Podcast Season 5 Episode 4


Title: Muphry's Law

In this episode: OpenSUSE 12.3 is out, Red Hat takes ownership of Java 6, SecureBoot is coming to FreeBSD and Ubuntu ditches Wayland for Mir. We report back on our challenge from a couple of episodes ago, come up with a new challenge, and discuss IT education in our Open Ballot.

Alert! Buy Linux Format on Google Play.

What's in the show:

  • News:
  • Discovery of the week:
    • Andrew:
      • David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, tweeted with only one eye on what he was reading.
      • Any beer from Amber Ales will be awesome.
    • Efrain:
      • Fix domestic conflicts through technology and Minecraft.
    • Ben:
      • The Nexus 7 is a nice piece of hardware.
      • Thanks to its price, the Raspberry Pi is a great educational platform. And Raspberry Pi's Rob Bishop is a dead ringer for Jonathan Roberts.
    • Graham:
      • The Joy of X is ace if you've lost an interest in mathematics.
      • Nethog is like 'top' but for local processes using the network.
  • Challenge Us!
    • Hear the mediocre end-term results from our distro-swap challenge. For our live broadcast challenge, let us know in the comments what time (GMT) would be best for you if you wanted to join us on IRC.
  • Open Ballot: What does education need?

  • Our scripts are updating Facebook again.
  • Special offer: A subscription to Linux Format magazine is the perfect March gift and healthier than the majority of Easter confectionary.

Presenters: Ben Everard, Andrew Gregory, Efrain Hernandez-Mendoza and Graham Morrison

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Theme Music by Brad Sucks.

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Your comments

Live podcast

Great podcast guys.

Response to the live starting time 8:30pm good for me.


Really? no productive use for tablets? Granted a keyboard would help, but there are so many other things.

* e-mail
* appointment book
* document reader
* Text Chat, Voice Chat, Video Chat
* SSH remote control for your linux box
* SSH anything
* VNC Client
* Vehicle Computer readout (using a bluetooth module that plugs into the diagnostics port)
* WiFi diagnostics
* Anything you can think of a portable computer doing.

As for live bits

There is an obfuscated (Base64) caveat here to my proposing a time: aHR0cDovL3R4MC5vcmcvNWhu

That being said, 2000 UTC sounds fabulous.


Yeah, far too much Ubuntu love/hate. Where's the indifference? The ambivalence?

(Not really of course, I believe you are entirely balanced in your coverage of Ubuntu)

Re: Graham's argument about Gnome 3 and Unity being the same. They're are, in the same sense that KDE3 and Gnome 2 (and XFCE and LXDE and FVWM and countless others) were the same. In that they all offer the same Win95-style (yeah I know it was done elsewhere first) start menu + taskbar + systray + windows interface. But they all do it differently, different aims and ideologies.

It's the same with Gnome Shell and Unity. Yes they both have the same basic interface metaphor but they operate quite differently and are heading in different directions.

I've been sick of the start menu + taskbar metaphor for many years. It's always struck me as clumsy, clunky and inefficient and I'm incredibly glad that people are trying other approaches. Using standard MATE or XFCE or KDE feels utterly archaic to me now - I have to expend so much effort to accomplish so little compared to Gnome Shell (which is by no means perfect, but is my preferred desktop. I very much like KDE's Plasma Active, too).

I launch all programs with a keypress, typing a couple of letters, then enter. I switch tasks with a a flick of my mouse up to the corner then selecting the window I want. This aspect of the desktop is, for me, pretty much perfect.

Also, the argument that a good touch interface is inherently a bad mouse+keyboard interface drives me nuts. I can swipe and press just as easily with my mouse as I can on a touchscreen and it retains all the benefits (fewer clicks, fewer discrete movements, big targets) when transferred to those tools. I'd much rather be presented with a flat-categorised screen full of large icons that I can page through than a tiny, hierarchical menu with tiny little icons and labels. I'd much rather launch a program by typing a couple of letters (which very quickly becomes muscle memory) than trying to navigate through such a menu, trying to guess what category the devs filed the app I'm looking for under.

