Blatherings

Listing of my current and past projects, reviews, tips and other incoherent blatherings.

Crazy Awesome KDE Plasma Desktop Bluetooth Audio on openSUSE

posted Apr 30, 2017, 3:48 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Apr 30, 2017, 3:49 PM ]


I often hear complains of Bluetooth on Linux and how it just doesn't work well. I scratch my head as I just don't understand the problem because I just cannot relate at all. Bluetooth in Linux has been a breeze! I don't know if it is universally this easy with KDE Plasma or the way openSUSE packages it all together but of any Bluetooth enabled device I have ever used, KDE Plasma on openSUSE does it right.

Adding the audio device in KDE is as easy as it is on an Android phone and more stable than my Chromebook. I have this CoolVox Kitchen Sound System as a part of my Whirlpool 5-Door refrigerator in my kitchen. It is a great sound system that I like to connect my tablet or laptop to listen to music or podcasts. There certainly is a "cool factor" in my refrigerator sound system. 

KDE Plasma Audio Volume Interface

Adding any Bluetooth device I have ever purchased has been easy with KDE Plasma and has been since the KDE3 days though it is more stable today than ever. I have never had an issue with Bluetooth keyboards or mice but only in the last 3 years or so have purchased any Bluetooth audio devices. After you pair the audio device, KDE automatically recognizes it as such and makes it available for use immediately. The default setting with my install of KDE is to NOT automatically switch running streams to a new output. 

That can be changed in SystemSettings > Multimedia > Audio Volume under the Configuration Tab. I prefer to not have it automatically switch. I like my system notifications to stay on the internal speaker system.

When there is an audio device available, Bluetooth or otherwise, it shows up right in the system tray audio control application. You can control the output of each device as you desire. It is a very straightforward and intuitive representation of your Playback (output) Devices as well as any Capture (input) Devices. I just have the built-in internal microphone / input device hooked up at this time.

The Applications tab will display what applications are actively Streaming Audio. Further fine control of levels can be adjusted from here. I find it to be a great feature to be able to just mute a stream. This is a nicely polished interface that gives you a snapshot of what has made a connection to the PulseAudio sound system.

Nine years ago, the PulseAudio / sound server systems were somewhat of a mess but today, things are pretty tip-top.

Stream Output Device Control

Here is the part that I think is really slick: If I want to move and audio stream to a different device, it is as simple as clicking it and dragging it to a different output. In this case pictured, going from my Coolvox Bluetooth speaker system to the internal speakers. To change it back, same procedure, select, drag and drop. I wish Android has such a convenient audio stream control mechanism. 

It really is crazy-awesome easy to use Bluetooth and has been stable to the point of forgetting that there was ever an issue with Bluetooth or Audio in Linux.

Final Thoughts

Even though I have heard recently heard that Bluetooth is a mess in Linux, it is certainly not the case with KDE Plasma on openSUSE Linux, with either Tumbleweed or Leap, nor has it been for quite a while. Other Desktop Environments or Distributions of Linux may struggle with Bluetooth on Linux, but that has not been my experience at all, for years. I hope that more Linux users can have a similar experience as I have had on KDE Plasma. Whether that is switching distributions, desktop environments or programming similar features into their desktop of choice and raising bar in one more area of the Linux Desktop.

Bluetooth loves openSUSE Linux with KDE Plasma and that is fantastic!

External Links


Syncthing on openSUSE

posted Apr 18, 2017, 1:37 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Apr 19, 2017, 6:34 AM ]


As part of my quest for my illusion of freedom, I have been looking for an alternative to Dropbox and Google Drive to backing up and synchronizing the bulk of my data between machines. I am a user of Dropbox and Google Drive via Insync, that won't change for many of my needs. I still have a need to share data easily with other individuals. 

I also decided to stand up a replacement primary openSUSE machine to replace my nearly 10 year old Dell Latitude D630. I have done all that I can do to make this thing as fast as possible but it is time to change its role to a home-station only machine. 

I want to keep the old machine synchronized with the new machine so that I don't always have to pull the new one out of the bag and turn it on to do work. I don't want to sync everything up to Google Drive or Dropbox because, well, I'm not wiling to spend that much per month for synchronizing large volume, low churn data. I looked at several solutions but this Syncthing looked very promising and the more I acquainted myself with it, the more solutions I can see this fulfilling.

Setup and Install

Like everything on openSUSE, it's real easy. My old machine is running Leap due to the need for the proprietary graphics driver as it doesn't not play well with the open source version. The new machine is running openSUSE Tumbleweed, the rolling release, as I would like to play with the newer software available.

For openSUSE Leap it was as simple as going to the openSUSE Software site and searching "Syncthing." Since I want the handy applet that sits in my system tray and not use a browser to interface with it, I am utilizing the syncthing-gtk version. I found it to be super straight forward to setup and use.

https://software.opensuse.org/package/syncthing-gtk

For openSUSE Tumbleweed, it was completely the same. The only difference, ensure you are downloading the "Tumbleweed" version as opposed to "Leap 42.2." Both versions are in their respective repositories. Thank you openSUSE for making it so straightforward and easy to install software!

Alternatively, if you like playing around in the terminal, which I of course like to do, you can type this:

sudo zypper in syncthing-gtk

Since this is in the Official Repository, you can be assured of updates.

Once installed run Syncthing from the menu. It greets you with a real nice "first run wizard" to get you started and also makes a note to tell you that your configuration files are in ~/.config/syncthing folder. If you would like to manage the Syncthing remotely, you can set up a username and password to protect from unauthorized access.

For my purposes, I am just having it listen to "localhost" only but if I were setting this up on a headless server, would chose to set up a username and password. I also wanted to open up port 21027 on my machines for local network discovery so communication would be more direct and not being relayed anywhere. 

Start up and synchronizing my first folder

Since I was new to this software but not new to similar services, I already had some expectations and understanding of how it should work. 

For testing purposes, I wanted to synchronize a rather large folder on my system called "Projects" between my old and new computers. There is far too much data in this folder to put on Google Drive or Dropbox unless I wanted to shell out a lot more cash per month. I also figured, if I'm going to break this application, this would be the folder that would do it. A pretty good mixture of large and small files mixed in a lot of folders. 

After several hours everything synchronized, everything worked great. I didn't test every single file on the machine to receive the files but what I did test and local scan on the folder indicated that the number and size of files were the same on both machines. 

Since that went so well, I decided to sync my files to a third machine and see how that would go.

Adding a new device is also very straight forward. Just add the "Device ID", give it a name and select which folders you want to share with it. Be patient it will take a little bit for the machines to tell each other "hello."

