Optimizing Trisquel for Offline Computing

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calher

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EndlessOS is designed to provide a good offline computing experience.
What could be done to implement something similar on Trisquel?

I'd like some things to update when internet is available, but for
everything to generally work in offline mode, and for a good library of
general information available on the computer's disk. Dictionary,
encyclopedia, music, videos, etc.

loldier
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I had never heard of EndlessOS, so I downloaded the 16.5 GB ISO and tried it in a VM.

It could be useful as a restricted "Prison OS" for inmates in a correctional facility where everybody is basically incommunicado, cut off from access to the outside world.

I think that even the criminal system would be better off with a Free Libre system that respects user's freedoms.

https://trisquel.info/files/Screenshot%20from%202020-07-23%2016-00-21.png

https://trisquel.info/files/Screenshot%20from%202020-07-23%2015-37-02.png

https://trisquel.info/files/Screenshot%20from%202020-07-23%2015-33-12.png

https://trisquel.info/files/Screenshot%20from%202020-07-23%2015-46-03.png

Screenshot from 2020-07-23 16-00-21.png Screenshot from 2020-07-23 15-37-02.png Screenshot from 2020-07-23 15-33-12.png Screenshot from 2020-07-23 15-46-03.png
calher

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I just don't have internet. Not a prison or anything. O_O

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loldier
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In Cuba, they use "paquetes semanales", that is, sneakernet. File sharing on USB storage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Paquete_Semanal

The whole Wikipedia can be downloaded as a compressed file about 16 GB.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Database_download

The "prison" suggestion was real: people inside should have a way to browse information albeit without an Internet connection.

calher

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On 23.7.2020 12:24, name at domain wrote:
> In Cuba, they use "paquetes semanales", that is, sneakernet. File
> sharing on USB storage.
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Paquete_Semanal

Yes, I was thinking of something like that.

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Caleb Herbert
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Save Nature
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On Thu, 23 Jul 2020 02:47:35 -0500
Caleb Herbert <name at domain> wrote:

> EndlessOS is designed to provide a good offline computing experience.
> What could be done to implement something similar on Trisquel?
>
> I'd like some things to update when internet is available, but for
> everything to generally work in offline mode, and for a good library
> of general information available on the computer's disk. Dictionary,
> encyclopedia, music, videos, etc.

I guess Trisquel can make another version like it has "Trisquel Sugar
TOAST", preinstalled with all those applications EndlessOS is talking
about.

But I think there is nothing special about it, looks to me any other
GNU/Linux distro(based on Debian/Ubuntu). From EndlessOS website[1]:

> Endless comes with more than 100 free apps and powerful tools that
> don’t require an Internet connection.

Trisquel can add some of these "apps" within the ISO, but that will
make the system more bloated. But it can make people aware of
existance of those software(without preinstalling it) so that they can
install later with their own choice.

> Endless is designed to feel natural and intuitive, making it easy to
> use even if you have little or no computer experience.

It mainly falls in the domain of desktop enviroments. Trisquel already
supports MATE and KDE, I think those desktop enviroments already give
a good user experience. But do you have anything else in mind?

> Endless is free to download, and software updates are automatically
> included. It's also virus-resistant, saving you money at every step.

Just standard GNU/Linux features. But I'll note that EndlessOS is
considering only practical benefits of GNU/Linux e.g., saving money
etc. The "virus-resistant" thing is misleading, GNU/Linux is NOT
"virus-resistant".

When watching the their promotion video, I noticed that they are
talking about offline encyclopedia. But it looked Wikipedia to me. So
I searched the internet and found this libre software called
XOWA[2]. It is a offline wikipedia client. Trisquel can pre-install
something like this.

Stardict[3] is an example of Offline dictionary. This can be
pre-installed in Trisquel for offline dictionary functinality. I
personally used the CLI version of it known as sdcv[4].

