NSA: Please Turn off the Lights When You Leave. Nothing to See Here.

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz shows how the general public can take action to truly protect their privacy using GnuPG with Evolution email. Read the details.

Mailvelope for Chrome: PGP Encrypted Email Made Easy

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz officially endorses what he deems is a truly secure, easy to use PGP email encryption program. Read the details.

Step off Microsoft's License Treadmill to FOSS Linux

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds CIOs that XP Desktops destined for MS end of life support can be reprovisioned with FOSS Linux to run like brand new. Read how.

Bitcoin is NOT Money -- it's a Commodity

Linux Advocate shares news that the U.S. Treasury will treat Bitcoin as a Commodity 'Investment'. Read the details.

Google Drive Gets a Failing Grade on Privacy Protection

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz puts out a public service privacy warning. Google Drive gets a failing grade on protecting your privacy.

Email: A Fundamentally Broken System

Email needs an overhaul. Privacy must be integrated.

Opinion

Cookie Cutter Distros Don't Cut It

Opinion

The 'Linux Inside' Stigma - It's real and it's a problem.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Turn a Deaf Ear

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds readers of a long ago failed petition by Mathematician Prof. Donald Knuth for stopping issuance of Software Patents.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Debian on Death's Doorstep: Developers Resist Systemd by Resigning

Is Debian Dying?


There is no shortage of consternation brewing over on the Debian Debacle Cul-de-sac where the nattering nabobs of negativity have forced yet another vote taking for the decoupling (or not) of the current plan to migrate to a replacement for sysvinit system.

The votes are in and it would appear no change in plans will take place.

So, it's full steam ahead with standards-compliant systemd replacing the aged sysvinit middle-ware design.




What lies ahead?  Much discussion preceding the vote taking took place including the proposition of forking Debian.  Yes.  A fork.

And, despite the issue of migrating over 40,000 applications, the proposition is still being taken seriously.

From my vantage point, Debian has always been a 'speed bump' on the road to innovation.  Their software management policy is simply unacceptable in today's world where life can change in a New York Minute.

The concern should present to those Debian derivatives, of which there are many, that delays in moving forward on systemd continue to mount.

Canonical Ltd. Mark Shuttleworth has intimated in a question and answer session (video) including Mir, their Wayland alternative, won't happen any sooner 2016.  I predict that there will be further delay as other unforeseen Debian issues present during their migration to systemd support.

Developers of Debian derivatives and application software ought to be giving serious consideration to the overall 'health status' of their beloved operating system.  They have their work cut out for themselves.  Not only must their Distro middle-ware be modified, but also the applications that run on it.  That is a 'double-whammy' and I'd suspect that when the going gets tough, you'll hear more kvetching and see Developers who can't knuckle-under hitting the exit doors seeking to retire their Derivative or joining up in the RPM camp.  I hope that the latter will be their preference.

Looking at the above chart from Wikipedia showing those major Distros that have adopted systemd, both Debian and Ubuntu stand out and, as a result, all their derivatives will fall into the same status until Debian can reach a stable systemd plateau.  It is interesting to note Gentoo and Slackware have indicated no plan to change over to systemd.

Are these indications that Debian is in the midst of her final initial death throws?

If developers align to advocating for a Fork, then the demise of Debian may well soon follow as a wholesale 'plate tectonic shift' occurs.

As for Me, I am wagering Debian's days are numbered.  What say you?


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

There is no Substitute for #1. Fedora 21 Workstation. Linux Done Right.

There is no substitute for #1.  Fedora 21 Workstation is Linux done right.


You can take this message however you want.

Anyone hoping that Ubuntu Linux will reach critical mass adoption is in for a surprise.  Under the governance of Canonical Ltd. a corporate structure to receive IOUs from one Mr. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu Linux is moving sideways.  It has been a boat without an anchor and no clear charted course.

The good news is that one Distro has overtaken it.  Yes, I've been showing my bias for quite some time.  Most of my readership know that.  But it must be said.

Quietly, industriously, cooperatively, success is here for a true champion Linux on the Desktop.  It is with the arrival of Fedora 21 Workstation I officially see a product with fit and finish that goes beyond what Unity on Ubuntu can ever offer.  Ubuntu lacks critical leadership to be truly successful on a global scale.  It has moved in different directions yet not with the best interests of the Linux Community.  Unity has driven a wedge into the community and has become an island on which no other Distro wants to set foot.  There is no broad support for Unity from the Linux Communiity.

