Episode 028

Posted by Tony on April 22, 2012 in Show-mp3 |



MP3 format (for Freedom Haters!)
OGG format (for Freedom Lovers!)
Total Running Time: 1:13:09

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


Kernel News: Mat
Time: 8:27
Distro Talk: Tony
Time: 12:24
Tech News:
Time: 29:25
Listener Feedback
Time: 57:17
Outtro Music


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

Kernel News: Mat

Time: 8:27
Release Candidate:
On Sat, 21 Apr 2012 15:43:04 PDT Linus Torvalds Released Kernel 3.4-rc4
“The traditional (non-rename) diff is dominated by a m68k bootlogo movement, but we all use those nice git diffs these days, don’t we? Then it’s 50% drivers (usb, mfd, xen, mmc, gpu, media..), 20% arch, 15+% fs, and a smattering of random stuff.”
— Linus Torvalds


Stable Updates: None because guess who got their Raspberry PI this week.

Kernel Quote:
No quote this week instead a little story.
On April 12th Linus Torvalds asked for help rewriting some kernel particularly ugly code in this poston Google plus. See entire post in the show notes.

Linus TorvaldsApr 12, 2012 (edited) – Public
Hey, since the last disgusting code hack thing worked out so well on G+, here’s a new challenge..

Improve on this new disgusting hack:

#define is_enabled(x) (__stringify(CONFIG_##x)[0]==’1′)

which basically is a C language “is the config variable ‘x’ defined” question (the “__stringify()” thing is the normal two-level macro expansion using the ‘#’ operator, so that it expands the macro argument and then turns it into a string). And gcc does seem to do the proper compile-time optimizations that turn the above into a simple constant.

The intent is to be able to write

if (is_enabled(PROC)) {

in C code, without having to make ugly #ifdef sections with all the odd line breaks etc that entails. The kernel config rules are that the CONFIG_XYZ macro exists and has the value ‘1’ for enabled features (you can ignore the module case for now – that’s just the same thing, except the preprocessor name is CONFIG_XYZ_MODULE)

Is there a better trick for this? Bonus points if somebody comes up with a single macro that works for both C code and in pre-processor expressions.

Edit: so for people who can’t be bothered with reading all the comments, +comex . found a solution that works. There’s a few tweaking variations of in it there, but +comex . original approach works fine:

#define is_set(macro) is_set_(macro)
#define macrotest_1 ,
#define is_set_(value) is_set__(macrotest_##value)
#define is_set_(comma) is_set__(comma 1, 0)
#define is_set___(_, v, …) v


And here is the part in the release announcement about the inclusion of the code source on Google+.

The most relevant change for G+ is probably that we now use the config macro detection logic that was crowdsourced here on G+. Kudos again to +comex . who figured out the proper C preprocessor concatenation tricks.

The code written by comex here was not earth shaking but was good code and has been included in the kernel. It has been speculated about by many different people about why Google+ has so many tech minded people on it. My guess is that the original invites were sent to tech luminaries and authors who then also invited other like minded people. If we can start developing the kernel via a social networking what is next.

Distro Talk: Tony

Time: 12:24


  • 4-16 – Trisquel GNU/Linux 5.5 – a 100% “libre” distribution based on Ubuntu
  • 4-17 – Chakra GNU/Linux 2012.04 – KDE-centric distribution originally forked from Arch Linux
  • Mary’s Chakra review:
    Chakra Linux Installer

    One of the cool Chakra installer screens.

  • 4-18 – FreeBSD 8.3
  • 4-21 – Snowlinux 2 – Debian-based desktop distribution and live CD with GNOME 2

Distro of the Week: Tony

  1. openSUSE – 1456
  2. Mageia – 2054
  3. Fedora – 2333
  4. Ubuntu – 2424
  5. Mint – 3942

Tech News:

Time: 29:25

Mark Shuttleworth Takes Another Shot At Red Hat

Canonical is making a big push into the cloud with their association with Amazon EC2 and HP. This brings them into direct head to head competition with the leading US commercial Linux distribution Red Hat. So in typical Shuttleworth behavior he attacks his competition in a rhetorical manner with this statement:

“So the question I would like to ask Red Hat is, how do they plan to stay relevant in a world where increasingly it is possible to be sustainable without licensing software in the way Red Hat does?”

What Mr. Shuttleworth does not seem to understand is that Red Hat does not have a licensing model. They have a support contract model. It is support on a level that Canonical cannot even begin to approach. In order to provide the type of service Red Hat offers you have to have the people on staff that work on these things day in and day out, you need Kernel hackers, Samba hackers, Apache hackers, etc. etc.

