Search Results: "and"

4 March 2024

Colin Watson: Free software activity in January/February 2024

Two months into my new gig and it s going great! Tracking my time has taken a bit of getting used to, but having something that amounts to a queryable database of everything I ve done has also allowed some helpful introspection. Freexian sponsors up to 20% of my time on Debian tasks of my choice. In fact I ve been spending the bulk of my time on debusine which is itself intended to accelerate work on Debian, but more details on that later. While I contribute to Freexian s summaries now, I ve also decided to start writing monthly posts about my free software activity as many others do, to get into some more detail. January 2024 February 2024

3 March 2024

Petter Reinholdtsen: RAID status from LSI Megaraid controllers using free software

The last few days I have revisited RAID setup using the LSI Megaraid controller. These are a family of controllers called PERC by Dell, and is present in several old PowerEdge servers, and I recently got my hands on one of these. I had forgotten how to handle this RAID controller in Debian, so I had to take a peek in the Debian wiki page "Linux and Hardware RAID: an administrator's summary" to remember that kind of software is available to configure and monitor the disks and controller. I prefer Free Software alternatives to proprietary tools, as the later tend to fall into disarray once the manufacturer loose interest, and often do not work with newer Linux Distributions. Sadly there is no free software tool to configure the RAID setup, only to monitor it. RAID can provide improved reliability and resilience in a storage solution, but only if it is being regularly checked and any broken disks are being replaced in time. I thus want to ensure some automatic monitoring is available. In the discovery process, I came across a old free software tool to monitor PERC2, PERC3, PERC4 and PERC5 controllers, which to my surprise is not present in debian. To help change that I created a request for packaging of the megactl package, and tried to track down a usable version. The original project site is on Sourceforge, but as far as I can tell that project has been dead for more than 15 years. I managed to find a more recent fork on github from user hmage, but it is unclear to me if this is still being maintained. It has not seen much improvements since 2016. A more up to date edition is a git fork from the original github fork by user namiltd, and this newer fork seem a lot more promising. The owner of this github repository has replied to change proposals within hours, and had already added some improvements and support for more hardware. Sadly he is reluctant to commit to maintaining the tool and stated in my first pull request that he think a new release should be made based on the git repository owned by hmage. I perfectly understand this reluctance, as I feel the same about maintaining yet another package in Debian when I barely have time to take care of the ones I already maintain, but do not really have high hopes that hmage will have time to spend on it and hope namiltd will change his mind. In any case, I created a draft package based on the namiltd edition and put it under the debian group on salsa.debian.org. If you own a Dell PowerEdge server with one of the PERC controllers, or any other RAID controller using the megaraid or megaraid_sas Linux kernel modules, you might want to check it out. If enough people are interested, perhaps the package will make it into the Debian archive. There are two tools provided, megactl for the megaraid Linux kernel module, and megasasctl for the megaraid_sas Linux kernel module. The simple output from the command on one of my machines look like this (yes, I know some of the disks have problems. :).
# megasasctl 
a0       PERC H730 Mini           encl:1 ldrv:2  batt:good
a0d0       558GiB RAID 1   1x2  optimal
a0d1      3067GiB RAID 0   1x11 optimal
a0e32s0     558GiB  a0d0  online   errs: media:0  other:19
a0e32s1     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s2     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s3     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s4     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s5     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s6     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s8     558GiB  a0d0  online   errs: media:0  other:17
a0e32s9     279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s10    279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s11    279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s12    279GiB  a0d1  online  
a0e32s13    279GiB  a0d1  online  
#
In addition to displaying a simple status report, it can also test individual drives and print the various event logs. Perhaps you too find it useful? In the packaging process I provided some patches upstream to improve installation and ensure a Appstream metainfo file is provided to list all supported HW, to allow isenkram to propose the package on all servers with a relevant PCI card. As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.12.8.1.0 on CRAN: Upstream Fix, Interface Polish

armadillo image Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra and scientific computing. It aims towards a good balance between speed and ease of use, has a syntax deliberately close to Matlab, and is useful for algorithm development directly in C++, or quick conversion of research code into production environments. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language and is widely used by (currently) 1130 other packages on CRAN, downloaded 32.8 million times (per the partial logs from the cloud mirrors of CRAN), and the CSDA paper (preprint / vignette) by Conrad and myself has been cited 578 times according to Google Scholar. This release brings a new upstream bugfix release Armadillo 12.8.1 prepared by Conrad yesterday. It was delayed for a few hours as CRAN noticed an error in one package which we all concluded was spurious as it could be reproduced outside of the one run there. Following from the previous release, we also use the slighty faster Lighter header in the examples. And once it got to CRAN I also updated the Debian package. The set of changes since the last CRAN release follows.

Changes in RcppArmadillo version 0.12.8.1.0 (2024-03-02)
  • Upgraded to Armadillo release 12.8.1 (Cortisol Injector)
    • Workaround in norm() for yet another bug in macOS accelerate framework
  • Update README for RcppArmadillo usage counts
  • Update examples to use '#include <RcppArmadillo/Lighter>' for faster compilation excluding unused Rcpp features

Courtesy of my CRANberries, there is a diffstat report relative to previous release. More detailed information is on the RcppArmadillo page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the Rcpp R-Forge page. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can sponsor me at GitHub.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Ben Hutchings: FOSS activity in February 2024

Iustin Pop: New corydalis 2024.9.0 release!