Fedora 21 Workstation integrates, with close direct participation and involvement in design, GNOME Shell 3.14.  Red Hat has taken The GNOME Project under her wing, providing direct infrastructure support for all GNOME-related websites.

This is a turning point.  Fedora 21 Workstation is on a footing to take the mantle and prestige away from Ubuntu.  It succeeds where Ubuntu does not.  Fedora moves forward with clear, published, pragmatic planning and the full support of its community and has traction.  Ubuntu is spinning her wheels and by mere association with Debian will continue to suffer as dependence slows progress by default.

There is no substitute for #1.  Fedora 21 Workstation is truly Linux done right.  -- Dietrich


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fedora 21 Workstation Prerelease. Pure Awesomeness. Zero Exploitation.

Fedora 21 Workstation Prerelease - Pure Awesomeness.  Zero Exploitation.


What do I mean by Zero Exploitation?

Why pay for recycled software bits when you can get it for free, every version release?  That's Zero Exploitation.  Fedora continually refines its software technology as part of Red Hat's R&D process and becomes part of Red Hat Enterprise Linux when mature.

Unlike Gnu Public Licensed Linux free Open Source Fedora, Microsoft charges a license fee for every software release, both on their Windows operating system and software applications.  The end-user, you, gets a bill for the same software bits they paid for on their first purchase, only with a new skin on top.  Looks different on the outside.  Mostly recycled bits on the inside.  That's exploitation, plain and simple.

So, step off of the Microsoft Licensing treadmill and put an end to the exploitation today.

Enjoy pure awesomeness and complete security of Fedora 21 starting here.


-- Dietrich

Monday, November 10, 2014

Why Working Towards a Singular Purpose With Linux Matters

Viking Ship (Image Credit: image-pearl.com) 

Open Source isn't really about Application Software.  No, it's a philosophy.  That's it.

Most think of Open Source in the context of Software Development, naturally, but it goes further than that.  It is, essentially, a mindset and 'way of life'.

One can share in a cooperative fashion making contributions to a singular cause and remain compatible with Open Source.  This is a human trait -- a willingness to cooperate, share, help others.  Nurturing and embracing the Open Source philosophy can produce positive results on many levels.

Open Source and the Gnu Public License confer the end-user flexibility to access and make changes to the Linux codebase.

Working cooperatively in lock-step fashion in a large team of Developers requires sharing in the goals of a project and furtherance of those goals, even when there might be some disagreement with the approach taken to do a task or disagreement with agreed-to management objectives or community goals.

The current 'rift' which has developed around whether Debian should or should not incorporate middle-ware design changes promulgated by Red Hat has become a focus of discussion with consideration being given to forking the entire Debian codebase in an effort to retain control of those design changes which are pending in merging systemd into Debian.

The very idea of being able to fork a code base is a good thing.  It was demonstrable when Oracle asserted their control over OpenOffice in a way which resulted in irreconcilable differences with the Open Source Community sufficiently to cause a fork to LibreOffice.  It is assumed that conditions were reached where the requirements set forth by Oracle management oversight were recognized as incompatible with Open Source, the philosophy, and so we now see the end result.

The outcome in this example fortunately was a good one.  It relieved an intractable situation and enabled work to continue on an otherwise viable project.

The Debian Project has taken input on the decision to switch away from aged sysvinit to systemd some time ago.  It was all done with requests for public feedback to be considered in making the final choice.

I feel that choice, to switch to systemd, was a good one given systemd's recognized 'net' technical merits.

Yet, today, we see splinter groups who for their own reasons, some which may be valid and some which may not be valid, wish to fork Debian.

What will the unforeseen 'unintended consequences' of taking such action be?

In my estimation, it will put a 'cloud' over Debian, for one, and produce increased end-user confusion with 'mixed messages' implied as to what is 'good verses bad' design.  A fork of Debian is divisive and will so cause an 'us verses them' environment, hostility, isolation, continued disagreement and is not conducive to cooperation and compatible with the Open Source philosophy.

The Vikings learned to build ships with arrays of oars wherein men would cooperate to function in a collective purpose moving their oars in the water in unison to a drum beat, thereby moving the vessel efficiently and speedily like no other.

It was effective.  It was necessarily cooperative or it would not work.  Ignoring the drum beat would cause the ship to founder and not be propelled forward.

