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Pages of tutorials and features Run Blu-rays under Linux Encrypt files inside pictures Polish your server with Varnish Coding Academy: Develop Python command line tools

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This issue we asked our experts: We’re looking at the new Pi Zero W this issue. What are your Pi plans this year or what do you hope someone else creates next as a Pi project? Jonni Bidwell I’d really like to get into making a Raspberry Pi-powered audio powerhouse, using something like the pisound interface available on Indiegogo. But then again I know nothing about making music, and my musical tastes are questionable, so I’ll probably just stick to getting Netflix working on Raspbian.

Neil Bothwick I am using a couple of Raspberry Pis to build my own self driving car. There are still a few teething problems, mainly in avoiding collisions with the cat! I’ll spend more time on it once I’ve finished converting my secret underground bunker to use Pi power.

Nate Drake I have a Pi Zero W winging its merry way to my PO box even as I write this. My first project is going to be to recreate the ‘Purple’ Cipher Machine used by the Japanese during World War Two using a Python Emulator (that’s me using the Python Emulator, not the Japanese). Because there’s no tech like retro tech.

John Knight I was particularly taken by the Pandora – a pocket-sized Linux laptop with proper keyboard and epic battery life – but those things are almost impossible to buy! I know Pi laptops already exist, but I crave the Pandora’s magic, miniature form-factor, and the Zero might be an excellent basis for a new alternative.

Les Pounder The microscopic size and cost of the Pi Zero W makes it an ideal candidate for use in wearable projects. To create garments that react to external data, for example, such as a cycling jacket that monitors ambient light and turns on LEDs to keep you safe. Or identifies pollution and notifies you to take precautions.

Better infrastructure The stupid thing is that we all know to keep our desktop and server up to date, right? We truly hope so. The simple reason being that new exploits are being discovered all the time – let’s not even get into the CIA Vault 7 revelations see page 7 – so unless you can keep your infrastructure updated, you have no security. If you have no control over a device’s updates, how can you know it’s secure? Well, you can’t. That’s why we push so much for people to develop, build and maintain their own IoT devices. Sure, devices hidden behind your own broadband NAT are largely secure, but if they need to communicate to the big beyond that’s a different story. With the release of the all-new Raspberry Pi Zero W we’re taking the opportunity to catch up with how you can build better devices with open source. We’re taking a look at the new Pi Zero W, talking to Eben Upton about the new device, suggesting the best Pi Zero HATs you should use and finally explain a low-impact message transport protocol that will help you build a better smart home. Les Pounder is our Raspberry Pi expert who will guide you through the new device. As we’re running with a Raspberry Pi feature there’s no Pi User this issue, which means more Linux tutorials! The bumper crop includes a look at the virtual machine manager Proxmox, picture encryption with Trupax, looking after your GnuPG keys and enhancing your webserver with Varnish. Add a look at the available CAD packages so you can design your new makes, how to play Blu-ray discs under Linux and some basic Android app development, and we hope you’ll find there’s something in this issue for everyone – because free and open source software is literally for everyone. Enjoy!

Neil Mohr Editor

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May 2017 LXF223    3


Discover Canonical in 2017 on p60

“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” – Isaac Newton

Reviews Dell XPS 13 2017................ 15 The Linux laptop that Dell conquered the world with is back! Refreshed with the allnew Intel Kaby Lake powering it, sporting the same ultra-high resolution display and now with USB C for anyway-it-goes ports.

Build better Pi IoT devices

The Linux laptop everyone talks about has been updated with USB C.

AMD Ryzen 7 1800X..........16 Zak Storey powers up the all-new processor architecture from AMD to find out just what this 8-core, 16-thread powerhouse is capable of, and looks at the model lineup.

AMD Ryzen on Linux.........18 Jonni Bidwell takes a cutting-edge Linux kernel and the Ryzen X370 chipset, and smashes them together to see what breaks. Hopefully not the LXF dungeon test bench.

Arm yourself with the best Pi to date and build better Internet of Things devices with our essential getstarted guide. Find it all on p32!

