LWDW 291: The GNU Pirates

Pirating GPL software, forcing Chrome to the dark side, atomic powered nixie clocks, ncurses on methamphetamine, and NTFS lands in kernel 5.15.



00:00 Intro
08:00 GNU pirates
19:40 NTFS in kernel 5.15
24:20 Notcurses
27:55 RSS guard
31:55 Dark mode for Chrome
37:45 Pi68K
42:55 Atomic Nixie Pi
46:30 Emails

GPL Pirates


  • You could even make the argument that by stopping people from freely distributing their ISOs laden with GPL software they are the ones in breach of a distribution license.
  • But by far I think the healthiest thing to do is to stay away from distros created to sate the egos of their developers more than provide any meaningful use case to the community.
  • Pirating open-source software is a thing, look at Ardour. 
  • Source is freely available but you need to pay up for officially supported binaries. 
  • Linux users compile from source or use the one included with their distro. 
  • Windows users  on the other hand… 
  • I don’t mind paying a small amount of money to use open source software.
  • I just would like the option clearly labeled that I can download it for free without having to pay.


5.15 NTFS


  • I honestly forgot that Github even had a pull request web interface ;-)
  • I am looking forward to using Paragon’s new NTFS driver in Linux, because the old NTFS driver was horribly slow at writing to NTFS and had performance issues. 
  • The current NTFS-3g driver will cause your entire system to lock up while you’re writing a lot of files, and it will remain unresponsive until it’s done.
  • It’s jarring to see an 8 core Ryzen 3700X, having trouble copying about 100GB worth of files from a 2.5” SATA SSD from a broken laptop.
  • A better driver for that would be very helpful.
  • Paragon has struggled to get to grips with the Linux kernel development process.
  • Aside from his advice not to use GitHub’s interfaces for merging, Torvalds also said that – while he’ll let it slide this time – the pull request should have been signed.


Notcurses 2.4


  • This is not your grandpa’s curses. 
  • Notcurses is a library which facilitates complex text-based user interfaces on modern terminal emulators.
  • It supports vivid colors, multimedia, threads, and Unicode to the maximum degree possible.
  • And there are so many things you can do with Notcurses which you cannot do with the classic NCURSES.
  • It has lots of visual features including images, fonts, video, high-contrast text, sprites, and transparent regions.
  • Oh sweet, and Notcurses even has it’s own version of neofetch called ncneofetch.
  • Imagine installing a distro in CLI, and when it gets to hardware detection a neofetch like screen comes up, or a video is played via the built in audio/video player ncplayer.
  • I built it and ran the demo, but for some reason it didn’t do the QR code demo despite me having libqrcodegen installed along with the dev files at build time.


RSS Guard(RTheren)


  • Supports a few of the existing RSS aggregator APIs, or you can just set up your own local list.
  • Nice!  I like how it supports Tiny Tiny RSS, Nextcloud News and Gmail.
  • And it has an AppImage.


Force Dark


  • Goth google docs enabled! 
  • I tried this about a year ago and it was badsville. 
  • Nowadays 97.3% of sites render without issue. 
  • chrome://flags > Dark mode 
  • Fair warning: Some sites are terrabad. 
  • Now you can force dark mode on all websites using Chrome.
  • Type “chrome://flags” in Chrome’s omnibox.
  • Search for “Dark Mode” in the search box and “Force Dark Mode for Web Contents” comes up!
  • Normally I use Firefox to browse in the dark with the Dark Reader add-on, but it sure is nice to have this available in Chrome.
  • And without needing to install dark mode extensions.
  • Yeah, and now my Google Docs show notes are in dark mode on Chrome.
  • Might have to go back to Chrome now.

Slice of Pi

Yet Another Pi68k


  • This time it’s not replacing the CPU in its entirety, just providing Serial RS232 communication to the old machine and the 12V it needs to work.
  • Basically, the Pi is the frontend telling the old box what to do after translating the user input.
  • The PI, the most powerful computer in this particular application, is being used as a dumb terminal/frontend for Education Board.


Nixie Pi


  • New matched and tested tubes can be expensive. 
  • But if you have been longing for an atomic nixie clock this will get you sorted. 


Four Kays



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