reviewed: amd Ryzen 5 1400 CPU
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On the Edge Itâ€™s clear that the traditional fragmented embedded space can hinder adoption for many companies Canonical explains how to win the IoT war
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Which distro can you trust your business to?
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This issue we asked our experts: This issue we’re looking at virtualising EVERYTHING! What part of life do you wish you could virtualise? Jonni Bidwell Can we virtualise our government? And introduce our own changes and use snapshots to determine what is, and what is not, a good decision and berate those responsible accordingly. I suppose they wouldn’t let us do that, but watching virtualised leaders battle it out would make parliamentary debates more interesting.
Nick Peers I don’t do nearly enough to keep fit, so perhaps being able to virtualise exercise might help me stay relatively trim without actually having to commit to doing the hard work that’s required. And I’ve never looked that good in shorts, anyway! Plus, I might be able to tweak my football ability stats to make me half-way competitive.
Les Pounder Holodecks as found in Star Trek would be handy. After all, it would be nice to virtually travel around the galaxy… all the while travelling around the galaxy. I wonder if the Enterprise runs Linux? It would be unfortunate if there were a kernel panic during a battle, or the shield package dependencies were unmet.
Nate Drake When I was visiting the office of an estate agents a few years ago, I was given a VR headset to explore a virtualised version of various properties on sale. I quickly realised that I didn’t actually have to move. Instead, I just needed to take a headset and transform my one-bed shoebox into a glorious, virtualised brownstone!
Mayank Sharma It’d be cool if I could put the invoicing aspect of my life in a container and script it to spawn multiple instances every hour or so. And I’d love to operate in headless mode, without the assault of distracting thoughts, especially with an impending deadline looming in the corner of the room.
It’s a virtual world We expect virtualisation isn’t anything new to you, our happy reader, but it’s a topic that’s constantly evolving, improving and has become essential to a world that expects the ability to spin up multiple instances remotely in seconds. So this issue we’re holding your hand and taking you through the vital basics of creating a VirtualBox, getting more from managed snapshots to newer Docker Containers and cutting-edge development of GPU passthrough. So by the end of this issue you should feel you know your KVMs from your kernel chroots. Even if you’re just using VirtualBox to keep a sneaky install of Windows hidden away (admit it, you know it’s true), the copious amounts of storage and computing power that even a modest PC offers can happily cope with storing and running multiple instances. It’s just a matter of knowing the best approaches, and is another fine example of how open source technologies have come to rule this admittedly virtual world. If you’re on the lookout for a modern processor that can happily handle a pile of virtual thread, we review the most affordable AMD Ryzen 5 1400 yet on page 16. We Roundup a host of server distros that are strong and stable enough to run a business, we finally take an in-depth look at jumping to the Zeta File System, and we even pit the BSD kernel against Linux to see if we can learn anything from the horned devil. With Debian 9 on the DVD backed up with the exceptionally easy-to-use Voyager Live 9.0, there’s something for everyone in this issue. Please do write in to email@example.com and let us know what we’re doing right, wrong, your suggestions for topics to cover, any perplexing FOSS problem you’re having this week or your latest discoveries. Enjoy!
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Sysadmin training on p70
“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein
Reviews ii Blu R1 Plus.........................15 The cheapest Android phone you’ve never heard of. It’s big in the US with its Amazon tie-in, but can you stomach lockscreen ads in exchange for a low, low price?
Amazon and Google: two companies you know look after your privacy…
AMD Ryzen 5 1400............16
Virtualise Linux now! Tux upon Tux upon Tux… enter the weird virtual world where system runs within system. We explain how to get better, easier and faster virtulisation on p30
Roundup: Business servers p24
The AMD quad-core, low-end Ryzen CPU takes a hammer to the Intel competition. It’s a solid choice that leaves an upgrade path, but real budget types? Wait for the Ryzen 3.
Tanglu 4.0 Gnome............. 17 Shashank Sharma prepares to test drive this Debian-based distro, and wonders where all the weird names have all come from?
Robolinux 8 Cinnamon.....18 Shashank Sharma abandoned Windows in high school, but Robolinux is a distribution aimed at those who haven’t, or can’t.
