Linus Torvalds rages against Microsoft, with a side-order of splash damage

It’s no secret that I’m a Linux guy. I love open source software. I’m not the greatest coder in the world, but I get by. I’m not the greatest scripter in the world, but I get by. Computers are my bread and butter, and considering my livelihood and my freedom to choose what software to use is threatened by this, I’ll be damned if I stand idly by while Microsoft engages in their latest and possibly greatest power-play ever — controlling what operating systems are digitally signed and allowed to run on your computer in the UEFI boot standard they’ve created and are demanding hardware manufacturers support.

The move is ostensibly intended to prevent rootkits that aren’t signed by a signing authority from running on your computer, but its real effect is that every operating system that isn’t Microsoft-made will have to come grovelling before Microsoft to have their operating systems signed just so that your computer will run them. It is, in effect, leveraging a virtual monopoly into a true one — while their marketshare was slipping, suddenly if your computer will only run a Microsoft-approved OS, you’re at MS’ whims.

I’ve already butted up against this issue once, after buying my current laptop and failing miserably to install Ubuntu until I discovered that UEFI was the new spanner thrown into the works. I had to disable that — being told by my computer how vulnerable I was leaving myself to hackers, and being informed by various websites how fortunate I was that ASUS, my laptop’s manufacturer, deigned fit to ALLOW me to disable UEFI booting — before I could install the operating system of my choice.

Others may not be so lucky, it seems. So Red Hat has decided to try to have Microsoft sign their distribution of Linux. And Linus Torvalds, Linux’s creator and godfather, was hopping mad. On the Linux Kernel Mailing List, he scolded Michael Garrett of Red Hat:

On Thu, Feb 21, 2013 at 8:42 AM, Matthew Garrett wrote:
>
> There’s only one signing authority, and they only sign PE binaries.

Guys, this is not a dick-sucking contest.

[Read more...]

Linux+ Certified!

CompTIA Linux+ logo

Hooray! I passed my CompTIA Linux+ certification today. Sorry I’ve been neglecting you folks over the last little bit, but see, I’ve been studying from an old exam study guide from 2010, stolen from an acquaintance, and it’s basically eaten all my concentration since I hatched this hare-brained scheme of mine.

Last Wednesday, at about the same time as I got it in my head to finally rectify my Bachelor of Arts situation, I also bought exam vouchers for the two tests necessary to become Linux+ certified. I scheduled the tests for the soonest I could get them, then I cracked the books. And today, after melting my brainpan for a week, I am now finally a man of letters and papers and shit. I now, finally, have certifications and degrees and paperwork proving I know what I do. Well, some of it anyway. There isn’t a certification for knowing the location of every extra life in Super Mario Bros 1, sadly, or I’d be going for that next.

To celebrate my achievement, I drew a dancing turtle.

Sketch of dancing turtle - animated gif. Drawn with a Wacom tablet by a freshly-certified computer dork.

He has a top hat and a diamond tipped cane, because he gots just that much swag.

(There’s a story behind this turtle, though it’s short and kinda silly. You might hear it one day.)

Using Netflix on Linux through WINE

Apparently some Linux devs managed to get Silverlight working under WINE, then went on to make a dead-simple install that configures a separate Firefox install to run the app. It’s very slightly lower framerate than running it natively under Windows, but if it weren’t for that damned Silverlight dependency (for the DRM, naturally), we’d have had Netflix working on Linux a long time ago.

The commands, via Nixie Pixel:

To install on Ubuntu / Mint -
Start terminal

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ehoover/compholio
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install netflix-desktop

——

For Fedora (only 32 bit systems)
You need wget first:

su -c ‘yum -y install wget’

Installing Netflix:

wget -c http://sourceforge.net/projects/postinstaller/files/data/Netflixplayer.tar.gz

tar -xvzf Netflixplayer.tar.gz

su -c ‘sh Netflixplayer.sh’

Running Netflix from cmd line:

sh /usr/bin/Netflix.sh

Hard drive recovery 301

Let’s say you have a hard drive whose media is failing but whose controller card is still functional. Let’s further say you have a desire to pull a partition off that drive and see what’s still salvageable. And let’s further say you have a computer you’re okay with leaving on for a month or so to do it. All of these things were true about a hard drive that Glendon Mellow, The Flying Trilobite, sent along to me to try to recover — there were some family photos and tax returns that he hadn’t had backed up anyplace when the drive started failing. Being the samaritan that I am, I took the project on as a way to hone my own skills. I also had a feeling I could write a blog post afterward so others might benefit.

This isn’t a 101 level course. Hell, it’s not even a 201, as it assumes you know enough to use Linux’s terminal (no GUIs in this post!), and how to connect your hard drive through a USB adapter or directly. It also assumes the hard drive is in a specific state that it might still be readable even if Windows itself can’t get at the data. This last one is a fairly big assumption, and I trust you’re going to be able to identify when that’s the case.
[Read more...]

