Search Results: "bali"

23 April 2022

B lint R czey: Firefox on Ubuntu 22.04 from .deb (not from snap)

It is now widely known that Ubuntu 22.04 LTS (Jammy Jellyfish) ships Firefox as a snap, but some people (like me) may prefer installing it from .deb packages to retain control over upgrades or to keep extensions working. Luckily there is still a PPA serving firefox (and thunderbird) debs at maintained by the Mozilla Team. (Thank you!) You can block the Ubuntu archive s version that just pulls in the snap by pinning it:
$ cat /etc/apt/preferences.d/firefox-no-snap 
Package: firefox*
Pin: release o=Ubuntu*
Pin-Priority: -1
Now you can remove the transitional package and the Firefox snap itself:
sudo apt purge firefox
sudo snap remove firefox
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install firefox
Since the package comes from a PPA unattended-upgrades will not upgrade it automatically, unless you enable this origin:
echo 'Unattended-Upgrade::Allowed-Origins:: "LP-PPA-mozillateam:$ distro_codename ";'   sudo tee /etc/apt/apt.conf.d/51unattended-upgrades-firefox
Happy browsing! Update: I have found a few other, similar guides at and and I ve updated the pinning configuration based on them.

31 December 2021

Chris Lamb: Favourite books of 2021: Fiction

In my two most recent posts, I listed the memoirs and biographies and followed this up with the non-fiction I enjoyed the most in 2021. I'll leave my roundup of 'classic' fiction until tomorrow, but today I'll be going over my favourite fiction. Books that just miss the cut here include Kingsley Amis' comic Lucky Jim, Cormac McCarthy's The Road (although see below for McCarthy's Blood Meridian) and the Complete Adventures of Tintin by Herg , the latter forming an inadvertently incisive portrait of the first half of the 20th century. Like ever, there were a handful of books that didn't live up to prior expectations. Despite all of the hype, Emily St. John Mandel's post-pandemic dystopia Station Eleven didn't match her superb The Glass Hotel (one of my favourite books of 2020). The same could be said of John le Carr 's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, which felt significantly shallower compared to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy again, a favourite of last year. The strangest book (and most difficult to classify at all) was undoubtedly Patrick S skind's Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, and the non-fiction book I disliked the most was almost-certainly Beartown by Fredrik Bachman. Two other mild disappointments were actually film adaptions. Specifically, the original source for Vertigo by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac didn't match Alfred Hitchock's 1958 masterpiece, as did James Sallis' Drive which was made into a superb 2011 neon-noir directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. These two films thus defy the usual trend and are 'better than the book', but that's a post for another day.

A Wizard of Earthsea (1971) Ursula K. Le Guin How did it come to be that Harry Potter is the publishing sensation of the century, yet Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea is only a popular cult novel? Indeed, the comparisons and unintentional intertextuality with Harry Potter are entirely unavoidable when reading this book, and, in almost every respect, Ursula K. Le Guin's universe comes out the victor. In particular, the wizarding world that Le Guin portrays feels a lot more generous and humble than the class-ridden world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Just to take one example from many, in Earthsea, magic turns out to be nurtured in a bottom-up manner within small village communities, in almost complete contrast to J. K. Rowling's concept of benevolent government departments and NGOs-like institutions, which now seems a far too New Labour for me. Indeed, imagine an entire world imbued with the kindly benevolence of Dumbledore, and you've got some of the moral palette of Earthsea. The gently moralising tone that runs through A Wizard of Earthsea may put some people off:
Vetch had been three years at the School and soon would be made Sorcerer; he thought no more of performing the lesser arts of magic than a bird thinks of flying. Yet a greater, unlearned skill he possessed, which was the art of kindness.
Still, these parables aimed directly at the reader are fairly rare, and, for me, remain on the right side of being mawkish or hectoring. I'm thus looking forward to reading the next two books in the series soon.

Blood Meridian (1985) Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian follows a band of American bounty hunters who are roaming the Mexican-American borderlands in the late 1840s. Far from being remotely swashbuckling, though, the group are collecting scalps for money and killing anyone who crosses their path. It is the most unsparing treatment of American genocide and moral depravity I have ever come across, an anti-Western that flouts every convention of the genre. Blood Meridian thus has a family resemblance to that other great anti-Western, Once Upon a Time in the West: after making a number of gun-toting films that venerate the American West (ie. his Dollars Trilogy), Sergio Leone turned his cynical eye to the western. Yet my previous paragraph actually euphemises just how violent Blood Meridian is. Indeed, I would need to be a much better writer (indeed, perhaps McCarthy himself) to adequately 0utline the tone of this book. In a certain sense, it's less than you read this book in a conventional sense, but rather that you are forced to witness successive chapters of grotesque violence... all occurring for no obvious reason. It is often said that books 'subvert' a genre and, indeed, I implied as such above. But the term subvert implies a kind of Puck-like mischievousness, or brings to mind court jesters licensed to poke fun at the courtiers. By contrast, however, Blood Meridian isn't funny in the slightest. There isn't animal cruelty per se, but rather wanton negligence of another kind entirely. In fact, recalling a particular passage involving an injured horse makes me feel physically ill. McCarthy's prose is at once both baroque in its language and thrifty in its presentation. As Philip Connors wrote back in 2007, McCarthy has spent forty years writing as if he were trying to expand the Old Testament, and learning that McCarthy grew up around the Church therefore came as no real surprise. As an example of his textual frugality, I often looked for greater precision in the text, finding myself asking whether who a particular 'he' is, or to which side of a fight some two men belonged to. Yet we must always remember that there is no precision to found in a gunfight, so this infidelity is turned into a virtue. It's not that these are fair fights anyway, or even 'murder': Blood Meridian is just slaughter; pure butchery. Murder is a gross understatement for what this book is, and at many points we are grateful that McCarthy spares us precision. At others, however, we can be thankful for his exactitude. There is no ambiguity regarding the morality of the puppy-drowning Judge, for example: a Colonel Kurtz who has been given free license over the entire American south. There is, thank God, no danger of Hollywood mythologising him into a badass hero. Indeed, we must all be thankful that it is impossible to film this ultra-violent book... Indeed, the broader idea of 'adapting' anything to this world is, beyond sick. An absolutely brutal read; I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Bodies of Light (2014) Sarah Moss Bodies of Light is a 2014 book by Glasgow-born Sarah Moss on the stirrings of women's suffrage within an arty clique in nineteenth-century England. Set in the intellectually smoggy cities of Manchester and London, this poignant book follows the studiously intelligent Alethia 'Ally' Moberly who is struggling to gain the acceptance of herself, her mother and the General Medical Council. You can read my full review from July.

