Celebrate SFD 2015 on Saturday, September 19th
   
Text Size
Login
Google
Linode
FSF
Canonical
Linux Magazine
Ubuntu User
Linux Journal
Admin Network & Security Magazine
Smart Developer
Creative Commons
FreeBSD
Joomla!
Open Clipart Library
FSFE
Fundația Ceata
Atom 0.3 RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0 OPML FOAF

August 01, 2015

FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 Now Available

The second RC build of the 10.2-RELEASE cycle is now available.

Installation images are available for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64, and sparc64 architectures.

FreeBSD/arm SD card images are available for the BEAGLEBONE, CUBOX-HUMMINGBOARD, GUMSTIX, RPI-B, PANDABOARD, and WANDBOARD kernels.

FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 is also available on several third-party hosting providers.

See the PGP-signed announcement email for installation image checksums and more information.

SFD 2015 registration is on!

The Digital Freedom Foundation is very happy to announce that registration of the twelfth edition of Software Freedom Day just opened. While the wiki has been ready for some times and a few teams started to create pages registration was another story. In fact our infrastructure needs updates and we still haven't found way to do that easily.

Now as far as Free Software is concerned while we see more projects adopting Free Software licenses we also feel end-users still struggle with their proprietary operating systems. At the same time both hardware and software seems a lot more integrated and in some fields it seems that you can just print something with your Free 3D printers, order some kind of Free Hardware controllers online, flash them, hack them and get a complete and finish product running (or flying, or...). We're involved here with people who had no special interest in Free Software or Hardware and discovered it through pursuing their hobbies, and they just love it!

On the sponsorship side we have unfortunately lost Canonical financially but they are still providing the mailing list infrastructure (snif snif.. they were our first sponsors). Google and Linode are still supporting us luckily and we are exploring new ventures (though nothing confirmed at this stage).

So as usual registration happens after you have created your event page on the wiki. We have an exaustive guide here for newcomers and for the others who need help, the SFD-Discuss mailing is probably the best place to get prompt support. As usual we will come back with more details things to do or worth mentioning to bring inspiration and motivation to the celebration on the sfd-discuss mailing list.

So get ready to celebrate and happy preparations to all!

FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 Available

The second RC build for the FreeBSD 10.2 release cycle is now available. ISO images for the amd64, armv6, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures are available on most of our FreeBSD mirror sites.

July 31, 2015

Most popular web browsers among Fedora users

Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. It is so popular that some call it a new Internet Explorer. But that’s based on global stats. In Red Hat, I’m responsible for web browsers, so I wondered what are the most popular web browsers among Fedora users. So I asked through Fedora accounts on Facebook and Google+: “Which browser do you use the most in Fedora?”

I didn’t look for exact numbers. It’s clear that such polls can’t be 100% representative and for instance Google+ users have inclination to use Google products which can be seen on the comparison of results from Facebook and Google+. However, I think the results give you a rough idea of what browsers are popular among Fedora users. And the results are:

fedora-browsersThe surveys differed a bit. G+ supports polls, but only up to five options. So I pre-selected five browsers I expected would be most popular, and told the users to write a browser of their choice to comments if it’s not among pre-selected options. Facebook natively doesn’t support polls, so users wrote their preferences in comments. Even though other browsers were not discriminated by not being pre-selected the results were very similar. None of them got more votes than any of the pre-selected five. The total amount of votes on Facebook was considerable lower than on Google+ (1262). And the findings?

  • Firefox and Chrome/Chromium are the only relevant browsers among Fedora users. They take up to 95% of the pie. Opera and Epiphany were a bit more popular among Fedora users on Facebook, but neither of them exceeded 5%. All other browsers got just a couple of votes: Midori, Konqueror, SeaMonkey, Pale Moon, Vivaldi, Lynx,…
  • Firefox was the winner, a pretty clear one on Facebook and a close one on Google+ (49% vs 48%). Firefox is the default browser, so it’s not surprising.
  • What really surprised me is the huge difference between Chrome and Chromium. I thought there would be more people who prefer open source solutions, but apparently a lot more people prefer convenience even among Fedora users. You can find Chromium in alternative repos and it’s easy to install, but it doesn’t include Flash player and other closed source goodies. With Chrome, you get it all with an installation of one package. In terms of numbers of users, Chromium is pretty much irrelevant if you compare it to Chrome.
  • Quite a few people said that they were primarily using Firefox, but they had Chrome for Flash. When Flash goes finally away, Chrome will lose one of its significant advantages.
  • Opera used to have a market share of ~10% among Linux users. In this survey, it got 4.9% (FB) and 1.7% (G+). It took them more one year to release the new generation of Opera (based on Chromium) for Linux after they discontinued the original Opera (12.16). Apparently most users left and never came back (I’m one of them).

BSDCan 2015 Trip Report: Mark Linimon


I arrived two days early so that I could recover from the first stage of my vacation preceding the conference, and then socialize.  (The latter can be an advantage because trying to carry on a conversation in the larger groups later in the week can sometimes be daunting.)  To some extent this was just a continuation of my vacation (i.e. funded out of my own pocket.)

Glen and Deb and I started off with an evening of conversation over dinner.  This was mostly a "well, where are we now?" discussion.  Glen and I adjourned later for a discussion of ports build infrastructure that eventually wound up with us toasting the memory of some departed four-legged friends.

As the various members of the Ports Management Team arrived over the next few days, I began spending time with them in various informal sessions.  Ports remains my main area of interest.

Wednesday was the first day of the devsummit.  I attended the nested kernels session which I will happily admit was over my head.  I was also interested to hear how Isilon manages their use of FreeBSD.

Thursday morning brought the documentation session by Warren Block. Warren has many new ideas. While translations are not my interest, Warren is thinking about ways to bring people into the translation project that involve finding ways to lower barrier of entry.  In particular, he is experimenting with technology that would allow non-technical users to contribute to a translation dictionary without having to have commit rights.  (Later, actual commits would be vetted.) I found persuasive the idea that we are excluding "people with an interest in documentation but no grasp of our documentation build processes" from participating.  This is an object lesson that my own viewpoint has been too narrow and based on my own past experience with various markup languages.

Thursday evening I was asked to sit in on the portmgr meeting.  We spent several hours going over "where are we now and where do we want to go".  Within the last 12 months we have finally acquired enough hardware to be able not just to build the bare-minimum packages and experimental (exp-) runs, but also to think about what our ideal build procedures should look like, and what kind of analysis tools that we need.  Some of those ideas are still under active discussion, but I think I can comment about the following:


  •  Establish some "publish criteria" before declaring a quarterly branch as the "new" official branch.  Right now there are no criteria other than trying to read through lists of error summaries. We need to be able to create some kind of automated figure-of-merit for each particular build.  My view is that portsmon could be augmented to help with this, but in any case, we need this functionality.

  • It is difficult to evaluate regressions on individual runs.  A "test instance" of portsmon should probably be used to do this.  A method already exists to display these data but even the portmgrs do not understand it well.  (FWIW, portsmon does not "know" what builds are -exp builds; it treats all build inputs the same.  It would be far easier to instantiate a separate "test" portsmon that takes input from those builds to display to those specifically interested, than to rearchitect the UI.  This would continue to keep those data out of the current instance, which is intended for the general public as well as ports infrastructure developers.)  (In fact, the development instance in Austin does exactly this, as well as gather occasional test results from my tier-2 machines here.  I am used to it, but others would most likely be confused.)

Friday brought the first day of BSDCan proper.  The key talk that I wanted to see was about QEMU package builds.  I retain an interest in the tier-2 architectures.  I believe that supporting multiple architectures helps keep FreeBSD more robust.  Sean Bruno and Stacey Son have made a great deal of progress on the cross-build poudriere environment.  Of particular interest was Stacey's list of what work remains to be done to complete the emulation.  There is, of course, a tradeoff curve between how complete the emulation of (e.g.) syscalls is, and how many real-world use cases are affected.  No emulation can ever be pefect, of course.

I also attended the afternoon network performance presentation.  I do not have enough in-depth knowledge of the network system to understand all the implications, but was interested to pursue whether some of the framework could help us to do more general performance testing such as Kris Kennaway used to do.  This is an area that I think we should spend effort on.

The most important session on Saturday was on packaging the base system. I expected this talk to be more controversial than it was.  (Perhaps everyone was beginning to get tired ...)

There is a great deal of work that has been done so far, but it seems there is still some distance yet to go.  One of the next problems to face will be to define "what do we consider a FreeBSD base system to be". However, there are already some variations on the theme, among the more notable being nanobsd, crochet, and freebsd-wifi-build.  IMHO each ofthese is an incompatible attempt to solve the same underlying problem. If it is possible to create one solution that will encompass all these attempts, it will be a big achievement.

