Search Results: "Mike Gabriel"

13 August 2017

Mike Gabriel: @DebConf17: Work for Debian and FLOSS I got done during DebCamp and DebConf... and Beyond...

People I Met and will Remember Topics I have worked on Talks and BoFs Packages Uploaded to Debian unstable Packages Uploaded to Debian NEW I also looked into lightdm-webkit2-greeter, but upstream is in the middle of a transition from Gtk3 to Qt5, so this has been suspended for now. Packages Uploaded to oldstable-/stable-proposed-updates or -security Other Package related Stuff Thanks to Everyone Making This Event Possible A big thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to attend this event!!!

11 August 2017

Mike Gabriel: @DebConf 2017: Ayatana Indicators

On last Tuesday, I gave a 20 min talk about Ayatana Indicators at DebConf 17 in Montreal. Ayatana Indicators Talk The talk had video coverage, so big thanks to the DebConf video team for making it possible to send the below video link around to people in the world: http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2017/debconf17/ay... The document of notes shown in the video is available on Debian's Infinote (Gobby) server:
$ sudo apt-get install gobby
$ sudo gobby infinote://gobby.debian.org/debconf17/talk/ayatana-indicators 
The major outcome of this talk was getting to know Dimitri John Ledkov from the Foundation Team at Canonical Ltd. We agreed on investigating the following actions, targetting the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release and later on Debian 10 (aka buster): Upstream Todos Debian/Ubuntu Todos Please get in Touch... As this is going to be quite an effort, esp. if we want to get this done until 18.04 LTS, let me say, that this blog post is a call for help. If you are attached to Ubuntu and have used desktops with indicator support until now, please get in touch with the Ayatana Indicators team upstream as well as downstream (Debian/Ubuntu). Contact: Looking forward to meeting you online or on person and possibly working together with you on this transition project.

Mike Gabriel: @DebConf17: Story Telling about Debian Edu in Northern Germany

Last Monday, I gave a 20min talk about our little FLOSS school project "IT-Zukunft Schule" at the Debian Conference 17 in Montreal. The talk had video coverage, so may want to peek in, if you couldn't manage to watch the life stream: http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2017/debconf17/su... I'd like to share some major outcomes (so far) of this talk.
  1. I realized how attached I am to "IT-Zukunft Schule" and how much it means to me that our kids grow up in a world of freedom and choice. Also and esp. when it comes to choosing your daily communication tools and computer working environment
  2. I met Foteini Tsiami and Alkis Georgopoulos from Greece. They work on LTSP and have deployed 1000+ schools in Greece with LTSP + Debian GNU/Linux + MATE Desktop Environment
  3. I met Vagrant Cascadian who is the maintainer of LTSP in Debian and also a major LTSP upstream contributor
  4. I received a lot of fine feedback that was very encouraging to go on with our local work in Schleswig-Holstein
If you have some more time for watching DebConf talks on video, I dearly recommend the talk given by Alkis and Foteini on their Greek FLOSS success story. If you don't have that much time, please skip through the video until you are at 26:15 and enjoy the map that shows how much Debian + LTSP has spread over all of Greece. http://meetings-archive.debian.net/pub/debian-meetings/2017/debconf17/lt... Unfortunately, the schools in Greece are so much smaller than schools in Germany. Most schools there have between 50 and 300 students. So at the Greek schools, it is possible to have a teacher machine being the server for one computer lab. This teacher / server machine provides the infrastructure for a room full of LTSP fat clients (no hard drive inside) and that's it. For German schools, unfortunately, we need a larger scale setup. German schools often have 800+ students and network services need to be spread over more than one server machine. So, the current approach with one server running LDAP, Kerberos etc. is quite appropriate, but also extendible, possibly on municipality level or on county level. We (from IT-Zukunft Schule) are quite positive that there will be opportunities for introducing FLOSS approaches more on the county level in Schleswig-Holstein in the near future. So stay tuned...

14 June 2017

Mike Gabriel: Ayatana Indicators

In the near future various upstream projects related to the Ubuntu desktop experience as we have known it so far may become only sporadically maintained or even fully unmaintained. Ubuntu will switch to the Gnome desktop environment with 18.04 LTS as its default desktop, maybe even earlier. The Application Indicators [1] brought into being by Canonical Ltd. will not be needed in Gnome (AFAIK) any more. We can expect the Application Indicator related projects become unmaintained upstream. (In fact I have recently been offered continuation of upstream maintenance of libdbusmenu). Historical Background This all started at Ubuntu Developer Summit 2012 when Canonical Ltd. announced Ubuntu to become the successor of Windows XP in business offices. The Unity Greeter received an Remote Login Service enhancement: since then it supports Remote Login to Windows Terminal Servers. The question came up, why Remote Login to Linux servers--maybe even Ubuntu machines--is not on the agenda. It turned out, that it wasn't even a discussable topic. At that time, I started looking into the Unity Greeter code, adding support for X2Go Logon into Unity Greeter. I never really stopped looking at the greeter code from time to time. Since then, it turned into some sort of a hobby... While looking into the Unity Greeter code over the past years and actually forking Unity Greeter as Arctica Greeter [2] in September 2015, I also started looking into the Application Indicators concept just recently. And I must say, the more I have been looking into it, the more I have started liking the concept behind Application Indicators. The basic idea is awesome. However, lately all indicators became more and more Ubuntu-centric and IMHO too polluted by code related to the just declared dead Ubuntu phablet project. Forking Application Indicators Saying all this, I recently forked Application Indicators as Ayatana Indicators. At the moment I represent upstream and Debian package maintainer in one person. Ideally, this is only temporary and more people join in. (I heard some Unity 7 maintainers think about switching to Ayatana Indicators for the now community maintained Unity 7). The goal is to provide Ayatana Indicators to all desktop environments generically, all that want to use them, either as default or optionally. Release-wise, the idea is to strictly differentiate between upstream and Debian downstream in the release cycles of the various related components. I hope, noone is too concerned about the choice of name, as the "Ayatana" word actually was first used for upstream efforts inside Ubuntu [3]. Using the Ayatana term for the indicator forks is meant as honouring the previously undertaken efforts. I have seen very good work, so far, while going through the indicators' code. The upstream code must not be distro-specific, but, of course, can be distro-aware. Contributions Welcome The Ayatana Indicators upstream project components are currently hosted on Github under the umbrella of the Arctica Project. Regarding Debian, first uploads have recently been accepted to Debian experimental. The Debian packages are maintained under the umbrella of the revived Ayatana Packagers team [4]. Meet you at the Ayatana Indicators BoF at DebConf 17 (hopefully) For DebConf 17 (yeah, I am going there, if all plans work out well!!!!) I have submitted a BoF on this topic (let's hope, it gets accepted...). I'd like to give a quick overview on the current status of above named efforts and reasonings behind my commitment to the work. Most of the time during that BoF I would like to get into discussion with desktop maintainers, possibly upstream developers, Ubuntu developers, etc. Anyone who sees an asset in the Indicators approach is welcome to share and contribute. References