I also noticed that they have included things software(articles?) that
teach "cooking, parenting" etc. I don't know how they are doing
it. Any ideas? But more importantly are those information under a free
license?

Then the video shows LibreOffice softwares, and software for video and
audio editing. Those can be pre-installed too, but as I said before
that makes things more bloated, ISO size probably reach 3.5 GiB.

> There are video, lectures and contents for subjects like
> Programming, mathematics and Biology. It also comes with music and
> videos for whole families to enjoy.

Again, are those things free/libre and can be shared freely with
everyone?

It says about pre-installed games. That can also be done in Trisquel
but I'd rather prefer if it gives a list of popular(recommended) games
instead of pre-installing them.

Lastly it tells us about what kind of proprietary software it already
has pre-installed.

Happy hacking!
Starfish

[1]: https://endlessos.com/
[2]: http://xowa.org/
[3]: http://www.huzheng.org/stardict/
[4]: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Sdcv

chaosmonk

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I took a look at EndlessOS a few weeks ago. There are some neat ideas, but freedom-wise it is probably the worst distro I have ever tried. They appear to only release source code when required to by the GPL. All of their software which is not a derivative of a GPL'd program is non-free. The base system is based on Debian, but is completely read-only. The user can't make any modifications. The only software possible to install on top of the base system is Flatpaks. In order to use the distro, users must agree to a EULA which forbids the user from doing certain things with their own system.

loldier
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"The user can't make any modifications. In order to use the distro, users must agree to a EULA which forbids the user from doing certain things with their own system."

That feeling of incarceration prompted me to suggest that EndlessOS be used in a controlled prison environment where the users would otherwise be incommunicado but need at least some form of restricted information to remain functional in society when released. Even there, it would be beneficial to have more freedom and vestigial respect of users' rights.

FindEssential
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Even prisoners have limited internet access and many systems have prisoner industries that require internet access.

loldier
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In Finland, computers are not allowed in prisons. Technologically, they live in a place and time similar to a hundred years ago.

selli01.jpg
FindEssential
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calher

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On 24.7.2020 15:30, name at domain wrote:
> That is changing:
> https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/new_womens_prison_to_let_inmates_cook_use_internet/10954869
>

That's great news, but I'd like to stay on topic.

But really, I'd like some tips on turning everything on Trisquel into
"offilne mode" and making certain things work without internet, like
MATE Dictionary.

--
Caleb Herbert
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(816) 892-9669
https://bluehome.net/csh

loldier
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EndlessOS also reminded me of North Korea's own distro Red Star OS. Red Star (Pulgunbyol) won't let the user change any system files (when tampering detected, the OS will reboot) and all files in home directory are watermarked.

Connochaetes
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For anyone interested, I think here's how to defuse Red Star:
https://github.com/takeshixx/redstar-tools#user-content-disable-malicious-components

Magic Banana

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Well, download "Dictionary, encyclopedia, music, videos, etc.".

https://www.kiwix.org looks great. It allows to read, among other resources, Wikipedia offline. However, on Trisquel 8:
$ ./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libm.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.27' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libQt5WebEngineCore.so.5)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libz.so.1: version `ZLIB_1.2.9' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libpng16.so.16)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libm.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.27' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libavcodec.so.57)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.27' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libavformat.so.57)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.25' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libgnutls.so.30)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.25' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libsystemd.so.0)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.27' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libsystemd.so.0)
./kiwix-desktop_x86_64_2.0.4.appimage: /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc.so.6: version `GLIBC_2.27' not found (required by /tmp/.mount_kiwix-CPm1Ce/usr/bin/../lib/libgssapi_krb5.so.2)

I believe it would work on Trisquel 9.

For dictionaries, see https://askubuntu.com/questions/170775/offline-dictionary-with-pronunciation-and-usages

calher

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Thanks.

