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Install Ubuntu 18.04 on an Acer Aspire ES1-531

29 Aug

I recently installed Ubuntu 18.04.3 on an Acer Aspire laptop. The model is described on the stickers as both ES1-531 (more generic) and “ES15 model ES-531-P8NJ”.

Here are the steps to get it to work.

You can get an ISO of Ubuntu from the official website:

Once you have created a bootable USB from it (you can find tutorials specific to your operating system by searching “bootable USB” on the Ubuntu tutorials page), you will have to get into the laptop’s BIOS to change a few settings. You can do that by pressing the F2 key on your keyboard repeatedly when booting up the laptop, when you see the “Acer” logo.

Once you’re in there, you can go the the “Security” tab and set up a new “supervisor password”, so you can change more settings.

BIOS photo of options in the Security tab, with "Set Supervisor Password" highlighted.

BIOS photo of options in the Security tab, with “Set Supervisor Password” highlighted.

You can then go to the “Boot” tab, and make sure that your boot method is UEFI, and that the USB HDD option is at the top of the list, so the laptop boots into your plugged in, bootable USB stick.

Photo of the BIOS option, in the "Boot" tab, with the "USB HDD" option at the top of the list.

Put the “USB HDD” option at the top of the list by using the F5 and F6 keys.

When you “Exit saving changes” and restart, you should see a menu, in which you can select “Install Ubuntu”. Follow the prompts and install your new operating system.

Now, when you restart and remove your USB stick as prompted, you are likely to see your laptop stuck into a reboot loop with the “Acer” logo and a glimpse of an error message that reads something like:

System BootOrder not found. Initializing defaults.

Creating boot entry “Boot0006” with label “ubuntu” for file  “\EFI\ubuntu\shimx64.efi”

Reset system

You can then access the BIOS options again (with the F2 key), go to the “Boot” tab and make sure “Secure Boot” is enabled:

Photo of the BIOS options, in the "Boot" tab, with the "Secure Boot: [Enabled]" line highlighted.

Make sure the Secure Boot option is enabled to then get into its settings.

This will allow you to change Secure Boot settings in the “Security Tab”, including where the EFI file is located. Go to “Select an UEFI file as trusted for executing” and press Enter.

Photo of the BIOS options, in the Security tab, with the line "Select an UEFI file as trusted for executing: [Enter]" selected.

Change the Secure Boot option to point to the right UEFI file.

We can now navigate to the right UEFI file for our Ubuntu installation. Navigate down the partition by sequentially selecting:

HDD0 > EFI > Ubuntu > shimx64.efi

You will then be prompted to give the boot option a name. “Ubuntu” should be good enough to identify it.

You can now exit the BIOS options (saving the changes) for the laptop to reboot, enter the BIOS options once more with F2, and go to the “Boot” tab to move your new Ubuntu boot option all the way to the top of the list. (Mine was called “EFI File Boot 0: Ubuntu1”.)

Photo of BIOS options, in the Boot tab, where the boot option "EFI File Boot 0: Ubuntu1" was moved to the top of the Boot priority order list.

Move the new custom boot option to the top of the boot priority order list.

Once you “Exit saving changes” one last time, your laptop should boot straight into Ubuntu!

Here are some links that helped me figure it out, and/or that you mind find useful to further troubleshoot:

Move your GitHub page to GitLab Pages

4 Jul

If you are looking to move your website from GitHub Pages to GitLab Pages (and stick to Jekyll), here are the few steps you need to follow. Most of it is pretty straight-forward, but I thought I’d list the details and a couple more infos here.

