Episode 075 – Happy St. Paddy’s Day

Posted by mary on March 17, 2013 in Show-mp3, Show-ogg |



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

No un-edited live session this week!

Contact Us:

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


Kernel News: Mat
Distro Talk: Mat/Mary
Mary Distro Review
Tech News:
Time:Not sure–but it’s there some place
Is it Alive? – Mary
Listener Feedback
Outtro Music


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

Kernel News: Mat


Release Candidate:
On Sun, 10 Mar 2013 17:24:09 PST
Linus Torvalds released kernel 3.9-rc2
Here’s what he had to say about it:
“Hey, things have been reasonable calm. Sure, Dave Jones has been messing with trinity and we’ve had some excitement from that, but Al is back, and is hopefully now busy virtually riding to the rescue on a white horse. But otherwise it’s been good for this phase in the rc window.

The diffstat is reasonably flat (good sign), with wireless network drivers standing out. And that’s mainly due to a new driver for the ASIX AX88179_178A USB gigabit controller.

Other than network drivers, we’ve got some drm updates, md and gpio, btrfs, etworking, arm, sound.. Stuff all over the place, but nothing horribly scary. Considering that some rc2’s are too big to post a shortlog for, I’m happy.

And let’s just keep it that way, ok?”


Stable Updates:
On Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:47:02 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.8.3
With 144 files changed, 1052 lines inserted, and 607 lines deleted

On Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:47:47 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.4.36
With 45 files changed, 310 lines inserted, and 206 lines deleted

On Thu, 14 Mar 2013 11:48:14 PST
Greg Kroah-Hartman released kernel 3.0.69
With 23 files changed, 112 lines inserted, and 34 lines deleted

Distro Talk: Tony



  • 2013-03-16: IPFIRE
  • 2013-03-15: SLAX 7.0.6 (plus updates)
  • 2013-03-14: Kali Linux 1.0
  • 2013-03-13: OpenSUSE 12.3
  • 2013-03-12: ArtistX 1.4
  • 2013-03-12: Webconverger 18.0
  • 2013-03-11: Trisquel GNu/Linux 6.0
  • 2013-03-11: Porteus 2.0 Kiosk
  • 2013-03-10: Chakra GNU/Linux 2013.3
  • 2013-03-10: GhostBSD 3.0
  • 2013-03-10: Puppy Linux

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. Fedora – 1815
  2. LuninuX – 1834
  3. Ubuntu – 2534
  4. Mageia – 3194
  5. Mint – 5157

Mary Distro Review – SolydK


This week’s review is of what could be considered a relative newcomer into the Linux distro scene—but not really. It was recently set free from a Linux distro, well-known for its minty goodness. And since it’s St. Patrick’s Day a wee bit o’ green is in order. My review this week is of SolydK…and there clearly was a hint of mint evident throughout my testing of SolydK.

So would the wearin’ o’ the green make me want to dance a jig or would I be green with envy for another distro.

The Vitals:
Name: SolydK (not to be confused with its cousin SolydX. The project, itself, is called SolydXK) http://solydxk.com
Maintainer: Schoelje
Distro Latest Birthday: Released on 2/28/2013 after LMDE KDE (and XFCE) were officially discontinued by Linux Mint.
Derivative: Debian (but also has its roots in Linux Mint)
Kernel: 3.2.0-4
Review Desktop: KDE, of course.

Live Environment:

Booting SolydK was a time consuming affair, taking almost 3:20 minutes to boot to a desktop (3:16 to be exact), and even then it took an addition 10 seconds before I could actually interact with the menu. My graphics and wireless were correctly handled by SK.

Graphics: ( nouveau)
Wireless:  (iwl4965)

When booting completed, and I had a desktop, it looked sharp, polished and ready for prime time.

The Defaults
Browser: Firefox, Konqueror (Rekonq is not present)
Office Suite: LibreOffice
Mail Client: Thunderbird
File Manager: Dolphin

Out of the box, it’s configured with the standard KDE plasma desktop. Single panel at the bottom and a single plasma container on the desktop with an install icon. On to the install…

The Install Process:

Overall, the SolydK install process was smooth and problem free. It asked all the right questions and implemented my decisions correctly.

However, there was one point during the install that I will call downright confusing. It’s the step that the SolydK installer calls “Hard Drive” which lets you determine where SolydK is to be installed. Here’s the wording for the two two options you’re given: a) Install SolydXK on the selected drive (there’s a list with the available drives); and b) Manually mount partitions (Advanced Users Only). The first option “sounds” like it’s a slam-dunk—install on the selected drive, an option perfect for new users. The second option implies you’ll be tangoing with Gparted or some other partition tool. Hey I can dance so option two was my choice. As it turns out, I had it wrong. If you select to install SolydK on selected drive ala the first option then click Forward, Gparted opens! Yes, you can configure the best install location, etc., the things you normally do with Gparted. But a new user will be l-o-s-t—lost!