This machine was on a different network at a remote site. Although a bit slower, for obvious reasons, it also worked flawlessly. Same results on the number and size of files. No errors that I could detect. After that, I just went crazy and added numerous folders between machines and it has all just been a really positive experience.

The next task, see how it runs on my mobile and replace a third party service for backing up pictures. The Google Play store has Syncthing available for installation. Truthfully, I didn't have high expectations for this as they were far exceeded. I am very happy with the setup process, the performance and the time it takes to get new pictures from the phone to the computer. I set up the Camera folder as well as my Pictures folder on the phone to see how that would go. Again, works flawlessly. I do notice, that my phone will go "offline" according to the my other machines. Presumably this occurs only when it is on mobile network or the battery is low. I haven't fully tested all the conditions but my pictures are quickly available on my openSUSE machines. 

What I like

I have control over the location of my data. I know what machines are actually hosting my personal data. I don't have to worry about where some other company is storing my data, what they are doing with it and how they are looking to benefit from mining my information.

I have very fine control of what I share with what device or what person. In this case, I don't have a folder that is shared with a server and I am selecting what folders or files are shared with someone else. Though, that model does have advantages and has its place, this method of sharing a specific folder on my computer with a series of machines or a group of people and I know who it is I am sharing my data with.

I greatly appreciate that I don't have to sign up for a service to use this software. No company or organization is controlling access to this service for any systems or individuals. You can set up your own relay server if you so desire and for any synchronization on your own LAN, a relay server isn't even necessary. You truly don't have to be reliant on any external service. 

The fact that the size of shared folder limited only to the physical space on your systems is also a great bonus. Hard drive space is really pretty cheap today which also bodes well for this backup strategy.

It's great that local network discovery is possible when the proper port is open on the machines. I also find that the transfer rates are much quicker when they are talking directly to each other as opposed to through a relay server.

Associating your mobile device is quick and easy by scanning a QR code of the Device ID. You really can't ask for much simpler than that. If there was only as quick of a way to scan a QR code from my laptop... I'll have to look into that.

Another note, the Device ID itself is not a security risk to give out, as Syncthing still requires approval of each device to allow access. No one that has your ID can just access folders. Not only do you have to approve the device access you also have to approve the folder to be shared. 

What I don't like

This is not a straightforward "dislike" as I realize the design intent behind this software but desire the ease of use of a service like Dropbox or Google Drive. Your data is not available in a "cloud" out there so I can't just browse the data of which I am synchronizing between machines. You can create a method of accessing one of these machines remotely, but that is outside the scope of this article and Syncthing.

This does have a greater learning curve than aforementioned services but once you understand how it works, you are good to go. The basics of this service is, you are creating a bridge to another computer or series of computers to a specified folder on your file system, that is it. Once you understand basic workings it is very simple to expand your "hive" of machines sharing data. 

Use Cases

My primary use case is keeping my "home station" computer with my "mobile" computer synchronized. I have many gigabytes of information that I want to stay synchronized between the machines. It would NOT be cost effective for me to use Google Drive or Dropbox for this purpose.

Another place where I can see this being a useful Community of people sharing a pool of data, such as educational resources where Google Drive or Dropbox may be too cost prohibitive for all users to have an account. Also, if any members of the community have philosophical issue with utilizing a 3rd party service for storage of data, Syncthing is likely to fit the bill.

I am one of those that still buys CDs and have accumulated a large repository of music. I much prefer to rip my CDs and share them among my personal machines and this too is a case where you would get flagged by Google Drive or Dropbox.

Keeping a collection of family pictures shared between computers is another case I find Syncthing to be valuable. This is another case where I have many gigabytes of pictures that would be cost prohibitive to utilize a 3rd party service. 

Final thoughts

I would not stop using Google Drive or Dropbox entirely and replace it with Syncthing but it is another tool for backing up my data and it does change how I keep redundant copies of my data. Most importantly using this for the redundant storage of family pictures and events that I want to remember. I can keep a LARGE collection of pictures synchronized between multiple computers that I do not want to lose. I also have a selection of documents that I don't feel comfortable storing on someone else's computer and just feel better about keeping on computers that I own. 

Everyone has there own acceptable levels of control by external forces. This is an area where I feel a sense of control and freedom over my data and I see this as another solution to get closer to that ideal of personal empowerment and self determination. 

External Links





Gateway NE56R41u openSUSE Install

posted Feb 15, 2017, 5:07 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Feb 15, 2017, 5:16 PM ]

My efforts to spread the good news of Linux continues with this somewhat basic but capable Gateway laptop. The name is a little odd and not very memorable: This is the NE56R41u… sounds awesome… It seems that not everyone can have naming creativity.

Admittedly, in my hasty search on the web for other individual Linux install experiences, I didn’t see much positive. I expected there to be some fiddling around with the machine in order to install openSUSE Linux on the Gateway computer.

This is the second laptop I have converted for this particular family. The first one went so well for them, they asked if I could fix up their other broken PC. It is rather encouraging to know that they really liked it and wanted yet another machine with this “Linux Stuff.”

Preparing the Installation

Having previously used the SUSE Imagewriter to “burn” the openSUSE Leap 42.2 to a USB Flash drive. I wanted to start out by just plugging the USB drive in and seeing what happens on a cold boot. Of course, nothing happened as it booted to a broken Windows install.

I had to get into the BIOS but the designers of this machine felt it best not to let you know on screen how to get into the system firmware. A little research online gave me a few hints as to how to get into it and what ended up working was to press and hold F2 immediately after you power on the machine.

Within the BIOS configuration utility, I moved over to the Boot options and set the USB HDD as first on the boot order and attempt installation. The result was, the system would not boot from USB stick but rather just sat on the Gateway Logo splash screen. It appears that I cannot boot from USB with UEFI active. Thankfully, there is a toggle to switch to Legacy BIOS boot mode so that I can actually get the thing to boot from USB.

One little quirk that I don’t understand is, when you put the BIOS in legacy mode, you can’t change the boot order. Set the boot order in UEFI and switch to Legacy Mode. Not a big deal, just seemed a bit annoying.

Installation Process

The installation was extremely uneventful and not much to discuss. You can basically follow the step by step from there. I did setup the network so that it would pull the latest packages upon install. I didn’t care for the default partitioning scheme set up by the installer so I did make a slight customization:
- Increased Swap Space to 4 Gb instead of the default 2 Gb.
- Increased The / (root) partition from 10Gb to 30Gb. I do not like running out of space on the root partition.

I am a fan of using SSH for remote access and file transfers, so prior to committing the install, I opened the SSH port and activated the service so that I could remotely finish configuring the machine.

