2x36: Open Cooks

Jeremy Garcia, Jono Bacon, and Stuart Langridge present Bad Voltage, in which we know what time it is, maybe we should set up a startup called Votr, yet another Google Pixel goes in the toilet, and:

  • [00:02:18] Some time ago, Jono and Stuart built BBQPad, a service to track your barbecue cooks, and now we're closing it down. But we'd like to open source the code, maybe see a new community grow around it, so... how do we best do that? What do we do about the licence? Maybe someone out there is interested in taking it on? We'll cover our thoughts on what we're doing here
  • [00:17:50] Patrick Volkerding from Slackware is having some financial problems, and Cassidy Blaede is going full time on Elementary; some thoughts on the perennial topic of how open source projects get money, and what this might mean for each of these OSes
  • [00:44:08] ARM Chromebooks, and how installing Linux on them is nowhere near as trivial as you may have thought
  • [00:52:08] News: Android 9, "Pie", is released, and the first phone to get it is Jeremy's Essential PH1, rather surprisingly ... The American FCC admits that the "hack" that they claimed happened to their comment system over net neutrality never actually happened, blames the previous CIO ... Google Pixel 3 is coming in October and specs are now out there, including a "Pixel Stand" which basically turns your phone into a Google Home ... the name of Palm rises from the dead with a new upcoming phone, the attractively-named PVG100, which is just running Android, after HP sold Palm in 2014 ... West Virginia in the US plan to introduce mobile phone voting for midterm elections, via the services of a startup called, depressingly, Voatz, who are also using a blockchain, for extra lolz; this is an idea so stupid that it even hit xkcd ... Apple may be replacing the keyboard with a touchbar style screen in the future ... and Jono discovers Public Enemy, thirty years later ...

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Good show

Last year I spent a fair amount of money on a Linux laptop but to be honest I’ve had more fun with a cheap ChromeBook.

As for using it for more than basic browsing I have a few ideas.
If you just want to install a few extra Unix commands there is
It is a package manager for ChromeOS, I managed to install git and PHP on my ChromeBook without using a chroot.
My plan was to run PHPs internal dev web server for web apps and access http://localhost:8054 to use local web apps.
Lately I have gone one step further and used Crouton to install a full blown linux userland (I opted for Xfce with Qt apps).
I recommend using CodeLite for nodejs on Crouton, it’s quite light, stable and doesn’t push it too hard.
As for moving files from Chrome Os => chroot, the Crouton script bind-mounts /home/chronos/user/Downloads into the chroot, so you have some easy file access there.

There are pros and cons of using ARM chips
they DONT NEED A FAN! - so your not waisting battery keeping a massive chip cool
They are cheap

Wine won’t work, so no Windows ".exe"s
Firefox Quantum at present isn’t supported on ARM (I think)

I was dying as I heard that BBQPad was ‘up in flames’ and the different ‘degrees’ of use, or something.
My question is that, since you both are opensource enthusiasts, why the question of open sourcing this wasn’t asked early, if not at the beginning of the project?

This chap might be interested.



The comment that bothered me the most was Jono saying that TCL televisions were those “crap televisions you buy at Costco”.

They are amazing.

" the TCL 6-Series—available in both a 55-inch and 65-inch size—is the best value we have ever seen in a TV series"


That internet-meme is doing the rounds on Facebook too now

@sil, that Palm phone looks like it might be a small phone.


It does. I have seen that, and considered :slight_smile:

A bit disappointed on the license “debate”, to be honest. The second you mention a requirement to contribute back to upstream, there is only one game in town, and it shares an acronym with the Georgetown Public Library. Everything else is just a way to gift code. That’s literally why the GPL was invented.

Personally, I think it’s unlikely anyone would pick up BBQPad in open-source form: who wants to start a new project saddled with a legacy codebase? No offence to @sil or @jonobacon, but it sounds like a recipe database with a few extras; chances are that a team of developers could replicate most of the functionality in a month after a brief look at it - if anything because frameworks get easier and cheaper every year.

The branding and existing community though, that is valuable. That takes more than a month to establish. Have you really tried to shop it around? Not just to manufacturers but to retailers - I expect the sector must be pretty sizeable in the US, surely someone would pay a few grand to pick up a ready-made app and simply rebrand it. Or you can always get a funding round and spend it all on swanky offices and bling tables.

And then after that, the web was invented. GPLing a web application is pointless; what you’re doing by running a web server which displays the results of the app isn’t distribution, and therefore the copyleft requirements don’t kick in. Solving this problem is why the AGPL was invented, and indeed that’s one of the licences we’re considering, and mentioned in the show. The question is whether our desire to require upstream contributions outweighs our desire to build a community which includes people who can’t or won’t work in a copyleft environment.

