Ubuntu 21.10 released

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Two days ago, Canonical announced the release of Ubuntu Linux 21.10, codenamed Impish Indri.

Ubuntu 21.10 wallpaper

Canonical’s CEO Mark Shuttleworth said of the release:

As open source becomes the new default, we aim to bring Ubuntu to all the corners of the enterprise and all the places developers want to innovate. From the biggest public clouds to the tiniest devices, from DGX servers to Windows WSL workstations, open source is the springboard for new ideas and Ubuntu makes that springboard safe, secure and consistent.

This latest Ubuntu release is a short-term one with nine months of support that precedes the next long-term support (LTS) version, Ubuntu 22.04.

The new release’s default desktop interface is GNOME 40, whilst there have also been some updates to the distribution’s default desktop programs, which now include the LibreOffice 7.2 office productivity suite, the Thunderbird 91 e-mail client, and the Firefox 92 web browser.

Ubuntu 21.10 is available for immediate download for 64-bit systems (32-bit support ceased some time ago. Ed.)

Introducing Ubuntu Frame

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Earlier this month, Canonical, the company behind the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution, announced the release of Ubuntu Frame

With Ubuntu Frame, developers no longer need to integrate and maintain partial solutions such as DRM, KMS, input protocols or security policies to power and secure their displays. This means less code to manage, fewer opportunities for bugs and vulnerabilities in untried code and more time for developing the display’s content.

Ubuntu Frame screenshot

Ubuntu Frame screenshot

When developing Ubuntu Frame, the goal was to minimise the development and deployment time for building graphic solutions for edge devices by leveraging existing applications and hardening security techniques. Ubuntu Frame is therefore compatible with toolkits such as Flutter, Qt, GTK, Electron and SDL2. Furthermore, it also has a solution for applications based on HTML5 and Java, inter alia. It is also worth mentioning that Ubuntu Frame’s users benefit from easy configuration and deployment options thanks to snaps, which is being heralded asthe next-generation package format for Linux.

Ubuntu Frame provides developers with all they need to deploy fully interactive applications: it comes with all the interfaces applications need to communicate securely with the host machine without developers needing to deal with the specific hardware. It also automatically enables all the functionality that end-users expect while interacting with digital displays, such as input from touchscreens, keyboard and mouse. Developers also don’t need to worry about window behaviours and dynamics since they are all configured.

Commenting on the launch, Michał Sawicz, Smart Displays Engineering Manager at Canonical said the following:

Ubuntu Frame’s reliability has been widely tested in the field. Its technology has been in development for over 7 years and in production for 5 years, using state-of-the-art techniques, and deployed in production to Linux desktop and mobile users. As such, Ubuntu Frame is one of the most mature graphical servers available today for embedded devices.

Meet Tokyo’s litter samurai

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In Tokyo there’s a special team of you men and women who help keep the streets clean with some elegant and graceful moves they perform whilst dressed in traditional Japanese robes and Western trilby hats.

Known as Gomihiroi Samurai (“litter-picking Samurai”), these environmentally conscious individuals have a unique approach to clean streets, as can be seen below.

The group have gained popularity on social media site TikTok, where they have gained over 300,000 followers, as well as on InstagramFacebook and YouTube.

They’re all street performers and one of them, Naka Keisuke, told France 24 that the group thought they’d like to welcome visitors from around the world to a clean city when it was announced that Tokyo had been chosen for the last Olympic Games.

Given Bristol’s love for street performers, they’d go down a storm in the litter capital of the West Country… if they weren’t worn out by the sheer amount of filth.

A brief reminder

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From my Twitter feed, a not so subtle hint as to why the use of contraception is not only important for controlling population and family size, but also to reduce the world’s quota of idiots, pathological liars, charlatans, egotists, philanderers,…

Poster featuring Boris Johnson worded Durex could have prevented this

As this post is being written, news has arrived that the lazy so-and-so is on holiday.

Again!

