NSA: Please Turn off the Lights When You Leave. Nothing to See Here.

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz shows how the general public can take action to truly protect their privacy using GnuPG with Evolution email. Read the details.

Mailvelope for Chrome: PGP Encrypted Email Made Easy

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz officially endorses what he deems is a truly secure, easy to use PGP email encryption program. Read the details.

Step off Microsoft's License Treadmill to FOSS Linux

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds CIOs that XP Desktops destined for MS end of life support can be reprovisioned with FOSS Linux to run like brand new. Read how.

Bitcoin is NOT Money -- it's a Commodity

Linux Advocate shares news that the U.S. Treasury will treat Bitcoin as a Commodity 'Investment'. Read the details.

Google Drive Gets a Failing Grade on Privacy Protection

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz puts out a public service privacy warning. Google Drive gets a failing grade on protecting your privacy.

Email: A Fundamentally Broken System

Email needs an overhaul. Privacy must be integrated.


Cookie Cutter Distros Don't Cut It


The 'Linux Inside' Stigma - It's real and it's a problem.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Turn a Deaf Ear

Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz reminds readers of a long ago failed petition by Mathematician Prof. Donald Knuth for stopping issuance of Software Patents.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Boycott Mozilla: CEO Brendan Eich Reveals Gay Bias

By Dietrich Schmitz

[Edit 4/3/2014 17:00 GMT-5: Brendan Eich steps down as Mozilla CEO ]


It never ceases to amaze me how narrow-minded and judgmental people can be.  Scary even.

I have worked with many people from different walks of life and can tell you that first-hand experience tells me that 'intolerance' is a form of hatred and leads to extremism.  The world is filled with extremists who unfortunately seek to further their own agendas at the expense of others, and who have created misery and death. (Image right: Brendan Eich)

So, that makes me what?  Anti-Extremist?  I hope so.  And I really don't like to see when a cross-section of 'Human Beings' is simply marginalized as though they should not be conferred equal rights.

It's time to take a stand against recently appointed Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich who has taken sides on Proposition 8 in favor of restricting the right to marry to heterosexuals only.

Gay people who want to marry, should, I believe, have as much a right to do so as any other sexually-oriented group.  Their love for one another is just as strong as yours and mine.  They feel the same things we do, share the same life hopes and desires, and deserve like treatment.  That should be obvious.  Sadly, it is not.

With that, I am making a statement:

If Brendan Eich does not step down from Mozilla, I will no longer use any Mozilla product whatsoever.

It is wrong in my judgment and Mozilla need a CEO who is 'fair and balanced' with respect not only to technical acumen but also with how they relate to others in real-world terms.

Thus, Dear Reader, I ask you to join me in boycotting Mozilla as well.

Collectively, we can influence Mozilla Governance to reconsider appointing a qualified replacement CEO candidate having unbiased, even-handed thinking.

-- Dietrich

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mailvelope for Chrome: PGP Encrypted Email Truly Made Easy

by Dietrich Schmitz

I've spent considerable time researching the question: Is there an easy to use software that will let you email using PGP encryption?

The answer after several days looking, I am happy to report is 'YES'!

The software is an extension for Google Chrome called Mailvelope.

Watch the below video to help you to configure and use Mailvelope.

I am endorsing Mailvelope as the 'easiest' software, 'to date', and can assure you that if you create your PGP with a minimum of 2048-bit key length, the NSA will never be able to read your email. NEVER.

Please take control of your email privacy with Mailvelope.

Questions, concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.

Be well. Be safe. -- Dietrich

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Step off Microsoft's Cost-Prohibitive License Treadmill to FOSS Linux

by Dietrich Schmitz

Step off Microsoft's Cost-Prohibitive License Treadmill to FOSS Linux.  Linux Advocate Dietrich Schmitz explains why.
These are critical times when many CIOs are budget planning and need to make across the Enterprise costly hardware refreshes -- especially now, given that Microsoft is officially ending support for the aged Windows XP on April 8, 2014.

Naturally, Microsoft licensing doesn't allow license transfer to new hardware. That's too bad. Because, it means, if your concern insists on staying with proprietary Microsoft Windows (x86 Legacy), it must be in full compliance with their licensing terms and so, not buying new hardware with ancillary licensing for software application upgrades is unavoidable.

It's good for Microsoft -- they recoup dollars on the operating system upgrade, and they also garner additional revenue for any Microsoft software applications your concern may need on each Desktop.  But that adds up quickly in terms of multiple machines across the Enterprise and puts pressure to bear on already tight IT budgets.  Now the remainder of those 'hold outs' XP Desktops must be dealt with.  Yet another round of costly refreshes to avoid the April 8, 2014 end of support deadline.  Ughhhh.

That refresh scenario has been a given for many years and Microsoft naturally while providing a service reaps the benefits of making the licensee pay for what I prefer to call 'recycled bits' of software.  Much of it is the same bits recompiled with a new face, or gui.  Sure there are software feature enhancements but I would submit that most offices won't use more than 20% of Office's features.

