I now have Linux installed on my Google Pixel C tablet.

As the title of this posting suggests.

I used the Android app “UserLAnd“, which does not require root. The most recent versions of this app offer a VNC Server, which emulates an X-Server within the Linux system. And the implementation of VNC is ‘TightVNC’. Plus, the latest versions of this app offer a built-in VNC Viewer, that I find makes the most, out of the tiny icons that display on the high-res screen, as well as out of the fact that often, users will want to operate the GUI with their fingers, along with the physical keyboard that my Pixel C pairs with (:7) …

Screenshot_20190831-163643

The setup of this Linux Guest System is much easier than my earlier experience was because the basic Linux distribution, the desktop manager, and certain apps can all be installed just by tapping on a few icons. And then, using the ‘sudo apt-get’ command-line, additional Debian packages can be installed.

There is an interesting side effect to this project: When I give the command:

$ cat /etc/debian_version

I obtain the result ‘10.0‘. This would mean that the Linux version which I’m getting, is the new Debian / Buster, which none of my PCs nor my Laptop are even running. However, the repositories that I’m subscribed to are labelled ‘stable’. The CPU is an ‘arm64′. And the desktop manager I chose was ‘LXDE’. I installed a full productivity suite, including LaTeX. But, I found that three Linux applications did not run:

  • LyX – The graphical, WYSIWYM LaTeX Editor (:2).
  • Synaptic – A GUI for apt-get that makes it particularly easy to browse package-repositories, before selecting which packages to install.
  • Latexdraw‘ (:1) (:6).

Everything else I tried seems to work, including “LibreOffice”, “GIMP”, “InkScape”, “Firefox ESR”. On my own, without the aid of simple GUI-buttons, I was also able to install and run “Texmaker”, “Dia”, “Xfig”, “OpenClipArt”, “Maxima” and “wxMaxima”, the Computer Algebra System and its Graphics Front-End. Getting that last item to work properly actually required that I install the package ‘fonts-jsmath’.

The Linux Guest System is currently taking up 5.37GB of my internal storage, and I finally also found out how to share files between the Guest System and the Host System. Within the Guest System, if on the Host System the root of the user folders is ‘/root/<sdcard>’, then this Host System root is mounted at ‘/host-rootfs/<sdcard>’ (within the Guest System). This means that I can open a path directly to this folder in the file-manager ‘PCManFM’, and bookmark it. (:3)

(Updated 9/07/2019, 17h40 … )

Continue reading I now have Linux installed on my Google Pixel C tablet.

Just revived the computer named ‘Klexel’.

As it stands, I have several computers, all running Linux. And one such computer which I had blogged about before, is named ‘Klexel’. This is a 32-bit computer onto which I had installed a trial version of Kanotix, in which that group of programmers was testing something which would later become a de-facto distribution named ‘Steelfire’. By now, ‘Kanotix Steelfire’ is being superseded from Kanotix, by a newer version called ‘Kantoix Silverfire’. Steelfire was based on Debian / Stretch, while Silverfire is based on the newer Debian / Buster. But, I don’t have any Kanotix Silverfire computers installed yet.

Main Kanotix distributions are generally equipped with the latest version of KDE / Plasma as their Desktop Manager, but Kanotix also generally offers one alternative, such as LXDE. My computer named ‘Klexel’ had LXDE on it from the beginning.

There was a time when I was not even turning that computer on. But now I have done so again, and installed many software updates.

Screenshot from 2019-08-27 05-37-21

 

Dirk

 

Installing Snap under Debian

The traditional way of installing software under Linux, specifically under Debian, has been, to use a package manager which accesses global repositories of software, and sometimes, to use a graphical front-end to the same package manager.