Having yet another fork of Linux is arguably good and bad.  It moves manpower away from one project to another.

Forking dilutes the effectiveness of staying to a singular purpose, a singular api, and introduces more variation which makes achieving standards all the more difficult.

It is because Microsoft Windows and Apple OSX are singular apis that a thriving ecosystem was born.  Out of singularity standardization developed, de facto and otherwise.  There was less confusion as all parties involved know the API is singular and coding applications is vastly simplified.

In terms of commercial involvement, such considerations matter greatly.  Cost for one is reduced when it is known in advance that software behaves one and only one way and so administrative controls can be put in place to promote stability.  Enterprise craves stability.  Systems must run uninterrupted.  Any perceived inconsistencies regarding one particular operating system, Linux, will be viewed as 'weaknesses' and that is to be expected.  No CIO wants to have multiple APIs and their attendant complexities to support.  It is at minimum, inefficient and less than stable and less than cost-effective.

Thus, I feel, while forking is important, and Debian 'purists' have the best of intentions, the end result of such a fork will result in a general decline in the use of Debian regardless of which middle-ware is utilitzed.

It is because of this forking, cloning with Distro-sprawl that I reached the conclusion that sticking with ONE Distro was crucial to the overall success of Linux on the Desktop and in the Data Center.  With that said, I chose Fedora by virtue of its Red Hat guidance and breadth of community involvement.

So, just because one can fork, clone, by virtue of the GPLv2 licensing terms, doesn't mean one should.  While it made sense to fork OpenOffice.org, it does not with Debian and will be harmful.

Restraint and adherence to one API is vital to moving Linux into the realm of mass adoption.  -- Dietrich

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fedora 21 Workstation Preview - YouTube Video

Sometimes you can talk a subject to death and it won't matter.  So, it helps greatly for people who have no Linux experience to get a visualization of what Fedora is all about.

The next Fedora is just around the corner and I have spent extensive time testing Fedora 21 Workstation, currently in beta as of November 4, 2014.

With that, I present to you a YouTube video I created this morning to give a rudimentary view of Fedora 21 Workstation running Gnome Shell 3.14.1.5 and Linux Kernel 3.17.2.

I particularly hope it helps sway new users to come on board. 
-- Dietrich


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fedora 21 Alpha Workstation Impressions

Fedora 21 Workstation (GNOME 3.14 Desktop GUI)

Draining the Swamp, is the title of a 2001 GUADEC presentation done in Seville Spain back in 2001 by +Jim Gettys, author of the X Window system.  Citing his remarks in an April 2014 story, Christian Schaller (Senior Software Engineering Manager at Red Hat, Developer at GNOME) writes about Gettys' vision:



(...) "We are trying to bring that ‘draining the swamp’ mindset with us into creating the Fedora Workstation product.


With that in mind what is the driving ideas behind the Fedora Workstation? The Fedora Workstation effort is meant to provide a first class desktop for your laptop or workstation computer, combining a polished user interface with access to new technologies. We are putting a special emphasis on developers with our first releases, both looking at how we improve the desktop experience for developers, and looking at what tools we can offer to developers to let them be productive as quickly as possible. And to be clear when we say developers we are not only thinking about developers who wants to develop for the desktop or the desktop itself, but any kind of software developer or DevOPs out there." (...)
That sums up what Fedora 21 Workstation is all about.

Fedora has embarked on an ambitious plan called Fedora.next which breaks out three distinct product lines: Server, Workstation and Cloud.  I only give my initial impressions for Workstation.  Here goes.


Shiny and New


It's a good sign when I find myself smiling, which is what happened after installing Fedora 21 Alpha Workstation.


As I write, and after a week of poking around Fedora Workstation Alpha, I am thinking:

"This is Alpha?  It's more production-ready than other general releases I have seen".  Seriously Folks, it's that stable.

The most obvious change?  Visual.

Fedora Workstation gets the proverbial face lift with GNOME 3.14.   And that is what keeps me smiling.


Adwaita Gets Some Love


In its default form GNOME is fitted to Adwaita Theme.  There are no rough edges.  Just smooth contours, gradients, delicious fonts, all composited to make the eyes feel good.   GNOME has worked diligently in shaping their Human Interface Guidelines to assist GTK Application Developers.

In other work done outside of Fedora, the Adwaita team did a major redesign which improves portability, provides maximum GTK compatibility for Developers and is now the default theme for the GTK toolset.


