This place is a ghost town

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 33
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May 30, 2019
6:56 PM EDT
Back when I participated here, LXer was an active site with endless discussion. I left somewhere around 2010 after getting tired of a toxic regular and never bothered to come back. A shame to see upon my return that LXer is about dead (at least the discussions). It's been nine days since anyone has posted anything in the forum.

Is anybody still here?

May 30, 2019
7:51 PM EDT
There are a few of us. But what is there to post about that's not going to devolve to politics at this point?

The news stories have almost no bearing on your Linux hobbyist or home user, and the ones that do have political implications (see "We believe the internet can be better," Mozilla to the International Grand Committee)

Let's see:

Battle of Wesnoth through flathub on Ubuntu. I don't use Ubuntu, and installation articles are boring.

How use the internet to learn IT skills. Useful for those who want to break into IT, but I have nothing to add.

Dell Launches Three New Dell Precision Laptops Powered by Ubuntu Linux. Overpriced laptops for developers that will be paid for by their company. I'm not a developer, so why even comment?

Apache Commands You Should Know. Uhm, why exactly? I don't do web development or support a web server.

A short primer on assemblers, compilers, and interpreters. Again, I'm not a developer.

20+ FFmpeg Commands For Beginners. Beginners at what? Video work? The odds of my needing the information are slim and none.

4 of the Best Android Emulators for Linux. OK, but I have an Android phone. It's old, slow, and not supported any more, but it's all I need at the moment. I don't need an emulator.

Etc., etc., etc. You get the idea.

It's at least as much a function of the changing Linux landscape over the years as it is a problem here.

And when you add in the expansion of politics into all things by certain folks, and the reaction of others to something like a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year post; you have a recipe for people simply not talking much.

I guess I could write up an article about how difficult it would be to get Linux to install on the SD card in a Dell Latitude 11 3000 laptop (technically a 3180 or P24T003, depending on what designation you want to use), but I doubt there would be many that were interested.

May 30, 2019
9:30 PM EDT
LXer's spread of story topics is very large, so you might not expect the kind of focused discussion you'd get on a narrower forum. Maybe LXer visitors (like me, for example) mainly come to the site for its variety, and on-click to see linked articles of interest from the big smorgasbord on offer.

There's also the fact that LXer stories are "syndicated" to a lot of other Linux sites. This means someone who on-clicks from Linux site A might only notice LXer in passing, en route from A to the featured story. Why discuss on LXer?

Yes, I *would* like to see an article about how difficult it would be to get Linux to install on the SD card in a Dell Latitude 11 3000 laptop, and I did already read the "primer" and had a quick glance at the Dell Precision article, but what's to discuss?

For digital-political topics there are lots of other (and sometimes annoyingly partisan) websites. I follow TechRights, the FSF and GNU's Stallman pronouncements.

May 30, 2019
11:05 PM EDT
I look at LXer (almost) daily, but hardly ever post. I don't have much to say anymore. That's also true for my own website; it's been dormant for a year now.

I guess it's been a year since I had a good (programming) idea. I still do my exercises with the Collatz sequence (latest version is FreeBASIC, but I've also done it in Forth, Lisp, C, Ada, Bash, Smalltalk, assembly, S-Lang, Pascal, COBOL, Fortran, Lua, Python, Perl... you get the idea). Within the last year I finally was able to read Alan Turing's "On Computable Numbers" paper, and actually understand it. Finally, I truly grasp how to multiply and divide complex numbers.

Most of my mental power, however, is taken up in immediate situations, finding the cause of a problem and then solving it. The hobbies I listed in the previous paragraph have been instrumental in keeping my mind nimble, at least nimble enough to rise to a challenge when needed.

May 31, 2019
5:34 AM EDT
"I look at LXer (almost) daily, but hardly ever post."

Same here. I do follow and appreciate some of the articles though.

May 31, 2019
6:54 AM EDT
"I look at LXer (almost) daily, but hardly ever post."

I suppose I fit into that category as well. I've had good intentions and have contributed full length articles to LXer in the past, but not so much in the last year or two. I realize that LXer is a non-commercial community site, and it is the sum of the contributions made by its community members that make the site what it is. The more everyone contributes, the better the community.

I've been busy doing projects with Linux, but I've just not taken the time to write them up and publish them to the community. (Starting to feel some guilt here.) Here is a list of Linux Raspberry Pi projects I've done and could write up if there is enough interest.