Obligatory and misused quote: It s not dead, Jim! I ve kind of dropped by ball lately on organising my own photo collection, but February was a pretty good month and I managed to write some more code for Corydalis, ending up with the aforementioned new release. The release is not a big one, but I did manage to solve one thing that was annoying me greatly: that lack of ability to play videos inline in one of the two picture viewing modes (in my preferred mode, in fact). Now, whether you re browsing through pictures, or looking at pictures one-by-one, you can in both cases play videos easily, and to some extent, as it should be . No user docs for that, yet (I actually need to split the manual in user/admin/developer parts) I did some more internal cleanups, and I ve enabled building release zips (since that s how GitHub actions creates artifacts), which means it should be 10% easier to test this. The rest 90% is configuring it and pointing to picture folders and and and, so this is definitely not plug-and-play. The diff summary between 2023.44.0 and 2024.9.0 is: 56 files changed, 1412 insertions(+), 700 deletions(-). Which is not bad, but also not too much. The biggest churn was, as expected, in the viewer (due to the aforementioned video playing). The scary part is that the TypeScript code is not at 7.9% (and a tiny more JS, which I can t convert yet due to lack of type definitions upstream). I say scary in quotes, because I would actually like to know Typescript better, but no time. The new release can be seen in action on demo.corydalis.io, and as always, just after release I found two minor issues: Well, there will be future releases. For now, I ve made an open-source package release, which I didn t do in a while, so I m happy . See you!

Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities Feb 2024

Focus This month I didn't have any particular focus. I just worked on issues in my info bubble.

Changes

Issues

Review
  • Spam: reported 1 Debian bug report
  • Debian BTS usertags: changes for the month

Administration
  • Debian BTS: unarchive/reopen/triage bugs for reintroduced packages: ovito, tahoe-lafs, tpm2-tss-engine
  • Debian wiki: produce HTML dump for a user, unblock IP addresses, approve accounts

Communication
  • Respond to queries from Debian users and contributors on the mailing lists and IRC

Sponsors The SWH work was sponsored. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

2 March 2024

Ravi Dwivedi: Malaysia Trip

Last month, I had a trip to Malaysia and Thailand. I stayed for six days in each of the countries. The selection of these countries was due to both of them granting visa-free entry to Indian tourists for some time window. This post covers the Malaysia part and Thailand part will be covered in the next post. If you want to travel to any of these countries in the visa-free time period, I have written all the questions asked during immigration and at airports during this trip here which might be of help. I mostly stayed in Kuala Lumpur and went to places around it. Although before the trip, I planned to visit Ipoh and Cameron Highlands too, but could not cover it during the trip. I found planning a trip to Malaysia a little difficult. The country is divided into two main islands - Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo. Then there are more islands - Langkawi, Penang island, Perhentian and Redang Islands. Reaching those islands seemed a little difficult to plan and I wish to visit more places in my next Malaysia trip. My first day hostel was booked in Chinatown part of Kuala Lumpur, near Pasar Seni LRT station. As soon as I checked-in and entered my room, I met another Indian named Fletcher, and after that we accompanied each other in the trip. That day, we went to Muzium Negara and Little India. I realized that if you know the right places to buy what you want, Malaysia could be quite cheap. Malaysian currency is Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). 1 MYR is equal to 18 INR. For 2 MYR, you can get a good masala tea in Little India and it costs like 4-5 MYR for a masala dosa. The vegetarian food has good availability in Kuala Lumpur, thanks to the Tamil community. I also tried Mee Goreng, which was vegetarian, and I found it fine in terms of taste. When I checked about Mee Goreng on Wikipedia, I found out that it is unique to Indian immigrants in Malaysia (and neighboring countries) but you don t get it in India!
Mee Goreng, a dish made of noodles in Malaysia.
For the next day, Fletcher had planned a trip to Genting Highlands and pre booked everything. I also planned to join him but when we went to KL Sentral to take the bus, his bus tickets were sold out. I could take a bus at a different time, but decided to visit some other place for the day and cover Genting Highlands later. At the ticket counter, I met a family from Delhi and they wanted to go to Genting Highlands but due to not getting bus tickets for that day, they decided to buy a ticket for the next day and instead planned for Batu Caves that day. I joined them and went to Batu Caves. After returning from Batu Caves, we went our separate ways. I went back and took rest at my hostel and later went to Petronas Towers at night. Petronas Towers is the icon of Kuala Lumpur. Having a photo there was a must. I was at Petronas Towers at around 9 PM. Around that time, Fletcher came back from Genting Highlands and we planned to meet at KL Sentral to head for dinner.
Me at Petronas Towers.
We went back to the same place as the day before where I had Mee Goreng. This time we had dosa and a masala tea. Their masala tea from the last day was tasty and that s why I was looking for them in the first place. We also met a Malaysian family having Indian ancestry dining there and had a nice conversation. Then we went to a place to eat roti canai in Pasar Seni market. Roti canai is a popular non-vegetarian dish in Malaysia but I took the vegetarian version.
Photo with Malaysians.
The next day, we went to Berjaya Time Square shopping place which sells pretty cheap items for daily use and souveniers too. However, I bought souveniers from Petaling Street, which is in Chinatown. At night, we explored Bukit Bintang, which is the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is famous for its nightlife. After that, Fletcher went to Bangkok and I was in Malaysia for two more days. Next day, I went to Genting Highlands and took the cable car, which had awesome views. I came back to Kuala Lumpur by the night. The remaining day I just roamed around in Bukit Bintang. Then I took a flight for Bangkok on 7th Feb, which I will cover in the next post. In Malaysia, I met so many people from different countries - apart from people from Indian subcontinent, I met Syrians, Indonesians (Malaysia seems to be a popular destination for Indonesian tourists) and Burmese people. Meeting people from other cultures is an integral part of travel for me. My expenses for Food + Accommodation + Travel added to 10,000 INR for a week in Malaysia, while flight costs were: 13,000 INR (Delhi to Kuala Lumpur) + 10,000 INR (Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok) + 12,000 INR (Bangkok to Delhi). For OpenStreetMap users, good news is Kuala Lumpur is fairly well-mapped on OpenStreetMap.

