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

October 04, 2015

FSFE Newsletter - October 2015

FSFE Newsletter - October 2015 FSFE elections and other news from Bucharest

At this year's General Assembly in Bucharest, the FSFE elected a new leadership team for the next two years. Reinhard Müller will continue his role as Financial Officer while your editor will assume the role as President, with Alessandro Rubini filling in as Vice-President. Alessandro is an electronic engineer working on device drivers and embedded systems. He was one of the first members of the FSFE and recently joined again to support us in our work. The FSFE's former President, Karsten Gerloff welcomed the change and wrote about his future steps.

The city of Bucharest was already warming up to Free Software several weeks before the FSFE's arrival, as Romanian public administrations were invited by Rogentos Linux User Group to test out two GNU/Linux-distributions. This is a first step towards more awareness for software freedom in the country's public administration. After the General Assembly, we discussed this news and further collaboration with Free Software contributors from Romania, especially with our friends from Fundația Ceata, the Romanian foundation for Free Software and Free Culture. We found out that they are looking for skilled designers to contribute their ideas for a new logo for the foundation. So any graphic artists out there who are willing to flex their muscles for a good cause can find more information on their call for submissions page.

FSFE’s evaluation of the EU Parliament copyright report

In July, the European Parliament adopted its recommendations for copyright reform initially drafted by MEP Julia Reda, and the FSFE released its assessment of the final report that was approved in the Parliament after considerable amount of amendments. While some improvements exist in the Parliament's final report over current legislation, there are enough problems that it should be reconsidered, especially in regards to Free Software. In particular, the report fails to adequately address Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) that can still hinder the use of works that fall under copyright exceptions, and it does not provide a possibility for software developers to contribute their works directly to the public domain.

In the next step, the Commission will publish their proposal on copyright reform sometime before the end of 2015. We ask the Commission to take the copyright reform even further and ensure that no exception to copyright should be ever limited by technological restrictions, to provide for a fully harmonised set of exceptions, and to publish all works that are publicly funded under a Free Software licence.

Tidying up PDFreaders

While wrapping up our PDFreaders campaign it is worthy to highlight a few success stories in particular. Our German Coordinator, Max Mehl, blogged about the success of the campaign in German government. In fact, the campaign was so successful, the German "Migration Guide" now includes a titbit about us, saying "If PDF documents are provided publicly authorities shall no longer only recommend Adobe Acrobat Reader for displaying them, but for example use the HTML templates provided by the FSFE on their websites for downloading alternative PDF readers", as well as recommending officials to expand to Free Software as viable alternatives.

The FSFE helped to bring out the best in Free Software PDF readers for the private sector as well. Our very own Polina Malaja was able to catch up with our former PDFreaders campaign coordinator, Hannes Hauswedell, about his conversation with Google back in 2011 about releasing Pdfium software as Free Software. Finally in 2014, Hannes's request came to fruition. Now, we are not saying our campaign caused the Pdfium release, but we would like to think our campaign played a part in it.

Something completely different FSFE Switzerland, in cooperation with the Swiss Open Systems User Group, sent out hundreds of letters to different political candidates asking them to participate in their online questionnaire, Freedomvote, as a way to collect candidates' opinions of various digital issues that are sometimes overlooked like e-voting, open data, Free Software, and data security. The results were posted online for citizens to make more informed decisions about who they will vote for on election day on 18 October. Paul Boddie interviews FSFE Fellow Nico Rikken from the Netherlands. Nico's background is in electrical engineering, and he provides insight into open hardware and education policy amongst other things. On 1 September the Parisian High Court reaffirmed that software patents are illegal in Europe under the European Patent Convention. However, this success comes only as a silver lining, considering that the plaintiff in this case was actually granted a patent from the European Patent Office. According to Felix Greve's PhD thesis, the German constitution requires vendor-neutral ICT standards to ensure interoperability in public administration and elsewhere. The current lack of interoperability rules are a major barrier to the country’s uptake of Free Software. FSF certified Taurinus X200 laptop to respect users' freedom. It also removes Intel's Management Engine (ME) which is a secret and proprietary software that allows remote access to the computer over a network, changing and upgrading the BIOS configuration, or wiping the disk. ME has full access to the computer with a wide functionality and could be a very useful security measure, but only if the owner of the device has the ability to control it. Public Administration: The UK government publishes an authoritative ODF guide about integration of ODF with enterprise software in public procurement, the Italian military is switching to LibreOffice and ODF making it Europe’s second largest LibreOffice implementation, at the Debian Conference "DebConf15" the city of Munich showed that they are a major contributor to Free Software by sharing software solutions and best practices, and Open Forum Europe's Karel De Vriendt provided insight into the thinking behind European Commission's call for tender concerning Microsoft products that will further increase the vendor lock-in in public IT sector. From the planet aggregation: Daniel Pocock argues that the only way to avoid scandals like the one with VW in the future is to ensure everyone's freedom to see and modify the source code in the equipment that controls our lives. Dominic Hopf (now an official intergalactic diplomat) and new Fellow Pascal Wittmann, organised a booth at a Software Freedom Day (SFD) event in Kiel and gave a presentation about F-Droid. On a wet day in Frankfurt, the FSFE booth made a splash among visitors at the annual Rotlintstraßenfest who were eager to learn more about software freedom. Guido Arnold provides more details on this popular outdoor event. Meanwhile FSFE Fellow Michael Stehmann summarised his SFD experience in Cologne (in German). Our Executive Director Jonas Öberg gave a rundown on the logistics behind running a successful event. Carsten Agger was busy organising the LibreOffice Hackfest in Aarhus. Tobias Platen criticises just how allegedly "free" Purism Librem computers actually are. André Ockers explains how concerned citizens in the Netherlands convinced a Dutch government agency to use an Open Document format, and Paul Boddie asks "Random Questions" about the Fairphone's source code availability". Get Active: Nominate people and projects for the Free Software Award

Often users do not realise that they are using Free Software. Sometimes we need to explicitly state that fact. For instance the new upgrade of WordPress includes a tab with a reference to the GNU General Public License and the four freedoms of Free Software, explicitly informing the Wordpress community about the importance of freedom underlying their software.

However, very often a lot of amazing Free Software developers and projects out there do not get the recognition they deserve. Right now the FSF is accepting nominations for the 18th annual Free Software Awards for people and projects who have improved the world using Free Software. There are two awards, one for people who have advanced the movement, and another for a project that has fulfilled a crucial societal need through the use of Free Software. Please submit your nominations until 1 November.

