Search Results: "Gunnar Wolf"

5 August 2017

Gunnar Wolf: DebConf17 Key Signing Party: You are here

I ran my little analysis program written last year to provide a nice map on the DebConf17 key signing party, based on the . What will you find if you go there? As an example, here is my location on the map (click on the graph to enlarge): Its main use? It will help you find what clusters are you better linked with - And who you have not cross-signed with. Some people have signed you but you didn't sign them? Or the other way around? Whom should you approach to make the keyring better connected? Can you spot some attendees who are islands and can get some help getting better connected to our keyring? Please go ahead and do it! PS There are four keys that are mentioned in the DebConf17 Keysigning Party Names file I used to build this from: 0xE8446B4AC8C77261, 0x485E1BD3AE76CB72, 0x4618E4C700000173, E267B052364F028D. The public keyserver network does not know about them. If you control one of those keys and you want me to run my script again to include it, please send it to the keyservers and mail me. If your key is not in the keyservers, nobody will be able to sign it!

25 July 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Getting ready for DebConf17 in Montreal!


(image shamelessly copied from Noodles' Emptiness) This year I will only make it to DebConf, not to DebCamp. But, still, I am very very happy and excited as the travel date looms nearer! I have ordered some of the delicacies for the Cheese and Wine party, signed up for the public bicycle system of Montreal, and done a fair share of work with the Content Team; finally today we sent out the announcement for the schedule of talks. Of course, there are several issues yet to fix, and a lot of things to do before traveling... But, no doubt about this: It will be an intense week! Oh, one more thing while we are at it: The schedule as it was published today does not really look like we have organized stuff into tracks But we have! This will be soon fixed, adding some color-coding to make tracks clearer on the schedule. This year, I pushed for the Content Team to recover the notion of tracks as an organizative measure, and as something that delivers value to DebConf as a whole. Several months ago, I created a Wiki page for the DebConf tracks, asking interested people to sign up for them. We currently have the following tracks registered:
Blends
Andreas Tille
Debian Science
Michael Banck
Cloud and containers
Luca Filipozzi
Embedded
Pending
Systems administration, automation and orchestation
Pending
Security
Gunnar Wolf
We have two tracks still needing a track coordinator. Do note that most of the tasks mentioned by the Wiki have already been carried out; what a track coordinator will now do is to serve as some sort of moderator, maybe a recurring talkmeister, ensuring continuity and probably providing for some commentary, giving some unity to its sessions. So, the responsibilities for a track coordinator right now are quite similar to what is expected for video team volunteers but to a set of contiguous sessions. If you are interested in being the track coordinator/moderator for Embedded or for Systems administration, automation and orchestation or even to share the job with any of the other, registered, coordinators, please speak up! Mail content@debconf.org and update the table in the Wiki page. See you very soon in Montreal!

20 July 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Hey, everybody, come share the joy of work!

I got several interesting and useful replies, both via the blog and by personal email, to my two previous posts where I mentioned I would be starting a translation of the Made With Creative Commons book. It is my pleasure to say: Welcome everybody, come and share the joy of work! Some weeks ago, our project was accepted as part of Hosted Weblate, lowering the bar for any interested potential contributor. So, whoever wants to be a part of this: You just have to log in to Weblate (or create an account if needed), and start working! What is our current status? Amazingly better than anything I have exepcted: Not only we have made great progress in Spanish, reaching >28% of translated source strings, but also other people have started translating into Norwegian Bokm l (hi Petter!) and Dutch (hats off to Heimen Stoffels!). So far, Spanish (where Leo Arias and myself are working) is most active, but anything can happen. I still want to work a bit on the initial, pre-po4a text filtering, as there are a small number of issues to fix. But they are few and easy to spot, your translations will not be hampered much when I solve the missing pieces. So, go ahead and get to work! :-D Oh, and if you translate sizeable amounts of work into Spanish: As my university wants to publish (in paper) the resulting works, we would be most grateful if you can fill in the (needless! But still, they ask me to do this...) authorization for your work to be a part of a printed book.

13 June 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Reporting progress on the translation infrastructure

Some days ago, I blogged asking for pointers to get started with the translation of Made with Creative Commons. Thank you all for your pointers and ideas! To the people that answered via private mail, via IRC, via comments on the blog. We have made quite a bit of progress so far; I want to test some things before actually sending a call for help. What do we have?
Git repository set up
I had already set up a repository at GitLab; right now, the contents are far from useful, they merely document what I have done so far. I have started talking with my Costa Rican friend Leo Arias, who is also interested in putting some muscle behind this translation, and we are both the admins to this project.
Talked with the authors
Sarah is quite enthusiastic about us making this! I asked her to hold a little bit before officially announcing there is work ongoing... I want to get bits of infrastructure ironed out first. Important Talking with her, she discussed the tools they used for authoring the book. It made me less of a purist :) Instead of starting from something "pristine", our master source will be the PDF export of the Google Docs document.
Markdown conversion
Given that translation tools work over the bits of plaintext, we want to work with the "plainest" rendition of the document, which is Markdown. I found that Pandoc does a very good approximation to what we need (that is, introduces very little "ugly" markup elements). Converting the ODT into Markdown is as easy as:
$ pandoc -f odt MadewithCreativeCommonsmostup-to-dateversion.odt -t markdown > MadewithCreativeCommonsmostup-to-dateversion.md
Of course, I want to fine-tune this as much as possible.
Producing a translatable .po file
I have used Gettext to translate user interfaces; it is a tool very well crafted for that task. Translating a book is quite different: How and where does it break and join? How are paragraphs "strung" together into chapters, parts, a book? That's a task for PO 4 Anything (po4a). As simple as this:
po4a-gettextize -f text -m MadewithCreativeCommonsmostup-to-dateversion.md -p MadewithCreativeCommonsmostup-to-dateversion.po -M utf-8
I tested the resulting file with my good ol' trusty poedit, and it works... Very nicely!
What is left to do?

