TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 30 – 07/02/11

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Intro music: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.  You can find more of his work here.

Hosts: Tim (OpenBytes) Roy (Techrights) Gordon (Thistleweb)

Featured Track: “I fought the troll” by Tom Smith.

Episode 30 is hosted over on TechRights

The three of us are present for episode 30.  In typical Techbytes fashion we take a topic, discuss, then fork it, going off in an entirely different direction.  Today we cover a whole host of subjects, clocking in at a little under 2 hours.

* Talking Linux and FOSS events…..Microsoft sponsporship?  Who really wins?

* Microsoft MVP’s – The dangers or merely a title with little real value anymore?

* Nokia “Microsoft Inside”? – Competition for Android?

* From Hero to Zero – Taking the Windows l33t to Linux newb!

* Debian new version released!

* Talking Mint! We are all impressed

* Uniformity on Linux apps? We discussed.

* “Sexy People doing brave things” – Is this a file sharer or Hollywood’s interpretation of a “Pirate”

We discuss the latest email leak by Anonymous, its implications and what we don’t know about the collection of individuals.

Pioneer – Brief mention is made of an Elite 2 – Frontier inspired game for Linux.  It will bring a tear to the eye of any fan of the game of yesteryear.

* Gordon recommends an audiobook which is free to download:







And finally a link to the author himself.  Check him out and support him!

I also offer advice to would be podcasters, but you’ll have to wait until the end to find out what! It will explain my earlier disappearance from the show for a few minutes and maybe serve as a warning!

We hope you enjoy episode 30.

Goblin – /

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

TechBytes Audiocast – Episode 9 – 17/11/10

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Through the power of mind control and Skype,  Gordon Sinclair was convinced to come back to TechBytes for a second show! – Of course I jest, but Gordon’s addition to show 8 was enthusiastically received and enjoyed by many.  Kindly Gordon wanted to come back and put his own viewpoint to the merry throng (a Tolkienesque phrase, put in for a fellow fan) again and of course he is more than welcome.  It is hoped that he will be a regular co-host on the show.

Intro music was written by Tom Smith and you can find more of his excellent work here.

We covered many topics on this show so here’s a breakdown:

Debian Women IRC Training Sessions

Tensions between Ubuntu Fedora mount over new website

North Carolina to raise army of Microsofties

IRC botnets dying off

Exclusive: Microsoft Altered Windows Sales Numbers

We looked at many other subjects including Chrome OS, Android, Tablets, Parrot, Libreoffice, Mandriva and much much more!

There were a couple of “goodies” which I am going to try to provide on every show.  These gems could be CC e-books, FOSS software or something else entirely.  The two looked at in this show were:

Invent with Python – A Python E-Book for the absolute beginner!

Chromium BSU – No connection to the browser, a shoot-em-up in the spirit of Xenon2!

We all hope you enjoyed the show and as always your feedback is appreciated.

Gordon Sinclair (Thistleweb) and his site can be found here.

Due (again to time constraints) the show is hosted over on Techrights only which can be found with Roy’s show notes here.

Goblin – /

You can also contact me on Skype: tim.openbytes

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.

REVIEW: Peppermint – Cloud/Lightweight distro & Considering the cloud?

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Part Ubuntu, part cloud, all Distro! Can users be tempted into breaking the ice, with a partial cloud desktop?

Linux and its diverse range of distributions are developing at a very fast pace.  Nearly every day on Distrowatch I see something new and whilst I would like to take a look at everything, the popularity and demand for Linux distro’s means that I do not have the time to review everything.   In today’s Linux world it takes something a little unique or new to get me to look at a new release (or it has to be one of the titles I champion regularly).

Peppermint Linux and its coming to pass is something akin to Puppy Arcade 8 (which we covered recently).  Like Puppy Arcade is derived from Turbo Pup (which in turn came from Puppy Linux) Peppermint is derived from Mint which in turn comes from Ubuntu.

For me when the name Ubuntu is mentioned I usually get a feeling of “out of the box”.  Speaking personally I have had only few, very minor issues when installing an Ubuntu distro and of all thats available in the Linux world, in my opinion its the simplest most “out of the box” there is.  So Peppermint building upon those solid foundations is a recipe for success? Read on and find out!

The first thing that drew me to Peppermint was the fact that it depends in part (but not completely) on the Cloud.  I think we are still some way off users wanting a total desktop cloud experience but as we head towards what will probably be inevitable, this is certainly a good way of breaking the ice.

Peppermint’s choice of Ubuntu foundations are a great choice ,  for those who are taking their first steps into the world of Linux and seasoned Linux veterans alike.

OS in the cloud or head in the cloud?

It’s funny how my view of cloud computing and indeed “always on” has changed over the years.  During the early internet days, the thought of always being connected frightened me slightly with visions of a vulnerable PC on the world-wide web for people to drop in on whenever they wished.  I remember only staying online for as long as I needed then logging out and continuing with my computing offline.  How things have changed….

