Episode 061 – Back in the Sunday Saddle!

Posted by Tony on December 9, 2012 in Show-mp3, Show-ogg |



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

Un-edited Live session –

Contact Us:

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


Kernel News: Mat
Time: 5:17
Distro Talk: Tony
Time: 10:10
Mary Distro Review
Time: 21:48
Tech News:
Time: 36:27
Is it Alive? – Mary
Time: 1:00:16
Listener Feedback
Time: 1:05: 20
Outtro Music
Time: 1:13:40


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

Kernel News: Mat

Time: 5:17

Kernel News

Release Candidate:
On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 12:36:26 PST
Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.7-rc8
This is what he had to say about it:
“I really didn’t want it to come to this, but I was uncomfortable doing the 3.7 release yesterday due to last-minute issues, and decided to sleep on it.

And today, I ended up even *less* comfortable about it due to the resurrection of a kswapd issue, so I decided that I’m going to do another -rc after all.

Which is not very nice timing-wise, since that means that the next merge window will run up very close to christmas, but hey, maybe that will at least convince people to not leave things to the final days of the merge window, and send me pull requests *early*. That would be nice.

And because I’m dragging it out for another week, I’m going to be *very* bitter if anybody sends me pull requests this late in the game that aren’t for major issues. If you send me small irrelevant stuff that doesn’t fix major issues (oopses, security, things like that), I’m going to curse at you and ignore your pull request. So don’t do it.

The only things I want to see are fixes that people care deeply about. If it’s not critical, or you don’t have an actual problem report from an actual user, just put it in the queue under the christmas tree, and let it got for 3.8.

(Ok, while writing this I got another pull request that made me go “We don’t really need this”. I’ll pull that, because technically it came in before I’d given people this warning, but …)”


Stable Updates:
On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 13:53:27 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.6.9
With 56 files changed, 472 lines inserted, and 184 lines deleted

On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 13:54:12 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.4.21
With 59 files changed, 392 lines inserted, and 150 lines deleted

On Mon, 3 Dec 2012 13:55:21 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.0.54
With 37 files changed, 202 lines inserted, and 81 lines deleted

On Wed, 5 Dec 2012 18:45:01 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.0.55
This release contains a single fix for a build error that some people have reported with the 3.0.54 kernel

On Wed, 5 Dec 2012 18:46:22 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.4.22
This release contains a single fix for a build error that some people have reported with the 3.4.21 kernel

On Fri, 07 Dec 2012 01:23:33 GMT
Ben Hutchings released kernel 3.2.35
With 95 files changed, 741 lines inserted, and 295 lines deleted

Kernel Developer Quote:
“I’ve spent more time this week editing patches in diff format than I have than “real” files. I don’t think I like this trend…”
–Greg Kroah-Hartman

Distro Talk: Tony

Time: 10:10


  • 12-1 – aptosid 2012-01 – based on Debian’s unstable branch
  • 12-3 – NetBSD 5.2
  • 12-4 – Puppy Linux 5.4 “Slacko” – a small and lightweight distribution with packages “borrowed” from the latest Slackware Linux release
  • 12-4 – Bridge Linux 2012.12 – Arch-based desktop Linux distribution available in four separate desktop flavours with GNOME 3.6, KDE 4.9.3, LXDE and Xfce
  • 12-5 – ZevenOS 5.0 – Xubuntu-based desktop Linux distribution featuring the Xfce desktop environment and a BeOS-like desktop theme
  • 12-7 – Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.12 – Fourth update of the project’s “Claire” series featuring the latest KDE desktop
  • 12-8 – Comfusion 4.1 – Ubuntu with LXDE and Compiz Fusion in order to deliver some of the best 3D desktop effects available anywhere
  • 12-8 – ArchBang Linux 2012.12

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. Puppy – 1407
  2. Fedora – 1545
  3. Ubuntu – 1588
  4. Mageia – 1948
  5. Mint – 3980

Mary Distro Review

Time: 21:48

This week’s distro review is The Amnesic Incognito Live System aka TAILS. The entire premise of Tails is secure, anonymous access to the Interwebs. TAILS achieves this goal in several ways:

1. It leaves no trace on the computer you’re using because it runs via live DVD or from a USB thumb drive on which it’s been installed.
2. Assures anonymity by routing all connections to the Internet through the TOR network.
3. Uses state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, email and instant messages.