6 June 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Made with Creative Commons: Starting a translation project

Dear Lazyweb, About a week ago, I learnt about the release of an interesting book by the fine people at Creative Commons: Made with Creative Commons. The book itself is, of course, CC BY-SA-licensed. I downloaded it and started reading right away. Some minutes later, I ordered a dead-tree copy, which arrived a couple of days ago. (I'm linking to the publisher's page, but bought it from Amazon M xico... Shipping it from Denmark would not have been as cheap and fast, I guess). Anyway, given my workplace, given the community I know, given I know something like this is much needed... I will start a Spanish translation of the content. There are at least two other people interested in participating, and I haven't yet publicized my intentions (this is the first public statement about it). So, dear Lazyweb: What I need is a good framework for doing this. I started by creating a Git repository, and we were discussing to translate to Markdown (to later format according to the desired output) but then I thought... If we want the translation to be updateable, and to be able to properly accept other people's work, maybe a better format is warranted? So, my current idea is to create a Markdown version for the English original, and find a way to shoehorn^Wseparate it by paragraphs and feed it to Gettext, which is the best translation framework I have used (but is meant for code translation, not for full-text)... Dear lazyweb: What tools do you recommend me to use? Quite important to me: Are they Free tools? Are they easy to use by third-parties, maybe incorporating work via Git? Or, at least, via a Web front-end that allows me as a project lead to review and approve/fix/reject strings? Thanks, lazyweb!

22 May 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Open Source Symposium 2017

I travelled (for three days only!) to Argentina, to be a part of the Open Source Symposium 2017, a co-located event of the International Conference on Software Engineering.

This is, all in all, an interesting although small conference We are around 30 people in the room. This is a quite unusual conference for me, as this is among the first "formal" academic conference I am part of. Sessions have so far been quite interesting.
What am I linking to from this image? Of course, the proceedings! They managed to publish the proceedings via the "formal" academic channels (a nice hard-cover Springer volume) under an Open Access license (which is sadly not usual, and is unbelievably expensive). So, you can download the full proceedings, or article by article, in EPUB or in PDF...
...Which is very very nice :)
Previous editions of this symposium have also their respective proceedings available, but AFAICT they have not been downloadable.
So, get the book; it provides very interesant and original insights into our community seen from several quite novel angles!
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15 May 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Starting a project on private and anonymous network usage

I am starting a work with the students of LIDSOL (Laboratorio de Investigaci n y Desarrollo de Software Libre, Free Software Research and Development Laboratory) of the Engineering Faculty of UNAM:

We want to dig into the technical and social implications of mechanisms that provide for anonymous, private usage of the network. We will have our first formal work session this Wednesday, for which we have invited several interesting people to join the discussion and help provide a path for our oncoming work. Our invited and confirmed guests are, in alphabetical order:

9 May 2017

Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible Builds: week 106 in Stretch cycle

Here's what happened in the Reproducible Builds effort between Sunday April 30 and Saturday May 6 2017: Past and upcoming events Between May 5th-7th the Reproducible Builds Hackathon 2017 took place in Hamburg, Germany. On May 6th Mattia Rizzolo gave a talk on Reproducible Builds at DUCC-IT 17 in Vicenza, Italy. On May 13th Chris Lamb will give a talk on Reproducible Builds at OSCAL 2017 in Tirana, Albania. Media coverage Toolchain development and fixes Packages reviewed and fixed, and bugs filed Chris Lamb: Reviews of unreproducible packages 93 package reviews have been added, 12 have been updated and 98 have been removed in this week, adding to our knowledge about identified issues. The following issues have been added: 2 issue types have been updated: The following issues have been removed: Weekly QA work During our reproducibility testing, FTBFS bugs have been detected and reported by: diffoscope development strip-nondeterminism development
This week's edition was written by Chris Lamb, Holger Levsen and Ximin Luo & reviewed by a bunch of Reproducible Builds folks on IRC & the mailing lists.