Rosa R9 LXQt.....................19 It’s not difficult to impress Shashank Sharma; all you need is a highly configurable and stable distro featuring thoughtful graphical apps to administer the system.
Dawn of War III................. 20 In the Warhammer 40,000 universe there really is only war. What, not even time for a nice cup of tea? Space orks and the Emperor of Mankind have got all their priorities wrong.
War, what is it good for? Corporate profits and political advancement.
4 LXF227 Summer 2017
The desktop still remains a part of Canonical’s business and the Ubuntu community Thibaut Rouffineau talks streamlining Canonical on p40 www.linuxformat.com
On your FREE DVD Debian 9.0 GNOME Voyager Live 9.0
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In-depth... BSD vs Linux.......................... 45
Pi news.................................... 58
We consider the strengths of both open source kernels and decide that Linux is best, right?
Ubuntu Core bonds with the Pi 3 Compute Module, physics scientists build a Pi-powered Galton board, and the Picorder starts filming.
Thonny.................................... 59 Les Pounder stops being all IDLE and takes a look at an alternative development environment.
Node-RED hashtag alarm.... 60 Discover how you can monitor Twitter and create an alarm system using just Les Pounder.
Pi Zero W wiki server............ 62 Stuart Burns has finally been paid by accounts. To celebrate he splashes out on a second-hand Pi Zero W and builds a wireless wiki server.
Tutorials Terminal Media tools........................68
The LXF puzzle!.................... 88
The second LXF puzzle takes a dig into calculating pi to any accuracy you like, something that mathematician Mihalis Tsoukalos takes deeply to heart.
Nick Peers explains how you can manhandle all your media from the endless, soul-consuming blackness of the Terminal.
Recovery Rescatux ...........................72
Coding copy in Python......... 92 Mihalis Tsoukalos holds your hand and guides you through the classic exercise of recreating the cp command yourself with Python. At the end of it, you’ll be a systems programmer.
Mayank Sharma is your Linux doctor and can help you cure all of your PC ills with this handy program and a tiny pill.
Regulars at a glance News.............................. 6 Roundup.....................24 Overseas subs........... 67 The CIA’s showing an interest in the
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HotPicks......................51 Alexander Tolstoy hasn’t got time to
Next month................98. School’s in for summer! We kit you out with the open source software,
Les Pounder dodges robots and
cosy up to Trump at the G20 this
hardware and projects to top the
rockets at Liverpool Makefest.
year, he’s too busy getting far too
school attainment charts.
Mailserver....................12 Programming, programming,
cosy with the best in the FLOSS world like G’MIC-Qt, Ubunsys,
programming! It’s all fine until
Scribus, Krita, KWave, SmartDeblur, The Butterfly Effect and Frogatto.
Nate Drake uses Blockchains to timestamp files, issue shares and create a currency.
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Bitcoin Using blockchains .......... 80
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Mihalis Tsoukalos helps you switch to the Zeta filesystem in as few words as possible.
Summer 2017 LXF227 5
This ISSUE: CIA targets the kernel
OSS in Toyata cars
Linux kernel 4.12.1 is out
CIA targets Linux users Wikileaks reveals the extent of the US government’s interest in all things open source.
e’re not too fond of wearing our tinfoil hats here at Linux Format, but recently there’s been a spate of worrying news concerning security and privacy issues. Wikileaks has released a data dump that shows the CIA using OutlawCountry, a spying tool it created to explicitly target Linux users. The data splurge is part of WikiLeak’s Vault 7 series of leaks that cover the covert hacking operation by the US Central Intelligence Agency, and it features the OutlawCountry v1.0 User Manual, which can be seen at https:// wikileaks.org/vault7/document/ OutlawCountry_v1_0_User_Manual. Since the release of the manual, people have been studying it to find out how OutlawCountry installs itself onto a PC, and what sort of data it collects. As the manual explains in the Installation section, the user places the software onto a target computer as a kernel module. The module varies depending on the operating system of the target computer. In the manual it gives the example of 64-bit CentOS or
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x targets requiring the nf_table_6_64.ko module. These modules are copied over with the file name set as nf_table.ko. Once loaded into the system it creates a new entry in the iptables firewall configuration. This then enables the CIA to reroute all of the traffic through a data mining server and means the agency can view user activities and communications. The manual doesn’t reveal how the kernel is installed in the first place, though it does highlight the software’s limitations – at least in version 1.0. “OutlawCountry v1.0 contains one kernel module for 64-bit CentOS/RHEL 6.x; this module will only work with default kernels. Also, OutlawCountry v1.0 only supports adding covert DNAT rules to the PREROUTING chain”. While home PCs running Linux are unlikely to have been a target of this
This image, from the CherryBlossom manual leaked by Wikileaks, shows how it works.