- Rpi-based analog data logger (four differential channels, 1000 sample groups per second, with WiFi visualization, and disk logging)

- Rpi-based monitoring and control of heating and air conditioning

- A dual servo arrangement to give a 360 degree pan/tilt view to the Rpi camera

- Driving servos directly from the Rpi, the easy way.


May 31, 2019
10:02 AM EDT
During the years I was active (2006-2010), we had a lot of things to discuss. The Microsoft-Novell deal, SCO, patents, license wars, ESR's pragmatism vs purity debate, which distro is the best for your mom, lack of Flash on Linux, RMS's positions, Linus saying something outrageous, Dell selling Linux machines, and on and on. Sometimes it turned into politics, too, especially when Bob Robertson would jump in. We had technical discussions too, and those were also worthwhile.

May 31, 2019
10:23 AM EDT
Ever since Linux achieved world domination, it has been pretty boring. :)

Arduinos and Rasberry Pi's are still fun, though.

(You know I'm kidding)

May 31, 2019
1:57 PM EDT
> Yes, I *would* like to see an article about how difficult it would be to get Linux to install on the SD card in a Dell Latitude 11 3000 laptop

I'll see if I can put the information together sometime in the next few weeks an put it up then.

Jun 02, 2019
12:48 PM EDT
"This place is a ghost town"


Jun 04, 2019
12:26 PM EDT
Flashback from the Eighties...

This town, is coming like a ghost town All the clubs have been closed down This place, is coming like a ghost town Bands won't play no more too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days Before the ghost town?

We danced and sang, And the music played inna de boomtown ...

Jun 07, 2019
9:20 AM EDT
Actually, it's LXer's clean, if slow-loading, RSS-like news feed that I really appreciate. No pop'n ad's with voice-over's(ala ZDnet, etc.) that I have to deal with before I can find the pulp of the actual news article, etc..

After the death of "Google Reader"(yes...I tried 'feedly' and it was ok), I just started bookmarking sites like this for perusal over coffee in the mornings and it works for me.

I'm really busy replacing(upgrading) 'Windows 7' boxes with Ubuntu(cause that is the fastest and most end-user friendly *nix system that I know and can manage, remotely, with a _huge_ thanks to the author of the "Dash-to-Panel" GNOME extension!), so I just appreciate the LXer site maintainers and the work they do to keep this up-n-running.

Anybody remember: ?

Jun 07, 2019
1:05 PM EDT
OK, I've submitted a writeup of my misadventures in trying to get Linux working with a Dell Inspiron 3180 while keeping the Windows 10 installation on the machine. Maybe someone will find it useful.

Jun 07, 2019
9:02 PM EDT
:Yes, I remember The site owner made *no* money from it, once he took off the Google ads. Once the domain registration expired, and he either couldn't or wouldn't renew it, it got sold to a Japanese pharma marketing outfit.

Jun 08, 2019
1:29 AM EDT
So, jdixon has the first feature in N months. Surely, SOMEONE has something new to say to the LXer audience? Consider this comment a CFA, "call for articles."

My newest project is exploring the effects of CPU cache against semaphore instructions.... very arcane, probably not LXer material, but who knows. But I'm not the only one exploring new issues w/r/t Linux on desktops and servers. Consider some real, long-standing issues:

-- Accessibility for the blind, deaf, others with physical challenges

-- How to update (any software) without constant internet access

-- Hardware issues (my main server is slowly dying from a failing cooling fan). Should I replace it with a Raspberry Pi? If I do, then ARM will have the majority vote on my home network!

-- Desktop management standards are advancing. How does Linux conform? How can Linux users (via their preferred distros) get things done?

-- Don't be afraid to look at other (Free/Open Source) systems, like ReactOS, Haiku, *BSD, FreeDOS.

-- Outside world: imaging, monitoring, management. Think weather, alerts, and training your pets to return to their cages when a thunder storm is approaching. AI experiments!

If any of these things catches your attention, go for it. Jump in, write something, get feedback, respond. That's how sites like this work.

Jun 09, 2019
11:10 AM EDT
> -- Hardware issues (my main server is slowly dying from a failing cooling fan). Should I replace it with a Raspberry Pi? If I do, then ARM will have the majority vote on my home network!

Fans are relatively easy to replace. Check out the cheap offerings at and for starts for a possible functional match. I've happily done business with both those suppliers.

If it's the big high-wattage box you want swapped out... Rather than settle on rPi, I suggest you look through the current LinuxGizmos catalog, , for potentially better alternatives.