Tips
  • I bought local SIM from a shop at KL Sentral station complex which had news in their name (I forgot the exact name and there are two shops having news in their name) and it was the cheapest option I could find. The SIM was 10 MYR for 5 GB data for a week. If you want to make calls too, then you need to spend extra 5 MYR.
  • 7-Eleven and KK Mart convenience stores are everywhere in the city and they are open all the time (24 hours a day). If you are a vegetarian, you can at least get some bread and cheese from there to eat.
  • A lot of people know English (and many - Indians, Pakistanis, Nepalis - know Hindi) in Kuala Lumpur, so I had no language problems most of the time.
  • For shopping on budget, you can go to Petaling Street, Berjaya Time Square or Bukit Bintang. In particular, there is a shop named I Love KL Gifts in Bukit Bintang which had very good prices. just near the metro/monorail stattion. Check out location of the shop on OpenStreetMap.

1 March 2024

Guido G nther: Free Software Activities February 2024

A short status update what happened last month. Work in progress is marked as WiP: GNOME Calls Phosh and Phoc As this often overlaps I've put them in a common section: Phosh Tour Phosh Mobile Settings Phosh OSK Stub Livi Video Player Phosh.mobi Website If you want to support my work see donations.

Scarlett Gately Moore: Kubuntu: Week 4, Feature Freeze and what comes next.

First I would like to give a big congratulations to KDE for a superb KDE 6 mega release  While we couldn t go with 6 on our upcoming LTS release, I do recommend KDE neon if you want to give it a try! I want to say it again, I firmly stand by the Kubuntu Council in the decision to stay with the rock solid Plasma 5 for the 24.04 LTS release. The timing was just to close to feature freeze and the last time we went with the shiny new stuff on an LTS release, it was a nightmare ( KDE 4 anyone? ). So without further ado, my weekly wrap-up. Kubuntu: Continuing efforts from last week Kubuntu: Week 3 wrap up, Contest! KDE snaps, Debian uploads. , it has been another wild and crazy week getting everything in before feature freeze yesterday. We will still be uploading the upcoming Plasma 5.27.11 as it is a bug fix release  and right now it is all about the finding and fixing bugs! Aside from many uploads my accomplishments this week are: What comes next? Testing, testing, testing! Bug fixes and of course our re-branding. My focus is on bug triage right now. I am also working on new projects in launchpad to easily track our bugs as right now they are all over the place and hard to track down. Snaps: I have started the MRs to fix our latest 23.08.5 snaps, I hope to get these finished in the next week or so. I have also been speaking to a prospective student with some GSOC ideas that I really like and will mentor, hopefully we are not too late. Happy with my work? My continued employment depends on you! Please consider a donation http://kubuntu.org/donate Thank you!

Ravi Dwivedi: Fixing Mobile Data issue on Lineage OS

I have used Lineage OS on a couple of phones, but I noticed that internet using my mobile data was not working well on it. I am not sure why. This was the case in Xiaomi MI A2 and OnePlus 9 Pro phones. One day I met contrapunctus and they looked at their phone settings and used the same in mine and it worked. So, I am going to write here what worked for me. The trick is to add an access point. Go to Settings -> Network Settings -> Your SIM settings -> Access Point Names -> Click on + symbol. In the Name section, you can write anything, I wrote test. And in the APN section write www, then save. Below is a screenshot demonstrating the settings you have to change.
APN settings screenshot. Notice the circled entries.
This APN will show in the list of APNs and you need to select this one. After this, my mobile data started working well and I started getting speeds according to my data plan. This is what worked for me in Lineage OS. Hopefully, it was of help to you :D I will meet you in the next post.

Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 259 released

The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 259. This version includes the following changes:
[ Chris Lamb ]
* Don't error-out with a traceback if we encounter "struct.unpack"-related
  errors when parsing .pyc files. (Closes: #1064973)
* Fix compatibility with PyTest 8.0. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#365)
* Don't try and compare rdb_expected_diff on non-GNU systems as %p formatting
  can vary. (Re: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#364)
You find out more by visiting the project homepage.

29 February 2024

Russell Coker: Links February 2024

In 2018 Charles Stross wrote an insightful blog post Dude You Broke the Future [1]. It covers AI in both fiction and fact and corporations (the real AIs) and the horrifying things they can do right now. LongNow has an interesting article about the concept of the Magnum Opus [2]. As an aside I ve been working on SE Linux for 22 years. Cory Doctorow wrote an insightful article about the incentives for enshittification of the Internet and how economic issues and regulations shape that [3]. CCC has a lot of great talks, and this talk from the latest CCC about the Triangulation talk on an attak on Kaspersky iPhones is particularly epic [4]. GoodCar is an online sales site for electric cars in Australia [5]. Ulrike wrote an insightful blog post about how the reliance on volunteer work in the FOSS community hurts diversity [6]. Cory Doctorow wrote an insightful article about The Internet s Original Sin which is misuse of copyright law [7]. He advocates for using copyright strictly for it s intended purpose and creating other laws for privacy, labor rights, etc. David Brin wrote an interesting article on neoteny and sexual selection in humans [8]. 37C3 has an interesting lecture about software licensing for a circular economy which includes environmental savings from better code [9]. Now they track efficiency in KDE bug reports!