Those are quite heady goals. Would it be a case of secure distros tell no “tails” or would it turn out to be an 854MB of dead-weight. Let’s find out…

The Vitals:
Name: The Amnesic Incognito Live System (TAILS)
Maintainer: It’s a distro from Ireland, so it must be some Irish guy. It’s hard to tell and everyone in their forum is named anonymous.
Distro Latest Birthday: Tails 1.5 was released on 11/27/2012.
Derivative: Debian (6.0.6)
Kernel: 3.2.0-4
Review Desktop: Gnome, and Gnome with an Windows XP skin.

Live Environment:

After burning the distro to a DVD, I booted to a simple Grub menu. There were two boot options: Live and Live Failsafe. I chose Live and the familiar Debian tri-color graphic crawled across the bottom of my screen. A short while later, a simple dialog box appeared with this question: “More options?” In the Tails anonysphere, “More Options” consists of: a) deciding whether you want a root password and b) if you want to activate Microsoft Windows XP camouflage. “Stand by…Activating the blue screen of death disguise!”

I tested the XP camouflage – the Tails desktop looked exactly like Windows XP. A few years ago that might have been a good camouflage when more people used XP, but today you’ll stand out like a sore thumb.

Selecting “No” for More Options and clicking Forward will take you to the Tails Gnome desktop as a regular user.

The Defaults

Default Browser: Iceweasel (every time it’s opened, it set to check the Tor project to confirm it’s ready for use) There is a second menu option to run an unsafe browser.
Office Suite: OpenOffice 3.2.1 (current is 3.4.1)
Mail Client: Claws Mail
Default File Manager: Nautilus

IceWeasel’s quick search box was set to use StartPage rather than Google. Startpage is a secure, anonymous ‘s home site (www.startpage.com), I discovered that it does use Google but also incorporates the privacy features of Ixquick which, that site says, is world’s most private search engine.

Both graphics and wireless were handled properly with noveau and iwl4965 drivers respectively.
Graphics: ( noveau)
Wireless:  (iwl4965)

The Tails menu on the version contains three items: a) Configure Persistent Volume b) Delete Persistent Volume and c) Tails USB Installer. I selected USB Installer. When you are running from the DVD, you’ll receive an error if you try to configure/create persistent volume—for obvious reasons.

Tails will power down if there is any change to that environment For example, while in the live environment, I happened to open the CD tray on my laptop. Tails immediately recognized the action and exited the GUI. Tails then told me that the memory was being cleared and afterward the system would shutdown. True to that statement, the machine cleared the memory and powered down.

The Install Process:
There is no typical install process. Tails either runs from a live DVD or from a USB drive on which it’s been installed. During my testing, I tried both methods and they work equally well, with the exception of speed—guess which one is faster.

Installing to USB starts from the live environment by selecting Tails USB Installer from the tails menu. You have three choices (which is what I chose): a) Clone & Install; b) Clone & upgrade; c) Upgrade from ISO. After clicking my option a window opens to let me select the target device. After the USB drive was detected, it appeared in the target device drop-down. Click Create Live USB and monitor the status via message that appear

Unmounting /dev/sdb

  • Formatting /dev/sdb1 as FAT32
  • Verifying Filesystem…
  • Setting /deve/sdb2 labet to Tails
  • Extracting live image to USB device…
  • Wrote to device at 6 MB/sec
  • Resetting Master Boot Record of /dev/sdb1
  • Installing bootloader…
  • Sycnchronizing data on disk…
  • Unmounting /dev/sdb1
  • Synchronizing data on disk
  • Umounting /dev/sdb1
  • Installation complete (0:3:54)

The Tails forums included questions regarding the feasibility of installing on a hard drive, including several successful attempts. However, each new release of Tails seemed to break it and the maintainers noted that installing it on a hard drive makes it less secure. Liberté Linux was suggested as an alternative.