House of Leaves (2000) Mark Z. Danielewski House of Leaves is a remarkably difficult book to explain. Although the plot refers to a fictional documentary about a family whose house is somehow larger on the inside than the outside, this quotidian horror premise doesn't explain the complex meta-commentary that Danielewski adds on top. For instance, the book contains a large number of pseudo-academic footnotes (many of which contain footnotes themselves), with references to scholarly papers, books, films and other articles. Most of these references are obviously fictional, but it's the kind of book where the joke is that some of them are not. The format, structure and typography of the book is highly unconventional too, with extremely unusual page layouts and styles. It's the sort of book and idea that should be a tired gimmick but somehow isn't. This is particularly so when you realise it seems specifically designed to create a fandom around it and to manufacturer its own 'cult' status, something that should be extremely tedious. But not only does this not happen, House of Leaves seems to have survived through two exhausting decades of found footage: The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity are, to an admittedly lesser degree, doing much of the same thing as House of Leaves. House of Leaves might have its origins in Nabokov's Pale Fire or even Derrida's Glas, but it seems to have more in common with the claustrophobic horror of Cube (1997). And like all of these works, House of Leaves book has an extremely strange effect on the reader or viewer, something quite unlike reading a conventional book. It wasn't so much what I got out of the book itself, but how it added a glow to everything else I read, watched or saw at the time. An experience.

Milkman (2018) Anna Burns This quietly dazzling novel from Irish author Anna Burns is full of intellectual whimsy and oddball incident. Incongruously set in 1970s Belfast during The Irish Troubles, Milkman's 18-year-old narrator (known only as middle sister ), is the kind of dreamer who walks down the street with a Victorian-era novel in her hand. It's usually an error for a book that specifically mention other books, if only because inviting comparisons to great novels is grossly ill-advised. But it is a credit to Burns' writing that the references here actually add to the text and don't feel like they are a kind of literary paint by numbers. Our humble narrator has a boyfriend of sorts, but the figure who looms the largest in her life is a creepy milkman an older, married man who's deeply integrated in the paramilitary tribalism. And when gossip about the narrator and the milkman surfaces, the milkman beings to invade her life to a suffocating degree. Yet this milkman is not even a milkman at all. Indeed, it's precisely this kind of oblique irony that runs through this daring but darkly compelling book.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August (2014) Claire North Harry August is born, lives a relatively unremarkable life and finally dies a relatively unremarkable death. Not worth writing a novel about, I suppose. But then Harry finds himself born again in the very same circumstances, and as he grows from infancy into childhood again, he starts to remember his previous lives. This loop naturally drives Harry insane at first, but after finding that suicide doesn't stop the quasi-reincarnation, he becomes somewhat acclimatised to his fate. He prospers much better at school the next time around and is ultimately able to make better decisions about his life, especially when he just happens to know how to stay out of trouble during the Second World War. Yet what caught my attention in this 'soft' sci-fi book was not necessarily the book's core idea but rather the way its connotations were so intelligently thought through. Just like in a musical theme and varations, the success of any concept-driven book is far more a product of how the implications of the key idea are played out than how clever the central idea was to begin with. Otherwise, you just have another neat Borges short story: satisfying, to be sure, but in a narrower way. From her relatively simple premise, for example, North has divined that if there was a community of people who could remember their past lives, this would actually allow messages and knowledge to be passed backwards and forwards in time. Ah, of course! Indeed, this very mechanism drives the plot: news comes back from the future that the progress of history is being interfered with, and, because of this, the end of the world is slowly coming. Through the lives that follow, Harry sets out to find out who is passing on technology before its time, and work out how to stop them. With its gently-moralising romp through the salient historical touchpoints of the twentieth century, I sometimes got a whiff of Forrest Gump. But it must be stressed that this book is far less certain of its 'right-on' liberal credentials than Robert Zemeckis' badly-aged film. And whilst we're on the topic of other media, if you liked the underlying conceit behind Stuart Turton's The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle yet didn't enjoy the 'variations' of that particular tale, then I'd definitely give The First Fifteen Lives a try. At the very least, 15 is bigger than 7. More seriously, though, The First Fifteen Lives appears to reflect anxieties about technology, particularly around modern technological accelerationism. At no point does it seriously suggest that if we could somehow possess the technology from a decade in the future then our lives would be improved in any meaningful way. Indeed, precisely the opposite is invariably implied. To me, at least, homo sapiens often seems to be merely marking time until we can blow each other up and destroying the climate whilst sleepwalking into some crisis that might precipitate a thermonuclear genocide sometimes seems to be built into our DNA. In an era of cli-fi fiction and our non-fiction newspaper headlines, to label North's insight as 'prescience' might perhaps be overstating it, but perhaps that is the point: this destructive and negative streak is universal to all periods of our violent, insecure species.

The Goldfinch (2013) Donna Tartt After Breaking Bad, the second biggest runaway success of 2014 was probably Donna Tartt's doorstop of a novel, The Goldfinch. Yet upon its release and popular reception, it got a significant number of bad reviews in the literary press with, of course, an equal number of predictable think pieces claiming this was sour grapes on the part of the cognoscenti. Ah, to be in 2014 again, when our arguments were so much more trivial. For the uninitiated, The Goldfinch is a sprawling bildungsroman that centres on Theo Decker, a 13-year-old whose world is turned upside down when a terrorist bomb goes off whilst visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, killing his mother among other bystanders. Perhaps more importantly, he makes off with a painting in order to fulfil a promise to a dying old man: Carel Fabritius' 1654 masterpiece The Goldfinch. For the next 14 years (and almost 800 pages), the painting becomes the only connection to his lost mother as he's flung, almost entirely rudderless, around the Western world, encountering an array of eccentric characters. Whatever the critics claimed, Tartt's near-perfect evocation of scenes, from the everyday to the unimaginable, is difficult to summarise. I wouldn't label it 'cinematic' due to her evocation of the interiority of the characters. Take, for example: Even the suggestion that my father had close friends conveyed a misunderstanding of his personality that I didn't know how to respond it's precisely this kind of relatable inner subjectivity that cannot be easily conveyed by film, likely is one of the main reasons why the 2019 film adaptation was such a damp squib. Tartt's writing is definitely not 'impressionistic' either: there are many near-perfect evocations of scenes, even ones we hope we cannot recognise from real life. In particular, some of the drug-taking scenes feel so credibly authentic that I sometimes worried about the author herself. Almost eight months on from first reading this novel, what I remember most was what a joy this was to read. I do worry that it won't stand up to a more critical re-reading (the character named Xandra even sounds like the pharmaceuticals she is taking), but I think I'll always treasure the first days I spent with this often-beautiful novel.