15 April 2017

Gunnar Wolf: On Dmitry Bogatov and empowering privacy-protecting tools

There is a thorny topic we have been discussing in nonpublic channels (say, the debian-private mailing list... It is impossible to call it a private list if it has close to a thousand subscribers, but it sometimes deals with sensitive material) for the last week. We have finally confirmation that we can bring this topic out to the open, and I expect several Debian people to talk about this. Besides, this information is now repeated all over the public Internet, so I'm not revealing anything sensitive. Oh, and there is a statement regarding Dmitry Bogatov published by the Tor project But I'll get to Tor soon. One week ago, the 25-year old mathematician and Debian Maintainer Dmitry Bogatov was arrested, accused of organizing riots and calling for terrorist activities. Every evidence so far points to the fact that Dmitry is not guilty of what he is charged of He was filmed at different places at the times where the calls for terrorism happened. It seems that Dmitry was arrested because he runs a Tor exit node. I don't know the current situation in Russia, nor his political leanings But I do know what a Tor exit node looks like. I even had one at home for a short while. What is Tor? It is a network overlay, meant for people to hide where they come from or who they are. Why? There are many reasons Uninformed people will talk about the evil wrongdoers (starting the list of course with the drug sellers or child porn distributors). People who have taken their time to understand what this is about will rather talk about people for whom free speech is not a given; journalists, political activists, whistleblowers. And also, about regular people Many among us have taken the habit of doing some of our Web surfing using Tor (probably via the very fine and interesting TAILS distribution The Amnesiac Incognito Live System), just to increase the entropy, and just because we can, because we want to preserve the freedom to be anonymous before it's taken away from us. There are many types of nodes in Tor; most of them are just regular users or bridges that forward traffic, helping Tor's anonymization. Exit nodes, where packets leave the Tor network and enter the regular Internet, are much scarcer Partly because they can be quite problematic to people hosting them. But, yes, Tor needs more exit nodes, not just for bandwidth sake, but because the more exit nodes there are, the harder it is for a hostile third party to monitor a sizable number of them for activity (and break the anonymization). I am coincidentially starting a project with a group of students of my Faculty (we want to breathe life again into LIDSOL - Laboratorio de Investigaci n y Desarrollo de Software Libre). As we are just starting, they are documenting some technical and social aspects of the need for privacy and how Tor works; I expect them to publish their findings in El Nigromante soon (which means... what? ), but definitively, part of what we want to do is to set up a Tor exit node at the university Well documented and with enough academic justification to avoid our network operation area ordering us to shut it down. Lets see what happens :) Anyway, all in all Dmitry is in for a heavy time. He has been detained pre-trial at least until June, and he faces quite serious charges. He has done a lot of good, specialized work for the whole world to benefit. So, given I cannot do more, I'm just speaking my mind here in this space. [Update] Dmitry's case has been covered in LWN. There is also a statement concerning the arrest of Dmitry Bogatov by the Debian project. This case is also covered at The Register.

31 March 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Cannot help but sharing a historic video

People that know me know that I do whatever I can in order to avoid watching videos online if there's any other way to get to the content. It may be that I'm too old-fashioned, or that I have low attention and prefer to use a media where I can quickly scroll up and down a paragraph, or that I feel the time between bits of content is just a useless transition or whatever... But I bit. And I loved it. A couple of days ago, OS News featured a post titled From the AT&T Archives: The UNIX Operating System. It links to a couple of videos in AT&T's Youtube channel. I watched
AT&T Archives: The UNIX Operating System
, an amazing historic evidence: A 27 minute long documentary produced in 1981 covering... What is Unix. Why Unix is so unique, useful and friendly. What's the big deal about it? That this document shows first-hand that we are not repeating myths we came up with along the way: The same principles of process composition, of simplicity and robustness, but spoken directly by many core actors of the era Brian Kernighan (who drove a great deal of the technical explanation), Alfred Aho, Dennis Ritchie, Ken Thompson... And several more I didn't actually catch the names of. Of course, the video includes casual shots of life at AT&T, including lots of terminals (even some of which are quite similar to the first ones I used here in Mexico, of course), then-amazing color animation videos showing the state of the art of computer video 35 years ago... A delightful way to lose half an hour of productivity. And a bit of material that will surely find its way into my classes for some future semester :) [ps] Yes, I don't watch videos in Youtube. I don't want to enable its dirty Javascript. So, of course, I use the great Youtube-dl tool. I cannot share the video file itself here due to Youtube's service terms, but Youtube-dl is legal and free.

24 March 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Dear lazyweb: How would you visualize..?

Dear lazyweb, I am trying to get a good way to present the categorization of several cases studied with a fitting graph. I am rating several vulnerabilities / failures according to James Cebula et. al.'s paper, A taxonomy of Operational Cyber Security Risks; this is a somewhat deep taxonomy, with 57 end items, but organized in a three levels deep hierarchy. Copying a table from the cited paper (click to display it full-sized): My categorization is binary: I care only whether it falls within a given category or not. My first stab at this was to represent each case using a star or radar graph. As an example: As you can see, to a "bare" star graph, I added a background color for each top-level category (blue for actions of people, green for systems and technology failures), red for failed internal processes and gray for external events), and printed out only the labels for the second level categories; for an accurate reading of the graphs, you have to refer to the table and count bars. And, yes, according to the Engineering Statistics Handbook:
Star plots are helpful for small-to-moderate-sized multivariate data sets. Their primary weakness is that their effectiveness is limited to data sets with less than a few hundred points. After that, they tend to be overwhelming.
I strongly agree with the above statement And stating that "a few hundred points" can be understood is even an overstatement. 50 points are just too much. Now, trying to increase usability for this graph, I came across the Sunburst diagram. One of the proponents for this diagram, John Stasko, has written quite a bit about it. Now... How to create my beautiful Sunburst diagram? That's a tougher one. Even though the page I linked to in the (great!) Data visualization catalogue presents even some free-as-in-software tools to do this... They are Javascript projects that will render their beautiful plots (even including an animation)... To the browser. I need them for a static (i.e. to be printed) document. Yes, I can screenshot and all, but I want them to be automatically generated, so I can review and regenerate them all automatically. Oh, I could just write JSON and use SaaS sites such as Aculocity to do the heavy-lifting, but if you know me, you will understand why I don't want to. So... I set out to find a Gunnar-approved way to display the information I need. Now, as the Protovis documentation says, an icicle is simply a sunburst transformed from polar to cartesian coordinates... But I came to a similar conclusion: The tools I found are not what I need. OK, but an icicle graph seems much simpler to produce I fired up my Emacs, and started writing using Ruby, RMagick and RVG... I decided to try a different way. This is my result so far: So... What do you think? Does this look right to you? Clearer than the previous one? Worst? Do you have any idea on how I could make this better? Oh... You want to tell me there is something odd about it? Well, yes, of course! I still need to tweak it quite a bit. Would you believe me if I told you this is not really a left-to-right icicle graph, but rather a strangely formatted Graphviz non-directed graph using the dot formatter? I can assure you you don't want to look at my Graphviz sources... But in case you insist... Take them and laugh. Or cry. Of course, this file comes from a hand-crafted template, but has some autogenerated bits to it. I have still to tweak it quite a bit to correct several of its usability shortcomings, but at least it looks somewhat like what I want to achieve. Anyway, I started out by making a "dear lazyweb" question. So, here it goes: Do you think I'm using the right visualization for my data? Do you have any better suggestions, either of a graph or of a graph-generating tool? Thanks! [update] Thanks for the first pointer, Lazyweb! I found a beautiful solution; we will see if it is what I need or not (it is too space-greedy to be readable... But I will check it out more thoroughly). It lays out much better than anything I can spew out by myself Writing it as a mindmap using TikZ directly from within LaTeX, I get the following result:

28 February 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Much belated book presentation, this Saturday

Once again, I'm making an announcement mainly for my local circle of friends and (gasp!) followers. For those of you over 100Km away from Mexico City, please disregard this message. Back in July 2015, and after two years of hard work, my university finished the publishing step of my second book. This is a textbook for the subject I teach at Computer Engineering: Operating Systems Fundamentals. The book is, from its inception, fully available online under a permissive (CC-BY) license. One of the books aimed contributions is to present a text natively written in Spanish. Besides, our goal (I coordinated a team of authors, working with two colleagues from Rosario, Argentina, and one from Cauca, Colombia) was to provide a book students can easily and legally share with no legal issues. I have got many good reviews so far, and after teaching based on it for four years (while working on it and after its publication), I can attest the material is light enough to fit in a Bachelors level degree, while it's deep enough to make our students sweat healthily ;-) Anyway: I have been scheduled to present the book at my university's main book show, 38 Feria Internacional del Libro del Palacio de Miner a this Saturday, 2017.03.04 16:00; Sal n Manuel Tols . What's even better: This time, I won't be preparing a speech! The book will be presented by my two very good friends, Jos Mar a Serralde and Rolando Cedillo. Both of them are clever, witty, fun, and a real honor to work with. Of course, having them present our book is more than a double honor. So, everybody who can make it: FIL Miner a is always great and fun. Come share the love! Come have a book! Or, at least, have a good time and a nice chat with us!

24 February 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Started getting ads for ransomware. Coincidence?

Very strange. Verrrry strange. Yesterday I wrote a blog post on spam stuff that has been hitting my mailbox. Nothing too deep, just me scratching my head. Coincidentally (I guess/hope), I have been getting messages via my Bitlbee to one of my Jabber accounts, offering me ransomware services. I am reproducing it here, omitting of course everything I can recognize as their brand names related URLs (as I'm not going to promote the 3vi1-doers). I'm reproducing this whole as I'm sure the information will be interesting for some.
*BRAND* Ransomware - The Most Advanced and Customisable you've Ever Seen
Conquer your Independence with *BRAND* Ransomware Full Lifetime License!
* UNIQUE FEATURES
* NO DEPENDENCIES (.net or whatever)!!!
* Edit file Icon and UAC - Works on All Windows Versions
* Set Folders and Extensions to Encrypt, Deadline and Russian Roulette
* Edit the Text, speak with voice (multilang) and Colors for Ransom Window
* Enable/disable USB infect, network spread & file melt
* Set Process Name, sleep time, update ransom amount, Give mercy button
* Full-featured headquarter (for Windows) with unlimited builds, PDF reports, charts and maps, totally autonomous operation
* PHP Bridges instead of expensive C&C servers!
* Automatic Bitcoin payment detection (impossible to bypass/crack - we challege who says the contrary to prove what they say!)
* Totally/Mathematically IMPOSSIBLE to DECRYPT! Period.
* Award-Winning Five-Stars support and constant updates!
* We Have lot vouchs in *BRAND* Market, can check!
Watch the promo video: *URL*
Screenshots: *URL*
Website: *URL*
Price: $389
Promo: just $309 - 20% OFF! until 25th Feb 2017
Jabber: *JID*
I think I can comment on this with my students. Hopefully, this is interesting to others.
Now... I had never received Jabber-spam before. This message has been sent to me 14 times in the last 24 hours (all from different JIDs, all unknown to me). I hope this does not last forever :-/ Otherwise, I will have to learn more on how to configure Bitlbee to ignore contacts not known to me. Grrr...

23 February 2017

Gunnar Wolf: Spam: Tactics, strategy, and angry bears

I know spam is spam is spam, and I know trying to figure out any logic underneath it is a lost cause. However... I am curious. Many spam subjects are seemingly random, designed to convey whatever "information" they contain and fool spam filters. I understand that. Many spam subjects are time-related. As an example, in the last months there has been a surge of spam mentioning Donald Trump. I am thankful: Very easy to filter out, even before it reaches spamassassin. Of course, spam will find thousands of ways to talk about sex; cialis/viagra sellers, escort services, and a long list of WTF. However... Tactical flashlights. Bright enough to blind a bear. WTF I mean... Truly. Really. WTF What does that mean? Why is that even a topic? Who is interested in anything like that? How often does the average person go camping in the woods? Why do we need to worry about stupid bears attacking us? Why would a bear attack me? The list of WTF questions could go on forever. What am I missing? What does "tactical flashlight" mean that I just fail to grasp? Has this appeared in your spam?