Summary: lessons learned:

It's hard to overstate the importance of the "hallway track".  Among the people who I was able to reconnect with (including Glen as mentioned above) were Sean Bruno, Gavin Atkinson, Stacey Son, Justin Hibbits, and Marcel Moolenaar.  A lot of good ideas get kicked around there as well.

Another lesson that I learned the hard way last year is that it's physically impossible for me to attend every single session and then every hacking lounge and every nightly social activity.  I was much more judicious in pacing myself and this helped me not wear out as early on as I did last year.

All in all I got a much better idea of what areas we need to work on for the rest of the year by attending the conference.

mcl



How to extract a dts from an Android Phone

How to extract a dts from an Android Phone

1) Get its boot.img

    $ adb pull /dev/block/bootdevice/by-name/boot boot.img

2) Find out which dts is the device using

    $ adb logcat # the device's boot process, watch the first few lines.
   
3) split the boot.img in its components

    $ # wget http://www.enck.org/tools/split_bootimg_pl.txt -O split_bootimg.pl
    $ split_bootimg.pl boot.img
  
4) Look for the correct dtb on the boot image

    a) hexdump -C -v boot.img-dtb |less
    b) On this hexdump, search for "d0 0d fe ed"
    c) there are probably several occurrences, choose the one matching what the device is using (point (2))
    d) take note of the address where it is
   
5) convert the address from hex to binary

    $ # https://github.com/ARivottiC/aliases.sh has conversion aliases
    $ hex2dec address

6) extract the correct dtb from the bunch

    $ dd if=boot.img-dtb of=correct.dtb bs=the_result_from_5 skip=1

7) convert dtb to dts

    $ # look for dtc on the $OUT of an android build
    $ dtc -I dtb -O dts -o correct.dts correct.dtb

July 30, 2015

The FSF's statement on Windows 10

Microsoft uses draconian laws to prevent anyone from popping the hood on Windows and studying the source code that underlies it. Because of this, the world's most widespread computer system is completely outside the control of its users. This puts Microsoft in a dominant position over its customers, which it takes advantage of to treat them as a product. In fact, Microsoft announced that, with Windows 10, it will begin forcing lower-paying users to test less-secure new updates before giving higher-paying users the option of whether or not to adopt them.

Increased public scrutiny has forced Microsoft to adjust its advertising to focus on how secure it is and how well it protects privacy. But who does it secure and protect? Certainly not the user. Since Windows 10 is nonfree software, users and independent security experts can't access the source code, so they are forced to take Microsoft's word for it that their computers are safe and their data is being used responsibly. And it hardly seems warranted to trust a company that is reported to give the NSA special security tip-offs that it could use to crack into Windows computers.

Advertising companies are surely licking their chops over Windows 10's new privacy policy, which asserts the privilege to sell almost any information it wants about users, even creating a unique advertising ID for each user to sweeten the deal.

By contrast, free software like the GNU/Linux operating system is developed by professional and volunteer communities working transparently, freely sharing their work with each other and the world. Users have meaningful influence over the software development process and complete choice over what code they run. This means the software usually treats them with respect. Even if a free software developer took a page from Microsoft's book and began abusing its users, it would have no way to keep them locked in -- when this happens, independent experts copy the source code, remove the offending bits and help people switch to the user-respecting version.

Because it is fundamentally insecure and scoffs at privacy, Windows is an open window onto you. Because it locks users and independent experts out of the development process, it is also a locked door to your computer, and only Microsoft has the key. If you are considering replacing your operating system with Windows 10, we hope you switch to GNU/Linux instead. Join thousands of others and pledge to try GNU/Linux today.

The FSF maintains a list of endorsed GNU/Linux distributions, and there are myriad resources online for getting started. If you want to try free software but you can't be persuaded to leave Windows quite yet, try these free programs that work on Windows. If you are thinking about buying a new computer, check out the laptops we certify through our Respects Your Freedom program. If you're the type that builds their own computer, use h-node, the community-maintained database of computer components that work well with free software.

We can't hope to match Microsoft's huge advertising budget, but if you're on social media (see our recommendations for user-respecting social media systems) you can help raise awareness of Windows' abuses and encourage people to switch, in your own words. Help us jam Microsoft's ridiculous #UpgradeYourWorld hashtag by including it in your posts encouraging people to steer clear of Windows.

Media Contacts

Zak Rogoff
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

The Golden Calf: Melting

Woman02.3GIF

Hebrews tossing ass-loads (literally carried out of Egypt on the backs of asses) of treasure into a crucible, to cast into the Golden Calf.

Share/Bookmark

flattr this!

Enhanced commit privileges: Allan Jude (src)

July 27, 2015

Growth of Fedora Repository Has Almost Stalled

I went across statistics from Fedora Package Database and what caught my attention is that the increase of number of packages in the official Fedora repository has almost stalled:

fedora-number-of-packagesThe number of packages in Fedora 22 is 17021 and is not going much since Fedora 20. Does it mean there are no more projects worth packaging? I don’t think so. The number of open source projects goes up like never before, just look at GitHub.

I think this trend is related to the growth of Copr. The number of projects has been rising exponentially there. Mirek Suchý reported a couple of months ago that the number of projects in Copr was almost 3000 and almost 2000 were active. And the numbers have increased significantly since then.

It’s actually a success. It means we have achieved what we outlined in the Fedora.Next plans: we’ve built a ring of software around Fedora which has low barriers to entry for packagers and where software is easy to install for users. Although the number of packages in the official repositories is not growing like in the past the total amount of software available to Fedora users has grown like never before. That’s great.

What we’re still failing at a bit is how to build on this and bring the best of Copr to official Fedora repositories and convert the most promising Copr packagers into Fedora packagers. The official repositories still have their relevance. The quality of packages there is significantly higher than in Copr. We should encourage Copr packagers to work on their packages to meet Fedora standards and become Fedora packagers. We should show them the path. I can imagine that we offer an option in Copr to run the source packages against fedora-review to give the packager a hint what needs to be done to meet the official repository standards and if he/she is interested we can point him/her to documentation for the rest of the process.

The current situation is a great opportunity if we streamline the path to quality. Then Copr can serve as a broad source of “playground” software from which useful and proven projects can get deserved quality of integration and make it to the official repositories. But it’s also a threat because if we don’t provide a path and encourage Copr packagers they may just be satisfied with the easy way to make and maintain packages in Copr and no one will want to package software for the official repositories any more.


July 26, 2015

Asherah-rah-rah

Asherah8GIF1

My Asherah is loosely based on these:

asherahfigure2

Because mine rotates, the design is super simple with hardly any detail. Here’s another version that looks slightly less like the real Ashera figures, but is a cleaner design (due to longer hair):

Asherah7GIF6

Share/Bookmark

flattr this!

July 24, 2015

FSF invites the free software community to its 30th birthday party on October 3rd, 2015

FSF30 logo

The event homepage is https://fsf.org/fsf30/celebration and the RSVP form is open. The FSF encourages use of the hashtag #FSF30 on social media (read the foundation's position on different social media platforms).

The FSF is also planning a mini-conference, also on October 3, during the day, where the free software community will share lessons from its first thirty years and plan for the future. The foundation may also hold a fundraising dinner on Friday, October 2nd.

Volunteer or Sponsor

The FSF is seeking volunteers to help set up the venue and greet guests. Individuals with skills in free software livestreaming are also needed. All volunteers will receive a special reverse birthday gift from the FSF.

The foundation is also seeking general event, beer, or food sponsors. To sponsor or recommend a sponsor, or to volunteer, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Satellite events

Supporters around the world have already expressed interest in holding their own local events for the FSF's birthday. The foundation would be delighted to cover these events on its blog or come up with a creative way of connecting them to the event in Boston. Please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are interested in organizing a satellite event.

Streaming

The FSF intends to livestream the event and post videos online afterwards. Volunteers with free software video skills are needed as well.

Read the New Yorker article, The GNU Manifesto Turns Thirty by Maria Bustillos.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

More information about the FSF, as well as important information for journalists and publishers, is at https://www.fsf.org/press.

Media Contacts

Georgia Young
Program Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

July 23, 2015

Haskell Hacking in the Google Zurich Office

The Google Open Source Programs Office recently co-sponsored a three-day hackathon for Haskell, an open source functional programming language. Johan Tibell from Google’s Zurich office talks more about the event below.



On the weekend of May 29th, 120 Haskell enthusiasts got together for the 5th installment of ZuriHac, a yearly open source Haskell hackathon held in Zurich, Switzerland. This year we were back where it all started in 2010: the ground floor of the Google Zurich office.


The schedule was packed solid, and we also put together a complete three day experience for the many beginners in attendance. One room was dedicated to beginner talks and staffed by volunteer mentors (thanks all of you!) that made sure everyone had someone to turn to for questions or just some casual chatting about Haskell. Videos from three of those talks are now online: Monads by Example, Beginning Web Programming in Haskell, and Performance.