Beyond Black (2005) Hilary Mantel Published about five years before the hyperfamous Wolf Hall (2004), Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black is a deeply disturbing book about spiritualism and the nature of Hell, somewhat incongruously set in modern-day England. Alison Harte is a middle-aged physic medium who works in the various towns of the London orbital motorway. She is accompanied by her stuffy assistant, Colette, and her spirit guide, Morris, who is invisible to everyone but Alison. However, this is no gentle and musk-smelling world of the clairvoyant and mystic, for Alison is plagued by spirits from her past who infiltrate her physical world, becoming stronger and nastier every day. Alison's smiling and rotund persona thus conceals a truly desperate woman: she knows beyond doubt the terrors of the next life, yet must studiously conceal them from her credulous clients. Beyond Black would be worth reading for its dark atmosphere alone, but it offers much more than a chilling and creepy tale. Indeed, it is extraordinarily observant as well as unsettlingly funny about a particular tranche of British middle-class life. Still, the book's unnerving nature that sticks in the mind, and reading it noticeably changed my mood for days afterwards, and not necessarily for the best.

The Wall (2019) John Lanchester The Wall tells the story of a young man called Kavanagh, one of the thousands of Defenders standing guard around a solid fortress that envelopes the British Isles. A national service of sorts, it is Kavanagh's job to stop the so-called Others getting in. Lanchester is frank about what his wall provides to those who stand guard: the Defenders of the Wall are conscripted for two years on the Wall, with no exceptions, giving everyone in society a life plan and a story. But whilst The Wall is ostensibly about a physical wall, it works even better as a story about the walls in our mind. In fact, the book blends together of some of the most important issues of our time: climate change, increasing isolation, Brexit and other widening societal divisions. If you liked P. D. James' The Children of Men you'll undoubtedly recognise much of the same intellectual atmosphere, although the sterility of John Lanchester's dystopia is definitely figurative and textual rather than literal. Despite the final chapters perhaps not living up to the world-building of the opening, The Wall features a taut and engrossing narrative, and it undoubtedly warrants even the most cursory glance at its symbolism. I've yet to read something by Lanchester I haven't enjoyed (even his short essay on cheating in sports, for example) and will be definitely reading more from him in 2022.

The Only Story (2018) Julian Barnes The Only Story is the story of Paul, a 19-year-old boy who falls in love with 42-year-old Susan, a married woman with two daughters who are about Paul's age. The book begins with how Paul meets Susan in happy (albeit complicated) circumstances, but as the story unfolds, the novel becomes significantly more tragic and moving. Whilst the story begins from the first-person perspective, midway through the book it shifts into the second person, and, later, into the third as well. Both of these narrative changes suggested to me an attempt on the part of Paul the narrator (if not Barnes himself), to distance himself emotionally from the events taking place. This effect is a lot more subtle than it sounds, however: far more prominent and devastating is the underlying and deeply moving story about the relationship ends up. Throughout this touching book, Barnes uses his mastery of language and observation to avoid the saccharine and the maudlin, and ends up with a heart-wrenching and emotive narrative. Without a doubt, this is the saddest book I read this year.

16 July 2021

Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 178 released

The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 178. This version includes the following changes:
[ Chris Lamb ]
* Don't traceback on an broken symlink in a directory.
  (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#269)
* Rewrite the calculation of a file's "fuzzy hash" to make the control
  flow cleaner.
[ Balint Reczey ]
* Support .deb package members compressed with the Zstandard algorithm.
  (LP: #1923845)
[ Jean-Romain Garnier ]
* Overhaul the Mach-O executable file comparator.
* Implement tests for the Mach-O comparator.
* Switch to new argument format for the LLVM compiler.
* Fix test_libmix_differences in testsuite for the ELF format.
* Improve macOS compatibility for the Mach-O comparator.
* Add llvm-readobj and llvm-objdump to the internal EXTERNAL_TOOLS data
[ Mattia Rizzolo ]
* Invoke gzip(1) with the short option variants to support Busybox's gzip.
  (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#268)
You find out more by visiting the project homepage.

5 July 2021

B lint R czey: Hello zstd compressed .debs in Ubuntu!

When Julian Andres Klode and I added initial Zstandard compression support to Ubuntu s APT and dpkg in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS we planned getting the changes accepted to Debian quickly and making Ubuntu 18.10 the first release where the new compression could speed up package installations and upgrades. Well, it took slightly longer than that. Since then many other packages have been updated to support zstd compressed packages and read-only compression has been back-ported to the 16.04 Xenial LTS release, too, on Ubuntu s side. In Debian, zstd support is available now in APT, debootstrap and reprepro (thanks Dimitri!). It is still under review for inclusion in Debian s dpkg (BTS bug 892664). Given that there is sufficient archive-wide support for zstd, Ubuntu is switching to zstd compressed packages in Ubuntu 21.10, the current development release. Please welcome hello/2.10-2ubuntu3, the first zstd-compressed Ubuntu package that will be followed by many other built with dpkg (>= 1.20.9ubuntu2), and enjoy the speed!

