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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!

September 01, 2015

Der lange Weg des Routerzwangs zur Endgerätefreiheit

Der lange Weg des Routerzwangs zur Endgerätefreiheit

Der Router. Obwohl oft staubbedeckt in einer Ecke, ist er einer der wichtigsten Bestandteile für das heimische Internet und Telefon. Allerdings gehört er den meisten BenutzerInnen in Deutschland überhaupt nicht, obwohl er in ihren Räumlichkeiten steht und sie dafür zahlen.

Noch zumindest, denn kürzlich hat das Bundeskabinett einen Gesetzentwurf verabschiedet, um den so genannten Routerzwang endgültig abzuschaffen, damit alle Kunden auch ein anderes als das vom Provider gelieferte Endgerät nutzen können und dieses auch frei modifizieren dürfen.

Was ist Routerzwang?

Dabei sah es lange sehr schlecht aus für diejenigen, die gerne einen eigenen Router an die Dose in der Wand anschließen wollen. Oft geben die Provider entweder die notwendigen Zugangsdaten nicht heraus, verweigern den Support oder sperren den Zugang komplett. Was wie ein Luxusproblem klingt, hat enorme Auswirkungen auf Privatsphäre, Sicherheit und Wettbewerb. Über einen Router fließen in den meisten Fällen sämtliche Telefonate und Internetverbindungen, und viel zu häufig sind die vorgelieferten Geräte mit Sicherheitslücken gespickt. Über bestimmte Protokolle kann der Provider stets Kontrolle über solche Router erlangen und etwa Einfluss auf Qualität des Internetverkehrs zu bestimmten Diensten nehmen. Alternative Geräte, die beispielsweise auf Freier Software aufbauen und deswegen Datenschutz und Sicherheit groß schreiben, haben auf einem solch abgeschotteten Markt wenig Chancen, weil viele Nutzer sie nicht ohne großen Aufwand einsetzen können, wenn die Provider nicht mitspielen. Das stellt eine ungerechtfertigte Diskriminierung von Benutzern Freier Software und deren Herstellern dar, denn wir sollten stets die volle Hoheit über die von uns verwendeten Geräte innehaben.

Grundstein der Debatte über Routerzwang ist seit jeher die Definition des Netzabschlusspunkts. Dieser definiert, wo das öffentliche Netz, also das des Anbieters, endet und wo das des Kunden beginnt. Eigentlich sollte diese Schnittstelle die Dose in der Wand sein, doch viele Provider legen das mitgelieferte Endgerät als solche aus. Dadurch sei es auch legitim, dem Kunden die Herausgabe von Zugangsdaten zum Ersatz dieses Geräts zu verweigern. Bei den meisten Kabelanbietern muss das Modem gar erst durch einen Techniker im Datenzentrum registriert werden. Die technischen Gründe, die angeblich für diesen Zwang sprechen, sind jedoch technisch nicht stimmig und dienen als Vorwand. In den USA etwa ist dieser Markt liberalisiert und die beschworenen flächendeckenden Netzausfälle sind nicht zu beobachten.

Was bisher geschah

Seit Anfang 2013 schwelt die öffentliche Debatte über Zwangsrouter, stets begleitet von der FSFE. Nachdem die Bundesnetzagentur in einem intransparenten Verfahren nach zahlreichen Anhörungen und Workshops immer noch unsicher war, ob sie nun den Routerzwang gesetzlich legitimieren soll, obwohl sich nicht nur die FSFE, sondern auch die Mehrheit von hunderten Stellungnahmen dagegen aussprach, übernahm Ende 2014 das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi). Das Ministerium hat einen zufriedenstellenden Gesetzentwurf zuerst zur Ratifizierung in die EU-Kommission und danach in das Bundeskabinett gebracht und dabei bisher alle notwendigen Hürden im Gesetzgebungsprozess überwunden. Das Gesetz wartet nun auf Zustimmung von Bundesrat und Bundestag.

