In memoriam, LKD 1950-2024 ►

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2024-05-05 📌 Project Zebra: Didn't we used to take this for granted?

Tags 🏷 All 🏷 Linux 🏷 Personal 🏷 Tech

This entry is part of my Project Zebra series covering migration to Linux for personal computing use.

Title reference: The Wildhearts, Remember These Days.

I'm loving the endless threads of criticism for Windows 11 and TPM dependence on Facebook. People don't like being prompted to throw away working computer hardware and are justifiably angry.

However, things aren't entirely rosy on the Linux side at the moment. I'd still recommend it to the average web user or Steam gamer, but I probably won't be upgrading to (K)ubuntu 24.04 soon until various things become clearer. There are interesting threads on Slashdot and OMGUbuntu about snap packaging and problems being in wait for those who do rush into this one.
https://news.slashdot.org/story/24/04/25/2036234/ubuntu-2404-lts-noble-numbat-officially-released
https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2024/04/dont-upgrade-to-ubuntu-24-04-yet

There's also some discussion about Gnome having been running on previous large donations over the early pandemic years. As someone says, "I wonder how [running at a deficit] could have happened. I also wonder if their fundraising capabilities are as great as their design skills and their self reflection."

But back to Ubuntu, Canonical has broken deb package installation by default in 24.04 - i.e. you need something other than its software store app to be able to install separately downloaded deb packages. I think you can still install debs from the store catalogue. It's a bad look for the company.

https://news.slashdot.org/story/24/05/04/202207/ubuntu-criticized-for-bug-blocking-installation-of-deb-packages

In brighter news, getting Firefox as a deb from Mozilla became possible again. But because the deb version packaged for Ubuntu installs the snap, this involves hoops so that upgrades don't break your system.

Firefox deb https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2022/04/how-to-install-firefox-deb-apt-ubuntu-22-04

sudo snap remove firefox
sudo install -d -m 0755 /etc/apt/keyrings
wget -q https://packages.mozilla.org/apt/repo-signing-key.gpg -O- | sudo tee
/etc/apt/keyrings/packages.mozilla.org.asc > /dev/null
echo "deb [signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/packages.mozilla.org.asc] https://packages.mozilla.org/apt mozilla main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/mozilla.list > /dev/null

echo '
Package: *
Pin: origin packages.mozilla.org
Pin-Priority: 1000
' | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/mozilla

sudo apt update && sudo apt install firefox
sudo apt install firefox-l10n-uk

I don't typically use Firefox except on mobile, but since Google (another company putting its interests ahead of users) is waging war on ad blockers - funny thing for an ad company to do, I know - it's important for alternatives to the Chromium engine (Chrome, Edge, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, etc) to exist.

On a general note, instructions for removing snap that seem to have worked: https://www.baeldung.com/linux/snap-remove-disable

snap --version
snap list
(remove each with dependencies first)
sudo systemctl stop snapd
sudo systemctl disable snapd
sudo systemctl mask snapd
sudo apt purge snapd -y
sudo apt-mark hold snapd

sudo cat <<EOF | sudo tee /etc/apt/preferences.d/nosnap.pref
Package: snapd
Pin: release a=*
Pin-Priority: -10
EOF

rm -rf ~/snap
sudo rm -rf /snap
sudo rm -rf /var/snap
sudo rm -rf /var/lib/snapd

Since Canonical has turned Thunderbird into a deb that installs a snap in 24.04 like it did with Firefox, there's a risk that upgrading will outright break my current email client installation. Hence caution about upgrading.

Snap issues aside, via a subscription to a bug tracker I got wind that Thunderbird's next version may address the long-standing lack of a notification area / tray icon on Linux: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1893327 which would offer a way forward for users if Birdtray doesn't work properly under Wayland.