Upon initial boot, everything worked, there was not a single issue with any features or component of the machine. It all just worked without any tweaking or special configuration adjustments. KDE Plasma Desktop ran smooth and peppy, didn't have to tweak any of the desktop effect settings or deactivate anything to improve performance, I was very pleased.

Once the system settled after boot, I used my Base Application List for multimedia package install and added Google Chrome Browser to ensure that there would be no issues with the web experience. I also installed Telegram and I was done. Smooth installation process, smooth operation and it is better than new thanks to all the efforts of the contributors of openSUSE and related projects; simply splendid.


Specification (that matter)

Nothing inside this plastic shell is particularly impressive, it is a basic machine but runs very well and is a perfect fit for the needs of its owners.
- 64bit Dual Core Intel Pentium B960 @ 2.20 Ghz
- Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller on a 1366x768 Screen
- 4GB RAM
- Realtek B/G/N WiFi Adapter
- Broadcom Corporation BCM57765/57785 xD-Picture Card Reader, MS Card Reader SDXC/MMC Card Reader
- Broadcom Corporation NetLink BCM57785 Gigabit Ethernet PCIe
- Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family High Definition Audio Controller

Conclusion

openSUSE Leap 42.2 a perfect fit for this Gateway NE56R41u laptop. It has a terribly unmemorable name but functions very well. Through much testing, there were no issues using this machine. Everything is stable and rock solid. Though this is an older machine and would be the opinion of some that it should have a "light weight" desktop environment used, KDE with the default openSUSE configuration, runs very well with nothing turned off or disabled. It is only using about 655Mb of RAM leaving plenty left over for applications.

With the wide array of application availability, smooth installation and problem-free operating experiences, this is yet another reason why openSUSE should be your number one go-to operating system of choice for you and your friends or family. If you are going to help them with their computer problems, may as well make it as painless as possible for yourself.

External Links

openSUSE Leap 42.2

Create Live USB using SUSE Imagewriter

KDE Plasma Desktop

Telegram on Mobile and openSUSE

posted Feb 12, 2017, 7:09 PM by Nathan Wolf


Small Messaging Service, or SMS, is a very common and popular way to communicate today. It is a convenient way to transmit a short message. It has seemingly evolved into a way to carry on conversations throughout the day… but it is so 2007... 

I don't actually have a problem with the Small Message Service in itself. I think it is a fine service but I do have some issues with it: 

One, I don't have a great way of using my computer to utilize SMS from my phone. There are some 3rd party services, some are free, some are not. MySMS.com is a service I do use but it often lags as of late. I can use a remote desktop service like TeamViewer to control my phone and have the full keyboard. KDE Connect is close to being able to do it but is just not quite there. 

Two, I would prefer to have some way of messaging seamlessly from the computer or the mobile device without relying on the phone itself. Utilizing any of aforementioned services, you don't have access to the full message history. With MySMS, if I send a message from that web interface from the computer, I can't see what I sent on the phone. The SMS service will not function unless the phone has an active internet and cell service connection. Internet alone will not work. I have been in many situations were I have an active Internet connection but have no cell service available. 

Three, SMS is, well, small, you can't send larger files to include pictures or audio clips. It is VERY limited and I have yet to have one of those, “Attachement not received, tap to download” or something like that actually work.

Lastly, I have chosen to use Ting for my mobile service provider, a pay-per-use type of service, I am charged per SMS, albeit a very small amount and there is no way I am going to spend more there than what I had been paying with a contract-type-of-service but my goal would be to use less of that service and instead use all the unlimited WiFi that I have access to throughout the day at work or at home. Squeeze that dollar as much as possible.

Google HangoutsOne solution I have been using has been the Google Hangouts messaging service, it works very well, and I do like it. I mostly like the Google ecosystem but I am starting to lose confidence in Google. Another solution for messaging has been Facebook Messager but I don't use that one voluntarily anymore. I REALLY don’t trust Facebook at all. I know that neither Google or Facebook are not shy about mining my data for advertising purposes. As much as I like Google and their services or tolerate Facebook, I don't necessarily want either publicly traded company to have all aspects of my communication. 

Why I am using Telegram
Telegram.org

Besides my primary reason for messaging convergence and satisfying my requirement to move between mobile and desktop interfaces, here are reasons for choosing Telegram specifically: 

Privacy: The people behind Telegram are not making money off of your data and take privacy quite seriously. They have received a “generous donation” by an individual and have quite enough money for the time being. Maybe eventually they will have a paid service but not now.

Light weight: I use older machines that don't necessarily have a lot of memory or processing power; consequently won’t work well with Google Chrome. Google Chrome is not the lightweight browser it once was which has prompted me to use Firefox as my browser of choice and now looking for something else to do my messaging. Hangout is great and I will continue to use it but it is just a bit heavy for a netbook of mine that I really enjoy using. 

Telegram has a much lower memory footprint than Hangouts, even on my 7 year old netbook, it functions stupendously. It doesn't lag or feel heavy on system resources to use. The chatting function seems to work pretty quick on any device I have tested it on.

GroupMe
Native Linux Client: I considered using WhatsApp or GroupMe but neither have have a native Linux client. I could use the web client but I don't like having to do everything in a web browser. It's fine to use a browser in a pinch but not for regular use. You could make the argument that I have a browser open anyway so what is the big deal... That is a fine argument but I would just prefer to have a dedicated client with a little system tray icon.

What I like about it

In order from the most important to "meh" importance, here is what I like about it: 

There is a REAL Linux client. No other service [that I know of] has a real Linux client  I can even download the client from the openSUSE software center, select openSUSE Leap 42.2 and do the 1-Click Install. It is not an official package but there are contributors that maintain the package for you. They are very kind and if you can, send them a thank you.

Should you like to try it out, go here:


As expected there is a Mobile Client but everyone makes one and that is no big surprise. They support Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Go to your 
respective "store" and download it from there. I have only used the Android version and It works about the same as others, perhaps a little cleaner and more lightweight feeling. It looks pleasant and modern and does what you would expect it to do... message. The client will parse your contacts and inform you as to who is using Telegram which is convenient. 

Signing up for the service is SUPER easy and painless. Quite possibly the most painless sign-up I have ever had for a service of this kind... EVER. It takes more time to download and install the program than it does to actually get going with it. I DON’T link it to my Facebook account like GroupMe

I have control over my message history. One of my irritations with Hangouts is you can't delete specific messages. You may ask me, "Golly, why would you want to do that?" Well, I have some very offensive friends and tho I might chuckle at what they say, I would prefer to make those less than appropriate messages disappear from my device without having to delete everything.