The main event featured a mind-bending talk about interesting implementations of sorting algorithms by Edward Kmett (slides) and a deep-dive into writing high-performance binary serialization code by Duncan Coutts (slides).


20150529_131051.jpg
We ran out of whiteboards so we had to use flipcharts!



After the intense hacking sessions, we had organized barbeques down by the Zurich lake. We had a very good turnout, taking over a large part of the park.


2015-05-29 18-38-22.JPG
Sharing a public barbeque with the locals.



All in all it was a very intense and enjoyable weekend, and we’ll try to organize the event again next year. Perhaps we can beat the current 120 attendee record!

By Johan Tibell, YouTube team


(edited 23 July 2015 with a correct link for the Beginning Web Programming in Haskell video. Thanks to our sharp-eyed reader who commented!)

July 20, 2015

My interview for the keynote at Akademy published

I am invited to give a keynote at KDE’s Akademy on Saturday 25 July. In the preparation for the conference Devaja Shah interviewed me, and his questions made me look up some things in my old mail archives from the early 2000s.

The interview covers questions about my first GNU/Linux distribution, why I studied politics and management, how I got involved in FSFE, how Free Software is linked to the progress of society, my involvement in wilderness first aid seminars, as well as my favourite music. (Thanks to Victorhck who translated the interview into Spanish and also added corresponding videos.)

I am looking forward to interesting discussions with KDE contributors and the local organisers from GPUL during the weekend.

July 15, 2015

Clarification on IP Rights Policy

We are updating our Intellectual Property Rights Policy to clarify the relationship between this policy and the licences of the constituent works in Ubuntu.  Specifically, we are adding a single clause which states:

“Ubuntu is an aggregate work of many works, each covered by their own licence(s). For the purposes of determining what you can do with specific works in Ubuntu, this policy should be read together with the licence(s) of the relevant packages. For the avoidance of doubt, where any other licence grants rights, this policy does not modify or reduce those rights under those licences.”

 

We are proud to choose the GPL as the default licence for the software that Canonical writes, and we do that because we believe it is the licence that creates the most freedoms for its users.  We have always recognised those rights in this Policy, and over the course of a long conversation with the Free Software Foundation and others, we agreed to eliminate any doubt by adding this new language.

We would like to thank the Free Software Foundation and the Software Freedom Conservancy for their suggestions in this regard over the past year.  We’ll continue to evolve our policies, in consultation with the very diverse groups that make up the open source community, to reflect best practice and the needs of Canonical and the Ubuntu community.

July 09, 2015

#PerconaLive Amsterdam – schedule now out

The schedule is out for Percona Live Europe: Amsterdam (September 21-23 2015), and you can see it at: https://www.percona.com/live/europe-amsterdam-2015/program.

From MariaDB Corporation/Foundation, we have 1 tutorial: Best Practices for MySQL High Availability – Colin Charles (MariaDB)

And 5 talks:

  1. Using Docker for Fast and Easy Testing of MariaDB and MaxScale – Andrea Tosatto (Colt Engine s.r.l.) (I expect Maria Luisa is giving this talk together – she’s a wonderful colleague from Italy)
  2. Databases in the Hosted Cloud Colin Charles (MariaDB)
  3. Database Encryption on MariaDB 10.1 Jan Lindström (MariaDB Corporation), Sergei Golubchik (Monty Program Ab)
  4. Meet MariaDB 10.1 Colin Charles (MariaDB), Monty Widenius (MariaDB Foundation)
  5. Anatomy of a Proxy Server: MaxScale Internals Ivan Zoratti (ScaleDB Inc.)

OK, Ivan is from ScaleDB now, but he was the SkySQL Ab ex-CTO, and one of the primary architects behind MaxScale! We may have more talks as there are some TBD holes to be filled up, but the current schedule looks pretty amazing already.

What are you waiting for, register now!

July 05, 2015

FSFE Newsletter - July 2015

FSFE Newsletter - July 2015 FSFE pokes the European Commission on its transparency commitment

While looking into the Digital Single Market (DSM) package, our president Karsten Gerloff noticed that the EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger neglected to publish his recent meetings with lobbyists. So Karsten reminded the Commission about their transparency commitment. Meanwhile Oettinger's Head of Cabinet, Michael Hager, explained that a long-term sickness leave in the cabinet has led to a delay in publishing the meetings, and they updated the lists of meetings.

But it turned out Karsten was not the only one interested in Oettinger's meetings. A few days after Karsten's reminder the Spiegel and other media published news stories about it. According to Spiegel Online’s figures, 90% of the Commissioner’s meetings were with corporate representatives, business organisations, consultancies and law firms. Only 3% of his meetings were with NGOs. Of the top ten organisations he’s meeting with, seven are telecoms companies, most of whom are staunchly opposed to net neutrality.

Without the EU's transparency commitment, it would have been almost impossible to research this. This shows how important such transparency commitments are and it shows how important it is that organisations and individuals actually monitor such publications. Furthermore we hope that from now on Oettinger better balances his meetings, so he hears different sides of an issue, and can make an informed decision.

TiSA: intransparent treaty might prevent digital sovereignty

Nowadays countries start to demand the source code for software they procure. If they sign the currently negotiated Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) they might be forbidden to continue doing so.

End of May, a draft of TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) was leaked. TiSA is yet another international agreement, like the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), or the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). It is apparently negotiated by 51 countries including the EU. In the section “Transfer or Access to Source Code” the leaked version prevents countries to give priority to Free Software:

No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory.

For purposes of this Article, software subject to paragraph 1 is limited to mass-market software, and does not include software used for critical infrastructure.

We believe that a trade agreement should not force signatory countries to give up control over their IT infrastructure for decades to come. On the contrary, companies should provide the source code if the public administrations demands it, as well as the corresponding rights to use the software for any purpose, to share the software with others, as well as to adapt the software for their own needs without anyone else's permission.

Something completely different Copyright directive: In an important step towards modernising the EU's copyright laws, the Legal Affairs committee of the European Parliament adopted a report on the Copyright Directive by MEP Julia Reda. FSFE, which provided input to the MEPs of the Legal Affairs committee ahead of the vote, views the adopted report as largely positive. The European Parliament is scheduled to hold a plenary vote on 9 July 2015 on the subject. Education: The German state of Saxony-Anhalt is forcing their pupils to use a variety of Microsoft services by making it mandatory for every public school. The plan was arranged by the Minister of Finance without knowledge of neither the data protection officer, nor the ministry of education. Erik Albers wrote about that (in German) and afterwards Fellows in Saxony filed a petition against this procedure, which everybody – also outside Saxony-Anhalt – can sign and promote. FSFE Internal: About two years ago, Karsten Gerloff decided that he would eventually move on from his role as FSFE’s president. FSFE has been preparing the leadership transition ever since. As he wrote in his blog post June was the last month for him actively handling operations at FSFE. Karsten currently takes two months of parental leave, and at FSFE’s General Assembly in September, FSFE's General Assembly will elect his successor. Events: Our active volunteer Guido Arnold was giving a keynote “Free Software in Education” at the 22nd DORS/CLUC in Zagreb, and Franz Gratzer reports from the FSFE's booth at Veganmania. This vegan festival in Vienna lasted for four days, with 70 organisations and companies having booths there. From the planet aggregation: In his series “Three steps towards more privacy on the Net” Jens Lechtenbörger explains how to setup Firefox with Tor/Orbot on Android. Imagine you want to install GNU/Linux on ~10 old computers, and all you have is a slow 10kb/s internet connection. Max Mehl faced this problem and wrote “splitDL”, a small Bash script which splits huge files into several smaller ones and downloads them. Timo Jyrinki takes a look at the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (2015) which is shipped with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Daniel Pocock documents how to use Blender for video editing with the included non-linear video editing system. And Erik Albers writes how he learned to love the NASA. Get active: Tell us about active groups in Europe

There are many groups in Europe who do advocacy and lobby work for software freedom. Some have done this work for many years, some just started doing it. Unfortunately often they do not know from each other's existence, and therefore cannot benefit from a knowledge exchange.

We want to make sure the FSFE does not overlook other Free Software activities in Europe, so we can learn from each other and improve our way of empowering more users to control their technology. That is why this month we ask you to tell us about the active groups working for software freedom in Europe.

Thanks to all the volunteers, Fellows and corporate donors who enable our work, Matthias Kirschner - FSFE

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

July 02, 2015

Applying the most important lesson for non-developers in Free Software through Roundcube Next

Software is a social endeavour. The most important advantage of Free Software is its community. Because the best Open Source is built by a community of contributors. Contribution being the single most important currency and differentiation between users and community. You want to be part of that community at least by proxy because like any community, members of our community spend time together, exchange ideas, and create cohesion that translates into innovation, features, best practices.

