1x28: Everything is Orange

Jeremy Garcia, Bryan Lunduke, Jono Bacon, and Stuart Langridge present Bad Voltage, in which we celebrate our completed first year of the show by not actually doing anything celebratory. We also discuss:

  • Debian agreed to ship systemd as default and now people are talking about forking the whole distribution. The question is: at what point is it right to fork a distro? (2.45)
  • Bryan reviews ChromeOS on the Chromebook Pixel and explains how someone who doesn't like requiring an internet connection deals with a laptop which does (16.27)
  • Wrong in 60 Seconds: the first of a new regular feature where one of us steps onto the soapbox for one minute. For this inaugural Wrong in 60 Seconds, Stuart talks about choice (32.58)
  • We speak to Guy Martin, senior open source strategist in Samsung's open source group, about what open source means to Samsung and what it's like influencing things inside such a huge organisation (34.32)
  • Technology is increasingly being used to help connect people after recent or alert you of upcoming natural disasters or extreme weather conditions. We look at the existing approaches and suggest some new ones. (50.59)

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I’d love to get me a Chromebook, but I’m afraid the keyboards would drive me nuts - especially the function key row and cursor keys. I like some of the Asus and Lenovo laptop’s keyboards, perhaps they’ll make it onto one of their Chromebooks.

I wish more companies realized that building your product/service on open-source apps because they’re free so the it costs nothing is completely wrong. The dollar cost might be zero, but unless you get involved you’re basically crossing your fingers and hoping the developers keep doing what they’re doing and doing what you need/want them to do.

I’d like to see Google (we’re an Android family here) do something with Amber Alerts. There are far too many Amber Alert apps - there only needs to be one, and the one for my region has some questionable permissions requirements - not completely un-reasonable but definitely excessive for an app that should just get the rare push (I hope they’re not polling) and pop-up a notification containing an image and a tel:911 link.

As for taking over the internet like the broadcast systems can be hijacked I think Google already has that covered: I get Google Now alerts, including weather warnings, on my desktop. Admittedly that works because I use their Chrome browser and I’m logged into Google as soon as I open my browser (or maybe even without opening my browser, I’m not really sure). But everyone seems to copy each other so I’m sure there’s something similar in Microsoft IE/Bing and Apple/Safari and Opera and Firefox. That should pretty much cover enough people to call it effective without the government having to actually hijack our browsing sessions.

Regarding the ChromeOS review:

Sure, I see how it is nice and shiny, but I have no idea what the supposed advantage of ChromeOS over an actual Linux distro would be.

I actually have an Asus C720 because even though not free from Google, it is a cheap small Laptop with sufficient clout to do what I want to use it for. But I looked at ChromeOS for about five minutes before I got rid of the Google stuff on the machine and installed Manjaro.

What I really like about it is that this is about as FLOSS-y a laptop as you can get (in the BIOS etc).

There is some truth to that - I edited my keymap to put the missing navigation keys as level5shifts on ‘hjkl’ and delete on backspace.

You shouldn’t need any “app” for AMBER alerts as they are now included in the Wireless Emergency Alert program along with President and Imminent Threat alerts (some localities offer additional alerts as well).


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[quote=“jeremy, post:4, topic:8403”]
AMBER alerts as they are now included in the Wireless Emergency Alert program along with President and Imminent Threat alerts
[/quote] (emphasis added)

We don’t have a president where I live; and I certainly wouldn’t want to live anywhere that has a threatening president! :smile:

(Sorry, some typos just beg for call-out)

How does your Wireless Emergency Alert program work? I think where I am Amber Alerts can be sent by text message. Not sure if I have to subscribe or if it’s automatic - there hasn’t been one in quite a while (and I hope there never is ever again). Obviously an SMS has limitations that an app wouldn’t or Google Now doesn’t have - such as including pictures and other media (a map, a video), comprehensive detailed information, updates to the information, and quick 9-1-1 or whatever number is appropriate speed-dial.

It’s possible WEA is a US thing. I’ve never looked to be honest. No typo there though, they are called President alerts and Imminent Threat alerts.


A little research indicates that it is indeed a US program, so if you’re in a different country things may vary. Also, I notice that in various places they are called President alerts while in other places Presidential alerts is used. The latter makes more sense.


Just a heads up, that a lot of discussion happened on this topic already over at LinuxVoice.com both on the website and podcast: http://www.linuxvoice.com/voice-of-the-masses-is-there-too-much-forking-in-foss/

As others have said here, the easiest way is to have this baked into browsers (if we are going with these alerts on your laptop). Very few people to convince to support the vast majority of browsers.

Great podcast again folks!!

…if you’re OK with the idea of your browser polling a US government service all the time, which a lot of people aren’t…

I am a big believer in survival of the fittest. Let them fork Debian if they want to. If their fork is no good it will not gain users and will eventually die off.

Forking is one of the major mechanisms by which the open source world evolves. If we take a way or limit forking we hamper the open source world’s ability to optimize itself.

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Agreed. I would be uncomfortable with having it baked in. But some might like the idea of that being an option. Didn’t @jonobacon, in the show, suggest it being an opt-in?

Edit: Why couldn’t there be an extension to the browser, or a bit of software that one can choose to run in the background?

Nah. The point of the Emergency Alert System is that it tells you about stuff even if you haven’t previously decided to pay attention to it, precisely because if you are forward-thinking enough to subscribe to some update service before the problem happens then you don’t need emergency alerts. It can’t be opt-in.

What if there were an international standard approach. It would have to be baked in then. But, an idea occured, that it could be done through, for example, ISP’s and cell towers. Maybe something put into devices in front of the OS? Something that would be a receive only feature. An alert could be made to all devices that is served only in the affected area.

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Stubuntu 14.10 Garrulous Ginger. Just installed it now, happy with stability and speed but not sure of the software selection, all it comes with is firefox and gedit.


Just shown this to my parents who were super impressed :slight_smile:

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I hope I didn’t kick you too hard in the spuds, I was going to say it “was based on Gobuntu” but thats just being mean

It wouldn’t have to contact a government server directly. Google servers could push the alerts to Chrome, much like it did in Bryan’s case with Google Maps. Using the same alerts present in Google Maps on Android on desktop Chrome shouldn’t raise privacy concerns, especially if location services is kept enabled by the user.

To be honest, I was shocked when Bryan told the story about this Google alert. I love technology but it really makes me fear when I can’t control it. People are always talking about the freedom of the internet. But when a - much too mighty - company like google, apple or facebook announces a shiny new feature that takes control out of the hand of the users a little bit more, people are stunned instead of being afraid.

Why not just send an SMS to every mobile in an hazardous area instead of making the internet another government and commerce controlled medium.

Would have been nice to see Lunduke speak about the new Open SuSe. Especially with the not so glowing review from a certain broadcasting network.

For a start, because that’d require your mobile carrier to tell the government who’s in the area whenever they ask for it.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.