LXF September 2013
D , e! DVdhi mor ee , Bo x + Fr t 15 linu n ur: Mi now yoros d S n st an o di n 4 tio c du Si
5 anonymising distros tested
Issue 174 Upgrade your desktop
Upgrade your desktop
Meet, learn, share and hack for fruity fun p44
Get the features, the looks and the freedom with the ultimate desktop environment
1 for Free Software
Roundup: anonymising distros Grub 2 Prison Architect
10 pages of programming excellence
Destination: Terminology Forget wimpy desktop environments. Get music, video and more from the CLI p48
Manage red, green and blue photons more efficiently p52
Is your free DVD missing?
Speak to your newsagent now!
Concepts encrypt data p86 Kotlin Dabble with Java+ p88 C++ Embrace the compiler p82
Also inside… Prison Architect Forget about the Victorians – the golden age of Steam is now p18
Mozilla’s white hat
Throw out your crusty filesystem – btrfs is ready for prime time p54
The bad guys know all the techniques, and they’ve got their own tools
File system /mysql
web btrfs volume
Master the one bootloader to rule them all p78
Printed in the UK
Make it usable again, the Linus Torvalds way
Turn a children’s book into 9 hours of cinema – on Linux!
Pull the strings of multiple servers
Simon Bennets keeps bad at bay p42
2013 TuxRadar.com LXF174 September £6.49 PRINTED IN THE UK
Contents If only we could make our GPUs walk the dog for us too…
Reviews Prison Architect.................18 Build your own Alcatraz, then give feedback to the developers. Linux gaming is great
Upgrade your desktop
Norman Stanley Fletcher, you an habitual criminal who accepts arrest as an occupational hazard…
Mirabox............................... 20 ARM power consumption with the connectivity of a proper PC. Ben likes it
Baby processor, grown-up Ethernet connections for all your internets
Get the features, the looks and the freedom with the ultimate desktop environment p34 Roundup: Anonymising distros p26
NOOBs.................................21 Make the Raspberry Pi even easier to get started with, with this distro loader
Snowlinux 4....................... 22 Try the latest desktop distribution to reach out to catch Ubuntu’s slipping crown
Books.................................. 24 If you like to tinker with the old soldering iron, there’s a good chance that one of these books will be of some interest to you
We are the Village Green Tinkering With Shed-Based Electronics Society.
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Talking heads We focus on things that the good guys can use. It’s levelling the playing field to give them a fighting chance. Simon Bennetts on how the web is still being won p42 www.linuxformat.com
On your free DVD Mint 15
KDE, Cinnamon, Mate, KDE & Unity
Siduction + Bodhi
Two elegant, fast desktop distros
PLUS: HotPicks and tutorial code
Treat yourself or a loved one to an LXF subscription! p32
Raspberry Jams������������������44 What makes RPi community meets so tasty?
Terminology�������������������������48 Unleash the power of your command line
OpenColorIO�������������������������52 More colours than Richie Blackmore/Bungle
Tutorials Desktop Make Gnome 3 better....... 66
C++11...................................... 82 Alec Ross explores the new features that bring C++ kicking and screaming into the modern age
Andrew Gregory tweaks the most moanedabout desktop since KDE 4 for usability win
Code Concepts...................... 86
Video Lightworks.......................... 68
Ben Everard encrypts everything – follow this tutorial and you’ll be able to, too.
Seth Kenlon rejoices over a closed source app that has seen the light and opened up
Lesser-known languages..... 88 Juliet Kemp introduces getter, setters, classes and variables in the Java-compatible Kotlin.
Regulars at a glance News.............................. 6 Subscriptions............32 Back issues................64 Gongs for geeks, free Linux CDs for
Save money on the newsstand price
Collection incomplete? If there’s
Germans and a very important bug
and spend it doing fun things.
an LXF-shaped hole in your
fixed in Ubuntu
User groups................. 11
Sysadmin....................54 Dr Chris has been playing with btrfs,
More Raspberry LUG goodness from
with its snapshots, on-the-fly resizing
the Greater Salford conurbation,
and other cool filsystem tricks.
reported by Les Pounder
Next month................98. glimpse into the future of LXF.
while the Unity/Gnome 3/KDE 4
useful for free software users.
Questions answered on Cron, Raspberry Pi, ZIP, Wine, missing
with one of these distros
language packs and best distros.
Protect yourself from dodgepots with GPG, Neil Bothwick and some common sense.
Booting Grub 2.................................80
YOUR PROBLEMS SOLVED
Sheremetyevo in complete anonymity
Jonathan Roberts administers multiple machines with Puppet. So should you.
Buy low-cost tickets to Moscow
Make your own Blade Runner/ LOTR/Clockwork Orange on Linux.
Picks hotter than the melted tarmac of the A303, and whole lot more
people to call.