Bells and Whistles


Alan Day has labored and brings swarming animation.  A nice professional touch of glitz never hurts and lends to the overal professional feel.

Venturing into GNOME Software, you'll discover the newest version now offers Live Search.

Pressing the nine dots icon (or tap the Super key) to type any city name will return the current time in GNOME Clock.

As well, typing a quick calculation into the search field will return from GNOME Calculator an instant result.



Other New Features



  • Touchscreen Gesture support
  • Interactive GTK Inspector (for Developers)
  • Mozilla Location Service
  • New Animations for Activities
  • New Minimize Maximize Transition Effects

Updated Apps



  • Weather App Geolocation Support
  • Maps Route Planning
  • Boxes Multi-Window, VM Snapshot Support
  • Music Online Provider Support
  • Photos Google/PicasaWeb Integration
  • Evince PDF Reader Redesigned
  • dnf (Yum replacement) Speed Improvements

Kernel Update


During this week, Fedora 21 yum update-testing downloaded Linux Kernel 3.17, which the Linux Foundation reports includes several feature enhancements.

New Default Terminal Theme


GNOME Terminal now defaults to using the Solarized theme (below).

GNOME 3.14 Solarized Theme

New System Log Utility


For those who feign going near system logs, a new utility called Logs will come in very handy (below) and makes viewing logs simple.

New System Logs Utility

Wayland Remains Non-Default


To those who have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Wayland production support, I say: "Good things come to those who wait." ;)

Seriously, Christian Schaller gives an update on the status of Wayland and I will say from my own vantage point while Wayland may be stable, the process of migrating GTK Apps to use Wayland is ongoing.  Schaller writes:


(...) "So we want to keep being a place where you do get access to new and exciting technologies first, but as you see with the Wayland effort we are now going to go the extra mile to make sure we offer this new technologies in a way that allows you to still use Fedora as your day to day working machine without worrying that these new features will hinder your work. So we will keep Wayland available as a separate non-default session until we feel very confident that our users are not going to be negatively impacted by the switch. Which means we want to fix and polish up the last remaining bits and pieces, make sure that performance is top notch, make sure all input hardware works flawlessly, work with NVidia and AMD to help them make their binary drivers available for Wayland before we make this the new default." (...)

Conclusions


As for 'Draining the Swamp', I am giving a thumbs up to the Fedora and GNOME Teams for their hard work.  Fedora Workstation really shines and despite being Alpha, I have not had any major problems aside from what gets sent in the automated crash reports.

Fedora succeeds and while the use case Target Audience includes, Students and Developers I would feel comfortable recommending it to Grandma.

Fedora Workstation product documentation can be found here.
Alpha/Beta Testers are encouraged to participate.  Get the Prerelease here.

-- Dietrich


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shuttleworth Pronouncements, Proclamations, Palaver and Privacy Integration

I see Mr. "I'm Special" Shuttleworth is at it again.

He seems to enjoy being in the limelight.  And, if you take pictures of him on stage with pictures of him in the backdrop with his name emblazoned -- all the better.  His ego fulfillment is unabashedly on display.

Seriously, I have taken jabs at Canonical Ltd., MS and his community of psychophants in the past and, quite frankly, enjoy doing it.  This is a small society which has little effect on the quality of Linux on the Desktop.

Ubuntu purports to offer new technology paradigms, but, in reality, is in opposition to anything but its own bastardized notions of innovation.  Left-handed doo-dads instead of right, global menus (Mac emulation), broken scrollbars, subverted Wayland code (Mir) all designed with a solitary purpose -- to wrest control from and drive a wedge into the open source community and advance a cause with no clear purpose.

Canonical Ltd. continues to 'spend' down MS IOUs as it capriciously plots its vision of the future that nobody quite understands.

Yesterday, "the King" made another one of his "Brilliant Man!" pronouncements.  Paraphrasing his overly verbose Here be Dragons post:  "Erahhh, gee, this whole invasion of privacy thing is getting out of hand -- I think I need to say something about it -- lend the appearance of having lofty thoughts at least and maybe I can buy some time while I actually come up with some new bright ideas -- Oh a fellowship! -- yes, that's it -- let me throw them a bone -- token gesture".

