Linux Your Chromebook | LAS s31e03

Linux Your Chromebook | LAS s31e03

Can a cheap Chromebook loaded with Linux replace an Ultrabook? Is this the best bang for the battery life? We load Linux on the Acer C720 and put it to the test.

Plus: The big security mistake that impacts tons of open source software, a quick demo of the new Krita release, our picks of the week…

AND SO MUCH MORE!

All this week on, The Linux Action Show!

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— Show Notes: —

Chromebook Acer C720 Running Linux Review:


System76

Brought to you by: System76

Whatever the reason, you may find the paltry offering of a 16GB SSD on the Acer C720 Chromebook to be lacking for some use cases out there. You can pick up a C720P model with 32GB of internal storage — and a touchscreen — for $50 more than the regular C720, but what if you already have one or need more than 32GB? Well, it turns out it’s extremely simple to replace the SSD in the Acer C720, and we’re going to show you how to do it.

Installing Arch Linux on the C720

SeaBIOS is an open source implementation of a 16bit X86 BIOS. SeaBIOS can run in an emulator or it can run natively on X86 hardware with the use of coreboot.

SeaBIOS is the default BIOS for qemu and kvm.

Battery Life

Tip: To monitor cpu speed in real time, run:

$ watch grep \“cpu MHz\” /proc/cpuinfo

Cons:

  • Screen Viewing Angle is really limited. Even leaning on my hand with elbow on the desk decreases viewability by a very noticeable amount.
  • Only one USB3 Port.

– Picks –

Runs Linux:

Desktop App Pick

This year marks the 11th Year of uGet, that’s right, uGet has been available to the Linux community for over 11 years now and we are not slowing down, we are excited for the future of uGet! If you’re excited too then please consider donating to the project. :) (blog post about the donation drive)

Weekly Spotlight

  • Dukto R6

  • Simple user interface

  • No server or internet connection needed

  • Zero configuration

  • Clients auto-discovery

  • High speed file transfer

  • Multi-OS native support

  • Portable version available

  • Multi files and folders transfer

  • Transfers log

  • Send and receive text snippets (eg. useful for sending URLs)

  • Open received files directly from the application

  • Windows 7 taskbar integration with progress and transfer indicator

  • Show your IP addresses on the IP connection page

  • Full Unicode support

  • Metro style UI

  • Free and open source

  • There is one issue with Dukto though: its security: the application doesn’t use any passwords, no encryption, etc., so its developer recommends using it only on trusted local area networks.

Dukto is a free open source project, licensed under GPL. Official releases are made by me for the following platforms:


— NEWS —

A longstanding GnuTLS certificate validation botch

Perhaps the biggest irony is that the fix changes a handful of “goto cleanup;” lines to “goto fail;”. It also made other changes to the code (including adding a “fail” label), but the resemblance to the Apple bug is too obvious to ignore. While the two bugs are actually not that similar, other than both being in the certificate validation logic, the timing and look of the new bug does give one pause.

The problem boils down to incorrect return values from a function when there are errors in the certificate.

It is hard to say how far back this bug goes, as the code has been restructured several times over the years, but the GnuTLS advisory warns that all versions are affected.

Emacs, wget, NetworkManager, VLC, Git, and others.

Fedora 20 system, attempting to remove GnuTLS results in Yum wanting to remove 309 dependent packages, including all of KDE, Gnucash, Calligra, LibreOffice, libvirt, QEMU, Wine, and more.

It was a code audit done by GnuTLS founder Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos (at the request of Red Hat, his employer) that discovered the bug.

Video Acceleration Takes The Backseat On Chrome For Linux

Due to notorious Linux graphics drivers, Google developers working on Chrome/Chromium aren’t looking to enable hardware video acceleration by default anytime soon. The problem ultimately comes down to poor Linux graphics drivers.

Ami Fischman explained in a bug comment yesterday, “There is a history of users disabling the blacklist (entirely) because they want a feature that is disabled. That destabilizes the entire browser, and users frequently forget about this action (and waste time trying to re-stabilize their browser later). If this landed I expect that sooner or later we’d get a rash of blog posts explaining how to get HW decode on linux ‘for free’ (by disabling the GPU blacklist) and the overall result for our Linux userbase would be a worse experience (because the blacklist will never be consulted on their system), not better (b/c they’ll have HW acceleration of h.264 decode). This is a judgement call and I can certainly see how reasonable people can disagree, but this is my personal judgement.”

Ami went on to imply that the VA-API Linux support will never be in good enough shape for Chrome, “We don’t ship code we consider to be permanently ‘experimental’ or ‘beta’, only code we expect to be stable/production-quality eventually, if not at landing. This feature will never graduate to that status, so this CL is effectively shipping a feature that is known to be mostly-broken on most Linux installations.”

Chrome developer Jorge Lucangeli Obes also commented on this report, “Supporting GPU features on Linux is a nightmare (I know from dealing with the GPU sandbox). Enabling this feature should come after thinking how we can make it available without making Chrome on Linux less stable.”

Fedora To Have a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” For Contributors

"The Fedora Project is now going to enforce a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for contributors. What the project’s engineering committee is asking their members to conceal is a contributor’s nationality, country of origin, or area of residence. There’s growing concern about software development contributions coming from export restricted countries by the US (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria) with Red Hat being based out of North Carolina

Krita 2.8.0 Released

Some major updates in Calligra office suite are:

  • The word processor, Words received support for comments

  • Sheets has better support for pivot tables

  • Kexi now runs on Windows and about 30 major issues has been fixed in this visual database application.

  • Flow now supports SVG based stencils.

  • A thumbnail sketch of Krita 2.8

The 2.8 release marks the debut of several new under-the-hood changes in Krita. The first is a major refactoring of the application’s OpenGL canvas code.

For 2.8 the OpenGL support was brought up to OpenGL 3.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0 compliance (the latter of which enables the tablet-centric “Krita Sketch” variant to run on embedded hardware).

Along the way, Krita’s Windows builds gained OpenGL support as well; 2.8 marks the first version of Krita to be declared stable on Windows

The more interesting improvement for Linux users is an entirely new OpenGL scaling algorithm that offers better quality than the default OpenGL scaling options. The upshot is smoother rendering, especially when zooming in on the canvas.

The new rendering code was written by Kazakov, whose time on the project is funded by the Krita Foundation. Kazakov also undertook the other major piece of plumbing to debut in version 2.8: native support for pressure-sensitive graphics tablets.

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