Podcast Season 3 Episode 16


Title: Linux Surprise

In this episode: Google spends $12.5 billion acquiring Motorola's smart phone division. Linus switches from Gnome to Xfce and KDE 5 development is about to start. We discover things, draw our own boxes, and listen to your views in the open ballot.

What's in the show:

  • News:
      Google has spent $12.5 billion acquiring Motorola's Mobility division, buying itself a complete Android smartphone ecosystem. Linus Torvalds has quietly abandoned Gnome Shell in favour of Xfce. KDE 5 development is about to commence, according to Aaron Seigo, and the long wait for Firefox 6 is over - download it today and let us know what you think.
  • Discovery of the week:
    • Jonathan:
      • There is an open 802.11s project which is now in the mainline kernel, bringing mesh networking to all.
    • Effy:
    • Andrew:
    • Graham:
      • The awesome Spectrum game, Lords of Midnight, is being ported to Linux in a collaboration between Chris Wild and the original author, Mike Singleton.
    • Mike:
      • The Pioneer Space Simulator bares a sneaking resemblance to a game called Frontier. On a personal/team note - please, please, please, Mr Braben, please create a multiplayer sequel before memory chip entropy does it for you.
  • You Dare Us:
      We mostly succeeded in this episode, and come up with a new and better plan for future episodes.
  • Speak Your Brains:
      Brilliant opinions this week, thanks! And as ever, if you'd like this section to continue, don't delay - email mike.saunders@futurenet.com today.
  • Open Ballot: Does Tux help or hinder Linux?

  • Check to see if we're still on Facebook here.
  • Special offer: subscribe to Linux Format magazine and save up to 40%

Presenters: Andrew Gregory, Efrain Hernandez-Mendoza, Graham Morrison and Jonathan Roberts and Mike Saunders.

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Theme Music by Brad Sucks.

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Your comments

The logo

As far as logos are concerned, I always feel a slight pang of jealousy whenever I see the newer FreeBSD logo. Perhaps it's the transparency or simple shape. I could draw the Windows logo, but Tux? Then again, I'm no artist.

Firefox 6

I wasn't aware that firefox 6 was even out until this podcast. Apparently I'm using it though!


Yeah, FreeBSD's logo has always been cool. I really like Debian's too. Most distros' logos are better than a silly old penguin in my opinion!

Frontier GAME OVER

played Elite C64 v Amiga Frontier (Real Hardware)

C64 battles are better then the one ship fight (jump and go )battles on the Amiga which was sadley broken.

C64 battles in "witch space" and normal space where better on the c64 for play.

spent far too long on both titles.


As someone in the podcast said, the original Tux-logo is the symbol of Linux in whole, for example when Linux is compared to other operating systems the logo is Tux, when the product is provided with the driver supporting Linux Tux is on the picture, when people put a t-shirt on about love to Linux it is with Tux on it. It's all because Linux doesn't belong to anyone, any distributive or company (Canonical, Red Hat, etc). The thing is that there is one thing that unites all its parts in one - The Project Linux, let's call it so. It includes everything different people and developers do for it. And that has the logo Tux.


Any chance of actually seeing the boxes you guys made?


Seriously, who cares whether companies can use it or not? Firefox is a Browser for the normal user and they are in no way obligated(neither by a missionstatement nor financially) to develop their Browser in a way thats good for companies.(And if companies wanted that, they could pay developers to support Mozilla in creating a stable series) but as it is, why should the Mozilla-Devs care for companies, especially since their source of income is the google-deal. Sorry, but the web is developing rapidly and Mozilla seems to be at the position that its better that it's broad userbase(and I assume tht the "normal" users are far more then company-users) isn't stuck with 10 year old technology instead of wasting their resources on the few companies who use them and can't handle their(planned for the next few versions) automatic updates. Also I'd really like to know which mysterious plugins all those people always use and why this couldn't be accomplished by modern html5 techniques etc.

In the end, Mozilla ressources aren't endless and in my opinion, they simply decided the most logical way in priortizing.

Re: Firefox

Tarnus said: "Seriously, who cares whether companies can use it or not?"

You must have a short memory! So let's say Firefox continues on this path, and companies move away from it. What browser is suitable for the enterprise then? Chrome moves too quickly as well, so the sane answer (to them) is Internet Explorer, a steady browser with displayed version numbers and long term support.

Congratulations: you then have tens, if not hundreds, of millions of machines now running IE. The market share situation returns to how it was in the early 2000s, people start making sites IE-only, and we Linux users are left in the cold.

Let's not go backwards.


Agree with Mike

Making a free software browser non-enterprise friendly is really dangerous for us. Not only because all the workplace-procrastination-browsing will be done with IE, but also because the secretary or the insurance salesman will feel no need at all to install a different browser at home. At the moment many people use Firefox on their work machine and realized that it is faster and easier to use than IE. And, more importantly, they realize that if it gets the seal of approval from the IT guys at work then it cannot be just a simple hobby application programmed by some teenager in his garage.

Firefox has risen to number one market share in some countries (Germany for example), and that is a fantastic achievement for us! Not only is the internet usable for non-IE-users, as Mike pointed out, but also has the public understood that free software can be reliable and better than the proprietary alternative. It is always my first example when I try to explain free software to a non technical user, and it has helped convince people to try stuff like Linux.