Roundup: . Open source CAD p23

Ryzen shine. On the ho-Ryzen. Its Ryzen d’etre. Californian Ryzens…

HitMan................................ 20 Tiring of constant management restructure, Phil Savage practises his assassination techniques with the latest murder simulation and then bides his time.

Tides of Numenera............21 A land in ruin, technological detritus strewn all around, medieval rule of law. Chris Thursten leaves the office to play the spiritual successor to Planescape Torment.

4     LXF223 May 2017

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Blu-ray on Linux.................... 49 John Knight explores how Linux users can enjoy watching Blu-ray films, and finds a morass of hideous tools and DRM to circumvent.

Collaboration is, I think, the real innovation of the open source movement. James Smith talks open democracy. p42

Playing legally owned Blu-rays? Madness.

Encryption Outguess...........................64 Hide your private data in ordinary files with this most excellent steganography program and the curiously named Nate Drake.

Virtual machines Proxmox............................68

Stuart Burns shows you how to take your first steps into virtualising servers using the ProxMox virtualisation platform.

Coding Academy We’re not even sure we’re real…

Android Studio...................... 86 Take your first steps developing Android apps with the help of Kent Elchuk as he demystifies the basics then gets you started building apps and submitting them to Google Play.

Encryption Trupax............................... 72 A handy Java utility built on top of VeraCrypt that encrypts your files in three simple steps with the help of Nate Drake.

Build the find tool................. 92

Mihalis Tsoukalos explains how the find command utility is incredibly useful for quickly finding files and directories then shows you how to code your own version of it.

Server series Samba and webmin........ 74

With the base LXF server configured,   Jonni Bidwell explains how to tweak webmin and Samba for a funky time.

Regulars at a glance News.............................. 6 Subscriptions............30 Overseas subs........... 67 The world wants AMD to open its

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close Vault 7. SHA-1 is open to attack

more, Jonni is depending on you.

and Microsoft opens Project Olympus.

User groups................. 11

HotPicks.....................54 Alexander Tolstoy does not have

Next month................98. Ubuntu comes but once a year – well, actually twice but who’s

Les Pounder goes back to his first

time to weaponise any secret CIA

counting – now it’s here, now it’s

love for Oggcamp 2017.

zero-day tools, he’s too busy arming

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Ksnip, QRab, Findimagedupes,

himself with such FOSS as: AzPainter,

We’re loving the Amiga, even if it is

Cloudcmd, Latte Dock, Argos,

closed source, you’re loving making

GrSync, Buttercup, Machines vs

music and more LXF love!

Machines, 404 Elm Street.

Listen buddy, bootup and shutdown.

Security GnuPG key safety............ 78

Your GnuPG key is your precious. John Lane explains how to make it good and keep it secret and safe.

Webservers Varnish cache................... 82

Mihalis Tsoukalos explains how to install and set up the Varnish HTTP Cache, so your websites never fall over, probably.

Roundup..................... 23 Back issues................63 We build a brave new open source

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world with Mats Tage, his maker

master the terminal today with

skills and the best FOSS CAD tools.

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May 2017 LXF223    5

This ISSUE: AMD open source

CIA leaks

SHA-1 compromised

VR gets closer


AMD, open your processors Being more open could give the chip manufacturer the edge against Intel.


MD has launched its new line of affordable octa-core processors, known as Ryzen, to much acclaim – you can read our review on page 16. While many are heralding the new CPU lineup as a return to form for AMD, and a chance to challenge Intel’s near-monopoly over desktop processors, there is also a growing contingent who are pushing AMD to take the fight to Intel even further by releasing the source code of the Platform Security Processor (PSP). A petition (which you can find at, calls on AMD to open up the source code for the PSP, which is a networkcapable co-processor, and suggests that doing so could help strengthen AMD’s position. The reasoning behind this is that by giving users control over their own systems, positive word of mouth about AMD will spread through the open source community. The petition goes on to state that AMD “can become the main CPU designer on the high-level mindshare when someone asks for security and control.” The petition itself seems rather optimistic at times – it suggests that by open sourcing the PSP it will give the FSF (Free Software Foundation) and other organisations a reason to recommend AMD, which seems a bit of a long shot, as you can’t really promise the support of an independent foundation you’re not a part of. However, it’s true that any move made by AMD to open source its hardware

