Episode 050 – We’re Gold

Posted by Tony on September 23, 2012 in Show-mp3, Show-ogg |



MP3 format (for Freedom Haters!)
OGG format (for Freedom Lovers!)
Total Running Time:

Un-edited Live session – http://youtu.be/H3Rd9oS–D8

Contact Us:

show (at) smlr.us or the Contact us page


Kernel News: Mat
Time: 11:31
Distro Talk: Tony
Time: 17:52
Mary Distro Review
Time: 23:15
Tech News:
Time: 49:04
Is it Alive? – Mary
Time: 1:05:57
Listener Feedback
Time: 1:16:55
Outtro Music
Time: 1:39:30


Tony Bemus, Mat Enders, and Mary Tomich
Intro Sound bite by Mike Tanner

Kernel News: Mat

Time: 11:31
Release Candidate:
On Sun, 16 Sep 2012 15:59:09 PDT
Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.6-rc6
This is what he had to say about it:

“Fairly normal statistics: two thirds drivers, with the remaining third being a mix of architecture updates, filesystems (gfs2 and nfs) and random core stuff (scheduler, workqueue, stuff like that).”
–Linus Torvalds


Stable Updates:
On Thu, 20 Sep 2012 02:29:06 BST
Ben Hutchings released kernel 3.2.30
With 168 files changed, 1543 lines inserted, and 577 lines deleted

Kernel Developer Quote:
This weeks quote comes to us from none other then Linus himself.

“Minky has gone from catching shrews to catching (and bringing inside) this thing.

It was adorable, but compared to shrews the young ground squirrel was (a) fast as heck, and (b) much smarter.

Which made it much harder to catch-and-release.

Dammit, Minky.”
–Linus Torvalds

Distro Talk: Tony

Time: 17:52


  • 9-16 – Hanthana Linux 17 – Fedora-based distribution on a 3.5 GB live DVD with a large number of applications, media codecs and custom artwork
  • 9-18 – Superb Mini Server 2.0.0 – Slackware-based server distribution
  • 9-19 – Tails 0.13 – Debian-based live DVD with a strong focus on Internet privacy
  • 9-19 – Snowlinux 3 “E17” – Debian-based distribution featuring the latest Enlightenment 17 desktop:
  • 9-20 – GeeXboX 3.0 – Linux media centre distribution for embedded devices and desktop computers
  • 9-20 – Manjaro Linux 0.8.1 – Arch-based Linux distribution featuring the latest Xfce desktop
  • 5-27 –

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. Sabayon – 1602
  2. Ubuntu – 1678
  3. Fedora – 1853
  4. Mageia – 1931
  5. Mint – 2919

Mary Distro Review

Time: 23:15
Linux Review
I can’t hear with that tinfoil hat covering my ears..

Qubes OS is a security-oriented Linux distribution whose main concept is “security by isolation.” They accomplish this goal by using domains implemented as lightweight Xen virtual machines. Think of a series of separate silos, each with its own set of folders, applications, etc. Its goals are contradictory but Qubes seems to pull it off—for the most part. Strong security through domain isolation but making it as seamless a desktop experience as possible. They pull it off through clever architecture.

The Vitals:
Name: QubesOS
Maintainer: Joanna Rutkowska (and others)
Distro Latest Birthday: 1.0 on 9/4/2012
Derivative: Fedora 17 (64-bit based)
Kernel: 3.2.7-10
Review Desktop: KDE

Live Environment:

There is no live environment. The boot menu only provides for install options. Qubes can be installed on an external USB disk if someone wants to try it. They don’t recommend installing Qubes in a virtual machine, such as on VMWare, Parallels or Virtual PC. I agree. I tried it. It didn’t work.

The Install Process:
The install process for Qubes was generally typical, aside from a screen that asked whether I wanted to use the standard set of default virtual machines Qubes provides (aka AppVMs), only the system VMs (networking and firewall) or I preferred to create my own. There is a virtual machine template which allows you to easily create additional virtual machines if you need them. The template is based on the 64-bit version of Fedora 17

If you select the standard VMs, when Qubes reboots after install you will have::
Netvm – for networking administration.
Firewallvm – handles firewall rules and duties
Dispvm, a disposable vm accessed from the applications menu.

Installed Environment:

Before I describe the Qubes “desktop” it’s important to cover briefly the architecture—at least from a high-level perspective—because it plays an important role in maintaining security while providing a giving the impression of a single, unified desktop.

First of all, I was happy to note that Qubes boots to a KDE desktop. From the user’s perspective the desktop appears to be a normal environment where he or she can interact with applications.. In reality the desktop is a component included in Dom0—the GUI/administrative domain, itself a VM. . Despite the fact it’s an administrative VM, which implies access to maintenance and administrative functions, Dom0 actually contains no external-facing code. Networking and firewall maintenance are handled in separate system VMs.

