05.15.22

Audio: Mark Shuttleworth Marketed to Young Males, With Sexy Pictures

Posted in Audio/Video, Ubuntu at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Web is rotting away, old links become broken links within months or years, so I’ve decided to encode a 3-minute segment of the whole as Ogg.

Partial trascript (Jeff Waugh): “What happened was, we’ve had some very… some of the very early initial meetings (when, you know, there were about 10 people) and Mark [Shuttleworth] showed this picture… and it was of a girl called Sabrina, or that’s the name that he gave her. And it was a very [?] tone, Vaseline on the lens kind of shot, and it was a… a very beautiful shot, but it was with a girl with her face turned away but her breasts perfectly visible. And he saying to everyone, ‘this is what I want the desktop to look like.’”

05.11.22

Ubuntu (Canonical) Will Not Help Us Get Rid of Windows (Microsoft)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu, Windows at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 7a485dbdce27b3f9d52b2fe3579d619c
Ubuntu is Helping Microsoft
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Canonical is rapidly losing its dominance among desktop/laptop GNU/Linux users (it’s still doing OK in servers); but adding insult to injury, it’s now boosting Windows instead of GNU/Linux, perhaps failing to grasp that this is in part the cause of the exodus (of Ubuntu engineers, too)

THIS is a truly sad story, but it’s not the first time, i.e. it’s not unprecedented. It’s quite a tragedy considering the first bug report in Ubuntu. It was meant to replace Windows. But Canonical is trying to appease Microsoft and spy with Microsoft. As a result, Ubuntu’s community has been reduced to nothing, users flee to other distros (many reports to that effect lately), and the power of the brand “Ubuntu” is withering away.

“Canonical is yet again promoting the competition, but we’re meant to believe that Canonical/Ubuntu is truly the alternative to Microsoft/Windows. It’s not.”I’ve decided it might be easier to cover the topic in the form of a spontaneous video as I would regret sending traffic to the pages in question (we’ve already included some in Daily Links regardless, along with critical editorial comments).

Canonical is yet again promoting the competition, but we’re meant to believe that Canonical/Ubuntu is truly the alternative to Microsoft/Windows. It’s not.

“The company’s “Product Manager” (first post Oct 19 2021) keeps shilling Windows and other Microsoft stuff.”When Ubuntu had a new LTS release (only a few weeks ago) there was “IPO” murmur/talk in Microsoft media (predicted for next year), but that might simply mean that the founder wants to exit and put the liabilities in shareholders’ hands. The interview in question was with a longtime Microsoft propagandist, so it’s hard to say what motivated it.

In any event, today and yesterday Ubuntu’s official blog promoted Windows and products with Windows. The company’s “Product Manager” (first post Oct 19 2021) keeps shilling Windows and other Microsoft stuff. About a quarter of his posts are Microsoft promotion and Microsoft isn’t even described as a competitor. But remember that more than a decade ago the person managing the desktop of Ubuntu was someone who had come from Microsoft (Spencer), spreading Mono and other problematic things.

“Canonical hired for WSL promotion instead of GNU/Linux promotion and now there’s endorsement of a laptop that comes with Windows (an HP debacle we’ve covered in a past video).”As noted in the video, many of the original high-calibre developers of Ubuntu have left. Not only have many left; some of them now “disparage” Canonical’s products, including some managers. Canonical hired for WSL promotion instead of GNU/Linux promotion and now there’s endorsement of a laptop that comes with Windows (an HP debacle we’ve covered in a past video).

What is Canonical trying to tell us? To buy a Windows machine instead of one with GNU/Linux preloaded?

“Ubuntu is losing its lead very rapidly and it knows it. Maybe that’s why so many people leave.”Incidentally, that same “Product Manager” keeps promoting proprietary software (most of his posts) and the rest include Steam (DRM). He wrote about Steam after the media had noted that gamers are on Arch or other distros. Ubuntu is losing its lead very rapidly and it knows it. Maybe that’s why so many people leave.