As stated before, Telegram is NOT controlled by any large corporation that is mining your data for ads. They are not trying to sell you anything or use your information for anything. They seem to be truly interested in your internet freedom and privacy. 

Telegram boasts that it is an encrypted chat application, although, I have read some articles saying the encryption is not as good as it claims to be, those are old articles and my fellow paranoid Linux users out there seem to still have faith in Telegram... and they would be some of the first to lose that faith in Telegram.

Telegram Cloud Service
Telegram is a Cloud based messaging service, What I see on my computer I see on my phone or tablet and I am not reliant on the phone to send messages. I like the consistency between interfaces and I like the flexibility of moving conversations from the mobile device back to the computer and back to the mobile device. This is extremely convenient and has in many ways become an expectation. 

Built in funny stickers, Okay, really it is a bit silly but I think that is the idea. You can download sticker packs that mean the same as some emojis and they just give me a chuckle. It is by no means important or really all that useful, I just like them.

There are a myriad of other reasons that you can check out here to see why Telegram is a good idea but these are the ones that grab me.

What I don't like about it

In the Linux client, there is no built in spell check. I'm not sure why, I have more investigating to do as I read that Hunspell should work for it. Really, not a big deal but kind of annoying. Spelling is not my strong suit.

There is no voice or video call option in this program. However, this is outside of the scope of what Telegram is, they focus on sending messages and files and do it incredibly, incredibly well. I do wish they would expand their service to have the very best calling service but I fully accept their position. As I am really intending on using this as an SMS replacement only so this isn't really a valid complaint.

Conclusion

In my quest to reduce dependency on the mobile phone for communication and reduce my SMS usage, this the closest thing to a perfect application out there. Signing up and utilizing this program is effortlessly spectacular. The "cloud based" message storage, like Hangouts, is great for continuity when moving from phone, tablet or desktop system.

I am particularly pleased that there is a Linux client, which put me over the top to choose this over others and I am especially pleased that they are not mining my data. Everyone is mining data for advertising purposes and knowing that there is an organization out there that does NOT do this is quite a relief and brings about a semblance of peace to my universe.

External Links








openSUSE Leap 42.2 installation on HP Stream 11

posted Jan 24, 2017, 6:05 AM by Nathan Wolf


In my efforts to spread the good news of Linux, I have been installing openSUSE Leap for anyone that says, "hey, can you fix my computer?" I tell them, sure, but I only do Linux and generally, that works out just fine for most users. Thanks (or not) to Chrome and web applications the need for Windows has decreased substantially. Web applications are more common which reduces the need for a specific underlying operating system.

Related image
One particular Laptop with which I helped a friend out was particularly interesting to me. This HP Stream 11 is nothing remarkable in respect to the hardware. It is a ver
y basic, inexpensive computer that doesn't have great specs but the build quality is real nice. It feels solid, keyboard is nice and the screen, although, not super high resolution, is also very acceptable.

For more about the hardware, see the full Hardware specifications of the laptop can be found here.

Installation process

Two general paths, Dual-boot or straight openSUSE Linux... really no choice as the Windows installation was completely non-functional. Despite the foreknowledge that the computer "didn't work" I wanted to give it a spin to see. To my surprise, it started up fine but every program I tried to open gave a cryptic error and it was unable to do... well... anything but sit there and look pretty. I could have probably taken the time to figure out what went wrong... but really.. why?

Time to go to work

My initial concern, based on the specifications from HP was that it just wouldn't have the "horsepower" to run a full featured KDE Plasma Desktop Environment. Regardless, I was going to give it a whirl and see what I thought of it.

Quick hardware review identified the only questionable piece of hardware would be the wireless interface. Fortunately, this machine had a Realtek WiFi driver that was already automatically supported by the kernel. Thankfully no slight-of-hand required to get it working.

I already had openSUSE Leap 42.2 on a USB Flash drive ready to install and the process was completely painless. There no need to set any special kernel parameters for video or hardware discovery issues.
This machine has UEFI enabled by default. I didn't want to mess with it, perhaps because I'm lazy, so I enabled legacy support and set the boot order to have the USB device boot first.
 
To begin, shut down your Stream 11... a REAL shutdown, not suspend to RAM or hibernate that the installed OS might kick you into. Before you start it up again, get your finger ready on the Escape key (upper-left-most key). It’s a very small window in which you can press the escape key while booting up to enter the boot options. Once the menu appears, press F10 to enter BIOS Setup.

That will take you to the hardware level interaction with the system. Don't mess around here too much unless you know what you are doing but if you DO mess it up, you can reset it to defaults so, no worries.

Using the arrow keys, arrow over to the System Configurations. Arrow down to Legacy Support to change to Enable.

Next you need to arrow down to Legacy Boot Order and move USB Diskette on Key/USB Hard Disk to the top of that list

Commit to the changes, save and exit, ensure the USB Drive with openSUSE Leap is plugged in and reboot the system.

Go through the installation process and make sure that you use the entire disk for you openSUSE installation. I am sure that the automatic partitioning setup is fine for most people but I like to have a bit more SWAP space available due to the limited available RAM (only 2 Gbytes). The limited available storage (hard disk / SSD) space is limited as well so I used XFS instead of BTRFS due to the snapshots chewing up memory and I didn't want to have to manually go in and delete snapshots from time to time.

For specifics on how to use set up the disk. Refer to the openSUSE Leap documentation on Advanced Disk Setup.

Since it is only a 32GByte drive there isn't much space for extras. I partitioned it as such:
- 7.84 MB for a required BIOS Grub partition
- 4.00 GB for SWAP
- 11 GB for the Root (/) Partition
- 14.11 GB (all that's left) for the Home (/home) partition

Commit to the installation process, sit and enjoy the show or come back later. You shouldn't have any issues whatsoever.

Overall performance

This machine is surprisingly snappy for it's lack-luster specifications. KDE was not sluggish at all, it worked well without any lagging or strange screen artifacts. I installed my typical Base Applications that I do for all openSUSE setups, had no issues with VLC or Chrome. I signed into Netflix to see if it would have any lagging issues but alas, not one glitch or hiccup. It flawlessly worked and was smooth as silk.

For a simple computer to do mostly web based tasks or office type activities, this system is perfect. I wouldn't use this if you run any memory intensive programs that push the limits of a computer.

What I don't like

Now some things I DON'T like about this computer. First, there is no Ethernet port available. Realistically, I think that MOST users would not need this anyway. I personally like to have one as I don't really trust the reliability of wireless networks... still... On the other hand, you aren't likely going to do anything with this computer that would require such high levels of quality of service from the network that a wired connection is necessary.