“The CIA can reroute all of the traffic through a data mining server…”
The Vault 7 series of leaks shows the extent in which the CIA spies on internet traffic.
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software, web servers could be and this could have given the CIA access to thousands of user’s data. The continuing publication by WikiLeaks of covert surveillance techniques by the CIA in its Vault 7 series has revealed other worrying disclosures. One such leak in June showed how routers from 10 manufacturers, including brands such as Linksys, D-Link and Belkin, can be turned into listening posts that enable the CIA to monitor and even manipulate incoming and outgoing traffic. They could also be used to infect connected devices with further CIA software. What’s particularly alarming about this is that the code, known as CherryBlossom, targets routers primarily used by home users. WikiLeaks explains in depth about the code at https://wikileaks.org/ vault7/#Cherry Blossom. CherryBlossom is particularly effective against some D-Link DIR-130 and Linksys WRT300N models, as they’re are able to be remotely infected despite strong admin passwords. Wikileaks has also published the manual for CherryBlossom (http://bit. ly/LXF227cia) which gives us a glimpse how it works. There’s likely more to come from the Vault 7 series, so we’d recommend our readers remain vigilant.
Newsdesk Linux kernel
Linux kernel 4.12 is out! Hailed as one of the biggest (we’re talking size) releases so far!
he 4.12 Linux kernel has been released, and in his release announcement (which can be read in full at https://lkml.org/ lkml/2017/7/2/164), Linus Torvalds exclaimed that, “4.12 is one of the bigger releases historically, and I think only 4.9 ends up having had more commits.” Whereas 4.9 had the excuse of being an Long Term Support release, according to Torvalds, “4.12 is just plain big”. While Linux 4.12 is unusually big for a kernel update, Torvalds insists that there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary here – just normal updates, but a lot more of them than usual. So, what’s new that has been bulking up this release? While the full list of changes and improvements would be too long to publish here, Torvalds highlights a number of changes, including many new header files for AMD Vega support. AMD Vega is the new GPU architecture for both gaming and professional graphics cards, so it’s good to see support included here. The AMD Vega support actually accounts of the bulk of 4.12’s size, because not only do the
header files take up around half the size of the patch, but around 85 per cent deals with the drivers side of things. That’s not all AMD Vega, though: the Intel IPU driver is also pretty hefty. Other big changes include improvements to the F2FS (flash-friendly file system), sound driver fixes for Intel Skylake and Atom SoCs and a USB Type-C port manager. Of course, now that the 4.12 kernel has been released, it means work is now underway for Linux 4.13!
Driver support for AMD Vega GPUs makes Linux 4.12 one of the biggest releases yet.
Toyota brings Linux to its cars The Toyota 2018 Camry will use Automotive Grade Linux
inux’s advancement into almost every aspect of our lives continues with the news that Toyota will be including an Automotive Grade Linux (AGL)-based (see Interview LXF218) infotainment system to its 2018 Camry model, making it the first car in the US market to do so. AGL is an open source platform based on Linux, and it’ll be used as a platform for Toyota’s Entune 3.0 system. With the increase in car manufacturers producing connected ‘smart cars’, there was a concern that it would give rise to a deluge of proprietary and incompatible systems, which is something AGL has been designed for to avoid. AGL is supported by the Linux Foundation and has a membership of over 100 of the most important names in the auto and tech industries. AGL will help these manufacturers build software for their cars that conform to an industry standard, so that apps and connected features can be included easily.