In any case, see the video; I prefer not to link to the Microsoft promotion in Ubuntu.com. Instead I just show that in the video. The CEO whose surname I forgot is Jane Silber, who worked for a weapons company prior to Canonical.

05.05.22

Ubuntu LoCo Council Gone Loco or Just Cracked

Posted in Security, Ubuntu at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ubuntu LoCo Council

Summary: The Ubuntu LoCo Council site appears to have suffered a security breach today (screenshot is minutes old)

04.20.22

A Pandemic of Webspam and Fake News About GNU/Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 2:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 1b82e1e02b2b39ae07c3025e1b0513cf
When News About Ubuntu is Intentionally Fake
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Combating disinformation or misinformation is very important; sadly, even in the GNU/Linux ‘blogosphere’ there’s no lack of false information, sometimes intentionally put there for ‘SEO’ purposes

THERE’S this site or blog called “It’s Ubuntu” which spreads false news about an impending release (links here, intentionally indirect; this one predates another three). It’s one of many candidates for removal from our RSS feeds (we already removed many “Linux” sites that turned into spam or part-time spam).

“Combating false information is a tough task because a lot of money is invested in deception (also known as marketing).”The video above shows a particular kind of problem that goes many years if not decades back. Opportunists with blogs love to prematurely announce releases of things, causing more confusion if not technical problems than actually helping anybody. They curtail preparation and coordination.

The Web has become an awful source of information because when you enter false things into a search engine you’re likely to find some “supportive” results; it’s even worse in social control media which is an echo chamber and noise amplifier. Disinformation thrives there because it can reach unsuspecting passers.

Combating false information is a tough task because a lot of money is invested in deception (also known as marketing). The Linux Foundation is one famous example of it.

03.26.22

Canonical is Becoming Softer (Pro-Microsoft and Against Free Speech)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 803ce78aa023ddd2685a019f3aa941e6
Lessening Free Speech Is Not Ethics
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

I'm trying to blacklist; I mean, killfile; I mean, denylistSummary: In the name of “protecting us” the folks at Microsoft Canonical herald a new era of censorship and self-censorship

THE INTERNET is becoming more oppressive a space over time. I’m not so old — nor a “traditionalist” — but I think the way things are going is truly Orwellian. It’s further magnified by centralised platforms such as social control media and corporations that control Free software communities — to the point of policing speech. Of course they call that “Open Source” and speak of “conduct” (code word for control by those corporations).

Enter Canonical. Yesterday it published “Inclusive Language and its Future at Canonical” — a post that I wanted to respond to in video form. It’s harder to take videos out of context.

“Are we mandating tolerance of corruption?”This issue isn’t a cross-generational thing. It’s not even about age. It’s about corporate interests and a divide-and-rule strategy, akin to trolling by the most hypocritical companies out there. A few months ago I turned 40 and my site has just turned 20 (I’m hardly new to the Web; I’ve made sites since I was 15 and I’ve used IRC since I was about 13; it was prior to that when I had practised some simple programming). The actual technical progress made since then is nearly zero. We’ve had technology turned against its users, using misleading doublespeak like “smart” and “clown computing”. At the same time there was a watering down of language — to the point where condemning a criminal company like Microsoft is considered "hateful". You know we’ve gone too far when criminals are protected from “offence”. Are we mandating tolerance of corruption?

Note/clarification regarding meme: When you ban someone or ban whole groups (e.g. IP addresses from China) there’s no “polite” term/way to put it. It’s a never-ending or circular game of word-shuffle. It’ll appease nobody but xenophobic corporations which abhor speech (except their own), and that appeasement will only be temporary anyway. It’s a pretext or excuse for ‘agenda creep’, governed by corporations, not communities.

02.19.22

Snap is Not Linux and the Sky is Not Falling

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 62f1c79af618526e0d69680bb8117366
Snappy FUD
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

I smell FUDSummary: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) attacks on “Linux” persist; now there’s some not-too-alarming flaw in snap-confine and we’re meant to think it’s a very serious problem; in the real world, however, it’s not used much on multi-user systems

THIS year started with exceptionally vicious Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) attacks on "Linux" — mostly recycled from last year (trying to float or keep afloat something about a package of Apache). We perceived that to be a form of distraction from what had happened to VMware and Microsoft Windows. The White House was (mis)led to look at the wrong culprit, being advised by the actual culprits.