Wir hätten uns zwar noch weitere gesetzliche Festschreibungen von Benutzerrechten für Kommunikationsgeräte gewünscht, aber der jetzige Stand garantiert zumindest für den mittelfristigen Stand der Technik ein Grundlevel von Nutzerfreiheiten. Um überhaupt bis an diesem Punkt zu kommen, war einiges an Arbeit notwendig. Als FSFE haben wir ein kleines Team interner und externer Experten aufgebaut, welches zu vielen der Anhörungen der Bundesnetzagentur detaillierte Stellungnahmen verfasst hat, welche neben wirtschaftlichen Aspekten auch Nutzerfreiheiten im Sinne von Freier Software und Offenen Standards angesprochen haben. Auch nach der Übernahme des BMWi haben wir in Abstimmung mit anderen Organisationen den Prozess stets kritisch begleitet und auf Mängel, aber auch positive Entwicklungen aufmerksam gemacht.

Mit einer Modifikation von FTEG (Gesetz über Funkanlagen und Telekommunikationsendeinrichtungen) und TKG (Telekommunikationsgesetz) sollen die bisherigen Mängel nun behoben werden. Der passive Netzabschlusspunkt soll klar definiert, die Betreiber zur unaufgeforderten Bereitstellung von „notwendige[n] Zugangsdaten und Informationen für den Anschluss von Telekommunikationsendeinrichtungen und die Nutzung der Telekommunikationsdienste“ verpflichtet und ein Bußgeld von 10.000 Euro festgelegt werden, falls sie gegen diese Informationspflichten verstoßen.

Es ist noch nicht vorbei

Momentan liegt das Gesetz dem Bundesrat zur Stellungnahme vor und wird danach von der Bundesregierung dem Bundestag zu den drei Lesungen vorgelegt. Wird das Gesetz angenommen, benötigt es noch die Billigung des Bundesrats, um dann den Routerzwang sechs Monate nach dessen Verkündigung abschaffen zu können. Doch damit das tatsächlich gelingt, müssen wir diesen Prozess aufmerksam verfolgen, und darauf achten, dass der Entwurf nicht verwässert wird. Und Sie können dabei helfen: Kontaktieren Sie Ihre Volksvertreter, dass sie dieses Gesetz unbedingt ohne weitere Einschränkungen auf den Weg bringen sollen, um das absolute Minimum an Endgerätefreiheit, Verbraucherschutz und Sicherheit zu sichern.

Doch auch danach wird es spannend. Stellen sich Internetanbieter bei der Verwendung eigener Geräte im Support quer? Können alle Geräte problemlos an alternativen Routern eingesetzt werden? Findet trotz Gesetz eine Diskriminierung irgendeiner Art statt? Wir können uns über die bisherigen Erfolge freuen, doch dieses Thema ist zu brisant, als dass sich Freunde alternativer Endgeräte in trügerischer Sicherheit wiegen dürften. Für das kommende Internet der Dinge, wo Kühlschränke und Heizungen über das Internet erreichbar sein werden, spielen der Router und Endgerätefreiheit allgemein eine noch viel zentralere Rolle. Wir gehen davon aus, dass wir nicht das letzte Mal mit diesem Thema zu tun hatten, und dass wir auch in anderen europäischen Ländern Gerätefreiheit herstellen und verteidigen müssen.

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Make a one time donation

The Golden Calf (Return of the Goddess)

Music: “Woman” by John Lennon (1980)
Everything else: Nina Paley
Another chapter in my feature film “Seder-Masochism.” Donate here: questioncopyright.org/sedermasochism

Exodus 32:
1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
2 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the Lord.
6 And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.