6     LXF223 May 2017

would likely be warmly welcomed by the open source community, and could lead some people to choose AMD products over Intel. Another argument in favour of open sourcing PSP is security – the petition goes on to argue that security through obscurity doesn’t work, and that by opening up the source code, any potential security issues (such as using the network-capable co-processor as a backdoor) could be found and fixed by the community. The Libreboot project, which has for some time called out AMD as being uncooperative in the libre software movement due to its releasing of nonfree binary-only firmware as well as “tyrant technologies like the AMD Platform Security Processor”, has joined in calls for AMD to release the source code. In particular it asks for “board design guides, datasheets and footprints for CPUs/southbridges and so on” and for AMD to work with Libreboot, Coreboot and Librecore to provide modern, powerful, open source

AMD has launched its Ryzen CPUs to acclaim, but open source supporters want it to go further.

“The Libreboot project has joined in calls for AMD to release its source code.” hardware, and to allow them to create fully free software initialisation firmware. As Libreboot pointed out in a blog post (, AMD has in the past released

source code to the Coreboot project, though that has stopped. It also seems that AMD is listening: a post on Reddit by AMD_james, a project manager at AMD, replying to a request for AMD to open source its hardware, states that “this has CEO level attention and AMD is investigating the steps and resources necessary to support this. It is not the work of a minute, so please bear with us as we define what we can do.” Whether or not AMD follows through on this promising initial statement will have to be seen. Nevertheless, the prospect of the chip manufacturer releasing affordable and powerful CPUs – high-end Ryzen 7 CPUs have already been launched, with more affordable Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 processors coming later – as well as becoming more receptive to the open source community, is an exciting one.

Newsdesk stallman was right

CIA ‘Vault 7’ leaked Documents reveal the scale of the CIA’s global hacking.


uch has been made of Wikileak’s recent reveal of over 8,000 documents, known as ‘Vault 7’, claimed to lay bare the CIA’s global hacking and surveillance programme. Wikileaks (at: states that “The first full part of the series, ‘Year Zero’, comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina . . . this extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA.” Vault 7 appears to show that the CIA created hacking and malware tools to target iPhone and Android devices, allowing infected phones to send the CIA people’s geolocation, audio and text communications, as well as activating the camera and microphone. A more alarming revelation is of a malware codenamed “Weeping Angel”, which it is claimed was created with MI5 to target Samsung smart TVs, pretending they are off when they are still on and recording conversations using the builtin microphone of the TV. Linux, and embedded devices were also apparently targets. While “The CIA can hack your TV to spy on you” is an irresistible headline, some have questioned Wikileak’s claims, and challenged the alarmist reporting. A blog post by Errata Security ( highlights some of the scaremongering. For example the claims that the

CIA hacked Samsung TVs reveals on closer inspection that the CIA has to install its software via USB, making it unlikely it is listening through your TV (unless you recently caught a CIA agent in your living room with a USB drive). If these leaks are legitimate, they suggest that the CIA is a bit behind the times – and also demonstrate the benefits of encryption, given the lengths the CIA allegedly has to go to to circumnavigate it. As Nicholas Weaver, a security teacher at the University of California, points out: “if the US government wants to get your data, they can’t hope to break the encryption... They have to resort to targeted attacks, and that is costly, risky and the kind of thing you do only on targets you care about. Seeing the CIA have to do stuff like this should reassure civil libertarians that the situation is better now than it was four years ago.”

The CIA may be hacking Samsung Smart TVs… but it’s unlikely.


SHA-1 collision alert!

But Linus Torvalds doesn’t think it’s a big deal.