The screen resolution is a bit low for my liking. At 1366x768 is a bit low for me these days... would be amazing 15 years ago but today, just a little low. I would prefer nothing less than 1600x900 but I really am splitting hairs here. I am using this to do office and web based activities so it really is adequate, especially for the approximately $200 price tag new.

Top row Media keys default instead of Function Keys. This is more and more common but I find that the default setup is annoying to not have the function keys be the default input. I am probably in the minority on that so for likely everybody else, this won't be a problem.

No optical drive but that is kind of a thing of the past that I cling onto. I don't expect it to have this but I just happen to still play DVDs from time to time. NOT a big deal at all, I just wish it had it.

Final Thoughts

Tablets and phones are mostly useless when it comes to content creation, at least, that is the case from my perspective. You can add a case with a keyboard that has a kickstand to a tablet but that is WAY less useful than a real laptop. A nice lightweight laptop like this is a great step up from a tablet+keyboard setup. What I really like about this laptop and a few others in this class of compact, lower spec systems with full sized keyboards is that it is solid and very well built. It may be cheap but it doesn't feel cheap, I can take it with me and not worry about the consequences of it getting destroyed and I can actually get work done with it. The battery life is also very good and the suspending and resume cycle is very fast, on par with a smartphone.

Overall, my experience with this machine is very positive. openSUSE Leap with KDE Plasma Desktop is a great fit for this hardware. I would recommend the HP Stream 11 with openSUSE for anyone in need of a basic machine or something that is a step up from a Chromebook. This system is a great fit for any situation where ChromeOS is just not enough.

External links







TeamViewer 12 on openSUSE Leap 42.2

posted Jan 13, 2017, 2:30 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Jan 14, 2017, 1:45 AM ]


I have been using Linux for over a decade now I have often been hesitant to spread the good news of Linux to my friends and family, especially those that are a bit more remote or I don't have contact with as often. Lately, I have been inspired recently by some of the folks at Jupiter Broadcasting to encourage people to switch to Linux but have still been hesitant because of the whole tech support thing. You have to ask the questions to see if Linux will work for someone. There are many cases where it is not a good fit and I don't bother attempting the switch.

One of my issues in switching someone has been the unfamiliarity most people have with interface and the software tools. It is often not convenient or downright impossible to troubleshoot over the phone. The process of walking them through an issue when they have also inadvertently "customized" the desktop and panels makes it that much more frustrating. This all prompted me to search for a Remote Desktop application that I could reliably count on that was reasonably stable with which to remotely assist those that I have switched to openSUSE Linux. After dabbling with a few, I have come to find TeamViewer fits the bill.

TeamViewer allows you to remotely access another machine, interacting with it as though you were right in front of it. Even over poor internet connections it is still very responsive, not terribly laggy and is a surprisingly real good experience.

Remote access from one openSUSE machine to another.

I had previously used other Remote Desktop applications that were often clunky to set up and slow over the network. My go-to remote administration has been Secure Shell logins and doing everything through the terminal. This works fine for my own systems that I know how to effectively hop through my router and into the desired system. This solution would absolutely not work for a friend or relative that is on another network of which I have no idea how it is configured.
 
I had read several different experiences from people about TeamViewer, some positive, some not. A spectacular positive is that it is multi-platform. Though I have only used and tested it on Linux, Android and ChromeOS devices, it works on Windows, Mac, iOS, and BlackBerry. My experience has been completely positive and I must say a delight to work with. The negative that I hear from some is that this is a proprietary piece of software and the Linux version is the Windows version with a Wine wrapper around it to make it work under Linux. Regardless, it works extremely well and I have no complaints about that at all.

Why I like TeamViewer

As much as I like dinking around with computers there are times when I just need for a piece of software to setup and work reliably. TeamViewer, on their download page has an RPM installer for SUSE, which works smashingly for openSUSE. It installed without any hiccup or error message whatsoever. I didn't have any issue with the menu item not showing up or failure to start or anything quirky at all. It really works and it really works really, really well!

Once installed it started up nicely with a welcome dialog and has an interface that is clean, user friendly and efficient. Everything is very straightforward and easy to comprehend. You can dig into the documentation of features but I found that to be almost unnecessary.

You do have to register for the service and associate the computers you want to your account. Sure, some may give some heartburn to those that don't like relying on other organization's services but for me and my use case, this is fine. This will allow you to access your computers from your computers. It is super handy, no remembering serial numbers and passwords to access them.

The dialog that allows you to quick access to your Computers & Contacts you have to set up. Once you associate a computer, it uses the hostname of the computer automatically. You can change the names of computers if need be and create groups of computers. You can link all your computers to this and administer them remotely at anytime. If you have been spreading the good news of [openSUSE] Linux to your friends and family to those that are less technically competent, you can install TeamViewer and segregate them in their own group or groups.

An incredibly useful tool of TeamViewer is the ability to perform file transfers between the local and remote machine. If all the machines are on the same network, I would just do a file transfer over secure shell but computers that are in another location, this works splendidly. The ability to transfer some files is super, super useful. There are dozens of use cases for this.

There are numerous, numerous other features you can utilize like screen capture, session recording, chat sessions, screen sharing for meetings, etc. Those are nice additional features that I am not covering here, as that was not my problem I was attempting to solve but may come back to them eventually.

Use cases

A new use that I have for TeamViewer is the ability to use my very underpowered netbook to access my more capable machine remotely to use some particular program. This gives me a lot more flexibility as to what I am toting around with me to do work. I now have the freedom, once again to use this old piece of hardware and work much more efficiently with it at no additional costs to me.

I have also found that although my primary machine is a fairly compact laptop, it has somehow become larger over the years and I now have a netbook and Chromebook that are far less obtrusive to lug around. I also find that I often don't need as much computing power as I once did. Now that I can access a remote machine, I can have that machine with the computing power do the work that needs to be done and I can just view the result on my little window into it.

I am not fan of using my phone for any kind of typing or messaging... or really even looking at it. I know this is not the general trend but when I'm at my desk. I plug in my phone and set it aside only to use it when I have to answer a phone call and sometimes SMS (text) messaging. I do use a web service to write text messages but it is often lags by minutes. KDE Connect will sometimes allow me to respond to a text message but that feature isn't working 100% yet. I have experimented with using TeamViewer to "text," control my podcast interface and just for fun, control my FireTV using the app on the phone while sitting on a couch with my netbook perched on my lap. Not efficient, I know but was just fun to do. To be able to view the phone on my computer is a great plus. When you do log into the phone, there is a great status dashboard of the phone that I wish existed as an application on the phone itself. It gives you all the basic technical information of the phone like CPU status, RAM usage, Battery status, Device Storage, IMEI, Network information, etc. You can transfer files, uninstall apps and manage saved WiFi networks. I think Android could take some queues from TeamViewer on parsing system information of your mobile device.