CIOs are effectively 'married' to Microsoft and being 'coerced' to refresh their hardware when they logically know full well that Windows XP would have been 'good enough' easily for another five years.

Forego the deadline?  Nope.  Can't risk it.  Enterprise systems must be available 24x7 and your job is on the line.  You have no choice.  Or, do you?

Step off Microsoft's cost-prohibitive License treadmill today. That XP Desktop system may be ten years old, but it still remains a 'fact' that it is a perfectly viable piece of hardware.

Fedora 20 LXDE Linux running LibreOffice 4.2.2

It can be 'repurposed' and given a 'new lease' on life by simply installing Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Linux (Fedora is my recommendation) along with a vast repository of free software and support.

It's a 'no brainer' really. 

So, how many XP Desktops did you say are ready for the dumpster in your organization? The CFO should be happy to learn that you are effectively zeroeing out thousands of dollars of additional expense by switching to Linux.

Please.  Don't throw that XP Desktop away.  Be frugal.  Most of all, be smart. Reprovision it with FOSS Linux.  It will run like new.

-- Dietrich

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014


 by +Max Wachtel 

Antergos is an arch-based distro that aims to be user-friendly. It is fairly new and the installer that I am using is the testing version which has come a long way. They recommend using either the suse usb maker or dd (I went with dd). My computer, a HP/Compaq 6510b laptop, booted into Gnome with the wireless working which is needed because the installer downloads fresh. The sound works and this laptop has touch controls for sound and wireless which are working. The installer (cnchi) came up automagically.

                                   I chose the graphical installer

                          Then cnchi checks internet and disk space

                                            and set the language

                                                  and location

                                              now set keyboard

                                         next, choose Desktop

                        and then you choose what software you want

                  next, you choose where you want to insall Antergos.

                                                then click GO!

      the install took about 15 min, then rebooted into my new system

                         the package mgr for Antergos is pacmanXG

                                   and there is a lot it can do

     but it is based on arch so you can do it all with the command line

Over the past few weeks I've tried the gnome version of ubuntu, fedora, openSUSE and debian and none of them was as responsive as Antergos. I must say though, I don't mind using the terminal but having a graphical interface makes looking for programs eaiser. Between the offical arch repo and the arch user repo, I found all the programs I use in other distros. As I've always heard good things about arch but taking the better part of a day just to get to a usable desktop is a bit much for me. Antergos gives me what I want without the hassle! And if you get stuck, they have a very frendly and helpful forum.

On the inside it comes with chromium, music/video players and as I chose to include proprietary software, all media played without fuss. I like Clementine for audio and VLC for video and using pacmanXG is fast and easier than some of the 'others' that seem to take forever to finish. LibreOffice software is included but I removed it and installed Kingsoft along with abiword and gnumeric. I use Google Chrome instead of chromium and getting it, Dropbox and SpiderOak installed was fast and they were up and running in no time. I have a small home network and the arch wiki was very helpful in getting samba going.

All in all, I am very impressed with this distro and will be sharing it with all my friends. It's ease of installation is a big plus in my book and using arch as a base, they have a large selection of software for their users.  -- Max
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Sunday, March 2, 2014

On Good Design, Standards, and Divisiveness

by Dietrich Schmitz

I am shaking my head and letting out a chuckle.  Because today, I read how Ubuntu, or, Canonical Ltd., in their own infinite wisdom have decided to reinstate 'Menus' in select applications, including Nautilus.

Good grief.  So, throwing the baby out with the bath water wasn't a good idea after all?

I should say not.

I've been dead set against Unity from the beginning and have taken the position that it represents in its great desire to be 'different' a net software regression.

Removing menus was a mistake and flies in the face of common sense and good sound design principles.

That with a host of other changes which have essentially given Canonical Ltd firm control of their software development, including Mir, have placed them in total isolation from the community at large and distinguish Ubuntu as the only Distro that uses the novel Unity graphical user interface.

Arguably, they have made some technology advancements, but to many, they have created a rift and wholesale development shift in avoidance of Unity and its attendant technical issues entirely.

Wayland fortunately continues to progress and paves the way for Distros which plan to migrate away from the aged and complicated X.org Display driver semantics.  This is a bridge that will be crossed soon and Mir will be the singular X.org replacement going forward for Ubuntu, unless they reverese their position and current thinking.  It would really be in their best interests to support Wayland so as to be uniform with all upstream development but then Canonical Ltd., would yield control away from sole ownership of Mir and have to 'cow-tow' to the community or at least make an attempt to 'cooperate' and contribute to Wayland.

But, that is the way it is.  Live by the sword, die by the sword.  Canonical Ltd. has made their own strategic business decisions and must live with them.  It's not too late for them to come to their senses and drop Mir and support Wayland.  It would be a good move.

+Mark Shuttleworth you've done the right thing by standardizing on systemd.  Don't be divisive.  Adopt Wayland and dump the Mir project.  Do the right thing.

-- Dietrich

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