20 February 2017

Holger Levsen: How to use .ics files like it's 1997

$ sudo apt install khal
 
Unpacking khal (0.8.4-3) ...
 
$ (echo 1;echo 0;echo y;echo 0; echo y; echo n; echo y; echo y)    khal configure
 
Do you want to write the config to /home/user/.config/khal/khal.conf? (Choosing  No  will abort) [y/N]: Successfully wrote configuration to /home/user/.config/khal/khal.conf
$ wget https://anonscm.debian.org/cgit/debconf-data/dc17.git/plain/misc/until-dc17.ics
 
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 6120 (6.0K) [text/plain]
Saving to:  until-dc17.ics 
 
$ khal import --batch -a private until-dc17.ics
$ khal agenda --days 14
Today:
16:30-17:30: DebConf Weekly Meeting  
27-02-2017
16:30-17:30: DebConf Weekly Meeting  
khal is available in stretch and newer and is probably best run from cron piping into '/usr/bin/mail' :-) Thanks to Gunnar Wolf for figuring it all out.

27 December 2016

Gunnar Wolf: Giving up on the Drupal 8 debianization

I am sad (but feel my duty) to inform the world that we will not be providing a Drupal 8 package in Debian. I filed an Intent To Package bug a very long time ago, intending to ship it with Jessie; Drupal 8 was so deep a change that it took their community overly long to achieve and stabilize. Still, Drupal 8 was released over a year ago today. I started working on debianizing the package shortly afterwards. There is also some online evidence As my call for help sent through this same blog. I have been too busy this last year. I let the packaging process lay dormant for too long, without even touching it for even half a year. Then, around September, I started working with the very nice guys of Indava, David and Enrique, and did very good advances. They clearly understood Debian's needs when it comes to full source inclusion (as D8 ships many minified Javascript libraries), attribution (as additionally to all those, many third-party PHP projects are bundled in the infamous vendor/ directory), and system-wide dependency management (as Drupal builds on some frameworks and libraries already available within Debian, chiefly Symfony, Doctrine, Twig... Even more, most of them appeared to work at the version levels we will be shipping, so all was dandy and for some weeks, I was quite optimistic on finishing the package on time and with the needed quality and testing. Yay! But... Reality bites. When I started testing my precious package... It broke in horrible ways. Uncomprehensible PHP errors (and I have to add here, I am a PHP newbie and am reluctant to learn better a language that strikes me as so inconsistent, so ugly), which we spent some time tackling... Of course, configuration changes are more than expected... But, just as we Debianers learnt some important lessons after the way-too-long Sarge freeze (ten years ago, many among you won't remember those frustrating days), Drupal learnt as well. They changed their release strategy Instead of describing it, those interested can read it at its source. What it meant for me, sadly, is that this process does not align with the Debian maintenance model. This means: The Drupal API stays mostly-stable between 8.0.x, 8.1.x, 8.2.x, etc. However, Drupal will incorporate new versions of their bundled libraries. I understood the new versions would be incorporated at minor-level branches, but if I read correctly some of my errors, some dependencies change even at patch-level updates. And... Well, if you update a PHP library, and the invoking PHP code (that is, Drupal) relies in this new version... Sadly, it makes it unmaintainable for Debian. So, long story short: I have decided to drop Drupal8 support in Debian. Of course, if somebody wants to pick up the pieces, the Git repository is still there (although I do plan on erasing it in a couple of weeks, as it means useless waste of project resources otherwise), and you could probably even target unstable+backports in a weird way (as it's software that, given our constraints, shouldn't enter testing, at least during a freeze). So... Sigh, a tear is dropped for every lost hour of work, and my depeest regrets to David and Enrique who put their work as well to make D8 happen in Debian. I will soon be closing the ITP and... Forgetting about the whole issue?

24 December 2016

Shirish Agarwal: Trains, Planes and the future

Swacch Bharat - Indian Railways Copyright: Indian Express

Swacch Bharat Indian Railways Copyright: Indian Express

Some of the content may be NSFW. viewer discretion advised. I have had a life-long fascination with trains. One of my first memories was that of 5-7 year old, clutching my mother or grandmother s hand seeing the steam engine lumbering down whistling and smoking at the same time. I was both afraid and strangely drawn to the iron beast and the first time I knew and then slowly understood that if we come with luggage and the steam-engine comes, it means we are going to travel. I have travelled some, but there are lots to explore still and I do hope that I cover some more of it during my lifetime. The reason I am writing about trains is an article which caught my eye couple of days. Besides seeing the changing geography, the variety of food one can get on train and in stations is one of the primary reasons that Indians love to travel by trains. It is one place where you could have incredible conversations over cup of tea or favourite food and unlike air travel and the famed IFE (In-flight entertainment) people are actually pretty social even with all the gadgets. For those who are wondering, the author was travelling between Jamshedpur, Gujarat to Kolkatta, a train ride which has now gone on my bucket list for the delectable items the author has described To add to the above, it is still cheaper than air travel, although that is changing a bit as Indian Railways seeks to modernize Railways and make it into world-class bullet trains. Indian Railways has a long, rich culture and some of the most interesting nuggets you learn over time adds to the fascination of the Railways. For instance I m sharing this letter which I read first in book and then saw in the New Delhi Railway Museum. The letter I am sharing below was written by a certain Shri Okhil Chandra Sen to the Sahibganj Railway Office in year 1909, almost 38 years before India became independent. I am arrive by passenger train Ahmedpur station and my belly is too much swelling with jackfruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just I doing the nuisance that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand and dhoti in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shocking to man and female women on plateform. I am got leaved at Ahmedpur station. This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung that dam guard not wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report! to papers. If it were not for Mr. Okhil Chandra Sen we would still be running with water bottle (improvement) and jeans/shorts/whatever (again improvement) while the possibility of falling over would always be omnipresent in a hurry. Now we do have toilets and some of the better trains even have Bio-toilets which should make things better as well.(/NSFW) For the plane bit, most of my flights have been domestic flying. Some of my most memorable flights is when flying from Mumbai on a clear sky overlooking the Queen s necklace, loving it and landing in Bangalore during mist or rain or both. Delhi is also good as airports go but nothing much adventurous about it. It was only with the experience of my first international flight, I realized the same feeling again, nervousness and sense of adventure as you meet new people. Nowadays every week I do try and broaden my horizon by seeking and learning a bit about International Travel.
Copyright: National Geographic Magazine