What Dom0 does include are the secure GUI, the XServer and a small stub application called AppViewer for each VM. The AppViewer brings all user applications from various AppVMs to a common desktop in Dom0and allows the user to interact with them as if they were natively running there and not in other VMs. Each VM runs a Qubes agent called QubesWM which can be thought of as a dedicated window manager. It is responsible for sending notification to the AppViewer about:

New windows appearing on the AppVMs virtual desktop.
When content changes on any of the windows.
When the user changes focus to another AppViewer window in Dom0, the AppVM window manager does the same so the focus in Dom0 and AppVM is always synchronized.
Relaying all keyboard and mouse input

.Of course all ths is going on in the background and is invisible to the user.

The Desktop is rather spartan, with a KDE panel, system tray, and window pager, and not much else. The KDE launcher contains a list of VMs and the base applications included by default. You can add applications to any VM and we will cover this process later.

Links to all VMs are conveniently located in the KDE launcher menu. All AppVMs come with a standard browser, file manager, email, and terminal. I ‘ll talk later about adding applications to a VM..

The Defaults
Browser: Firefox
Office Suite: LibreOffice (but must be installed in the virtual machine)
Mail Client: Thunderbird
Default File Manager: Nautilus

Neither wireless nor sound worked. While reviewing their architecture white paper it appeared that the the process of audio sharing between AppVMs and Dom0 has not been developed yet. The hardware is in Dom0 but the content is in the VM and believe me those walls are not breached.

OK, let’s travel into an AppVM…Each AppVM is identified in the launcher by a color and name. And each application opened in a VM has a border that matches the VM’s color. The VM name appears in the title bar of the application. You can have multiple VMs running, with several applications open and you immediately will know the virtual machine to which each application belongs.

There could be times when you need to transfer information from one VM to another via the clipboard. So just how does Qubes handle that process?

Inter-domain Activity

Copy and paste between virtual machines is accomplished via a four-step process which is described on the web site and embellished a bit by me for drama.

1. Copy text in the virtual machine of origin—Ctrl-C work fine.
2. Open the worm hole between virtual machine universes, by pressing Ctrl-Shift-C. This key combination tells Qubes you want to use this virtual machine’s clipboard for global copy between domains.
3. Click the destination application and press Ctrl-Shift-V, it ensures that only the destination will get access to the clipboard copied from the origin, not any other domain that might be running in the system. It also closes the worm hole.
4. In the destination app paste the clipboard content by the normal method—typically Ctrl-C.

Copying files between VMs. This process was not described well in the web site or documentation and it took a screen-shot on the web site in order for me to understand and use the process—all screen-shots in the show notes were captured and transferred out of Qubes by this method. Right-click on the file you wish to transfer. One of the menu options is Scripts and when clicked will list the option to Copy to other AppVM. This option presents a window allowing you to enter the destination domain name. After entering it, clicking OK, then confirming whether this is a one-time deal or something you want to happen automatically in the future, the following steps happen:

A folder named Incoming is created in the receiving domain.
A second folder named for the originating domain is created within Incoming.
The file is transferred to the folder.

I was able to transfer my screen-shots out of Qubes by performing a Save As… function and saving to another partition. Dom0 also contains the storage domain

Package management – adding and removing programs for a VM is handled by each virtual machine’s settings utility – on the Applications tab. Before describe the process, a bit more about Qubes’ architecture:

Every AppVM shares the root file system with the template (in a read-only manner). This approach is much more efficient that what I originally expected when I started testing Qubes Each AppVM needs only disk space for its own private data. This also means if you want to update the software for all the AppVMs, you had to shut them down and run the update process in the TemplateVM. The update process looks just like any other. A list of updates—I had 64 (218.1 MB).They were grouped into Security and bug fixes. I installed them all. The process took longer than expected. Of course they were rpm packages because Qubes is Fedora based.

The process for adding an application to an AppVM is very easy. In the Qubes VM Manager/Dashboard simply right-click on the VM and select the applications tab. From the list of available applications on the left, simply select what you want to install and add it to the right side. Click OK and the VM is updated to include the installed application.

On a whim I added a trash can widget. Later after opening it, I saw that it had the entire list of domains in it—as if they had been trashed. But I had


Qubes is an interesting proof-of-concept. It’s ultra secure…but that security comes at a price. You’ll find the system a little on the slow side and very quiet because audio isn’t working yet.

5 cups on the security side
1.5 cup on the day-to-day usability side.(the way I work)

Tech News:

Time: 49:04
Automotive manufacturers gear up for open source push

Currently, approximately 95 per cent of the software components needed to comply with the group’s specifications are based on upstream open source projects. The remaining percentage is made up of in-house components that include proprietary components in places. According to the announcement, Genivi is now looking to replace these parts with open source components developed in newly created upstream projects. The Linux Foundation will provide hosting for the four projects; these comprise an audio framework, a logging component, a startup and shutdown manager for embedded applications, and, a service that unifies other running applications for displaying the resulting information on the car’s displays.