Import your project

First, you need to import your repository from GitHub to GitLab. From the, you can do: + > New project > Import project > GitHub

Check the project settings

In your imported repository, check that Shared Runners are enabled (Settings > CI / CD > Runners settings)

Create a config file

From the online interface, create a .gitlab-ci.yml config file in your repo’s top directory to specify how the CI should test and build the page.
This code should be enough to start with:

image: ruby:2.3

 JEKYLL_ENV: production

  - bundle install

  stage: test
  - bundle exec jekyll build -d test
    - test
  - master

  stage: deploy
  - bundle exec jekyll build -d public
    - public
  - master

Change your URLs

Change your repository name to in both your project name and your path. (Settings > General > Advanced settings > Rename repository; make sure you replace “repo-owner-name” by your own.)

Change your remote in your local copy of the repository. This is probably what you want:

 git remote rm origin
 git remote add origin
 git push --set-upstream origin master

Remember to update your URL in your _config.yml file so your Liquid output markup that makes use of it works as expected.

And of course, remember to update your URL outside of your website too! (i.e. old website, other projects, other websites, social media profiles and pages…)

To redirect your old Github Page, you can use the jekyll-redirect-from plugin that’s already included in the Github Pages gems.

First, add this line to your _config.yml file to activate the plugin:

  - jekyll-redirect-from

… and you can now add an extra redirect_to line in your pages. For example, in your index.html header:

layout: default
  <span id="mce_SELREST_start" style="overflow:hidden;line-height:0;"></span>-

You can also add those two lines of HTML in your default head.html header, so all the pages that use it automatically use the new location (and so search engines take that into account):


(this was hinted by this StackOverflow answer.)


If you get a message from GitLab telling you that “Your pipeline has failed”, with an error message along those lines:

Conversion error: Jekyll::Converters::Scss encountered an error while converting 'assets/css/style.scss':
 Invalid US-ASCII character "\xE2" on line 5
jekyll 3.7.3 | Error: Invalid US-ASCII character "\xE2" on line 5
ERROR: Job failed: exit code 1

… but you can build your Jekyll site locally, it probably means that there is an issue with the language settings used in GitLab’s Docker.
You can try adding the following extra variables in your .gitlab-ci.yml file:

  LC_ALL: "C.UTF-8"
  LANG: "en_US.UTF-8"

(This was hinted from this Jekyll issue thread.)

Start an 8-day data detox

20 Dec

Recommended to me by Mozilla, I started a Creative Commons-licensed “Data Detox” that was produced for the Glass Room London in 2017, and is curated by Tactical Technology Collective. It was originally a printed/PDF kit created for the Glass Room New-York in 2016.

I thought I might try that little exercise to see if I could learn something more about e-privacy. Turns out there were quite a few things that I did not know about, especially when it came to Google settings, and iPhone configuration. (I am currently using a salvaged iPhone 4 which does not want to die – better for the planet.)

The Data Detox runs over 8 days and runs you through little tasks you can follow to leave less of a data trail while using your Internet-connected devices.

It is of course not covering 100% of what could be said about e-privacy, but I was surprised at how much it taught me about a bunch of privacy settings in my Google account, and about location services in my iPhone. I would recommend following the detox even if you feel you have a good grasp of what you need to do to stay safe and anonymous on the Internet.

Here is a couple of things I would add to the tasks already offered by the Data Detox, in no particular order. Feel free to add those to the list if you feel motivated, or cherry-pick whatever you feel like doing.

