LWDW 174: Pizza Box Linux

HPE’s Linux powered supercomputer returns to earth! Firefox gets premium, Red Hat simplifies NVIDIA driver deployment, and a Jetson powered Linux tablet that’s easy to hack.

03:18 Firefox premium
06:47 Red Hat NVIDIA driver deployment
09:45 Zorin OS 15
12:12 KDENlive 19.04.2
14:47 Plasma 5.16
18:51 XFCE Spotify plugin
22:01 Pencil 2D animation
24:53 Linux supercomputer returns to earth
27:25 Facebook threat to open source
34:19 Homebrew Linux tablet
40:02 Listener emails


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 Jill Pedro

Firefox Premium

  • If the premium features are all extraneous and superfluous stuff that would get bolted on, I don’t see the problem.
  • Hell, take Pocket and make that premium. That’s the first thing I disable on every install.
  • Basically anything that’ll help Firefox develop, without compromising on what is already there, I’m good with.
  • Same here Pedro.
  • We talked about last October, Mozilla offering the ProtonVPN service for a $10 a month subscription.
  • Maybe Mozilla realizes more services need to be included in the Firefox Premium browser other than just ProtonVPN at $10 a month, when cheaper VPN services are available.
  • Also makes sense that the free version of Firefox will offer a limited VPN service like that of Opera, and of course, the Tor Browser.
  • If you don’t pay for it you’re the product.
  • FLOSS gets around this with sponsors and donations.
  • It has to be premium features since nobody has paid for a browser since the 90’s.
  • I like the VPN idea since that only VPN is a paid VPN.


Red Hat NVIDIA driver deployment

  • Two big ones from this: Red Hat is simplifying the NVidia driver installation and they’re lessening the DKMS depency.
  • They’re basically shipping the precompiled kmods for each kernel version, but they still offer a DKMS alternative if you’re deploying your own custom kernel.
  • First thought when reading this article, that making NVidia driver deployment this easy in RHEL is a very smart choice, especially when installing the NVidia drivers on their competitors OS Ubuntu is so easy.
    • SUSE?


Zorin OS 15

  • I have always been impressed with the look and feel of Zorin OS.
  • The Lite version for older computers has one of the most visually appealing implementations of the xfce desktop.
  • Now the NVidia drivers are available via the ISO.
  • This release of Zorin is based on Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS.
  • It would seem as if Zorin came in and ate Mint’s lunch.
  • Zorin Connect looks neat, syncing desktop notifications and SMS, share files, and control media playback.  
  • Adaptive background and night light.
  • And a… something.
  • Oh, a todo app with built-in support for Google Tasks and Todoist.
  • And it ships with Flatpack support.
  • Touch layout for convertibles is also a thing.
  • “Not only do these features reduce eye strain and make it more comfortable to use your computer, they also help maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythm, helping you to sleep better and wake up refreshed the next day”
    • Someone needs to call their local FTC equivalents to confirm this bold claim.
  • Also, Strider keeps telling me GNOME 3 isn’t a touch interface so I need to also note that their use of the GNOME application grid/drawer/thing is incorrect.


KDENlive 19.04.2 (RTheren)

  • Second minor release of the 19.04 series is out with 77 bug fixes and a few usability improvements.
  • Giving kdenlive a bit more polish after the major refactoring that took place.
  • Kdenlive 19.04.2 is out with lots of bug fixes and refinements.
  • There are fixes for compositing issues, grouping inconsistencies and misbehaving guides and markers.
  • Sometimes Kdenlive would crash when opening old project files, fixed!
  • And the timeline not scrolling with the cursor, fixed!


Plasma 5.16 (RTheren)

  • Oh look, a new notification system!
  • I have poked at 5.16 a little on the X240 with KDE Neon, while it doesn’t show up in Solus.
  • I do have to point out that it took them 16 point releases to reintroduce a bit of functionality they removed in the move from KDE 4 to KDE 5.
  • The thing I noticed about the new notifications is the little bar down the side which indicates the remaining time it’ll be on screen for.
  • There are several refinements to Plasma’s software center Discover, which now has two distinct areas for downloading and installing software on the Update page.
  • The completion bar when installing apps in Discover now works correctly and automatically removes the apps from the list and populates correctly.


XFCE Spotify plugin

  • This is a bit involved since it requires creating a developer account.
  • However it does have the neat factor of showing the current song in the taskbar.
  • I like that it has the thumbnail of the album when you hover over the song title.
    • I was going to say it didn’t for me but then I remembered, I disable tooltips on every single DE I ever use.


Pencil 2D animation

  • Pencil2D v0.6.4 is out and I wanted to give it a mention because sometimes I art.
  • Like kdenlive this is mostly bug fixes.
  • This release, and all future releases ending in an even number will be bug fix releases.
  • Pencil2D v0.6.4 has been released!
  • Pencil2D Animation is simple to use and great for learning hand drawn animation.
  • It also lets you layer images and animations and draw using a vector layer or a raster layer.
  • It is extremely lightweight, and comes in at just over 38 megs for the AppImage.
  • Pencil2D is really good 2D animation program to learn before you use the more advanced Synfig Studio 2D animation software or Blender’s Grease Pencil.


Linux supercomputer returns to earth

  • HPE’s Spaceborne supercomputer which was launched August 14, 2017 on SpaceX’s CRS-12 mission to the ISS, returns to Earth after 615 days on the ISS.  It made its safe return on the SpaceX Dragon this week.
  • They wanted to test how a commercially available computer would handle the rigors of space, and it worked beautifully despite a few hiccups.
  • Having a supercomputer in space would also be a great for long journeys into space, such as to Mars, and for scientific experiments.
  • We talked about this last November when 9 of the 20 SSDs failed, probably due to cosmic rays.
  • Pizza box servers for the win, and can withstand the perils of space flight!  
  • Doesn’t surprise me a bit ;-D


Facebook threat to open source

  • Going from Facebook OS to say it is a threat to open source is a bit of a leap.
  • Will it be a bigger threat to open sauce than Windows is?
  • Facebook is listening to the future of a decentralized internet, and would like to emulate what the WeChat app is doing in China.
  • Yeah, let’s make the mastadon of social netwo… naa.
  • Open Source tech can be used for good or evil, that’s the tradeoff.
  • Neither Facebook for MS pose a threat to open source.

Slice of Pi

Homebrew Linux tablet

  • The base concept is solid: something which can browse the web, play videos and run some apps at the same time all while providing a smooth experience.
  • But if we’ve learned anything from past attempts is that that can be a bit of a unicorn.
  • I have always wanted a modular portable device, like several cell phone projects that have never came to fruition, such as the Fairphone 2 developed by Fairphone.
  • Jetson Nano is a quad-core 64-bit ARM CPU, a 128-core integrated NVIDIA GPU, as well as 4GB LPDDR4 memory.
  • Getting everything smashed down into a tablet form factor will be a challenge.
  • Best case it’s going to be DS9 tablet thiccc.




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