8 May 2017

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.7)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". Release Announcement On Friday, May 5th 2017, version 3.5.99.7 of nx-libs has been released [1]. Credits A special thanks goes to Ulrich Sibiller for tracking down a regression bug that caused a tremendously slowed down keyboard input on high latency connections. Thanks for that! Another thanks goes to the Debian project for indirectly providing us with so many build platforms. We are nearly at the point where nx-libs builds on all architectures supported by the Debian project. (Runtime stability is a completely different issue, we will get to this soon). Changes between 3.5.99.6 and 3.5.99.7 Change Log The complete list of changes (since 3.5.99.6) can be obtained from here. Known Issues A list of known issues can be obtained from the nx-libs issue tracker [issues]. Binary Builds You can obtain binary builds of nx-libs for Debian (jessie, stretch, unstable) and Ubuntu (trusty, xenial) via these apt-URLs: Our package server's archive key is: 0x98DE3101 (fingerprint: 7A49 CD37 EBAE 2501 B9B4 F7EA A868 0F55 98DE 3101). Use this command to make APT trust our package server:
 wget -qO - http://packages.arctica-project.org/archive.key   sudo apt-key add -
The nx-libs software project brings to you the binary packages nxproxy (client-side component) and nxagent (nx-X11 server, server-side component). The nxagent Xserver can be used from remote sessions (via nxcomp compression library) or as a next Xserver. Ubuntu developers, please note: we have added nightly builds for Ubuntu latest to our build server. At the moment, you can obtain nx-libs builds for Ubuntu 16.10 (yakkety) and 17.04 (zenial) as nightly builds. References

3 May 2017

Mike Gabriel: Joining "The Club" Tomorrow

After having waited for about four months, I received an official mail from office (at) ccc.de today, containing my personal chaos number and initial membership payment information and all...
\o/ .oO( Yipppieehhh )
Money has immediately been transfered, so club joining should be complete by tomorrow. Blogged by a highly delighted...
... sunweaver

24 April 2017

Mike Gabriel: Making Debian experimental's X2Go Server Packages available on Ubuntu, Mint and alike

Often I get asked: How can I test the latest nx-libs packages [1] with a stable version of X2Go Server [2] on non-Debian, but Debian-like systems (e.g. Ubuntu, Mint, etc.)? This is quite easy, if you are not scared of building binary Debian packages from Debian source packages. Until X2Go Server (and NXv3) will be made available in Debian unstable, the brave testers should follow the below installation recipe. Step 1: Add Debian experimental as Source Package Source Add Debian experimental as source package provider (and immediately install the Debian Archive Keyring package):
$ echo "deb-src http://httpredir.debian.org/debian experimental main"   sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/debian-experimental.list
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install debian-archive-keyring
$ sudo apt-get update
Step 2: Obtain Build Tools and Build Dependencies When building software, you need to have some extra packages. Those packages will not be needed at runtime of the built piece of software, so you may want to take some notes on what extra packages get installed with the below step. If you plan rebuilding X2Go Server and NXv3 several times, then simply leave the build dependencies installed:
$ sudo apt-get build-dep nx-libs
$ sudo apt-get build-dep x2goserver
Step 3: Build NXv3 and X2Go Server from Source Building NXv3 (aka nx-libs) takes a while, so it may be time to get some coffee now... The build process should not run as superuser root. Stay with your normal user account.
$ mkdir Development/ && cd Development/
$ apt-get source -b nx-libs
[... enjoy your coffee, there'll be much output on your screen... ]
$ apt-get source -b x2goserver
In your working directoy, you should now find various new files ending with .deb. Step 4: Install the built packages These .deb files we will now install. It does not hurt to simply install all of them:
sudo dpkg -i *.deb
The above command might result in some error messages. Ignore them, you can easily fix them by installing the missing runtime dependencies:
sudo apt-get install -f
Play it again, Sam If you want to re-do the above with some new nx-libs or x2goserver source package version, simply create an empty folder and repeat those steps above. The dpkg command will install the .deb files over the currently installed package versions and update your system with your latest build. The disadvantage of this build-from-source approach is (it is a temporary recommendation until X2Go Server & co. have landed in Debian unstable), that you have to check for updates manually from time to time. All X2Go compoments are packaged by the still quite fresh Debian Remote Packaging Maintainers team, you may want to visit the DDPO page of our team: https://qa.debian.org/developer.php?login=pkg-remote-team%40lists.alioth... Recommended versions For X2Go Server, the 4.0.1.x release series is considerably stable. The version shipped with Debian has been patched to work with the upcoming nx-libs 3.6.x series, but also tolerates the older 3.5.0.x series as shipped with X2Go's upstream packages. For NXv3 (aka nx-libs) we recommend using (thus, waiting for) the 3.5.99.6 release. The package has been uploaded to Debian experimental already, but waits in Debian NEW for some minor ftp-master ACK (we added one binary package with the recent upload). Updates References