New Toyota Camry models use AGL for information and entertainment purposes.
The Toyota Camry is one of the best selling cars in the US, so the inclusion of AGL in its infotainment (we’re so sorry) system in the 2018 model is very promising indeed. Toyota will also contribute code to the AGL platform, and it looks like most upcoming vehicles from Toyota will include the new platform. This is a big win for AGL, and we hope to see it appear in a wide range of new cars in the future.
Newsbytes Many open source projects have evocative, amusing and iconic mascots – including the beloved Tux the penguin, the mascot of the Linux kernel. Now LibreOffice is keen to get a mascot. The plain white document icon that it’s associated with (and which will remain) is a minimalist and concise representation of the software, but it doesn’t inspire much affection. So LibreOffice is running a competition to design its mascot – with the winner receiving a Slimbook Katana ultrabook, as well as having their design immortalised. find out more at http://bit.ly/LXF227libre contest ends 31 August! Let’s Encrypt, the free and open automated certificate authority, has reached a new milestone, with over 100 million certificates issued. This is certainly an impressive number, and bodes well for Let’s Encrypt’s worthy goal of a 100 per cent HTTPS web. As the press release for the 100 million certificates milestone points out (at https:// letsencrypt.org/2017/06/28/ hundred-million-certs.html), when Let’s Encrypt first started, less than 40 per cent of page loads on the internet used HTTPS. In the 19 months since Let’s Encrypt launched, encrypted loads have gone up by 18 per cent. There’s still work to do, but it’s definitely an impressive start. While we’ve talked about rumours of a Retro ThinkPad in the past, it has now been confirmed: Lenovo will be making a special edition, retro-inspired ThinkPad as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the iconic laptop. Lenovo has been quietly working on the device for a while now, which is why we haven’t heard much about it apart from occasional leaks. In the blog confirming its existence (http:// blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/retrothinkpad-its-alive), it was announced that it comes with black rubberised coating, three TrackPoint caps and a “keyboard to die for”. Pricing and availability are still under wraps, but expect this thing to be a limited edition, and quite expensive.
We’re assuming Lenovo will enable us to install Linux on this new laptop, assuming…
Summer 2017 LXF227 7
Meeting the demand for Kubernetes know-how Dan Kohn
Kubernetes is an opensource system that makes it possible to automate the deployment, scaling and management of containerised apps. It groups containers that make up an application into logical units for easy management and discovery. Kubernetes builds upon 15 years of experience of running production workloads at Google, combined with best-of-breed ideas and practices from the community. As one of the top four highest velocity open source projects, Kubernetes is gaining traction as the standard open source platform enabling deployments across public, private, hybrid and multi-cloud environments. This means more individuals with knowledge in Kubernetes are needed to meet the growing demand. For this reason, The Linux Foundation and Cloud Native Computing Foundation have launched a free Introduction to Kubernetes training course, LFS158x, on the edX platform. LFS158x covers some of Kubernetes’ basic concepts, the architecture of the system, the problems it solves and the model that it uses to handle containerised deployments and scaling. The course offers an introduction to Kubernetes and includes technical instructions on how to deploy a stand-alone and multi-tier application. Students will learn about ConfigMaps and Secrets, and how to use Ingress. Upon completion, developers will have a solid understanding of the origin, architecture and building blocks for Kubernetes, and will be able to begin testing the new cloud native pattern to begin the cloud native journey. It is our hope that making this type of training easily accessible online at no cost will encourage more existing and aspiring open source professionals to become proficient in Kubernetes and related cloud and container technologies. Those wishing to enroll may do so at http://bit.ly/2vgiMaC. Dan Kohn is the executive director at Cloud Native Computing Foundation, based in San Francisco.
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Distro watch What’s behind the free software sofa?
TITLE SharkLinux 2017.07 SharkLinux, an Ubuntu-based distro featuring the MATE desktop, and automatically upgrades packages to keep them secure, has a new version out. This new build includes improved hardware support through Ubuntu’s Hardware Enablement (HWE) kernel, and LibreOffice no longer installs the full suite, instead using a slimmer default install. Offline installs are no longer required, which means the install media will no longer disable internet connectivity on a device when the installation process begins. Go to http://sharklinuxos.org/ documents/current-release for
more information about the SharkLinux release announcement.