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

Happy birthday to the Free Software Foundation

A cake with the FSF30 birthday logo on it On 4 October 1985 Harold Abelson, Robert J. Chassell, Richard M. Stallman, Garald Jay Sussman, and Leonard H. Tower, Jr. incorporated the Free Software Foundation, Inc. The application included also the GNU Emacs General Public License, the GNU Manifesto, a list of software which was already written (Bison, MIT Schema, Hack, plus a list of several Unix utility replacements). In the application they wrote:

We believe that a good citizen shares all generally useful information with his [!sig now Richard would write "her"] neighbors who need it. Our hope is to encourage members of the public to cooperate with each other by sharing software and other useful information.

One of the major influences currently discouraging such sharing is the pratice where information is “owned” by someone who permits a member of the public to have the information himself only on condition of refusing to share it with anyone else.

Our free software will provide the public with an alternative to agreeing to such conditions. By refusing the terms of commercial software and using our software instead, people will remain free to be good neighbors.

In addition, the virtues of self-reliance and independent initiative will be furthered because users of our software will have the plans with which to repair or change it.

The documents at that time still focused on non-commercial software. Later it was clarified that Free Software can also be commercial software.

But else the mission did not change much. What changed is that nowadays we have much more computers around us than people in 1985 could have imagined, and it is deeply involved in all aspects of our lives. It is even more important today than at that time that this technology empowers rather than restricts us.

Free Software gives every person the rights to use, study, share and improve software. During the years we realised that these rights also help to support other fundamental rights like freedom of speech, freedom of press and privacy.

Today computer owners are often not allowed to modify hard- and software of their computers anymore, and people often use other people’s computers for a lot of daily tasks, it is now more important than ever that we have organisations like the FSFs, who work for computer users’ right.

As the President of its European sister organisation I am happy to congratulate: Happy birthday dear Free Software Foundation!!! (Now we can sing that song again.)

And thanks to all of you out there who support the software freedom movement and thereby giving us the strength we need for our future challenges!

October 03, 2015

[Blog] 30 years Free Software Foundation

On 4 October 1985 Harold Abelson, Robert J. Chassell, Richard M. Stallman, Garald Jay Sussman, and Leonard H. Tower, Jr. incorporated the Free Software Foundation, Inc. The application included also the GNU Emacs General Public License, the GNU Manifesto, a list of software which was already written (Bison, MIT Schema, Hack, plus a list of several Unix utility replacements)...

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
Make a one time donation

Gitstats – the easiest way to see stats.

Hi all, This will be a shortish take on an application called gitstats which I found few months back. First of all apologies for not communicating enough. Have just been behind with work and stuff and hence haven’t had dedicated time to write and share stuff which I liked. So some months back I had […]

October 02, 2015

Google Summer of Code wrap-up: Red Hen Lab

For our Google Summer of Code wrap-up this week we have The Distributed Little Red Hen Lab. A new organization for 2015, Red Hen Lab had three student projects. Read on to learn about the Lab and their effort to scan a huge repository of international television news programming.

The Distributed Little Red Hen Lab is an international consortium for research on multimodal communication. We develop open source tools for joint parsing of text, audio/speech and video, using datasets of various sorts, most centrally a very large dataset of international television news called the UCLA Library Broadcast NewsScape. Red Hen uses 100% open source software. In fact, not just the software but everything else—including recording nodes—is shared in the consortium.

The Red Hen archive is a huge repository of recordings of TV programming, processed in a range of ways to produce derived products useful for research, expanded daily, and supplemented by various sets of other recordings. Our challenge is to create tools that allow us to access audio, visual, and textual (closed-captioning) information in the corpus in various ways by creating abilities to search, parse and analyze the video files. However, as you can see, the archive is very large, so creating processes that can scan the entire dataset is time consuming, and often with a margin of error.

Our projects for Google Summer of Code 2015 (GSoC) challenged students to assist in a number of projects, including some that have successfully improved our ability to search, parse and extract information from the archive.

Ekateriana Ageeva - Multiword Expression Search and Tagging

Ekaterina built a multiword expressions toolkit (MWEtoolkit), which is a tool for detecting multi-word units (e.g. phrasal verbs or idiomatic expressions) in large corpora. The toolkit operates via command-line interface. To ease access and expand the toolkit's audience, Ekaterina developed a web-based interface, which builds on and extends the toolkit functionality.

The interface allows us to do the following:
  • Upload, manage, and share corpora
  • Create XML patterns which define constraints on multiword expressions
  • Search the corpora using the patterns
  • Filter search results by occurrence and frequency measures
  • Tag the corpora with obtained search results

The interface is built with Python/Django. It currently supports operations with corpora tagged with Stanford CoreNLP parser, with a possibility to extend to other formats supported by MWEtoolkit. The system uses part of speech and syntactic dependency information to find the expressions. Users may rely on various frequency metrics to obtain the most relevant search results.

Owen He - Automatic Speaker Recognition System

Owen_He-web.jpgOwen used a reservoir computing method called conceptor together with the traditional Gaussian Mixture Models (GMM) to distinguish voices between different speakers. He also used a method proposed by Microsoft Research last year at the Interspeech Conference, which used a Deep Neural Network (DNN) and an Extreme Learning Machine (ELM) to recognize speech emotions. DNN was trained to extract segment-level (256 ms) features and ELM was trained to make decisions based on the statistics of these features on a utterance level.

Owen’s project focused on applying this to detect male and female speakers, specific speakers, and emotions by collecting training samples from different speakers and audio signals with different emotional features. He then preprocessed the audio signals and created the statistical models from the training dataset. Finally, he computed the combined evidence in real time and tuned the apertures for the conceptors so that the optimal classification performance could be reached. You can check out the summary of results on GitHub.

Vasant_Kalingeri-web.jpgVasanth Kalingeri - Commercial detection system

Vasanth built a system for detecting commercials in television programs from any country and in any language. The system detects the location and the content of ads in any stream of video, regardless of the content being broadcast and other transmission noise in the video. In tests, the system achieved 100% detection of commercials. An online interface was built along with the system to allow regular inspection and maintenance.

Initially the user uses a set of hand tagged commercials. The system detects this set of commercials in the TV segment. On detecting these commercials, it divides the entire broadcast into blocks. Each of these blocks can be viewed and tagged as commercials by the user. There is a set of 60 hand labelled commercials for one to work with. This process takes about 10-30min for a 1hr TV segment, depending on the number of commercials that have to be tagged.

When the database has an appreciable amount of commercials (usually around 30 per channel) we can use it to recognize commercials in any unknown TV segment. On making changes to the web interface, the system updates its db with new/edited commercials. This web interface can be used for viewing the detected commercials as well. For more information see Vasanth’s summary of results.