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Dissolving our association

When a group of dedicated hackers founded Free Software Foundation Europe there was no usable legal basis for establishing a European wide legal entity, and it is still difficult to do so. The founders came up with the following approach: create a European “Hub” organisation as an e.V. in Germany as the central legal body, the core of the Free Software Foundation Europe, where the members should be formed by representatives of local FSFE Chapter’s registered in the different European countries. They started to implement this, first the “Hub” and then a German Chapter.

Two man and a child cleaing a carpet

Chapters were meant to be “modular, local legal bodies of the FSFE, formed by the members of the FSFE from that country and sometimes guest members from other countries. Their main function would be to receive deductible donations, where possible.” They should be “integrated throughout the FSFE with their statutes, giving the national teams of FSFE the freedom and autonomy to address the local issues in the way appropriate for the cultural and social identity in those countries.”

In the years afterwards it turned out that for a lot of countries this structure is a problem. There were no benefits from a local association and also often you did not need it to act as a country team for FSFE. There is also additional bureaucracy you have to take care of; filing reports to different authorities, and have certain laws which regulate how you can work together which might not fit the group’s needs.

By the end of 2014, the only other association beside “FSFE e.V.” was “FSFE Chapter Germany e.V.” The members of FSFE e.V. decided on November 9th, 2014, to dissolve the chapter to get rid of bureaucratic tasks and concentrate on our mission.

But dissolving an association is not as easy as you might think it would be. It involved the following steps:

  • discussions with the bank how to transfer the bank account to FSFE e.V.
  • informing the register court about us dissolving. They replied that we have to send that information signed by a notary. We did that. Then they told us, we have to clarify a part, namely that “one liquidator decided alone, several liquidators decide together”. Yes, I think that is obvious, but they wanted it in written form and signed by a notary. The notary also could not believe it, but again we did it.
  • We had to send a notice to an official announcement paper to inform the public that we will dissolve ourselves (yes, you have to pay a fee for that). The liquidation of Chapter Germany was announced on 5 May 2015 in the “Amtlicher Anzeiger” (PDF, page 16) with the date of 13 April 2015.

Now we have to wait until next year April to see if anyone thinks we still owe them money. After this time we can again go to a notary, and then finally close down FSFE Chapter Germany e.V.

August 31, 2015

Fedora Group Chat on Telegram

I created a Telegram group chat for Flock 2015 and it turned out to be very popular. Around 70 people joined the chat which is half the attendance of the conference. It was also pretty useful, some found an adapter to borrow, some found a ride back to Boston etc.

When Flock was over, I was going to delete the group chat, but some people suggested that we could keep it as a general chat for Fedora users and I was like “why not”. So if you’re using Telegram and want to chat with other fellow Fedorians, join bit.ly/fedoratg.


August 28, 2015

FSFE supports recognition for User Data Rights

FSFE supports recognition for User Data Rights

FSFE supports the publication of the User Data Manifesto 2.0, which aims at defining basic rights for people to control their own data in the internet age. The manifesto is published today and also supported by GNOME, KDE, Netzpolitik.org, ownCloud, Spreed, “Terms of Service - Didn’t Read” and X-Lab.

Today, users are increasingly using online services to perform their daily computing, whether it is for social networking, for collaboration, or for sharing pictures, among many other activities. Thus, users are losing control over their own data more than ever.

According to the User Data Manifesto, people should have:

Control over user data access, Knowledge of how user data is stored, and which laws or jurisdictions apply. Freedom to choose a platform, without experiencing vendor lock-in. FSFE believes that Free Software is necessary to guarantee this. “The recognition of the User Data Rights defined in the manifesto is an important block to build a free society in the digital age“ says Hugo Roy, deputy coordinator of FSFE’s Legal Team and coauthor of the User Data Manifesto. “The freedoms to use, share, study and improve software that we use in our lives is a necessity not only for programs on our local machines, but also for the programs that run online services processing our data” according to Björn Schießle, deputy coordinator of FSFE’s German Team.

The manifesto is a good starting point for an important debate about users’ rights online. FSFE looks forward to other organisations joining the effort to promote online services that respects users’ rights and freedoms.