SharkLinux has a new version out with some improved features.
Proxmox Virtual Environment 5.0 A new version of the Debian-based distro that specialises in running containers and virtual appliances has been released. This new version is based on Debian 9 Stretch and contains the Linux kernel 4.10. The distro includes a new Proxmox VE Storage Replication Stack, which enable replicas to
provide asynchronous data replication between two or multiple nodes in a cluster. This feature minimises the risk of data loss. Want to know more? An in-depth release announcement, which include a video and FAQ, is over at https:// forum.proxmox.com/threads/ proxmox-ve-5-0-released.35450.
Proxmox is a distro that specialises in virtual appliances.
4MLinux 22.0 4MLinux has hit version 22.0. This is a fast and lightweight distro that uses JWM as the default desktop user interface. The new version comes with a host of new features, including the ability to set it up as a LAMP server, with the release announcement (http://4mlinuxreleases.blogspot.com/2017/ 07/4mlinux-220-stable-released. html) promising that “the biggest changes are related to the 4MLinux Server, which is now feature-rich and the lightest and fastest server suite available on the market”. LibreOffice, GIMP, Dropbox and other programs
have also been updated. Download the ISO file from http://sourceforge. net/projects/linux4m/files/22.0/ livecd/4MLinux-22.0.iso.
4MLinux is the distro of choice of Tony Stark (not really).
Debian’s everflexible nature
TITLE Netrunner 17.06 The Netrunner project has announced a new version of its Linux distro built from Debian’s Testing packages. This latest version comes with the KDE Plasma 5.10 desktop, Linux kernel 4.9, Firefox 52 ESR (Extended Support Release), plus
many familiar applications. According to the release announcement (http://www.netrunner.com/ netrunner-17-06-released), “Besides the software updates, we have overall refined the stack and also included a new set of default wallpapers.”
Netrunner’s latest version contains lots of updated features and software.
Calculate Linux 17.6 better security thanks to editing the Calculate Linux 17.6 has been kernel parameters now requiring a released. This update build of the password and much more. For the full distro, which combines a set of list of updates go to www.calculatedesktop and server distributions linux.org/blogs/en/662/show. based on Gentoo Linux without systemd, marks the 10th anniversary of the project, and comes in four desktop environments: KDE Plasma 5.9.5, Cinnamon 3.4.2, MATE 1.18.0 and Xfce 4.12.3. It also features LXC/LXD container installation, Calculate Linux celebrates its 10th anniversary. theme customisation,
Linux Mint 18.2 This update to the 18.x series of Linux Mint is built upon Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and will be supported until 2031. It’s available in Cinnamon, KDE, MATE and Xfce editions, and features improvements to the X-Apps crossdesktop applications. The login screen is powered by LightDM running the Slick greeter and includes support for High Dots Per Inch (HiDPI) displays – essentially high-resolution monitors. For the lowdown on this update, visit http://blog.linuxmint. com/?p=3289.//2000px- Linux_ Mint_Official_Logo.svg.
Linux Mint looks better than ever in version 18.2 thanks to support for high-resolution displays.
Last June, Debian 9 was released. One of the oldest Linux distributions around (almost 24 years), Debian is still purely community driven and has tallied some impressive numbers over the years: over 1,000 developers, over 25,000 source packages and 10 different hardware architectures officially supported. However, one aspect I really enjoy is its flexibility to be moulded into so many different shapes and sizes. At Collabora, not only do we run our servers on Debian, we also use it in a range of projects, from the smallest embedded systems to laptops and desktops. Debian keeps a Derivative Census on its wiki, which provides an interesting grab bag of things that have been done using Debian as a baseline, some of which Collabora has even helped start. There are the usual suspects, like Ubuntu and Raspbian (Standard Raspberry Pi OS), but there are also derivatives focused on desktop gaming (Steam OS by Valve), on first-time computer users in emerging markets (Endless OS), on user privacy and anonymity (Tails) or on running on high-end networking equipment (Cumulus, Open Network Linux). For data centres, Debian VMs are available from all major Cloud providers (AWS, Google Compute Engine, even Microsoft Azure) as well as providing a baseline for Docker images. I was happily surprised to see that some of the most popular Docker images on Docker hub (nginx, redis) are by default based on Debian. But maybe the most surprising uses of Debian I’ve seen recently has been metadebian. A set of Yocto recipes to build a distribution based on a subset of the Debian source package, taking advantage of the long-term support and stability offered by Debian. Though why it’s being done the hard way rather then directly using Debian is a bit of a mystery for me… Sjoerd Simons is the core systems lead at Collabora Ltd.