By Patricia Wayne, UCLA Communication Studies

October 01, 2015

FSF, Conservancy publish principles for community-oriented GPL enforcement

The FSF and Conservancy each lead worldwide efforts to ensure compliance with the GPL family of licenses. The principles they follow are designed to make copyleft license enforcement first and foremost serve the goal of protecting user freedom, which includes assisting companies to correctly distribute free software. This means carefully verifying violation reports, approaching companies privately rather than publicly shaming them, treating legal action as a last resort, and never prioritizing financial gain over defending the freedom of users.

"GPL enforcement is mostly an educational process working with people who have made honest mistakes, but it must be undertaken with care and thoughtfulness. Our goal is not to punish or censure violators, but to help them come into compliance. Abiding by these principles aids our work in bringing about that outcome," said FSF's licensing and compliance manager, Joshua Gay.

The FSF does license enforcement for programs that are part of the GNU Project, when their copyright is assigned to the FSF, and actively encourages developers to apply for their programs to become part of GNU. License violations can be reported by email following the instructions at http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-violation.html.

"These principles have guided our efforts in defending the rights of computer users since at least 2001. We wanted to collect them and write them down in one place both to bust some myths about our GNU GPL enforcement work, and to help other individuals and organizations get started with their own processes," said FSF's executive director, John Sullivan.

Conservancy has also released an announcement and will host the document on its website.

Conservancy's executive director Karen Sandler will be joining FSF licensing & compliance manager Joshua Gay and FSF copyright and licensing associate Donald R. Robertson, III, on Saturday, October 3rd for the User Freedom Summit in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they will be running a workshop session titled Community Licensing Education & Outreach.

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.

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.html. 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.html.

Media Contacts

Joshua Gay
Licensing & Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

September 30, 2015

Faces of FreeBSD 2015 - Allan Jude


Back by popular demand we're again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. But, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiast. Sit back and enjoy the first 2015 Faces of FreeBSD story.

Allan's Story

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Allan Jude.  I am 31 years old, from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and have been a professional FreeBSD sysadmin for 13 years. My day job is running a medium sized video streaming company that I founded with one of my professors after College. This allows me to use FreeBSD (over 100 servers spread across the globe at 38 different sites in 11 countries) and ZFS (over 1000 TB worth of storage) every day, which makes it easy to find ways to contribute back to those projects.

In my theoretical free time, I enjoy reading action/thrillers novels like Tom Clancy, Larry Bond, and Mark Russinovich, baking, and skiing.

How did you learn about FreeBSD and/or when were you first exposed to it?
When I first got on the Internet at home in 1998, one of the first things I really got into was IRC (Internet Relay Chat). After doing that for a while, I got curious about how the server side of it worked, so I downloaded the server software. Being a Windows user at the time, I was confused by the lack of a .exe file in the archive I had downloaded. After some asking around, I was told I would need a "shell account" to be able to run this software, because it was for "UNIX", not Windows.

I proceeded to search around and find a Canadian shell provider. Once I got my account, I successfully logged into a FreeBSD machine for the first time. I had a lot to learn, but there were resources and manual pages. Over the next few years I gained more and more understanding about how TCP/IP, IRC, and FreeBSD worked. It was around this time that the shell provider I was using went out of business. I decided I could do better, and in 2002 bought my first server and installed FreeBSD 4.5 on it. That was the beginning of my career as a professional FreeBSD sysadmin.

What is your involvement in FreeBSD?
For years I was just a quiet user of FreeBSD. In 2004, some of my college courses covered FreeBSD and NetBSD, so I learned a bit more about them. Later, in 2008, I returned to the college and taught those same courses, most revolving around networking and system administration.

Then everything changed. I attended my first conference, BSDCan 2012. Being at an event like that, surrounded by like minded people, having endless discussions you just could not have anywhere else, was the most exhilarating thing I had ever done. Getting to share some of my stories, and hear those of the other attendees was very rewarding. I left the conference very excited to get more involved in the Project, and with definite plans to return the next year, and maybe even give a talk. By the end of the trip home, I had decided that I would submit a talk for next year, then quickly changed my mind. Why wait for next year, so I submitted my proposal to EuroBSDCon 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. The talk was accepted, and I made my first international trip. Since then, I have attended every conference I could manage to get to.

In 2013, Kris Moore and I started a weekly video podcast, BSDNow.tv, where we discuss the latest news from the BSD family of operating systems and related projects, and interview developers and other community members. This has been one of the most rewarding things I have done, as we get many thank you letters from people all throughout the community, and get new people to join the community. It was a bit strange when suddenly everyone at the conferences knew who I was.

The next year, I started working on documentation for ZFS, and contributed that to the FreeBSD Handbook. This, and other work, resulted in me being granted a documentation "commit bit" at BSDCan 2014, making me officially a member of the Project. Not much more than a year later, my continued work on the installer, universal config files, and various other bits of the OS were rewarded with a src commit bit as well.

This spring, I also co-wrote "FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS" with Michael W. Lucas, who is well known for his line of high quality technical books. It is available in e-book and printed versions from ZFSBook.com. We are currently working on the follow-on: "FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS".

Why do you like FreeBSD?
There are a great many reasons, but the foremost is the community. There is no better group of people I could choose to spend my free time with. The other flagship part of the Project is the documentation. When I was getting started, being able to work through a section of the FreeBSD Handbook and end up with a working system that I actually understood was key. So it was important to me to make sure the handbook covered the newer parts of FreeBSD, like the ZFS file system and bhyve, the new hypervisor.

From a more practical standpoint, my initial usage of FreeBSD was because of its security and stability, which were what was needed most to run a shell provider. In recent years, my needs have changed, but FreeBSD has kept up. Containers (in the form of Jails) have been making my life easier for more than 8 years now. We deploy all of our applications in jails, which in additional to the obvious security benefits, makes it very easy to shuffle the applications between servers as needed. One of the other important things has been the ABI stability. We can run a version of FreeBSD, and know that for 5 years, things will not change out from under us.

My company makes use of a mix of FreeBSD releases, and the development branch. We would like to give a special thank you to the entire release engineering team for their work to get the releases out on time, and for the new release schedule that will get the new features into our hands faster.

Anything else you'd like to add about FreeBSD or the Foundation?
Supporting the Foundation is important, not just to keep the Project going, but to show the rest of the world that there is a thriving community behind the Project. This makes potential new users of FreeBSD, be they users or corporations, more assured of the longevity and diversity of the Project.

September 29, 2015

Brno will host LibreOffice Conference 2016!

So I can finally share publicly that Brno will host LibreOffice Conference 2016. After GUADEC 2013 and Akademy 2014, it’s the third major desktop conference that will take place in Brno. The venue will be the campus of Faculty of Information Technologies of Brno University of Technology which is one of the major computer science universities in the country with a lot of open source participation. That’s also where GUADEC 2013 and DevConf.cz 2015 took place.