  • Using a password manager like KeePassX (which is mentioned in the detox) is a good way to safely store a bunch of diverse and complicated passwords, but another benefit I have learned to appreciate is that it constitutes a record of how many accounts you own, and allows you to review which unused ones you could delete. Here’s a challenge: every time you add a new account and password, try to delete a different one (or two?) so you don’t build up a collection of them.
  • When reading your emails, start directly deleting the ones you know you will never go back to. That will make your email account less of a data trove waiting to be mined. Another benefit is that you are freeing some valuable storage space for your ethical privacy-respecting email account provider (because you use one, right?).
  • The Alternative App Centre that the detox recommends is good, but I would also recommend to have a look at the Free services that Framasoft offers (more directed at offering Free Software alternatives to the ones offered by the GAFAM: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, i.e. the main huge data silos of the Internet), as well as the list of alternatives from PRISM Break (more directed at privacy-respecting apps to fight state surveillance). Another excellent website that lists alternatives, tools, add-ons and services to protect your privacy, along with valuable information, is
  • Related to the previous point, if you specifically want to get away from data-gathering social networks, I recommend two decentralised Free Software-based alternatives: Mastodon as a Twitter replacement, and Diaspora* as a Facebook replacement. They are both mature projects with a lively healthy community to interact with.
  • Finally, the detox probably didn’t mention it because of the technical knowledge required to set it up, but I’d also recommend looking into self-hosting your own cloud services. Nextcloud, YunoHost and Sandstorm are good starting points. You can also find a service provider that uses Free Software and guarantees to respect your privacy in exchange for some money. I am currently a happy subscriber of IndieHosters (they use Nextcloud for the most part) but you can find more providers on (at the time of writing, 48 providers mainly located in France).

Exportez vos anniversaires depuis Facebook via Evolution

27 Apr

Si vous dépendez de Facebook pour vous rappeler des anniversaires de vos amis, il est possible de récupérer cette information pour l’avoir sous forme de tableur, ou pour les transférer à un autre calendrier. Voilà la marche à suivre :

Sur Facebook, allez dans « Évènements ». Dans une boîte sur la droite, vous trouverez des instructions pour ajouter des données à un calendrier externe. Copiez le lien « anniversaires » (il devrait commencer par « webcal:// »).

Dans Evolution, allez dans l’onglet Agenda et choisissez « Fichier > Nouveau > Agenda ». Sélectionnez « Type: Sur le Web » puis collez l’URL que vous avez copié dans la boîte « URL ».

Si tout se passe bien, vous avez à présent vos anniversaires dans votre agenda. Mais comme ce nouvel agenda reste connecté à votre compte Facebook, il se peut que vous vouliez extraire cette info et garder un fichier statique, sous forme de tableur par exemple.

Pour cela, il faut exporter l’agenda en question en format CSV (clic-droit sur son nom, « enregistrer sous > Format: .csv »). Vous pouvez à présent manipuler cette information comme vous le voulez, avec LibreOffice Calc par exemple, ou l’importer dans un autre calendrier, local ou externe à Evolution. Et ne plus dépendre de Facebook pour vous rappeler d’envoyer vos souhaits !

Why is Clementine my favourite music player?

9 Apr

Everyone complains about how many different music players are available for Linux. Some people say that developers should join forces and make the best music player ever. But choice is amazing, competition is often stimulating, and defining the best one depends on what each user is looking for.

I can safely say that I haven’t tested even a twentieth of the available full-featured music players.

In the open-source world, I have tried Banshee, Rhythmbox, Amarok, Exaile, Audacious. In a different world, I also have used Winamp and – I dare say – iTunes and Windows Media Player (eeek). But I have been using Clementine for quite a long time, and I do not feel the need to look anywhere else anymore.

Clementine started its life as an Amarok 1.4 fork, with a first release in February 2010, and at the time of writing, the player has reached version 1.2.2.

Following an extremely trendy format, here is the list of main reasons why you should give it a go and be happy forever – according to moi. It is in no way ordered, so do not worry about those numbers!

1. Fade-out

Something I have never seen anywhere else is a lovely fade-out when a song is stopped or when the player is closed. How sensible is that!

You can of course customise this the way you want:

Clementine's fade-ins and fade-outs are highly customisable.

Clementine’s fade-ins and fade-outs are highly customisable.

You can get rid of all the “fades”, or you can make Clementine fade out when you pause a song, and chose how long for. You can even cross-fade between tracks for a smoother playlist.

2. Open source

Of course, I wouldn’t even go for a closed source music player. The choice of open-source music players available doesn’t even let you justify looking anywhere else.

Clementine’s development is hosted on GitHub.