I wanted to take a screenshot of the screen but discovered that there was not screenshot program (ALT +PRNT SCRN did not work)

USB Installed Environment:

Tails boots from USB in a straightforward manner and it’s not as slow as you might think. After selecting my boot option in Grub, Tails booted to a Welcome Screen with a choice to create more options or not. In the future, this welcome screen will include a question whether you want to use persistence after you create a volume, which is done after booting into the environment.

Clicking yes will show you what those options are but you don’t have the choice to return to the previous screen. You’re presented with a Welcome to Tails dialog box—nothing fancy, just two options for your consideration: If you’ve set up persistence, you’ll have the option of using it for this session. Persistence is configured after the volume is created.

Interesting Programs:

File Roller – I mention this program because I found it somewhat ironic that a distro so devoted to not leaving any trail behind includes an archive manager among its installed programs.
Meta Anonymisation toolkit (MAT) Metadata consist of information that characterizes data
Metadata within a file can tell a lot about you. Mat only removes metadata from your files, it does not anonymize the content, nor handle watermarking, steganography, or any overly customized metadata field/system.
If you really want to be anonymous, use a format that does not contain any metadata, or better : use plain-text (but encrypt the file)
Gobby – a free collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms.
It uses GTK+ 2.6 as its windowing toolkit and thus integrates nicely into the GNOME desktop environment.
Whisperback – a small pyGTK application to provide a user-friendly way to send feedback in a GnuPG-encrypted way.
Scribus – a desktop publishing program. (I was surprised that it was on this distro, given the type of distro Tails is)
Florence Virtual Keyboard – the Florence virtual Keyboard is in the system tray when Tails starts. It provides extra security when a keylogger may be installed on the computer you’re using or if you’re using a public or compromised computer, or for other possible compromising scenarios when you wish to avoid using the physical keyboard.
Unsafe Web Browser (On Live DVD System) – After a warning about non-anonymous browsing, an instance of IceWeasel opens to show a big red warning page that you’re currently not anonymous. Enter at your own risk

Shutdown was an interesting process. First of all, there is no other option available– no reboot, no logout, no hibernate…just shutdown. After stopping system services, TAILs will overwrite memory then reboot the kernel to clear the registers.


I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you.


Tech News:

Time: 36:27

Oldest open-source software kept by Army

Dec 07, 2012, 12:00

As its name suggests, BRL-CAD — a computer-aided design system — was developed before ARL existed. It has been used for nearly three decades in support of modeling, simulation and engineering analyses of military assets and their environments including the design and analysis of vehicles, mechanical parts and architecture.

Dr. Paul Tanenbaum, director of the Survivability/Lethality Analysis Directorate, used BRL-CAD early in his career when he was an analyst at the bench and then later when he served on the team developing and maintaining it.



When in China, don’t leave your laptop alone

Dec 05, 2012, 10:00

You’re traveling in China on business, and after checking into your hotel room you decide to grab a bite at a local restaurant. You’re not planning to work, so you leave your laptop on the dresser, lock the door, and exit, feeling confident that your possessions are safe.

An hour and half later you return and note that all your stuff, including the laptop, is just where you left it. Everything seems fine, and you go about your business, conducting meetings with potential clients over the next few days before returning home.

But everything is not fine. While you were out to dinner that first night, someone entered your room (often a nominal hotel staffer), carefully examined the contents of your laptop, and installed spyware on the computer — without your having a clue.



Open-source MariaDB, a MySQL fork, challenges Oracle
Summary: MariaDB, the MySQL fork database management system, is throwing down the gauntlet to Oracle by forming a foundation to promote its alternative DBMS software.

MariaDB is challenging Oracle and MySQL.
MariaDB, an open-source database management system (DBMS) and MySQL fork has been gaining inroads in enterprise software and its founders formed a foundation, the MariaDB Foundation, to promote its software.

Specifically, “the MariaDB Foundation exists to improve database technology, including standards implementation, interoperability with other databases, and building bridges to other types of database such as transactional and NoSQL. To deliver this the Foundation provides technical work in reviewing, merging, testing, and releasing the MariaDB product suite. The Foundation also provides infrastructure for the MariaDB project and the user and developer communities.”