“The White House was (mis)led to look at the wrong culprit, being advised by the actual culprits.”The general tactic seems to be information warfare. They want us to think or at least ‘feel’ like “everything is broken” or “Linux” is just as unsafe as Windows or other proprietary software. Since the Linux Foundation is nowadays a front for proprietary software companies we ought not expect it to say anything in Linux’s defense. The same is true for media that it bribes for puff pieces. SJVN seems to have become a part-time FUD peddler. Follow the money… (salaries)

Blame 'Linux'The video above is about this not-so-critical flaw in snap-confine. Typically you’d expect some advisory, a fix, and everyone to just move on, carrying on with patched systems. But not this time…

Last night we saw the headline “Multiple vulnerabilities put 40 million Ubuntu users at risk” from clickbait site TechRadar [1, 2], joined by a bunch of other scary-sounding “reports” from Microsoft-connected publishers. Of course they keep blaming “Linux” or insinuating it’s an issue with Linux.

“Of course they keep blaming “Linux” or insinuating it’s an issue with Linux.”What is this really about? It’s about snap-confine, which not so many GNU/Linux systems even have. About a month ago the media did something similar with polkit (part of systemd), wrongly attributing a similar bug to “Linux”.

Running out of FUDWell, in my personal experience, e.g. at work, Snap isn’t widely used. It’s especially ignored in multi-user server systems. It’s used a lot to shoehorn proprietary software and even as a ramp for client-side DRM (things like Steam), not to mention pervasive eavesdropping (e.g. Skype, Microsoft Teams). In other words, if you install things using Snap, then it’s the stuff you install that’s by far greater a threat than Snap itself. Trojan horses with back doors, “telemetry” and even rootkits (“anti-cheat”) are literally “malware”, but we’re meant to think those are honourable because there are large companies behind them.

Snap is “Linux” as much as Photoshop is “Windows”. There are many other package management systems, even better ones and more widely used ones [1, 2, 3], not limited to Linux as a kernel [1, 2].

“So all this commotion in the media (over the past few days) might be motivated by an agenda other than a will to inform readers.”From a technical point of view, Snap offers very bloated packages that are far too big and slow to install. Canonical has been trying to tackle this problem, which is very legitimate a complaint by the way, and meanwhile key staff from Snap has left. Snap/Snapcraft has not been going as well as initially hoped by Canonical, partly because IBM/Red Hat is pushing back with Flatpak and Linux Mint is trying to block what it rightly perceives/views as a potential vendor lock-in of little practical benefit to actual end users.

So all this commotion in the media (over the past few days) might be motivated by an agenda other than a will to inform readers.

12.11.21

Canonical: Over a Decade Later

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Ubuntu at 2:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When Ubuntu had an actual community:

Ubuntu bug #1

When Ubuntu has new masters (Microsoft):

Canonical Ubuntu WSL

Summary: Canonical does not always promote Ubuntu; when it promotes Windows, for its true masters, it is WSL (screenshot from yesterday)

10.12.21

A Tale of Two KDE Distributions: Kubuntu 21.10 and Debian 11 GNU/Linux

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, KDE, Ubuntu at 8:25 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission from the original

KDE screenshot
By KDE, GPL.

I recently tried out Debian 11 with KDE on my Lenovo Yoga 900 ISK2 laptop.

This is my older system and I feel more comfortable playing around with it because it’s not being used that much. Regardless, it allows me to see where things are at in other distributions.

While Debian 11 is generally a fine GNOME desktop experience, it’s hardly an ideal one for KDE users with HiDPI displays, because the version that they put in is far too old for the KDE on Wayland session to work properly.

While the X11 session probably works fine on lower resolution screens and can remain serviceable for the foreseeable future, both sessions are a complete scaling mess no matter what you do on a HiDPI monitor.