Clementine's source is available on GitHub

Clementine’s source is available on GitHub


3. Cross-platform

Open source software is not just for Linux. The Clementine project does an amazing job at making their software available to most music lovers, independently of the platform they use. Just have a look at all the download options they offer:

Download options on the Clementine website

Download options on the Clementine website

So, if you use different operating systems on different machines, you can at least play music the same way.

4. Desktop integration

At least for Ubuntu, Clementine is very nicely integrated in the environment. An indicator is visible in the top panel, and changes depending on the state of the playback. A notification bubble appears when the track changes and gives you all the information you need.

Clementine is also controllable from the sound menu, with the option to chose from your playlists straight away.

And if this isn’t enough, you can also control it from the launcher with a simple right click.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 5. The developers are cool!

I like software even more when the humans behind it are great people. Obviously, the fact that Clementine is open source makes them score quite a few points already. But I generally want to find out if I can contribute financially to my favourite projects. Here is what the website says on that particular topic:

What the website says if you want to contribute money to the project... :)

What the website says if you want to contribute money to the project… :)

I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of things that make me believe in humans.

6. Not too heavy

To tell you the truth, I am not exactly sure what is heavy and what is not, but at about 60 mb of RAM, I feel like Clementine playing a song is not too much of a weight on my system, on par with Nautilus and way under Firefox, Thunderbird and Chrome.

How does Clementine compare in memory usage?

How does Clementine compare in memory usage?

The download for an Ubuntu 13.10 64 bits system is just 7.2 mb at the time of writing.

7. Lots of music providers

List of Clementine 1.2 providers

List of Clementine 1.2 providers

Clementine bundles more than 20 sources for music, from open license music website Jamendo to your music stored in your Dropbox or your Google Drive, as well as several radio station providers and streaming giants Spotify and Grooveshark.

A few of those providers require that you own a premium account to use them, but there is enough choice to please everyone.

Nota bene: following the news of Ubuntu One closing down in June 2014, the Ubuntu One provider has already been removed from master.

8. Artist and song info

You can also click on the Artist info tab to get to know lots about whoever you are playing, see photos, discover similar artists and read about their history.

Wikipedia provides the biography by default, but if you scroll down, you will be able to chose from 9 other providers, including LastFM and Discogs.

The Song info tab, on the other hand, gives you LastFM stats and the lyrics from three different providers.

Clementine 1.2 Artist info tab. You can select a photo to have a closer look at it.

Clementine 1.2 Artist info tab. You can select a photo to have a closer look at it.

 9. Tag your collection properly

MusicBrainz is one of my favourite open data project. It is a well-built database about music, so humans can read it like and encyclopaedia, and so robots can use it.

I am of course delighted to see that Clementine uses MusicBrainz for its tagging functionalities. It is now even easier to have your collection properly tagged, as you can let Clementine automatically look through MusicBrainz for you!

MusicBrainz tagger in Clementine 1.2

MusicBrainz tagger in Clementine 1.2

10. Remote control

One of the latest additions to Clementine is its ability to be controlled from your Android phone thanks to Clementine Remote.

Clementine Remote on Google Play

Clementine Remote on Google Play

You can use your phone to browse your library, add songs to your playlist and change the volume, without having to go to your computer + stereo system.

∞. It gets better!

Of course, Clementine keeps getting developed, so it constantly gets better. One of the latest things I have notice on GitHub is the fact that we will soon be able to add our Soundcloud credentials into Clementine in order to have a look at our own tracks and subscriptions:

Soundcloud commit on GitHub

Soundcloud commit on GitHub

♥ Give it a go!

Head to the download page to try Clementine with your library, and see if it works for you.

Still not convinced? Have a look at this AlternativeTo page to find other open-source alternatives – surely you will find your favourite!

Cheers for reading!

Happy Document Freedom Day 2014!

26 Mar

I wrote a post about Document Freedom Day (DFD) last year, and I am officially two minutes away from the 27th of March already, at least in my current time zone.