We create nothing less than a common vision of the future.

By the rules of our community, anyone can take our software and use it, extend it, distribute it. A lot of value can be created this way and not everyone has the capabilities to contribute. Others choose not to contribute in order to maximise their personal profits. Short of actively harming others, egoism, even in its most extreme forms, is to be accepted. That is not to say it is necessarily a good idea for you to put the safeguarding of your own personal interests into the hands of an extreme egoist. Or that you should trust in their going the extra mile for you in all the places that you cannot verify.

That is why the most important lesson for non-developers is this: Choose providers based on community participation. Not only are they more likely to know early about problems, putting them in a much better position to provide you with the security you require. They will also ensure you will have a future you like.

Developers know all this already, of course, and typically apply it at least subconsciously.

Growing that kind of community has been one of the key motives to launch Roundcube Next, which is now coming close to closing its phase of bringing together its key contributors. Naturally everyone had good reasons to get involved, as recently covered on Venturebeat.

Last night Sandstorm.io became the single greatest contributor to the campaign in order to build that better future together, for everyone. Over the past weeks, many other companies, some big, some small, have done the same.

Together, we will be that community that will build the future.

June 26, 2015

Google Summer of Code 2015 midterms are here!

GoogleSummer_2015logo_horizontal.jpg

Today marks the halfway point of Google Summer of Code 2015. Both students and mentors will be submitting their midterm evaluations of one another through Friday, July 3 as indicated in our timeline. If you would like to read more about these midterm evaluations, please check out the "How Do Evaluations Work?" link on our FAQ.

The next milestone for the program will be the “pencils down” date of August 17, after which students can take a week to scrub their code, write tests, improve calculations and generally polish their work before the firm end of coding on August 21.

There has been fantastic progress made so far, and we encourage all the students, mentors, and org admins to keep up the great work!


by Carol Smith, Open Source Team

June 22, 2015

Are Indian FOSS communities closed-source ?

Hi all, This will hopefully be a short read as how Indian communities specially product-based communities are opaque in functioning. I have been re-reading a book called ‘Microtrends‘ I bought few years ago. The book starts with a bow to another best-seller sold several years ago called Megatrends . I haven’t read the former though […]

June 16, 2015

Linode turns 12! Here’s some KVM!

Happy 12th birthday to us!

Welp, time keeps on slippin’ into the future, and we find ourselves turning 12 years old today. To celebrate, we’re kicking off the next phase of Linode’s transition from Xen to KVM by making KVM Linodes generally available, starting today.

Better performance, versatility, and faster booting

Using identical hardware, KVM Linodes are much faster compared to Xen. For example, in our UnixBench testing a KVM Linode scored 3x better than a Xen Linode. During a kernel compile, a KVM Linode completed 28% faster compared to a Xen Linode. KVM has much less overhead than Xen, so now you will get the most out of our investment in high-end processors.

KVM Linodes are, by default, paravirtualized, supporting the Virtio disk and network drivers. However, we also now support fully virtualized guests – which means you can run alternative operating systems like FreeBSD, BSD, Plan 9, or even Windows – using emulated hardware (PIIX IDE and e1000). We’re also working on a graphical console (GISH?) which should be out in the next few weeks.

In a recent study of VM creation and SSH accessibility times performed by Cloud 66, Linode did well. The average Linode ‘create, boot, and SSH availability’ time was 57 seconds. KVM Linodes boot much faster – we’re seeing them take just a few seconds.

How do I upgrade a Linode from Xen to KVM?

On a Xen Linode’s dashboard, you will see an “Upgrade to KVM” link on the right sidebar. It’s a one-click migration to upgrade your Linode to KVM from there. Essentially, our KVM upgrade means you get a much faster Linode just by clicking a button.

How do I set my account to default to KVM for new stuff?

In your Account Settings you can set ‘Hypervisor Preference’ to KVM. After that, any new Linodes you create will be KVM.

What will happen to Xen Linodes?

New customers and new Linodes will, by default, still get Xen. Xen will cease being the default in the next few weeks. Eventually we will transition all Xen Linodes over to KVM, however this is likely to take quite a while. Don’t sweat it.

On behalf of the entire Linode team, thank you for the past 12 years and here’s to another 12! Enjoy!

-Chris

June 15, 2015

FSFE welcomes adoption of copyright report in EP's JURI committee

FSFE welcomes adoption of copyright report in EP's JURI committee

In an important step towards modernising the EU's copyright laws, the Legal Affairs committee of the European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a report on the Copyright Directive by MEP Julia Reda.

By adopting the report with 23 votes in favour and 2 against, the committee asks the European Commission to consider a number of important updates to copyright as it works towards a revision of the EU Copyright Directive.

"In a world built on information, copyright law is important in shaping the ways in which we live and work," says Karsten Gerloff, FSFE's president. "We hope that MEPs will further strengthen the rights of users as the report moves towards a plenary vote."

FSFE, which provided input to the MEPs on the Legal Affairs committe ahead of the vote, views the adopted report as largely positive. The committee generally supported the idea that copyright exceptions and limitations should apply equally both on- and offline. The MEPs also voted in favour of allowing authors to dedicate their works directly to the public domain.

The JURI commmitte adopted language stating that technological measures such as Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) should not stop users from enjoying copyright exceptions and limitations. However, the adopted report leaves out concrete measures to ensure that people can actually enjoy the full use of works that they have acquired.

On the negative side, the text adopted today is lacking in some important respects. It does not contain an explicit statement that hyperlinks do not require a copyright license, so that this essential building block of the web remains in danger.

Reda's proposal for an "open norm" akin to the "fair use" concept in the US was significantly weakened. The adopted wording on text and data mining is regrettably ambiguous. FSFE also regrets the deletion of language that made a clear distinction between physical and "intellectual property".

MEPs can still submit amendments to the report. The European Parliament is scheduled to hold a plenary vote on July 9.

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

June 07, 2015

Dramas and a buggy world

This post would be about a few bugs that I was able to get help and get them fixed, and some which are in process and some which may take a long time to resolve. I probably might have mentioned it quite a few times, I moved to GNU/Linux because at the time I was […]

May 28, 2015

Fedora 22

Fedora 22 was released publicly Tuesday, and is now available for deployment in the Linode Manager! Fedora 22 boasts several improvements over the previous version including:

– Improved built-in Docker and Vagrant support
– Python 3 as  the default implementation
– Django 1.8, now available from the repositories
– Ruby 2.2 and Rails 4.2
– DNF package manager, a replacement for yum (yum is still available). You can read more about DNF here or here.

The full release notes are available here. Fedora 21 will continue to receive updates, while Fedora 20 will reach EOL on June 26th.

To deploy Fedora 22 on a new Linode, simply select it from the drop down menu under “Image.” You can also upgrade your existing Linodes running Fedora 21 to the newest version using the fedora-upgrade tool.

May 25, 2015

Vivid release party in Terrassa

Catalan LoCo Team celebrated on May 9th release party of the next Ubuntu version, in this case, 15.04 Vivid Vervet. Sorry abaout the delay reporting.

This time, we went to Terrassa, near Barcelona, thanks to our friends of the Nicolau Copèrnic School.

As always, we started explaining what Ubuntu is and how it adapts to new times and devices, along with speeches from the school director and a Terrassa Councillor really understanding the Ubuntu meaning.

 

 

Quite a lot of people registering for the party.

 

Raspberry Pi and Open Source Hardware on Ubuntu were both present at the party.

 

And in another room, LibreOffice.

 

And, of course, Ubuntu Phone as well.

 

A lot of time passed since we offered a speech on Gimp.

 

Local TV came and made a report for the evening news.

May 19, 2015

Pushing fast forward: Roundcube Next.

If you are a user of Roundcube, you want to contribute to roundcu.be/next. If you are a provider of services, you definitely want to get engaged and join the advisory group. Here is why.

Free Software has won. Or has it? Linux is certainly dominant on the internet. Every activated Android device is another Linux kernel running. At the same time we see a shift towards “dumber” devices which are in many ways more like thin clients of the past. Only they are not connected to your own infrastructure.

Alerted by the success of Google Apps, Microsoft has launched Office 365 to drive its own transformation from a software vendor into a cloud provider. Amazon and others have also joined the race to provide your collaboration platform. The pull of these providers is already enormous. Thanks to networking effects, economies of scale, and ability to leverage deliberate technical incompatibilities to their advantage, the drawing power of these providers is only going to increase.

Open Source has managed to catch up to the large providers in most functions, bypassing them in some, being slightly behind in others. Kolab has been essential in providing this alternative especially where cloud based services are concerned. Its web application is on par with Office 365 and Google Apps in usability, attractiveness and most functions. Its web application is the only fully Open Source alternative that offers scalability to millions of users and allows sharing of all data types in ways that are superior to what the proprietary competition has to offer.