The first two from Olimex, for instance: both the A20-OlinuXino-Lime2 and the A20-OlinuXino-Micro have native SATA rather than SATA-thru-USB, so the data-path bandwidth doesn't get choked and, if you've got a console hooked up, the mouse response doesn't get sticky or jerky, while you're moving files around or in-and-out. Both boards have DC jacks for primary power, so you're not trying to run an amp or so of DC through a micro-usb and living with IR losses and throttling because of it (tkaiser has some interesting things to say about that over on in some of the comment threads). If you can live with the modest computing power of an A20, your payoff is in the power bill: my A20-OlinuXino-Lime server, the first board's predecessor, only consumes *5 watts*, including the laptop-surplus 250G HD I gave it, running Armbian. With the OS pushed over onto the HD (so there's no reason to put write-current into the microSD), it also came right back up from a power glitch here that took out an Optiplex 755. I would expect both mentioned boards to have slightly higher current requirements for having more memory but otherwise be just as frugal. I'm considering picking up a 'Micro' board myself to play IoT with the peripherals (it has standard 0.1"-centers expansion connectors; the Limes' expansions are on 0.05" -- cute, but it's hard to find mating hardware).

If you need more processing power, there are other boards in that catalog which have native-SATA. You can end up like I did: with a smooth-running Linux server put together inside a HD cage pulled from the kind of desktop box it replaced.

Jun 09, 2019
9:01 PM EDT
Heh. I spent an hour looking through that catalog. Amazing stuff.

Although you just gave me an idea... USB-to-SATA could very well fit the bill AND re-commission my 500G drive. It would relieve some of the storage pressure I'm also dealing with.

As for why choose a RPi, it isn't really that I need computing power. It's that I'd be working with a known quantity, which is a necessity for getting it into full production quickly. I don't really have time right now to read lots of documentation and HOWTO's for unfamiliar hardware.

And since you speak of throttling issues, take a look at the experiment I did seven years ago. It's by far the most popular article I've ever written; Eben Upton noticed it and tweeted the URL, which sent my numbers through the roof (for me).

Jun 10, 2019
5:33 AM EDT
I went through the downsizing of my "home gateway" a couple years ago. At first I just slapped in an RPi and it worked fine. Then my cable provider increased their bandwidth to 130 Mbps so the RPi's 100 Mbps ethernet was at that point limiting my speed.

From there I went to an Odroid C2 since it has a built in 1 Gbps ethernet. The price of the Odroid was only $10 more than an RPi. The form factors and pinouts are basically the same, so if you know the RPi you won't have any trouble using the Odroid.

Btw, I'm also using an Odroid C2 as a media center since it has direct support for 4K television over its hdmi 2.0 connector.

Jun 12, 2019
10:36 PM EDT
The whippersnappers don't read any more, now if it's not a video to watch nobody seems to pay attention.

(Feeling cranky lately, I guess...)

Jun 24, 2019
9:15 AM EDT
@cr, @penguinist, have you seen today's news? RPi 4, packed to the gills with goodies and improvements...

Jun 24, 2019
11:25 AM EDT
Indeed I did. They addressed all three of my biggest issues with the rpi:


1 Gbps Ethernet

4GB memory

I might not have to buy Odroid C2s anymore.

Jun 24, 2019
1:27 PM EDT
@gus3: Ayup, I just don't have an immediate use-case for it.

I just got in a couple of those A20-OLinuxino-Micro boards ( to hack on in ARMbian so I can maybe pick up some kernel-driver competence (and firm up my Perl-with-peripherals), so that's gpio/i2c/spi covered.

My existing rPi3B, poised as intranet-monitor with etherape, doesn't get much runtime because the other key piece of the puzzle, a good browser (Palemoon) for weather-radar, aerisweather 10-day and the family's discord channel, is only available for ARM in an ancient image and I don't have headspace or roomspace to set up cross-compilation to build my own. It's already glitched its SD storage once, so I'm not inclined to put it anywhere critical.

The only looming use-case is firewall/gateway upgrade, and I'll have to wait for reviews to address the topic to see if the usb/ethernet bottleneck is gone in the 4B. Espressobin was supposed to cover that but apparently the recent versions have thermal/reliability problems.

Jun 26, 2019
3:49 PM EDT
Hi everyone,

I have been gone for a while and have only recently re-started my editing duties and posting articles to the newswire. I will spare you the gory details of why I have been absent for so long but to make a long story short, I'm putting my life back together and part of that is working at LXer again.

