Reviewing the Librem 15

Following up on my previous post where I detailed the work I’ve been doing mostly on Purism’s website, today’s post post will cover some video work. Near the beginning of October, I received a Librem 15 v2 unit for testing and reviewing purposes. I have been using it as my main laptop since then, as I don’t believe in reviewing something without using it daily for a couple weeks at least. And so on nights and week-ends, I wrote down testing results, rough impressions and recommendations, then wrote a detailed plan and script to make the first in depth video review of this laptop. Here’s the result—not your typical 2-minutes superficial tour:

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Renommer un périphérique audio avec PulseAudio

J’ai découvert par hasard qu’on peut faire un clic droit sur le “profil” d’un périphérique dans pavucontrol pour renommer le périphérique. Or, cette fonctionnalité n’est pas disponible par défaut puisqu’il faut un module supplémentaire (sous Fedora, du moins). Pour faire un essai en temps réel:

$ pactl load-module module-device-manager
34

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Helping Purism structure its messaging

I meant to finish writing and posting this a month or two ago, but urgent tasks and life kept getting in the way. I don’t often talk about client work here, but since this is public-facing ongoing work for a company that is insanely pro-Free-Software (not just “open source”), a company that ships GNOME3 by default on their laptops (something I have awaited for years), I guess it makes sense to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.

So, for a few weeks three months now, I have been helping Purism structure its messaging and get its business in a better shape. Purism is, in itself, a hugely interesting endeavour. Heck, I could go out on a limb and say this venture, alongside the work Endless is doing, is quite possibly one of the most exciting things that has happened to the Free desktop for the past decade—and yet almost nobody heard of it.

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Back from the GNOME Summit

In my previous blog post, where I was providing an update on the 2016 GNOME Summit I was organizing in Montréal, I wrote,

With a change of attendees comes a change of the nature of the event: instead of being an extremely technical, “deep end of the pool” event as it has been in the past, this edition will be focused on newcomers and potential contributors, with presentations and workshops targetted for this purpose.

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Venez nombreux à GUADEC!

Pour la première fois depuis quatorze ans, la conférence GUADEC fait son retour en France. Je vous encourage à venir nombreux à cet événement qui se tiendra à Strasbourg durant la dernière semaine de Juillet. Je dois traverser l’Atlantique (à la nage), prendre plusieurs avions et autobus pour y aller, alors pas d’excuses pour ceux situés à moins de 6000 km!

“GUADEC, ça a un intérêt pour quelqu’un qui n’est pas un développeur?”

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Le chiffrement des partitions Linux d’un ordinateur de bureau est-il utile?

Pendant des années, j’ai eu un item sur ma liste de choses à faire: chiffrer (encrypter) le disque dur de données de mon ordinateur de bureau personnel. Parce que… que se passerait-il si je me faisais cambrioler?

computer thief
Ouais. C’est totalement comme ça que ça se passe en réalité.

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Unity and the post-Snowden world

I typically don’t listen to podcasts or watch talk shows, but the 29nd episode of the 2nd season of the Linux Action Show was referred to me and it does have a very interesting part where they discuss the usability and privacy issues around the latest iteration of Canonical’s “Unity” interface. The ten minutes where these guys discussed the matter were surprisingly thought-provoking even for someone like me who was already aware of privacy issues.

The part where they discuss the usability problems and relevance of “smart scopes” search results is between 51 minutes 40 seconds and 55 minutes.

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Privacy does not exist — it never did

Warning: this is certainly a depressing post.

The NSA/PRISM/big brother scandal of late didn’t surprise nor shock me. The discovery that “the NSA probably silently circumvents/broke all our crypto and hid backdoors everywhere” is not really a discovery to geeks who have given the whole system a bit of thought — spies are spying on us, and they’re not telling us that our GPG keys or disk encryption are not sufficient to guard against them? No sh**, Sherlock!

What kept me relatively optimistic about the whole thing is that running a fully open-source software stack on your computer gives you long-term protection, in theory. Sure, it probably has backdoors planted by the NSA right now (you may now begin the witch hunt), but the increased awareness and outrage from recent events means (hopefully) that we’ll weed out those vulnerabilities with more audits, ruthless efficiency and an almost fanatical devotion to security.

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Prenez garde aux tabloïdes de l’open-source

En tant que contributeur à divers logiciels libres, j’en ai marre de voir comment ils sont traités dans la « presse » en ligne. J’ai procrastiné un mois sur la publication de ce billet: le rédiger me prend déjà toute ma motivation pour combattre le sentiment de DonQuichottude par rapport au phénomène, surtout lorsque je crains d’être fustigé pour ce qui pourrait être perçu comme une attaque personnelle envers les sites de nouvelles que je vais citer plus bas.

Image de Chandler Reed, citation d’un livre que vous connaissez sûrement

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Lightworks is not anywhere close to open-source

I’ve seen everybody hail Lightworks as the messiah that will make all other open source video editors irrelevant. So far, I didn’t blog about this (because frankly, life’s too short to be pessimistic, and I was also quite curious as to how it would play out and wanted to give EditShare the benefit of the doubt—after all, I’m a fan of video editing software in general).

However, after all these years, most of the blogs or news sites (including the most popular ones) still don’t bother checking for factual accuracy and just blindly accept what corporate press releases would have them believe. I would have thought they would have grown more careful with time, but the situation has generally not improved, to the point where I am now compelled to say this now, officially, in public: Lightworks is currently not open-source and never has been. Furthermore, if it ever is open-sourced, it most likely won’t be anywhere close to a truly open project.

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PulseAudio 2.0 + Empathy = awesome

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for months. You may remember me being a fan of SFLphone. Well, turns out that for the past year, I’ve been using only Empathy to do my VoIP calls. All you need to do is install telepathy-rakia to have SIP support (and then you can use Ctrl+M to start dialing a number). Even though Empathy is not perfect, I like it: it’s a standard component of the GNOME desktop, it uses GStreamer and PulseAudio, and it keeps getting better every six months.

Recently, a significant piece of the puzzle has been fully solved in PulseAudio 2.0: real, rock-solid acoustic echo cancelling. Echo cancelling is not to be confused with echo concealment/suppression, which is basically just muting the other person while you’re talking (most phones and software applications—including Skype—do that, and it sucks).

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Investigating Liferea’s startup performance

Last week, Lars Lindner provided us with an early christmas gift when he announced that a new stable release of our beloved feed reader was now available. First, I would like to applaud him for his continued efforts over the years in maintaining this handy and high quality application. Many users like me have been patiently waiting for the 1.8 release in the hope that it would finally solve the infamous performance problems of the 1.4 and 1.6 series. However, while I can’t speak of the performance once the app is launched, the startup performance has not met my expectations (in some cases, it has regressed). This blog post is intended to share my findings (which I discussed with Lars) and to invite you to comment on possible solutions.

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Fedora pour un habitué d’Ubuntu, prise deux

NDLR: article mis à jour en juillet 2015 pour prendre en compte le fait que YUM a été remplacé par DNF comme gestionnaire de paquets par défaut dans Fedora 22.

Vous vous souviendrez peut-être de la première tentative un peu infructueuse, suivie de mon désenchantement envers Ubuntu/Canonical m’ayant amené à sérieusement réévaluer Fedora 15 comme plateforme de choix pour être à la pointe des avancées de GNOME et de Linux en général.

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