Summer 2017 LXF227 9
Linux user groups
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 first and third Thursday of the month at the Maison des Associations de Chambéry. www.alpinux.org
Bristol Hackspace Studio G11, 37 Philip Street, Bedminster, Bristol, England, BS3 4EA. http://bristol.hackspace.org.uk SurreyEARS University of Surrey Makerspace, 18AB04, 7pm Fridays. www.surreyears.co.uk Leeds Hackspace Open night every Tuesday 7pm til late, open day second Saturday of the month. http://leedshackspace.org.uk Hull Raspberry Jam Malet Lambert School, Hull. Every other month. https://twitter.com/hullraspjam
Plymouth LUG (part of DCLUG) Hush coffee, 1 Old Town St, Plymouth. fourth Saturday of the month (except December), noon. www.dcglug.org.uk/calendar
Huddersfield Raspberry Jam Meet every month at Huddersfield Library, typically the fourth Saturday of each month. http://huddersfieldraspberryjam.co.uk
Medway Makers 12 Dunlin Drive, St Mary’s Island, Chatham ME2 3JE. www.medwaymakers.com
Cheltenham Hackspace The Runnings trading estate, Cheltenham. Thursday evenings. www.cheltenhamhackspace.org
Liverpool Makefest A family day out with rockets and robots
ow in its third year, Liverpool Makefest has become a quiet success. Taking place in Liverpool’s fantastic central library, this event sees technology meet art, music, science, special effects and cos-play. The event was organised in 2015 by husband and wife team Caroline and Mark Keep, but for 2017 the organising team was led by Jen Fenner and Mark Sabino. Both are makers in the Liverpool community, with Jen’s specialism in fine art and fashion. In previous years Makefest has seen attendee figures in the thousands and 2017 was no different: it was a packed day with something for everyone. In the Discover library we saw high-tech firing ranges using Arduino and Raspberry Pi to destroy evil aliens. In the foyer there were Daleks, steampunks and rockets courtesy of Jason aka @concreted0g who had an impressive selection of rocketry, with launch vehicles ranging from 3D printed £30 per launch to more expensive professional rigs. Moving up two more floors we saw hackspaces showing off their projects, maker musicians customising and building their own guitars, jewellers, stained glass designers and robots.
Many of these designers are using technology to enable their art. On the top floor we saw Brian Corteil and his army of A6-sized robots battling for supremacy in Micro Pi Noon, a childfriendly robot arena. It was lovely to see families taking part and talking to makers. Children learning to code with Code Club, parents enabling a passion for learning that will stay with children for a lifetime. Being a maker isn’t just about microcontrollers, LEDs and robots. It’s the act of being an active learner and creating something that benefits you, or others. It was very similar to another community, the Linux and Free Software Community that we all belong to. LXF
Jason’s impressive selection of rockets wowed the audience at Liverpool Makefest.
Community events news
PyCon UK 2017 Back for another year in Cardiff between October 26 and 30, PyCon UK is a celebration of everything Python. Along with the many talks, workshops and panel discussions covering the
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breadth of Python, we see the return of the popular education track, supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The education track is open to teachers and educators and is there to help them use Python in the classroom. There will also be a special Raspberry Jam on the Saturday for families to attend. http://2017.pyconuk.org Barents Raspberry Jam The most northern Raspberry Jam has just been announced.
