* Posts by Steve Graham

546 posts • joined 21 May 2007


New audio server Pipewire coming to next version of Ubuntu

Steve Graham

Re: Another Sound Server

Yes, ALSA can do much more than the basics, but the documentation is skimpy and obscure, and the configuration syntax is peculiar.

I've fiddled with it a bit in the past. You can create virtual sound devices and mix them down to a real device, solving the "can't play two sources at once" problem. Or, the other way round, you can "tee" a single source into multiple sound cards. You can even route sound to a capture file if you want to steal streamed content.

Of course, the process always involves searching the internet for someone else's solution to a similar problem, and then guessing what changes are needed to make it do what you want.

Logitech Pop: Stylish, portable, but far from the best typing experience

Steve Graham

Off subject...

When I clicked the link to the Keychron site, my script blocker informed me that it was trying to run javascript from 43 different domains. That's a record for me.

D-Wave deploys first US-based Advantage quantum system

Steve Graham

Amusing that they've adopted the phrase "Leap quantum cloud service", reminding us of "Magic Leap", who were/are another bunch of scammers promoting technology which didn't do what they said it did.

Apple to replace future iPhone Lightning port with USB-C next year, this guy claims

Steve Graham

Re: "The UK Government"

Thank goodness the UK gorvernment doesn't go in for spending "£millions on overpaid studies, long lunches and endless debate"!

OpenVMS on x86-64 reaches production status with v9.2

Steve Graham

Re: VMS...

It took me years to completely unlearn command abbreviation when we switched to SunOS.

Unity and Trinity: New releases for forks of abandoned Linux desktops

Steve Graham

I still haven't worked out what a "desktop environment" is for. I use a window manager (openbox).

Fedora starts to simplify Linux graphics handling

Steve Graham

"grub2 reduces surface area, syslinux goes away entirely"?

I converted all my home machines from Grub2 to extlinux precisely because Grub2 is large and complex and is designed to handle so many boot situations that I couldn't trust it to be secure. (Extlinux is the variant of syslinux that boots from ordinary hard drives with ordinary filesystems. The things that apply to the vast majority of Linux boxes.)

Why the Linux desktop is the best desktop

Steve Graham

Re: re. Anyone who tells you Linux is hard to use wasn't paying attention

My permanent working set-up is a Fuji laptop alongside a television, with both screens active. I can, if I want to for some reason, use a GUI tool, arandr, to change the resolution of either screen on the fly. The window manager and hardware just co-operate without a complaint.

My "set top box" is a Linux netbook connected to the big television. No problems there either.

First Light says it's hit nuclear fusion breakthrough with no fancy lasers, magnets

Steve Graham

Gullible Reg

Not a shred of critical analysis in the article. It would have been less effort to just print the press release.

National Security Agency employee indicted for 'leaking top secret info'

Steve Graham

Re: Thing about the NSA

I don't think you're right at all. I've never knowingly* met someone who worked for the NSA, but when I was at BT I had meetings with a number of GCHQ fellow nerds, and some of them were top class. Well up to my standard. ;-)

*There was a building on the business estate in Reston, Virginia where I worked which was rumoured to be CIA.

GParted 1.4: New version of live partition-manipulation tool

Steve Graham

It's a useful tool, but one piece of stupidity is that it insists on being called by an actual root user. Even if you're logged in as an admistraror-type account with full privileges to access the hardware: nope.

The wild world of non-C operating systems

Steve Graham


Our VAX 11/780 came with a complete set of source code... on microfiche. I spent many an hour studying the BLISS and Macro. (Many files signed by the legendary Dave Cutler.)

The VAX instruction set is probably the most elegant CISC set that I've ever programmed in. The National Semiconductor 32000-series was directly inspired by it, so I've always thought that it was a pity that the bastard x86 won.

GNOME 42's inconsistent themes are causing drama

Steve Graham

I'm sticking to Xorg until the majority realise that Wayland is the SystemD of graphical technology.

Steve Graham

Re: Arrogance reminiscent of Microsoft (i.e. just suck it up).......that would be the GNOME folk!