HA-1, also known as Secure Hash Algorithm 1, is a popular cryptographic hashing function created in 1995 by the NSA. However its future is now in doubt after Google and the CWI Institute Amsterdam announced they had launched the first ever successful SHA-1 collision attack. SHA-1 was designed to turn any input message (such as a specific file or website certificate) into a long string of numbers and letters that can be used as a fingerprint to confirm that the file is genuine. In their release (see, Google and the CWI Institute revealed that they managed to create two PDFs that had identical SHA-1 hashes, but contained different content. Malicious users could use a ‘collision’ like this to deceive systems that

use the hashes into accepting a malicious file. This strengthens Google’s argument to move to a more secure alternative such as SHA-256. However, in a public statement on the Google+ social network, Linus Torvalds explained why he wasn’t too concerned. He goes into some detail (see, but the gist is that the world isn’t going to end over this, and that there is a difference “between using a cryptographic hash for things like security signing, and using one for generating a ‘content identifier’ for a content-addressable system like Git”, and that Google’s particular SHA-1 attack is easily protected against. In the end, Torvalds argues that breaking SHA-1 won’t break Git. Will other people still see SHA-1 as a viable solution? Time will tell.

Newsbytes Microsoft has announced at the 2017 Open Compute Project US summit that its Project Olympus, a “next generation cloud hardware design and a new model for open source hardware development” has become the first OCP server design to offer a range of microprocessors that are fully compliant with the Universal Motherboard specification. Both Intel and AMD have collaborated on Project Olympus with their latest server processors, along with Qualcomm, Cavium and other companies to shape ARM64 cloud servers. Nvidia is also lending its graphics might, helping Microsoft define a blueprint which the Redmond company hopes will define a new era of open source hardware development. You can read more about Project Olympus at: Mozilla, the company behind Firefox and Thunderbird, has announced its first strategic acquisition: Pocket. It’s an add-on for a number of browsers, as well as a standalone app for Android and iOS devices, which allows readers to save websites, videos and other content for offline viewing – as well as syncing to other devices. Chris Beard, Mozilla CEO, says that “Pocket provides people with the tools they need to engage with and share content on their own terms, independent of hardware platform or content silo.” Pocket will now become part of the Mozilla open source project Valve has strengthened its open graphics group by bringing in Keith Packard, who previously worked on the X Window System, and is still looking to hire. The group works on improving Linux graphics drivers, and the Gaming On Linux website ( suggests that this could be a push for adding virtual reality support for Linux. This makes sense, as Valve has been a vocal supporter of both, and it could mean we may soon be able to use VR headsets such as the HTC Vive to play virtual reality games in Linux.

Valve is going all-in on Linux support and virtual reality.

May 2017 LXF223    7

Newsdesk Comment

Cybersecurity: getting it right Clyde Seepersad Cybersecurity is one of the hottest topics in IT right now. More specifically, a lot of attention has been given to the glaring talent shortfall. In a global survey of IT professionals conducted by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2016, 82% of respondents admitted to a lack of cybersecurity skills. Worryingly, one in four further reported that their organisations had lost proprietary data as a result of their cybersecurity skills gap. With a snowballing amount of business and personal information being hosted on the cloud, filling the gap in cybersecurity skills has become a task of unprecedented urgency. Did you know that there are seven classes of cyber attackers, all of whom have an arsenal of attacks at their disposal? In response to these threats, the market for security tools has never been more saturated. Regardless of whether you are already using any of these tools, it is important to continually assess your current security needs and readiness, and consider whether you need to upgrade. It might be that you should actually reduce the number of tools you are implementing, thus reducing your overheads and streamlining your business. With cybersecurity, there is no one-size-fitsall solution. However, a long-term investment in training your employees in such hard skills as security assessment, intrusion detection, attack mitigation and security solution implementation, is a sure place to start. Fortify your cybersecurity skills with the Linux Security Fundamentals (LFS216) online training course, which provides a comprehensive overview of the security challenges that can affect almost every system. A free sample chapter is available to download here: General Manager, Training & Certification, The Linux Foundation.