I appreciate all of your comments and agree with a lot of what you have said. It is my hope, my plan, to change things for the better. I would rather have less articles on the newswire that have more relevant content that people want to talk about than more, less relevant articles just to 'fill it up'. We get a ton of submissions that we sift through and it takes time and effort to find newsworthy articles on our own to post as well as write original content. I plan on doing both going forward. I want LXer to grow and be an engaging news website that people want to participate on. It will take time I know, but I've got plenty of that..;-)

Cheers, Scott R

Jun 26, 2019
3:59 PM EDT
*stands up and cheers*


*pumps fist into the air*

Jun 26, 2019
4:44 PM EDT
Welcome back, Scott.

Jun 27, 2019
5:20 AM EDT
Welcome back, Scott.

Jun 27, 2019
9:12 PM EDT
@gus3, @penguinist: Guarded approval for rPi4 here, but note the caveat about USB3-attached SATA:

> ThomasKaiser commented yesterday

> I have a RPi 4 lying on my desk for 24 hours now. The 'bad' news at least for Rock64 owners: RPi 4 USB3 storage performance is slightly better than Rock64.

> The 'good' news: utilizing more than one USB3 disk at the same time is the same sh*t show as everywhere else in SBC land:

That, from at current bottom of page. I followed this here chasing info on and (looks neat!), and it pointed back to that rPi4 link.(There are several articles on rPi4 there, and the comment threads are as informative as the main text IMO.)

So... Native gigabit ethernet on rPi4 instead of usb-attached-eth means no more gurgling at the network, but a powered USB3 hub is a practical necessity for usb-attached-SATA drives... and teensy little micro-USB or USB-C is still a very poor choice for a main power connector (in another thread at, tkaiser pointed out that friendlyELEC sells a plug-on power adapter for that Rock64 board: just to get around this for those who don't want that SATA HAT).

[meta] Scott, Bob, everybody else: is this too hw/tech-intensive for LXer forum threads? (btw Welcome back Scott)

Jun 28, 2019
12:08 AM EDT
@cr, not at all. This is a good example of how design decisions have real-world consequences.

Jun 28, 2019
10:58 AM EDT
Great info cr, and nicely referenced. Thanks for the contribution.

Jun 28, 2019
12:30 PM EDT
I have been watching videos and reading articles and looking at benchmarks for the Raspberry Pi-4 and all I can say is..I want one badly. I'll gladly pay the extra $20 for the 4-gigs of RAM. $55 for a "more than" fully functional computer is a steal. I have been looking at some of the kits that you can get for experimenting with too. I have seen some of the other single board computers out there but the Pi, for someone who is still learning a lot of things (like me) it is the obvious choice I think. Tell me what you think.

Jun 28, 2019
12:53 PM EDT
Well, for a n00b it's got the best community. Start browsing reddit's r/raspberrypi, the links fan out from there. I don't know what your use-case is so that's my best advice.

Just, one warning: unlike Arduino ([e:] Uno in particular) which runs at +5V so the stuff you attach to it does too, the rPi runs at 3.3V. Feed it a 5V signal and you'll damage it. Keep that in mind when you're thinking about what circuits to breadboard up to connect to it. My short-term IoT strategy is to hook the 5V stuff to an Arduino Uno or three and plug em into the rPi/equiv's USB ports ([e:] to be slaved to the rPi Linux system), that also gets around hard-realtime requirements for some signals anyway (rPi is soft-realtime: it's got Linux housekeeping to do, so its latency can be rather high).

[edit:] btw NOOBS (the OS chooser/installer) expects a DHCP connection. On a static-ip LAN like ours that was a nonstarter, I just went ahead and downloaded Raspbian.

(Sorry for the extra edits, I was heading out the door when I first wrote this post so clarity mattered less than brevity.)

Jun 28, 2019
5:40 PM EDT
So I want Santa to bring me a Raspberry Pi 4 4gig, a retinal-projection heads-up display/camera, a single-hand input (T9 method on a keypad is acceptable), and a 5V battery pack with solar, manual, and house-current chargers.

Is that too much to ask? :-)

Jun 28, 2019
5:55 PM EDT

Let me break it to you gently: YES!

Your buddy,


Jun 28, 2019
6:37 PM EDT
@gus3: Sorry, you read it wrong -- I wrote a SATA clause.

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