LibreArts – 2023 in preview

Free and open source software, short: FOSS has come a long way. For artists, 2022 has been very good in particular. Read the article 2023 in preview on LibreArts on what’s next for the coming year.

Also, the artwork for that article is about the nicest version of “2023” I’ve seen so far:

Like always, thanks for your interest.

Android 13 on the Google Nexus 5

When both my wife and daughter got newer devices one day, one of the first mobile phones I kind of “inherited” from them was the Google Nexus 5 – a truly wonderful device in my opinion, with a just right 4.95 inch screen size. When it came out it had Android 4.4 codenamed “KitKat”, and Google officially supported it until their version 6.0.1 “Marshmallow”.

LineageOS prolonged its life until Android 7.1 (LineageOS 14.1), and sometime last year or so I’ve found inofficial images on the XDA developers’ site for versions of LineageOS 18 (equals Android 11). So up until a few minutes ago, my device looked like this:

LineageOS 18 on the Google Nexus 5

Today I changed it to the newer and of course also unofficial version 20 of LineageOS which equals Android 13, so its operating system is now newer and more recent than even that of the Google Pixel 3a which we gave to my brother (tho an image of LOS20 for that exists as well, it’s also still not an official one). Here’s how mine looked after the first reboot, with a check on the version number:

Android 13 on the Google Nexus 5

The standard and unaltered start screen of the “Trebuchet” launcher of LineageOS20 looks like this:

LineageOS 20 (Android 13) on the Google Nexus 5

This time I haven’t installed any of the more or less free Google services, so no push notifications, no location or “Play Store” services, and so on – I can do without. This device hasn’t even a SIM card, and I use it over WLAN and for development/testing purposes only.

Anyhow, this is also a proof of concept that you don’t really have to throw or give away older hardware even if you want to or have to stay current because of security considerations. All you need is a computer and a bit of time to restore your devices to newer and still updated versions of a truly free (as in freedom) operating system. Only works with Android or Linux tho, Apple users sadly can’t do this.

My Pixel 4a will officially be supported until August of this year, after that I can decide about the right time to upgrade it to a free version of Android 14 or whatever is to come.

Like always, thanks for reading.

Update: like always, first things first – I installed F-Droid and after that (and from it) also the Aurora “store” (which is only a proxy to the Google Play Store, you need it for apps like Firefox et al), and then the Zapp app (also in F-Droid) which lets you view German live and “Mediathek” (streamed) TV from our public (“Öffentlich-rechtlich“) TV stations. Plus I copied over some music from my computer to which the device is still connected. So the list of apps now looks like this:

installed apps on the Nexus 5

while the screen in the integrated Music app looks like this now:

Music app in LineageOS 20 showing my albums which are on the device now

That’s hardly different from what my Pixel 4a has – which shows that this is truly a usable device still. I can listen to music both on- and offline, watch TV, I could also send email if I wanted to, so that was my point…

Again, thanks for reading.

Site stats, and some first news

Looking at the statistics of this website, I see the following for the past year:

awstats for lonien.de

Yes, that’s about 40,000 different visitors coming in about 200,000 times in the past year – never thought we’d get that many visitors; cool. Thank you for your interest.

News, category bad: Anita Pointer died last night, the third of the four Pointer Sisters. RIP, and thank you for everything you did, ladies. I embedded one of their songs into a forum on Wikiloops in case you want to hear a great and funky tune.

News, category good: LineageOS 20 which is equivalent to Android 13 is out. When I looked yesterday, the download images weren’t online yet, but they seem to appear right now – I saw the one for my Pixel 4a, so I can prolong its life when Google will drop the support for it in August. Maybe until then there’s even the version with microG available so that I won’t have to install the original Google services. Please do this if you own older phones, instead of throwing them away.

Like always, thanks for reading.

djware answers a question which I get all of the time

And that question is which Linux distribution is the most recent *and* is still stable and secure. The first thing of course is to check what is meant by stable and secure, so let’s have a look and listen to the assessment of Debian Testing vs OpenSuSe Tumbleweed vs Arch Linux (Stability and Security Challenge):

Be sure to visit djware’s rumble website for the further links which were mentioned – or do it like Debian would recommend for normal users: run Debian stable, and if you *must* have some newer packages, then use their backports repository to update these. This is what I’m doing since years, just because their ‘testing’ branch is *not* meant for normal users, it’s meant for developers getting the next stable version ready for you.