8     LXF223 May 2017

Distro watch What’s behind the free software sofa?

FreeNAS Corral FreeNAS 10 has left its development phase and is now known as FreeNAS Corral. The new name is down to the major changes the project has included in this release, leaving its creators to feel that simply numbering it “10” would be a disservice. Among other

improvements, FreeNAS gets a brand new look with a user-friendly webbased interface, ZFS support and now allows administrators to run containerised applications. For more information on the new release and to download the latest version, visit:

FreeNAS 10 gets a whole new look – and a new name.

Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.03 The semi-rolling distribution Chakra GNU/Linux has just received a major update, codenamed Goedel in honour of the mathematician and philosopher Kurt Goedel (which the rest of the world spells “Gödel”). According to the release notes provided with it, there are two major changes in this outing. First of all, the Calamares installer has been updated to, which now allows Chakra GNU/ Linux to be installed on Btrfs and LUKS encrypted partitions. Secondly, the custom Heritage

theme for Plasma has got a new look. For more details visit:

Chakra GNU/Linux 2017.03 is another distro that has got a new look recently.

Parrot Security OS 3.5 The latest version of the Debianbased distro that focuses on penetration testing and computer forensics has been released. As the release announcement (which can be found at https://blog. says, new features have been added, while older and obsolete features have been removed, including any packages that do not meet the Debian standards. Native VirtualBox and VMware guest support is included as default and the Linux kernel has been updated to 4.9.13, among other changes.

Parrot Security comes with a host of features for testing penetration, computer forensics, hacking and reverse engineering.

Newsdesk Comment

A Weston compositor

TITLE Manjaro Linux 17 The latest stable version of the Archbased distro Manjaro Linux has been released. It includes KDE Plasma desktop 5.9.3 with the KDE edition (you can also get it with the Xfce desktop). The KDE edition also comes with the latest KDE-Apps 16.12.3. Meanwhile, the Xfce version comes with Xfce 4.12, as well as a number of polishes to the desktop experience. Both versions come with the linux49 4.9 LTS kernel, and update to the Manjaro Settings Manager and much more. Visit to download the new versions.

Daniel Stone

As with previous versions, Manjaro Linux 17 comes in both KDE and Xfce editions.

siduction 17.1.0 If you like living on the bleeding tip of the cutting edge, then Siduction 17.1.0 may be the distro for you, as it’s distribution based on Debian’s unstable branch (known as ‘Sid’), and it features a number of desktop environments including Cinnamon, GNOME, KDE Plasma, MATE, Xfce and more. As the release announcement says, “The released images are a snapshot of Debian unstable, that also goes by the name of Sid, from 2017-05-03. They are enhanced with some useful packages and scripts, a brand new installer and a custom-patched version of the linux

kernel 4.10”. Find out more at

It’s based on the unstable branch of Debian, and so probably best left to advanced users.

Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0 As the name suggests the distro designed for kiosk display units has an update. If you like your

Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0 keeps things simple. Very simple.

distributions light and simple, then Porteus Kiosk 4.3.0 could be the one for you, as it’s a lightweight Gentoobased release which has been pared back to only allow the use of one application – a web browser. When it boots, it automatically loads Firefox and locks the system so no settings can be changed or apps downloaded. Browsing history is not saved, nor are passwords or other information, making Porteus Kiosk a great choice for shared internet terminals. Major updates are to FireFox 45, Chrome 55 and Flash 24. Find out more at:

While Mesa 17.0 was undoubtedly the biggest news on the open source graphics front over the past few months, the release of Weston 2.0, the reference compositor for Wayland, also brought its fair share of improvements. In addition to numerous bugfixes, atomic mode setting support is now in the pipeline, promising to deliver on the basic premise that clients will be able to have their content displayed directly on hardware overlay planes, with no specific hardware knowledge required to achieve this. Another big change is the jump to version 2.0, the result of developments in libweston, the API enabling external window managers and desktop environments to reuse Weston’s solid and complete core code. Tying Weston to one particular window manager or desktop environment would have limited both scope and reach, so libweston was created to expose Weston’s scene graph, protocol and hardware support as a library for external users. Some environments such as Orbital are already making use of libweston, however we should see more in the future. Towards this end, Weston 2.0 also contains the work of Armin Krezovi, a Google Summer of Code 2016 student who worked on backend and output configuration, enabling the environment to have more control over the configuration and placement of monitors and outputs, which is going to be a must in full desktop environments. Following on these key improvements, next up will be to continue Collabora’s work on bringing Android fences to mainline Linux, and bring explicit fencing support into Wayland. The support for this has already begun to land in Mesa and the kernel, and there are plans to make this available to Wayland, for direct clients as well as through the Vulkan Window System Interface. Daniel Stone, Graphics Lead, Collabora Ltd..

May 2017 LXF223    9

Linux user groups

United Linux!

The intrepid Les Pounder brings you the latest community and LUG news.

Find and join a LUG Alpinux, le LUG de Savoie Meet on the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at the Maison des Associations de Chambéry.

Bristol Hackspace Studio G11, 37 Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol, UK, BS3 4EA. Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace Open evenings Tues/Fri at the Boileroom in Guildford.

Lancaster and Morecambe Makers Unit 5, Sharpes Mill, White Cross, Lancaster, Open Night on Wednesday evening 18:30 until late.

Hull Raspberry Jam Malet Lambert School, Hull. Every other month. See the Twitter account. Preston Hackspace 28A Good St, PR2 8UX. Open night is 2nd Monday of the month, 19:00. Huddersfield Raspberry Jam Meet every month at Huddersfield Library.

North Kent Raspberry Pi User Group Every two weeks at Medway Makers, 12 Dunlin Drive, St Mary’s Island, Chatham ME4 3JE.

Cheltenham Hackspace Runnings trading estate, Cheltenham. Thursday 7pm is open evening.

Oggcamp is back! Take a pilgrimage to Canterbury in August.


t may have taken 2016 off, but a weekend unconference full of great Oggcamp is back for 2017. It’s all talks, workshops, stalls and the most change, with a new organising important part, socialising. team and a new venue. Led by Jon “The Oggcamp 2017 takes place on Nice Guy” Spriggs and featuring August 19 and 20 in Canterbury’s Christ members of the Oggcamp and Linux Church University. The organisers are communities, the hope is to capture the providing accommodation at a spirit and feel of the previous events. reasonable rate, and very close to the Oggcamp appeared on the events venue. You can find out more about scene in 2009, as a follow-up to LUG tickets, accommodation and social Radio Live, a podcast ensemble hosted engagements via the Oggcamp website. by prominent members of the UK Linux Good luck to the team, as part of the community. It started small, occupying old organising team I understand the the top floor of a small hotel in amount of work that goes into creating Wolverhampton, but over the years got an event. Most of it is unseen by the bigger – much bigger. It took place in delegates, but they appreciate every Liverpool’s John Moores University for effort that you make. many years, where we saw the first LXF publicly available batch of Raspberry Pis go on sale in 2012 via Pete Lomas. Oggcamp has also ventured out to Oxford and Farnham, helping everyone to travel to the venues. No matter where the event was held, the organisers were guaranteed a great attendance from the Oggcamp community, who Oggcamp has many fans, one of whom is travel the world to take part in Stephen Fry, seen here.

Community events news different aspect and project in the PHP community. The event takes place at Manchester’s Conference Centre between September 29 and October 1. http://conference. PHP North West 2017 A celebration of the programming language for the web. Now in its tenth year, PHP NW has seen many great talks, workshops and panel discussions that each reflect a