I was one of the initiators, but most of the work done on the bid was done by Jaroslav Řezník and OpenAlt group which will also provide the event organization with a legal entity.

The conference will take place in the second week of September, looking forward to meeting everyone interested in the open source office suit in Brno!

September 28, 2015

Taurinus X200 laptop now FSF-certified to respect your freedom

This is the first product of Libiquity to achieve RYF certification. The Taurinus X200 has the same architecture and certified software as the Libreboot X200, which was certified in January 2015. The Taurinus X200 can be purchased from Libiquity at https://shop.libiquity.com/product/taurinus-x200.

The Taurinus X200 is a refurbished and updated laptop based on the Lenovo ThinkPad X200, with all of the original low-level firmware and operating system software replaced. It runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel GNU/Linux operating system and the free software boot system, Libreboot. Perhaps most importantly, all of Intel's Management Engine (ME) firmware and software has been removed from this laptop.

The FSF has previously written about Intel's ME, calling attention to how this proprietary software introduces a fundamental security flaw -- a back door -- into a person's machine that allows a perpetrator to remotely access the computer over a network. It enables powering the computer on and off, configuring and upgrading the BIOS, wiping the hard drives, reinstalling the operating system, and more. The functionality provided by the ME could be a very useful security and recovery measure, but only if the user has control over the software and the ability to install modified versions of it.

"With a rise in manufacturing of treacherous computing chips and each successive version of Intel's Management Engine becoming more treacherous than the last, it would seem that the public is being inundated with hardware that is defective by design. Therefore, it is refreshing to have companies like Libiquity making strong commitments to computer user freedom. The FSF is excited to be able to award the use of the RYF certification mark on yet another laptop," stated FSF's licensing & compliance manager, Joshua Gay.

Libiquity (a portmanteau of "liberty" and "ubiquity") defines its mission as "freedom everywhere, in personal electronics and embedded systems." In addition to providing hardware that respects your freedom, Libiquity also leads the development of ProteanOS, an FSF-endorsed distribution, and they work in partnership with and contribute to Libreboot.

"Libiquity is proud that its first hardware product, the Taurinus X200 subnotebook, has been certified by the FSF to respect its users' freedom and privacy. We are honored to be the first US company with an RYF-certified laptop product, and we look forward to further working with the FSF and the free software community to develop and offer additional freedom-respecting products and services in the future," stated founder and CEO, Patrick McDermott.

To learn more about the Respects Your Freedom hardware certification, including details on the certification of the Taurinus X200, visit http://www.fsf.org/ryf. Hardware sellers interested in applying for certification can consult http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria.

Subscribers to the FSF's Free Software Supporter newsletter will receive announcements about future Respects Your Freedom products.

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.

About Libiquity

Founded by CEO Patrick McDermott, Libiquity is a privately held New Jersey, USA company that provides world-class technologies which put customers in control of their computing. The company develops and sells electronics products, provides firmware and embedded systems services, and leads the development of the innovative and flexible ProteanOS embedded operating system. More information about Libiquity and its offerings can be found on its Web site at http://www.libiquity.com/.

Media Contacts

Joshua Gay
Licensing & Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Patrick McDermott
Founder and CEO
Libiquity LLC
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

September 25, 2015

Google Summer of Code wrap-up: Linux XIA

It’s Friday! Time for another Google Summer of Code wrap-up post. Boston University / XIA is one of the 37 new organizations to the program this year. Read below about three student projects and their work to discover the future architecture of the internet.
Linux XIA is the native implementation of eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA), a meta network architecture that supports evolution of all of its components, which we call “principals,” and promotes interoperability between these principals. We are developing Linux XIA because we believe that the most effective way to find the future Internet architecture that will eventually replace TCP/IP is to crowdsource the search. This crowdsourced search is possible in Linux XIA.

Our organization, Boston University / XIA, received 34 proposals from 12 countries. As a first-year organization in Google Summer of Code (GSoC), we were surprised by the number of proposals, and we did our best to choose great students for each of the following projects:

XLXC is a set of scripts written in Ruby that creates network topologies using virtual interfaces and Linux containers. While testing a new network stack, a good amount of work goes into creating testing environments. XLXC saves developers and tinkerers a lot of time while experimenting with Linux XIA. Our student Aryaman Gupta from India worked with mentor Rahul Kumar to enable XLXC to emulate any topology using a language to describe the topologies.

Linux XIA needs to call forwarding functions that correspond to each XID type in order to forward a packet. XID types are 32-bit identifiers associated with principals which, in turn, define the forwarding functions. Being able to hash each XID type to a unique entry in an array increases the number of packets Linux XIA can forward per second because it reduces the number of memory accesses per lookup. Our student Pranav Goswami, also from India, worked with mentor Qiaobin Fu to find the best perfect hashing algorithm for Linux XIA to use in this case, and implemented it in Linux XIA.

We do not know how the future Internet will route packets between autonomous systems (ASes), but we are certain that Linux XIA can leverage IP's routing tables to have large deployments of Linux XIA. This is the goal of the LPM principal: leveraging routing tables derived from BGP, OSPF, IS-IS and any other IP routing protocol to forward XIA packets natively, that is, without encapsulation in IP. Thanks to the evolution mechanism built into Linux XIA, when a better way to route between ASes becomes available, we will be able to incrementally phase LPM out. Student André Ferreira Eleuterio from Brazil implemented the LPM principal in Linux XIA with the help of mentor Cody Doucette.

We are going to work with our students during the fall to have their contributions merged into our repositories and to add new projects to our ideas list that build upon their contributions. We expect that this will motivate new contributors by showing how much impact they can have on Linux XIA. Finally, new collaborators do not need to wait for the next GSoC to get involved! Join our community today, and "do what you can, with what you have, where you are" to make a difference like our three students successfully did.

By Michel Machado, Organization Administrator for Boston University / XIA

September 20, 2015

SFD Phnom Penh 2015 roundup


It’s the second time I organize Software Freedom Day in Phnom Penh! I would like to thank everyone who volunteered, joined and/or presented yesterday. We had a great event and a nice turnout. It seems we managed to have a better focus on our audience this year.

What is coming out of the event is a multirotor course with free and open source software with the National Institute of Posts Telecommunications and ICT (NIPTICT) and more regular PPLUG meetings, a few planned events with specific schedules, e.g. Sirko Kemter from Fedora already committed to help us to host our very first Fedora release party and installfest in Phnom Penh in November. NIPTICT’s President also mentioned that they are having a new building under renovation at the moment and we will be able to host a bigger event with 200 people capacity for Software Freedom Day in 2016.

Here are some of our great moments to share with you:


Preparation before the event


Mozilla Local Team


Thanks to Sirko Kemter, we had a Fedora booth!