28 February 2024

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppEigen 0.3.4.0.0 on CRAN: New Upstream, At Last

We are thrilled to share that RcppEigen has now upgraded to Eigen release 3.4.0! The new release 0.3.4.0.0 arrived on CRAN earlier today, and has been shipped to Debian as well. Eigen is a C++ template library for linear algebra: matrices, vectors, numerical solvers, and related algorithms. This update has been in the works for a full two and a half years! It all started with a PR #102 by Yixuan bringing the package-local changes for R integration forward to usptream release 3.4.0. We opened issue #103 to steer possible changes from reverse-dependency checking through. Lo and behold, this just stalled because a few substantial changes were needed and not coming. But after a long wait, and like a bolt out of a perfectly blue sky, Andrew revived it in January with a reverse depends run of his own along with a set of PRs. That was the push that was needed, and I steered it along with a number of reverse dependency checks, and occassional emails to maintainers. We managed to bring it down to only three packages having a hickup, and all three had received PRs thanks to Andrew and even merged them. So the plan became to release today following a final fourteen day window. And CRAN was convinced by our arguments that we followed due process. So there it is! Big big thanks to all who helped it along, especially Yixuan and Andrew but also Mikael who updated another patch set he had prepared for the previous release series. The complete NEWS file entry follows.

Changes in RcppEigen version 0.3.4.0.0 (2024-02-28)
  • The Eigen version has been upgrade to release 3.4.0 (Yixuan)
  • Extensive reverse-dependency checks ensure only three out of over 400 packages at CRAN are affected; PRs and patches helped other packages
  • The long-running branch also contains substantial contributions from Mikael Jagan (for the lme4 interface) and Andrew Johnson (revdep PRs)

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is also a diffstat report for the most recent release. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can sponsor me at GitHub.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Daniel Lange: Opencollective shutting down

Update 28.02.2024 19:45 CET: There is now a blog entry at https://blog.opencollective.com/open-collective-official-statement-ocf-dissolution/ trying to discern the legal entities in the Open Collective ecosystem and recommending potential ways forward.
Gee, there is nothing on their blog yet, but I just [28.02.2023 00:07 CET] received this email from Mike Strode, Program Officer at the Open Collective Foundation: Dear Daniel Lange, It is with a heavy heart that I'm writing today to inform you that the Board of Directors of the Open Collective Foundation (OCF) has made the difficult decision to dissolve OCF, effective December 31, 2024. We are proud of the work we have been able to do together. We have been honored to build community with you and the hundreds of other collectives hosted at the Open Collective Foundation. What you need to know: We are beginning a staged dissolution process that will allow our over 600 collectives the time to close or transition their work. Dissolving OCF will take many months, and involves settling all liabilities while spending down all funds in a legally compliant manner. Our priority is to support our collectives in navigating this change. We want to provide collectives the longest possible runway to wind down or transition their operations while we focus on the many legal and financial tasks associated with dissolving a nonprofit. March 15 is the last day to accept donations. You will have until September 30 to work with us to develop and implement a plan to spend down the money in your fund. Key dates are included at the bottom of this email. We know this is going to be difficult, and we will do everything we can to ease the transition for you. How we will support collectives: It remains our fiduciary responsibility to safeguard each collective's charitable assets and ensure funds are used solely for specified charitable purposes. We will be providing assistance and support to you, whether you choose to spend out and close down your collective or continue your work through another 501(c)(3) organization or fiscal sponsor. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to several of our colleagues today as we pare down our core staff to reduce costs. I will be staying on staff to support collectives through this transition, along with Wayne Kleppe, our Finance Administrator. What led to this decision: From day one, OCF was committed to experimentation and innovation. We were dedicated to finding new ways to open up the nonprofit space, making it easier for people to raise and access funding so they can do good in their communities. OCF was created by Open Collective Inc. (OCI), a company formed in 2015 with the goal of "enabling groups to quickly set up a collective, raise funds and manage them transparently." Soon after being founded by OCI, OCF went through a period of rapid growth. We responded to increased demand arising from the COVID-19 pandemic without taking the time to establish the appropriate systems and infrastructure to sustain that growth. Unfortunately, over the past year, we have learned that Open Collective Foundation's business model is not sustainable with the number of complex services we have offered and the fees we pay to the Open Collective Inc. tech platform. In late 2023, we made the decision to pause accepting new collectives in order to create space for us to address the issues. Unfortunately, it became clear that it would not be financially feasible to make the necessary corrections, and we determined that OCF is not viable. What's next: We know this news will raise questions for many of our collectives. We will be making space for questions and reactions in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we have developed this FAQ which we will keep updated as more questions come in. What you need to do next: Dates to know: In Care & Accompaniment,
Mike Strode
Program Officer
Open Collective Foundation Our mailing address has changed! We are now located at 440 N. Barranca Avenue #3717, Covina, CA 91723, USA

26 February 2024

Sergio Durigan Junior: Planning to orphan Pagure on Debian

I have been thinking more and more about orphaning the Pagure Debian package. I don t have the time to maintain it properly anymore, and I have also lost interest in doing so.

What s Pagure Pagure is a git forge written entirely in Python using pygit2. It was almost entirely developed by one person, Pierre-Yves Chibon. He is (was?) a Red Hat employee and started working on this new git forge almost 10 years ago because the company wanted to develop something in-house for Fedora. The software is amazing and I admire Pierre-Yves quite a lot for what he was able to achieve basically alone. Unfortunately, a few years ago Fedora decided to move to Gitlab and the Pagure development pretty much stalled.

Pagure in Debian Packaging Pagure for Debian was hard, but it was also very fun. I learned quite a bit about many things (packaging and non-packaging related), interacted with the upstream community, decided to dogfood my own work and run my Pagure instance for a while, and tried to get newcomers to help me with the package (without much success, unfortunately). I remember that when I had started to package Pagure, Debian was also moving away from Alioth and discussing options. For a brief moment Pagure was a contender, but in the end the community decided to self-host Gitlab, and that s why we have Salsa now. I feel like I could have tipped the scales in favour of Pagure had I finished packaging it for Debian before the decision was made, but then again, to the best of my knowledge Salsa doesn t use our Gitlab package anyway

Are you interested in maintaining it? If you re interested in maintaining the package, please get in touch with me. I will happily pass the torch to someone else who is still using the software and wants to keep it healthy in Debian. If there is nobody interested, then I will just orphan it.