So this one will be really short: I just wanted to list a few resources that are linked to Open Standards.

Hopefully you find those links useful!

Please do what you can to promote open formats around you – at home, at work, and if you can, tell your government to switch to them!

Oh dang, it’s the 27th. Let’s make this the Document Freedom Year then.

Promotion des formats ouverts par l'April

Promotion des formats ouverts par l’April (license Art Libre 1.3 ou ultérieure, CC BY-SA 2.0 ou ultérieure, GFDL 1.3 ou ultérieure)

Edit (01.04.2014): I also found this good article about “achieving document freedom”, by The Document Foundation’s Italo Vignoli.

How can I help the Free and Open world?

16 Apr

So, you recognise that the Open Source and Free Content world is a great idea, but don’t really know how to give back to it and contribute to its development?

Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Know how to code? Get coding.

There are virtually an infinite number of projects that you can join. You can even start you own!

Some platforms you can join and start a project on are:

  • Lanchpad, using the Bazaar version control system, mainly related to Ubuntu (more than 31,000 projects)
  • GitHub, using the Git revision control system
  • SourceForge, with 324,000 projects

There are many more, and you can make your mind by having a look at this list on Wikipedia.

You can also get involved in the Google Summer of Code, with which Google promotes post-secondary developers getting involved into Open Source projects, every year, since 2005.

Getting involved in an open-source project is a great way to learn about coding and working as a team.

By the way, I’m saying all this, but I don’t know shit about developing. Anyway…

Not a developer? Release different creative Free Content

Free/Open content licenses are not made only for open-source software. You can release you cultural works – be it a book, photos, drawings or music – under a variety of licenses, in order to give others more freedom and promote creativity.

You can choose to release your photos under a Creative Commons license on Flickr for example, but maybe prefer open-source software-based websites like MediaGoblin or TroveBox. Also, if your photos have a encyclopaedic value, you could upload them to Wikimedia Commons so they can be used on other Wikimedia projects like Wikipedia.

Here are a few examples of digital libraries where you can contribute with your cultural works:

The Creative Commons license has a few parameters that you can tweak depending on how you want to be credited and what you want to let other people do with your work.

The Free Art license (called License Art Libre in French – see a definition in English) is a more permissive one. You can compare the different available licenses on the Freedom Defined website.

And if you are a scientist, consider publishing your research in an Open Access journal! This is rapidly becoming the norm for many around the world, and it is definitely the way of the future, probably giving you more opportunities to get cited too! Search for an Open Access journal on the DOAJ website.

Not an artist? Give some time!

If you are not exactly an artist, you can still give a hand at expanding existing community-built websites. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Everybody knows and uses Wikipedia – so why not give some of your time back to the community? There are lots to do, from correcting a typo to creating a new article. You can get started from here. However, if you don’t feel like you can contribute to an encyclopaedia, there are many other Wikimedia projects to spend some free time on, including media library, dictionary, travel guide and news source.
  • MusicBrainz is a music-related database. If you love music or own a few records, why not try and give us a hand? You can start from this guide.
  • OpenStreetMap is a great project that aims at building a open database of geographical data. It is very fun to contribute to, and you can start straight away by mapping your own street! Here is a beginners’ guide to get you started.
  • Another interesting one is OpenFoodFacts. This French language version is the most mature one, but you can start helping on any of the 12 available languages.
  • The Stack Exchange network includes 101 Q&A websites that compile a wealth of community-built knowledge licensed under a CC-by-SA license. You will probably find a topic you are knowledgeable in. (Home-brewing? Islam? Robotics? Cryptography? Come on, you MUST be good at something!)

Another way to give some of your time to the cause is by promoting and advocating the use of open/free content licenses, open source software and open standards. Talk about it to your friends and family, use the cultural works yourself, install an open source software alternative on a friend’s computer, organise an event or a presentation… There are many options!