If there is one thing I don't like in the free software world then it is this snobby attitude of "why should I care if other people use it - it works fine for me!". I would be much happier in a world with more Linux software, the same Internet experience as on other machines, little Tux symbols saying "Works on Linux" on standard hardware boxes and maybe even affordable Notebooks with preinstalled Ubuntu.

D'oh - the last subject should have read "Meshed Network"



No I don't. IE isn't suitable either, if MS doesn't want to fall behind again, they will(and seeing their latest steps, do) have to change their development-model as well. The main difference is that they have a lot more resources in terms of developers and money then Mozilla has. I'm not really sure whether Mozilla has the ressources to maintain a "stable-series".

And a lot of people, including me btw. went back to Firefox after they sped up their development speed, otherwise the trickle to chrome would have been a lot bigger, especially seeing how a year ago it almost looked like some sites starting with stuff like "optimized for Chrome", to elaborate, most of the modern technologies people wanted to build in only ran properly in Chrome. The web changes rapidly and your Browser either reflects that and stays behind, with all the consequences in terms of developers and technical userbase(I really recommend the interview the Linux outlaws guys did in Episode 221 with Christian Heilmann, I think after hearing this a lot people will understand better why it was neccessary to take this step). But now enough of this, otherwise this is going to become a flamewar, especially since Mike set the tone already so nicely.



Compaines should use

If companies are complaining about Mozilla's take on rapid updating of Firefox then should use Seamonkey. As far as I know that is still the old way of version incrementation.


"I'm not really sure whether Mozilla has the ressources to maintain a "stable-series"."

Eh? How much in terms of resources do you think they'd need? Debian seems to do fine with thousands of different packages, yet you think Mozilla can't maintain a stable browser version with security updates?


mozilla foundations revenue in 2009 was $104 million!!! of course they have enough to support a stable release. what a ridiculous argument. theyre choosing not to for their own reasons which will make internet explorer the only longterm stable browser. businesses need stable releases they can code for and test with internal apps. they dont want stuff changing under their feet all the time. this is a terrible mood and the excuses some fans give are worrying

Space Game


As a fellow fan of open-ended space simulators -- especially open source ones -- I recommend you guys take a look at Naev, a wonderful open source homage to the classic Escape Velocity. It might not be Elite or Frontier, but it's pretty darn neat!

I agree ^

I agree with the above about NAEV.. its awesome! :)

Great episode guys! Made me smile on the bus to work! :D


So your saying that people will make sites optimised for IE or chrome when they are the dominent web browser but not for firefox? Actually it kind of reminds me of how people make applications that have dependancies only available on Ubuntu.
Bottom line: Even in the world of open source, we must now allow a single application to take market share and kill competition because people will start only making content for or developing one app and destroy our choices.


Linus drops Gnome 3, not difficult to see why. It's a load of crap compared to Gnome 2.

As for Firefox, it is ridiculous that they are increasing the version numbers for the sake of it to catch up with Chrome. I have already switched a lot of my browsing at home to Chrome as Firefox is often unstable, and I am still using 3.6.20 as I have lost track of which is the latest version.


So when are we going to see the boxes you guys designed for Linux?

My last comment

I meant NOT allow! AAAAGH!


So your saying that people will make sites optimised for IE or chrome when they are the dominent web browser but not for firefox? Actually it kind of reminds me of how people make applications that have dependancies only available on Ubuntu.
Bottom line: Even in the world of open source, we must not allow a single application to take market share and kill competition because people will start only making content for or developing one app and destroy our choices.

Mesh network

I am really looking forward to the result of the Mesh network "You dare us". It might make a nice article even if it doesn't really work out, just to help others(like myself) get on the road. Keep up the great work on the podcast and the mag.

Crash reports in Linux distributions

There was a mention in this episode of the podcast of how crash reports in Linux distributions cannot be tracked.

I can't say for other distributions, but when I run into a crash in Ubuntu, it automatically creates a crash report package, uploads it to Launchpad (under appropriate module) and gives me an opportunity to file a bug report. It also show a list of similar crash reports, so if there is already a bug filed, I can just subscribe to it instead of opening a new/duplicate one.

In my opinion, this is one of the best crash report experiences. Of course this applies to modules supported by Ubuntu - which in most cases, is the case.


Kinder is a brand owned by Ferrero, which is an italian company. As far as I know, the company is own by (and only) the Ferrero family, and "Mr. Ferrero" has been many times the richest italian businessman.
A lot of other choccolate brands you find in shops and airports are Ferrero's. The most famous one I think is Nutella, which I found all over the world.
In my opinion, the "kinder" name, which sounds swiss, helped a lot in the success of the products outside Italy.

Open Ballot

Glad you had a chuckle at (with?) my comment on Tux keeping out the riff raff. Really though, if Linux is good enough for the world's super computers and stock exchanges etc. then anyone who is put off by Tux is cutting off their nose to spite their face. I have to agree that maybe a slight change of image for the herring munching one might not be a bad idea.

Also, thanks for the mention of QR codes. I did a bit of Googling and they seem to be a great idea! I've got a reader app installed on my N900 now and have generated a few codes using the ZXing web based generator.


Personally I think that a penguin footprint (much like you guys once talked about{ could look really nice. A good example is the logo Virtualbox Other Linux logo.

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