Daily Brexit: promises versus reality

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The Daily Express, aka the Daily Brexit in some circles, was one of the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for the English Empire (which some still call the United Kingdom. Ed.) to leave to European Union, which if not promising a land flowing with biblical milk and honey, it was at the very least holding out the prospect of one where cake could both be had and eaten.

However, the reality of being a third country and the spite, nastiness and xenophobia that have exemplified the British government and media’s attitude to our European friends and partners (© part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson) and development since 21st December 2020 have made the Daily Brexit’s mission of being upbeat about the country’s splendid isolation more difficult, as shown by evidence from its own post-Brexit headlines.

How it started How it’s going
On the left pre-referendum headlines. On the right post-referendum reality headlines

Easton road unofficially renamed

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On 11th October 1721 Bristol-born slave trader, insider share dealer, financier, religious bigot and former Tory MP for the city Edward Colston died at his home in Mortlake, then in Surrey, now in south west London.

In his will Eddie the Slaver left £50,000 for good causes in the city of Bristol, provided not one penny was spent on Catholics or non-conformists. This bequest formed the basis of the charitable works carried out to this day by the city’s secretive and elitist Society of Merchant Venturers.

In the late 19th century the Victorian fathers around the country – and they were all male and rich – were looking round for examples of former local worthies to commemorate. Bristol’s business and civic elite were no different in this respect from their counterparts elsewhere and chose this immoral man with blood on his hands for this philanthropy, even though we would now regard Colston’s wealth as blood money, i.e obtained at the expense of the life of others.

As memorials to his beneficence, a statue was erected to Colston in the city centre in 1895, whilst one of the city’s main entertainment venues was named after him, along with two city centre streets – Colston Street and Colston Avenue.

After the Colston statue was toppled last summer and then taken for an unscheduled bath in the city docks, the city council announced that both Colston Street and Colston Avenue would revert to the names they had for centuries – Steep Street and St. Augustine’s Back (or Bank) respectively – before they removed from the city’s street plan by the Cult of Colston.

Colston's empty plinth after the Black Lives Matter protest

In the east Bristol district of Easton, which underwent major development and expansion in the late 19th century, one of the new streets was named Colston Road in pursuit of this devotion to his cult. Despite years of clamour by Easton residents for the area’s slaver trader memorial street to be renamed, nothing happened (despite the road in question being home to one serving and one former city councillor. Ed.),so locals have now taken matters into their own hands.

Colston Road sign over-sprayed with Toppled Rd.

Your ‘umble scribe has been in touch with serving Easton ward councillor Barry Parsons about the inordinate amount of time Bristol City Council is taking to rename Slaver’s Road BS5.

Barry has been in touch with the council’s Street Naming and Numbering Officer, who is responsible for the naming and renaming of streets within Bristol’s boundaries. The Council’s street renaming policy requires full written consent from the owners of every property affected for a change of name. If such consent is forthcoming, the council the initiates a formal notice period for the name change where notices are erected on the street and wider objections can be made to the courts.

Why are efforts to rename Easton’s Slaver’s Road taking so long? The answer could lie in the fact that the road has 130 residential properties, many of them in the hands of absentee landlords, so obtaining written consent from so many disparate persons is an onerous task. However, your correspondent understands that efforts are underway, probably with that lack of alacrity so typical of BBC, to lower the threshold to 80 per cent.

The Severn Sea

Yesterday your correspondent took a break from the inner city and headed by rail to the North Somerset Coast at Weston-super-Mare.

Plenty of good, fresh air and healthy exercise was had, with my walking from the railway station to the far end of Weston bay at Uphill where the River Axe empties into the Bristol Channel between Brean Down and the semi-tidal Black Rock, as shown below.

View down the Axe estuary to the Bristol Channel

The River Axe flows into the Severn Sea between Brean Down (left) and Black Rock (right).

The eastern limit of the Bristol Channel is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization as that area between two lines between Sand Point in Somerset and Lavernock Point and the western limit a line between Hartland Point in Devon and St. Govan’s Head. Upstream of the eastern limits, the body water is the Severn Estuary, whilst westwards of the western limit is defined as the Celtic Sea.