Thanks to djware for your tests, and for the great explanations. And thanks to you for reading, and for watching.

Ardour 7.2 was released

About two hours ago, the Ardour team released their latest and greatest version 7.2. I have it already, and it works very nicely, just like it always does. Here are some screenshots:

Ardour 7.2.0 “Wrong Way Up”
Ardour 7.2 on Linux with a song I’ve had in 7.1 previously
Ardour 7.2 and its mixer view. My Sonarworks plugin is on the monitor bus.
Ardour 7.2 playing back the loaded song. Notice the threads on my CPU while playing back two tracks…

Very nice. I’ll start using it, keeping the 6.9 version because of older tracks, and the 6.5 one because it came with the OS. I also have the Windows version just in case Zuleikha would like to use my XLN Audio grand piano which came as a Windows VST plugin only (and yes, I know how to load these into Linux, but won’t do it).

Oh, and in case you want to hear the song I have in my DAW here (minus my tweaks to it), it’s this one. Please give Shi and Tom a thumbs up in case you like it.

In case that maybe you have no idea what Ardour is, it’s one of the best free and open source digital audio workstations available. Please have a look at its homepage in case that sounds interesting for you.

Like always, thanks for reading.

Using open source for music and video, by Bransby

This is a very cool video about what you can achieve using “only” open source software when creating music and videos for the tubes. The gentleman calls himself “Bransby“, and his explanation of things is about the best I’ve seen, so thanks for that, sir! Here we go:

Recording and Mixing using Open Source Software – Ubuntu, Ardour, Calf Plugins

I’ll use this for friends in Wikiloops in case they’ll ask about a howto, so thanks again for your good work and for the nice explanation, Bransby. Oh, and your song is great as well 🙂

Looking at / listening to Ardour 7.1 on Windows

Today I’ve been looking at & listening to the new Ardour 7.1 free and open source software DAW on Windows 11. Looks and sounds awesome:

Ardour7_on_Windows
Ardour 7.1 on Windows 11, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

The music you see within that program is from Dan and Chris, you can listen to that one on Wikiloops if you’d like to. The program seems to work fine, so next step is to also install it on Linux 🙂

And like always, thanks for viewing, listening, and reading.

Some phone shots from today – and some screenshots

At the moment, all three neighbours’ cats are here, and all are sleeping. Two (Wilma and Crunchy) on my bed, and one (Cookie) on the sofa. Earlier, I caught Wilma on my lap with the phone in my hands:

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Wilma on my lap, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

I had been trying different versions of LineageOS on an older Google Nexus 10 tablet device which we had laying around unused, and after trying some unofficial ones I decided to try the latest official build which you can get from Lineageosroms.com, which is LineageOS 13.0 – [ Android 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) ] as you can see here:

Screenshot

That is some years old already as well (the tablet is about 10, this image more than 4 years old), but it is still a nice compromise between speed, stability, and features. Being the equivalent of Android 6 under its hood, I could even install the Zapp app from the F-Droid store, and so now we can watch Live and/or streamed TV on it, like so:

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News (via Zapp app, see F-Droid.org) on a 10 year old Nexus 10 device running LineageOS ‘Marshmallow’, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

I had to interrupt my activities to send Mitchie to work with the car, and when we came down to the garage I saw that some neighbour had parked a nice new Honda motorcycle right in front of their partly covered Fiat 500 and beside our car. After coming back, I took a quick pic of that as well:

PXL_20221103_145008200
A brand new motorcycle, Mörfelden-Walldorf 2022

Oh, and when looking into my blog software today I saw that I’ve got a new version of that as well:

Screenshot

So I’ll have to see what’s new, and whether any of the also new templates (2022 and 2023) are looking good…

So all photos in this article came from my Pixel 4a phone, and the screenshots from my computer. As always, thanks for reading and for viewing.

What’s New in Ardour 7.0

I had downloaded the new Ardour 7.0 for both Linux and Windows as soon as it was released, but haven’t tried it yet (except that on Windows I installed it parallel to the 6.9 version I already had).

In case you’re interested, here’s what’s new, in about 4 minutes:

What’s New in Ardour 7.0

Maybe I’ll try it with the next song & project I’ll be “working” on 🙂

As always, thanks for watching. And thanks and congrats to the Ardour team of course.

Edit, from later the same day: as soon as I show this, there’s a new version again. See here