I just installed Sage (Math) under Debian / Stretch.

One of the mundane limitations which I’ve faced in past years, when installing Computer Algebra Systems etc., under Linux, that were supposed to be open-source, was that the only game in town – almost – was either ‘Maxima’ or ‘wxMaxima’, the latter of which is a fancy GUI, as well as a document exporter, for the former.

Well one fact which the rest of the computing world has known about for some time, but which I am newly finding for myself, is that software exists called ‘SageMath‘. Under Debian / Stretch, this is ‘straightforward’ to install, just by installing the meta-package from the standard repositories, named ‘sagemath’. If the reader also wants to install this, then I recommend also installing ‘sagemath-doc-en’ as well as ‘sagetex’ and ‘sagetex-doc’. Doing this will literally pull in hundreds of actual packages, so it should only be done on a strong machine, with a fast Internet connection! But once this has been done, the result will be enjoyable:

screenshot_20180915_201139

I have just clicked around a little bit, in the SageMath Notebook viewer, which is browser-based, and which I’m sure only provides a skeletal front-end to the actual software. But there is a feature which I already like: When the user wishes to Print his or her Worksheet, doing so from the browser just opens a secondary browser-window, from which we may ‘Save Page As…’ , and when we do, we discover that the HTML which gets saved, has its own, internal ‘MathJax‘ server. What this seems to suggest at first glance, is that the equations will display typeset correctly, without depending on an external CDN. Yay!

I look forward to getting more use out of this in the near future.

(Update 09/15/2018, 21h30 : )

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Firefox Quantum now available under Debian Linux

There has been an ongoing subject, concerning Debian distributions of Linux, and Firefox upgrades. The Debian users, at least if they were restricting themselves to standard repositories, were being held back to a version of Firefox, which was referred to as Firefox-ESR, which stands for ‘Extended Support Release’. This release was receiving regular security patches, but no major upgrade in the version number, which meant that it was always at some sub-version of Firefox 52…

Well only yesterday, my two Debian / Stretch computers, which I name ‘Plato’ and ‘Klexel’, finally received a much-anticipated upgrade to Firefox Quantum, which is also known as Firefox-ESR, v60…

screenshot_20180909_114409

I am happy with Firefox Quantum, but perhaps only, because certain earlier, unstable versions of it, never made it into the Debian repositories? There is one observation about this updated browser-version which I need to make. As was announced, Mozilla dropped support for the old, ‘Netscape Plugin API’, which I had still been using to custom-compile plug-ins. Instead of using this API, up-to-date developers are being asked to use the ‘firefox-esr-dev’ package. but alas, the last time I checked, this package was not up to version 60… This package was still at version 52…

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Just Installed Kanotix Steelfire on one of my Boxes

For more than a week, I was worried about Kanotix, because their Web-site was down. But after just checking today, I found it was up again! :-)  It has been a habit of mine to install initial Debian systems, from Kanotix Live Disks.

I already posses a powerful computer which I name ‘Plato’, onto which I installed Debian / Stretch by way of an experimental Live Disk from Kanotix, but cannot fully say that that one is a Kanotix computer, because at the time, Kanotix didn’t have an official Debian / Stretch release yet. What I did have was two systems running the slightly older Debian / Jessie, and the official Kanotix release with that, is called “Kanotix Spitfire”.

But what I also had for some time, was a weaker PC that still had Debian / Lenny on it, which was an antique system, that required its own security measures, just not to pose a vulnerability to me.

My special security measure for that computer, was just never to turn it on. In fact, it had no eligible Web-browser. But like that, because the hardware was still good, this represented wasted hardware, just sitting in my computer room.

So, now that the Kanotix site is back up, what I did was to download a 32-bit, LXDE Disk Image, of “Kanotix Steelfire”, which is by now their official Debian / Stretch release. In principle many people, including Kanotix experts, would agree that it makes more sense to use as desktop manager, Plasma 5, but as it happens, the computer that just received a new O/S is so weak in terms of RAM and graphics chip-set, that I didn’t think it could handle Plasma 5.

The newly-set-up computer used to be named ‘Walnut’, but is now to be named ‘Klexel’. It has as graphics acceleration, an old Intel chip-set, which Kanotix distributions actually support, in the form of ‘i915 support’. This is neither an Nvidia, nor an AMD/ATI chip-set. But amazingly, I do have some level of direct-rendering with it, and, in addition, I have Compiz Fusion on that box now, and at least, the 3D desktop-switching belonging to Compiz works!

So now, with ‘Klexel’ wiped, I can take my time with it, and install what I think it should have. But what will slow me down a bit, is the fact that I’m not used to LXDE as a main window-manager. In the past I goofed around with LXDE a bit, but now, this is going to be Klexel’s window manager, under which the GUI is arranged differently, from what I’m used to.

(Update 09/09/2019, 15h50 … )

(As of 09/01/2018, 21h35 : )

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“Weather Widget” for Plasma 5 -based, Linux Computers

One of the observations which I’ve made about the practical use of Linux, is that in recent years and weeks, the number of weather widgets which we can use to decorate our desktops, and which provide some semblance of forecasting, has become more meager.

I suppose that one important reason may be the fact, that companies cannot extract revenues from operating servers, which simply respond to URL-requests, and which hand out weather information on that basis, for the client software to process as client wishes. Companies will only make profits these days, if they can force their clients to view advertisements.

And so recently I installed a widget, to my Debian / Stretch, Plasma 5 -based desktop computer named ‘Plato’, which is named ‘Weather Widget’, and which has the following display available:

screenshot_20180831_105340

This widget has as option to display information from ‘openweathermap.org‘, which has as intention to remain open and available.

There was a detail in how to get this widget running, that wasted some of my time yesterday, for which reason I’d like to share my experience with the reader. First of all, the preferred way to install this widget is, to right-click on the desktop, and then to left-click on “Add Widgets…”. If the desktop widgets are locked, the command must be given to unlock them first. Then, in the side-bar that appears, we click on “Get new Widgets” (at the very bottom), and then on “Download New Plasma Widgets”. In the window that appears, there’s a search field. In it, type ‘Weather’, and the widget in question should appear as available.

One great plus to adding widgets in this way, is the fact that we can do so, in user space, that is, without requiring root. However, here comes the catch: This widget will only display correctly, under Debian / Stretch, if the following two packages are installed:

  • ‘qml-module-qtgraphicaleffects’
  • ‘qml-module-qtquick-xmllistmodel’

Under other Plasma 5 -capable distributions, the same features may be provided by packages, which are named slightly differently.

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