Collaborative editing, chat, voice, video – all the forms of synchronous collaboration – are next and will be added incrementally. Just as Kolab Systems will keep driving the commercial ecosystem around the solution, allowing application service providers (ASP), institutions and users to run their own services with full professional support. And all parts of Kolab will remain Free and Open, as well as committed to the upstream, according to best Free Software principles. If you want to know what that means, please take a look at Thomas Brüderlis account of how Kolab Systems contributes to Roundcube.

TL;DR: Around 2009, Roundcube founder Thomas Brüderli got contacted by Kolab at a time when his day job left him so little time to work on Roundcube that he had played with the thought of just stepping back. Kolab Systems hired the primary developers of Roundcube to finish the project, contributing in the area of 95% of all code in all releases since 0.6, driving it its 1.0 release and beyond. At the same time, Kolab Systems carefully avoided to impose itself on the Roundcube project itself.

From a Kolab perspective, Roundcube is the web mail component of its web application.

The way we pursued its development made sure that it could be used by any other service provider or ISV. And it was. Roundcube has an enormous adoption rate with millions of downloads, hundreds of thousands of sites and an uncounted number beyond the tens of millions. According to cPanel, 62% of their users choose Roundcube as their web mail application. It’s been used in a wide number of other applications, including several service providers that offer mail services that are more robust against commercial and governmental spying. Everyone at Kolab considers this a great success, and finds it rewarding to see our technology contribute essential value to society in so many different ways.

But while adoption sky-rocketed, contribution did not grow in the same way. It’s still Kolab Systems driving the vast majority of all code development in Roundcube along with a small number of occasional contributors. And as a direct result of the Snowden revelations the development of web collaboration solutions fragmented further. There are a number of proprietary approaches, which should be self-evidently disqualified from being taken serious based on what we have learned about how solutions get compromised. But there are also Open Source solutions.

The Free Software community has largely responded in one of two ways. Many people felt re-enforced in their opinion that people just “should not use the cloud.” Many others declared self-hosting the universal answer to everything, and started to focus on developing solutions for the crypto-hermit.

The problem with that is that it takes an all or nothing approach to privacy and security. It also requires users to become more technical than most of them ever wanted to be, and give up features, convenience and ease of use as a price for privacy and security. In my view that ignores the most fundamental lesson we have learned about security throughout the past decades. People will work around security when they consider it necessary in order to get the job done. So the adoption rate of such technologies will necessarily remain limited to a very small group of users whose concerns are unusually strong.

These groups are often more exposed, more endangered, and more in need of protection and contribute to society in an unusually large way. So developing technology they can use is clearly a good thing.

It just won’t solve the problem at scale.

To do that we would need a generic web application geared towards all of tomorrow’s form factors and devices. It should be collaboration centric and allow deployment in environments from a single to hundreds of millions of users. It should enable meshed collaboration between sites, be fun to use, elegant, beautiful and provide security in a way that does not get into the users face.

Fully Free Software, that solution should be the generic collaboration application that could become in parts or as a whole the basis for solutions such as mailpile, which focus on local machine installations using extensive cryptography, intermediate solutions such as Mail-in-a-Box, all the way to generic cloud services by providers such as cPanel or Tucows. It should integrate all forms of on-line collaboration, make use of all the advances in usability for encryption, and be able to grow as technology advances further.

That, in short, is the goal Kolab Systems has set out to achieve with its plans for Roundcube Next.

While we can and of course will pursue that goal independently in incremental steps we believe that would be missing two rather major opportunities. Such as the opportunity to tackle this together, as a community. We have a lot of experience, a great UI/UX designer excited about the project, and many good ideas.

But we are not omniscient and we also want to use this opportunity to achieve what Roundcube 1.0 has not quite managed to accomplish: To build an active, multi-vendor community around a base technology that will be fully Open Source/Free Software and will address the collaborative web application need so well that it puts Google Apps and Office 365 to shame and provides that solution to everyone. And secondly, while incremental improvements are immensely powerful, sometimes leapfrogging innovation is what you really want.

All of that is what Roundcube Next really represents: The invitation to leapfrog all existing applications, as a community.

So if you are a user that has appreciated Roundcube in the past, or a user who would like to be able to choose fully featured services that leave nothing to be desired but do not compromise your privacy and security, please contribute to pushing the fast forward button on Roundcube Next.

And if you are an Application Service Provider, but your name is not Google, Microsoft, Amazon or Apple, Roundcube Next represents the small, strategic investment that might just put you in a position to remain competitive in the future. Become part of the advisory group and join the ongoing discussion about where to take that application, and how to make it reality, together.

 

May 13, 2015

Ubuntu Security Update on VENOM (CVE-2015-3456) [UPDATED]

A buffer overflow in the virtual floppy disk controller of QEMU has been discovered. An attacker could use this issue to cause QEMU to crash or execute arbitrary code in the host’s QEMU process.

This issue is mitigated in a couple ways on Ubuntu when using libvirt to manage QEMU virtual machines, which includes OpenStack’s use of QEMU. The QEMU process in the host environment is owned by a special libvirt-qemu user which helps to limit access to resources in the host environment. Additionally, the QEMU process is confined by an AppArmor profile that significantly lessens the impact of a vulnerability such as VENOM by reducing the host environment’s attack surface.

A fix for this issue has been committed in the upstream QEMU source code tracker. Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu 14.10, and Ubuntu 15.04 are affected. To address the issue, ensure that qemu-kvm 1.0+noroms-0ubuntu14.22 (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS), qemu 2.0.0+dfsg-2ubuntu1.11 (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS), qemu 2.1+dfsg-4ubuntu6.6 (Ubuntu 14.10), qemu 1:2.2+dfsg-5expubuntu9.1 (Ubuntu 15.04) are installed.

For reference, the Ubuntu Security Notices website is the best place to find information on security updates and the affected supported releases of Ubuntu.  Users can get notifications via email and RSS feeds from the USN site, as well as access the Ubuntu CVE Tracker.

May 11, 2015

Upcoming opportunities to talk MySQL/MariaDB in May 2015

May is quickly shaping up to be a month filled with activity in the MySQL/MariaDB space. Just a quick note to talk about where I’ll be; looking forward to meet folk to talk shop. 

  1. The London MySQL Meetup GroupMay 13 2015 – organized by former colleague & friend Ivan Zoratti, we will be doing a wrap up of recent announcements at Percona Live Santa Clara, and I’ll be showing off some of the spiffy new features we are building into MariaDB 10. 
  2. MariaDB Roadshow London – May 19 2015 – I’m going to give an overview of our roadmap, and there will be many excellent talks by colleagues there. I believe MariaDB Corporation CEO Patrik Sallner and Stu Schmidt, President at Zend will also be there. Should be a fun filled day. 
  3. Internet Society (ISOC) Hong Kong World Internet Developer Summit – May 21-22 2015 – I’ll be giving a keynote about MariaDB and how we are trying to make it important Internet infrastructure as well as making it developer friendly. 
  4. O’Reilly Velocity 2015 – May 27-29 2015 – I will in 90 minutes attempt to give a tutorial to attendees (over a 100 have already pre-registered) an overview of MySQL High Availability options and what their choices are in 2015. Expect a lot of talk on replication improvements from both MySQL & MariaDB, Galera Cluster, as well as tools around the ecosystem. 

April 28, 2015

Sharing multiple links on Android

Did you try to share several URLs at once on Android before? Until now I copied and pasted each one of the links step-by-step into an e-mail or a text. While checking F-Droid for new programs last month, I discovered bulkshare, which offers an easier way to achieve this task.

First you share each of the links with bulkshare through Android’s share menu. Then you open bulkshare and re-share it with another program. In this step you can choose which of the links you want to share (by default all).

Screenshot of bulkshare with multiple links open

After sharing several links to bulkshare you can re-share all or a selection of them

This way you can share the link list for example with K-9 mail or other programs, edit the text around it and send it out.

Thanks to the author Alex Gherghișan for this nice program.

April 23, 2015

Event about Copyright in Águeda (Portugal), next May

A workshop about Copyright and Digital Rights Management and a monkey on the poster? Are you lost? Here's an explanation... this famous monkey is a pro in taking selfies. If you want to know more, the rest of the story will be told next 9th of May!
I'll be talking about DRM on an event next to Paula Simões (Portuguese Education Freedom Association) who's going to talk about copyright levies, and Teresa Nobre (Creative Commons) who's going to talk about free culture.
It promises to be a great afternoon, I hope you'll be able to join us!

April 13, 2015

Presentation – Crash Course Cloud 2.0

Presentation on the current state of cloud computing and the role that open source, containers and microservices are playing in the cloud.

Presented to Florida Linux Users Exchange on April 9th, 2015

[Link in case embed doesn’t work].