Many years ago, I realised that I didn't know what a "desktop environment" was useful for. So I just installed Openbox and the various tools and utilities I needed, some of them from the XFCE stable.

C: Everyone's favourite programming language isn't a programming language

Steve Graham

Re: Nothing new, kinda pathetic really

I've got a plastic folder right here that has a sticker I picked up at a computer show. It says "I've seen THE LAST ONE".

Fancy some new features? Try general-purpose Linux alternative Liquorix

Steve Graham

Re: I'm guessing that Devuan might [not] be able to use the Debian kernel?

# cd /usr/src

# cp linux-A.B.C/.config linux-A.B.D/

# cd linux-A.B.D/

# yes "" | make oldconfig

# make ; make modules_install ; make install

make cup of coffee

I've been compiling Linux kernels specific to my own machines for years, and I think I only had one that failed (I can't remember why) although I occasionally do one that doesn't boot if I've been fiddling with something.

Chromium-adjacent Otter browser targets OS/2

Steve Graham

When I moved house a few years ago, I found the 14 install floppies for OS/2 v3 in the attic, and the version with 2 install floppies and a CD. I spent more than a day trying to get either version to install in a Linux Qemu VM, but gave up in the end. I could get it to bring up the GUI once after installing, but then the next time I booted the supposedly installed image, it asked for the floppies again. I was probably pretty close but got bored.

Critical 'remote escalation' flaw in Android 12 fixed in Feb security patch batch

Steve Graham

Re: Extended support?

If anyone's interested, the microG LineageOS build for the Pixel 5a installed and seems to be working perfectly.

One minor hiccup was that when I booted Google Android for what was supposed to be the one and only time so that I could unlock the bootloader, the relevant option -- OEM unlocking -- was disabled. The internet suggested that this would go away if I put in a SIM and/or connected to wifi. I did both, and one or the other did the trick. (Now when I reboot the phone, it tells me that the unlocked bootloader is a security risk. I can put up with that.)

Steve Graham
Big Brother

Extended support?

My Nokia 5 is now out of support and gets no updates, so I've bitten the bullet and ordered a new, mid-range phone. I'm getting a Pixel 5a, mainly because it's got a decent spec and is not fecking ginormous, compared to most of its competitors. (I know the iPhone 13 mini is a handy size, but I will always stay clear of the Apple tar pit.)

The new phone hasn't arrived yet, but I've already researched how to put LineageOS on it. In fact, I think I'll use the microG builds of LineageOS to put even more distance between Google and myself.

Linux distros haunted by Polkit-geist for 12+ years: Bug grants root access to any user

Steve Graham

Re: Polkit

It's a mechanism for bypassing normal Unix-style permissions. I've always regarded it as an accident waiting to happen, and make sure that none of my Linux boxes have it.

Wolfing down ebooks during lockdown? You might want to check out Calibre, the Swiss Army ebook tool

Steve Graham

Re: Upwards thumb

And the search & replace function supports regular expressions. (I'm an old Perl hacker.)

I had one book, supposedly in UTF-8 encoding, but all the 2-byte characters were wrong -- fancy quotes, em-dashes and the like -- and I was able to search for anything between 0x00ff and 0xffff, work out what they should have been, and replace all occurrences of that character.

Russia starts playing by the rules: FSB busts 14 REvil ransomware suspects

Steve Graham

Note to Sub-Ed: FSB is not, technically, "military".

Steve Graham

Re: "few expected Russia to arrest ransomware gang members before today"

Read the article again, more carefully.

Canon: Chip supplies are so bad that our ink cartridges will look as though they're fakes

Steve Graham

Re: No Driver Update?

Operating system upgrade to Linux and Bob's your uncle.

Never mind the Panic button – there's a key to Compose yourself

Steve Graham

I use Linux just with Openbox, not any of the desktop environments, which means that I have to set my Xorg keyboard with a call to setxkbmap in my .xinitrc file. I've created my own layout file, (which lives in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/). Unfortunately, it's a mix of compose sequences using AltGr as the compose key, and shift combinations using AltGr as a special shift. It's all a bit of a mess.

I read somewhere that only English and Hawaiian use the Latin alphabet without accents (on native words). Fortunately, I mostly type in one of those two.