Run Netflix App on Ubuntu Linux

Top ten open source gifts for the holidays


How to Circumvent UEFI Secure Boot


  • Boot machine while pressing F10
  • Find Secure Boot in the menu tree, ignore warnings
  • Disable Secure Boot feature
  • Enable legacy boot options
  • Enable specific legacy devices, such as USB devices
  • Save and reboot while holding down F9



Microsoft’s DroidRage Twitter campaign goes painfully wrong


KDE Korner

KDE Ships Second Beta of Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform 4.10

On December 4, 2012, KDE released the second beta for its renewed Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. Thanks to the feedback from the first beta, KDE already improved the quality noticeably. Further polishing new and old functionality will lead to a rock-stable, fast and beautiful release in January, 2013.



KDE Ships December Updates to Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform

On December 5 KDE released updates for its Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. (WADp?) These updates are the last in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.9 series. 4.9.4 updates bring many bugfixes and translation updates on top of the latest edition in the 4.9 series and are recommended updates for everyone running 4.9.3 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone.


Trojitá, a fast Qt IMAP e-mail client

Phoronix carried a blurb about Trojita, an IMAP email client being rolled into the KDE software Compilation.

.Can be used on many platforms. One UI is not enough for everyone, but our IMAP core works fine on anything from desktop computers to cell phones and big ERP systems.

Plays well with the rest of the ecosystem. We don’t like reinventing wheels, but when the existing wheels quite don’t fit the tracks, we’re not afraid of making them work.



 Create an Updated Look for Konqui Contest.

Must be accomplished in Krita.  Check the site for specifics:


Is It Alive (or is it a Linux Kernel Nickname…)?
Time: 1:00:16

Returning after a relaxing three-week vacation on the banks of the Detroit River, it’s time for Is It Alive …or is it a Linux kernel nickname? 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 by proclamation and I challenge Mat and Tony to decide if the named entity is a nickname of a Linux Kernel release . Extra credit will be given if the Linux kernel version number is named.

Most of the Linux 2.6 and 3.x kernels include a name in the Makefile of their source trees, which can be found in the git repository (http://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/torvalds/linux-2.6.git;a=blob;f=Makefile)

The items for the December 8 show:

Name: Sneaky Weasel (3.0-rc1–3.0)
MAT: 0
VERDICT: Nickname
Name: Charging Buffalo
MAT: 0
Name: Trembling Tortoise (stable:–)
MAT: 0
VERDICT Nickname
Name: Vindictive Armadillo (2.6.30-rc4–2.6.30-rc6)
MAT: 0
VERDICT Nickname
Name: Terrified Chipmunk (3.6-rc7–)
MAT: 0
VERDICT: Nickname
Name: Crafty Coyote
MAT: 1

Mat: 1
Tony: 2



Listener Feedback:

show (at) smlr.us or 313-626-9140
Time: 1:05:20

Gary White – DKMS
McVries – Mat, good to hear you again!
chattr – Note taking program from the Distro Review
Guillaume – Netbook
Ken Fallon – Second annual HPR New Year Party

Mat’s Soapbox


Outtro Music

Time: 1:13:40

Yeah Yeah Yeah, Oh Oh OhThe Nunchaks

This content is published under the Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

1 Comment

  • Easling says:

    When in China, forget trying to use TAILS or ANY Tor based anonymity system. The Chinese know ANY & ALL of the TCP/IP addresses and block them!!!!!!!!

    I’ve even tried other anonymity software that use various anonymity servers with NO avail. They know ALL of those addresses too, & block them.

    About the only way to circumvent the Bamboo Firewall is VPN. But even then I wouldn’t be 100% sure it would work.

    ALL connections go through caching servers and therefore, they can easily perform man-in-the-middle attacks.

    I often get an unwarranted/unexpected advertisement – not a pop-up, but a web page advertisement. When I check the address in my browser, it reads the address of the site I want. It’s just that they send me to an advertisement web page with the same address. If I hit the back key and then the forward key, I get the web page that I was trying to go to.

    The other thing that they like to do is rewrite web pages. Especially if there are prices listed on them.

    A friend of mine who uses a VPN says that when he goes to a web page while not using the VPN vs. using the VPN, the prices for books or other things will be different. They will often be higher on the non-VPN web page. The prices listed will be more in line with the higher prices you’d pay IN China in a local store.

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