Support FSFE, join the Fellowship
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The 11th year of Google Summer of Code comes to an end


GoogleSummer_2015logo.jpg
Another year of Google Summer of Code, our program designed to introduce university students from around the world to open source development, is drawing to a close.


In April, we accepted 1,051 university students from 73 countries. These students wrote code for 137 mentoring organizations. We also had 1,918 mentors from 70 countries help them out. We are excited to announce that 87%* (916) of the students passed their final evaluations. To see more about how that compares to previous years, check out our statistics from the last ten years of the program.   


And we’re not done yet: this November, we’ll be hosting our yearly mentor summit in Sunnyvale, California. We’ll welcome representative mentors and organization administrators from each of the mentoring organizations from this year’s program to meet and exchange ideas.


Now that the coding period has concluded, students are busy preparing their code samples for all eyes to see. Soon you will be able to visit the program site where organizations will have links to the students’ code repositories.

Thank you to all of the students, mentors and organization administrators that have helped to make this 11th year of the Google Summer of Code a great success!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Programs

* This number could change slightly in the next few weeks.

August 27, 2015

My sweet adventures with Sugar Labs and Google Code-in

Today we have a guest post from Sam Parkinson, a 15 year-old Google Code-in 2014 grand prize winner. Sam worked with Sugar Labs for two instances of Google Code-in and tells us more about his journey navigating the world of free and open source software. We hope this is only the beginning of Sam’s contributions.
Ever since I was young, naive and enjoying my first tastes of Linux, I've wanted to contribute to the FOSS community. For me, Google Code-in (GCI) made that dream come true. I was lucky enough to be able to participate for the last two years with the mentoring organization Sugar Labs.

Sugar Labs is a “desktop environment without a desktop” that uses Python. Officially, Sugar Labs is the core component of a worldwide effort to provide every child with an equal opportunity for a quality education. Available in 25 languages, Sugar Labs activities are used every school day by nearly 3 million children in more than 40 countries.

I started my FOSS journey in GCI 2013 by completing the simple task of changing a ValueError to a logged exception. At first, my confidence level went from "yeah, I know some cool Python tricks" to "omg! how do I code?". I discovered new (and sometimes confusing) things like PEP8, git-branch and mailing lists. However, having the GCI and Sugar Labs communities as a support system made my dream of contributing to FOSS manageable by breaking it up into small, manageable tasks.

I worked on some pretty cool features, like adding a nutcracker-style mode in a Speak activity, where users could insert a picture of a face and have it talk to them.
I also worked on some not-so-fun tasks, like fixing bugs caused by GTK updates while trying not to break compatibility with ancient versions. But by the end of GCI 2014, I had learned how to pass code reviews and even completed some of my own. Hopefully I’ve programmed something that has made somebody smile.

In 2014, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a GCI winner. The grand prize trip was the cherry on top of the proverbial cake. I got to meet the amazing people I'd been hacking with, plus some pretty inspiring people from Google and other FOSS projects. I found it mind blowing to actually talk with people about programming face to face, and even better to sit around laughing about the programming culture. A highlight of the trip was meeting Walter Bender, one of the Sugar Labs mentors. Together we hacked on a project improving the Sugar Labs website. It’s not done, but it’s in better shape than it was before, and I can claim that I did some coding during the trip.

GCI was truly something that changed my life. I went from being an open source newbie to being able to contribute to really cool projects, thanks to the amazing GCI and Sugar Labs communities. It's something that I would recommend any young programmer consider doing. Participating in GCI is something that can make dreams come true.

By Sam Parkinson, Google Code-in grand prize winner

August 26, 2015

Some stills from the Golden Calf scene

Woman04.2_transformation

Still working on it, but I like how it’s coming out. Based on Exodus 32. These are all things Hebrews should NOT be doing! But of course it’s the most beautiful chapter in the film.