Ceefax replica goes TITSUP* as folk pine for simpler times

Steve Graham

Re: old VHS

The Italian national broadcaster, RAI, still has a teletext service, and does subtitles this way. I know this because I can read Italian better than I can hear it.

Electric fastback fun: Now you can surf the web from the driving seat of your Polestar 2

Steve Graham

Re: Cue the anti-moving work-around in 3, 2, 1...

There are various Android head units from China, all very similar in both hardware and software. I have one in my 14-year-old car that looks like an OEM stereo, but not from 14 years ago.

There is a sytem setting to enable or disable playing videos while driving. The device has an interface to the car's CANbus, so it can tell if it's moving. There's nothing to stop me using a web browser though. The one I have on it is not Vivaldi (which is my main desktop browser) but Kiwi, which can use Chrome plugins, such as Ublock Origin, Privacy Badger and ScriptSafe. I don't think Android Vivaldi can do that.

Developer creates ‘Quite OK Image Format’ – but it performs better than just OK

Steve Graham

Re: Colour me impressed...

"I can't believe anybody actually thinks that's how broadcast TV is supposed to look."

I have a Humax Freesat decoder for UK television and a (German) Edision one for Italian television. The basic Freesat SD channels are grotesquely bad for blocks and similar artefacts. The Italian SD ones are sharp and clear. For HD channels, the difference is less, but the Italian ones still win.

Bad things come in threes: Apache reveals another Log4J bug

Steve Graham

Re: Open Source Has Failed

What are the chances that some people here will not get the joke, even though you've piled the irony right to the ceiling?

Pop!_OS 21.10: Radical distro shows potential but does not play nicely with others

Steve Graham

Re: "Pop doesn't install GRUB; it uses systemd-boot"

I agree that replacing GRUB in a distro is probably not a good decision, but I'm not fond of it myself (although all my systems use it). It seems to have succumbed to the usual GNU process of accumulating cruft to deal with many edge cases. I've pondered replacing it with EXTLINUX, which can't do much else than boot Linux off an ext4 filesystem on a SATA disk, but that's all I ever need.

Gnu Nano releases version 6.0 of text editor, can now hide UI frippery

Steve Graham

I broke a few config files before I learned to put

set nowrap

set softwrap

in my .nanorc

Is it decadent that I use four different computers each day, at different times?

Steve Graham

Re: A Sage solution

I've just bought a Kobo Libra 2 and I'm very pleased with it. It will auto-rotate the text to landscape, or left-handed, and supports headphones. Those are two of the Kindle shortcomings mentioned.

Shocking: UK electricity tariffs are among world's most expensive

Steve Graham

This morning, I got a letter from Power NI to say that from the start of January, their prices will increase. By 21.4%.

Reviving a classic: ThinkPad modder rattles tin to fund new motherboard for 2008's T60 and T61 series of laptops

Steve Graham

I have a T61 still working. However, I've replaced the fan once, and now the new one is making noises.

Nuclear fusion firm Pulsar fires up a UK-built hybrid rocket engine

Steve Graham

Fusion? Fusion? Yes, we're working on revolutionary technology, but look at our rocket engine!

They don't even have a Magic Leap video presentation.

Server errors plague app used by Tesla drivers to unlock their MuskMobiles

Steve Graham

My (petrol) car has the battery under the boot floor. From outside, the boot lid only opens electrically but there is an internal emergency release. I make damned sure that the physical key for the driver's door is kept lubricated and working.

Ubuntu desktop team teases 'proof of concept' systemd on Windows Subsystem for Linux

Steve Graham

"Currently, my systemd at pid 1 has 178kB ram and roughtly 0% cpu."

Why is your init system still running after startup? Is it buggy?

Bullseye! Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS scores an update with 'less closed-source proprietary code'

Steve Graham


If you want fancy effects with openbox (shadows, rounded corners, translucent windows: that sort of thing), you can run a compositor called "compton". On my system, it has just 42Mb of memory allocated (at least, that's what pmem says). It's in the Debian/Devuan repos.

