long as it did.


MS Linux

  • How about a DX12 accelerated Xserver?
  • After reading this article I had a horrible dream that we would be complaining about Microsoft’s implementation of Linux with Windows like we complain about Google’s implementation of Linux with Chrome OS :-(
  • Windows apps can be containerized on Linux, a lot like what Chrome OS is doing with native Linux apps.
  • Windows is already doing the reverse with Linux apps with their Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  • Hmm, maybe Microsoft will just open source the NT Kernel instead?
  • And yes, gaming on Linux would be king!!!
  • Steven is correct that 2017 was the year of the Linux desktop on windows.
  • Also, having a premade compatibility layer (WINE) being a thing would ease such a transition.
  • However this is wishful thinking and all for naught since any serious development at Redmond is being done to make Windows as a service a thing.
  • Microsoft is throwing serious R&D behind Project xCloud (their game streaming service) because when they get that sorted delivering a desktop experience will be trivial.
  • I mean, microsoft has already released a linux distribution for virtual switching
  • We’ve long known that MIcrosoft wants desktop as a service to be a thing, and forking chrome is likely the first step in creating something like a Edgebook
  • Even that still needs a kernel to boot off of, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t just use the NT/MINWIN/whatever microsoft’s minimal install is


Google being Edgy

  • Did MS really need help sabotaging Edge?
  • YouTube has never played that great on Internet Explorer or Edge.  
  • And yes, recently at work have experienced Edge not playing YouTube videos.
    • Had to turn off “Use Adobe Flash Player” in settings and “Clear browsing data.”
      • Really Microsoft, in today’s day of HTML5 you still have Flash enabled by default to play videos!
      • Every other browser has no problem with this.
      • Yeah, as Venn said, your sabotaging yourself . . .
  • Microsoft couldn’t keep up with patching Edge, because it could only update its browser with official Windows 10 updates and not independently.
  • Now that Edge is on Chromium and independent of the OS the developers can update it as often as they want.
  • It honestly amazes me that tying Edge to the OS was considered a good design choice at any point, ever.
  • Do I think Googs is up to dirty tricks? Absolutely!
  • They have the market dominance that Microsoft held (and abused) in the 90’s.
  • And you know what, they abuse that power, often.
  • While I aspire to be a good person this is one of those situations where I can look the other direction and if we’re being totally honest… smile.
  • And ye, microsoft did not learn the lesson that targeting google is like targeting GTK.  Don’t expect what worked a week ago to work today
  • And yes, 100% google is trying to make their webapps  run poorly on non-chromium browsers. It’s how they’re trying to keep their market share captive

Slice of Pi

Project floof

  • So cute!  Everything else is getting data logged to the internet, so why not Hamsters to!
  • A magnetic door sensor (like the kind used in alarm systems) is used to detect each time the wheel makes a complete rotation.
  • The sensor is hooked up to the GPIO pins of a Raspberry Pi, where it’s read by a Python script.
  • Using MQTT IoT software on the Pi, the data is then uploaded every minute to a ThingSpeak channel that graphs the date for easy readability.
  • It’s a bit messy looking, not very accurate but you don’t do projects like this out of need, nay.
  • You do them as a testament to humankind’s arrogance.
  • Do you think floofball is cute?
  • This is a testament to what sort of wacky crap people get up to when they have access to a open hardware platform
  • Is your gerbil to fat?   We gotcha fam



  • Thanks for the pic in Discord chat of you wearing the One Chair shirt MikeG :-D



  • Photophobia my man.
  • IDC diagnosis code H53.143 if you’re curious.

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