Woman05.5_Canaa

Woman05.02.1_IsisMaat

Woman06_first02_Astarte

Woman06_second04_Wadjet

Woman06.3_QoH_Nut

Woman07.1.2_bees

Woman07.2.1_Asherahs

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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 17, 2015

BSDCan 2015 Trip Report: Koop Mast

Travel
I have been to two EuroBSDCon conferences and now I can add my first BSDCan to the list. The trip to Ottawa was just as interesting as the conference itself, it was the first time I stepped aboard an airplane. Purely by chance I found out, after I booked my flight, that I shared the same flight with Ed Schouten and Massimiliano Stucchi so they could help me with the confusing ant hill that is your average airport.

We arrived the 9th in Ottawa and after dropping off our stuff at the residence, we went to the Royal Oak for drinks and social activities.

During the dev summit or the actual BSDCan you can meet people you’ve only heard of before and have a conversation. In some cases, you can also find out they have heard of you before too. That happened to me during lunch on Wednesday, when I met Michael W. Lucas at Cora’s.

While I mostly work on FreeBSD ports, it was interesting to see how a company like Isilon uses at least part of the Project you work on in their product and how they’ve changed their policy over the years to keep up with all the shiny new stuff.

The hacking lounge was a mixed bag of what people were doing: talking with other people attending the conference about different subjects, discussing future projects, doing some code hacking or taking a soldering iron to “harmless” wireless routers. During one of the hacking lounges, Johannes Jost Meixner ask me to do a simple test with a few new ports to see if the skype4 port worked on HEAD. I also put the inspiration I got during a presentation into solving a segfault in PulseAudio that was bugging me for a while.

BSDCan
On Friday June 12th, the conference kicked off with the Keynote by Stephen Bourne, about Unix history and the Bourne shell. After, I attended the "Package building via QEMU" session by Sean Bruno and Stacey Son, on how we use QEMU to build arm packages on an amd64 box a “bit” faster than would be possible on a native box. I also attended “a stitch in time: jhbuild” since I was involved with this project. Jhbuild is a build software that GNOME uses, that takes code right out of git and tries to build it. So portability issues get caught in a few days instead of 6 months later when the author of that code moved on to shinier features. And, some features GNOME glib people would like to have in FreeBSD. The LLDB talk was interesting and it made me actually start using lldb when I need to debug something.

In the evening,  I accidentally ended up in the Doc sprint. Which turned out to be good thing, since I learned some mandoc things and I got some help with thinking about how to write some documents that still need writing.

Saturday June 13th,  had some great talks like CloudAPI where we have a binary from a virtual Operating System and that could in theory be run on any OS. And, the ZFS talk by Kirk McKusick about how ZFS works “magic” in more ways than one. I'm probably not the only one that is looking forward to having the FreeBSD base system in packages.

Free Time
On Sunday the 14th, we had time to do some tourist type things before our flight back to Europe. I saw Parliament Hill and the National Gallery of Canada.

While a few presentations went over my head technically, (ZFS I'm looking at you).  I'm from Europe so jet lag is supposed to be a thing, if you got long plane flights across time zones. Either my sleeping habit is already beyond hope, or I'm one of those people that isn't that affected. Though personally would bet on the former choice.

I'd like to thank the FreeBSD Foundation for giving me the possibility to attend, and Dan Langille and his team for making my first BSDCan a smooth experience.

Koop Mast

August 14, 2015

Where is Fedora Magazine most popular?

Matthew’s keynote at Flock 2015 contained a lot of data about the status of Fedora. One of the stats that caught my attention was what countries draw the highest number of views at Fedora Magazine. There are not many surprises. The United States are leading by a large margin. Big countries such as Germany, UK, India, Brazil follow. The Czech Republic is on the 14th position which is not bad because it’s difficult for such a small country to compete with giants in absolute numbers.  But the chart looks very different if you sort countries by views per capita (number of views per one million citizens):

view-per-capita

Now, the Czech Republic is leading, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. I’m glad to see FM so popular in our country. We try to link to it as much as possible on fedora.cz and promote it elsewhere. It seems to pay off.