Freexian Collaborators: Long term support for Samba 4.17

Freexian is pleased to announce a partnership with Catalyst to extend the security support of Samba 4.17, which is the version packaged in Debian 12 Bookworm. Samba 4.17 will reach upstream s end-of-support this upcoming March (2024), and the goal of this partnership is to extend it until June 2028 (i.e. the end of Debian 12 s regular security support). One of the main aspects of this project is that it will also include support for Samba as Active Directory Domain Controller (AD-DC). Unfortunately, support for Samba as AD-DC in Debian 11 Bullseye, Debian 10 Buster and older releases has been discontinued before the end of the life cycle of those Debian releases. So we really expect to improve the situation of Samba in Debian 12 Bookworm, ensuring full support during the 5 years of regular security support. We would like to mention that this is an experiment, and we will do our best to make it a success, and to try to continue it for Samba versions included in future Debian releases. Our long term goal is to bring confidence to Samba s upstream development community that they can mark some releases as being supported for 5 years (or more) and that the corresponding work will be funded by companies that benefit from this work (because we would have already built that community). If your company relies on Samba and wants to help sustain LTS versions of Samba, please reach out to us. For companies using Debian, the simplest way is to subscribe to our Debian LTS offer at a gold level (or above) and let us know that you want to contribute to Samba LTS when you send your subscription form. For others, please reach out to us at sales@freexian.com and we will figure out a way to contribute. In the mean time, this project has been possible thanks to the current LTS sponsors and ELTS customers. We hope the whole community of Debian and Samba users will benefit from it. For any question, don t hesitate to contact us.

25 February 2024

Ben Hutchings: Converted from Pyblosxom to Jekyll

I ve been using Pyblosxom here for nearly 17 years, but have become increasingly dissatisfied with having to write HTML instead of Markdown. Today I looked at upgrading my web server and discovered that Pyblosxom was removed from Debian after Debian 10, presumably because it wasn t updated for Python 3. I keep hearing about Jekyll as a static site generator for blogs, so I finally investigated how to use that and how to convert my existing entries. Fortunately it supports both HTML and Markdown (and probably other) input formats, so this was mostly a matter of converting metadata. I have my own crappy script for drafting, publishing, and listing blog entries, which also needed a bit of work to update, but that is now done. If all has gone to plan, you should be seeing just one new entry in the feed but all permalinks to older entries still working.