Thus, under Debian the package-manager command-line to install <somepackage> would be:

apt-get install <somepackage>

But, if we have “Synaptic” installed, that is a graphical front-end for the same set of commands, that I’ve come to like and trust. If we do not have Synaptic installed but wish to, then the way to install it from the command-line would be:

apt-get install synaptic

But what has happened in the Linux world is that this method of installing packages has become ‘boring’. There exists software which is not listed in the package repositories, and which Synaptic will therefore also not find in response to explicit searches, but which users will want to install, simply due to the evolution of software. One reason for which this software is not listed could be, that it would be tedious for package maintainers to compile, but another could be, the fact that some software is proprietary in nature, or at least partially so, so that to include it in the open-source repositories may in some cases be illegal.

And so, even Linux users will sometimes seek other ways of installing specific software, which they already know exists. And another way to do so has traditionally been, to compile this additional software from source code. But, sometimes the out-of-tree software we wish to install needs to come in the form of binaries. A recent development in this field has been, the emergence of a software-management system called “Snapcraft“. It’s based on the ‘Snappy’ package manager, that was developed by Canonical.

I’m going to assume for the moment that the reader already understands the existence of security implications, in installing binaries from anywhere except the package manager, together with the official repositories, even when those binaries are to be sandboxed. And I’m not going to explain those in this posting.

One reason for which Snappy exists, is the fact that some of the more-traditional installation scripts, for out-of-tree binaries, needed to make arbitrary assumptions about the organization of the Linux computer, and there are many different versions of Linux, which eventually lead to incompatibilities with the binary software. Their developers have had to make assumptions about how the customer’s computer was configured, and those assumptions will eventually be wrong for some versions of Linux. Snappy can circumvent this limitation, or so its developers claim. Whether it truly can or not remains to be seen, as Snappy is still in its infancy as I’m writing this. It could be that I just jumped in with a fashion trend, which may turn out just to have been a fad, as seen several years or decades in the future.

But this posting will continue on the assumption that the reader has a Debian Linux computer, but that he wishes to install Snappy anyway. Snappy was designed more with Ubuntu in mind, but is also available for Debian Linux.

(Updated 6/15/2019, 14h20 … )

Continue reading Installing Snap under Debian

Solving the recent Firefox ESR problem, with the Expired Extension Signing Certificate.

One of the problems that befell (almost all) Firefox users, midnight from May 3 to May 4, 2019, was, that many extensions which we had installed had suddenly become deactivated because an Intermediate Certificate used to sign those extensions, had simply expired. Apparently, somebody overlooked that status of the certificate in question.

To remedy this situation as quickly as possible, Mozilla offered to publish a “Study”, which is a kind of project that Firefox users can subscribe to, and the purpose of which usually is, to allow Mozilla to conduct experiments on users’ browsers. This study had as purpose however, just to install a renewed certificate.

One important piece of advice is, ‘If you are still experiencing this issue, Do not try to uninstall and reinstall the extensions. Doing so would delete all the data stored with the extensions, while simply to have them disabled, and then to have them re-enabled, will allow most extensions to keep their stored data!’

Therefore, to receive this fix, what Firefox users were advised to do, was to go into ‘Tools -> Preferences -> Privacy & Security’, and there, to Enable Studies. The problem which I experienced myself was, that this advice was not narrowed enough, for Linux users with ‘Firefox ESR’. First of all, the Linux versions of Firefox have their Preferences sub-menu under ‘Edit’, not under ‘Tools’, but that was the least significant problem. What was worse was that, under my Linux distribution, the option we were advised to check was greyed out, and could not be checked:

Screenshot_20190505_075343

(Edit 5/10/2019, 22h10 : )

Because as of this time, under Debian / Jessie as well as under Debian / Stretch, the official fix for this problem has been pushed through the package repositories, it’s no longer advisable by any means to apply the workaround described here. However, the update under Debian / Stretch was a bit slow in coming, for which reason this workaround served me well.

(End of Edit.)

However, I was able to get this feature of Firefox ESR to work anyway. And what follows is how I did that…

(Updated 5/06/2019, 16h00 … )

Continue reading Solving the recent Firefox ESR problem, with the Expired Extension Signing Certificate.