 

Technorati Tags: ,

March 31, 2015

OpenSource.com – Open source and DevOps aren’t mandatory, but neither is survival

I recently wrote an article for OpenSource.com – Open source and DevOps aren’t mandatory, but neither is survival This article is part of the Easy DevOps column coordinated by Greg Dekoenigsberg, VP of Community at Ansible. Share your stories and advice that helps to make DevOps practical—along with the tools, processes, culture, successes and glorious/inglorious failures from your experience by contacting us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Technorati Tags:

January 22, 2015

FLOSSK mbështetë Wiki Academy Kukës

FLOSSK do të mbështesë Wiki Academy-n e cila mbahet më 22 dhe 23 mars në Kukës. Akademia e Wikipedia-s përfshinë trajnimin e të rinjëve për të kontribuar në Wikipedia duke përfunduar me një vikend të plotë dedikuar shkrimit të artikujve në Enciklopedinë e Lirë Wikipedia.

January 20, 2015

Smart things powered by snappy Ubuntu Core on ARM and x86

“Smart, connected things” are redefining our home, work and play, with brilliant innovation built on standard processors that have shrunk in power and price to the point where it makes sense to turn almost every “thing” into a smart thing. I’m inspired by the inventors and innovators who are creating incredible machines – from robots that might clean or move things around the house, to drones that follow us at play, to smarter homes which use energy more efficiently or more insightful security systems. Prooving the power of open source to unleash innovation, most of this stuff runs on Linux – but it’s a hugely fragmented and insecure kind of Linux. Every device has custom “firmware” that lumps together the OS and drivers and devices-specific software, and that firmware is almost never updated. So let’s fix that!

Ubuntu is right at the heart of the “internet thing” revolution, and so we are in a good position to raise the bar for security and consistency across the whole ecosystem. Ubuntu is already pervasive on devices – you’ve probably seen lots of “Ubuntu in the wild” stories, from self-driving cars to space programs and robots and the occasional airport display. I’m excited that we can help underpin the next wave of innovation while also thoughtful about the responsibility that entails. So today we’re launching snappy Ubuntu Core on a wide range of boards, chips and chipsets, because the snappy system and Ubuntu Core are perfect for distributed, connected devices that need security updates for the OS and applications but also need to be completely reliable and self-healing. Snappy is much better than package dependencies for robust, distributed devices.

Transactional updates. App store. A huge range of hardware. Branding for device manufacturers.

In this release of Ubuntu Core we’ve added a hardware abstraction layer where platform-specific kernels live. We’re working commercially with the major silicon providers to guarantee free updates to every device built on their chips and boards. We’ve added a web device manager (“webdm”) that handles first-boot and app store access through the web consistently on every device. And we’ve preserved perfect compatibility with the snappy images of Ubuntu Core available on every major cloud today. So you can start your kickstarter project with a VM on your favourite cloud and pick your processor when you’re ready to finalise the device.

If you are an inventor or a developer of apps that might run on devices, then Ubuntu Core is for you. We’re launching it with a wide range of partners on a huge range of devices. From the pervasive Beaglebone Black to the $35 Odroid-C1 (1Ghz processor, 1 GB RAM), all the way up to the biggest Xeon servers, snappy Ubuntu Core gives you a crisp, ultra-reliable base platform, with all the goodness of Ubuntu at your fingertips and total control over the way you deliver your app to your users and devices. With an app store (well, a “snapp” store) built in and access to the amazing work of thousands of communities collaborating on Github and other forums, with code for robotics and autopilots and a million other things instantly accessible, I can’t wait to see what people build.

I for one welcome the ability to install AI on my next camera-toting drone, and am glad to be able to do it in a way that will get patched automatically with fixes for future heartbleeds!

Education Freedom Day registration launched!

efd-banner

We have just opened Education Freedom Day registration, scheduled on March 21st, 2015. For its second edition EFD has been moved to March to facilitate its celebration in both the south of the planet and China (at least…) and we hope to cater to more events this year.

As usual for all our Freedom celebrations the process is similar, you get together and decide to organize an event, then create a page in our wiki and register your team. As the date approaches you get to put more information in your wiki page (or on your organization website which is linked from the wiki) such as the date and time, the location and what people can expect to see.

Education Freedom Day is really the opportunity to review all the available Free Educational Resources available, how they have improved since last year and what you should start planning to implement to deploy in the coming months. More importantly it is the celebration of what is available and letting people aware of it!

So prepare well and see you all in two months to celebrate Education Freedom Day!

Celebrate EFD with us on March 21, 2015!

Education Freedom Day registration launched!

And to continue this busy week in announcements we have just opened Education Freedom Day registration, scheduled on March 21st, 2015. For its second edition EFD has been moved to March to facilitate its celebration in both the south of the planet and China (at least...) and we hope to cater to more events this year.

As usual for all our Freedom celebrations the process is similar, you get together and decide to organize an event, then create a page in our wiki and register your team. As the date approaches you get to put more information in your wiki page (or on your organization website which is linked from the wiki) such as the date and time, the location and what people can expect to see.

Education Freedom Day is really the opportunity to review all the available Free Educational Resources available, how they have improved since last year and what you should start planning to implement to deploy in the coming months. More importantly it is the celebration of what is available and letting people aware of it!

So prepare well and see you all in two months to celebrate Education Freedom Day!

January 19, 2015

Komentet e FLOSSK-ut ndaj ligjit për përgjimin e komunikimeve elektronike në Kosovë

Më 19 janar, përmes një letre dërguar Komisionit Parlamentar për Integrime Evropiane, FLOSSK-u ka reaguar ndaj Projektligjit për përgjimin e komunikimeve elektronike në Kosovë. Në këtë letër numërohet arsyet pse ky Projektligj në formën e tanishme është i dëmshëm për privatësinë e qytetarëve të Kosovës dhe si rrjedhojë i papranueshëm për ne.
 

30 years of FSF

After an exciting weekend celebrating Hardware Freedom Day what could possibly be better than going back to the very inspiring video made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Free Software Foundation? Indeed it’s been made using Free Software only and goes through the work of the foundation for the past thirty years. It’s actually nice to look at, positive and very well animated. We will definitely encourage all our software freedom day teams to use it during their events. But let us say no more and let you enjoy it if you’ve missed it so far:

And then, for the ones into this kind of work, and blender in particular, you can find a detailed explanation of the challenges that the makers of the work went through and how they fixed them right here. Definitely a great read into the whole process from design to finish. Great job guys! And of course a happy 30th anniversary to the FSF from the Digital Freedom Foundation and all its members!

December 23, 2014

GNOME Builder copr now for Rawhide only

GNOME Builder is under heavy development. This usually implies that such an application might require very new versions of its dependencies.

Upstream recently bumped their dependencies, and now require things that are only in Rawhide.

I have no intention to provide development builds of Gtk3 (among other things) in a Fedora 21 copr, as that might imply either breaking half of the distro, or having to rebuild it.

As a result, the GNOME Builder copr will from now on be Rawhide-only.

I have dropped the Fedora 21 repos, they won't be updated any more.

If you were using it on Fedora 21, please delete it:

# rm -f /etc/yum.repos.d/_copr_bochecha-gnome-builder.repo

If you still want to try GNOME Builder on Fedora 21, you'll now have to go the jhbuild route.

November 27, 2014

Lollipopp’d

I successfully updated my Nexus devices with Android 5.0 aka Lollipop earlier this week. Finally. After 3 tries with the download failing the first time, the install failing the next time and then it finally going through. Here is what I’m impressed with: * Look and feel polish – the visual change using new material […]

November 22, 2014

Release party in Barcelona

15794067981_0d173ce352_z

Another time, and there has been 16, ubuntaires celebrated the release party of the next Ubuntu version, in this case, 14.10 Utopic Unicorn.

This time, we went to Barcelona, at Raval, at the very centre, thanks to our friends of the TEB.

As always, we started with explaining what Ubuntu is and how our Catalan LoCo Team works and later Núria Alonso from the TEB explained the Ubuntu migration done at the Xarxa Òmnia.

15797518182_0a05d96fde_z

The installations room was plenty from the very first moment.

15611105340_1de89d36b4_z

There also was a very profitable auto-learning workshop on how to do an Ubuntu metadistribution.

15772275826_99d1a77d8b_z

 

And in another room, there were two Arduino workshops.

15610528118_927a8d7cc2_z15794076701_cc538bf9ba_z

 

And, of course, ubuntaires love to eat well.

 

15615259540_76daed408b_z 15614277959_c98bda1d33_z

 

Pictures by Martina Mayrhofer and Walter García, all rights reserved.

 
 

November 08, 2014

OpenStack on a diet, redux

Subhu writes that OpenStack’s blossoming project list comes at a cost to quality. I’d like to follow up with an even leaner approach based on an outline drafted during the OpenStack Core discussions after ODS Hong Kong, a year ago.