Landsat 7 photo of Bristol Channel

The Severn estuary, Bristol Channel and eastern part of the Celtic Sea as seen from Landsat 7.

However, the Bristol Channel has not always been used to characterise this area of water.

Until Tudor times the Bristol Channel was known as the Severn Sea. Indeed, it is still known as this in both Welsh: Môr Hafren and Cornish: Mor Havren, whilst on Jacob Millerd’s 1673 map of Bristol shows the Severn Estuary in the Latin, Sabrina Fluvius, as depicted below.

Detail of Millerd's map showing the point where the Bristol Avon discharges into the Severn

Millerd’s River Severn from his 1673 map of Bristol.

A very special bus service

One of the phrases guaranteed to dismay every regular user of Britain’s chaotic and overpriced railway network is rail replacement service. This involves taking the scheduled service off the rails (usually for engineering works at busy holiday periods when everyone either wants to get away and/or visit friends and loved ones. Ed.) and substituting the rolling stock with buses, with the inevitable increased journey times and a reduction in passenger comfort.

However, these rail replacement services do not serve Stapleton Road railway station, where the sign shown below is affixed to the Frome viaduct wing wall on the station approach.

Sign title reads rail replacementment buses

As the station is under the management of First Great Western, an alleged train operating company, you ‘umble scribe assumes it was their staff who designed, wrote and approved the final signage.

For any passing First Great Western signage design drones, here’s a wee tip: a spellchecker now comes as a standard feature of all popular office productivity suites. 😀

As…

From Monday’s Bristol Post.

Headline reads: Pedestrian hit by van as Great Western Air Ambulance lands in city centre

Is this:

  • correlation;
  • causation; or
  • a typical example of a poorly written headline from a Reach plc title?

Reasons to be fearful

As your ‘umble scribe writes this post, part-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is now on day two of an extensive reshuffle of government ministers.

His first cabinet was chosen more for loyalty to Brexit than for talent and included some who had done a complete 180-degree turn on their pre-referendum stance in order to climb the greasy pole of political ambition.

The latter include the singularly untalented Liz Truss (whose biggest achievement as Trade Secretary was copying and pasting new copies of pre-existing EU trade agreements with third countries so they could continue in effect in a post-Brexit context. Ed.), who can now carry on filling in the ministerial My First Foreign Secretary’s Colouring Atlas where Dominic Raab left off, following the latter’s demotion to Justice Secretary.

The singularly unattractive Priti Patel remains as Home Secretary. The less said about that the better.

However, given the shallowness of the Tory talent pool, the most surprising appointment of the first day of Johnson’s rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic was his appointment of Nadine Dorries as Secretary of State for Digital, Cultural, Media and Sport. Nadine was put on Earth to demonstrate that potatoes are more intelligent beings than the Rt. Hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire.

Part of the fragrant Nadine’s brief includes all things digital, including the minor matter of IT security. To gain an insight into the new Secretary of State’s attitude to this subject, I refer readers to 2 Dorries tweets from 2017.

Tweets read 1. My staff log onto my computer on my desk with my login everyday. Including interns on exchange programmes. For the officer on @BBCNews just now to claim that the computer on Greens [sic] desk was accessed and therefore it was Green is utterly preposterous  You need a pass to get that and 2 Everyone who has my login has a security pass

Cavalier doesn’t quite describe such an attitude to basic security and privacy.

Then there’s the whole question of gravitas – a necessary pre-requisite for public office, not that you’d know it with Bozo the Clown’s appointments.

A quick glance across the English Channel and North Sea to 2 European counterparts reveals some startling contrasts. Besides being French Culture Minister, present incumbent Roselyne Bachelot is an opera fan who has written a well-regarded work on Verdi. Monika Grütters, Germany’s Culture Minister was a university lecturer before entering politics and is still an honorary professor at Berlin’s Free University. On the other hand, Dorries’ biggest claim to fame (after her fiddling expenses) is eating ostrich anus on a so-called reality television show.

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