Calendars have gone backwards since the Bronze Age. It's time to evolve

Steve Graham

"Nowhere in the archaeological or historical record, however, is the madness recorded of two calendars installed side by side but showing different things."

Look up "Synod of Whitby".

Devuan debuts version 4.0 – as usual without a hint of the hated systemd

Steve Graham

I never installed Devuan. I just changed the repo location and when a package was upgraded, it got the Devuan one. After several years, I don't think I have any original Debian packages left un-upgraded.

All my machines still use sysv init in spite of the fact that I've disliked it since my first encounter (Solaris in 1993?). I must investigate some of the alternatives, in the next few decades.

Android OS vendor variants transmit data with no opt-out

Steve Graham

Re: Ok, I have a question

I have wifi "turned off" on my stock Android Nokia. Yet, somehow, my home router is showing it associated with the AP at 1Mbit/s. (No active DHCP leases, and yet it has an IP address?)

Want to support Firefox? Great, you'll have no problem with personalised, sponsored search suggestions then

Steve Graham

Re: Why do devs insist on trying this?

Call me a nerd, but every so often I load Google Maps just to see where it thinks I am this time. It's usually within about 100km.

I actually have given permission for the browser to blab my location, but a plugin, Location Guard, constantly feeds it lies. Google just uses IP address until you click on their bullseye icon.

Running a recent Apache web server version? You probably need to patch it. Now

Steve Graham

I have 2 Apaches in my home network. Running the referenced exploit on packetstormsecurity.com I get "Bad Request" in both cases. 2.4.37 and 2.4.43 - will update when Devuan repo does.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the BBC stage a very British coup to rescue our data from Facebook and friends

Steve Graham


No. Independent research shows that the BBC is institutionally pro-government and pro-establishment. Hardly surprising when the majority of the management and journalists went to the same public schools and Oxbridge colleges as the current Cabinet.

Tories whine about lack of balance because they are accustomed to the blatant bias of the billionaire-owned press. Anything less biased upsets them.

Internet Archive's 2046 Wayforward Machine says Google will cease to exist

Steve Graham

Re: Hmmm... decisions decisions

We have both systems in the UK. With FPTP for Westminster, a party that two-thirds of the voters oppose can form a government. With a form of Proportional Representation, Single Transferable Vote, used for the devolved assemblies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, you vote for individual candidates. Your idea of the politicians carving things up without regard to the voters sounds like some of the list-based versions of PR. I don't care much for those myself, but they aren't a necessary consequence of PR.

Revealed: How to steal money from victims' contactless Apple Pay wallets

Steve Graham

Re: How long before

I have an "educational" card skimming app on my Android phone (a Nokia 5). It only works if the card is physically touching the back of the phone, so the device would be useless for nefarious purposes. Maybe other phones have better hardware.

CutefishOS: Unix-y development model? Check. macOS aesthetic? Check (if you like that sort of thing)

Steve Graham

When was the last time you saw a Linux desktop? This century?

DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats sue NYC for trying to permanently cap delivery fees

Steve Graham

The three largest food deliverers in NY are cooperating in a lawsuit? Doesn't that make them a cartel?

Spring tears down math geek t-shirt listing because it dared to mention the trademarked word 'zeta'

Steve Graham

Re: "The Greek alphabet is currently protected legally"

"Every single word in English is a "loan word" from another language as far as I'm aware"

That's an absurd statement.

(Incidentally, this is my "specialist subject", apart from programming in C and Perl and playing bass guitar.)

English developed from the languages spoken by the Anglo-Saxon invaders of Britain. All of the vocabulary we have from that time is native, and has parallels in Dutch, Danish, and the various forms of German. Not loanwords.

However, English does have a different history to Dutch or German -- or Frisian, our closest relative -- in that it did acquire Scandinavian words and grammar from the Viking occupations; and then French from the Norman conquest.

But, having said that, you can construct a modern English text which uses only Anglo-Saxon words, all of which are traceable back to a prehistoric, Indo-European source.

I can read Beowulf when it's put into standardized West Saxon, but the original manuscript has some dialect forms which I need to look up.

Steve Graham

Re: "The Greek alphabet is currently protected legally"

Um, Latin too, clearly. Maybe it was about modern languages.



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