I'm still considering moving from Ubuntu to Debian. Particularly if as this suggests it might actually be possible, if unwise, as an in-place migration.
https://github.com/alexmyczko/autoexec.bat/blob/master/config.sys/ubuntu-deluxe
https://www.reddit.com/r/debian/comments/1384tpg/bookworm/
https://wiki.debian.org/DontBreakDebian

It'd be satisfying and a bit of a novelty to be able to keep my 2016 installation (of what was previously Xubuntu and currently essentially Kubuntu) going. I'm aware it would be more sensible to do a clean install.

I needed a script to generate some sequential URLs and I suppose I could've used javascript, but I'd already got apache installed so I went with PHP:
edit the DocumentRoot in /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf
edit the path in /etc/apache2/apache2.conf
sudo apt install php libapache2-mod-php
sudo service apache2 restart

I found myself upgrading an out of support Xubuntu installation on my laptop recently. Helpfully, sudo do-release upgrade fails with "Your Ubuntu release is not supported anymore." and exits.
https://askubuntu.com/questions/1390585/my-ubuntu-says-i-should-upgrade-but-then-doesnt-let-me
One package was held back (ubuntu-advantage-tools) and the upgrade started after manually installing that.

Customising the Kubuntu lock screen, current 5.x edition: /usr/share/plasma/look-and-feel/org.kde.breeze.desktop/contents/lockscreen/LockScreenUi.qml change the clockShadow color from black to transparent but can't work out how to stop the lightening effect on focus. However, as a quick hack, a bg color of 42,64,90 compliments a desktop background of 58,110,165 (Windows 2000 blue) acceptably.

I recently start getting display artifacts, coloured lines across the whole display apparently when certain parts of the screen in use by certain colours, so I changed HDMI cable (well, the DisplayPort adapter and HDMI cable) but it persisted so figured the graphics bit of the motherboard might be on the way out. But long story short it actually seems to be specific to Chromium browsers and interaction with graphics drivers. This sort of thing isn't uncommon.

For example, the 6.5 kernels have a issue in the i915 driver that freezes the graphic system. The issue is resolved in the latest 6.6.x or 6.7 kernel.
https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=411679
However, I tested an older 6.2 kernel and had the same problems.

More things that might be relevant:
https://forum.manjaro.org/t/extreme-graphics-corruption-with-kernels-6-4-and-6-5/144825
https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=410305
https://discourse.ubuntu.com/t/introducing-kernel-6-8-for-the-24-04-noble-numbat-release/41958
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/glibc/+bug/2036452
https://hobo.house/2018/05/18/fix-for-intel-i915-gpu-freeze-on-recent-linux-kernels/

It could be port related, or the monitor could be gradually failing, but like I say it seems to be a software problem and I don't think I've seen it under Windows with a work laptop through it.

Other link dumps...

Making a note as I'll probably need to rename a user shortly
https://www.serverlab.ca/tutorials/linux/administration-linux/how-to-rename-linux-users-and-their-home-directory/

El Reg on traditional WIMP
https://www.theregister.com/2024/01/24/rise_and_fall_of_cua/
https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2024/04/20/lxqt2_updates_to_qt6/
https://m.slashdot.org/story/427482 Wayland discussion

Reasons for the growing desktop share of Linux
https://m.slashdot.org/story/425692 Basically: MS being MS, improving ease of use including gaming, emerging markets. As mentioned at the beginning I've seen a lot of press about Windows 11 posted on Facebook that's been wall-to-wall discussion about Linux recently, funnily enough.

Amazon dancing around the fact that their couriers steal electronics and they need to use OTP authentication to try to ensure receipt:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=GXHYX22CS752PLE3&ref=ppx_pt2_dt_b_secure_deli&ie=UTF8

Discussion of why the webcomic Questionable Content has declined
https://reddit.com/r/questionablecontent/comments/1c9k5hv/why_do_you_not_like_the_comic_these_days/

More systemd crap (ironic as even Windows has recently added a sudo command for developers)
https://outpost.fosspost.org/d/19-systemd-wants-to-expand-to-include-a-sudo-replacement

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