So I grabbed a daily build of Kubuntu 21.10 (which is not yet released), and I think it’s shaping up to be a good release so far.

Some of that is later improvements to KDE, and the rest is just that Kubuntu’s setup program is more pleasant and even offers to install a “minimal” version of the desktop so that you can start out with some basic essential software and then add what you want later.

This, I think, will be more enticing to people with SSDs, or even more so to people who are trying to go into developer mode on a Chromebook to clobber Chrome OS, but need the OS and their files to fit comfortably on an eMMC drive.

One of the downsides of KDE is that it has some applications that almost nobody really uses (Konqueror, Akonadi, KMail…) and which are either badly maintained, use more resources than they’re worth, or just don’t work properly, but the Plasma desktop is generally a fine piece of software.

The minimal install provided by Kubuntu, giving the user a relatively clean slate, also gives them a chance to explore oft-overlooked native KDE software, like the Calligra Office suite.

LibreOffice is the default office program, and you basically need it if you plan to save any Microsoft files (eww), and has both GTK and Qt bindings, but those are essentially a mask it wears. And it can be a good mask, and it’s not a bad office program, but it’s still a very “cross platform” program, whereas KDE has an official office suite that’s quite good. If you don’t need to _save_ to Microsoft formats, it can, however, import them, and it’s quite pleasant to use.

In fact, according to top (although the KDE system monitor now seems to count disk cache as used memory now for some reason), only 637 MB of RAM (excluding the disk cache, which can be evicted if the system runs low) were in use on my laptop with an empty KDE desktop running aside from the terminal. This is easily several hundred MB less than GNOME.

So far, the only thing I had to do with the KDE Plasma Desktop on the Yoga 900 ISK2 was configure my touchpad the way I like it and then scale the display to 200%. It even took effect instantly in the Wayland session. Nice!

And when I shut the lid and reopened it, Kubuntu 21.10 even remembered that I had a touchpad.

(Did I mention that Debian’s KDE on X11 didn’t?)

One of the reasons I haven’t taken a serious look at KDE recently (despite being a huge fan of their 3.x series) is because their window manager has been a complete disaster on that laptop with different HiDPI scaling bugs and various levels of completeness.

Obviously, it has gotten much better recently, but Debian froze a version of it that just doesn’t work too well for the screen in that particular laptop.

Mine is a special case (and an evil laugh).

Other than the odd PC and some Macs, not many computers have these screens (and most people are better off spending their money on a better processor, more memory, nicer graphics, bigger SSD, or something important) and so it wasn’t a pressing development matter, obviously, outside of GNOME.

In general, this is just Debian being Debian.

In normal usage, for most people, Debian is going to hold up better than Ubuntu because the software in the Stable version of Debian, while older, is rigorously tested and with the goal of there being far fewer serious defects in the final product as a result.

I posted about using Flatpaks several times if you need a newer version of a particular program on Debian, but just want a stable OS core that isn’t moving around a lot, with the usual bug churn that goes along with that.

The most notable feature of Debian is probably that they are extremely conservative about official kernel versions (although you can certainly install a newer one through backports).

That is to say that the official Linux kernels tend to be drawn from the LTS branches where it will just get more and more reliable over its five years (ish) support lifecycle upstream, and if it runs your hardware okay, there’s really not a lot of reason to mess with it.

But the policy extends to just about everything on the system.

And in some cases, that’s a shame, because KDE’s latest stuff strikes me as overwhelmingly competent. It works, it works well, and it’s not bloatware. If there is one thing I absolutely hate, it’s software that uses more resources than it should for the job it’s doing.

I did run into a weird issue where booting Kubuntu 21.10 on this laptop caused the uEFI BIOS in my Lenovo ThinkBook 15 ITL Gen2 to say it was backing up the self-healing BIOS until I shut down and cold started the computer.

I have no idea how Ubuntu is building their kernels. Debian doesn’t do this.

