ER

Happy 25th Birthday Linux

Dear Reader,

This post is a bit late, if you consider Linus Torvald’s announcement on the usenet group comp.os.minix on August 25th, 1991, the birth date of Linux. Or a bit early, if you consider his first release of Kernel version 0.01 on September 17th, 1991, the actual birthday.

So we are somewhat in the middle toasting to Linux.

It is a peculiar feeling.  On the one hand, Linux is quite new. What is 25 years? Yet, it feels like I have been using it forever. And I could not imagine working without it.

And you should celebrate too. Whether you are using a smartphone or tablet with Android (market share ~ 80%), or because you are reading this post. Both are powered by Linux. One could claim, 90% of the internet is powered by Linux. Certainly our server is, like ~ 90 % of all web servers.

And Linux is running on many other devices you are using. In all likelihood your router at home and at the office is running on Linux, as well as your satellite navigation system and your TV. Of the 500 fastest super computers 497 are running on Linux.

The next outstanding issue, still Linus is running the show. Along with by now thousands or tens of thousands of volunteers. Because although the first 10,000 lines of code in version 0.01 were written by Linus, within less than two years hundreds of the best hackers in the world had added much more to it.

Linux was the first free open source software project of that magnitude. And it is the largest.

So, happy birthday Linux!

And thank you so much to Linus and the countless people making it happen every day.

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

PS: Isn’t it about time, you kiss good-bye to bloody Windows on your laptop or desktop, and give Linux a go?

ER

New Hardware

Dear Reader,

One of the reasons for my prolonged silence on Diablog was broken hardware. No, not the server, everything is fine there. The server received plenty of updates and improvements under the hood, all installed behind the curtain, you did not notice. Except for even shorter loading times maybe.

After a mere five years my high class, high quality, expensive Thinkpad notebook by Lenovo failed. The lid/display broke at one of the hinges. The display is the most expensive part of a notebook. Replacing it usually costs almost as much as an entire new machine. Thus, I decided to replace the Thinkpad.

Granted, the machine had been used a lot, it traveled a lot, and I admit to not handling it in the most gentle way all the time. Nevertheless, I had expected twice the life time. Tough luck, all of a sudden I was in need of a new laptop.

Over the past couple of years I had decided already, that my next machine would not be a Lenovo again. Lenovo installs spyware and maleware. No thanks.  HP computers are suspected of the same, HP was out of the question too. Dell offers linux laptops, but they are not the most reliable in terms of hardware any more. Plus, they glue in hardware, like the battery. That limits the life time of the laptop to the battery life, in other words three to four years. What a stupid waste.

So I had chosen an independent supplier of high quality laptops without any operating system – aka Microsoft crap – and without any of that UEFI shit, where Microsoft thinks, it can dictate what other operating system you can install. Thanks, but no thanks. I want a clean machine and bought one.

The new laptop arrived and I installed my preferred linux distribution, LMDE. The next step would have been to transfer my home folder from old to new and be done within an hour.

Since the laptop came from a linux sprecialist, my expectation was for everything to work out of the box. Yet, it did not. I had ignored the basic linux lesson: check whether your hardware is supported. My bad.

My graphic card was not supported, the laptop ran in software rendering mode. That means, all processors were running at up to 90% capacity. And that in turn reduced the run on battery from the promised 8-10 hours to a mere two hours. Not possible.

After unsuccessfully trying to fix that by myself, a conversation with the friendly supplier got the answer: the hardware was too new. And LMDE. using a slightly older kernel, lacked the required drivers. The newer kernel would not come into LMDE for another one or two years.

Luckily, by now other distributions are using my preferred desktop environment, Cinnamon. So I switched distribution. But now the software programs or applications were of a different version, mostly older ones. LMDE uses an older kernel, but the applications are cutting edge. LinuxMint is the other way around, newer kernel, but slightly older application versions. Bugger.

Copying the home folder was not an option anymore. Instead, I had to transfer the data by individual application. And I had to redo all my settings, making everything look and behave the way I want it. After a few updates and changes, I am now where I want to be. Everything works brilliantly. Everything looks and behaves the way I want it to. No spyware on the machine, no maleware, just clean, neat free open source software.

Consider me a very happy camper. And now I should have time for Diablog again.

By the way, has anyone seen or heard of Glynsky?

Stay tuned,

Engine Room

 

ER

Why Trump?

Dear Reader,

Too often I am asked “How did Trump happen?”.

Here is an answer by someone, way more intelligent than me:

This is Glen Greenwald interviewed in Brazil by a German journalist. He talks about Snowden, Trump vs Clinton and what is happening in Brazil right now.

Stay tuned,
Engine Room

Philippa

Glynsky isn’t the only motor head!

As activity seems rather quiet on here right now, I thought I would add a car blog in Glynsky’s absence.

My little gem, a Jaguar, parked up in the garage most of the time and brought out for fun and outings etc., is an XKR 4.2 Special Edition.

DSC01727

Interior leather is ivory with two tone dash and doors. The electric roof is blue, to go with the pacific blue body.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I don’t know if the Jag hits any spots for others out there, but I do know Glynsky’s Papa had a taste for the Jags. The interior is quite lavish for a performance sports car, with walnut dash and all the added comfort items. In a couple of years or so this will class as a “classic” and increase in value. Just love the older body shape, but that’s just me!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Performance wise it is a 420bhp, 306KW, 4,196cc supercharged V8 petrol engine, driving rear wheels via 6spd automatic gearbox. Max speed: 155mph, (limited by computer), but does 0-62mph: 4.9 secs, which isn’t bad. It certainly thumps one into the back of the seat when the throttle is put to the floor! For anyone into the technical stuff, 6250 RPM, engine torque in lbs.ft 413 & 4000 RPM, Cremona 20″ alloys, DSC-Dynamic Stability Control, High performance ‘alcon’ brake callipers and discs, ABS + EBD + EBA.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So for those other motor heads out there, not just into Italian cars, hope this cheers up your day.

Off into the wind.

Philippa

ER

New search kid on the block

Dear Reader,

Within 20 years the internet has become an integral part of our life. And the world wide web part of it continues to grow. For the web we are using browsers and most browser sessions start with a search. Web search is dominated by Google so much, that its users are living in a filter bubble. Users see only, what Google wants them to see.

Now there is a new search engine. Or rather a metasearch engine, aggregating the results of other search engines while not storing information about its users. It is called Searx.

Searx is a free internet metasearch engine which aggregates results from more than 70 search services.

Users are neither tracked nor profiled.

Additionally, searx can be used over Tor for online anonymity.

And if you are really paranoid, you can run searx on your own server. Because the source code of searx is free open source software. You can get the code and install it.

For the less tech savvy user, you can use one of the many existing, public installations like:

https://searx.laquadrature.net/

https://searx.me/

You can customize your search in many ways, for example by language, by search engines used and aggregated, by file type, and more.

I recommend you give searx a few test runs. Play with the preferences and see, what it shows you. See whether you are missing out with Google, and if so, what you have been missing.

Because you want to see what is out there. Not just what Google thinks you should see.

Happy surfing,

Engine Room

ER

Facts vs Feelings

Dear Reader,

It seems, some people have difficulties distinguishing between facts and feelings. Hint, feelings are as relevant and reliable as horoscopes and fortune cookies.

To help, here is an entertaining piece by John Oliver – a Brit – using American politics.

That should make it easier for self-absorbed Brits to swallow the medicine:

Stay amused,

Engine Room