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Caleb Herbert
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loldier
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It works on Trisquel 9.

kiwix_trisquel9.png kiwix_trisquel9_2.png kiwix_trisquel9_3.png
IrishUSA
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Hmm maybe a slogan or catchphrase like "It works fine on Trisquel 9" would be something useful to promote, either for hardware or software.

loldier
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I proceeded to download a ZIM file of all Wikipedia articles in English (89 GB). It took over four hours to do that with my connection but now it's here, and it's lightning fast. Who needs an online Internet connection when there's a copy of the free encyclopedia on a USB thumb drive.

https://trisquel.info/files/kiwix_wikizim_dload.png

https://trisquel.info/files/kiwix_wikipedia_mate.png

https://trisquel.info/files/kiwix_wikipedia_trisquel.png

kiwix_wikizim_dload.png kiwix_wikipedia_mate.png kiwix_wikipedia_trisquel.png
Connochaetes
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A potentially very useful feature less trivial to implement than mere bundling of entertainment and encyclopedic content would be a routing service requiring only a one-time download of geoinformation and map tiles for a locality you choose – OSM already lets you do this[1] – and from then on doing all route calculations offline, using this previously downloaded data. A bit like what car navigation devices do, but free and without satellite navigation, instead just giving you a zoomable map and/or a sequence of driving instructions for each fork in your path. This doesn't sound like rocket science, yet I'm not aware it exists, free or unfree.

Simple hoarding of content for later offline use is probably something many people have individually done, however unlikely they were/are to actually lose internet access. For me, having a hoard relevant to my interests turned out to be useful when I found myself more or less unable to properly use the web for many months. Also useful because content disappears from the web.

[1] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Planet.osm#content

Magic Banana

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FindEssential
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Endless has a nugget of a good idea at its core: Offline computing for those with no or irregular access to the internet using lower power devices.

I personally would start with Trisquel Mini as its comes pre-packaged with a suite of software for music, media, and office applications. Of course these are all pretty standard and once that is realized half of what Endless talks about on its website is a giant nothing burger.

Before distribution I would add a selection of games that are free as in freedom. Then comes Kiwix, which is basically an offline web browser that pulls info from compressed files. This is what gets you Wikipedia, Project Gutenberg, and other public domain websites offline. Beyond the compressed file tools, I'd also make sure there was a good dictionary and thesaurus. Likewise, I'd include some media from The Internet Archive, Libre.fm, and other public domain sources so that the system has plenty to educate and entertain out of the box. Drivers for printers/scanners should be included.

Then comes the really hard part: offline distribution. I really love how Endless bills itself as an offline operating system....but can only be downloaded from its website. I have no ideas for this, but I feel the os with its included media should be distributed on pen drive, through the same process additional content packages could also be distributed.

Urs
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I had completely forgotten about it because I have not been needing offline resources so much recently, but HTTrack allows you to download the whole content of most static websites for offline browsing.

https://www.httrack.com/

You can install it from the Add/Remove Applications utility.

calher

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Thanks.

chaosmonk

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Might also be a good idea to setup gpodder or something similar to automatically download RSS feeds like podcasts or Invidious channels. Whenever you have Internet access you can download any new episodes/videos to listen/watch offline later.

loldier
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https://github.com/hartator/wayback-machine-downloader

--Wayback Machine Downloader--

Download an entire website from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

--Installation--

You need to install Ruby on your system (>= 1.9.2) - if you don't already have it.

Then run:

gem install wayback_machine_downloader

Tip: If you run into permission errors, you might have to add sudo in front of this command.

--Basic Usage--

Run wayback_machine_downloader with the base url of the website you want to retrieve as a parameter:

wayback_machine_downloader http://example.com

--How it works--

It will download the last version of every file present on Wayback Machine to ./websites/example.com/. It will also re-create a directory structure and auto-create index.html pages to work seamlessly with Apache and Nginx. All files downloaded are the original ones and not Wayback Machine rewritten versions. This way, URLs and links structure are the same as before.