Now (and I hope some people can relate to this) if, for whatever reason, my net connection is down, my computing experience feels rather lonely, rather isolated and not very pleasant.  I like my social media products to hand, I like my email to pop up and sometimes my Waves at my fingertips, often, if the net is down, my computer is off.   I have read Mr Stallman’s views on the cloud and I do appreciate some of his concerns, however time will tell if a migration does happen and history will record if those concerns come to pass in respect of computing in the cloud.  I will be running another article shortly looking at the question of cloud computing.

I think though when/if the time comes for a complete cloud migration, I’ll be more than ready to jump into the brave new world and (hopefully) 10 years on look back at this time and think how isolated/ narrow-minded I was.  Either that or I will be held to ransom by the firms that provide me with my cloud experience and look after my data and look back with regret!

My diversion about the cloud has taken this review completely off track, so lets now return to Peppermint.

Looking at Peppermint

Peppermint is a tight distro using kernel 2.6.32 which whilst being light in the area of defaultly packaged software, balances that with cloud based offerings.  Coming in at a 446mb download, within a few minutes the shiny new ISO was ready to burn.  I don’t need to explain how simple and straightforward the installation process is, all I have to say is, Ubuntu simple.

Seeemic integrates very well into the Peppermint desktop.

Offering Google Docs in the taskbar menu, opens your Google Docs in a light window client (via Prism)  as if it was a locally installed package.  This seemless integration of online services is consistent with all the cloud packages incorporated into the Peppermint desktop.  Under your “Office” menu you also have Google Calender, Google Mail, Google Reader and ePDFViewer.  It should be noted that you do have a local text editor, if you are wanting to create a simple file locally and of course you’ve got a wealth of more traditional alternatives to install locally through the Software Manager.

Default packages

Whilst this distro does lend heavily towards the cloud, it still does have a nice selection of default packaged software.Python 2.6.5, Leafpad 0.8.17, Gnome-mplayer and many more.  Its all pretty academic though with the software manager, you have a huge selection of software to download after install.  Firefox 3.6.3 is packaged as default though for me this was an instant removal.  I am an advocate of Chromium which for me has been a wonderful experience in the main since the very earliest builds.


Yes, this is a speedy distro!  Boot up times are exceptionally fast as is shutdown and even with numerous tasks running on one of the many desktop’s around the house, my now prehistoric 1.8ghz processor never went above 22% on CPU usage.    I took out ram to see how well Peppermint ran on half a gig, which is probably more relevant to those who intend this to be deployed on a low spec netbook or laptop and I can report that barring a little extra disk activity from time to time (as to be expected) the whole operation was still very fast with a reasonable amount of facilities being run at a price of only half my available ram.


Since Peppermint doesn’t come with any “play once” games and many of its apps are cloud based, the small 446mb file will be a very quick download for many.

I was very impressed with the cohesiveness between the cloud based apps and the locally installed ones.  Ive used web dependent distro’s before, but never within a traditional desktop environment and previous reviews have been of “Web kiosk” type distro’s.

If I wanted to be really fussy I would mention that upon default install the browser shortcut is located very close to the “menu” button, which means from time to time you will miss and bring up another instance of your browser when what you really wanted to do was access the menu.  This is a minor issue though and Im sure most people customize a distro to their own tastes after install anyway.

Whether you want a cloud experience or not, this distro is an excellent lightweight option for daily use, the cloud features whilst well-integrated are not “set in stone” and there’s nothing wrong with you replacing them with more traditional solutions.

I think Peppermint Linux serves two purposes, one its a great lightweight distro that will sit very nicely on any machine old or new, but also its a nice introduction to cloud computing which doesn’t “throw all your eggs into one basket”.  For me personally it has eleviated some of the fears/myths about computing in the cloud and Im happy to say that Peppermint has a permanent home on one of my rigs now.

A strongly recommended distro which not only gives a solid desktop experience that is capable of handling any task you throw at it, but also introduces you to cloud computing in a very non-committal way.

Just like many of the distro’s I feature here, I encourage you to support this project, the hard work and professionalism this distro displays for me means its one I will be following with great interest in the future and as far as Ubuntu derived distro’s go, this is up there with the best of them.

I have been contacted by the devs behind Peppermint and have the pleasure of saying that a Q&A session will follow in a future article.

The Distrowatch entry for Peppermint can be found here:

You can visit the Peppermint home page here:

Goblin –

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the Openbytes statement, here.

PROFILE OF: Hadron – Appearing on C.O.L.A

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For this post we are going to delve a little deeper into the previous article about Walmart training FUD and dodgy PCworld sales reps (in respect of the issue of – who are you talking to?) .  I have often mentioned comp.os.linux.advocacy and here is one of its regulars Hadron.

Hadron describes himself as a “freelance SW contractor who relies pretty much 100% on Debian Linux to do his work” so lets see what happens when they notice the previous article being posted in C.O.L.A.