On the other hand, if you select the second option, “Manually mount partitions,” you’ll see this very serious notice:


Ironically this window obscures the “Linux Desktop made easy” tag line on the desktop wallpaper.

I didn’t really mind too much if I was not considered an advanced user by SolydK’s standard but for heaven’s sake, provide clearer instructions so dilettantes like myself can at least pretend we are advanced users. I was really annoyed by this situation, but I calmed down, checked the forums, and discovered this issue was inherited from LMDE. The main developer is aware of it and plans to change it. That’s good news.

Installed Environment:

After booting to the desktop, SolydK displays a welcome screen with four options on the left-hand panel:

  • A welcome messag
  • Drivers (Nvidia available)
  • Community (links to homepage, forums, user guide, tutorials, and chat room.)
  • Contribute (get involved, donations, sponsors, partners)

A “Start DDM” button at the bottom of the window lured me into clicking it. DDM is the Linux Mint Device Driver Manager. There were three device items listed: graphics, wireless and kernel. I was a little confused when I click on the wireless icon: “No supported wireless chipset found.” Really? Then why is iwl4965 module loaded and why are six different wireless networks listed when I click on the network manager icon in the system tray? Even after I authenticated to a wireless network – that category still displayed the same message. Perhaps I was misinterpreting it…?

The initial SK update was a two-part affair– first the update manager was updated, then it brought down additional updates, one of which was solydxk-system. This is the base package used by the desktop and other SolydXK tools to collect information and perform common system tasks. The second update took care of individual packages. Two software packages required updates which I applied.

SolydK also provides a way for LMDE users to migrate to SolydK via the solydxk-meta package.

Speaking of software updates, updating SolydK or installing software on a SolydK machine is accomplished via the Software Manager, another utility from Linux Mint. It’s organized by category and presents software that is available for install. It seemed nicely put together and easy to use.

The KDE experience in SolydK is, well, solid—just what you’d expect from a KDE desktop. I did note, however, that SolydK uses KDE 4.8.4, which was released in early June 2012. This isn’t an issue at all if you do not need the latest and greatest from KDE. After all, 9 months ago (June 2012), I was quite happy with KDE 4.8.4. But you will be missing a few features, one example of which is inline file renaming in dolphin which became available in KDE 4.9. Not really a big deal because you can rename a file from the small box that appears after you click rename.

The only significant issue I experienced was a lack of sound. Audio was kaput…nothing. I googled the problem and found what appeared to be a solution. It involved a config file change and a reloading of the kernel sound modules. But none of that seemed to solve my sound problem.

Interestingly enough, however, running SolydK on virtual box had no such problem. I was able to hear youtube videos, etc. I am not a Linux audio wizard. That stuff is voodoo and I am just grateful that the pins are in the right part of the doll on my laptop.

It was the first issue that was the near deal-breaker for me.

Other interesting Programs:

imagewriter – create ISOs

Playonlinux – unfortunately it was an old version 4.1.1 versus 4.1.9. When I opened it, I was greeted with the notice of an updated version was available but the SolydK repositories contained the old version. I was still able to install softwarea from the playonlinux repositories, though. I am sure once things settle down for this new distro, they’ll catch up.

Debian Plymouth Manager a tool written in PyGtk that allow you to manage the Plymouth boot manager—enable/disable Plymouth, change resolution, etc. I configured it to use the Debian space theme during start-up and shutdown.

Minitube – a desktop youtube client. Although the keyword search worked fine, I could not get it to play videos.

Graphics menu category-– The Graphics menu category was robust. Multiple tools for manipulating and converting images, e.g. DNG image converter, , Kipi (exposure blender), Hugin tools (open source panorama stitcher and GUI for panorama tools (~ a dozen different tools),
Scan lite – basic scanning utility.


SolydK mostly lives up to its name. Aside from the non-intuitive install step regarding the hard drive and the issue I had with sound which may have been peculiar to my install, SolydK is a distro that should get even better as it settles in. After all, it’s built on Debian and KDE with a healthy dash of Mint added.

I give SolydK three cups of Irish coffee with a sprig of mint thrown in for good measure.

Tech News:


Netflix cracks wallet to spur open source cloud development

Netflix wants its open source software to become the preferred platform for massive cloud-based applications, so it has launched a cash-conferring contest to generate developer enthusiasm for its technology.