What I wish it could do

What I do wish I could do with TeamViewer was to be able to "turn off" and lock the screen on the Android device. Unless it completely escapes me I can't seem to be able to do that. When logged into the phone, the screen stays on and doesn't auto-lock. That could just be an issue with my Samsung Galaxy phone but having the ability to lock the phone would be great additional feature.

Not so much an issue with the software, but I wish that the company had another way to contribute to the project. I don't use TeamViewer for business purposes but I feel as though I owe the company something for giving me such a wonderful product to use. Even though this is a closed source project that is proprietary, they fully support Linux, it works great and I can use it for free for personal use. My only concern is that because it is a closed source project that uses a service you have no control over. This free TeamViewer program may end up being taken away and I will have to give a *sad face* and will have to find another Remote Desktop Solution.

Conclusion

TeamViewer is a nicely polished application that allows you to access your machines for either specific purposes or remote tech support for family and friends that may need a little help from time to time. Initially, my primary reason was for remote tech support but I find that I use it more often to leave my primary laptop at home and use a smaller, lighter, very minimal machine remotely and access my main machine remotely.

Some people have issue with the fact that TeamViewer for Linux is a Windows program wrapped in Wine instead of a built for Linux application. Personally, I have no problem with this at all, in this regard, the ends justifies the means. Would I prefer that it were written in Qt so that it matches my KDE Plasma Desktop but in the end, as long as the program works well and works reliably, I really don't care what it's written in.

Thankfully, for now, TeamViewer is free and I am truly grateful for it. I appreciate the generosity of the company to provide it for me to use and especially to use on openSUSE Linux. If you are a purist for open source software, this is probably not for you. I will continue to use TeamViewer for the foreseeable future. I highly recommend trying TeamViewer to anyone that has a need for remote desktop control. If you just want to table in remote administration, this is a quick and easy way to try it out. The creators of this software have done a phenomenal job and I truly appreciate all of their efforts and support of Linux.

External Links

KDE Connect - Mobile and Desktop Convergence

posted Oct 21, 2016, 10:10 AM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Nov 17, 2016, 5:11 AM ]


I have been using KDE Connect for quite some time on openSUSE Leap 42.1 and
openSUSE Leap 42.2. This is a great little piece of software. It is another take on the whole mobile / desktop device convergence paradigm. Windows 8 interface that was shared with the Windows Phone was an arguably failed attempt at convergence. I'm sure that many liked it but I have the opinion that the tile system was not usable on the desktop but made sense for the Phone or Tablet computers. I know that Apple has done some great things with convergence but I haven't seen it first hand. I guess it's good....

My view on how a "desktop" or "tablet" should be used is much like how I would compare the usage of a physical desktop and a physical clipboard. The way I lay out documents and work with information on a desktop or table is much different than how I lay them out on a clipboard. To be forced to use a clipboard and a table top the same way is a fundamentally flawed idea.

The solution I do like that really impresses me is KDE Connect. It has been around for a while but is now at a point that it is a great piece of software with the momentum to make it a world class set of applications. The interface for both the Desktop and Android applications are clean and straight forward. It's designed from ground up to work with additional plugins and the set of plugins by default are already very useful. Even after you get past the novelty of it, there is a lot of general usefulness that is likely to become what will be expected for device interoperability.

For installation information, see the openSUSE Wiki page for details and set up for openSUSE and Android. If you are using another distribution, (and I'm not exactly sure why you would) generic instructions can be found on the KDE Community Site.

Key features

KDE Desktop Client interface, you have many, many options to play with. I will highlight the particular features that I find most useful.

Share clipboard - Quite possibly the feature that I like the most. I can copy a link or some text from the computer and seamlessly paste it into the browser on the phone. At the time of testing, it only works for text. I didn't have success in pasting images into a document on the phone. Since I despise the virtual keyboard for on the phone, this is a great way to get around that for anything lengthy or the requirement of precision.

Receive notifications - Phone notifications instantly pop up in the KDE notification system as they happen on the phone. When any application on the phone displays a notification of any kind, it will show up on the computer as well. Really very handy when you are separated from your phone, as I often am.

Send notifications - If you just really love notifications on your phone, you can have KDE push notifications to the phone. This is great If you are away from your computer while you have an encoding program your phone will let you know when it is complete.  Note, this only works if the phone and the computer are on the same network.

Multimedia control receiver - This allows multimedia control with Amarok and VLC. You can Play/pause, skip, and adjust volume of whatever you have playing. If both Amarok and VLC are running you can even switch control between them. So handy.

Virtual input - Although this is probably more fun than useful, for my use, controlling the computer with the phone as touchpad isn't something I really need but I can see a case where I could set up a media computer in the house, use your phone to control the mouse on the screen and use the virtual keyboard to input search text too. Though, I don't like the virtual keyboard, still a great option to have available.

Ring my phone - Lost your phone? Like the other features, it only works when on the same network, which is fine as I typically only misplace my phone at home. Also note, this overrides any vibrate or silent settings so this is far more useful than just calling your phone.

Telephony integration - I often toss my phone someplace when I get home and forget about it. I don't hear it ring or see text messages... and they COULD be important. Should I be in front of my computer a text message pops up, I will see it. If I'm quick I can reply to the message. I don't see a way to open up and view all messages but being able to send a quick reply or even just be able to read the message is great. Also, seeing when I get a phone call, also very useful so I can go run off and find the thing.

What I like and why I keep it running

I like having my computer and my phone talk to each other making sure I am informed of all these obviously important things I must know... I really like that the clipboard is shared between the devices. This is so handy for quick exchanges of text information. Since there are times I don't have all my devices with me, I like having the option of being informed when my computer is done working on something when it works in another room from me. Also, nice to have it the other way and know when phone has a notification.

This is all really much like how I imagine technology working together. Everything should be seamless and trouble free to deal with. The tech is there to serve us, not us serving the technology.

What I wish it would do

Main feature I wish it would have would be to communicate over Bluetooth as well as Wi-Fi. There are cases when I have my computer and phone on different networks. It would be nice to be able to have some sort of fallback communication between them when Wi-Fi is not an option. Perhaps not everything would work but at least the clipboard transfer would be really outstanding.