If I was going to switch over to KDE on this, it would probably be on Debian 11, even though there have been improvements, just because it’s stable and the 1920×1080 display plays nicely with everything.

Nothing gets me hotter under the collar than software that doesn’t work, or is working one day and not the next, and now the problem is fixed, but there’s another problem. That’s what Fedora was like.

It’s worth repeating….. DO NOT buy a HiDPI display.

You will only live to regret it. They’re a power-hogging monstrosity that demands a lot of the GPU, and they’re not practical.

Leave them for Mac fanboys who are watching kiss anime at 240p on Safari.

I’m sad to say that I bought one because I liked how it looked in the store, and then I ended up getting snookered in and only able to run GNOME these last several years.

At this point, I know to ask for 1920×1080 displays. A nice one. But 1920×1080. No more, no less.

I definitely see why some underpowered ARM laptops in the $100 range are going with KDE.

It’s probably the only desktop environment that any sane person would use that still works on such a system. While GNOME is nowhere near as bad about leaking memory as it used to be, it’s still no spring chicken on old or cheap hardware, and KDE is fast and feature-packed.

KDE has had extreme ups and downs over the years, and if anything gives me a second thought at recommending it, it’s that.

In early 2008, I remember being excited that we were going to get KDE 4.0, and then I went to evaluate it and almost nothing worked right, for me anyway, until halfway into the KDE 4 development cycle, with version 4.5.

Kubuntu 8.04 LTS ended up releasing an unofficial patchjob of KDE 3.5.”12″ and saying that was the LTS, and if you wanted the KDE 4 packages, you were on your own. No LTS support at that point. The KDE project made some truly bizarre development choices and one of them was this thing called the “Phonon” API, which seemed great in theory.

They would no longer be beholden to some sound system that might get abandoned upstream like aRts did. Phonon is a smallish API, and programs can use it to play sound and perform other tasks, not caring what the actual media engine behind it all is.

The only problem is that the default gstreamer backend was so terrible (at the time, it works fine now) that I installed an unofficial VLC plug-in, so that everything that used Phonon would end up with VLC’s enormous codec library. But even forcing the user to think about things like this seems like a bother in this day and age.

I mean, I’m willing to entertain some post-setup dotting of the i’s, crossing of the t’s, but an OS needs to work.

And KDE went on for years feeling half-baked with a bug system that was, at times, an echo chamber.

Along the way, they adopted this crazy versioning system that split everything out into three groups (not counting Qt itself!) and I’ve never taken to that, and I’ll always call Lake Shore Drive in Chicago by THAT name regardless of what the Democratic Party decides it is.

All while GNOME 3 (now 4x) just incrementally got better.

The KDE 5.x series is finally something I could install and use on my own computer as a daily driver… except that it’s been so long now that muscle memory for GNOME is built-up, but I can figure out pretty much anything fairly quickly, and would be comfortable changing over on a fresh install if I decided to.

The importance of KDE, to me, is that it’s now one more option.

If GNOME does something that just flat out makes their software useless and terrible, in my opinion, or KDE just keeps getting better, I can easily switch to it.

That’s important. I doubt either will ever get proprietary software-bad, but still….choice is nice.

In Windows, there have been other shells besides “Exploder” (Explorer), but very few people ever installed them, and just muddled through trying to figure out where everything was every couple of years when Microsoft decided to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Most of the projects that even tried to bring some (UI-level) sanity to Windows are now dead. Most were better-written than Microsoft’s, not that that’s much of a hill to climb, but most of the developers themselves probably gave up trying to make the best out of the situation and fled to GNU/Linux and just didn’t have anything left to develop and test on.

Remember how awful that Windows 8 thing was? Remember them giving you the start button back and then having it lead to that second desktop you were trying to ignore? That’s how GUI developers give you a proper middle finger.

That’s one in a particularly long line of cruel manipulations from Microsoft. I hear that now with Windows 11 you have to set your default browser in like 23 different places, and it’s still hardwired to ignore you and do whatever the hell Microsoft wants.

This is just not how you’d treat a friend, and it’s not the way Free Software treats its users.

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