28 February 2021

Jamie McClelland: From openbox to sway

I've been running the Openbox window manager since 2005. That's longer then I've lived in any one apartment in my entire life! However, over the years I've been bracing for a change. It seems clear the Wayland is the future, although when that future is supposed to begin is much more hazy. Really, I've felt a bit like a ping pong ball, from panicking over whether Xorg is abandoned (with a follow up from a X server maintainer) to anxiously wondering if literally everything will break the moment I switch to Wayland. In fact, I started this blog post over a year ago when I first decided to switch from the Openbox to Sway. This is my third major attempt to make the change and I think it will finally stick this time. In retrospect, it would have been more sensible to first switch from openbox to i3 (which is a huge transition) and then from i3 to sway, but I decided to dive into the deep end with both changes. So... I'm on debian bullseye so I installed sway and friends (from sid). Then I copied /etc/sway/config to ~/.config/sway/config. I start openbox after logging in with exec startx so after rebooting, I ran exec sway and to my astonishment sway started. Hooray! However, I found that ssh-agent wasn't running so I couldn't ssh into any servers. That's kinda a problem. Launching ssh-agent under openbox was buried deep in /etc/X11/Xsession.d/90x11-common_ssh-agent and clearly was not going to happen via wayland. Since programs using ssh-agent depend on the environment variables SSH_AUTH_SOCK and SSH_AGENT_PID being globally available I thought I could simply run $(eval ssh-agent) via my tty terminal before running exec sway. And, that would have worked. Except... I like to add my keys via ssh-add -c so that everytime my key is being used I get a ssh-askpass prompt to confirm the use. It seems that since ssh-add is started before a window manager is running, it can't run the prompt. Ok, we can fix this. After searching the web, I came upon a solution of running ssh-agent via systemctl --user:
# This service myst be started manually after sway
# starts.
Description=OpenSSH private key agent
ExecStart=/usr/bin/ssh-agent -a $SSH_AUTH_SOCK
Then, in my ~/.bashrc file I have:
if [ -n WAYLAND_DISPLAY ]; then
  export SSH_AUTH_SOCK=/run/user/1000/ssh-agent.socket
I think $SSH_AGENT_PID is only used by ssh-agent to kill itself. Now that is running via systemd - killing it should be do-able without a global environment variable. Done? Hardly. I've been using impass (nee assword) happily for years but alas it is tightly integrated with xdo and xclip. So... I've switched to keepassxc which works out of the box with wayland. My next challenge was the status bar. Farewell faithful tint2. One of the reasons I failed on my first two attempts to switch to Sway was the difficulty of getting the swaybar to work how I wanted, particularly with nm-applet. Two things allowed me to move forward: Next up: the waybar clock module doesn't work, but that is easy enough to work around. Replacing my uses of xclip with wl-clipboard was a little tedious but really not that difficult. Getting my screen shot and screen recorder functionality was a bit harder. I did a lot of searching before I finally found and compiled both swappy, screen shot and wf-recorder. In the course of all my adventures, I came across the following helpful tips:
  1. I've installed libreoffice-gtk3 to ensure libre office runs under wayland
  2. I've installed the latest Gimp via flatpak to get proper wayland support
  3. I've exported MOZ_ENABLE_WAYLAND to ensure firefox works properly.
  4. I've found that passing -c to my ssh-add command to ensure I am prompted for each use of my key seems to cause sway to crash intermittently.
  5. I am working on a questionable work around to get screen sharing to work in zoom. I haven't actually tried it on a real zoom call yet.
  6. Speaking of screen sharing - when using Firefox, I can only share Xwayland screens. Firefox is running under wayland so I can't share it. Chromium is running under xwayland, so I have to use Chromium when screen sharing.
  7. Wait, scratch that about screen sharing in Firefox. I've installed xdg-desktop-portal-wlr, added export XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=sway and export XDG_SESSION_TYPE=wayland to my .bashrc, and after hours of frustration, realize that I needed to configured firejail to allow it so that I can share my entire screen in Firefox. It doesn't yet support sharing a specific window, so I still have to keep chromium around for that (and Chromium can only share xwayland windows). Sigh. Oh, one more thing about Firefox: the option to choose what to share doesn't have "Entire Screen" as an option, you are just supposed to know that you should choose "Use operating system settings".
  8. I still am getting weekly crashes. Some of them I've fixed by switching to wayland friendly versions (e.g. Libre Office and Gimp) but others I haven't yet tracked down.
  9. My keyboard does not have an altgr key, so even though I have selected the "English (US) - English (intl., with AltGr dead keys)" I can't get accent marks. I went down a rabbit hole of trying to re-map the Alt key to the right of my space bar but it all seemed too complicated. So - I found a way easier approach. In my ~/.config/sway/config file I have: bindsym Mod4+e exec wtype " ". I have repeated that line for the main accent marks I need.
  10. Due to a Firefox Bug, when I share my desktop or mic or camera, the sharing indicator expands like a normal tiling window instead of remaining a tiny little box on each desktop reminding me that I'm sharing something. I'd prefer to have it be a tiny little box, but since I can't figure that out, I've disabled it by typing about:config in the Firefox location window, searching for privacy.webrtc.legacyGlobalIndicator and setting it to False. The reddit thread also suggested finding privacy.webrtc.hideGlobalIndicator and setting it to True, but that setting doesn't seem to be available and setting the first one alone seems to do the trick.
  11. Oh, one more environment variable to set: GDK_BACKEND=wayland,x11. First I just set it to wayland to get gtk3 apps to use wayland (like gajim). But that broke electron apps (like signal) which notice that variable but don't have a way to display via wayland (at least not yet). Setting it to "wayland,x11" shows the priority. Thank you ubuntu community.
  12. I've also finally consolidated where my environment variables go. I've added them all to ~/.config/sway/env. That seems like an official sway place to put them, but sway doesn't pay any attention to them. So I start sway via my own bash script which sources that file via [ -f "$HOME/.config/sway/env" ] && . "$HOME/.config/sway/env" before exec'ing sway.

22 December 2020

Joachim Breitner: Don t think, just defunctionalize

TL;DR: CPS-conversion and defunctionalization can help you to come up with a constant-stack algorithm. Update: Turns out I inadvertedly plagiarized the talk The Best Refactoring You ve Never Heard Of by James Koppel. Please consider this a form of sincere flattery.

The starting point Today, I ll take you on a another little walk through the land of program transformations. Let s begin with a simple binary tree, with value of unknown type in the leaves, as well as the canonical map function:
data T a = L a   B (T a) (T a)
map1 :: (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map1 f (L x) = L (f x)
map1 f (B t1 t2) = B (map1 f t1) (map1 f t2)
As you can see, this map function is using the program stack as it traverses the tree. Our goal is now to come up with a map function that does not use the stack! Why? Good question! In Haskell, there wouldn t be a strong need for this, as the Haskell stack is allocated on the heap, just like your normal data, so there is plenty of stack space. But in other languages or environments, the stack space may have a hard limit, and it may be advised to not use unbounded stack space. That aside, it s a fun exercise, and that s sufficient reason for me. (In the following, I assume that tail-calls, i.e. those where a function end with another function call, but without modifying its result, do not actually use stack space. Once all recursive function calls are tail calls, the code is equivalent to an imperative loop, as we will see.)