Fire up the flux capacitor for a
Unexpected praise for Crunchbang, desktop debate rages on
magazine rack then these are the
Our subscriptions team is waiting for your call.
Carl Fletcher peels back the layers of fear, ignorance and hate that surround Grub 2.
September 2013 LXF174 5
This ISSUE: Lubuntu saviour
FreeBSD on PS4
Red Hat reversal
Ubuntu bug #1
Upton and Stallman FTW The founders of two prominent open source foundations are showered with accolades
ichard Stallman, the founder of the Free Software Foundation, tireless campaigner and writer of the Emacs text editor, GCC compiler and more, has been inducted in to the Internet Hall of Fame under the category of innovator. He has been recognised for his work in the field of “outstanding technological, commercial, or policy advances and helped to expand the internet’s reach.” “This year’s inductees represent a group of people as diverse and dynamic as the Internet itself,” said Internet Society president Lynn St Amour. “As some of the world’s leading thinkers, these individuals have pushed the boundaries of technological and social innovation to connect the world and make it a better place. We all benefit today from their dedication and foresight.” If you haven’t heard of the Internet Hall of Fame, that’s OK; this is
only the second lot of awards it had given out, having been in existence only since last year (this year’s awards are only the second). The awards do have a noble cause – the aim is to increase the public’s awareness that the internet didn’t just arrive overnight, but that very clever, hardworking men and women had to put in the hours to create it. Inductees from last year include Vint Cerf, Sir TIm Berners-Lee and Linus Torvalds. Stallman said of the award: “Now that we have made the internet work, the next task is to stop it from being a platform for massive surveillance, and make it work in a way that respects human rights, including privacy.”
Going for gold Dr Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, has been awarded the Royal Academy of
GNU project founder, Richard Stallman is inducted into Hall of Fame.
Engineering’s Silver Medal. The award is given to those whom the Society feel have made an “outstanding… contribution to British engineering, which is resulting in successful market exploitation”. Speaking to The Inquirer, Eben seemed rather pleased: “It’s obviously an amazing and surprising honour, particularly when you see some of the people who have won it in previous years. We never saw Raspberry Pi going to this sort of scale, or reaching the sorts of people it’s reaching, and this is a great way to round off a very unusual couple of years.”
“This is a great way to round off a very unusual couple of years.” Eben Upton
Eben Upton’s silver medal is the top individual prize the Royal Academy awards (aside from the Prince Philip Medal for a lifetime achievements).
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Eben was chosen for the award because of the work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which has shipped around 1.3 million units. Although intended as an educational tool, the Raspberry Pi has also stimulated a range of hobby and commercial applications and all sorts of projects using the tiny Pi.
Android games launch bears fruit Linux-based console launched on Kickstarter released to mixed reviews, but still manages to sell out
he Ouya project, which successfully crowfunded its startup money through Kickstarter, has brought its first product to the market. The Ouya games console is open and hackable, and aims to tap in to the growing market for Android games that has been so lucrative for indie publishers on smartphones and tablets. The device doesn’t have the hardware grunt of competing consoles, such as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4, but that’s not where it’s trying to compete. The idea is that the kids who play Angry Birds, or Minecraft on their smartphones all day will want to keep playing on a dedicated console when they get home. And at just $99 (or a less impressive £99), it’s going to be a cheap way to get a non-touchscreen gaming platform. Julie Uhrman, CEO and co-founder of Ouya, said: “It’s incredible to think that a little under a year ago Ouya was just an idea – we wanted to do something completely new in console gaming: build a $99 game console, with no discs to buy, open to all developers, and affordable to all
gamers. Today, Ouya is real.” The normal economics of games consoles is that the manufacturer makes a loss on the hardware, but make a killing from the games. With such an open platform, that option isn’t open to Ouya, but hopefully it will entice indie developers to port their games to a new audience.
Newsbytes The FreeBSD team are working on a solution to enable it to boot alongside Windows 8 on UEFIenabled hardware. They’re taking a leaf out of Matthew Garrett’s book by using his shim, and are hoping that Microsoft will sign their bootloader key. Linux kernel 3.10 is out now, with (among other improvements) better multitasking for ARM chips. The system timer now runs only once a second rather than 1,000 times when tasks are running, which should improve latency and performance. Early looks at Sony’s PlayStation 4 reveal that the company has opted for a modified form of FreeBSD as the console’s operating system. It’s free, it’s stable and it just works, but the advantage the BSD offers to companies wanting an embedded OS is that its licence is more permissive than the GPL (under which Linux is distributed), so Sony will be at liberty to lock it down from the user.
At time of writing there are 150 games for the Ouya – and all of them are free to try.