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.6)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". Release Announcement On Friday, Apr 21st 2017, version 3.5.99.6 of nx-libs has been released [1]. As some of you might have noticed, the release announcements for 3.5.99.4 and 3.5.99.5 have never been posted / written, so this announcement lists changes introduced since 3.5.99.3. Credits There are alway many people to thank, so I won't mention all here. The person I need to mention here is Mihai Moldovan, though. He virtually is our QA manager, although not officially entitled. The feedback he gives on code reviews is sooo awesome!!! May you be available to our project for a long time. Thanks a lot, Mihai!!! Changes between 3.5.99.4 and 3.5.99.3 Changes between 3.5.99.5 and 3.5.99.4 Changes between 3.5.99.6 and 3.5.99.5 Change Log Lists of changes (since 3.5.99.3) can be obtained from here (3.5.99.3 -> .4), here (3.5.99.4 -> .5) and here (3.5.99.5 -> .6) Known Issues A list of known issues can be obtained from the nx-libs issue tracker [issues]. Binary Builds You can obtain binary builds of nx-libs for Debian (jessie, stretch, unstable) and Ubuntu (trusty, xenial) via these apt-URLs: Our package server's archive key is: 0x98DE3101 (fingerprint: 7A49 CD37 EBAE 2501 B9B4 F7EA A868 0F55 98DE 3101). Use this command to make APT trust our package server:
 wget -qO - http://packages.arctica-project.org/archive.key   sudo apt-key add -
The nx-libs software project brings to you the binary packages nxproxy (client-side component) and nxagent (nx-X11 server, server-side component). The nxagent Xserver can be used from remote sessions (via nxcomp compression library) or as a next Xserver. Ubuntu developers, please note: we have added nightly builds for Ubuntu latest to our build server. At the moment, you can obtain nx-libs builds for Ubuntu 16.10 (yakkety) and 17.04 (zenial) as nightly builds. References

14 January 2017

Mike Gabriel: UIF bug: Caused by flawed IPv6 DNS resolving in Perl's NetAddr::IP

TL;DR; If you use NetAddr::IP->new6() for resolving DNS names to IPv6 addresses, the addresses returned by NetAddr::IP are not what you might expect. See below for details. Issue #2 in UIF Over the last couple of days, I tried to figure out the cause of a weird issue observed in UIF (Universal Internet Firewall [1], a nice Perl tool for setting up ip(6)tables based Firewalls). Already a long time ago, I stumbled over a weird DNS resolving issue of DNS names to IPv6 addresses in UIF that I reported as issue #2 [2] against upstream UIF back then. I happen to be co-author of UIF. So, I felt very ashamed all the time for not fixing the issue any sooner. As many of us DDs try to get our packages into shape before the next Debian release these days, I find myself doing the same. I started investigating the underlying cause of issue #2 in UIF a couple of days ago. Issue #119858 on CPAN Today, I figured out that the Perl code in UIF is not causing the observed phenomenon. The same behaviour is reproducible with a minimal and pure NetAddr::IP based Perl script (reported as Debian bug #851388 [2]. Thanks to Gregor Herrmann for forwarding Debian bug upstream (#119858 [3]). Here is the example script that shows the flawed behaviour:
#!/usr/bin/perl
use NetAddr::IP;
my $hostname = "google-public-dns-a.google.com";
my $ip6 = NetAddr::IP->new6($hostname);
my $ip4 = NetAddr::IP->new($hostname);
print "$ip6 <- WTF???\n";
print "$ip4\n";
exit(0);
... gives...
[mike@minobo ~]$ ./netaddr-ip_resolv-ipv6.pl
0:0:0:0:0:0:808:808/128 <- WTF???
8.8.8.8/32
In words... So what happens in NetAddr::IP is that with the new6() "constructor" you initialize a new IPv6 address. If the address is a DNS name, NetAddr::IP internally resolves it into an IPv4 address and converts this IPv4 address into some IPv6'ish format. This bogus IPv6 address is not the one matching the given DNS name. Impacted Software in Debian Various Debian packages use NetAddr::IP and may be affected by this flaw, here is an incomplete list (use apt-rdepends -r libnetaddr-ip-perl for the complete list): Any of the above packages could be affected if NetAddr::IP->new6(<dnsname>) is being used. I haven't checked any of the code bases, but possibly the corresponding maintainers may want to do that. References light+love
Mike

21 December 2016

Holger Levsen: 20161221-debian-edu-sprint-in-oslo

What we did at the Debian Edu / Skolelinux gathering in November 2016 in Oslo From November 25 to 27 some people met in the hackerspace bitraf in downtown Oslo. On Saturday and Sunday we met in the morning and hacked and translated all day until we went for dinners in the evening. Despite the short time I think we managed to get a lot done and had good fun, so I'm hoping we'll have another gathering in 2017! Debian Edu / Skolelinux is currently in better shape regarding the upcoming Debian release than we ever have been, which is pretty awesome. Today, on December 21st, all our changes are in Stretch, except for debian-edu-artwork.git, which awaits a desktop-base upload to unstable the only thing missing is being able to install Debian Edu using our profiles from official media releasing Debian Edu Stretch on the same day as Debian Stretch would be a huge success though! These are the notes taken in a pad (thanks riseup!) during the meeting: Phil Hands worked on Knut Yrvin worked on Ingrid Yrvin worked on Ole-Erik Yrvin worked on Wolfgang Schweer worked on Petter Reinholdtsen worked on Dominik George worked on Holger Levsen worked on Mike Gabriel was sick and couldnt come to Oslo and worked at home instead: Thanks to the Debian sprints programm and our sponsors for supporting the travel of Wolfgang, Dominik, Phil and myself! Mike opted out from reimbursement as he couldn't travel due to sickness.