Red Hat’s Scott Crenshaw responded to Mr. Shuttleworth with this response:

“I think Mark might be thinking of other companies in the industry instead of Red Hat when he says we have a licensing model. We have very substantial usage of Red Hat in enterprise and governments specifically because we have the right subscription rather than licensing structure for [the] cloud.”

He went on to say:

“Red Hat has been among the early innovators in licensing. We don’t provide our software in a licensing model we provide it in a subscription model. What that means is that you pay based on some type of usage – in the past it has been annual but we were actually among the first companies to offer pay as you go pricing on clouds like [Amazon EC2].”

They both have achieved a significant presence in the cloud already with Red Hat on Rackspace and Ubuntu on HP. It comes down to who is the enterprise going to trust for long term viability, the proven company with a billion dollars in revenue or the company subsidized a single individual.

The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) Shifts Infrastructure To Debian

The ESRF is an international research institute for cutting-edge science with photons: Discovery of the structure and dynamics of our complex world, down to the single atom.

On their website when they are talking about the computer upgrade they do not refer to the infrastructure at all. They talk about all of the improvements that the scientists will see. Such as That the upgrade will make the entire process of data collection more effective and efficient, from instrument control, data interpretation, modeling, presentation, to data transfer and archiving.

However in a post to the Debian Science mailing list Jerome Kieffer, of the On-Line Data analysis / Software Group, said this

“I would like to advertize the migration of the European Synchrotoron (http://www.esrf.eu) at Grenoble to Debian6; succeeding to RedHat4 and Centos5. For the moment, the migration is ongoing: only the computer controlling the particle accelerator, a few data analysis servers and part of the computing cluster has been migrated but most of the computing infrastructure will migrate this year.”

He also went on to talk about an up coming workshop:

“ESRF aims at organizing a workshop around debian, introducing the new operating system for the scientists and explain to IT staff how to distribute and backport software. We would like to invite some representatives of Debian-science to join this workshop. For the moment, neither the date neither the program is fixed.”

Larry Ellison Confused About Java

When Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, was asked by Robert Van Nest, an attorney for Google, if Java was free Ellison hesitated to answer the question but then when pushed by the judge stated that he did not know. That has to be the scariest thing any Java developer has ever heard. If the CEO of the company controlling the Java process does not know then who does?

Oracle has never been very open source friendly. They leverage what they think they make a profit on i.e. Oracle Linux their implementation of Red Hat. They can not however now close source Java, what has been GPL’d will stay open.

It is hard to say whether this was just a statement made in the context of this trial or if it was a warning to everyone using Java. This could be devastating as the number of companies reling on Java is huge. Only time will tell for sure.

Linus Torvalds In The Running For Tech Equivalent Of Noble Prize

They have Noble Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, peace, and economics but not for technology. We have the Millennium Technology Prize. Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator, and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, maker of a new way to create stem cells without the use of embryonic stem cells, have both been named laureates for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize that is awarded by the Technology Academy of Finland. They will announce the winner at a special ceremony on June 13, 2012. This award has gone in the past to the likes of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, which puts Linus in a very select group. Linus had this to say in response to the award:

“Software is too important in the modern world not to be developed through open source. The real impact of Linux is as a way to allow people and companies to build on top of it to do their own thing. We’re finally getting to the point where “data is just data”, and we don’t have all these insane special communications channels for different forms of data.”

Lets take a look at what Linux means to technology today:

– Eight out of 10 financial trades are completed on Linux
– It powers sites like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter
– It powers the top ten super computers in the world
– Is the number one cloud computing environment

I do believe that Linux has become so ubiquitous as to be indispensable, so congratulations Linus and good luck I believe you should walk away with this prize.

Is Canonical in ISV trouble?

Repeated calls for app devs hint at a lack of traction.


Fedora 18 Release Name Contest


Ubuntu 12.10 Release Schedule

For Ubuntu 12.10, the Ubuntu developers decided to modify the release schedule, again, to three Alpha versions and two Beta releases. Without further introduction, here is the official release schedule for Ubuntu 12.10:

June 7th, 2012 – Alpha 1 release

June 28th, 2012 – Alpha 2 release

August 2nd, 2012 – Alpha 3 release

September 6th, 2012 – Beta 1 release

September 27th, 2012 – Beta 2 release

October 18th, 2012 – Final release of Ubuntu 12.10

Keep in mind that this is a draft release schedule and can be changed anytime. We will modify this article in case anything changes.


Tube – Will This Open-Source Animated Film Change the Movie Industry Forever?


Shelr.tv allows you to record something interesting from your terminal and share it to your followers.

It is almost the same thing as YouTube but for plain text shellcasts. You can copy and paste everything you see.


Listner Feedback

Time: 57:17

Our First Friend of Sunday Morning Linux Review FOSMLR!!

Outtro Music

Time: 1:07:24

We are Men! by DATA?FAIL!

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