Conclusion

I often hear how the desktop operating platform is dead or is dying with the reasoning that it makes no sense to use a computer when you can do the same tasks on a phone. I don't, however, buy into that idea. I think there is room for a variety of technology systems that are interconnected and all working to service the user and make navigating life more convenient. Projects like KDE Connect get us closer to what I believe is the right blend of technology in life, much as how it is depicted in Star Trek, it is not overbearing or forced, but rather a tool to help you learn, explore and further your goals.

If you are ready to install KDE Connect. Check out the instructions here on the openSUSE wiki. Complete install and setup instructions can be found there for openSUSE Leap and Tumbleweed.

External Links

Fight Flash Fraud, a Solid State Media Checker :: F3

posted Oct 15, 2016, 11:55 AM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Feb 21, 2017, 4:56 PM ]

Flash Fraud is a real and it affects hundreds of millions... or thousands... well, I have no idea how many people it really effects, but I have been a victim of Flash Fraud once and the experience was very irritating.

What is Flash Fraud? In short you are sold a device of lower capacity than what was advertised. Solid state media comes in many forms, most common consumer forms are SD cards and USB flash drives (yes, there are other forms, SSDs, mSATAs, etc but that is not as common for off the shelf or cheap data storage units). It is possible for a seller to take a lower capacity flash drive like a USB drive or SD Card and modify the controller so that it reports that the total capacity is larger than what is reality.

The casual consumer could see a great deal on the Internet, thinking he/she is getting a steal on on 32GB MicroSD Card when it is unknowingly only a 16GB card. Someone may actually go for weeks, months, even a year a while without any problems at all problem will show when the victim takes the 10,401st selfie that over writes the first selfie and the whole file system starts to unravel and corrupt. The average user may not know they are using a faulty drive for months after purchase and well past the 30 day return policy.

Fight Flash Fraud

You can Fight Flash Fraud by checking new devices as soon as you buy them. The tool to do that in Linux is F3. This can be found in the openSUSE Software Service. This is a terminal only program, although there is a User Interface it is not compiled for openSUSE at this time. This is not a problem as the usage of it is really quite easy... and FUN!

The two primary functions you will use are f3write and f3read, that is how you will conduct the test on the drive itself.

Installation

As with everything using the openSUSE Build Service, it is really easy to install just take a quick trip over to the openSUSE Software Service, select your distribution version number, and do the 1 Click Install.

f3write

Since this is only available as a terminal program in openSUSE from the repositories, I will go through using this in the terminal and using KDE as my Desktop Environment.

Insert your USB drive or SD Card, whatever flash medium it is you have that you want to verify.

Mount the drive in the system. I am using KDE but it should work similarly on other Desktops

Open the file location in your file manager, copy the location to your clipboard (ctrl+c)

Open a terminal, like Konsole or xterm

on the prompt type in the the command f3write and the location of the mounted drive. It should look something like this:

f3write [location to the media that needs to be checked]

Here is an example of what it looks like:

f3write /run/media/cubiclenate/SMI/


f3read

Very similar to the write command

f3read /run/media/cubiclenate/SMI/

Since I don't currently have a faulty flash media device, I can't actually test the f3probe and f3fix functions. Should I come upon a faulty device, I will update this article with my experience on fixing and retesting it.

If you happen to find a faulty or fraudulent flash drive, see the project home website for the usage of f3probe and f3fix functions here.


What you should do if you've been had

You certainly should inform the seller you have been sold a faulty or fraudulent flash drive. It is possible, the seller has also been had as well. Even though it is possible to correct the drive controller chip to tell the operating system what the actual size it is you still have a drive that does not match up with your sales description. It would be fair to ask for your money back, if it is too late for that, than at least make the fix and repeat the test.

Final Thoughts

This a utility I wish I had known about years ago. It is really quite empowering to know that I can check to verify the honesty of a seller and not find out that I had been had when the drive fills up and starts to destroy the previously saved content. I like knowing that there is one more place that some fellow isn't going to slip another one past CubicleNate again.

For further reading on the F3 project go here.

Insync, the Google Drive client for Linux

posted Oct 7, 2016, 12:32 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Oct 8, 2016, 8:48 AM ]

Google Drive is a free or paid for service from Google to back up data from your computer to a remote server often referred to as "the cloud". The term "cloud" actually annoys me, it is merely a marketing term for referring to the client-server relationship, but alas, it is just how the masses refer to such things...

Google has promised for years to offer a client to do the automatic synchronizing but has yet to deliver. Thankfully, there are several answers that the community has provided, some free, some for pay and this one in particular that I have been using for about 4 years now and I have been quite pleased.

There are many that use Linux that believe that everything should be free and open source. Although, I think that is ideal and possibly be best for users, I still think there is room for closed source proprietary projects. I have no problem paying for software so long as I think it is worth it and I believe that if Linux users don't financially support the projects out there that are not free, that will discourage future development. Not all but some. I also want to help financially support those that actively develop for Linux Desktop.

I started using Insync when it was free, in beta stages, and when it went to a payed for use, project, I wanted to continue to financially support it. It is a one-time pay per Google account and I am more than happy to financially contribute to it. I like the features, the customer service and the fact that they create a nicely integrated product.

Installation

There isn't an RPM package implicitly for openSUSE to download on the website but that is not a problem. Depending on which version of openSUSE you are running will determine which of the Installers to use that are available for download.

With a little effort I have determined that openSUSE Leap 42.1 is the Fedora 64-bit rpm (17-20) and openSUSE Leap 42.2 will use the Fedora 64-bit rpm (21+). There is a library issue with 42.1 and the "21+" package. Unfortunately, there is not a way to auto update from repository so you will have to return to the site from time to time to get the latest version for upgrade.

Memory Usage

I was initially suspicious of how much memory was being utilized by the application but it is surprisingly less than what I was expecting. Processor usage never seems to be an issue either. On start-up of the program, it does use some resources as it scans the file system for changes but is not a long process even with the contents of my file system.

Selective Sync

This is not an exclusive feature by any means, the Google Drive application works just just about the same but I just happen to like the interface much better with Insync. The tree view is much more familiar and comfortable for me to navigate and understand then what is offered on the Google Drive client.

I also really appreciate the My Drive and the Shared With Me segregation of files. It makes it easy to determine what is shared with you at a quick glance.

I also appreciate the fact that the color scheme and layout of this application fits my preference as well.

Ignore List

If you have certain files or file types that you want to ignore within your sink tree, you have the option to do so by using the traditional glob syntax in which you can set patterns by specifying sets of filenames or file types with wildcard characters.  For example, if you want to set a rule on all svg files you would enter *.svg than specify whether not to download or upload or not download and upload.