Russ Allbery: Review: The Fund

Review: The Fund, by Rob Copeland
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Copyright: 2023
ISBN: 1-250-27694-2
Format: Kindle
Pages: 310
I first became aware of Ray Dalio when either he or his publisher plastered advertisements for The Principles all over the San Francisco 4th and King Caltrain station. If I recall correctly, there were also constant radio commercials; it was a whole thing in 2017. My brain is very good at tuning out advertisements, so my only thought at the time was "some business guy wrote a self-help book." I think I vaguely assumed he was a CEO of some traditional business, since that's usually who writes heavily marketed books like this. I did not connect him with hedge funds or Bridgewater, which I have a bad habit of confusing with Blackwater. The Principles turns out to be more of a laundered cult manual than a self-help book. And therein lies a story. Rob Copeland is currently with The New York Times, but for many years he was the hedge fund reporter for The Wall Street Journal. He covered, among other things, Bridgewater Associates, the enormous hedge fund founded by Ray Dalio. The Fund is a biography of Ray Dalio and a history of Bridgewater from its founding as a vehicle for Dalio's advising business until 2022 when Dalio, after multiple false starts and title shuffles, finally retired from running the company. (Maybe. Based on the history recounted here, it wouldn't surprise me if he was back at the helm by the time you read this.) It is one of the wildest, creepiest, and most abusive business histories that I have ever read. It's probably worth mentioning, as Copeland does explicitly, that Ray Dalio and Bridgewater hate this book and claim it's a pack of lies. Copeland includes some of their denials (and many non-denials that sound as good as confirmations to me) in footnotes that I found increasingly amusing.
A lawyer for Dalio said he "treated all employees equally, giving people at all levels the same respect and extending them the same perks."
Uh-huh. Anyway, I personally know nothing about Bridgewater other than what I learned here and the occasional mention in Matt Levine's newsletter (which is where I got the recommendation for this book). I have no independent information whether anything Copeland describes here is true, but Copeland provides the typical extensive list of notes and sourcing one expects in a book like this, and Levine's comments indicated it's generally consistent with Bridgewater's industry reputation. I think this book is true, but since the clear implication is that the world's largest hedge fund was primarily a deranged cult whose employees mostly spied on and rated each other rather than doing any real investment work, I also have questions, not all of which Copeland answers to my satisfaction. But more on that later. The center of this book are the Principles. These were an ever-changing list of rules and maxims for how people should conduct themselves within Bridgewater. Per Copeland, although Dalio later published a book by that name, the version of the Principles that made it into the book was sanitized and significantly edited down from the version used inside the company. Dalio was constantly adding new ones and sometimes changing them, but the common theme was radical, confrontational "honesty": never being silent about problems, confronting people directly about anything that they did wrong, and telling people all of their faults so that they could "know themselves better." If this sounds like textbook abusive behavior, you have the right idea. This part Dalio admits to openly, describing Bridgewater as a firm that isn't for everyone but that achieves great results because of this culture. But the uncomfortably confrontational vibes are only the tip of the iceberg of dysfunction. Here are just a few of the ways this played out according to Copeland: In one of the common and all-too-disturbing connections between Wall Street finance and the United States' dysfunctional government, James Comey (yes, that James Comey) ran internal security for Bridgewater for three years, meaning that he was the one who pulled evidence from surveillance cameras for Dalio to use to confront employees during his trials. In case the cult vibes weren't strong enough already, Bridgewater developed its own idiosyncratic language worthy of Scientology. The trials were called "probings," firing someone was called "sorting" them, and rating them was called "dotting," among many other Bridgewater-specific terms. Needless to say, no one ever probed Dalio himself. You will also be completely unsurprised to learn that Copeland documents instances of sexual harassment and discrimination at Bridgewater, including some by Dalio himself, although that seems to be a relatively small part of the overall dysfunction. Dalio was happy to publicly humiliate anyone regardless of gender. If you're like me, at this point you're probably wondering how Bridgewater continued operating for so long in this environment. (Per Copeland, since Dalio's retirement in 2022, Bridgewater has drastically reduced the cult-like behaviors, deleted its archive of probings, and de-emphasized the Principles.) It was not actually a religious cult; it was a hedge fund that has to provide investment services to huge, sophisticated clients, and by all accounts it's a very successful one. Why did this bizarre nightmare of a workplace not interfere with Bridgewater's business? This, I think, is the weakest part of this book. Copeland makes a few gestures at answering this question, but none of them are very satisfying. First, it's clear from Copeland's account that almost none of the employees of Bridgewater had any control over Bridgewater's investments. Nearly everyone was working on other parts of the business (sales, investor relations) or on cult-related obsessions. Investment decisions (largely incorporated into algorithms) were made by a tiny core of people and often by Dalio himself. Bridgewater also appears to not trade frequently, unlike some other hedge funds, meaning that they probably stay clear of the more labor-intensive high-frequency parts of the business. Second, Bridgewater took off as a hedge fund just before the hedge fund boom in the 1990s. It transformed from Dalio's personal consulting business and investment newsletter to a hedge fund in 1990 (with an earlier investment from the World Bank in 1987), and the 1990s were a very good decade for hedge funds. Bridgewater, in part due to Dalio's connections and effective marketing via his newsletter, became one of the largest hedge funds in the world, which gave it a sort of institutional momentum. No one was questioned for putting money into Bridgewater even in years when it did poorly compared to its rivals. Third, Dalio used the tried and true method of getting free publicity from the financial press: constantly predict an upcoming downturn, and aggressively take credit whenever you were right. From nearly the start of his career, Dalio predicted economic downturns year after year. Bridgewater did very well in the 2000 to 2003 downturn, and again during the 2008 financial crisis. Dalio aggressively takes credit for predicting both of those downturns and positioning Bridgewater correctly going into them. This is correct; what he avoids mentioning is that he also predicted downturns in every other year, the majority of which never happened. These points together create a bit of an answer, but they don't feel like the whole picture and Copeland doesn't connect the pieces. It seems possible that Dalio may simply be good at investing; he reads obsessively and clearly enjoys thinking about markets, and being an abusive cult leader doesn't take up all of his time. It's also true that to some extent hedge funds are semi-free money machines, in that once you have a sufficient quantity of money and political connections you gain access to investment opportunities and mechanisms that are very likely to make money and that the typical investor simply cannot access. Dalio is clearly good at making personal connections, and invested a lot of effort into forming close ties with tricky clients such as pools of Chinese money. Perhaps the most compelling explanation isn't mentioned directly in this book but instead comes from Matt Levine. Bridgewater touts its algorithmic trading over humans making individual trades, and there is some reason to believe that consistently applying an algorithm without regard to human emotion is a solid trading strategy in at least some investment areas. Levine has asked in his newsletter, tongue firmly in cheek, whether the bizarre cult-like behavior and constant infighting is a strategy to distract all the humans and keep them from messing with the algorithm and thus making bad decisions. Copeland leaves this question unsettled. Instead, one comes away from this book with a clear vision of the most dysfunctional workplace I have ever heard of, and an endless litany of bizarre events each more astonishing than the last. If you like watching train wrecks, this is the book for you. The only drawback is that, unlike other entries in this genre such as Bad Blood or Billion Dollar Loser, Bridgewater is a wildly successful company, so you don't get the schadenfreude of seeing a house of cards collapse. You do, however, get a helpful mental model to apply to the next person who tries to talk to you about "radical honesty" and "idea meritocracy." The flaw in this book is that the existence of an organization like Bridgewater is pointing to systematic flaws in how our society works, which Copeland is largely uninterested in interrogating. "How could this have happened?" is a rather large question to leave unanswered. The sheer outrageousness of Dalio's behavior also gets a bit tiring by the end of the book, when you've seen the patterns and are hearing about the fourth variation. But this is still an astonishing book, and a worthy entry in the genre of capitalism disasters. Rating: 7 out of 10

Jacob Adams: AAC and Debian

Currently, in a default installation of Debian with the GNOME desktop, Bluetooth headphones that require the AAC codec1 cannot be used. As the Debian wiki outlines, using the AAC codec over Bluetooth, while technically supported by PipeWire, is explicitly disabled in Debian at this time. This is because the fdk-aac library needed to enable this support is currently in the non-free component of the repository, meaning that PipeWire, which is in the main component, cannot depend on it.