(Having said that, I don't think Gnome Shell or Unity are particularly good touch interfaces. But I don't think they're supposed to be, they're just not touch-hostile. They're open to a touch implementation later. This has, for me, brought benefits for desktop use.)

Hate what they've done to Nautilus though, that really is nonsensical. But it doesn't matter, I just use Thunar, which is almost perfect.

Ok, that went off track. Sorry.

Lastly and a bit relatedly, I thought this (It's the reddit /r/Linux survey) was interesting:


Particularly the preferred desktop section. KDE is top, which is no surprise. But Gnome Shell is a close second, which (pleasantly) surprised me. Particularly given that I'd imagine this is slightly biased towards more technically-able users.

Arch makes a strong showing too, which is nice.

Child of the Thatcher era

You were spot on, I really am :(

Awesome podcast. Graham is hilarious. Andrew is right about absolutely everything. Effy... mere words are found wanting, Effy defies description. And Ben's ok too.

As to times for the live-cast, I do believe 8pm is outside of UK office working hours. So I'll go with: 3.17am.


We get loads of spam like the above. Does anyone know the purpose of it? Why would someone go to the effort of employing a botnet (I'm guessing) just to spew random characters on our site.

In case you're wondering, the Chinese characters mean 'cosmetic' according to google translate.

Proving Pi*R*R

Great podcast guys. My choice for a live podcast would be 9am Montreal-time which is about 2PM in GB if you have changed to BST by now (we switched to Daylight Savings Time last Sunday).

In my college Calculus 202 class, we proved the formulas for the circumference and area of a circle and the volume of a sphere. Pure geekiness to be had!

Education & Investment banking

Whoever-it-was's comment about teaching kids investment banking is interesting since most trades in the stock market these days are done by computer algorithms (and last microseconds!) so an early grounding in maths and IT would actually be ideal preparation, God help us all!

シャネル ピアスkg lvo cgax go dhvki lhiekh ajhrm

nw lzkg ziew ggd dqkh nvsa qgj nukx cr el cmw iihh xlui dsc ckfh yqvl jmp taii bl

serving pi and slates of apples

I enjoyed the podcast.

I use Fedora, and, as we say in Texas, "I haven't got a dog in the hunt". Yet it seems to me that a lot of hand-wringing and inside-sports stuff happens about Ubuntu. I use LXDE because for me DE should be simple, resource-sparing, and as minimal as will do the job. Endless worries about Gnome 3 and Unity always leave me cold. The great thing about Linux is that dissenters can, and do,fork. Ubuntu makes good media fodder,I suppose,but I'd rather hear about more and other distributions. To me, Ubuntu is fairly easy to use out-of-the-box, and it's got good driver recognition and robust apps. It makes some compromises to seek commercial success that will be disapproved by some. Once one has said that mouthful, what more is there, really?

Though the tablet-as-slate is not really a knock on the tablet, it's true that raspberry pi potentially moves computing education into new places. As more and improved distros are developed for the pi, I predict that its uses will multiply.

Amber Ales

Weirdly I'm from that neck of the woods and yet to discover them, I will seek out this fine purveyor of Ales.

However, I would like to take up your point of being near the hamlet of Alfreton. Alfreton is not a hamlet. Far from it it's You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, except maybe Ripley on a Saturday night, on coincidently you seemed to mention that place too.
I think Barnes-Wallis' mistakenly thought target was the Amber Valley.


Great podcast, had me grinning like an idiot while walking my dog! Long may the Ubuntu news continue, not for information, just for your opinions and my amusement.
The challenge results were a bit of a let down chaps. Considering Linux Format is about Linux and the distributions which are based on it, I thought there might have been a bit more enthusiasm when trying unfamiliar desktop environments . As it happened it sounded like you were being forced to look at a book of fabric swatches by your wives.

Brains to be spoken

Since I found it impossible to actually find a contact email address on this site, I have sent a 'Speak Your Brains' email to graham.morrison@futurenet.com.
Time will tell if it will make it through filters. Apparently, some spam filters find my name dodgy.