Makersphere 2017 Makersphere 2016 was a surprise. Organised by teachers at St Mary Magdalen’s Catholic Primary School as a way to engage with local children and parents, it attracted over 350

people for a fun day of workshops. There was even a live stream of ESA astronaut Tim Peake returning to Earth after his time on the ISS. This free event is taking place again on July 15 and offers everyone the chance to join in and learn more about electronics, science, engineering, computing and robotics. Norwich Raspberry Jam May 27, just a few days after Norwich Gaming Festival. This

new event hopes to invigorate a love for Pi in the East Anglia area, an area that while being close to Cambridge has not seen many Jams take place. The organisers are keen to find out who will come to the Jam, and have created a short form. If you can help run a session or bring some cool projects, then please do. You can also just come along and see what others are doing. You can find the form and more details here LXF223NorwichRJAM

May 2017 LXF223     11


Write to us at Linux Format, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA or

Closed Amiga

Not one to cause any ruckus, but the Atari ST sucked!

any computer impervious to BIOS hack attacks. The A3000 pioneered sideways RAM usage for ROM (firmware) development. I also admit freely that the hardware supplied at the time varied from excellent to terrible, even in terms of the standards used at the time. Pat McDonald, Ex Technical Editor, Amiga Format 1990-91 Neil says: Oh, now come on! I loved the Amiga – even putting aside the warming glow of nostalgia – as much as the next Atari-owning schmuck loved their inferior grey boxes. But, there is no way you’re going sneak past me the idea that it was open source in any way! Sure there was plenty of sharing and that encouraged a generation of coders, but I’m sure

if AmigaOS had been open sourced by Commodore at some point, the awful stagnation it ended up suffering wouldn’t have been anywhere near as bad. Speculation aside it was great for its time, but oddly an open hardware platform killed it off – ie, the IBM PC specification enabled any company to develop compatible hardware and sell it to an open market and it’s still going strong, even with consoles, tablets and phones attempting to make it a relic. Go and track down From Bedroom to Billions (it was on Netflix), 8-bit Generation and also Viva Amiga for a taste of the community and excitement the Amiga et al generated.

Not fresh enough Mint 18 with KDE was a really impressive choice. It looks great. Thanks a lot! I have two requests for a future DVD. I don’t believe anyone has done SUSE Tumbleweed on DVD, though you have done Leap. I have heard that Tumbleweed is pretty nice. Second, how about including the

In response to your reply to Ian Learmonth in Linux Format 218 December 2016, “AmigaDOS... was and remains closed source, while as we all know far better options now exist for everyone.” Commodore and Amiga hardware, in terms of Amiga branded PCs running proprietary designs, was certainly closed source. So was everybody, before largely IBM PC manufacturers began collaborating on common standards for computers. And so was the firmware and software supplied by Commodore and later Gateway (briefly). Such items were rare then, and are rarer now, and to a certain extent there is a kind of nascent support, in that various gadgets and gizmos still get released for that hardware, like memory card interfaces and other bits. However, to a certain extent, all of those early systems were open source, in that there was “free” software for them, in the form of “demo tapes and disks” et al. More importantly, Mac, Atari, and Amiga, to a large extent, pioneered concepts like “public domain”, “open source”, “freeware”, “shareware”, etc. Also, on a separate matter, having your firmware on an EPROM, or a BIOS chip with an alarmed write protect, makes

12     LXF223 May 2017

revamped GIMP, which attempts to be more Photoshop-like in so far as menus and user interface. I consider a revamped GIMP to be a critical need in order to get Linux accepted by more desktop/laptop users. If it were my choice I would include the revamped GIMP with all future Linux distros on DVD. GIMP 2.8 works well but is awkward to use because of its interface as compared to Photoshop. Ed Scott, via email Neil says: Hopefully you were happy with us running OpenSUSE Leap 42.1? True, it doesn’t give you the cutting edge of Tumbleweed, but the upside is that it provides more stability! This has got me thinking, perhaps we should run the Live Disc version of Tumbleweed. It’s 1GB in either the KDE or Gnome desktop, though people still need an internet connection for a full permanent install, so it might not be ideal for those that are after a disc install. As for GIMP we’re not really able to replace the versions that come bundled with distros and it’s

You can find the, erm, “latest” release of openSUSE Tumbleweed on the disc.

Linux Format 223 (Sampler)  

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