The Netflix OSS Cloud Prize was announced by the company at an event in Los Gatos, California, on Wednesday evening. The procrastination king has set aside $200,000 across ten prizes to reward developers for pushing the limits of its massive cloud platform.


Army making open-source physiology engine

It’s not altruism that’s spurring the $7 million PhACTS (Physiologically Accurate Community-based platform for Training Systems) project. Rather, TATRC hopes that the new engine will enable the public to develop medical simulations that will benefit military as well as civilian medicine.

“We thought if we had an engine that we could give away freely to everybody, it would make it a lot easier for everyone to experiment with the simulations that use them, and make it less expensive for people to develop their own novel things,” said Thomas Talbot, chief scientist at TATRC’s Armed Forces Simulation Institute for Medicine. Current physiology simulations are either oriented toward university research, or are only available as expensive commercial products.


German court case confirms validity of the LGPL

Buhl Data Service GmbH, the developer of the WISO Mein Büro2009 software has agreed to pay €15,000 (approximately £13,000) to adhoc dataservice GmbH for using its LGPL-licensed FreeadhocUDF open source library in his business software without observing the LGPL’s licensing terms. The GNU Lesser Public Licence allows software to be used free of charge, but it stipulates that developers must give prominent notice to where the licensed code was used, point out that the code is under the LGPL, include a copy of the LGPL, and make the library’s source code available



From the “We’re Number One…We’re Number One” department:

USA back on top in Sophos Spam Report




Adventures in the CLI: Looking at history
$ cd /var/log/apt/
$ ls
$ cat history.log

KDE Korner

KDE 4.11 Release Schedule has been, well, released!

The key dates are:

July 10, 2013: KDE 4.11 Release Candidate 1 Tagging and Release

July 24, 2013: KDE 4.11 Release Candidate 2 Tagging and Release

August 14, 2013: KDE 4.11 Release


Digikam 3.1.0 is out

Digikam 3.1.0, the requisite bug-fix release, is out—released on March 13,

KDE Tea Time
Episode 12 – chagne the way KDE PIM is coded—apparently it will use the KDE standard. (eg. Four spaces instead of two for indents). Also mentioned the leap motion https://www.leapmotion.com/apps


Calligra 2.6.2 Released on March 13.

The Calligra team has released version 2.6.2, the second bugfix release of the Calligra Suite, and Calligra Active.


KDE Tool of the week

How to get UUID, GUI style: There is a KDE-GUI tool available to look up the UUID:

/usr/bin/kcmshell4 devinfo


Finally we have the first beta release of Kubuntu 13.04 this week– the KDE version of Ubuntu.

It comes with KDE 4.10.1.
Kscreen  – A new screen management tools makes it easy to attach and unattach extra monitors
The installer will have a new, professional look.

A couple of infrastructure items of note

Secure Boot – Kubuntu should now be able to support UEFI Secure Boot, a standard for controlling what software can be run on a computer.

Linux kernel 3.8 – The beta Raring Ringtail snapshot includes the 3.8.0-12.21 Ubuntu Linux kernel .

Homerun – A full screen alternative to the Kickoff application menu, add it to your panel to give it a try.


The Toolbox


What is it?
Fail2Ban scans log files like file:///var/log/pwdfail pwdfail and bans IP addresses that make too many password failures.  It updates firewall rules to reject the IP address.  These rules can be defined by the user.  Fail2Ban can read multiple log files such as sshd or Apache Web server ones.

What is required to install it?
The only required dependency needed to run Fail2ban is Python. Since version 0.8.2 the minimal requirement has been Python 2.3. Lots of server distributions are still shipped with this version of Python.

Depending on what you want to do with it.





      TCP Wrapper


    a mailer script

What it does?
It watches for failed login attempts and bans those IPs that match the number of fails set in that services jail.conf. Some of the services that can be watched are:







      Mail Services







Every jail can be customized by tuning following options:

Name Default Description
filter Name of the filter to be used by
the jail to detect matches.Each single match by a filter increments the counter within the jail
logpath /var/log/messages Path to the log file which is
provided to the filter
maxretry 3 Number of matches (i.e. value of
the counter) which triggers ban
action on the IP.
findtime 600 sec The counter is set to zero if no
match is found within “findtime”

bantime 600 sec Duration (in seconds) for IP to be
banned for. Negative number for
“permanent” ban.

Listener Feedback:

show (at) smlr.us or 313-626-9140


Outtro Music


Irish Dance 2002 by Svetoten Band


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