Think? We could now just stare at the problem (rather the code), and try to come up with a solution directly. We d probably think ok, as I go through the tree, I have to remember all the nodes above me so I need a list of those nodes and for each of these nodes, I also need to remember whether I am currently processing the left child, and yet have to look at the right one, or whether I am done with the left child so what do I have to remember about the current node ? ah, my brain spins already. Maybe eventually I figure it out, but why think when we can derive the solution? So let s start with above map1, and rewrite it, in several, mechanical, steps into a stack-less, tail-recursive solution.

Go! Before we set out, let me rewrite the map function using a local go helper, as follows:
map2 :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map2 f t = go t
    go :: T a -> T b
    go (L x) = L (f x)
    go (B t1 t2) = B (go t1) (go t2)
This transformation (effectively the static argument transformation ) has the nice advantage that we do not have to pass f around all the time, and that when we copy the function, I only have to change the top-level name, but not the names of the inner functions. Also, I find it more aesthetically pleasing.

CPS A blunt, effective tool to turn code that is not yet using tail-calls into code that only uses tail-calls is use continuation-passing style. If we have a function of type -> t, we turn it into a function of type -> (t -> r) -> r, where r is the type of the result we want at the very end. This means the function now receives an extra argument, often named k for continuation, and instead of returning some x, the function calls k x. We can apply this to our go function. Here, both t and r happen to be T b; the type of finished trees:
map3 :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map3 f t = go t (\r -> r)
    go :: T a -> (T b -> T b) -> T b
    go (L x) k  = k (L (f x))
    go (B t1 t2) k  = go t1 (\r1 -> go t2 (\r2 -> k (B r1 r2)))
Note that when initially call go, we pass the identity function (\r -> r) as the initial continuation. Alas, suddenly all function calls are in tail position, and this codes does not use stack space! Technically, we are done, although it is not quite satisfying; all these lambdas floating around obscure the meaning of the code, are maybe a bit slow to execute, and also, we didn t really learn much yet. This is certainly not the code we would have writing after thinking hard .

Defunctionalization So let s continue rewriting the code to something prettier, simpler. Something that does not use lambdas like this. Again, there is a mechanical technique that can help it. It likely won't make the code prettier, but it will get rid of the lambdas, so let s do that an clean up later. The technique is called defunctionalization (because it replaces functional values by plain data values), and can be seen as a form of refinement. Note that we pass around vales of type (T b -> T b), but we certainly don t mean the full type (T b -> T b). Instead, only very specific values of that type occur in our program, So let us replace (T b -> T b) with a data type that contains representatives of just the values we actually use.
  1. We find at all values of type (T b -> T b). These are:
    • (\r -> r)
    • (\r1 -> go t2 (\r2 -> k (B r1 r2)))
    • (\r2 -> k (B r1 r2))
  2. We create a datatype with one constructor for each of these:
     data K = I   K1   K2
    (This is not complete yet.)
  3. We introduce an interpretation function that turns a K back into a (T b -> T b):
    eval :: K -> (T b -> T b)
    eval = (* TBD *)
  4. In the function go, instead of taking a parameter of type (T b -> T b), we take a K. And when we actually use the continuation, we have to turn the K back to the function using eval:
    go :: T a -> K a b -> T b
    go (L x) k  = eval k (L (f x))
    go (B t1 t2) k = go t1 K1
    We also do this to the code fragments identified in the first step; these become:
    • (\r -> r)
    • (\r1 -> go t2 K2)
    • (\r2 -> eval k (B r1 r2))
  5. Now we complete the eval function: For each constructor, we simply map it to the corresponding lambda from step 1:
    eval :: K -> (T b -> T b)
    eval I = (\r -> r)
    eval K1 = (\r1 -> go t2 K2)
    eval K2 = (\r2 -> eval k (B r1 r2))
  6. This doesn t quite work yet: We have variables on the right hand side that are not bound (t2, r1, k). So let s add them to the constructors K1 and K2 as needed. This also changes the type K itself; it now needs to take type parameters.
This leads us to the following code:
data K a b
  = I
    K1 (T a) (K a b)
    K2 (T b) (K a b)
map4 :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map4 f t = go t I
    go :: T a -> K a b -> T b
    go (L x) k  = eval k (L (f x))
    go (B t1 t2) k  = go t1 (K1 t2 k)
    eval :: K a b -> (T b -> T b)
    eval I = (\r -> r)
    eval (K1 t2 k) = (\r1 -> go t2 (K2 r1 k))
    eval (K2 r1 k) = (\r2 -> eval k (B r1 r2))
Not really cleaner or prettier, but everything is still tail-recursive, and we are now working with plain data.

We like lists To clean it up a little bit, we can notice that the K data type really is just a list of values, where the values are either T a or T b. We do not need a custom data type for this! Instead of our K, we can just use the following, built from standard data types:
type K' a b = [Either (T a) (T b)]
Now I replace I with [], K1 t2 k with Left t2 : k and K2 r1 k with Right r1 : k. I also, very suggestively, rename go to down and eval to up:
map5 :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map5 f t = down t []
    down :: T a -> K' a b -> T b
    down (L x) k  = up k (L (f x))
    down (B t1 t2) k  = down t1 (Left t2 : k)
    up :: K' a b -> T b -> T b
    up [] r = r
    up (Left  t2 : k) r1 = down t2 (Right r1 : k)
    up (Right r1 : k) r2 = up k (B r1 r2)
At this point, the code suddenly makes more sense again. In fact, I can try to verbalize it:
As we traverse the tree, we have to remember for all parent nodes, whether there is still something Left to do when we come back to it (so we remember a T a), or if we are done with that (so we have a T b). This is the list K' a b. We begin to go down the left of the tree (noting that the right siblings are still left to do), until we hit a leaf. We transform the leaf, and then go up. If we go up and hit the root, we are done. Else, if we go up and there is something Left to do, we remember the subtree that we just processed (as that is already in the Right form), and go down the other subtree. But if we go up and there is nothing Left to do, we put the two subtrees together and continue going up.
Quite neat!