Opening speech by NIPTICT’s President


Free Software: what’s it and what can I do with it? by Fred


Building multirotors with free software


Localizing free software by Khoem Kokhem


Fedora.next for everybody by Sirko Kemter


Contributing to Mozilla community by Vannak Eng


Open Source Mapping by Nhiep Seila


Understanding virtualization by Sok Leap

We finished the event by playing drones together!

We finished the event by flying quadcopters together!

September 19, 2015

Celebrate Software Freedom Day today!


Free and Open Source Software has come a long way since its inception and while we’re celebrating SFD for the twelfth time, the FSF is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Every software company now tends to use Free and Open Source Software but unfortunately that has just set the Software more as a commodity with very little benefit for advocacy, education or awareness. And so, in a world with Free Software used almost everywhere very few people notice or even care.

Software Freedom Day is here to tell people why we need to remind ourselves of the importance of Software Freedom and to get all the communities together to celebrate and introduce their philosophy to newcomers. Probably more than ever we need to go out and demonstrate the great many things that Free Software has done and enables everyone to do.

As usual events are listed on the SFD Map and should there be no event in your area you can always get together and run one in the upcoming few weeks. On top of all the good things Free Software brings we would also like to remind people that a good way to get started can be through Outreachy, a remote internships in Free and Open Source Software open to everyone regardless of their origins or differences. The next round of internships is from December 7 to March 7 with applications deadline on November 2. This is of course ideal for students in the south hemisphere as the program requires you to be available 40 hours a week but also for anyone either looking for a career change or applies what he/she has learned in a real software environment.

With all these years of experience we are sure your events will shine. And if you’re a little short of ideas you can always refer to our resources. One of note could be the latest Blender movie released end of August maybe followed by a discussion of how the Blender Foundation has been so successful over the years.

Finally we would like to thank all the people making SFD possible and that is our sponsors like the Google Open Source Programs Office, Linode, the Free Software Foundation and our various supporters in the media and community arena. But of course more importantly all the various Free Software communities from Google Developer Groups to Free Software Groups, GNU/Linux User Groups and the various universities interested in Free Software among them.

So, Happy Software Freedom Day to all of you!

Celebrate SFD with us on 19 September 2015!

Celebrate Software Freedom Day today!

Free and Open Source Software has come a long way since its inception and while we're celebrating SFD for the twelth time, the FSF is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Every software company now tends to use Free and Open Source Software but unfortunately that has just set the Software more as a commodity with very little benefit for advocacy, education or awareness. And so, in a world with Free Software used almost everywhere very few people notice or even care.

Software Freedom Day is here to tell people why we need to remind ourselves of the importance of Software Freedom and to get all the communities together to celebrate and introduce their philosophy to newcomers. Probably more than ever we need to go out and demonstrate the great many things that Free Software has done and enables everyone to do.

As usual events are listed on the SFD Map and should there be no event in your area you can always get together and run one in the upcoming few weeks. On top of all the good things Free Software brings we would also like to remind people that a good way to get started can be through Outreachy, a remote internships in Free and Open Source Software open to everyone regardless of their origins or differences. The next round of internships is from December 7 to March 7 with applications deadline on November 2.

Finally we would like to thank all the people making SFD possible and that is our sponsors like the Google Open Source Programs Office, Linode, the Free Software Foundation and our various supporters in the media and community arena. But of course more importantly all the various Free Software communities from Google Developer Groups to Free Software Groups, GNU/Linux User Groups and the various universities interested in Free Software among them.

So, Happy Software Freedom Day to all of you!

September 17, 2015

BSDCam 2015 Trip Report: Mariusz Zaborski

I'm a fresh FreeBSD committer who is very interested in security things. I also work for the Wheel Systems company which develops security solutions. So it was natural for me that I should attend Cambridge Developer Summit which, in my opinion, is the most security related event in every committer’s calendar. This was also my third visit to Cambridge. For the first one I also wrote a trip report which you can find here. The conference was held in August 17-20, 2015.

 This year I attended with my two colleagues, Konrad Witaszczyk and Miłosz Kaniewski. I arrived very early around 10am on a Sunday (unfortunately we had to take different flights), so I had a lot of time to walk around Cambridge. I must admit that there’s something magical in this town. You can see many old buildings. On every corner you can film an old or fantasy movie. There are also big fields of green and the river in which you can go punting. I really enjoy this town every time I'm there.

 This year we also stayed in Sidney Sussex, which is this big, great college. What is also very important is the fact that it sits right in the center of town. We arrived one day earlier and since there weren't any special activities planned, we spent the rest of the evening socializing with other FreeBSD peers.

 The first day of DevSummit was on Monday. This year we decided to walk every day to the Computer Laboratory. The first session I attended that day was about storage, networking and armv8. The storage session which was the closest to me, was led by Benno Rice. The main topic was improving GEOM.

 The second day of the conference was even more exciting than the first one. First I attended the tracing group, in which George Neville-Neil was talking about dtrace. Next we had discussion about Capsicum. In this discussion we also were talking about Ed Schousten’s work called CloudABI. The last group was led by Ed Maste talking about toolchain and LLVM.

 The official dinner was held on this day. This year we had a great pleasure to be guests of the Murray Edwards College. The college has the largest collection of women's art in Europe, and the second largest in the world. Only women can study in this college.

 The last day of DevSummit was spent discussing testing. This group was focused on atf and kyua. Next we had session about teaching in which, Robert Watson and George Neville-Neil, told us about the courses they are teaching in which they use FreeBSD and dtrace. The last session was about security and crypto, and I wasn't disappointed. Mark Murry again (as he did 2 years ago) discussed random number generator with others. It turns out that the Fortuna, a new algorithm for random generating, isn't prepared for multi CPU environments, and further research is needed.

 There is a lot of knowledge in every working group, but there is also a lot of great information from people that we spoke to after or during the conference. I spent a lot of time talking with many incredibly smart people who told me about their recent findings in their research. For example, we were talking about packaging, security, encrypting the boot partition, MIPS processor (cherri project in particular) and much more. Of course we didn’t only talk about work. After one of the dinners I can tell you everything about rugby in French. :)

 Then the unfortunate last day came. We went to see Cambridge for the last time. We spent some time in the botanic gardens and took the flight back to Poland. After this trip I can tell that I learned many things, but I also realize how much I don't know and how much interesting stuff is going on around me. I came back home motivated to work even harder.

 I would like to thank FreeBSD Foundation for making this trip possible for me.

Mariusz Zaborski

September 07, 2015

Moses Brings THE LAW


Moses returning from Mt. Sinai, about to open a can of holy whoop-ass on those goddesses.


flattr this!