19 December 2016

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.3)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". Release Announcement On Monday, Dec 19th, version 3.5.99.3 of nx-libs has been released [1]. This release brings another major backport of libNX_X11 (to the status of X.org's libX11 1.6.4, i.e. latest HEAD) and also a major backport of the xtrans library (status of latest HEAD at X.org, as well). This big chunk of work has again been performed by Ulrich Sibiller. Thanks for your work on this. This release is also the first version of nx-libs (v3) that has dropped nxcompext as shared library. We discovered that shipping nxcompext as shared library is a big design flaw as it has to be built against header files private to the Xserver (namely, dix.h). Conclusively, code from nxcompext was moved into the nxagent DDX [2]. Furthermore, we worked again and again on cleaning up the code base. We dropped various files from the Xserver code shipped in nx-libs and various compilier warnings have been amended. In the upstream ChangeLog you will find some more items around code clean-ups and .deb packaging, see the diff [3] on the ChangeLog file for details. A very special and massive thanks to all major contributors, namely Ulrich Sibiller, Mihai Moldovan and Vadim Troshchinskiy. Well done!!! Also a special thanks to Vadim Troshchinskiy for fixing some regressions in nxcomp introduced by the Unix socketeering support. Change Log A list of recent changes (since 3.5.99.2) can be obtained from here. Known Issues from 3.5.99.2 (solved in 3.5.99.3) This version of nx-libs now works fine again with LDFLAGS / CFLAGS having the -pie / -fPIE hardening flags set. Binary Builds You can obtain binary builds of nx-libs for Debian (jessie, stretch, unstable) and Ubuntu (trusty, xenial) via these apt-URLs: Our package server's archive key is: 0x98DE3101 (fingerprint: 7A49 CD37 EBAE 2501 B9B4 F7EA A868 0F55 98DE 3101). Use this command to make APT trust our package server:
 wget -qO - http://packages.arctica-project.org/archive.key   sudo apt-key add -
The nx-libs software project brings to you the binary packages nxproxy (client-side component) and nxagent (nx-X11 server, server-side component). Ubuntu developers, please note: we have added nightly builds for Ubuntu latest to our build server. This has been Ubuntu 16.10 so far, but we will soon drop 16.10 support in nightly builds and add 17.04 support. References

18 December 2016

Mike Gabriel: Free Your Phone, Free Yourself, Get Sponsored for your Work

TL;DR; This is a call to every FLOSS developer interested in working towards Free Software driven mobile phones, esp. targetting the Fairphone 2. If your only show stopper is lack of development hardware or lack of financial support, please go on reading below. As I see it, the Fairphone 2 will be (or already is) the FLOSS community platform on the mobile devices market. Regularly, I get new notice about people working on this or that OS port to the FP2 hardware platform. The combination of a hardware-wise sustainably maintained mobile phone platform and a Free (or sort-of-Free) operating system being ported to it, makes the Fairphone 2 a really attractive device. Personally, I run Sailfish OS on my Fairphone 2. Some weeks ago, I got contacted by one of my sponsors letting me know that he got involved in setting up an initiative that works on porting the Ubuntu Table/Phone OS to FP2. That very project is in need of more developers. Possibly, it needs exactly YOU!!! So, if you are a developer that meets one or more of the below requirements and are interested in working in a highly motivated team, please get in touch with the UT4FP [1] project (skill requirements taken from the UT4FP website): My sponsor offers to send out FP2 devices to (seriously) interested developers and if needed, he can also back up developers financially. If you are interested, please get in touch with me (and I'll channel you through...) via IRC (on the OFTC or Freenode network). light+love
Mike (aka sunweaver on IRC) [1] https://www.ut4fp.org/

