09.17.21

Lagrange Makes It Easier for Anybody to Use Gemini and Even Edit Pages (With GUI)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ec192ce38f3d4d9773021d2d3f9b5149

Summary: Gemini protocol and/or Gemini space are easy for anyone to get started with or fully involved in (writing and creating, not just reading); today we take a look at the new version of Lagrange (it was first introduced here back in March and covered again in April), which I installed earlier today because it contains a lot of improvements, including the installation process (now it’s just a click-to-run AppImage)

OMG! Command line! OK, this is better...LAST night Andrew Thorp wrote in the Gemini mailing lists: “While I like a good technical blog as much as the next software engineer, does anyone know of some good non-technical capsules ? In particular I enjoy reading about hiking, gardening, and photography. I don’t mind if the capsule contains technical content, but it’s nice to read something softer.”

It’s not controversial to say that Gemini is popular among geeks and developers; for mass adoption we’ll need to make it easier and welcoming to lesser- or differently-technical people, as well as foster “content” to that effect. It was the same with the World Wide Web in its early days (early 1990s). Techrights on Gemini is mostly technical, but the Daily Links are not limited to technology.

Gemini:// is different; It's like http:// but simplerContrary to how it may seem on the surface, as many early adopters are also command line lovers, one needn’t have any knowledge beyond the level of using a Web browser (or accessing the Web) in order to embrace/use Gemini. One existing barrier is the lack of software in repositories and “stores”; in due time, however, given the phenomenal growth of Gemini, we reckon we’ll leave this obstacle behind us.

As noted here before, creating and managing a Gemini capsule is a lot simpler than running a Web site and editing Web pages (there are also GUIs for it, as shown below).

As the media refuses to cover Gemini (publishers’ agenda has its lousy reasons) it remains highly important to spread the word. In the video above I sort of ‘review’ the latest version of Lagrange, which as far as I’m aware is the most advanced Gemini client/browser. It’s still actively developed, it is very popular, and its development is self-hosted, which is a positive sign. Now it’s possible to install and run it by just downloading a single file (the AppImage object), then double-clicking it. It ought to help by lowering the entry barrier.

Lagrange editing

09.16.21

Techrights Examines a Wide Array/Range of Gemini Clients/Browsers

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 2502c141249b73b6dd31167c4a2c69e0

Summary: After spending many months examining an array of different types of software for Gemini (including but not limited to clients/browsers) we take stock of what exists, what’s supported (it varies a bit), and which one might be suitable for use by geeks and non-geeks

AROUND the start of this year we began implementing our Gemini capsule, which now contains almost all the pages that exist in the Web site. It the process we produced a lot of code (released under the terms of the AGPLv3), mostly for converting WordPress and MediaWiki into Gemini pages.

Our Web site isn’t going away, but it’s no longer our sole priority. We invite readers to follow us into Geminispace (or Gemini space — the term used for that protocol and what lurks inside it).

I’ve asked around in IRC, where quite a few of us have tried Amfora, Lagrange, and Kristall. One of us settled on Kristall, I myself mostly use Lagrange these days, and MinceR (who tried all three) prefers Amfora. One associate prefers Amfora as well.

“There’s no clear strategy for ‘fixing’ the Web, so we need to gradually move to something else, at least for some use cases.”In the first half of this month the capsule has attracted nearly a quarter million page requests and it’s growing every month. We invest more energy in the Gemini capsule than we do in the Web site. Gemini protocol has promise and has a future; Gemini space continues to expand, too. There are currently 1,600 unique capsules that are known, compared to 500 last December and about 1,000 back in April (according to Mr. Bortzmeyer). So it more than tripled in a single year!

The video above covered my personal everyday experience with Gemini software (I used those tools in parallel and in conjunction, partly for testing purposes).

As promised in the video (recording before typing a single line of text), here are the links to various homepages, along with a screenshot of each homepage.