Lubuntu for Munich Free CDs set to save old computers from the landfill
housands of Lubuntu CDs are to be distributed to the citizens of Munich next year in a bid to get people to switch to Linux when Microsoft ends its support for XP. The proposal, which was put forward by the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP), hasn’t been made on financial grounds (such as the city’s adoption of Linux) or data freedom (as with Australia’s mandating of open formats for government records) but to mitigate a coming ecological nightmare. The ÖDP’s proposal explains that: “As of April 2014, Microsoft will offer no more security updates for Windows XP. “However, a move to Windows 7, or 8 is only feasible for computers with at least 2GB RAM. Older computers can not be used safely and land early in electronic waste, unless an alternative operating system is installed.”
The latest PlayStation uses a x86_64 chip – the last one used a more specialised Cell architecture.
Red Hat has switched to MariaDB for its SQL database needs, leaving the Oracle-owned MySQL behind. Slackware, OpenSUSE, Arch and Fedora have already made the switch. A Utah district court judge has granted permission for SCO to
Lubuntu was chosen for the scheme because of its familiar UI and low system requirements.
reopen its legal battle against IBM. Despite being in liquidation, SCO is still claiming that IBM infringed its copyright with regard to unspecified code that IBM contributed to the Linux kernel. In the past SCO has claimed the right to be paid a licence fee from every Linux user; so far it has been unsuccessful.
September 2013 LXF174 7
Open source diseases Michael Meeks Free software projects seem to thrive in their traditional environment with just a small amount of available resource brought to bear on a clearly defined problem. Apparently the (much maligned) ‘scarcity mentality’ really helps a group of individuals grasp the importance of working corroboratively together. Outside this environment individuals are no longer compelled to compromise by the lack of alternatives – here lurks a raft of dysfunctional projects replete with forks, duplications and wasteful technical conflicts.
Aggressive scheduling There can be genuine, irreconcilable schedule conflict between the project and a participant. The way to resolve that is with a short-lived soft branch. That can showcase the benefits of a control change in the project, while diverging less and protecting code reuse and relationships. Normally, this urgency excuse is just a cover for having too much spare resource to be truly bothered about working with others. It tends to magnify mostly trivial technical reasons into slow, inefficient, expensive and acrimonious rewriting initiatives. The sad reality is that most hackers, unrestrained by means, can have a number of unhelpful traits: An unhealthy lack of respect for other people’s code; an unrealistic impression of their productivity (it’s only a month’s work); and an antipathy for working with others. Giving them the luxury of resource abundance – of not working together with others, ultimately robs hackers of the chance of compromising and enjoying satisfying (and higher quality) work with others. My diagnosis for those requesting wholesale rewriting and/or duplication is that they don’t understand the problem well enough, and the cure is to have a more aggressive schedule to hit. Michael is a pseudo-engineer, semi-colon lover, SUSE LibreOffice hacker and amateur pundit.
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Red Hat goes back to go forwards Gnome 3 a paradigm too far for business users
ed Hat, the company behind Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) has announced that the latest version of its enterprise Linux desktop will ship by default with Gnome 3 in Classic Mode. Denise Dumas, engineering director for RHEL, said that the decision to use Classic Mode was taken because: “The last thing we want to do is disrupt our customers’ workflows.” Red Hat’s developers have been at the heart of the Gnome 3 project, with Fedora, the community spin-off from RHEL, having used it since Fedora 15 was released in May 2011. Dumas added: “I think it’s been hard for the Gnome guys, because they really, really love modern mode, because that’s where their hearts are.” Red Hat’s rejection of Gnome 3’s “modern mode” in favour of an interface that looks more like Gnome 2
tells us two things. First, that Red Hat’s philosophy of putting the customer first isn’t shared by the Gnome developers, who, in creating a desktop UI optimised for touchscreens, put the developers first. Second, it shows that there was nothing wrong with Gnome 2 in the first place – if you agree, turn to page 66 for our tutorial on improving Gnome 3.
Gnome Classic Mode: it just works, like a desktop interface should.
Canonical closes Ubuntu bug #1 Victory proclaimed in war on Microsoft. Kind of
buntu’s bug #1, which as been on the distro’s bug tracker since 2004, has been closed by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth. The bug was a social rather than software one – the entry in Launchpad said: “Microsoft has a majority market share,” and steps to reproduce the bug were: “1. Visit a local PC store. 2. Attempt to buy a machine without any proprietary software… Almost always, a majority of PCs for sale have Microsoft Windows pre-installed. In the rare cases that they come with a GNU/Linux OS or no OS at all, the drivers and BIOS may be proprietary.” In the notes after declaring the bug closed, Shuttleworth explained that “Personal computing today is a broader proposition than it was in 2004: phones, tablets, wearables and other
The removal of bug #1 reflects the changing realities of computing.
devices are all part of the mix … from a competitive perspective, that broader market has healthy competition, with iOS and Android representing a meaningful share”. Victory then – of a sort. As a consequence, “…the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu’s perspective, this bug is now closed”.