The imperative loop At this point we could stop: the code is pretty, makes sense, and has the properties we want. But let s turn the dial a bit further and try to make it an imperative loop. We know that if we have a single tail-recursive function, then that s equivalent to a loop, with the function s parameter turning into mutable variables. But we have two functions! It turns out that if you have two functions a -> r and b -> r that have the same return type (which they necessarily have here, since we CPS-converted them further up), then those two functions are equivalent to a single function taking a or b , i.e. Either a b -> r. This really nothing else than the high-school level algebra rule of ra rb = ra + b. So (after reordering the arguments of down to put T b first) we can rewrite the code as
map6 :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
map6 f t = go (Left t) []
    go :: Either (T a) (T b) -> K' a b -> T b
    go (Left (L x))     k        = go (Right (L (f x))) k
    go (Left (B t1 t2)) k        = go (Left t1) (Left t2 : k)
    go (Right r)  []             = r
    go (Right r1) (Left  t2 : k) = go (Left t2) (Right r1 : k)
    go (Right r2) (Right r1 : k) = go (Right (B r1 r2)) k
Do you see the loop yet? If not, maybe it helps to compare it with the following equivalent imperative looking pseudo-code:
mapLoop :: forall a b. (a -> b) -> T a -> T b
mapLoop f t  
  var node = Left t;
  var parents = [];
  while (true)  
    switch (node)  
      Left (L x) -> node := Right (L (f x))
      Left (B t1 t2) -> node := Left t1; parents.push(Left t2)
      Right r1 ->  
        if (parents.len() == 0)  
          return r1;
          switch (parents.pop())  
            Left t2  -> node := Left t2; parents.push(Right r1);
            Right r2 -> node := Right (B r1 r2)

Conclusion I find it enlightening to see how apparently very different approaches to a problem (recursive, lazy functions and imperative loops) are connected by a series of rather mechanical transformations. When refactoring code, it is helpful to see if one can conceptualize the refactoring as one of those mechanical steps (refinement, type equivalences, defunctionalization, cps conversion etc.) If you liked this post, you might enjoy my talk The many faces of isOrderedTree, which I have presented at MuniHac 2019 and Haskell Love 2020.

27 November 2020

Shirish Agarwal: Farmer Protests and RCEP

Farmer Protests While I was hoping to write about RCEP exclusively, just today farmer protests have happened against three farm laws which had been passed by our Govt. about a month ago without consulting anybody. The bills benefit only big business houses at the cost of farmers. This has been amply shared by an open letter to one of the biggest business house which will benefit the most. Now while that is a national experience and what it tells, let me share, some experience from the State I come from, Maharashtra. About 4-5 years back Maharashtra delisted fruit and vegetables from the APMC market. But till date, the APMC market is working, why, the reasons are many. However, what it did was it forced the change to sugarcane, a water guzzling crop much more than previously. This has resulted in lowering the water table in Maharashtra and put them more into debt trap and later they had to commit suicide. Now let us see why the Punjab farmers have been so agitated that they are walking all the way to Delhi. They are right now, somewhere between Haryana-Delhi border. The reason is that because even their experiments with contract farming have not been good. This is why they are struggling to go to Delhi to make their collective voices heard and get the farm bills rolled back. Even the farmers from Gujarat were sued, but because of elections were put back, the intentions though are clear. This has also happened in Uttar Pradesh and for sugarcane and that too by Bajaj Company. At the end of the day, the laws made by the Govt. leaves our farmer at the mercy of big corporations. It is preposterous to believe that the farmer, with their small land holdings will be able to stand up to the Corporation. Add to that, they cannot go to Court. It is the SDM (Sub-Divisonal Magistrate) who will decide on the matters and has the last word. If this is allowed, in a couple of years there will be only few farmers or corporations who would have large hand-holdings, and they would be easily co-opted by the Government in power. Just in A gentleman who turned off water cannon being shot at farmers has been charged for murder  Currently, the Government procures rice in vast quantities and the farmers are assured at least some basic income, in the states of Punjab and Haryana
Procurement of Rice by Various States
Recently there was also an article in Indian Express which shares the farmer s apprehensions and does share that it s a complex problem with no easy solutions. The solution can only be dialogue between the two parties. This was also shared by Vivek Kaul, who is far more knowledgable than me on the subject and made a long read on the subject.

The Canada Way Recently, while sparring on the Internet, came to know of the Canada way. Here, the Government makes the farmer a corporation and the Government helps them. But the Canada way seems to largely work as the Canadian Government owns the majority of the lands in question. And yes, Indians have benefited from it but that is also due to a. the currency differential between Canadian dollar and Indian Rupee and the 99-year land lease. There may be other advantages that the Canadian Government bestows and that is the reason possibly that most Punjabi farmers go to Canada and UK to farm. While looking at it, I also came across the situation in the United States and it seems the situation there seems to be becoming even more grim.

RCEP RCEP stands for Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. We were supposed to be part of this partnership. Now why didn t we join, for two reasons, our judicial infrastructure is the worst. It took 8 years to decide on a tax retrospective case (Vodafone) and that too finally outside India. And that decision, by no means an end. The other thing is all those who have joined RCEP have lesser duties, tariffs then India. What this means is that they are much more competitive than India. While there is fear that perhaps that China may take over its assets as it has done with few countries around the world, the opportunity for those countries was too good to pass up even with the dangers. But, then even India has taken loans from the Asian Infrastructure Investment (AIIB) Bank where China is the biggest shareholder. So it doesn t make sense to be insecure on that front. And again, it is up to India or any other sovereign country to decide to take loans from some country, some multilateral organization or any other way and on what terms.

What China has done and doing is similar to what IMF (being used primarily by the United States) had done in its past. The only difference is that time it was the United States, now it is China. America co-opted Governments, and got assets, China doing the same, no difference in tactics, more or less the same. There has also been a somewhat interesting paper which discusses how the RCEP may unfold in different circumstances. In short, it tells that the partners will benefit, some more than others. It also does compare the RCEP to CPTPP (The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership). While the study is a bit academic in nature as the United States has walked out and the new president-elect Joe Biden hasn t made any moves and is unlikely to make any moves as there is deep divide and resentment about multilateral trade partnerships domestically within the United States. This news and understanding was quite shocking to me as it shows that unlike the United States of the past, which was supposed to be a beacon of capitalism and seemed to enjoy capitalism, it seems to be an opportunist only. There is also this truth that under Biden, there is only so many things on which he would need and can spend his political capital on.
Statistica Chart of differences between Republicans and Democrats
As can be seen, economy at least for the democrats, this time around is pretty far round the corner. He has a host of battles and would have to choose which to fight and which to ignore. In the end, we are left to our own devices. At the moment, India does not know when it s economy will recover
PTI News, Nov 27, 2020
There has been another worrying bit of news, now all newspapers will need to get some sort of permission, certification from Govt. of India about any news of the world. This is harking back on the 1970 s, 1980 s era