The key ideas in that draft are:

Only call services “core” if the user can detect them.

How the cloud is deployed or operated makes no difference to a user. We want app developers to

Define both “core” and “common” services, but require only “core” services for a cloud that calls itself OpenStack compatible.

Separation of core and common lets us recognise common practice today, while also acknowledging that many ideas we’ve had in the past year or three are just 1.0 iterations, we don’t know which of them will stick any more than one could predict which services on any major public cloud will thrive and which will vanish over time. Signalling that something is “core” means it is something we commit to keeping around a long time. Signalling something is “common” means it’s widespread practice for it to be available in an OpenStack environment, but not a requirement.

Require that “common” services can be self-deployed.

Just as you can install a library or a binary in your home directory, you can run services for yourself in a cloud. Services do not have to be provided by the cloud infrastructure provider, they can usually be run by a user themselves, under their own account, as a series of VMs providing network services. Making it a requirement that users can self-provide a service before designating it common means that users can build on it; if a particular cloud doesn’t offer it, their users can self-provide it. All this means is that the common service itself builds on core services, though it might also depend on other common services which could be self-deployed in advance of it.

Require that “common” services have a public integration test suite that can be run by any user of a cloud to evaluate conformance of a particular implementation of the service.

For example, a user might point the test suite at HP Cloud to verify that the common service there actually conforms to the service test standard. Alternatively, the user who self-provides a common service in a cloud which does not provide it can verify that their self-deployed common service is functioning correctly. This also serves to expand the test suite for the core: we can self-deploy common services and run their test suites to exercise the core more thoroughly than Tempest could.

Keep the whole set as small as possible.

We know that small is beautiful; small is cleaner, leaner, more comprehensible, more secure, easier to test, likely to be more efficiently implemented, easier to attract developer participation. In general, if something can be cut from the core specification it should. “Common” should reflect common practice and can be arbitrarily large, and also arbitrarily changed.

In the light of those ideas, I would designate the following items from Subhu’s list as core OpenStack services:

  • Keystone (without identity, nothing)
  • Nova (the basis for any other service is the ability to run processes somewhere)
    • Glance (hard to use Nova without it)
  • Neutron (where those services run)
    • Designate (DNS is a core aspect of the network)
  • Cinder (where they persist data)

I would consider these to be common OpenStack services:

  • SWIFT (widely deployed, can be self-provisioned with Cinder block backends)
  • Ceph RADOS-GW object storage (widely deployed as an implementation choice, common because it could be self-provided on Cinder block)
  • Horizon (widely deployed, but we want to encourage innovation in the dashboard)

And these I would consider neither core nor common, though some of them are clearly on track there:

  • Barbican (not widely implemented)
  • Ceilometer (internal implementation detail, can’t be common because it requires access to other parts)
  • Juju (not widely implemented)
  • Kite (not widely implemented)
  • HEAT (on track to become common if it can be self-deployed, besides, I eat controversy for breakfast)
  • MAAS (who cares how the cloud was built?)
  • Manila (not widely implemented, possibly core once solid, otherwise common once, err, common)
  • Sahara (not widely implemented, weird that we would want to hardcode one way of doing this in the project)
  • Triple-O (user doesn’t care how the cloud was deployed)
  • Trove (not widely implemented, might make it to “common” if widely deployed)
  • Tuskar (see Ironic)
  • Zaqar (not widely implemented)

In the current DefCore discussions, the “layer” idea has been introduced. My concern is simple: how many layers make sense? End users don’t want to have to figure out what lots of layers mean. If we had “OpenStack HPC” and “OpenStack Scientific” and “OpenStack Genomics” layers, that would just be confusing. Let’s keep it simple – use “common” as a layer, but be explicit that it will change to reflect common practice (of course, anything in common is self-reinforcing in that new players will defer to norms and implement common services, thereby entrenching common unless new ideas make services obsolete).

September 18, 2014

TL;DW for Clojure Data Science

Edmund Jackson talked at the 2012 Clojure/Conj, and you can see his talk here.

I took these notes as I watched it:
  1. What is "data science"?
    1. "That realm of endeavor that requires, simultaneously, advanced computational and statistical methods."
    2. Some people aren't sure whether "data science" is a thing, or just data analysis dressed up with a fancy name. That question amuses me.
  2. What's new, such that everybody suddenly cares about data science?
    1. widely available computing resources, open source tools such as R, and large amounts of data available in private companies and in public
    2. Compares to early days of Linux, when there was a bunch of new stuff that everybody could hack on
  3. Interactive tools aren't enough; you're not taking some data, analyzing it, and coming back with the answer. You need platform features like native language speed, data structures, language constructs, connectivity, and QC in order to embed your analysis in business processes.
  4. The tools with better analysis features (e.g., R, Mathematica) lack the platform features, and the tools with better platform features (he focuses primarily on C++ as his example here) lack the analysis features.
  5. Python is in the sweet spot, with platform features and (via numpy, scipy, and pandas) analysis features. But:
    1. It's full of mutable data!
    2. The mode of expression in imperative languages poorly matches the content of expression when you're dealing with maths.
  6. F#, Scala, and Clojure are all functional, and therefore (immutable data, more natural expression of maths) better alternatives than Python.
  7. Clojure yay! points:
    1. Native: Incanter, Storm, Cascalog, Datomic
    2. JVM: Mahout (ML on Hadoop), jBLAS, Weka (Java lib with many ML algorithms)
    3. Interop: Rincanter (call out to R), JNI
  8. From here he goes into calculating the entropy of a distribution, and the relative entropy of different distributions.
  9. Demonstrates using relative entropy fns in Datomic queries

September 11, 2014

Mozilla Webmaker at Olivarez College Tagaytay a success

2014-09-05 09.48.21

The Mozilla webmaker party at Olivarez College Tagaytay is a success last September 5, 2014. Which was attended by different department from Olivarez College Tagaytay at Computer Laboratory 2.  Since they only have 20 system units on their laboratory they created a two batches of participants, one in the morning and the other is in the afternoon. The event discussion is about Introduction Mozilla which was discuss by Me, The second lecturer discussed and demo “Thimble” by Mr. Ian Mark Martin and lastly Mr. Leo Caisip which  discussed  about “Popcorn Maker“, Both  attended the Mozilla PH orientation for web maker mentor last August 16, 2014  at Mozilla Community Space Manila. The event ended at exactly 4:00pm as mostly in afternoon participated by the nursing department.

DSC_2881

2014-09-11 12.59.54

We also distributed some Mozilla Swag (Bollard, Mozilla Sticker, Mozilla Tatoos and Mozilla Pins) for participants after the event. As part of the successfull event, based on their survey they are requesting for another event semilar to this.  but internet on the school is not that stable during that day but still we managed to make the event successfull.

 

DSC_2859

Pictures can be found here:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/83515207@N04/sets/72157646987948838/

September 04, 2014

TL;DW for "How To Design A Good API and Why it Matters"

Josh Bloch's Google Tech Talk video How To Design A Good API and Why it Matters is about an hour long, and well worth your time. It's focused on OOP, but has lots of good principles that can be followed elsewhere.