This is the first jam for the organisers, so for those eager Raspberry Pi makers in Norway this is your chance to show off your project, and meet others who like to hack! Taking place on 5 August at Tivoli North, Pasvikveien 2, this event will show how “magical technology is in the world.” https://twitter.com/ BarentsRJam Cambridge Raspberry Jam Michael Horne, well-known
blogger and organiser of Cambridge Raspberry Jam has reached out to the community for help. His popular Jam has just lost its venue and is looking to find a new home. Michael asks, “Do you know of any venue in Cambridge, or the surrounding villages/towns, that might be suitable to hold CamJam?” If you do and can help then let him know. You can read more, and contact Michael via his blog: www.recantha.co.uk/ blog/?p=17010
Write to us at Linux Format, Future Publishing, Quay House, The Ambury, Bath BA1 1UA or email@example.com.
C the Answers Where is the “Answers” column in LFX225? One of the better parts of the mag. And there are better languages than Python! C and C++ come to mind. They’re 90x faster than Python. Quit scaring people saying they’re difficult. They’re not. A Reader, via email Neil says: The last Answers section ran in LXF222. We had to rethink the budget at the start of 2017 and Answers at the time, being the most expensive section in the magazine, got the chop. It gives us more room and money for running tutorials and in this day and age an Answers section (that could take eight weeks to produce a reply) is hard to justify when you can get instant answers online. I didn’t realise we had said C/C++ was hard to learn? It’s hard to write good C code, but that’s partly through human failings and C/C++ offering few protections, which in a way makes it “hard”. The problem for us is there are literally books upon books on C, all hundreds of
pages long, available for free online. It’s really not a beginner’s language and the tasks you’d use it for are again, not the sort of thing for beginners or that we can easily cover in a few LXF pages.
PAEless From time to time you’ve shown how to breathe new life into old computers by installing a lightweight distro. Having tried several of your suggestions I always come back to using Xubuntu: it suits my requirements and isn’t too slow. I thought I’d be stuck to using Xubuntu 12.04 as more recent distros required PAE capability. Recently though, I’ve discovered forcepae, which is added to the boot option configuration line at installation time and as result I can now use an up-to-date xubuntu distro. I may have missed it but I don’t think you’ve have ever mentioned this way forward for PAE-less computers. The web site for info is: help. ubuntu.com/community/PAE and ...community/BootOptions. Alan Reid, via email Jonni says: That’s interesting, I hadn’t heard of forcepae before. However, a slight correction: this flag is for processors that do support PAE, but don’t announce that support to the OS (early Pentium-M ‘Banias’ CPUs from 2003-04 most notably). There haven’t been many CPUs made
It’s time to escape Windows, again. Go ahead, the gate’s open.
open source replacements where you can − they’ll be more stable, faster and respect your freedom as a user. If you want to get started see LXF226 for our ‘Install Linux’ in-depth guide.
12 LXF227 Summer 2017
CREDIT: Photograph by Rama, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr
Linux? Due to terribly slow performance of Windows 10 I’m strongly considering Linux. Will installed Windows programs run in Linux? What else do I need to know? Bob Beyerlein, via email Neil says: The easy answer is no, installed Windows apps won’t run on Linux. Linux would run/install as its own OS either beside Windows 10 or as a replacement. You’re able to run many standard Windows EXE using a system called WINE, but this doesn’t extend to the new Windows Store Apps. Though frankly I’d advise you to seek out
You could just get a 64-bit computer, you’ve had over four decades now.
that don’t support PAE since the turn of the century. But yes, it does make things work where they didn’t work before. If you find a PAE-less system then this flag will break memory management and the system won’t get very far into booting. In that situation you’re forced to use a 12.04-based distro or the Bodhi Legacy release.
IPv6 freely Now that BT and other ISPs are finally rolling out IPv6, how about an article covering converting Linux boxes to IPv6 use? Topics I’d be interested in include DNS security and iptables IPv6 usage, email using a postfix server configured for IPv6 only, and home server use such as internet accessible nextcloud. Loris Caren, via email Neil says: We did run a feature on IPv6 way back in LXF200. We’re now two years on from then, so perhaps it is time for a revisit...