I’ll try to not take offence. Sure, it’s not impossible to put together something yourself. But, as noted, we put some considerable thought into the design to make it good. And it’s got one of the great advantages of released code: it already exists. Theoretical code in someone’s head, no matter how terribly easy it’d be to implement, doesn’t.

We’re still kicking around ideas, from shopping it around to an AGPL release and things in between…

It is, in the same way yelp is the Yellow Pages with a few extras. :wink:

Sure, but any piece of software can be re-implemented if you are purely talking about code. Lots more than code went into BBQpad - extensive design, structural, and architectural thinking behind how to make a platform that is usable to the beginning murdering a few sausages on $30 grill up to a professional smoking hogs, brisket, and ribs across three smokers.

As we said, the code has been unmaintained for a long time, and it definitely needs some love, but as @sil says, at least this is something real and tangible as opposed to an idea. As far as I am aware, there isn’t any other open source project that does this.

I haven’t used BBQPad so I don’t really know what it looks like, but if there is some sort of plugin system for adding new types of equipment, one option to not do a total lock in to AGPL could be to add a clause that plugins may be closed source but the core app is AGPL.

Yeah, I was considering GPL/AGPL as a family, let’s say - note I didn’t mention the version number, which is pretty important if you want to be specific. What matters is that there is nothing outside of the *GPL family, precisely because the whole point of their existence is to force contribution back to the community.

Absolutely correct.

The more reason to shop it around, imho, rather than throwing it out. A business that has paid money to acquire a codebase, has an incentive to keep it around, and will coerce its developers accordingly. Otherwise, I personally don’t know anyone who would rather hack an existing, years-old webapp, rathen than cooking up (pardon the pun) a new one from scratch. Unlike, say, desktop applications – where the amount of scaffolding required for the most basic things is so daunting, that reusing existing bits is very appealing – web apps these days can be put together very quickly, to the point where entire codebases are thrown out every X years just to wipe technical debt.

I’m new to the community, so apologies if I end up violating unspoken norms…

As someone who started out of college buying completely into the “GPL is viral/a cancer” line and has come around to nearly the opposite position, I kind of wonder why so many people consider this to be a big deal. It seems like, if you’re not an ecosystem that needs to be compatible–that is, there’s an “implicit copyleft,” in that you won’t get much use of a highly divergent language runtime that nobody else uses–aren’t “people who won’t work in a copyleft environment” just kind of…for lack of a kinder term, looking for free labor?

Mind you, despite that characterization, I don’t bear any ill-will against people/companies that are looking to work with well-tested building blocks, but the idea of courting them with a full application seems like hoping to be the next FreeBSD that gets locked behind Apple’s firewall, which is something you explicitly don’t want.

Which I guess is all to say that I’d recommend the AGPL. Ahem.

On one of the other episode topics, I am growing interested in what can be done with ARM-based systems (at least until RISC-V systems become available) and miss the days when Chrome OS could be knocked aside easily. But it does make sense, given that it’s a market of devices subsidized to acquire ever more data…

The MPL and EPL are both reasonable (weak) copyleft options depending on your requirements, and there are a variety of less popular options as well.


Wrt. BBQPAD if you really thought to make a buck on it, you might want to consider doing a refresh on it the coming 10 months, keep the back end, but push front end mobile apps by next summer (be smart ;-)). Sell those for 1$ or so. I’d take a last shot at it. Perhaps Jono knows some techniques to get a “featured app” listing or something similar on the store (or is that just a fee you have to pay)?

Now that I think about it and without any real consideration a statement for a future show: “non-tech communities will not discover services anymore that arent’t mobile first”. Services are discovered by mobile app stores nowadays.

Your case does show that “open source development” is not an easy decision if you believe your value lies in the software.

@sil did you get anywhere with the Chromebook? I have a 1st generation Samsung. Arch Linux Arm runs on it, but I can’t get the trackpad to work. OpenSuse has an image for it I’m going to try when I get home.

I am mostly coming to the conclusion that installing Linux on the bare metal on an ARM Chromebook is a mug’s game, unless you enjoy the delightful 1999-era experience of putting all the millions of pieces together yourself and fiddling with config files (which some people do; I did in 1999, for example). Some ARM Chromebooks support “crostini”, the new thing that lets you just run actual Linux apps in ChromeOS, which will solve the problem (see r/crostini for more on that, particularly their wiki), or Kenn White’s writeup of how to make a development Chromebook may help.

@sil Yeah. The $100 eBay x220 is starting to look pretty attractive. As far as your friend goes, there are some pretty decent X1 carbons on eBay for $300ish.


Just saw this today, Two 11-year-olds altered election results in hacker convention’s replica of U.S. voting system

And I’m going to throw this in as well, Arctic Circle 8/15/2018

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