21 November 2016

Mike Gabriel: Please Welcome D0n1elT to the FLOSS World

TL;DR; If you run a FLOSS development project and you notice D0n1elT appearing on your IRC channel, please give him a warm welcome. D0n1elT is a young man highy talented in various FLOSS related topics already. He probably needs some guidance at the beginning and I hope he won't be too shy to ask for it. But you can be sure: your channel has been joined by someone you should consider as a future resource. The Long Story During the last two weeks I had the great pleasure of supervising a fine young man (very young, still, indeed) in all sorts of IT topics. This young man turned out to be so skilled and interested in various FLOSS related areas, I really want to introduce him to all of you. The young man's real name is Daniel Teichmann. On IRC he may appear under his nick: D0n1elT. His GnuPG Fingerprint is: 6C6E 7F8F F7E8 B22E FC76 E9F7 8A79 028F DA56 7C6C. Daniel goes to a local school here in Nothern Germany, near where I live. He attends the 9th grade at his school, and as common for students of his age and grade, practical training was scheduled for the last two weeks. Daniel had originally applied for practical training at some other business near his place of living (which is quite far off from the school, actually). However, that company cancelled his training position two work days before the training was supposed to start. Daniel's teacher rang me up and asked for help. He advertised Daniel as someone who is far advanced in IT topics compared to his co-students. "He even writes his own programs (in Java and C++)." Spontaneously, Andreas Buchholz (CEO of LOGO EDV-Systeme GmbH) and I decided to accept Daniel as a trainee. Without having met him, with no application interview beforehand. The deal was: Daniel comes to Andreas business location in Kiel (40-50km away from Daniel's place of living) and I (working as freelancer for LOGO on a regular basis) do the supervising part. On day one and two, as a warm-up, Daniel installed a Debian Edu Main Server, worked himself through GOsa, LDAP, SSH, GnuPG, Jabber and IRC and configured two routers. All topics were new to him and I could hardly think of new tasks to give to him. As means of communication we set up a Jabber account, then an IRC account (as backup). However, it turned out that Daniel really got a hang of IRC over the next couple of days, so we used that as primary communication channel. Daniel had already programmed various projects in Java (whereas I have never touched Java, so far :-( ). He has written plugins for Minecraft servers. He knows well how to implement object oriented coding models. His coding style looks very good and clean (esp. for someone who has never head a nitpicking code reviewer). He started coding at the age of 9. Instead of diving into Java (where I would not have been of much help, anyway) I decided to provide him with some really basic and Unix-like knowledge: Bash scripting. I wanted to see how he handles another "language" and how he applies his Java knowledge to a lower level, syntactically weaker language. Guess what, he managed that assignment very well. Working on Impressive Display At Daniel's school we run substitute teacher info screens based on a fancy Bash script, named impressive-display, and the impressive PDF viewer. The Impressive Display tool is available in Debian testing/unstable under the same name. So over the next couple of days we worked on Impressive Display. Daniel contributed so many new code passages, conceptual ideas and security concerns, that I decided to make him co-copyright holder. Every change contributed by him received intensive testing before committing to Git. While working on Impressive Display, collaborating with Daniel via Git was a mere pleasure. In his spare time Daniel likes watching Github tutorials. Quite extraordinary. The result is a new major release of Impressive Display: Version 0.3.1 (bumped up from 0.2.3). We added the feature of handling info screen farms based on PXE boot images. It is now possible to configure as many different info screens as needed within the same PXE bootable chroot. Furthermore, Impressive Display now has a PDF presentation (written in LaTeX Beamer) that documents how to setup your own info screens. The PDF presentation is the default PDF that comes up when you start Impressive Display directly after installation. Investigating other Realms We also took a deeper look at remote desktop stuff, one of my most favourite topics. By that impulse Daniel set up his first Vserver machine at some hosting provider. He figured out how to run X2Go Server on that machine with an XFCE desktop. Next step was to run the irssi instance from his notebook inside a screen session on the Vserver. Some days later, Daniel PM'ed me: "I have an IRC bouncer now...". Quintessence It was a great pleasure meeting this young, highly curious and already highly skilled young man over the past two weeks. Daniel, it was an asset to me working with you. You are such a fast learner when it comes to getting accustomed to new working environments, it is amazing. I cannot deny having observed the tendency of preferring rather geeky tools. I was highly delighted, that What's-That and Facebook are nothing that rocks you so much. Unfortunately, all of the above makes you quite unique and non-mainstream among people of your age. My wish for you (and the FLOSS world) is that you start getting in touch with other (FLOSS) developers, maybe of your age, maybe older, and that you (if this is what you want) become an asset to the world of Free Software. The Free Software world can be a world where technical, political and spiritual work become one with friendship among people. Take care and farewell! I am sure, we will meet again. light+love Mike Gabriel (aka sunweaver on IRC and debian.org)

14 November 2016

Mike Gabriel: Debian Edu development sprint in Oslo from Nov 25th - Nov 27th 2016

For those of you, who already thought about joining us in Oslo for our Debian Edu sprint, here comes your short reminder for signing up on this wiki page and then book your travel. For those of you, who have learned about our upcoming sprint just now, feel heartily invited to meet and join the Debian Edu team (and friends) in Oslo. Check with your family and friends, if they may let you go. Do that now, put your name onto our wiki page and and book your journey. Those of you, who cannot travel to Oslo, but feel like being interested in Debian and educational topics around Free Software, put a note into your calendar, so you don't forget to join us on IRC over that weekend (and any other time if you like): #debian-edu on irc.debian.org. Looking forward to meeting you at end of November,
Mike (aka sunweaver)

14 October 2016

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.2)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". Release Announcement On Thursday, Oct 13th, version 3.5.99.2 of nx-libs has been released [1]. This release brings a major backport of libNX_X11 to the status of libX11 1.3.4 (as provided by X.org). On top of that, all CVE fixes provided for libX11 by the Debian X11 Strike Force and the Debian LTS team got cherry-picked to libNX_X11, too. This big chunk of work has been performed by Ulrich Sibiller and there is more to come. We currently have a pull request pending review that backports more commits from libX11 (bumping the status of libNX_X11 to the state of libX11 1.6.4, which is the current HEAD on the X.org Git site). Another big clean-up performed by Ulrich is the split-up of XKB code which got symlinked between libNX_X11 and nx-X11/programs/Xserver. This brings in some code duplications but allows maintaing the nxagent Xserver code and the libNX_X11 code separately. In the upstream ChangeLog you will find some more items around code clean-ups and .deb packaging, see the diff [2] on the ChangeLog file for details. So for this releas, a very special and massive thanks goes to Ulrich Sibiller!!! Well done!!! Change Log A list of recent changes (since 3.5.99.1) can be obtained from here. Known Issues This version of nx-libs is known to segfault when LDFLAGS / CFLAGS have the -pie / -fPIE hardening flags set. This issue is currently under investigation. Binary Builds You can obtain binary builds of nx-libs for Debian (jessie, stretch, unstable) and Ubuntu (trusty, xenial) via these apt-URLs: Our package server's archive key is: 0x98DE3101 (fingerprint: 7A49 CD37 EBAE 2501 B9B4 F7EA A868 0F55 98DE 3101). Use this command to make APT trust our package server:
 wget -qO - http://packages.arctica-project.org/archive.key   sudo apt-key add -
The nx-libs software project brings to you the binary packages nxproxy (client-side component) and nxagent (nx-X11 server, server-side component). Ubuntu developers, please note: we have added nightly builds for Ubuntu latest to our build server. This has been Ubuntu 16.10 so far, but we will soon drop 16.10 support in nightly builds and add 17.04 support. References