Convert

Convert Google Office documents to Microsoft Office or OpenDocument format. If you do not convert them, Google Office documents will not be stored locally, they will be a link to the location on the drive. Should you want to open up a Google Office document, Insync has a "helper" application that will launch a browser (of your choice) to access / edit the document.

Synchronization feed

I really appreciate the look and verbosity of the synchronization feed.  The integration in the desktop is also real nice as when you click on the file name or on the magnifying glass it will open the file within the file manager.

If the file is a Google drive document, sheet or presentation, it will open it up using a browser of your choice. I currently use Firefox mostly because it is interestingly more memory conscious than Chrome.

The synchronization progress screen is very verbose, you can watch the progress of files it is working on synchronizing. I haven't observed more then two or three files being synchronized at a time and since I never seem to have issues with the software, I don't often look at it unless I am transferring some larger files.

If you get an incoming share from a fellow Google Drive user, the system tray icon will notify you or if there are any actions requiring your intervention, there will also be notification for that.

The most common interaction you will have, after you set up the application, will likely be errors that happen from time to time. Not a big deal, usually, just selecting "retry" will remedy the error. The errors I have encountered have all been some sort of network timeout and I have not yet observed any data loss.

Another real nice tool is the Stats tool. Shows a nice breakdown of the status of your storage. If you don't pay attention, a lot of your storage will be taken up by what is in the Trash. I have found that my Gmail / Google+ hardly uses up any of my storage. Do I need this information? Maybe but I find it real handy and I'm glad to have it.

Tech help

I've used the technical help once, but not really for technical help, exactly. My issue was specifically with the available binaries and that openSUSE isn't implicitly listed.

Assessment of Reliability

I have literally had no issues with reliability under normal operating situations. The only issue I had was with one of my computers that was shut down for several months and when I brought it back online, the file structure had significantly diverged enough so that when it synced up, it made a lot of duplicate files. I didn't lose any files, just had some repeat old files. At the very worse, this is just a special case annoyance.

Cost and Value of Purchase

There are 3 options to purchase the product. For my needs the Insync Plus For Consumers works best for me. It's a $25 one-time payment and the license is linked with the Google Account of your choosing. I have no buyer's remorse for this purchase. I have been using it for nearly 4 years regularly on more than one machine. The cost is minimal and I find this to be a great value. More information on options and pricing here.

Conclusion

I have tried a few sync clients for Google Drive, this one has been my go-to client, they actively support Linux, I like the quality well polished commercial feel of this product. It works for Linux, Windows and Mac and if they are supporting Windows and Mac any more than Linux, I can't tell. You can also try it for free for 15 days to see it if it works for you.

For those that want only free software, this is not for you. If you don't mind shelling out a few dollars for a quality product, than this may work just fine for you.

For more information, visit the Insync site here:

Linux Entertainment -- Podcasts

posted Oct 2, 2016, 12:06 PM by Nathan Wolf   [ updated Oct 6, 2016, 7:29 AM ]

I often find myself doing lots of projects, fixing something, making something, cooking dinner, baking or just making a mess. Instead of listening to the radio or having the TV on spewing out some mindless dronings, I have found that there are several podcasts out there that are educational and entertaining. 

You probably have to be really into Linux or technology to be able to get through a Linux tech centric episode but these are the podcasts I've subscribed to that I look forward to hearing:


Linux Luddites

The premise of this show is that not all change is progress. The hosts, Joe, Paddy and Jesse, are from the UK, produce a bi-weekly show where they try all the latest free and open source software and then decide that they like the old stuff better. They are all quite funny and generally grumpy. The banter between them is great. I don't necessarily agree with many of their opinions, specifically their choice in desktop interface or distribution choice but I like to hear their perspective. They are a wealth of great information on applications, Linux / tech news and often the ramifications of political events on free software. Even though they are European centric, they are very well aware of US current events.

I highly recommend this podcast to any Linux enthusiast or techie.



Linux Action Show

A weekly show by Jupiter Broadcasting that covers what is going on in the open source and Linux world. This show covers new gadgets, software, and other tech news. The show is real upbeat and well produced. Hosts Chris and Noah keep the show entertaining and I most of all like it when Noah gets all excited about something. Often his mouth can't keep up with his thoughts. 

I often take notes when listening to this show on what bits of software to try or at least learn more about to see if it would fit or improve my workflow. I'm really impressed with the production quality of this show and what a professional product it is. Certainly worth a listen.



Linux Unplugged

Another show by Jupiter Broadcasting covering Linux and open source topics with the added element of a "Mumble Room" that chime in on the discussion topic. The hosts, Chris and Wes have great perspectives on open source software. An interesting bit to this show is the post show banter with the mumble room where you really hear what people think about a distro or project. 

This is a nicely unscripted energetic Linux podcast that comes out weekly. The interactive nature of this show makes it real interesting. 



Going Linux

This long running Podcast is focused on those making a transition Linux or just thinking about moving to Linux? Their website and audio podcast provides pragmatic, day-to-day advice on how to use Linux and its applications. The focus is to help make the Linux experience easy.

I really like these guys. They are very relatable and their style to using Linux is very approachable. Larry and Bill have a rather lengthy history with Linux and provide a great resource to those who are getting started with Linux. Larry for more the productive, get-things-done attitude that a computer is a tool and Bill that is a big-time gamer on Linux. It is also very obvious that Bill likes to play a lot when you listen... Their website has some great tutorials and documentation that is really worth the time.



User Error

Another Jupiter Broadcasting podcast, not as strictly Linux focused but the content is Linux centric. This focuses more on the experiences of hosts with tech and it is a bit more conversational. They make the show out of the mistakes that they have made on their tech journeys. I would say that this is the most "human" of the tech shows I listen to which significantly sets this one apart.

I have found a lot of the information here to be rather inspirational and in many ways a relief that things in your life may not have gone as well as planned. This show too is really worth a listen.



Linux in the Ham Shack

A relatively long lived Podcast for HAM radio enthusiast and open source software. I am not a HAM radio operator but I do find it interesting to hear the how there is a significant number of open source software projects involved in the HAM radio hobby. I had a neighbor growing up that was heavily into it so I often wonder if he using some of the loggers or data transfer... whatevers that are talked about on this podcast.

This is truly a tinkerer's podcast. Those that like to mess under the hood of computers and radios. The hosts seem to be looking for better ways to do... just about anything.



Sure, there are far more exciting entertainment choices out there, but this is my current preference. There is always something new to learn in Linux and all things tech. This has been a great way to learn and work simultaneously. Making the highest and best use of my time... at least, that is my attempt.

1-10 of 13