How ABRT helped us make Fedora Workstation more stable

Last week, the official Fedora Project account asked users on social networks why Fedora is their distribution of choice. Probably the most frequent answer was that Fedora is THE GNOME distro, that it has the best supported GNOME, which really made me happy, but what made me even happier was that I found a lot of answers like “You won’t believe it, but I use Fedora for stability”. Indeed, the stability of Fedora has improved a lot since I started using it, especially in the last releases. How did we achieve it?

There are several reasons why Fedora is more stable than ever before. What plays an important role is that the significant changes have settled. GNOME 3 matures, the wild beginnings of systemd are also over, Anaconda has stabilized a lot, too. Another reasons is the Fedora QA team, which now has 10 people who test Fedora full time. This is something no other community can enjoy. If you add volunteers and the fact that the team uses more and more of automated testing, you get a lot of test coverage. What I think has also helped is focus. We created three official editions – Workstation, Server, Cloud and defined what MUST be good (the three editions) and what CAN be good (everything else – spins, labs,…). We have also changed the strategy. Fedora is supposed to be progressive, but it doesn’t mean we need to force immature features on users. However, we also doesn’t want to be too conservative and become another Debian. I think we have found a good balance. The strategy is to have stable defaults and experimental features as opt-ins that are just a few clicks away for early adopters who would like to test them (this strategy was used for DNF, and now we’re using it for Wayland). This way, Fedora is stable enough for users who just want to use it, and still fun for those who like living on the edge of future technology.

However, today I’d like to focus on a different factor behind improved stability of Fedora – ABRT, which stands for Automatic Bug Reporting Tool. It’s a tool that helps users report software problems. One of the main problems in software development is to get reports that are detailed enough so that the problem can be identified and fixed. If the report states: “I clicked a button and the window disappeared”, it doesn’t help you find the problem and it most likely won’t get fixed. But if the user attaches a backtrace and a set of relevant logs, the chances go up sharply. That was the first milestone for ABRT – to collect all relevant data in the system and help the user report it.

But the results was bugzilla flooded with ABRT reports. Developers simply didn’t have capacity to go through them and analyze them. They usually ended up filtering ABRT reports out. That was why ABRT went on to another milestone – to create statistics that would help maintainers identify which bugs affect a lot of users (and thus should be fixed) and which are just corner cases. And this finally made ABRT a very interesting aid for developers.

The statistics can be found on Retrace Server. They provide a lot of information. Not only can you find out how many crashes the bug is responsible for, which is the most important information for prioritization, but you can also learn in which release of Fedora, on which architecture etc. What is also very useful is that ABRT can group crashes together based on similarity. Then you can find out that, for instance, crashes in ten different components are caused by a bug in a single library these components are using. The number of reports in bugzilla has decreased significantly, too, because ABRT started identifying duplicates and creating reports only when enough info is collected.


Stats of a problem.

The desktop team started using ABRT roughly a year and half ago. Developers are told to check the stats if their components pop up in the chart of most frequent crashes. I regularly check it, too. And if I find something my team is responsible for, I notify the responsible developer about it. But it’s been quite boring lately. If you check stats from stable releases, you won’t find desktop components so easily. And ff you do find something from the desktop after all, it’s usually already marked as fixed.

But it was not always like this. Fedora is primarily a desktop distribution, so desktop components are heavily used and they were high on the list of most frequent crashes. But ABRT enabled us to prioritize and focus on the most frequent crashes. And you can see the difference in the real-life usage. I rarely experience a crash in GNOME or default Workstation applications.

After good experience with ABRT in GNOME, I also advised KDE maintainers in my team to use it to prioritize. When they went through the list, they found Plasma crashes that had an origin lower in the stack (X11 or drivers), so not easily fixable for them, but they also found quite a few trivial oneliners which affected thousands of users. The ABRT stats are also used by some of our partners. I know Intel uses them to monitor problems in their video driver (btw kernel is associated with most of the frequent problems, but in this case, the problems are not crashes, but rather kernel module oops which users don’t even notice). CentOS started using ABRT, too. That’s helpful if you want to identify frequent crashes in RHEL because if it crashes in CentOS, it most likely crashes in RHEL as well.

ABRT is also useful for users. Not only can it collect relevant information about a crash for you, and make it much easier to report it in bugzilla, but if you don’t want to deal with any bug reporting, you can at least let it send microreports which build the statistics. By doing so, you let us know that the crash that could be fully reported by someone else affects you, too. You can even go for silent microreporting which doesn’t disturb you at all. That’s what I turn on on computers of average users. They will never report a single problem themselves, but by sending microreports they still contribute to quality of Fedora.

I also use ABRT to report problems in software that is not part of Fedora repositories. ABRT collects info about a crash for me and I can pick what I need from it or send it to developers as a whole package.

ABRT has really significantly contributed to quality of Fedora, at least in the desktop part. Kudos to all who have worked on the project for that!

September 04, 2015

Upcoming Events

Check out where we’ll be over the next few months. Find us at any of these events to talk to our team and get your hands on Linode swag and credit!

PennApps XII
Philadelphia, PA | September 4-6pennapps

PennApps XII is going to be bigger and better than ever! It’s taking place at the Wells Fargo Center (that’s right, they rented out a professional sports arena) over Labor Day weekend. You can expect a record-setting 2,000 attendees. Our mentors will be on site for the duration with exclusive swag that you can’t find ANYWHERE ELSE. Use Linode for your projects and each member of your team could win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet!

MHacks 6
Ann Arbor, MI | September 11-13
We’re thrilled to be a part of MHacks this year! We are sending several mentors to the University of Michigan. They will be hanging out all weekend, doling out tons of advice and Linode swag. Stop by our booth and enter to win a Moto 360 Smartwatch!

Hack the North
Waterloo, ON, Canada | September 18-20
We are sending our mentors across the border for Hack the North in September. They’ll be hanging out all weekend, helping with projects and spreading good vibes and swag.

PuppetLabs & Linode Meetup
Philadelphia, PA | September 29
On September 29th at Industrious Philly (203 S. Broad St.), Jeremiah Sullivan from PuppetLabs will be giving a high-level talk about Puppet Enterprises along with a demo using Linode servers. Come by to grab some free beer and snacks and hang out to network and ask Jeremiah any questions you may have. RSVP on our meetup page: http://bit.ly/1hHkB98

Asbury Agile
Asbury Park, NJ | October 2
We’re glad to be a part of Asbury Agile this year! Asbury Agile is an informal conference intended for web professionals and students. We’ll be there to talk cloud hosting and attend sessions. Hope to see you there!

New Brunswick, NJ | October 3-4
We are heading to New Brunswick again this year for HackRU. Come by the Linode table to chat with our mentors and see how Linode can power your projects.