19 September 2016

Mike Gabriel: Rocrail changed License to some dodgy non-free non-License

The Background Story A year ago, or so, I took some time to search the internet for Free Software that can be used for controlling model railways via a computer. I was happy to find Rocrail [1] being one of only a few applications available on the market. And even more, I was very happy when I saw that it had been licensed under a Free Software license: GPL-3(+). A month ago, or so, I collected my old M rklin (Digital) stuff from my parents' place and started looking into it again after +15 years, together with my little son. Some weeks ago, I remembered Rocrail and thought... Hey, this software was GPLed code and absolutely suitable for uploading to Debian and/or Ubuntu. I searched for the Rocrail source code and figured out that it got hidden from the web some time in 2015 and that the license obviously has been changed to some non-free license (I could not figure out what license, though). This made me very sad! I thought I had found a piece of software that might be interesting for testing with my model railway. Whenever I stumble over some nice piece of Free Software that I plan to use (or even only play with), I upload this to Debian as one of the first steps. However, I highly attempt to stay away from non-free sofware, so Rocrail has become a no-option for me back in 2015. I should have moved on from here on... Instead... Proactively, I signed up with the Rocrail forum and asked the author(s) if they see any chance of re-licensing the Rocrail code under GPL (or any other FLOSS license) again [2]? When I encounter situations like this, I normally offer my expertise and help with such licensing stuff for free. My impression until here already was that something strange must have happened in the past, so that software developers choose GPL and later on stepped back from that decision and from then on have been hiding the source code from the web entirely. Going deeper... The Rocrail project's wiki states that anyone can request GitBlit access via the forum and obtain the source code via Git for local build purposes only. Nice! So, I asked for access to the project's Git repository, which I had been granted. Thanks for that. Trivial Source Code Investigation... So far so good. I investigated the source code (well, only the license meta stuff shipped with the source code...) and found that the main COPYING files (found at various locations in the source tree, containing a full version of the GPL-3 license) had been replaced by this text:
Copyright (c) 2002 Robert Jan Versluis, Rocrail.net
All rights reserved.
Commercial usage needs permission.
The replacement happened with these Git commits:
commit cfee35f3ae5973e97a3d4b178f20eb69a916203e
Author: Rob Versluis <r.j.versluis@rocrail.net>
Date:   Fri Jul 17 16:09:45 2015 +0200
    update copyrights
commit df399d9d4be05799d4ae27984746c8b600adb20b
Author: Rob Versluis <r.j.versluis@rocrail.net>
Date:   Wed Jul 8 14:49:12 2015 +0200
    update licence
commit 0daffa4b8d3dc13df95ef47e0bdd52e1c2c58443
Author: Rob Versluis <r.j.versluis@rocrail.net>
Date:   Wed Jul 8 10:17:13 2015 +0200
    update
Getting in touch again, still being really interested and wanting to help... As I consider such a non-license as really dangerous when distributing any sort of software, be it Free or non-free Software, I posted the below text on the Rocrail forum:
Hi Rob,
I just stumbled over this post [3] [link reference adapted for this
blog post), which probably is the one you have referred to above.
It seems that Rocrail contains features that require a key or such
for permanent activation.  Basically, this is allowed and possible
even with the GPL-3+ (although Free Software activists will  not
appreciate that). As the GPL states that people can share the source
code, programmers can  easily deactivate license key checks (and
such) in the code and re-distribute that patchset as they  like.
Furthermore, the current COPYING file is really non-protective at
all. It does not really protect   you as copyright holder of the
code. Meaning, if people crash their trains with your software, you  
could actually be legally prosecuted for that. In theory. Or in the
U.S. ( ;-) ). Main reason for  having a long long license text is to
protect you as the author in case your software causes t trouble to
other people. You do not have any warranty disclaimer in your COPYING
file or elsewhere. Really not a good idea.
In that referenced post above, someone also writes about the nuisance
of license discussions in  this forum. I have seen various cases
where people produced software and did not really care for 
licensing. Some ended with a letter from a lawyer, some with some BIG
company using their code  under their copyright holdership and their
own commercial licensing scheme. This is not paranoia,  this is what
happens in the Free Software world from time to time.
A model that might be much more appropriate (and more protective to
you as the author), maybe, is a  dual release scheme for the code. A
possible approach could be to split Rocrail into two editions:  
Community Edition and Professional/Commercial Edition. The Community
Edition must be licensed in a  way that it allows re-using the code
in a closed-source, non-free version of Rocrail (e.g.   MIT/Expat
License or Apache2.0 License). Thus, the code base belonging to the
community edition  would be licensed, say..., as Apache-2.0 and for
the extra features in the Commercial Edition, you  may use any
non-free license you want (but please not that COPYING file you have
now, it really  does not protect your copyright holdership).
The reason for releasing (a reduced set of features of a) software as
Free Software is to extend  the user base. The honey jar effect, as
practise by many huge FLOSS projects (e.g. Owncloud,  GitLab, etc.).
If people could install Rocrail from the Debian / Ubuntu archives
directly, I am  sure that the user base of Rocrail will increase.
There may also be developers popping up showing  an interest in
Rocrail (e.g. like me). However, I know many FLOSS developers (e.g.
like me) that  won't waste their free time on working for a non-free
piece of software (without being paid).
If you follow (or want to follow) a business model with Rocrail, then
keep some interesting  features in the Commercial Edition and don't
ship that source code. People with deep interest may  opt for that.
Furthermore, another option could be dual licensing the code. As the
copyright holder of Rocrail  you are free to juggle with licenses and
apply any license to a release you want. For example, this  can be
interesing for a free-again Rocrail being shipped via Apple's iStore. 
Last but not least, as you ship the complete source code with all
previous changes as a Git project  to those who request GitBlit
access, it is possible to obtain all earlier versions of Rocrail. In 
the mail I received with my GitBlit credentials, there was some text
that  prohibits publishing the  code. Fine. But: (in theory) it is
not forbidden to share the code with a friend, for local usage.  This
friend finds the COPYING file, frowns and rewinds back to 2015 where
the license was still  GPL-3+. GPL-3+ code can be shared with anyone
and also published, so this friend could upload the  2015-version of
Rocrail to Github or such and start to work on a free fork. You also
may not want  this.
Thanks for working on this piece of software! It is highly
interesing, and I am still sad, that it  does not come with a free
license anymore. I won't continue this discussion and move on, unless
you  are interested in any of the above information and ask for more
expertise. Ping me here or directly  via mail, if needed. If the
expertise leads to parts of Rocrail becoming Free Software again, the 
expertise is offered free of charge ;-).
light+love
Mike
Wow, the first time I got moderated somewhere... What an experience! This experience now was really new. My post got immediately removed from the forum by the main author of Rocrail (with the forum's moderator's hat on). The new experience was: I got really angry when I discovererd having been moderated. Wow! Really a powerful emotion. No harassment in my words, no secrets disclosed, and still... my free speech got suppressed by someone. That feels intense! And it only occurred in the virtual realm, not face to face. Wow!!! I did not expect such intensity... The reason for wiping my post without any other communication was given as below and quite a statement to frown upon (this post has also been "moderately" removed from the forum thread [2] a bit later today):
Mike,
I think its not a good idea to point out a way to get the sources back to the GPL periode.
Therefore I deleted your posting.
(The phpBB forum software also allows moderators to edit posts, so the critical passage could have been removed instead, but immediately wiping the full message, well...). Also, just wiping my post and not replying otherwise with some apology to suppress my words, really is a no-go. And the reason for wiping the rest of the text... Any Git user can easily figure out how to get a FLOSS version of Rocrail and continue to work on that from then on. Really. Now the political part of this blog post... Fortunately, I still live in an area of the world where the right of free speech is still present. I found out: I really don't like being moderated!!! Esp. if what I share / propose is really noooo secret at all. Anyone who knows how to use Git can come to the same conclusion as I have come to this morning. [Off-topic, not at all related to Rocrail: The last votes here in Germany indicate that some really stupid folks here yearn for another this time highly idiotic wind of change, where free speech may end up as a precious good.] To other (Debian) Package Maintainers and Railroad Enthusiasts... With this blog post I probably close the last option for Rocrail going FLOSS again. Personally, I think that gate was already closed before I got in touch. Now really moving on... Probably the best approach for my new train conductor hobby (as already recommended by the woman at my side some weeks back) is to leave the laptop lid closed when switching on the train control units. I should have listened to her much earlier. I have finally removed the Rocrail source code from my computer again without building and testing the application. I neither have shared the source code with anyone. Neither have I shared the Git URL with anyone. I really think that FLOSS enthusiasts should stay away from this software for now. For my part, I have lost my interest in this completely... References light+love,
Mike