The only people who “laugh” here are the COLAtards who “laugh” at Windows users. Funnily enough, the more aggressive, dumber ones like Koehlmann and Ahlstrom are actually closed source SW developers for … yup. Windows. We (those you listed) laugh at the hypocrisy and the idiocy of the COLA freetards. It’s like a daily show : for free.

Well Im pleased he can laugh (although on the reply I did state I did not find anything funny about Windows and merely I pitied a Vista user), I am also impressed that he can make so many claims without any evidence.  Notice the word “freetard” as a way to insult?  He sure sounds like a Linux user doesn’t he? ;)  Here’s some more from our “Linux user” Hadron:

The masses dont want Linux because Linux does NOT run the SW they use or think they need. Linux does not run most of latest games etc. People want that.

and how about this:

Err, because its fun. And correcting Colatards IS fun.

which is strange because he goes on to say:

No. I’m a freelance SW contractor who relies pretty much 100% on Debian Linux to do his work. Not many others in COLA can claim that. Don#t believe?

But before you start doubting Hadron, have a look at his piece of evidence which he claims will prove that he’s telling the truth:

Find a post from me saying Linux is shit. Go on. Dont just listen to the COlAtards. Think and research for yourself. I dare you. But being a COLAtard and a BN denizen you won’t : you’re too lazy, too stupid and too up Schestoputz’s arse to draw your OWN conclusions.

Well I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m convinced. ;)  After that earth shattering piece of information I think theres no doubt what so ever that Hadron is telling “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”…

Unfortunately for Hadron, someone did quote him and evidenced this post of Hadron’s:

Except for the fact that Linux is shit for gaming : and young Ernst wants to play games. New games. Not Civ City version 1. And that Linux is notorious for not supporting wide varieties of sound cards : the whole audio subsystem is a mess.

So forcing me to do another addition to Hadron’s profile post.  Hadron really does have issues with the truth doesnt he?

There are times when I think some of these “people” are really children.  They seem to have no concept on how their posts sound to others and fall into some really basic traps.    There was a lie placed about me on C.O.L.A which suggested that I claimed my IQ was greater than everyone else’s (obviously they provided no proof to back up their lie).  Whilst that was a complete lie and I had no such conversation, I think in Hadrons case it may very well be true, I have honestly never met one of the MS-Faithful so ground breakingly slow as him.  Even Andre Da Costa on a bad day would not make silly mistakes like that.

Talking of silly mistakes, a poster of C.O.LA called William, provides evidence that Hadron has said something quite different in another newsgroup (click the link at the end of this article to see the full post):

I’m a long term Windows user and programmer.

It would appear Hadron needs to learn his story else he will make more mistakes like this.   It appears after the above comments Hadron has gone back to his Linux advocacy again:

I have a better idea : why dont you, Marti, Roy and the other loonies piss off and play with your toys while the rest of us continue to use and advocate good OSS SW like Gnome? You are insane. You hurt OSS. You hurt Linux.

So he advocates Gnome now? LOL.  Can Hadron ever make his mind up?  I think from the course of comments above you can really see who is harming what.  Do you trust Hadron?  Can you see any consistency in his views?  I don’t need to make a comment, you can decide for yourself.  I don’t think I will be adding anything more to Hadron’s profile, though check the comments section for any further updates on his ever changing stance and contradicting views.

So now we come (sadly) to the end of one of hopefully a few profiles on the COLA trolls.  Its a shame that I can’t go into further detail but since Hadron is so shallow his posting habits mainly revolve around, insult,change subject,insult,change subject..all the while not answering questions put to him.   Hadron is one of many who post claiming to be in favor of Linux yet disrupt the community, is this the actions of a proprietary firm paying for this behaviour?  are these the actions of a proprietary developer terrified of the FOSS model or is it simply a bored young person who enjoys ruining things for people?  I’ll let you decide.

As always, please see for yourself.  I invite you to see him in action in the COLA newsgroup and I also invite you to read the entire discussion between myself and Hadron here:

Goblin –

NEWS: Windows 7/Linux wheres the advantage now?

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Windows users must be really pleased.  Having spent a good while getting backward compatibility with their binary slug Vista, the rumours are now rife that Windows 7 will not be natively backward compatible at all.  So it begs the question, why not take this oportunity to move over to Linux, where getting your old software to run will probably be an easier experience through Wine (which will be far more established) than whatever emulator Windows 7 offers.

Now it may be that this new direction for Windows 7 turns out to have speed increases for the system running it.  Great, but at what price?  and talking of price, Microsoft will be expecting a financial reward for its new Windows, whereas Linux is free.

On a sort of related note, looking at for the last 7 days OpenSUSE is down on its overall clicks and Debian is about 150 clicks off overtaking it and getting second place after Ubuntu.  Could this be the effects of the Microsoft/Novell deal?