Kristall
Kristall. Homepage: https://kristall.random-projects.net/

Amfora
Amfora. Homepage: https://github.com/makeworld-the-better-one/amfora

Telescope
Telescope. Homepage: https://git.omarpolo.com/telescope/

Lagrange
Lagrange. Homepage: https://git.skyjake.fi/gemini/lagrange

Moonlander
Moonlander. Homepage: https://sr.ht/~admicos/moonlander/

We are absolutely certain that Gemini will continues to grow; it’s not some passing fad and interest in Gemini will grow as fatigue/backlash increases, seeing that the Web is a monopolistic monoculture of bloat and surveillance. There’s no clear strategy for ‘fixing’ the Web, so we need to gradually move to something else, at least for some use cases.

06.12.21

With KDE Plasma 5.22 Having Just Been Released It’s Time to Give KDE a Try (or Move to GNU/Linux, Leveraging the Best Features of Any Operating System Out There)

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Review at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: A quick recommendation of KDE based on a reasonably recent (but not latest) build; there’s this myth about KDE being difficult and flaky, but for a number of decades it has been the most advanced desktop (on any operating system) and its developers managed to hide the complexity while offering users all the power they may want/need

THERE is a new version of KDE Plasma out in the wild. Over the past few days , as the media caught on (some examples of coverage, including videos of this release), more and more distributions of GNU/Linux built and integrated it into repositories and/or ISOs. KDE remains by far the most powerful desktop environment (I’ve used plenty over the years, even for very long periods of time) and this video shows some of the extensive sets of features that KDE comes with by default, even without further add-ons or applications.

“It’s not daunting and complicated, at least not by default.”If you’re not a GNU/Linux user, KDE isn’t a bad way to start. It’s not daunting and complicated, at least not by default. It should not be scary anymore. It’s also very stable (it’s rock-solid in Debian ‘Buster’/10). If you left KDE or rejected KDE in the past (around a decade ago), maybe it’s time to revisit and reassess.

05.02.21

Audacity for Audio Editing With Free Software Only (GPL)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Audacity is still our software of choice for audio editing; it had a new stable release just 10 days ago (GPL-licensed)

THE TechBytes audiocast uses Mumble (instance we self-host with Murmur at the back end) for recording and Audacity for editing. A decade or more ago we had used all sorts of applications, including several SIP-based ones, but for multi-user chats Mumble is fantastic and we warmly recommend it. It doesn’t do video, but it copes with audio very well and it’s very easy to use. Some time in the future we’ll try to introduce more people to it.

“The licence is GPLv2 and the project will turn 21 later this month.”The above video focuses on Audacity and how it can generally be used (by virtually anybody). It’s Free/libre software with many developers involved (they welcome more), it still has new releases (very active project; last release 10 days ago, according to Wikipedia), and it runs across platforms with standardised formats. There’s no vendor lock-in and anyone can use it. The learning curve is not steep (especially for people who edited sounds before) and it’s not as monstrous as proprietary counterparts, weighing at 65.6 MB for Windows, 86.0 MB for macOS, and for GNU/Linux it varies depending on the distribution. The licence is GPLv2 and the project will turn 21 later this month.

Audacity logoI’m not new to audio editing, so Audacity was very easy for me to learn. It’s the only application I’ve ever used to edit TechBytes and it keeps getting better all the time. It’s also very stable in my experience. It case of crashes it can (and does) recover data.

Here’s where to download the software.

04.04.21

Lagrange as a Gemini Client: One Week Later

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review at 1:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: When it comes to the Gemini (gemini://) protocol, Lagrange is probably the most advanced application made so far; does it manage to keep things simple and reliable (or stable) enough? Let’s examine a week’s experience

LAST WEEK I started experimenting with Lagrange, which is a more feature-rich (albeit complicated and heavy) Gemini client than Moonlander, which is still an alpha, exceedingly simple, but also very light (less than a megabyte of RAM for the main application).

“Remember that one of the goals of Gemini is to keep things slim and simple; making everything light (from clients/browsers to capsules) is an objective.”It has now been over a week of Lagrange use, so I thought it’s time to do another video, pointing out the upsides and downsides of Lagrange. Remember that one of the goals of Gemini is to keep things slim and simple; making everything light (from clients/browsers to capsules) is an objective. Does Lagrange stay true to that goal?