14 September 2016

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.1)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". Release Announcement On Tuesday, Sep 13th, version 3.5.99.1 of nx-libs has been released [1]. This release brings some code cleanups regarding displayed copyright information and an improvement when it comes to reconnecting to an already running session from an X11 server with a color depths setup that is different from the X11 server setup where the NX/X11 session was originally created on. Furthermore, an issue reported to the X2Go developers has been fixed that caused problems on Windows clients on copy+paste actions between the NX/X11 session and the underlying MS Windows system. For details see X2Go BTS, Bug #952 [3]. Change Log A list of recent changes (since 3.5.99.0) can be obtained from here. Binary Builds You can obtain binary builds of nx-libs for Debian (jessie, stretch, unstable) and Ubuntu (trusty, xenial) via these apt-URLs: Our package server's archive key is: 0x98DE3101 (fingerprint: 7A49 CD37 EBAE 2501 B9B4 F7EA A868 0F55 98DE 3101). Use this command to make APT trust our package server:
 wget -qO - http://packages.arctica-project.org/archive.key   sudo apt-key add -
The nx-libs software project brings to you the binary packages nxproxy (client-side component) and nxagent (nx-X11 server, server-side component). References

7 September 2016

Mike Gabriel: Debian's GTK-3+ v3.21 breaks Debian MATE 1.14

sunweaver sighs... This short post is to inform all Debian MATE users that the recent GTK-3+ upload to Debian (GTK-3+ v3.21) broke most parts of the MATE 1.14 desktop environment as currently available in Debian testing (aka stretch). This raises some questions here on the MATE maintainers' side... Questions
  1. Isn't GTK-3+ a shared library? This one was rhetorical... Yes, it is.
  2. One that breaks other application with every point release? Well, unfortunately, as experience over the past years has shown: Yes, this has happened several times, so far and it happened again.
  3. Why is it that GTK-3+ uploads appear in Debian without going through a proper transition? This question is not rhetorical. If someone has an answer, please enlighten me.
Potential Counter Measures For Debian MATE users running on Debian testing: This is untested, but it is quite likely that your MATE desktop environment will work again, once you have reverted your GTK-3+ library back to v3.20. For obtaining old Debian package versions, please visit the https://snapshots.debian.org site. Prospective The MATE 1.16 release is expected for Sep 20th, 2016. We will do our best to provide MATE 1.16 in Debian before this month is over. MATE 1.16 will again run smoothly (so I heard) on GTK-3+ 3.21.
light+love
sunweaver (who is already scared of the 3.22 GTK+ release, luckily the last development release of the GTK+ 3-series)