New England DrupalCamp
Providence, RI | October 10
Join us on October 10th for New England DrupalCamp in Providence, RI! Our team will be there, giving away Linode goodies and answering all your cloud-hosting questions.

Central PA Open Source Conference (CPOSC)
Lancaster, PA | October 17
We’re heading to Lancaster for the Central PA Open Source Conference. It starts at 8 a.m. and we’ll be there all day. See you there!

San Francisco, CA | October 23-25
Join us in San Francisco for the World’s Largest Education Hackathon! With over 1,000 attendees, this 36-hour hackathon will be one to remember. As always, our mentors will be on site, hanging out and sharing technical advice.

HackNJIT | Newark, NJ | November 7-8
HackNJIT is a 24-hour hackathon running November 7-8th at NJIT in Newark, NJ. This is our first year sponsoring and we can’t wait to see all of the projects.

HackPrinceton | Princeton, NJ | November 13-15hp-orange
We are very excited to return for HackPrinceton again this year. In November, we will spend 36 hours working with all of the hackers on their sure-to-be-amazing projects. We will also have a prize on hand for “Best Use of Linode Services,” so make sure to stop by and get some Linode credit for your project!

Philly Codefest | Philadelphia, PA | February 20-21phillycodefest
We will be finishing up our hackathon tour at Philly Codefest, February 20-21. Hosted by Drexel University, this hackathon will draw in hundreds of students to participate. We will be sending mentors and even hosting a side event prior to the hackathon, so stay tuned for details.



Bee Goddess shirts










The Bee Goddess from The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess) is available on Teespring shirts until September 17. All proceeds support me and the Seder-Masochism project! (You can also make a tax-deductible donation and get your name in the credits.)



flattr this!

September 02, 2015

Birthday party in Berlin: 30 years Free Software Foundation

On 3 October 2015 Free Software Foundation Europe invites you for the 30th birthday party of the Free Software Foundation. While the main event will take place in Boston/USA, there will be several satellite birthday parties around the world to celebrate 30 years of empowering people to control technology, and one of them will be in Berlin.

FSF 30 year birthday graphic

The Free Software Foundation was founded in 1985 and since then promotes computer users’ rights to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. It also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software.

The birthday party in Berlin, organised by FSFE, will take place from 15:00 to 18:00 on 3 October 2015 at: Endocode AG, Brueckenstraße 5A, 10179 Berlin.

To make sure that FSFE’s donor Endocode can provide enough birthday cake and coffee, please register before 15 September 2015 for the event by sending This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with the subject “FSF30″.

Join us on 3 October, celebrating 30 years of working for software freedom!

August 24, 2015

Books I wanna read before I die – A sort of bucket list

Hi all, Before sharing the list of books I wanna read (and this will be an ever-growing list I know) I wanna share few of the reasons I enjoy reading :- a. It is one of the greatest stress-busters anybody needs – You had a hard day at work/office or whatever and are feeling down […]

Kolab Now: Learn, live, adapt in production

Kolab Now was first launched January 2013 and we were anxious to find out: If someone offered a public cloud service for people that put their privacy and security first. A service that would not just re-sell someone else’s platform with some added marketing, but did things right. Would there be a demand for it? Would people choose to pay with money instead of their privacy and data? These past two and a half years have provided a very clear answer. Demand for a secure and private collaboration platform has grown in ways we could have only hoped for.

To stay ahead of demand we have undertaken a significant upgrade to our hosted solution that will allow us to provide reliable service to our community of users both today and in the years to come. This is the most significant set of changes we’ve ever made to the service, which have been months in the making. We are very excited to unveil these improvements to the world as we complete the roll-out in the coming weeks.

From a revamped and simplified sign-up process to a more robust directory
service design, the improvements will be visible to new and existing users
alike. Everyone can look forward to a significantly more robustness and
reliable service, along with faster turnaround times on technical issues. We
have even managed to add some long-sought improvements many of you have been
asking for.

The road travelled

Assumptions are the root of all evil. Yet in the absence of knowledge of the future, sometimes informed assumptions need to be made. And sometimes the world just changes. It was February 2013 when MyKolab was launched into public beta.

Our expectation was that a public cloud service oriented on full business collaboration focusing on privacy and security would primarily attract small and medium enterprises between 10 and 200 users. Others would largely elect to use the available standard domains. So we expected most domains to be in the 30 users realm, and a handful of very large ones.

That had implications for the way the directory service was set up.

In order to provide the strongest possible insulation between tenants, each domain would exist in its own zone within the directory service. You can think of this as o dedicated installations on shared infrastructure instead of the single domain public clouds that are the default in most cases. Or, to use a slightly less technical analogies, between serial houses or apartments in a large apartment block.

So we expected some moderate growth for which we planned to deploy some older hardware to provide adequate redundancy and resource so there would be a steady show-case for how to deploy Kolab into the needs of Application and Internet Service Providers (ASP/ISP).

Literally on the very day when we carried that hardware into the data centre did Edward Snowden and his revelations become visible to the world. It is a common quip that assumptions and strategies usually do not outlive their contact with reality. Ours did not even make it that far.

After nice, steady growth during the early months, MyKolab.com took us on a wild ride.

Our operations managed to work miracles with the old hardware in ways that often made me think this would be interesting learning material for future administrators. But efficiency only gets you so far.

Within a couple of months however we ended up replacing it in its entirety. And to the largest extent all of this was happening without disruption to the production systems. New hardware was installed, services switched over, old hardware removed, and our team also managed to add a couple of urgently sought features to Kolab and deploy them onto MyKolab.com as well.

What we did not manage to make time for is re-work the directory service in order to adjust some of the underlying assumptions to reality. Especially the number of domains in relation to the number of users ended up dramatically different from what we initially expected. The result of that is a situation where the directory service has become the bottleneck for the entire installation – with a complete restart easily taking in the realm of 45 minutes.

In addition, that degree of separation translated to more restrictions of sharing data with other users, sometimes to an extent that users felt this was lack of a feature, not a feature in and of itself.

Re-designing the directory service however carries implications for the entire service structure, including also the user self-administration software and much more. And you want to be able to deploy this within a reasonable time interval and ensure the service comes back up better than before for all users.

On the highway to future improvements

So there is the re-design, the adaptation of all components, the testing, the migration planning, the migration testing and ultimately also the actual roll-out of the changes. That’s a lot of work. Most of which has been done by this point in time.

The last remaining piece of the puzzle was to increase hardware capacity in order to ensure there is enough reserve to build up an entire new installation next to existing production systems, and then switch over, confirm successful switching, and then ultimately retire the old setup.

That hardware has been installed last week.

So now the roll-out process will go through the stages and likely complete some time in September. That’s also the time when we can finally start adding some features we’ve been holding back to ensure we can re-adjust our assumptions to the realities we encountered.

