Linux For Cynics One user's experiences with Linux


IBM Backs Linux


IBM on Tuesday will announce that it has committed $1 billion to convince its customers to use Linux, a freely available open source operating system that competes with Windows, reports The Wall Street Journal's Don Clark.

This is the second time that IBM coughed up $1 billion to promote Linux. The first was way back in 2000, when Linux was a fledgling operating system just finding its way into enterprise data centers and beginning to threaten Microsoft.

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Gabe Newell at LinuxCon


Pull a Git Branch from Remote

In order to check out a remote git branch, first do a git pull:

git pull 


git checkout -b [new_branch] > origin/[new_branch]

So for example, if your branch name is "newfeature", you'd do:

git pull
git checkout -b newfeature origin/newfeature
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Lavabit Closed Rather Than Comply with Government

Lavabit, an encrypted email service believed to have been used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, has abruptly shut down. The move came amidst a legal fight that appeared to involve U.S. government attempts to win access to customer information. In a Democracy Now! broadcast exclusive, we are joined by Lavabit owner Ladar Levison and his lawyer, Jesse Binnall. "Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it. I would like to, believe me," Levison says. "I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore." In a message to his customers last week, Levison said: "I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people, or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit." Levison said he was barred from discussing the events over the past six weeks that led to his decision. Soon after, another secure email provider called Silent Circle also announced it was shutting down.

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Ubuntu Phone Edge Fundraiser

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Reset or Change Terminal Background

Sometimes if you use vim in a virtual terminal with a color scheme with more than a 256 color pallet, you will have some ugly results:
debian-2013-08-02 14_46_17-
Even worse, those ugly colors may stick around after vim has exited. This is because a virtual terminal is essentially a state machine. When something changes, it has to be explicitly changed back to reverse it:
debian-2013-08-02 14_48_40-

One way to do this is to use the


command. To go back to the normal colors, simply use this command:

$ tput reset

Virtualization: Gaming on Xen

I've been doing a little reading on virtualization and came across Xen and IOMMU (VT-d) which allows PCI passthrough. Here's a good resource on setting up a Xen hypervisor with a couple guests.

Here's an impressive example of such a set up in action:

Very cool. If I had beefy enough hardware for it, I would definitely set it up like this.


NSA Happenings


The FISC creating troves of new secret law, not interpreting standing statute

GCHQ hoovers every single bit that's routed through the UK

US fucked themselves by making their pawns ground Bolivian head of state plane out of suspicion, sending extradition requests before he's even in the country

Venezuela's extradition treaties with the US contain clauses that allow it to reject requests if it believes they are politically motivated.

NSA recruiters struggle to justify their bullshit

Snowden has been offered asylum by Venezuela, Nicuragua, and Bolivia, seems that private chartered jet from the Datacell guy who supports wikileaks will come in handy:

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Richard Stallman inducted to the Internet Hall of Fame


Free Software Foundation founder Richard Stallman today joins the ranks of notable individuals who have been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the advancement of the global Internet.

Isn't it strange that just a few months ago, every mention of RMS was accompanied by voices decrying what many termed his paranoia and mistrust of government, yet now, if anything, his warnings seem almost innocently naive compared to what was truly going on.

Congratulations RMS, the honor is well deserved.

Full story here:

Other inductees listed here:

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Kerbal Space Program (Steam) is 33% off this weekend

Kerbal Space Progam is on sale on Steam this weekend!

Normal price: $22.99, this weekend: $15.40

Still in development, but if you like space games and/or causing massive explosions, what's there already is challenging, a lot of fun, and often gorgeous. Bonus: 64-bit version available for Linux.