Re: Brains and non-productive tablets

Morten, that is the correct email address (I used to link to it directly when we had the Brains section in the podcast). But I haven't received your email - I even checked my spam folder! Perhaps send it again?

Re: Tablets
I've used my tablet for lots of those tasks, and more often than not it leaves me desperate to use a netbook or laptop, although you're right about Wi-Fi, chat and reading. As I've mentioned before, I also use mine productively to control audio equipment using TouchOSC. A cheap tablet can replace something like the Lemur (which originally cost thousands), and that was enough to warrant the outlay for me. My comment was really more general - that I don't think the tablet will replace laptops, just stem some of their more portable/touch-based tasks.



.pl to get photos

Here is a program to get your files in order thanks to my mate mvelic
#$result = `ls -l $file*`;

#$result =~ s/john/fred/g;

#print $result;
if (!(-e $prefix)){
`mkdir $prefix`;
$year = '';
$month = '';
$day = '';

$array_term = 6;
@line = split(/\//,$2);
$len = $#line;
#print "$line[$len] -- $len\n";

$name = $2;
$name =~ s/(\W)/\\$1/g;
$shortname = $line[$len];
$shortname =~ s/(\W)/\\$1/g;

##print "Name: $name\n";
@result = `exiv2 $name`;
if ($result[4] !~/Camera/){
@result = `stat $name`;
#print "No EXif DATA\n"
$array_term = 5;
$temp = $result[$array_term];
$temp =~ m/(\d\d\d\d)-(\d\d)-(\d\d)/;
chop $temp;
#print "$temp -- $1 $2 $3\n";
$year = $1;
$month = $2;
$day = $3;
$temp = $result[$array_term];
$temp =~ m/(\d\d\d\d):(\d\d):(\d\d)/;
chop $temp;
#print "$temp -- $1 $2 $3\n";
$year = $1;
$month = $2;
$day = $3;
## one more test
## exif array might exist but be blank.
if($year == ''){
@result = `stat $name`;
#print "No EXif DATA\n"
$array_term = 5;
$temp = $result[$array_term];
$temp =~ m/(\d\d\d\d)-(\d\d)-(\d\d)/;
chop $temp;
#print "$temp -- $1 $2 $3\n";
$year = $1;
$month = $2;
$day = $3;
$temp = $result[$array_term];
chop $temp;
#print "$temp -- $year $month $day\n";
$dir = "$prefix/$year";
## make sure "year" directory exists: if not, then create it.
if( !(-e $dir)) {
`mkdir $dir`;
$dir = "$prefix/$year/$month";
if( !(-e $dir)) {
`mkdir $dir`;
$dir = "$prefix/$year/$month/$day";
if( !(-e $dir)) {
`mkdir $dir`;

## OK...at this point the directory where we are going to put the file should exist
#print "$shortname\n";
##unless (-r $name) { print "file not readable $name\n"; }
#print "$prefix/$year/$month/$day/$shortname\n";
#`touch $prefix/$year/$month/$day/$shortname`;
$newname = "$prefix/$year/$month/$day/$shortname";
$testname = $newname;
$testname =~ s/\\//g;
if (-e $testname ){
$md5old = `md5sum $name`;
$md5old =~ /^([a-z0-9]{32})\s\s(.+)/;
$md5old = $1;
$md5new = `md5sum $newname`;
$md5new =~ /^([a-z0-9]{32})\s\s(.+)/;
$md5new = $1;
if($md5old != $md5new){
$newname = "$md5new_$newname";
`cp --preserve=timestamps --no-clobber $name $newname`;
`cp --preserve=timestamps --no-clobber $name $prefix/$year/$month/$day/$shortname`;


$lastmd5 = "x";
$lastline = "x";
while(<STDIN>) {

## print $_;
# @words = split(/\s+/,$_);
# print "$words[0] ---- $words[1]\n";
#print "$words[2] \n";
# /([a-z0-9]+)\s+(\w+)/;
# /(\w+)\s+(\w+)/;
#print "$1 -- $2\n";
if( $lastmd5 ne $1){ print "$_"; }
$lastmd5 = $1;
# $lastline = $_;


I'm not a programer, so don't ask me how to use it.


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