30 August 2016

Mike Gabriel: credential-sheets: User Account Credential Sheets Tool

Preface This little piece of work has been pending on my todo list for about two years now. For our local school project "IT-Zukunft Schule" I wrote the little tool credential-sheets. It is a little Perl script that turns a series of import files (CSV format) as they have to be provided for user mass import into GOsa (i.e. LDAP) into a series of A4 sheets with little cards on them, containing initial user credential information. The upstream sources are on Github and I have just uploaded this little tool to Debian. Introduction After mass import of user accounts (e.g. into LDAP) most site administrators have to create information sheets (or snippets) containing those new credentials (like username, password, policy of usage, etc.). With this tiny tool, providing these pieces of information to multiple users, becomes really simple. Account data is taken from a CSV file and the sheets are output as PDF using easily configurable LaTeX template files. Usage Synopsis: credential-sheets [options] <CSV-file-1> [<CSV-file-2> [...]] Options The credential-sheets command accepts the following command-line options:
   --help Display a help with all available command line options and exit.
   --template=<tpl-name>
          Name of the template to use.
   --cols=<x>
          Render <x> columns per sheet.
   --rows=<y>
          Render <y> rows per sheet.
   --zip  Do create a ZIP file at the end.
   --zipfilename=<zip-file-name>
          Alternative ZIP file name (default: name of parent folder).
   --debug
          Don't remove temporary files.
CSV File Column Arrangement The credential-sheets tool can handle any sort of column arrangement in given CSV file(s). It expects the CSV file(s) to have column names in their first line. The given column names have to map to the VAR-<column-name> placeholders in credential-sheets's LaTeX templates. The shipped-with templates (students, teachers) can handle these column names: If you create your own templates, you can be very flexible in using your own column names and template names. Only make sure that the column names provided in the CSV file(s)'s first line match the variables used in the customized LaTeX template. Customizations The shipped-with credential sheets templates are expected to be installed in /usr/share/credential-sheets/ for system-wide installations. When customizing templates, simply place a modified copy of any of those files into ~/.credential-sheets/ or /etc/credential-sheets/. For further details, see below. The credential-sheets tool uses these configuration files: Search paths for configuration files (in listed order): You can easily customize the resulting PDF files generated with this tool by placing your own template files, header and footer where appropriate. Dependencies This project requires the following dependencies: Copyright and License Copyright 2012-2016, Mike Gabriel <mike.gabriel@das-netzwerkteam.de>. Licensed under GPL-2+ (see COPYING file).

6 July 2016

Mike Gabriel: [Arctica Project] Release of nx-libs (version 3.5.99.0)

Introduction NX is a software suite which implements very efficient compression of the X11 protocol. This increases performance when using X applications over a network, especially a slow one. NX (v3) has been originally developed by NoMachine and has been Free Software ever since. Since NoMachine obsoleted NX (v3) some time back in 2013/2014, the maintenance has been continued by a versatile group of developers. The work on NX (v3) is being continued under the project name "nx-libs". History Until January 2015, nx-libs was more mainly a redistribution approach of the original NX (v3) software. We (we as in mainly a group of X2Go developers) kept changes applied to the original NoMachine sources as minimal as possible. We also kept the original files and folders structure. Patches had been maintained via the quilt utility on top of a Git repository, the patches had always been kept separate. That was the 3.5.0.x series of nx-libs. In January 2015, the characteristics of nx-libs as maintained by the X2Go project between 2011 and 2015 changed. A decision was reached: This effort is now about to be released as "nx-libs 3.6.0.0". Contributors Since 2011, the nx-libs code base has to a great extent been maintained in the context of the X2Go Project [1]. Qindel Group joining in... In 2014, developers from the Qindel Group [2] joined the nx-libs maintenance. They found X2Go's work on nx-libs and suggested joining forces as best as possible on hacking nx-libs. The Arctica Project comming up... Starting in January 2015, the development on the 3.6.x branch of the project was moved into a new project called the Arctica Project [3]. Development Funding by Qindel In September 2015, a funding project was set up at Qindel. Since then, the Qindel group greatly supports the development of nx-libs 3.6.x monetarily and with provided man power. The funding project officially is a cooperation between Qindel and DAS-NETZWERKTEAM (business run by Mike Gabriel, long term maintainer of nx-libs). The funding is split into two subprojects and lasts until August 2017: The current nx-libs development effort is coordinated in the context of the Arctica Project (by Mike Gabriel), with use cases in Arctica, X2Go and TheQVD (VDI product worked on at Qindel) in mind. People involved There are various people involved in nx-libs 3.6.x maintenance and development, some of them shall be explicitly named here (in alphabetical order of surnames): Some other people have contributed, but have left the project already. Thanks for your work on nx-libs: A big thanks to everyone involved!!! Special thanks go to Stefan Baur for employing Mihai Moldovan and handling all the bureaucracy, so that Mihai can work on this project and get funded for his work. Achievements of nx-libs 3.5.99.0 We are very close to our self-defined release goal 3.6.0. The below tasks have already been (+/-) completed for version 3.5.99.0: In a previous blog post [4], the code reduction in nx-libs has already been discussed. With this announcement, we want to give a status update about our effort of shrinking the nx-libs code base:
    [mike@minobo nx-libs (3.6.x)]$ cloc --match-f '.*\.(c cpp h)' .
        1896 text files.
        1896 unique files.                                          
        7430 files ignored.
    http://cloc.sourceforge.net v 1.60  T=5.88 s (307.3 files/s, 143310.5 lines/s)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Language                     files          blank        comment           code
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    C                              958          68574          74891         419638
    C/C++ Header                   730          25683          33957         130418
    C++                            120          17007          11721          61292
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SUM:                          1808         111264         120569         611348
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The previous statistics had these sums in the last line. First the nx-libs 3.5.0.x code tree (where we came from):
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SUM:                          5614         329279         382337        1757743
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Then the nx-libs 3.6.x status as it was on May 9th 2016:
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    SUM:                          1922         118581         126783         662635
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another 50.000 lines of code have been removed over the past two months. Work pending for the final 3.6.0 release goal Known Issues There are several open issues on the nx-libs Github project space, see https://github.com/ArcticaProject/nx-libs/issues. Testing the nx-libs 3.5.99.0 We are currently working on provisioning release builds and nightly builds of nx-libs for various recent Linux distributions. Please stay tuned and watch Mike Gabriel's blog [5]. We already have nightly builds of nx-libs for Debian and Ubuntu [6], but there are more to come soon. Until now, please use the build recipes provided in the README.md file of the nx-libs source tree [7]. References

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