03.21.21

A First Look at the Alpha of Moonlander, a Graphical Gemini Client/Browser

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Review at 4:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: There’s now yet another option for browsing Gemini space (with Gemini protocol, gemini://) and it’s called Moonlander, a GTK3-based application

BROWSING Gemini capsules isn’t easy because getting software for Gemini is not yet easy; in most GNU/Linux distributions there’s nothing in software repositories for this purpose, so people must download binaries or compile from source, at least for now.

“Amfora has a lot more features, but the downside is that it doesn’t work with a mouse and textual elements are always of the same size, even headings.”Last night in the Gemini mailing list the first alpha of Moonlander was announced and then received some feedback regarding accessibility. The software is now available for download (AppImage) and I’ve taken it for a spin to demonstrate its simplicity. So far I’ve seen no crashes and bugs. Maybe it’s considered alpha because of the lack of features. Amfora has a lot more features, but the downside is that it doesn’t work with a mouse and textual elements are always of the same size, even headings. Both are developed in Rust.

03.13.11

Linux Mint 10 for a Whole Day

Posted in GNU/Linux, Review, Ubuntu at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mint in green

Summary: Rave about Linux Mint 10, which is a recommended option to existing Ubuntu users

Ubuntu, Ubuntu, Ubuntu. Android, Android, Android. Welcome to the new world of GNU/Linux, where brands are merely trademarks of companies which increasingly treat “community” as convenient PR/free labour and do what the heck they want. I decided to give the nice Irishmen from Mint a go and see if it’s time to live a Minty lifestyle. On Saturday I used Mint 10 and it lasted almost all day. The reason it did not last a whole day will be explained in a moment. As a bit of background, I’ve been exploring Ubuntu alternatives that reject poor decisions from Canonical and take what’s good in Ubuntu. So, I went with Mint. It was not the KDE version, which had not come out before I burned Mint 10 to a CD and then wrote about it some time last month.

“Granted, a lot of credit is given here to Mint for what Ubuntu has done in the same way that Debian receives little or no credit for what it gave to Canonical over the many years.”The desktop experience based on the Live CD was fantastic on good hardware. It hardly felt like a live session at all, it was very polished, the default theme was stunning (although better wallpapers come with the stock), and the selected applications were just right for my needs. The only unexpected downside is that twice throughout the day the session sort of fell. First the mouse pointer vanished from one monitor (just the cursor, the pointer was still functional), then the session froze (just shortly thereafter). Having to restart a live session is a pain because all the stored passwords need to be reentered, not to mention bookmarks and the likes of those. The second crash came just an hour later and it was a real crash, not a freeze that came rather spontaneously. Based on my experience with a Live CD of PCLinuxOS back in 2009, this is not too unusual. Perhaps working uninterrupted for consecutive days on a live session is not too easy. A lot depends on what’s in memory and the CD is a sort of unreliable bus, as well.

All in all, however, Mint 10 is better than anything I’ve ever come across in all the Ubuntu versions I’ve used (almost all of them) and it is definitely worth using. Granted, a lot of credit is given here to Mint for what Ubuntu has done in the same way that Debian receives little or no credit for what it gave to Canonical over the many years.

The new “Techrights headquarters” so to speak has no wired Internet connection yet, which means I must use cellular networks to access the Internet (slow and expensive). As such, there’s going to be no regular posting pace in the week to come (if not week and a half, depending on BT).

01.30.10

Novell News Summary – Part I: Two Weeks of OpenSUSE, Some Reviews Accumulated

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE, Novell, OpenSUSE, Review at 7:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Several reviews of OpenSUSE that we’ve netted, upcoming events, and a lot of technical writings assembled

LAST week was too quiet to be worth a post, so this is an accumulation encompassing two weeks.

The big news is that Zonker is leaving. Project activity in general seems low, but there are many IRC meetings as well as other gatherings.

Read the rest of this entry »

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