News Flash, Mr. Shuttleworth.  True Internet Privacy is attainable.  The technology used to protect your Distro, GnuPG, is viable and pivotal to 'the solution'.  It just needs to be made more user friendly with some help from the open source community with Apps that approach usability like Enigma.  Enigma isn't getting the love it could use, in fact, it has gone stale and lost support.  Still, we are not without recourse.

No, Google's End-toEnd encryption is not the solution.  That endeavor is 'reinventing the wheel'.  Google wants to port GPG to Javascript.  Bad Bad Bad.  Improve upstream OpenPGP.  What is needed is a true Desktop-Integrated Privacy App.  It should be transparent and drop-dead easy to use.

Much as we have come to expect of Microsoft Office or LibreOffice, we should provide the means for obtaining iron-clad Internet Privacy as a matter of right.


This is the true mandate.

So, please.  Mr. Shuttleworth.

Pronouncements, Proclamations, and Palaver are not needed.  Start by putting together a list of 'draft actionable items' for discussion that can become the final framework upon which to move forward in the Open Source Community, collectively, without divisiveness, or proprietary twists of any kind. -- Dietrich

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Public Computer Security Misperceptions Abound

Gmail Google Phishing Message

Generally, I try to avoid giving out unsolicited advice, but, sometimes, will reflexively do so, especially for a friend who I know encountered some kind of "Windows" security issue.

Well, a friend posted up a gmail message they had received with concern to make their circle of friends aware of.

It is of the email 'click-bait' variety.  They all work the same on legacy Windows (x86) from present 8.1 back to Windows 2000.  The commonality is that all versions share the same core WinNT design that Microsoft cannot change as it will 'break' Enterprise software badly.

No, it's more what I call "shooting fish in a barrel" or "taking candy from a baby".  The email sent to the unwary Windows user is 'socially engineered' to steer them to opening the email and/or attachment, either of which (on Windows) will spawn Javascript to download and inject DLL code and run all silently unbeknownst to the user -- until, of course, it's too late when suddenly a rogue fake security warning comes up or the dreaded CryptoLocker virus has just finished locking (encrypting hard drive) the user out of their system and very professionally offers up a screen of payment credit card options for making payment, which will unlock said PC.  CryptoLocker is becoming endemic.

So, my weak moment was to offer unsolicited advice to the poster of Drive-by threats inherent in the use of Windows.  This kind of advice was coupled to my 'standard' recommendation to the poster to consider switching to Linux which I have used since 2005.

I've been in the IT business for 20 years and ought to know something at this point in my life about issues regarding computer security, one would think.  Yet, despite offering up this kind of friendly advice, there is always the random respondent who turns up and shows his/her ignorance with great facile, I might add.  Here are their remarks:


"I hate this kind "commercial" attitude some people have. I dont like Linux. It may be the safest whatever OS and good for servers. But I don't like it. How can someone possibly even think Linux is safer when its open source for God's sake the only reason Linux is safe is  because is not as popular as windows yet. Maybe it might become that much popular and be used almost everywhere but as far as I'm concerned almost all companies and 90 % of the users worldwide are still on windows. That is why its the most vulnerable because if I was a criminal who would I attack?  A bigger area of effect obviously. 
How little people think nowadays really. Thank you for your kind offer but I'm not going to an open source program. Keep your eyes open for "these kind of threats" and alert others.
No operating system that is on the internet is safe. Not even Linux. Linux has one of the biggest issues if anything for being open source. If anything attacking the Linux website one day for example and their downloads and all other server connections they have would  compromise absolutely every single user and you do not need to be a computer tech to realize that. 
Thank you, but no. Have a wonderful day. :)"

Okay, instead of responding in my friends post, I chose to submit to her woeful ignorance and put things into perspective here point by point:

1) "I hate this kind "commercial" attitude some people have."


Commercial?  This was posted to a 'friend' for her benefit and so wasn't a commercial or if she meant an endeavor to profit, Linux is FREE.  It wasn't motivated by money.

2) "How can someone possibly even think Linux is safer when its open source for God's sake."


Huh?  The user presumably associates the word 'open' with some form of security vulnerability like 'leaving the door open'?  One of the cornerstones of Linux is its Gnu Public License for sharing the entire source code base and making changes to it freely.   Because of this, user of Linux enjoy true "Transparency", which means many eyes (more so than what Microsoft has in employee headcount), around the globe are looking at and vetting source code to ensure no rogue code insertion occurs.  Unlike Linux, Windows is proprietary and the end-user cannot see their source code, cannot copy it, and thus have NO idea whatsoever what the employees of legacy Windows did or did not do to the code base.  Being proprietary means effectively, Microsoft can write the operating system and applications however they wish, and, that includes code insertion of functionality like 'back doors'.