2015 SFD registration is on!

I am very glad to share with you that registration of the twelfth edition of Software Freedom Day has been opened since early August and you can see from our SFD event map, we already have 62 events from more than 33countries shown in our map. As usual registration happens after you have created your event page on the wiki. We have a detail guide here for newcomers and for the others who need help, the SFD-Discuss mailing would be the best place to get prompt support.

Don’t forget to tell people about SFD! Simply use one of the banners we’ve made if you are organizing, participating, attending or speaking at a SFD event by placing it on your webpages and link it back to your SFD event page or http://www.softwarefreedomday.org. You can also help us to promote SFD by placing our SFD counter with your own language as well!

So get ready to celebrate SFD on September 19 Saturday and happy preparations to all!
Celebrate SFD with us on September 20, 2014!

August 13, 2015

FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE Now Available

The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 10.2-RELEASE.  Installation images are available for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64, and sparc64 architectures.

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

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

See the 10.2-RELEASE announcement email for installation image checksums and additional information.

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:

bHosted

Contargo

cPanel

Fastmail

Sandstorm.io

sys4

Tucows

TransIP

XS4ALL

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

$103,541.00

100.00%

Indiegogo Cost

-$4,141.64

4.00%

PayPal Cost

-$4,301.17

4.15%

Remaining Amount

$95,098.19

91.85%

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.

USD

CHF

% of total

Roundcube Next Campaign Amount

$103,541.00

SFr. 97,998.96

100.00%

Remaining at PayPal

$95,098.19

SFr. 90,008.06

91.85%

Final at bank in CHF

$92,783.23

SFr. 87,817.00

89.61%

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!

Enjoy!

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 30, 2015

The FSF's statement on Windows 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media Contacts

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

July 24, 2015

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

FSF30 logo

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

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

Volunteer or Sponsor

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

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

Satellite events

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

Streaming

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

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

About the Free Software Foundation

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

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

Media Contacts

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

July 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!

June 22, 2015

Are Indian FOSS communities closed-source ?

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

June 16, 2015

Linode turns 12! Here’s some KVM!

Happy 12th birthday to us!

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

Better performance, versatility, and faster booting

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

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

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

How do I upgrade a Linode from Xen to KVM?

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

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

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

What will happen to Xen Linodes?

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

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

-Chris

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].

 

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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 .

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January 22, 2015

FLOSSK mbështetë Wiki Academy Kukës

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

January 20, 2015

Smart things powered by snappy Ubuntu Core on ARM and x86

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

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

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

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

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

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

Education Freedom Day registration launched!

efd-banner

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

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

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

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

Celebrate EFD with us on March 21, 2015!

Education Freedom Day registration launched!

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

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

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

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

January 19, 2015

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

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

December 23, 2014

GNOME Builder copr now for Rawhide only

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 27, 2014

Lollipopp’d

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

November 22, 2014

Release party in Barcelona

15794067981_0d173ce352_z

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

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

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

15797518182_0a05d96fde_z

The installations room was plenty from the very first moment.

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

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And in another room, there were two Arduino workshops.

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And, of course, ubuntaires love to eat well.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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

September 04, 2014

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

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

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

August 22, 2014

GNU hackers unmask massive HACIENDA surveillance program and design a countermeasure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Free Software Foundation

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

About the GNU Operating System and Linux

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

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

Media Contacts

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

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

August 13, 2014

SFD Tagaytay 2014 at Olivarez College

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

SFD2014

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

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

August 12, 2014

websites on this server

June 30, 2014

Scancation - Scanning the Standing Stones of the Outer Hebrides

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

June 22, 2014

the meaning of a word

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

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

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