Don’t have time? Give some money!

I could have gone with “Give some money!” first, followed by “Don’t have money? Give some time!”, but I reckon everything else should be prioritize over money. In my philosophy, the less we use and depend on money, the better.

However, we have to acknowledge the fact that the society we live in heavily relies on monetary incentives. So yes, vote with your money, but only after you voted with everything else.

There are many ways you can donate some of your income for a good cause promoting openness. Here are a few ideas:

Give to organisations that do an amazing job at promoting the Open World. Just to name a few: the Open Knowledge FoundationAPRIL (fr), AFUL (fr), Framasoft (fr), the Free Software FoundationLa Quadrature du Net, the Open Source Initiative, the Free Network Foundation… They will all make a good use of your pennies.

You can also fund specific projects directly. Go to your favourite software’s website and shout them a few cups of coffee. An other way to do it is participating in crowdfunding. Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the two main websites for crowdfunding inovative projects. Just do an “open source” search (quick links: KS or IGG) and give some money to the projects you like the most. For example:

Well, there you go! Those are just a few ideas, but hopefully you found something that suits you, and we can all give back to the Open community!

Cheers for reading.

Happy Document Freedom Day!

27 Mar
DFD banner

(DFD, license cc by-sa 3.0)

Today, the 27th of March 2013, we celebrate Document Freedom Day (DFD).

Why? Because we need to improve the interoperability between software in order to communicate better and give everyone the opportunity to use the software they want to use to produce documents.

In my own experience, I often felt guilty because of incompatibility problems when I was editing a .doc text document coming from someone who would use Microsoft Office. We open-source advocates often hear that we are annoying because we can’t – or won’t – use the bloody basic .doc or .docx formats, which results in jumbled documents.

Well, there is absolutely no reason we should be seen as the problem. On the contrary, our choice is more of a solution.

We need to say it, and explain it, over and over until this is understood by everyone: the problem is not us. The problem is the monopoly of the Microsoft closed formats worldwide. It is not LibreOffice or OpenOffice’s fault that your document is all messed up after going back and forth between a Microsoft Office user and a Linux aficionado – it is Microsoft’s fault for making their formats so cryptic no other software can handle them without any trouble.

Using Open Document Formats (ODF) in the first place would have solved the problem – yes, Microsoft Office can read ODF too.

Another very valid reason to use open document formats is that your files’ lifespan does not depend on the software you used to create them.

It is about time the default formats are open formats that any software can understand. Even though at the moment, .doc and .xls formats are the most widely used ones for text documents and spreadsheets, it does not mean they are the best choice! This should be everyone’s decision to do the move in a concerted and informed effort, but the governments and institutions should definitely do their part in initiating a wider change.

Today is not just the day of open document formats, it also is the day of all open standards and formats.

So if you want to do your bit, talk about this, promote the use of open standard and formats, and avoid any closed ones. Here is a short list to have an idea of which formats should be promoted:

  • In your office suite, prefer formats like .odt, .ods or .odp to .doc and .docx, .xls and .xlsx, or .ppt and .pptx;
  • Use PDF documents as much as you want;
  • For your music and other sounds, prefer .ogg to .mp3, .wma or .aac, and .flac to .wav;
  • When it comes to graphics and pictures, choose .jpg, .png, .gif and .svg instead of .psd and .bmp;
  • If you want to compress or archive bulky files, choose .7z, .tar and .gzip instead of .zip;
  • For videos, .ogv and .mkv are preferred to .wmv and .mov;
  • And for your ebooks, definitely go with the .epub format instead of promoting the myriad of proprietary formats that each brand creates to lock you in!

These are just a few examples. Have a look at this Wikipedia article to learn about the safer format choices.

You can read more about DFD on the official website.

Stephen Fry poster for DFD 2012

Stephen Fry gives you a piece of his mind for DFD 2012. And he is damn right. (DFD, licence cc by-sa 3.0)