Do tech support? Come check out sosreport

Sosreport is used by both Red Hat and Canonical support as the primary tool used to collect information from customers’ machines when they are having an issue.   It can both collect files and run commands.  It’s open source and you can use it too.

I’m doing a Show & Tell session on it in this coming UOS: http://summit.ubuntu.com/uos-1505/meeting/22457/sosreport-for-troubleshooting.  

I’ve got about 10-15 minutes of stuff to show.  Questions are welcome.

Getting cheaper all the time…

One of my goals of the $500 open-to-the-core* project was making Ubuntu laptops cheaper.   Most have either been really high end or bottom of the barrel.

I’m pleased to share two new laptops at new price points!

The new System76 Lemur $599

That’s $200 less then their previous lowest priced system.

 

The new Dell XPS 13  $949

I believe that’s about $300 less than the base model from last year.

Packaging Notes

I’ve done easy fixes (debdiffs) in Ubuntu and find I need to look up exactly how I want to do a debdiff every time.   Last time I had to look at 5 different docs to get all the commands I needed.   The bug I based this on was a debian only change (Init script), I plan to update it next time I have an actual source change.

  1. Start a new VM/ Cloud instance
  2. sudo apt-get install packaging-dev
  3.  apt-get source <package_name>  ;  apt-get build-dep <package_name>
  4. cd into-directory-created
  5. Make the change (if it’s only a debian/ change)
  6. dch -i   (document it)
  7. debuild -S -us -uc  (build it)
  8. debdiff rrdtool_1.4.7-1.dsc rrdtool_1.4.7-1ubuntu1.dsc > rrdtool_1.4.7-1ubuntu1.debdiff   (make the debdiff – note to me, change the name later)
  9. cd into-directory; DEB_BUILD_OPTIONS=’nostrip noopt debug’ fakeroot debian/rules binary  (build it)
  10.  Test it

Docs used:

  1. http://packaging.ubuntu.com/html/traditional-packaging.html
  2. http://packaging.ubuntu.com/html/fixing-a-bug-example.html
  3. http://cheesehead-techblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/creating-patch-to-fix-ubuntu-bug.html
  4. https://wiki.debian.org/IntroDebianPackaging
  5. https://wiki.debian.org/BuildingTutorial

Would you crowdfund a $500 Ubuntu “open to the core” laptop?

UPDATE 2 (11/28) – We’re 77% of the way to 1000.  I guesstimate we would have raised at least $300,000 if this we’re a live campaign.

UPDATE – I’ve removed the silly US restriction.  I know there are more options in Europe, China, India, etc, but why shouldn’t you get access to the “open to the core” laptop!
This would definitely come with at least 3 USB ports (and at least one USB 3.0 port).

Since Jolla had success with crowdfunding a tablet, it’s a good time to see if we can get some mid-range Ubuntu laptops for sale to consumers in as many places as possible.  I’d like to get some ideas about whether there is enough demand for a very open $500 Ubuntu laptop.

Would you crowdfund this? (Core Goals)

  • 15″ 1080p Matte Screen
  • 720p Webcam with microphone
  • Spill-resistant and nice to type on keyboard
  • Intel i3+ or AMD A6+
  • Built-in Intel or AMD graphics with no proprietary firmware
  • 4 GB Ram
  • 128 GB SSD (this would be the one component that might have to be proprietary as I’m not aware of another option)
  • Ethernet 10/100/1000
  • Wireless up to N
  • HDMI
  • SD card reader
  • CoreBoot (No proprietary BIOS)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 preloaded of course
  • Agreement with manufacturer to continue selling this laptop (or similar one) with Ubuntu preloaded to consumers for at least 3 years.

Stretch Goals? Or should they be core goals?

Will only be added if they don’t push the cost up significantly (or if everyone really wants them) and can be done with 100% open source software/firmware.

  • Touchscreen
  • Convertible to Tablet
  • GPS
  • FM Tuner (and built-in antenna)
  • Digital TV Tuner (and built-in antenna)
  • Ruggedized
  • Direct sunlight readable screen
  • “Frontlight” tech.  (think Amazon PaperWhite)
  • Bluetooth
  • Backlit keyboard
  • USB Power Adapter

Take my quick survey if you want to see this happen.  If at least 1000 people say “Yes,” I’ll approach manufacturers.   The first version might just end up being a Chromebook modified with better specs, but I think that would be fine.

Link to survey – http://goo.gl/forms/bwmBf92O1d

Adobe Flash on Firefox/Linux EOL – Summary

We just ran a session [1] on what to do about the upcoming EOL for Firefox/Linux in 2017.  In short, we’re not planning to diverge from Mozilla’s direction.   The goal is to have Flash work today, and to become irrelevant over time.    Hopefully reaching the point of being irrelevant by 2017.  There are ways for you to help!  See below.

Distributing Firefox and Chrom/ium plugins now possible

A deal was reached with Adobe to distribute NPAPI and PPAPI Flash in Canonical Partners Repo!  (No more grabbing PPAPI from Chrome to get it to work in Chromium. No more “downloader” packages necessary for Firefox either.)  This should help make thin

How can you help make Flash go away?

On any browser, any platform (that has Flash of course)

Use less Flash.  See if you can do step 1.  If you can proceed to step 2, etc.

  1. Make Flash Click to Play.
  2. Disable Flash.
  3. Uninstall Flash.

To do these on Chrome, browse to chrome://plugins/,  On Firefox go to Add-ons -> Plugins.

If their is a site that doesn’t work without Flash, see if you can load their site on a mobile device.   Either way contact them and ask them nicely about removing the Flash content to get more hits, or for enabling at least the mobile site for non Flash users.

Run a Beta browser

Generally both Firefox and Chrome will push new web technologies in their Beta browser.  Many of them have the potential to help make Flash less relevant.   Help make them more stable by testing them!

https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/beta.html

https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/channel/

Run Firefox Nightly

Try running Firefox nightly.   We could always use more testers.  Specifically, we might get a more aggressive Mozilla when MSE is done being implemented (which should make youtube even more HTML5 video friendly).

Of course, there a bunch of other useful features Mozilla is working on to make browsing better.   Help would be welcome there too!  Report bugs on issues you have.

https://nightly.mozilla.org/

[2][3][4]

Other options considered.

  • We default to Chromium  – nope, let’s specifically NOT switch browsers over Flash. 
    • Outcome: That would send the completely wrong message.
  • We default to a compatible Flash alternative (Shumway, Gnash, Lightspark)
    • Outcome: That would just be a stop gap measure.  And we’ll always be playing catchup.
  • We add PPAPI support to Firefox ourselves / Hack it in
    • Outcome:  Non-starter.  Unless Mozilla adds it we don’t want the maintenance burden.

My Todo List

  • Investigate why Youtube Live videos sometimes don’t work without Flash. (Even in Chromium).
  • Figure out why my Nightly install doesn’t have working H264..
    UPDATE – because it’s not designed to yet!  See here – http://andreasgal.com/2014/10/14/openh264-now-in-firefox/
    If you have H264 working in Firefox it’s likely due to GStreamer support included in the Ubuntu (and many other distros) builds.  Upstream Gst1.0 support is waiting on infrastructure [3].

Hopefully I captured everything right.. but if I didn’t please let me know!

[1] http://summit.ubuntu.com/uos-1411/meeting/22354/adobe-flash-on-firefoxlinux-eol/
[2] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1083588 testers wanted, run Firefox nightly
[3] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=973274  Have RHEL 6.2 experience?  Might be useful there..
  – thread discussing how Firefox can be more aggressive against Flash.