In case you don't have an hour right now, here's a summary/index kind of thing that points out the bits I thought were most important.
  1. 6:27: Characteristics of a good API:
    1. Easy to learn
    2. Easy to use, even without documentation
    3. Hard to misuse
    4. Easy to read and maintain code that uses it
    5. Sufficiently powerful to satisfy requirements
    6. Easy to evolve
    7. Appropriate to audience
  2. 7:52: Gather requirements, but differentiate between true requirements (which should take the form of use cases) and proposed solutions.
  3. 10:02: Start with a short spec; one page is ideal.
    1. Agility trumps completeness at this point.
    2. Get as many spec reviews from as many audiences as possible, modify according to feedback.
    3. Flesh the spec out as you gain confidence.
  4. 15:10: Write to your API early and often
    1. Start writing to your API before you've implemented it, or even specified it properly.
    2. Continue writing to your API as you flesh it out.
    3. Your code will live on in examples and unit tests.
  5. 17:32: Write to SPI [Service Provider Interface]
    1. Write at least three plugins before your release.
    2. Application in Clojure-land: Not sure...
  6. 19:35: Maintain realistic expectations.
    1. You won't please everyone.
    2. Aim to displease everyone equally.
    3. Expect to make mistakes and evolve the API in the future.
  7. 22:01: API should do one thing and do it well.
    1. Functionality should be easy to explain.
    2. If it's hard to name, that's a bad sign.
      1. Example of bad name that I can't leave out of this summary: OMGVMCID
  8. 24:32: API should be as small as possible but no smaller
    1. "When in doubt, leave it out." You can always add stuff, but you can't ever remove anything you've included. (The speaker calls this out as his most important point.)
  9. 26:27: Implementation should not impact API.
    1. Do not over-specify. For example, nobody needs to know how your hash function works, unless the hashes are persistent.
    2. Don't leak implementation details such as SQL exceptions!
  10. 29:36: Minimize accessibility of everything.
    1. Don't let API callers see stuff you don't want to be public, and that includes anything you might want to change in the future.
  11. 30:39: Names matter: API is a little language.
    1. Make names self-explanatory.
    2. Be consistent.
    3. Strive for symmetry. (If you can GET a monkey-uncle, make sure you can PUT a monkey-uncle, too.)
  12. 32:32: Documentation matters.
    1. Document parameter units! ("Length of banana in centimeters")
  13. 35:41: Consider performance consequences of API design decisions.
    1. Bad decisions can limit performance -- and this is permanent.
    2. Do not warp your API to gain performance -- the slow thing you avoided can be fixed and get faster, but your warped API will be permanent.
    3. Good design usually coincides with good performance.
  14. 40:00: Minimize mutability
    1. Make everything immutable unless there's a reason to do otherwise.
  15. 45:31: Don't make the caller do anything your code should do.
    1. If there are common use cases that require stringing a bunch of your stuff together in a boilerplate way, that's a bad sign.
  16. 48:36: Don't violate the principle of least astonishment
    1. Make sure your API callers are never surprised by what the API does.
  17. 50:03: Report errors as soon as possible after they occur.
  18. 52:00: Provide programmatic access to all data that is available in string form.
    1. Rich Hickey makes a similar point here.
  19. 56:15: Use consistent parameter ordering across methods.
    1. Here's a bad example:
      1. char *strncpy (char *dst, char *src, size_t n);
      2. void bcopy (void *src, void *dst, size_t n);
  20. 57:15: Avoid long parameter lists.
  21. 58:21: Avoid return values that demand exceptional processing.
    1. Example: return an empty list instead of nil/null.

August 22, 2014

GNU hackers unmask massive HACIENDA surveillance program and design a countermeasure

After making key discoveries about the details of HACIENDA, Julian Kirsch, Dr. Christian Grothoff, Jacob Appelbaum, and Dr. Holger Kenn designed the TCP Stealth system to protect unadvertised servers from port scanning.

According to Heise Online, the intelligence agencies of the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are involved in HACIENDA. The agencies share the data they collect. The HACIENDA system also hijacks civilian computers, allowing it to leach computing resources and cover its tracks.

Some of the creators of TCP Stealth are also prominent contributors to the GNU Project, a major facet of the free software community and a hub for political and technological action against bulk surveillance. Free software is safer because it is very hard to hide malicious code in a program anyone can read. In proprietary software, there is no way to guarantee that programs don't hide backdoors and other vulnerabilities. The team revealed their work on August 15, 2014 at the annual GNU Hackers' Meeting in Germany, and Julian Kirsch published about it in his master's degree thesis.

Maintainers of Parabola, an FSF-endorsed GNU/Linux distribution, have already implemented TCP Stealth, making Parabola users safer from surveillance. The FSF encourages other operating systems to follow Parabola's lead.

The Free Software Foundation supports and sponsors the GNU Project. FSF campaigns manager Zak Rogoff said, "Every time you use a free software program, you benefit from the work of free software developers inspired by the values of transparency and bottom-up collaboration. But on occassions like these, when our civil liberties are threatened with technological tools, the deep importance of these values becomes obvious. The FSF is proud to support the free software community in its contributions to the resistance against bulk surveillance."

The Free Software Foundation works politically for an end to mass surveillance. Simultaneously, the Foundation advocates for individuals of all technical skill levels to take a variety of actions against bulk surveillance.

About Julian Kirsch, Christian Grothoff, Jacob Appelbaum, and Holger Kenn

Julian Kirsch is the author of "Improved Kernel-Based Port-Knocking in Linux", his Master's Thesis in Informatics at Technische Universitat Munchen.

Dr. Christian Grothoff is the Emmy-Noether research group leader in Computer Science at Technische Universitat Munchen.

Jacob Appelbaum is an American independent computer security researcher and hacker. He was employed by the University of Washington, and is a core member of the Tor project, a free software network designed to provide online anonymity.

Dr. Holger Kenn is a computer scientist specializing in wearable computing, especially software architectures, context sensor systems, human machine interfaces, and wearable-mediated human robot cooperation.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

Richard Stallman announced in September 1983 the plan to develop a free software Unix-like operating system called GNU. GNU is the only operating system developed specifically for the sake of users' freedom. See https://www.gnu.org/gnu/the-gnu-project.

In 1992, the essential components of GNU were complete, except for one, the kernel. When in 1992 the kernel Linux was re-released under the GNU GPL, making it free software, the combination of GNU and Linux formed a complete free operating system, which made it possible for the first time to run a PC without non-free software. This combination is the GNU/Linux system. For more explanation, see https://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-linux-faq.

Media Contacts

Zak Rogoff
Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1-617-542-5942
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

"Knocking down the HACIENDA" by Julian Kirsch, produced by GNU, the GNUnet team, and edited on short notice by Carlo von Lynx from #youbroketheinternet is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.

August 13, 2014

SFD Tagaytay 2014 at Olivarez College

I am now again an official organizer for SFD 2014, but this time I will organized the event in Tagaytay City which will be hosted by Olivarez College in Tagaytay. The said event is scheduled on September 27, 2014.

SFD2014

The venue is on their “AMPITHEATER” where it can hold more than 500 participants. Here are some pictures of the exact venue.

cpdc-20140804131542221  cpdc-20140804131124356We also launch the online registration feel free to register using the this URL : https://www.eventbrite.com/e/software-freedom-day-2014-at-olivarez-college-tagaytay-tickets-12455543867

August 12, 2014

websites on this server

June 30, 2014

Scancation - Scanning the Standing Stones of the Outer Hebrides

I just came back from a vacation where Kio and I went and visited most of the megalithic monuments on the islands of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland. Stone circles are all over the place on these islands and the biggest one is the Callanish Stone Circle. One of the cool things about these places is that there is very little history known about them and so all you can know about them is from your experience of being around them. Most of them all taller than me and you get the sense that these places were the sacred spaces of 5000 years ago.

One of the things I say a lot at MakerBot is that they really make the most sense when you connect your MakerBot to your passion. Since I'm into rocks. I scanned a few of my favorite stones and ran them through 123D Catch which makes a 3D model from up to 70 photos of the object. It’s pretty cool to think that yesterday I was walking among these stones and today I’m printing them out on the MakerBots in my office. 

It’s interesting to note that this feels a lot like the old days of vacation film photography. The process of processing the photos into a 3D model feels a lot like when I used to develop celluloid film after a vacation.

Someday, printing 3D models will be normal for everyone, for now, it’s just normal for all the MakerBot operators in the world.

If you decide to go on your own scanning vacation, aka scancation, here’s my process and tips for acquiring models. I use a Canon S110 camera and then upload my photos later to the 123D Catch site and then upload all the models and a zip file of all the photos to Thingiverse because the photogrammetry software will get better someday and I want to have an archive of the photos so I can make better models later.

 

  • Lighting conditions matter. A cloudy sky is much better than a sunny one so that you can get all the details of your subject. 
  • Fill the frame, but make sure to leave some area around the object in the picture. 123D Catch uses reference points in the object to make everything fit together. 
  • Use all 70 pictures allowed by the software. The more pictures, the better the scan. 
  • Scan weird things. Sometimes the most iconic stuff of a location isn’t the most obvious. Some friends of mine scanned all of Canal St. in NYC and said the interesting parts were the giant piles of trash bags which are one of the local overlooked pieces of landscape art.
  • Don’t forget the top view. If you are capturing a subject that is tall, do your best to get above it and take a picture. A quadcopter could be handy for that
  • Fix it up with Netfabb. After I upload the photos into the 123D Catch online portal, then I use Netfabb basic to slice off all the weird parts and cut a flat bottom onto the object.
  • Make sure to upload your scans to Thingiverse. We can all make models of your SCANCATION. 

 

Do you have any other scanning tips for those that would like to experiment with vacation scanning? Leave them in the comments!

June 22, 2014

the meaning of a word

i learned the word "feminist" at my first job. I was 15 and a trainee engineer in a hydro power scheme. I recall one young man I worked with asking me urgently if i was a feminist. I asked what that was. he said, "women who hate men". oh.. i'm not one of them....

why would i get a job as the only woman deep in a power station if i hated men? It was a long long time before i heard any other definition of feminist.

Who's Online

We have 138 guests online
Digital Freedom International (Aka SFI) is the non-profit organization at the origin of SFD and CFD. DFI handles sponsorship contracts, official team registrations, sending out schwags to teams, the annual Best Event Competition and many other things. Hundreds of teams around the world manage the local celebration and help to send out a global message. So do drop by and attend an SFD and CFD event nearby!

Login Form