For all users of Kolab Now that means you can look forward to a much improved service resilience and robustness, along with even faster turnaround times on technical issues, and an autumn of added features, including some long-sought improvements many of you have been asking for.

Stay tuned.

August 13, 2015

FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE Available

FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE is now available. Please be sure to check the Release Notes and Release Errata before installation for any late-breaking news and/or issues with 10.2. More information about FreeBSD releases can be found on the Release Information page.

August 10, 2015

LinuxCon North America in Seattle

I’m excited to be at LinuxCon North America in Seattle next week (August 17-19 2015). I’ve spoken at many LinuxCon events, and this one won’t be any different. Part of the appeal of the conference is being able to visit a new place every year.

MariaDB Corporation will have a booth, so you’ll always be able to see friendly Rod Allen camped there. In between talks and meetings, there will also be Max Mether and quite possibly all the other folk that live in Seattle (Kolbe Kegel, Patrick Crews, Gerry Narvaja).

For those in the database space, don’t forget to come attend some of our talks (represented by MariaDB Corporation and Oracle Corporation):

  1. MariaDB: The New MySQL is Five Years Old & Everywhere by Colin Charles
  2. MySQL High Availability in 2015 by Colin Charles
  3. Handling large MySQL and MariaDB farms with MaxScale by Max Mether
  4. The Proper Care and Feeding of a MySQL Database for a Linux Administrator by Dave Stokes
  5. MySQL Security in a Cloudy World by Dave Stokes

See you in Seattle soon!

August 08, 2015

Enhanced commit privileges: Marcelo Araujo (ports, src)

August 05, 2015

Your opportunity for a front row seat: The economics of the Roundcube Next Indiegogo Campaign

Bringing together an alliance that will liberate our future web and mobile collaboration was the most important motive behind our launching the Roundcube Next campaign at the 2015 Kolab Summit. This goal we reached fully.

There is now a group of some of the leading experts for messaging and collaboration in combination with service providers around the world that has embarked with us on this unique journey:










The second objective for the campaign was to get enough acceleration to be able to allow two, three people to focus on Roundcube Next over the coming year. That goal we reached partially. There is enough to get us started and go through the groundwork, but not enough for all the bells and whistles we would have loved to go for. To a large extent that’s because we would have a lot of fantasy for bells and whistles.

Roundcube Next - The Bells and Whistles

But perhaps it is a good thing that the campaign did not complete all the way into the stretch goals.

Since numbers are part of my responsibility, allow me to share some with you to give you a first-hand perspective of being inside an Indiegogo Campaign:


Roundcube Next Campaign Amount



Indiegogo Cost



PayPal Cost



Remaining Amount



So by the time the money was in our PayPal account, we are down 8.15%.

The reason for that is simple: Instead of transferring the complete amount in one transaction, which would have incurred only a single transaction fee, they transferred it individually per contribution. Which means PayPal gets to extract the per transaction fee. I assume the rationale behind this is that PayPal may have acted as the escrow service and would have credited users back in case the campaign goal had not been reached. Given our transactions were larger than average for crowd funding campaigns, the percentage for other campaigns is likely going to be higher. It would seem this can even go easily beyond the 5% that you see quoted on a variety of sites about crowd funding.

But it does not stop there. Indiegogo did not allow to run the campaign in Swiss Franc, and PayPal forces transfers into our primary currency, resulting in another fee for conversion. On the day the Roundcube Next Campaign funds were transferred to PayPal, XE.com lists the exchange rate as 0.9464749579 CHF per USD.



% of total

Roundcube Next Campaign Amount


SFr. 97,998.96


Remaining at PayPal


SFr. 90,008.06


Final at bank in CHF


SFr. 87,817.00


So now we’re at 10.39% in fees, of which 4% go to Indiegogo for their services. A total of 6.39% went to PayPal. Not to mention this is before any t-shirt is printed or shipped, and there is of course also cost involved in creating and running a campaign.

The $4,141.64 we paid to Indiegogo are not too bad, I guess. Although their service was shaky and their support non-existent. I don’t think we ever got a response to our repeated support inquiries over a couple of weeks. And we experienced multiple downtimes of several hours which were particularly annoying during the critical final week of the campaign where we can be sure to have lost contributions.

PayPal’s overhead was $6,616.27 – the equivalent of another Advisor to the Roundcube Next Campaign. That’s almost 60% more than the cost for Indiegogo. Which seems excessive and is reminding me of one of Bertolt Brecht’s more famous quotes.

But of course you also need to add the effort for the campaign itself, including preparation, running and perks. Considering that, I am no longer surprised that many of the campaigns I see appear to be marketing instruments to sell existing products that are about to be released, and less focused on innovation.

In any case, Roundcube Next is going to be all about innovation. And Kolab Systems will continue contribute plenty of its own resources as we have been doing for Roundcube and Roundcube Next, including a world class Creative Director and UI/UX expert who is going to join us in a month from now.

We also remain open to others to come aboard.

The advisory group is starting to constitute itself now, and will be taking some decisions about requirements and underlying architecture. Development will then begin and continue up until well into next year. So there is time to engage even in the future. But many decisions will be made in the first months, and you can still be part of that as Advisor to Roundcube Next.

It’s not too late to be part of the Next. Just drop a message to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

August 03, 2015

Introducing Linodes in Frankfurt!

Achtung baby! Linodes in Deutschland!

grmcloud-300x300We’re excited to announce our newest European datacenter located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany! This new facility will better serve the growing tech communities in Germany, greater Europe, and surrounding areas.

This marks our eighth datacenter worldwide, and complements our other Europe-based datacenter in London. Both our Frankfurt and London deployments are located in TelecityGroup facilities.

Frankfurt is an important financial and Internet hub for Europe, with a third of Europe’s Internet traffic going through it. Frankfurt is home to DE-CIX, the largest Internet exchange in the world in terms of traffic. DE-CIX will no doubt provide abundant peering access opportunities for us, over time.

Linode customers can now be compliant with Germany’s Federal Data Protection Act (a.k.a., Bundesdatenschutzgesetz or BDSG) by hosting their data on German soil.

Frankfurt supports all Linode features and services, and same great hardware including datacenter-grade SSD storage, E5-2680v3 CPUs, DDR4 ECC SDRAM, full-stack redundant networking and 40 GbE to each hypervisor host. Linode Frankfurt is KVM only.

Now is the time when we dance.

Check out our speedtest, or go straight into the Linode Manager to add a Frankfurt Linode!


August 01, 2015

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!

July 31, 2015

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 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!

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 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.

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!

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.

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


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


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.


The installations room was plenty from the very first moment.


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



And in another room, there were two Arduino workshops.



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.


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.



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
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.


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 93 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