27 July 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: Rise of the Warrior Cop

Review: Rise of the Warrior Cop, by Radley Balko
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Copyright: 2013
ISBN: 1-61039-212-4
Format: Kindle
Pages: 336
As the United States tries, in fits and starts, to have a meaningful discussion about long-standing police racism, brutality, overreach, corruption, and murder, I've realized that my theoretical understanding of the history of and alternative frameworks for law enforcement is woefully lacking. Starting with a book by a conservative white guy is not the most ideal of approaches, but it's what I already had on hand, and it won't be the last book I read and review on this topic. (Most of my research so far has been in podcast form. I don't review those here, but I can recommend Ezra Klein's interviews with Ta-Nehisi Coates, Paul Butler, and, most strongly, sujatha baliga.) Rise of the Warrior Cop is from 2013 and has had several moments of fame, no doubt helped by Balko's connections to the conservative and libertarian right. One of the frustrating facts of US politics is that critiques of the justice system from the right (and from white men) get more media attention than critiques from the left. That said, it's a generally well-respected book on the factual history of the topic, and police brutality and civil rights are among the points on which I have stopped-clock agreements with US libertarians. This book is very, very libertarian. In my callow youth, I was an ardent libertarian, so I've read a lot of US libertarian literature. It's a genre with its own conventions that become obvious when you read enough of it, and Rise of the Warrior Cop goes through them like a checklist. Use the Roman Republic (never the Roman Empire) as the starting point for any political discussion, check. Analyze the topic in the context of pre-revolutionary America, check. Spend considerable effort on discerning the opinions of the US founders on the topic since their opinions are always relevant to the modern world, check. Locate some point in the past (preferably before 1960) where the political issue was as good as it has ever been, check. Frame all changes since then as an erosion of rights through government overreach, check. Present your solution as a return to a previous era of respect for civil rights, check. Once you start recognizing the genre conventions, their prevalence in libertarian writing is almost comical. The framing chapters therefore leave a bit to be desired, but the meat of the book is a useful resource. Starting with the 1970s and its use as a campaigning tool by Nixon, Balko traces a useful history of the war on drugs. And starting with the 1980s, the number of cites to primary sources and the evidence of Balko's own research increases considerably. If you want to know how US police turned into military cosplayers with body armor, heavy weapons, and armored vehicles, this book provides a lot of context and history. One of the reasons why I view libertarians as allies of convenience on this specific issue is that drug legalization and disgust with the war on drugs have been libertarian issues for decades. Ideologically honest libertarians (and Balko appears to be one) are inherently skeptical of the police, so when the police overreach in an area of libertarian interest, they notice. Balko makes a solid argument, backed up with statistics, specific programs, legislation, and court cases, that the drug war and its accompanying lies about heavily-armed drug dealers and their supposed threat to police officers was the fuel for the growth of SWAT teams, no-knock search warrants, erosion of legal protections for criminal defendants, and de facto license for the police to ignore the scope and sometimes even the existence of warrants. This book is useful support for the argument that fears for the safety of officers underlying the militarization of police forces are imaginary. One telling point that Balko makes repeatedly and backs with statistical and anecdotal evidence is that the police generally do not use raid tactics on dangerous criminals. On the contrary, aggressive raids are more likely to be used on the least dangerous criminals because they're faster, they're fun for the police (they provide an adrenaline high and let them play with toys), and they're essentially risk-free. If the police believe someone is truly dangerous, they're more likely to use careful surveillance and to conduct a quiet arrest at an unexpected moment. The middle-of-the-night armed break-ins with battering rams, tear gas, and flash-bangs are, tellingly, used against the less dangerous suspects. This is part of Balko's overall argument that police equipment and tactics have become untethered from any realistic threat and have become cultural. He traces an acceleration of that trend to 9/11 and the resulting obsession with terrorism, which further opened the spigot of military hardware and "special forces" training. This became a point of competition between police departments, with small town forces that had never seen a terrorist and had almost no chance of a terrorist incident demanding their own armored vehicles. I've encountered this bizarre terrorism justification personally; one of the reasons my local police department gave in a public hearing for not having a policy against shooting at moving vehicles was "but what if terrorism?" I don't believe there has ever been a local terrorist attack. SWAT in such places didn't involve the special training or dedicated personnel of large city forces; instead, it was a part-time duty for normal police officers, and frequently they were encouraged to practice SWAT tactics by using them at random for some otherwise normal arrest or search. Balko argues that those raids were more exciting than normal police work, leading to a flood of volunteers for that duty and a tendency to use them as much as possible. That in turn normalizes disconnecting police tactics from the underlying crime or situational risk. So far, so good. But despite the information I was able to extract from it, I have mixed feelings about Rise of the Warrior Cop as a whole. At the least, it has substantial limitations. First, I don't trust the historical survey of policing in this book. Libertarian writing makes for bad history. The constraints of the genre require overusing only a few points of reference, treating every opinion of the US founders as holy writ, and tying forward progress to a return to a previous era, all of which interfere with good analysis. Balko also didn't do the research for the historical survey, as is clear from the footnotes. The citations are all to other people's histories, not to primary sources. He's summarizing other people's histories, and you'll almost certainly get better history by finding well-respected historians who cover the same ground. (That said, if you're not familiar with Peel's policing principles, this is a good introduction.) Second, and this too is unfortunately predictable in a libertarian treatment, race rarely appears in this book. If Balko published the same book today, I'm sure he would say more about race, but even in 2013 its absence is strange. I was struck while reading by how many examples of excessive police force were raids on west coast pot farms; yes, I'm sure that was traumatic, but it's not the demographic I would name as the most vulnerable to or affected by police brutality. West coast pot growers are, however, mostly white. I have no idea why Balko made that choice. Perhaps he thought his target audience would be more persuaded by his argument if he focused on white victims. Perhaps he thought it was an easier and less complicated story to tell. Perhaps, like a lot of libertarians, he doesn't believe racism has a significant impact on society because it would be a market failure. Perhaps those were the people who more readily came to mind. But to talk about police militarization, denial of civil rights, and police brutality in the United States without putting race at the center of both the history and the societal effects leaves a gaping hole in the analysis. Given that lack of engagement, I also am dubious of Balko's policy prescriptions. His reform suggestions aren't unreasonable, but they stay firmly in the centrist and incrementalist camp and would benefit white people more than black people. Transparency, accountability, and cultural changes are all fine and good, but the cultural change Balko is focused on is less aggressive arrest tactics, more use of mediation, and better physical fitness. I would not object to those things (well, maybe the last, which seemed odd), but we need to have a discussion about police white supremacist organizations, the prevalence of spousal abuse, and the police tendency to see themselves not as public servants but as embattled warriors who are misunderstood by the naive sheep they are defending. And, of course, you won't find in Rise of the Warrior Cop any thoughtful wrestling with whether there are alternative approaches to community safety, whether punitive rather than restorative justice is effective, or whether crime is a symptom of deeper societal problems we could address but refuse to. The most radical suggestion Balko has is to legalize drugs, which is both the predictable libertarian position and, as we have seen from recent events in the United States, far from the only problem of overcriminalization. I understand why this book is so frequently mentioned on-line, and its author's political views may make it more palatable to some people than a more race-centered or radical perspective. But I don't think this is the best or most useful book on police violence that one could read today. I hope to find a better one in upcoming reviews. Rating: 6 out of 10