Copyright: National Geographic Magazine

In this I came across an article on National Geographic site which also evoked similar feelings. While I can t go back to the past and even if I did (in distant past before I was born), I wouldn t want to improve my financial situation at all (as otherwise I would hit the Grandfather Paradox or/and the Butterfly effect (essentially saying there s no free lunch), it still makes you wonder about a time when people had lot more adventure and lot more moving parts. I do wish they had a much bigger snapshot of that plane so I could really see how people sat in the old aircraft. The low-resolution picture doesn t do justice to the poster and the idea of that time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Sound_of_Thunder for an implementation of Butterfly effect. The Grandfather Paradox has been seen plenty of times in fantasy movies like the Back to the Future, Planet of the Apes and many others so will not go there. For the average joe today, s/he has to navigate security,check bags, get her/imself processed through passport control, get boarding pass, get to the gate on-time, get to the aircraft via bridge or bus, get to the seat, somehow make it through the ascent and use your IFE and get snacks and meals till it s time to touch-down and re-do the whole drill again as many times you are connecting. I really admire Gunnar Wolf for the tenacity he showed for the x number of connections he made both ways.
The world's 10 best airports Copyright: Changi International Airport

Photo Courtesy Changi International Airport, Singapore

While leafing through the interweb today, came across an article . While you can slice and dice the report anyway you want, for me if ever I get a chance again for an International Travel, I would try to see I get a layover at these three airports in order of preference (this is on the basis that none of these airports need a transit visa for the activities shared) a. Changi International Airport It is supposed to have shower amenities, has a movie theatre (+1), free tour of the city (+1) and of course as many Indians do go to Singapore as a destination in itself would have multiple vegetarian options (+2) so would be nice if I need to layover. b. Zurich Airport (ZRH) For passengers with an extended layover, Zurich Airport offers bicycle and inline-skate rentals and excursions to the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne. From business-insider.com. While I m not much of a bicycle and inline-skating freak, if the Swiss Museum of Transport Lucerne is anything to the scale of Isiko Museum which I shared in a blog post sometime before, it would be worth by itself. I haven t tried to find the site but can imagine, for e.g. if it has a full-scale model of a submarine or train engine, either steam-engines or ones like SNCF or any of the other bullet-trains and early aircraft, it would just blow my mind. When you are talking about transport, there is so much science, business, logistics etc. that I m sure I ll overload with information, photos and any trinkets they have to buy. c. Central Japan International Airport (NGO) It has a 1,000-foot-long sky deck where passengers can watch ships sail into Nagoya Port. There s also a traditional Japanese bathhouse where you can have a relaxing soak while watching the sunset over the bay. BusinessInsider.com Not a bad place to be if you need a layover. Just sink yourself in the bathhouse and see the bay and ships coming in. Luxury indeed. Honourable mention d. Munich Airport (MUC) A nearby visitors park features mini golf and a display of historic aircraft. Business-Insider.com . Now this would have made my list but I guess one would need a Schengen visa to access the visitors park but then if you have that, then why just stay in the Airport itself, could travel through Europe itself and have a longish stop-over. So all in all, it s indeed a fascinating time to be alive, dreaming and just being. Till later. Update I had forgotten to share one more reason why I was writing this article. Although somewhat of a cynic, am hopeful that Pune metro happens. Also, if I had just waited a day, would have been able to add couple of wonderful articles that would make people wanderlust more
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #Best Airports, #Central Japan International Airport, #Changi International Airport, #Food, #Loo, #Nostalgia, #NSFW, #Planes, #Steam Engine, #Trains, #Zurich Airport, Indian Railways, memories