How to Fix it Yourself If what you, like me, need is simply for Bluetooth Audio to work with AAC in Debian s default desktop environment2, then you ll need to rebuild the pipewire package to include the AAC codec. While the current version in Debian main has been built with AAC deliberately disabled, it is trivial to enable if you can install a version of the fdk-aac library. I preface this with the usual caveats when it comes to patent and licensing controversies. I am not a lawyer, building this package and/or using it could get you into legal trouble. These instructions have only been tested on an up-to-date copy of Debian 12.
  1. Install pipewire s build dependencies
    sudo apt install build-essential devscripts
    sudo apt build-dep pipewire
    
  2. Install libfdk-aac-dev
    sudo apt install libfdk-aac-dev
    
    If the above doesn t work you ll likely need to enable non-free and try again
    sudo sed -i 's/main/main non-free/g' /etc/apt/sources.list
    sudo apt update
    
    Alternatively, if you wish to ensure you are maximally license-compliant and patent un-infringing3, you can instead build fdk-aac-free which includes only those components of AAC that are known to be patent-free3. This is what should eventually end up in Debian to resolve this problem (see below).
    sudo apt install git-buildpackage
    mkdir fdk-aac-source
    cd fdk-aac-source
    git clone https://salsa.debian.org/multimedia-team/fdk-aac
    cd fdk-aac
    gbp buildpackage
    sudo dpkg -i ../libfdk-aac2_*deb ../libfdk-aac-dev_*deb
    
  3. Get the pipewire source code
    mkdir pipewire-source
    cd pipewire-source
    apt source pipewire
    
    This will create a bunch of files within the pipewire-source directory, but you ll only need the pipewire-<version> folder, this contains all the files you ll need to build the package, with all the debian-specific patches already applied. Note that you don t want to run the apt source command as root, as it will then create files that your regular user cannot edit.
  4. Fix the dependencies and build options To fix up the build scripts to use the fdk-aac library, you need to save the following as pipewire-source/aac.patch
    --- debian/control.orig
    +++ debian/control
    @@ -40,8 +40,8 @@
                 modemmanager-dev,
                 pkg-config,
                 python3-docutils,
    -               systemd [linux-any]
    -Build-Conflicts: libfdk-aac-dev
    +               systemd [linux-any],
    +               libfdk-aac-dev
     Standards-Version: 4.6.2
     Vcs-Browser: https://salsa.debian.org/utopia-team/pipewire
     Vcs-Git: https://salsa.debian.org/utopia-team/pipewire.git
    --- debian/rules.orig
    +++ debian/rules
    @@ -37,7 +37,7 @@
     		-Dauto_features=enabled \
     		-Davahi=enabled \
     		-Dbluez5-backend-native-mm=enabled \
    -		-Dbluez5-codec-aac=disabled \
    +		-Dbluez5-codec-aac=enabled \
     		-Dbluez5-codec-aptx=enabled \
     		-Dbluez5-codec-lc3=enabled \
     		-Dbluez5-codec-lc3plus=disabled \
    
    Then you ll need to run patch from within the pipewire-<version> folder created by apt source:
    patch -p0 < ../aac.patch
    
  5. Build pipewire
    cd pipewire-*
    debuild
    
    Note that you will likely see an error from debsign at the end of this process, this is harmless, you simply don t have a GPG key set up to sign your newly-built package4. Packages don t need to be signed to be installed, and debsign uses a somewhat non-standard signing process that dpkg does not check anyway.
  1. Install libspa-0.2-bluetooth
    sudo dpkg -i libspa-0.2-bluetooth_*.deb
    
  2. Restart PipeWire and/or Reboot
    sudo reboot
    
    Theoretically there s a set of services to restart here that would get pipewire to pick up the new library, probably just pipewire itself. But it s just as easy to restart and ensure everything is using the correct library.

Why This is a slightly unusual situation, as the fdk-aac library is licensed under what even the GNU project acknowledges is a free software license. However, this license explicitly informs the user that they need to acquire a patent license to use this software5:
3. NO PATENT LICENSE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED LICENSES TO ANY PATENT CLAIMS, including without limitation the patents of Fraunhofer, ARE GRANTED BY THIS SOFTWARE LICENSE. Fraunhofer provides no warranty of patent non-infringement with respect to this software. You may use this FDK AAC Codec software or modifications thereto only for purposes that are authorized by appropriate patent licenses.
To quote the GNU project:
Because of this, and because the license author is a known patent aggressor, we encourage you to be careful about using or redistributing software under this license: you should first consider whether the licensor might aim to lure you into patent infringement.
AAC is covered by a number of patents, which expire at some point in the 2030s6. As such the current version of the library is potentially legally dubious to ship with any other software, as it could be considered patent-infringing3.

Fedora s solution Since 2017, Fedora has included a modified version of the library as fdk-aac-free, see the announcement and the bugzilla bug requesting review. This version of the library includes only the AAC LC profile, which is believed to be entirely patent-free3. Based on this, there is an open bug report in Debian requesting that the fdk-aac package be moved to the main component and that the pipwire package be updated to build against it.

The Debian NEW queue To resolve these bugs, a version of fdk-aac-free has been uploaded to Debian by Jeremy Bicha. However, to make it into Debian proper, it must first pass through the ftpmaster s NEW queue. The current version of fdk-aac-free has been in the NEW queue since July 2023. Based on conversations in some of the bugs above, it s been there since at least 20227. I hope this helps anyone stuck with AAC to get their hardware working for them while we wait for the package to eventually make it through the NEW queue. Discuss on Hacker News
  1. Such as, for example, any Apple AirPods, which only support AAC AFAICT.
  2. Which, as of Debian 12 is GNOME 3 under Wayland with PipeWire.
  3. I m not a lawyer, I don t know what kinds of infringement might or might not be possible here, do your own research, etc. 2 3 4
  4. And if you DO have a key setup with debsign you almost certainly don t need these instructions.
  5. This was originally phrased as explicitly does not grant any patent rights. It was pointed out on Hacker News that this is not exactly what it says, as it also includes a specific note that you ll need to acquire your own patent license. I ve now quoted the relevant section of the license for clarity.
  6. Wikipedia claims the base patents expire in 2031, with the extensions expiring in 2038, but its source for these claims is some guy s spreadsheet in a forum. The same discussion also brings up Wikipedia s claim and casts some doubt on it, so I m not entirely sure what s correct here, but I didn t feel like doing a patent deep-dive today. If someone can provide a clear answer that would be much appreciated.
  7. According to Jeremy B cha: https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=1021370#17