Google mobile chief attacks Chinese Android

Although Android is free and open source, allowing anyone to copy and adapt it, a condition of membership of the OHA is that handsets based on elements of the software must be cross-compatible and able to run the same apps. If Acer was kicked out, its future products could not carry the Android logo and would not have access to the Google Play app store.

“While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem,” Google said.


Aliyun OS is not a fork of Android

But there was a big uproar last week when Acer’s planned announcement of an Aliyun-powered smartphone was cancelled at the last minute. Google drew some flak for allegedly bullying Acer into pulling the plug on its Aliyun smartphone development. Andy Rubin, senior VP for mobile and digital content at Google, basically said that Acer could not work on an Android fork because of its membership in the Open Handset Alliance. If it does decide to work on an Android fork, then Google will no longer support Acer in its Android smartphone (and tablet) efforts.


First release candidate for Samba 4 is available

The Samba developers are moving forward with their plans to deliver the next version of the Windows file, print and directory server and have announced that the first release candidate for Samba 4 is now ready.

Version 4 of the free Windows services server has been in development for some time, and now includes a directory service that is compatible with Microsoft’s Active Directory.


Red Hat: Linux on ARM Is No Joke

The Red Hat-sponsored Fedora Linux project already has a full-fledged ARM effort. Fedora 17 is now available to run on ARM, and there is a sizable team working on its development.

Burke noted that he has developers not just working on the basic port but also working on the universe of packages that will be required, including the OpenJDK Java packages. He added that there are a lot of package cleanups that are required to get applications ready for ARM.


Red Hat’s Latest Legal Battle? Storage.

Backup storage vendor Twin Peaks Software filed a complaint in July with United States District Court, Northern District of California, San Jose Division, alleging patent infringement. The alleged infringement deals with United States Patent Number 7,418,439, (the ‘439 patent), titled “Mirror File System,” which Twin Peaks owns.

In a legal filing, Red Hat denies that Twin Peaks’ claim has any merit. Red Hat stated that the ‘439 Patent was not duly and lawfully issued.


Great Lakes ownCloud developer meetup:

Is it Alive?

Time: 1:05:57
Is It Alive (or is it a name change)?

During this segment of the show, I challenge Mat and Tony to identify whether a Linux Distro is alive or dead? This week is twist week when I twist the concept and challenge Mat and Tony to decide if the named Linux distribution is original or has it had a name change. Each week we edge ever closer to that shark jump. Here’s hoping we’re not there yet. The items for this week’s show are:

Tiny Core
The Core Project is a highly modular based system with community build extensions.


MAT: No change – Alive
TONY: Change Alive
VERDICT: Tiny Core (Alive)


MAT: changed – Dead
TONY: No change – alive
VERDICT Ubuntu EEE (Alive)

Aurora OS
Aurora started life originally in 2008 as the Eeebuntu project; A customized redistribution of Ubuntu; modified specifically for the Eeepc range of netbooks.
MAT: changed – Alive
TONY: Changed – Alive
VERDICT: Changed from Eeebuntu (Alive)


Linspire, previously known as LindowsOS, was a commercial operating system based on Debian GNU/Linux and later Ubuntu.[1] Linspire was published by Linspire, Inc. and focused on ease-of-use, targeting home PC users. The last stable release of Linspire was version 6.0, which was released in October 2007.[2]


MAT: Changed (Lindows) Dead
TONY: Changed (Lindows) Alive
VERDICT: Changed from Lindows (Dead)


MAT: Changed Dead
TONY: No change Dead
VERDICT: GoblinX (Alive)

Gentoo Linux, a special flavor of Linux that can be automatically optimized and customized for just about any application or need. Extreme performance, configurability and a top-notch user and developer community are all hallmarks of the Gentoo experience.


MAT: No Change – Alive
TONY: No Change – Alive
VERDICT: Changed from Enoch (Alive)

Mat: had more points than Tony

Mat won.

Listener Feedback:

show (at) smlr.us or 313-626-9140
Time: 1:16:55
Pagel: kde SC?
Thom – yaourt itself is not GUI for pacman, its a addon for the AUR repo and also works as a search tool. the GUI version would be yaourt-gui. https://aur.archlinux.org/packages.php?ID=47869
David Grahm – Love Sunday Morning Linux Review. Thanks for all that you do for the Linux community.
DoortoDoorGeek – Indeed, smlr is one part of my trifecta of perfect podcast

GeorgeFromTulsa – other trending phones, asking Mat and the kernel

Frankbell – Ping back from linuxquestions.org – http://goo.gl/fwSiL

Outtro Music

Time: 1:39:30

Basse Dance by General Union

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