Yep, back doors exist in Windows for both Microsoft's use and for their partnering governmental agencies which wish to access your PC.  They come and go silently with impunity.  After you've thought about that for a minute, go find some black electric tape and place it over your Laptop's camera, mmmkay?

This doesn't even speak to the unfixed zero-day exploits present and hidden because Microsoft's code base is not viewable by anyone other than their privileged but shrinking staff of programmers most of whom didn't write the original code and might not have a clue as to how to go about changing it.  Those programmers left 5-10-15 years ago.  So, Zero-Day exploits are rampant, and, the hackers that have discovered them sell their exploits on the black market to people on the other side of the globe who want access to you, usually for money.

Microsoft code doesn't get continually refactored like Linux and vetted for safety.  It gets written and then forgotten.  Their maintainers will fix what they can if they can do so without breaking the system, but their resources are limited.

3) "Linux is safe is because is not as popular as windows yet."


Oh right.  The security by obscurity argument.  Alright let me explain the central security issue with Windows:

If an exploit (drive-by, email attachment same difference) on Windows is 'successful' in running, it will make its own SYSTEM call() to perform an 'Administrative' function.  It is at this point that Windows should stop to check on what that 'action' is and by what process id (parent) is making the call.  It doesn't.  Nope.  Once the exploit gets a toe hold, it proceeds to run administratively with no other cross-check security mechanism.  Got that?  Your PC is officially owned.

With Fedora Linux, you have what is called sandboxing technology.  SELinux, a Linux Security Module (LSM), binds to the kernel at bootstrap and maintains a 'hook' api in the SYSTEM kernel.  This 'hook' gets called on each granular system administrative process invoked on Linux.  SELinux (the Sandbox or Mandatory Access Control), cross-checks each discrete action against its policy group for the calling app  and if it isn't an allowed action, it on returning from the hook sends a 'deny' to the kernel.  The rogue code, exploit, is stopped cold.

It doesn't matter from whenst it came, the sandbox blocks it from getting a toe hold in Fedora Linux.

Windows Legacy users?  To you I say: Go with God.

Fedora Linux: The safest operating system on the Planet.
I stake my reputation on it.  -- Dietrich



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Terminology: The Terminal Emulator With Bling

Image credit: Wikimedia.org

If memory serves, it was +Greg Kroah-Hartman who last December enthused on Google Plus about Terminology, the terminal emulator component of Enlightenment.  It was just released at version 0.4.0 by one very talented, industrious Samsung developer, Daniel Juyung Seo.

I took a look at it, put it away and all was forgotten.  The other day, I was looking around for new software and decided to revisit the state of Terminal Emulators.

Incidentally, Solarized Theme will be part of Fedora 21 and I remember trying it at some point.  But didn't recall how.  To my surprise, Terminology includes a number of themes, one of which is Solarized, so, I decided to install it.  Yes, one can install Terminology separate from Enlightenment and it won't pull in a lot of dependencies -- just what it needs.

Okay so, I thought lets see what this puppy can do.  Five minutes later it was installed and shown on my Fedora 20 LXDE menu under System Tools.

It's quite pleasant in terms of aesthetics and given it is an Enlightenment component, that is to be expected.  But there's nothing keeping one from using it with another Desktop UI and many do just that.

Those partial to certain emulators like Gnome-terminal, Konsole, will prefer one over another, especially if doing development work and dwelling in a character-based shell.

What is especially nice about Terminology is that selecting a theme, such as Solarized, makes doing other things at the terminal prompt most pleasant and easy on the eyes, including other ncurses-based applications like vim, nano, htop.  And the entire window is bit-mapped scalable which means it can be as small or large as needed just by moving the lower-left screen corner.