24 February 2024

Niels Thykier: Language Server for Debian: Spellchecking

This is my third update on writing a language server for Debian packaging files, which aims at providing a better developer experience for Debian packagers. Lets go over what have done since the last report.
Semantic token support I have added support for what the Language Server Protocol (LSP) call semantic tokens. These are used to provide the editor insights into tokens of interest for users. Allegedly, this is what editors would use for syntax highlighting as well. Unfortunately, eglot (emacs) does not support semantic tokens, so I was not able to test this. There is a 3-year old PR for supporting with the last update being ~3 month basically saying "Please sign the Copyright Assignment". I pinged the GitHub issue in the hopes it will get unstuck. For good measure, I also checked if I could try it via neovim. Before installing, I read the neovim docs, which helpfully listed the features supported. Sadly, I did not spot semantic tokens among those and parked from there. That was a bit of a bummer, but I left the feature in for now. If you have an LSP capable editor that supports semantic tokens, let me know how it works for you! :)
Spellchecking Finally, I implemented something Otto was missing! :) This stared with Paul Wise reminding me that there were Python binding for the hunspell spellchecker. This enabled me to get started with a quick prototype that spellchecked the Description fields in debian/control. I also added spellchecking of comments while I was add it. The spellchecker runs with the standard en_US dictionary from hunspell-en-us, which does not have a lot of technical terms in it. Much less any of the Debian specific slang. I spend considerable time providing a "built-in" wordlist for technical and Debian specific slang to overcome this. I also made a "wordlist" for known Debian people that the spellchecker did not recognise. Said wordlist is fairly short as a proof of concept, and I fully expect it to be community maintained if the language server becomes a success. My second problem was performance. As I had suspected that spellchecking was not the fastest thing in the world. Therefore, I added a very small language server for the debian/changelog, which only supports spellchecking the textual part. Even for a small changelog of a 1000 lines, the spellchecking takes about 5 seconds, which confirmed my suspicion. With every change you do, the existing diagnostics hangs around for 5 seconds before being updated. Notably, in emacs, it seems that diagnostics gets translated into an absolute character offset, so all diagnostics after the change gets misplaced for every character you type. Now, there is little I could do to speed up hunspell. But I can, as always, cheat. The way diagnostics work in the LSP is that the server listens to a set of notifications like "document opened" or "document changed". In a response to that, the LSP can start its diagnostics scanning of the document and eventually publish all the diagnostics to the editor. The spec is quite clear that the server owns the diagnostics and the diagnostics are sent as a "notification" (that is, fire-and-forgot). Accordingly, there is nothing that prevents the server from publishing diagnostics multiple times for a single trigger. The only requirement is that the server publishes the accumulated diagnostics in every publish (that is, no delta updating). Leveraging this, I had the language server for debian/changelog scan the document and publish once for approximately every 25 typos (diagnostics) spotted. This means you quickly get your first result and that clears the obsolete diagnostics. Thereafter, you get frequent updates to the remainder of the document if you do not perform any further changes. That is, up to a predefined max of typos, so we do not overload the client for longer changelogs. If you do any changes, it resets and starts over. The only bit missing was dealing with concurrency. By default, a pygls language server is single threaded. It is not great if the language server hangs for 5 seconds everytime you type anything. Fortunately, pygls has builtin support for asyncio and threaded handlers. For now, I did an async handler that await after each line and setup some manual detection to stop an obsolete diagnostics run. This means the server will fairly quickly abandon an obsolete run. Also, as a side-effect of working on the spellchecking, I fixed multiple typos in the changelog of debputy. :)
Follow up on the "What next?" from my previous update In my previous update, I mentioned I had to finish up my python-debian changes to support getting the location of a token in a deb822 file. That was done, the MR is now filed, and is pending review. Hopefully, it will be merged and uploaded soon. :) I also submitted my proposal for a different way of handling relationship substvars to debian-devel. So far, it seems to have received only positive feedback. I hope it stays that way and we will have this feature soon. Guillem proposed to move some of this into dpkg, which might delay my plans a bit. However, it might be for the better in the long run, so I will wait a bit to see what happens on that front. :) As noted above, I managed to add debian/changelog as a support format for the language server. Even if it only does spellchecking and trimming of trailing newlines on save, it technically is a new format and therefore cross that item off my list. :D Unfortunately, I did not manage to write a linter variant that does not involve using an LSP-capable editor. So that is still pending. Instead, I submitted an MR against elpa-dpkg-dev-el to have it recognize all the fields that the debian/control LSP knows about at this time to offset the lack of semantic token support in eglot.
From here... My sprinting on this topic will soon come to an end, so I have to a bit more careful now with what tasks I open! I think I will narrow my focus to providing a batch linting interface. Ideally, with an auto-fix for some of the more mechanical issues, where this is little doubt about the answer. Additionally, I think the spellchecking will need a bit more maturing. My current code still trips on naming patterns that are "clearly" verbatim or code references like things written in CamelCase or SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE. That gets annoying really quickly. It also trips on a lot of commands like dpkg-gencontrol, but that is harder to fix since it could have been a real word. I think those will have to be fixed people using quotes around the commands. Maybe the most popular ones will end up in the wordlist. Beyond that, I will play it by ear if I have any time left. :)

Next.