5 December 2016

Shirish Agarwal: The Anti-Pollito squad arrest and confession

Disclaimer This is an attempt at humor and hence entirely fictional in nature. While some incidents depicted are true, the context and the story woven around them are by yours truly. None of the Mascots of Debian were hurt during the blog post . I also disavow any responsibility for any hurt (real or imagined) to any past, current and future mascots. The attempt should not be looked upon as demeaning people who are accused of false crimes, tortured and confessions eked out of them as this happens quite a lot (In India for sure, but guess it s the same world over in various degrees). The idea is loosely inspired by Chocolate:Deep Dark Secrets. (2005) On a more positive note, let s start Being a Sunday morning woke up late to find incessant knocking on the door, incidentally mum was not at home. Opening the door, found two official looking gentleman. They asked my name, asked my credentials, tortured and arrested me for Group conspiracy of Malicious Mischief in second and third degrees . The torture was done by means of making me forcefully watch endless reruns of Norbit . While I do love Eddie Murphy, this was one of his movies he could have done without . I guess for many people watching it once was torture enough. I *think* they were nominated for razzie awards dunno if they won it or not, but this is beside the point. Unlike the 20 years it takes for a typical case to reach to its conclusion even in the smallest court in India, due to the torture, I was made to confess (due to endless torture) and was given summary judgement. The judgement was/is as follows a. Do 100 hours of Community service in Debian in 2017. This could be done via blog posts, raising tickets in the Debian BTS or in whichever way I could be helpful to Debian. b. Write a confessional with some photographic evidence sharing/detailing some of the other members who were part of the conspiracy in view of the reduced sentence. So now, have been forced to write this confession As you all know, I won a bursary this year for debconf16. What is not known by most people is that I also got an innocuous looking e-mail titled Pollito for DPL . While I can t name all the names as investigation is still ongoing about how far-reaching the conspiracy is . The email was purportedly written by members of cabal within cabal which are in Debian. I looked at the email header to see if this was genuine and I could trace the origin but was left none the wiser, as obviously these people are far more technically advanced than to fall in simple tricks like this Anyways, secretly happy that I have been invited to be part of these elites, I did the visa thing, packed my bags and came to Debconf16. At this point in juncture, I had no idea whether it was real or I had imagined the whole thing. Then to my surprise saw this evidence of conspiracy to have Pollito as DPL, Wifi Password Just like the Illuminati the conspiracy was for all to see those who knew about it. Most people were thinking of it as a joke, but those like me who had got e-mails knew better. I knew that the thing is real, now I only needed to bide my time and knew that the opportunity would present itself. And few days later, sure enough, there was a trip planned for Table Mountain, Cape Town . Few people planned to hike to the mountain, while few chose to take the cable car till up the mountain. First glance of the cable car with table mountain as background Quite a few people came along with us and bought tickets for the to and fro to the mountain and back. Ticket for CPT Table mountain car cable Incidentally, I was thinking if the South African Govt. were getting the tax or not. If you look at the ticket, there is just a bar-code. In India as well as the U.S. there is TIN Tax Identification Number TIN displayed on an invoice from channeltimes.com Few links to share what it is all about . While these should be on all invoices, need to specially check when taking high-value items. In India as shared in the article the awareness, knowledge leaves a bit to be desired. While I m drifting from the incident, it would be nice if somebody from SA could share how things work there. Moving on, we boarded the cable car. It was quite spacious cable car with I guess around 30-40 people or some more who were able to see everything along with the controller. from inside the table mountain cable car 360 degrees It was a pleasant cacophony of almost two dozen or more nationalities on this 360 degrees moving chamber. I was a little worried though as it essentially is a bucket and there is always a possibility that a severe wind could damage it. Later somebody did share that some frightful incidents had occurred not too long ago on the cable car. It took about 20-25 odd minutes to get to the top of table mountain and we were presented with views such as below View from Table Mountain cable car looking down The picture I am sharing is actually when we were going down as all the pictures of going up via the cable car were over-exposed. Also, it was pretty crowded on the way up then on the way down so handling the mobile camera was not so comfortable. Once we reached up, the wind was blowing at incredible speeds. Even with my jacket and everything I was feeling cold. Most of the group around 10-12 people looked around if we could find a place to have some refreshments and get some of the energy in the body. So we all ventured to a place and placed our orders the bleh... Irish coffee at top of Table Mountain I was introduced to Irish Coffee few years back and have had some incredible Irish Coffees in Pune and elsewhere. I do hope to be able to make Irish Coffee at home if and when I have my own house. This is hotter than brandy and is perfect if you are suffering from cold etc if done right, really needs some skills. This is the only drink which I wanted in SA which I never got right . As South Africa was freezing for me, this would have been the perfect antidote but the one there as well as elsewhere were all bleh. What was interesting though, was the coffee caller besides it. It looked like a simple circuit mounted on a PCB board with lights, vibrations and RFID and it worked exactly like that. I am guessing as and when the order is ready, there is an interrupt signal sent via radio waves which causes the buzzer to light and vibrate. Here s the back panel if somebody wants to take inspiration and try it as a fun project backpanel of the buzz caller Once we were somewhat strengthened by the snacks, chai, coffee etc. we made our move to seeing the mountain. The only way to describe it is that it s similar to Raigad Fort but the plateau seemed to be bigger. The wikipedia page of Table Mountain attempts to share but I guess it s more clearly envisioned by one of the pictures shared therein. table mountain panaromic image I have to say while Table Mountain is beautiful and haunting as it has scenes like these Some of the oldest rocks known to wo/man. There is something there which pulls you, which reminds you of a long lost past. I could have simply sat there for hours together but as was part of the group had to keep with them. Not that I minded. The moment I was watching this, I was transported to some memories of the Himalayas about 20 odd years or so. In that previous life, I had the opportunity to be with some of the most beautiful women and also been in the most happening places, the Himalayas. I had shared years before some of my experiences I had in the Himalayas. I discontinued it as I didn t have a decent camera at that point in time. While I don t wanna digress, I would challenge anybody to experience the Himalayas and then compare. It is just something inexplicable. The beauty and the rawness that Himalayas shows makes you feel insignificant and yet part of the whole cosmos. What Paulo Cohello expressed in The Valkyries is something that could be felt in the Himalayas. Leh, Ladakh, Himachal , Garwhal, Kumaon. The list will go on forever as there are so many places, each more beautiful than the other. Most places are also extremely backpacker-friendly so if you ask around you can get some awesome deals if you want to spend more than a few days in one place. Moving on, while making small talk @olasd or Nicolas Dandrimont , the headmaster of our trip made small talk to each of us and eked out from all of us that we wanted to have Pollito as our DPL (Debian Project Leader) for 2017. Few pictures being shared below as supporting evidence as well The Pollito as DPL cabal in action members of the Pollito as DPL where am I or more precisely how far am I from India. While I do not know who further up than Nicolas was on the coup which would take place. The idea was this If the current DPL steps down, we would take all and any necessary actions to make Pollito our DPL. Pollito going to SA - photo taken by Jonathan Carter This has been taken from Pollito s adventure Being a responsible journalist, I also enquired about Pollito s true history as it would not have been complete without one. This is the e-mail I got from Gunnar Wolf, a friend and DD from Mexico
Turns out, Valessio has just spent a week staying at my house And
in any case, if somebody in Debian knows about Pollito s
childhood That is me. Pollito came to our lives when we went to Congreso Internacional de
Software Libre (CISOL) in Zacatecas city. I was strolling around the
very beautiful city with my wife Regina and our friend Alejandro
Miranda, and at a shop at either Ram n L pez Velarde or Vicente
Guerrero, we found a flock of pollitos. http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=17/22.77111/-102.57145 Even if this was comparable to a slave market, we bought one from
them, and adopted it as our own. Back then, we were a young couple Well, we were not that young
anymore. I mean, we didn t have children. Anyway, we took Pollito with
us on several road trips, such as the only time I have crossed an
international border driving: We went to Encuentro Centroamericano de
Software Libre at Guatemala city in 2012 (again with Alejandro), and
you can see several Pollito pics at: http://gwolf.org/album/road-trip-ecsl-2012-guatemala-0 Pollito likes travelling. Of course, when we were to Nicaragua for
DebConf, Pollito tagged along. It was his first flight as a passenger
(we never asked about his previous life in slavery; remember, Pollito
trust no one). Pollito felt much welcome with the DebConf crowd. Of course, as
Pollito is a free spirit, we never even thought about forcing him to
come back with us. Pollito went to Switzerland, and we agreed to meet
again every year or two. It s always nice to have a chat with him. Hugs!
So with that backdrop I would urge fellow Debianities to take up the slogans LONG LIVE THE DPL ! LONG LIVE POLLITO ! LONG LIVE POLLITO THE DPL ! The first step to make Pollito the DPL is to ensure he has a @debian.org (pollito@debian.org) We also need him to be made a DD because only then can he become a DPL. In solidarity and in peace
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #caller, #confession, #Debconf16, #debian, #Fiction, #history, #Pollito, #Pollito as DPL, #Table Mountain, Cabal, memories, south africa