Features




  • Most escapes supported by xterm, rxvt etc. work
  • Xterm 256 color escapes work
  • Backgrounds (bitmap, scalable/vector, animated gif, videos)
  • Transparency
  • Bitmap and scalable fonts supported
  • Themes for the layout and design
  • URL, file path and email address detection and link-handling
  • Inline display of link content
  • Multiple copy and paste selections and buffer support
  • Works in X11
  • Works in Wayland
  • Works directly in the linux framebuffer (fbcon)
  • Can be finger/touch controlled
  • Scan scale by UI scaling factors
  • Can render using OpenGL or OpenGL-ES2 (not a requirement - just an option)
  • Can display inlined media content (images, video, documents)
  • Can do multiple "tabs"
  • Can do splitting into multiple panes
  • Block text selection
  • Drag and drop of text selections and links
  • Can stream media from URLs
  • Tab switcher has live thumbnail content
  • Single process, multiple windows/terminals support
  • Fast (gives urxvt a run for its money)
  • Themable visual bell
  • Compress backscroll
  • Text reflow on resize
  • Color palette selection

More...



I am including below a few screen shots I took of Terminology running on Fedora 20 LXDE.



Terminology with Solarized theme shown in split-screen mode

Terminology with Solarized theme running ncurses-based htop

Terminology settings screen with Themes selected

Install


As mentioned, it took all of 5 minutes to install Terminology on Fedora 20 with this command from the lxterminal:

$sudo yum install terminology

Then, I went straight to the terminal window, right-click, settings and selected my personal favorite font Droid Sans Monospace 12 point, and, of course, Terminology's Solarized ('Dark') theme.

  
Bayam!  Sweet relief.  My eyes feel so much better now.

Go get some relief.  Now. 

Terminology.  The terminal emulator with bling.  -- Dietrich



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bodhi Linux Developer Retires

( Image Credit: Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam )


The solo developer of Bodhi Linux has announced his retirement.

I sincerely wish +Jeff Hoogland  well.  It's not difficult to appreciate that putting together a truly polished Linux Distro is hard, but by one developer, it seems almost an impossible task.  


One Mr. Hoogland set out to do so and I will say that by all accounts he has been a success.  Bodhi Linux has always been a 'standout' Distribution in my view and well respected.  Bodh Linux's level of consistency typically requires a rank and file of workers to make for polish, fit, finish and seamless processes.  Bodhi Linux has become perhaps the best known lightweight Linux Distro.  CrunchBang is perhaps the only other true contender in this category.

Yet, I fear that we will see more of this attrition and with increased frequency.


As geopolitical events unfold and the global economy gets worse by the day, it becomes increasingly difficult for the individual to merely 'exist', much less, do voluntary work on a project of this magnitude.

Yes, if you are lucky, another developer will pick up and continue with Bodhi maintenance.  If you aren't, well, that is the nature of things in today's world.


Linux on the Desktop is much like a garden, if you will.  It requires true dedication, constant attention and nurturing.  Looking at Distrowatch, one sees a wide array of choices.  Some flowers in the garden are hardy, and even perennial flowering all year round giving manifold benefits to the Linux User community.

Indeed, there is much freedom of choice.  But with choice comes risk.  One such risk is that many Distros by default create newcomer confusion.  The immediate question becomes, "Which one is best?"  All one need do is ask and there will be no shortage of opinion offered to help out.  Getting answers to questions with Linux has always been one of its cornerstones and those who maintain support forums are there to help.  This has always been one of the great benefits of Linux.  That hasn't changed.

What has changed?  The pure number of Distros has grown as more developers obtain toolchains which facilitate cloning their own 'me too' Distro.  This is done mostly with good intentions.  It's part of the Gnu Public License and encouraged.

But, the by-product has yielded a side-effect I call Distro-Sprawl.  As such, it has become increasingly difficult for users to come to a quick answer as to which Distro they should use.

Despite, Bodhi Linux points to another important issue:  Ongoing Support.

When researching which Distro to use, make not just looking at the feature set a consideration.  Look also at the number of people involved in support.  If it's one or two people, that doesn't mean it isn't a good Distro.  Far from it, Bodhi is the exemplar.  But, the longevity of that Distro is put at risk when there are fewer to support it.  And thus, we see here yet another developer finds himself in the throws of life circumstance with not enough 'bandwidth' to devote to his open source development pursuits.  The critical decision is made to pull the plug.  The developer retires.  You are left high and dry.

It doesn't have to be that way if you look at the top 5 Distributions on Distrowatch.  Those are the hardy flowers in the garden.  Those flowers have many gardeners who cultivate and nurture them so as to remain healthy, lush and full.

I encourage developers not to spread themselves 'thin' across vaguely familiar Distros.  Come on board one of the larger Top 5 Distros and put your talent towards something which will be long-lasting and meaningful.  -- Dietrich