Linus Torvalds on Mitt Romney and Mormonism

You folks are going to LOVE this one.

On Mitt’s “joke” that he doesn’t know why airplane windows don’t open and how that’s a big problem when there’s an electrical fire in the cabin, Linus Torvalds — Linux’s progenitor and Grand Poobah — had a few words to say on Google+.

He really seems to be a f*cking moron.

I suspect he’d crate his dog on top of the aircraft too. Because what could possibly go wrong?

He followed up:

Ok, since I publicly called the guy a f*cking moron, I guess I should also publicly follow up: it does seem Romney was joking.

Whew.

I dunno. I have my doubts it was really a joke — sure, give him the benefit of the doubt, but the way he said it was patently ridiculous and, even if intentional, terribly formed and terribly premised. Granted, I’m horrid at jokes off-the-cuff myself most days. But this depends on making yourself look way too uneducated, illogical and simple-minded to be leader of the free world. So I can’t buy it, unless Mitt — the self-aggrandizing fucker that he is — goes for self-deprecating humour in a deadpan.

But regardless of that incident’s joke status, Torvalds also said the following about Mormonism:
[Read more...]

Microsoft adds “Big Boobs” to Linux; apologizes

There are a number of relatively new phenomena in the server world that Microsoft has been rather slow to catch up on. Server virtualization is one of them. Where companies like VMWare and Sun (now Oracle) had pretty much already built the defining server virtualization software, with a robust hypervisor (software that lets you run multiple virtual machines on a single physical server) in ESXi, and a great general-purpose software-based virtual machine in VirtualBox, Microsoft made their own hypervisor.

And in traditional Microsoft style, their server virtualization implementation required modifying the Linux kernel to get it to play nice. Rather than emulating the system hardware in such a way that the Hypervisor does all the heavy lifting, they chose to use OS-level drivers to “get the most out of” the hypervisor’s features.

This isn’t generally a bad decision, honestly. VMWare requires guest OS tools to be installed in order to do some stuff too. Microsoft’s actual failing, in this case, was in employing juvenile dudebro programmers who submitted kernel code that included a constant for the upper limit for virtual server guest IDs defined as 0xB16B00B5.
[Read more...]

Getting a PS3 controller to work with Windows and Linux: compare/contrast

A bit of nerdery to lighten the mood. It’s been so heady around these parts lately.

Recently, I decided to connect my PS3 controller to my laptop so I could play The Binding of Isaac on Steam with a real controller. I know, I know, I could have gotten a PC controller and saved myself a ton of hassle. But I had that PS3 controller right there, and a geek like me is gonna make do.

[Read more...]

Linux is dead? Long live Linux!

Mike Gualtieri of Forrester pontificates on the swan song of the venerable open source computer kernel Linux, declaring its hopes for world domination to be “game over”.

Poor Linux. It struggled so hard to dominate the world. It was the little open source engine that could, but it didn’t. It never even came close to Microsoft Windows on the desktop, with less than 2% share of desktops. The bright spot for Linux is that 60%+ of servers on the Internet run Linux.

But the real end to Linux’s hope for world dominance came when mobile platforms iOS and Android cleaned clocks in the mobile market. Sure, Android is built on top of Linux, but Linux is only one of many piece parts of the Android mobile operating system. It is not Linux.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Linux is, of course, because if anything is Linux, it’s Android.
[Read more...]

Astrologers pick a fight with open-source software and history itself

Via a pingback ostensibly made by Astrology-X-Files (and maybe even Curtis Manwaring himself, no less!), this news about Astrolabe at Tech Dirt, where they’ve just filed suit against the maintainers of the public-domain Olson time zone database that is used in just about every open-source time zone related project imaginable:
[Read more...]

Linux Pirattitude!

Today be Interrrrnational Talk like a Pirate Day. Yaaarrrrr! As be th’ norm fer this blog, I must post a little nonsense t’ mark th’ occasion. If ye’re usin’ Linux, th’ easiest way t’ convert a chunk o’ text into somethin’ respectable be t’ use th’ pirate filter. On Ubuntu (and prrrrrobably other Debian-based distrrrros), do th’ followin’ or walk the plank:

sudo apt-get install filters

Open a terminal then run:

/usr/games/pirate

Paste a chunk o’ text into th’ terminal, and it will echo yer text as filtered through enough grog t’ waylay Blackbeard himself.

If you already have a chunk of text in a file, do the following:

cat textfile.txt | /usr/games/pirate > walktheplank.txt

Previous Talk like a Pirate posts:

Other FtB bloggers who won’t be made to walk the plank:

Get on it, me hearties! Post yer piratey entries now or we’ll chum the waters with yer entrails! Yarr!