17 November 2016

Gunnar Wolf: Book presentation by @arenitasoria: Hacker ethics, security and surveillance

At the beginning of this year, Irene Soria invited me to start a series of talks on the topic of hacker ethics, security and surveillance. I presented a talk titled Cryptography and identity: Not everything is anonymity. The talk itself is recorded and available in archive.org (sidenote: I find it amazing that Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana uses archive.org as their main multimedia publishing platform!) But as part of this excercise, Irene invited me to write a chapter for a book covering the series. And, yes, she delivered! So, finally, we will have the book presentation: I know, not everybody following my posts (that means... Only those at or near Mexico City) will be able to join. But the good news: The book, as soon as it is presented, will be published under a CC BY-SA license. Of course, I will notify when it is ready.

25 October 2016

Gunnar Wolf: On the results of vote "gr_private2"

Given that I started the GR process, and that I called for discussion and votes, I feel somehow as my duty to also put a simple wrap-around to this process. Of course, I'll say many things already well-known to my fellow Debian people, but also non-debianers read this. So, for further context, if you need to, please read my previous blog post, where I was about to send a call for votes. It summarizes the situation and proposals; you will find we had a nice set of messages in debian-vote@lists.debian.org during September; I have to thank all the involved parties, much specially to Ian Jackson, who spent a lot of energy summing up the situation and clarifying the different bits to everyone involved. So, we held the vote; you can be interested in looking at the detailed vote statistics for the 235 correctly received votes, and most importantly, the results: Results for gr_private2 First of all, I'll say I'm actually surprised at the results, as I expected Ian's proposal (acknowledge difficulty; I actually voted this proposal as my top option) to win and mine (repeal previous GR) to be last; turns out, the winner option was Iain's (remain private). But all in all, I am happy with the results: As I said during the discussion, I was much disappointed with the results to the previous GR on this topic And, yes, it seems the breaking point was when many people thought the privacy status of posted messages was in jeopardy; we cannot really compare what I would have liked to have in said vote if we had followed the strategy of leaving the original resolution text instead of replacing it, but I believe it would have passed. In fact, one more surprise of this iteration was that I expected Further Discussion to be ranked higher, somewhere between the three explicit options. I am happy, of course, we got such an overwhelming clarity of what does the project as a whole prefer. And what was gained or lost with this whole excercise? Well, if nothing else, we gain to stop lying. For over ten years, we have had an accepted resolution binding us to release the messages sent to debian-private given such-and-such-conditions... But never got around to implement it. We now know that debian-private will remain private... But we should keep reminding ourselves to use the list as little as possible. For a project such as Debian, which is often seen as a beacon of doing the right thing no matter what, I feel being explicit about not lying to ourselves of great importance. Yes, we have the principle of not hiding our problems, but it has long been argued that the use of this list is not hiding or problems. Private communication can happen whenever you have humans involved, even if administratively we tried to avoid it. Any of the three running options could have won, and I'd be happy. My #1 didn't win, but my #2 did. And, I am sure, it's for the best of the project as a whole.

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