10 May 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: Golden Gates

Review: Golden Gates, by Conor Dougherty
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright: 2020
ISBN: 0-525-56022-X
Format: Kindle
Pages: 249
This review, for reasons that will hopefully become clear later, starts with a personal digression. I have been interested in political theory my entire life. That sounds like something admirable, or at least neutral. It's not. "Interested" means that I have opinions that are generally stronger than my depth of knowledge warrants. "Interested" means that I like thinking about and casting judgment on how politics should be done without doing the work of politics myself. And "political theory" is different than politics in important ways, not the least of which is that political actions have rarely been a direct danger to me or my family. I have the luxury of arguing about politics as a theory. In short, I'm at high risk of being one of those people who has an opinion about everything and shares it on Twitter. I'm still in the process (to be honest, near the beginning of the process) of making something useful out of that interest. I've had some success when I become enough a part of a community that I can do some of the political work, understand the arguments at a level deeper than theory, and have to deal with the consequences of my own opinions. But those communities have been on-line and relatively low stakes. For the big political problems, the ones that involve governments and taxes and laws, those that decide who gets medical treatment and income support and who doesn't, to ever improve, more people like me need to learn enough about the practical details that we can do the real work of fixing them, rather than only making our native (and generally privileged) communities better for ourselves. I haven't found my path helping with that work yet. But I do have a concrete, challenging, local political question that makes me coldly furious: housing policy. Hence this book. Golden Gates is about housing policy in the notoriously underbuilt and therefore incredibly expensive San Francisco Bay Area, where I live. I wanted to deepen that emotional reaction to the failures of housing policy with facts and analysis. Golden Gates does provide some of that. But this also turns out to be a book about the translation of political theory into practice, about the messiness and conflict that results, and about the difficult process of measuring success. It's also a book about how substantial agreement on the basics of necessary political change can still founder on the shoals of prioritization, tribalism, and people who are interested in political theory. In short, it's a book about the difficulty of changing the world instead of arguing about how to change it. This is not a direct analysis of housing policy, although Dougherty provides the basics as background. Rather, it's the story of the political fight over housing told primarily through two lenses: Sonja Trauss, founder of BARF (the Bay Area Renters' Federation); and a Redwood City apartment complex, the people who fought its rent increases, and the nun who eventually purchased it. Around that framework, Dougherty writes about the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the history of California's Proposition 13, a fight over a development in Lafayette, the logistics challenge of constructing sufficient housing even when approved, and the political career of Scott Wiener, the hated opponent of every city fighting for the continued ability to arbitrarily veto any new housing. One of the things Golden Gates helped clarify for me is that there are three core interest groups that have to be part of any discussion of Bay Area housing: homeowners who want to limit or eliminate local change, renters who are vulnerable to gentrification and redevelopment, and the people who want to live in that area and can't (which includes people who want to move there, but more sympathetically includes all the people who work there but can't afford to live locally, such as teachers, day care workers, food service workers, and, well, just about anyone who doesn't work in tech). (As with any political classification, statements about collectives may not apply to individuals; there are numerous people who appear to fall into one group but who vote in alignment with another.) Dougherty makes it clear that housing policy is intractable in part because the policies that most clearly help one of those three groups hurt the other two. As advertised by the subtitle, Dougherty's focus is on the fight for more housing. Those who already own homes whose values have been inflated by artificial scarcity, or who want to preserve such stratified living conditions as low-density, large-lot single-family dwellings within short mass-transit commute of one of the densest cities in the United States, don't get a lot of sympathy or focus here except as opponents. I understand this choice; I also don't have much sympathy. But I do wish that Dougherty had spent more time discussing the unsustainable promise that California has implicitly made to homeowners: housing may be impossibly expensive, but if you can manage to reach that pinnacle of financial success, the ongoing value of your home is guaranteed. He does mention this in passing, but I don't think he puts enough emphasis on the impact that a single huge, illiquid investment that is heavily encouraged by government policy has on people's attitude towards anything that jeopardizes that investment. The bulk of this book focuses on the two factions trying to make housing cheaper: Sonja Trauss and others who are pushing for construction of more housing, and tenant groups trying to manage the price of existing housing for those who have to rent. The tragedy of Bay Area housing is that even the faintest connection of housing to the economic principle of supply and demand implies that the long-term goals of those two groups align. Building more housing will decrease the cost of housing, at least if you build enough of it over a long enough period of time. But in the short term, particularly given the amount of Bay Area land pre-emptively excluded from housing by environmental protection and the actions of the existing homeowners, building more housing usually means tearing down cheap lower-density housing and replacing it with expensive higher-density housing. And that destroys people's lives. I'll admit my natural sympathy is with Trauss on pure economic grounds. There simply aren't enough places to live in the Bay Area, and the number of people in the area will not decrease. To the marginal extent that growth even slows, that's another tale of misery involving "super commutes" of over 90 minutes each way. But the most affecting part of this book was the detailed look at what redevelopment looks like for the people who thought they had housing, and how it disrupts and destroys existing communities. It's impossible to read those stories and not be moved. But it's equally impossible to not be moved by the stories of people who live in their cars during the week, going home only on weekends because they have to live too far away from their jobs to commute. This is exactly the kind of politics that I lose when I take a superficial interest in political theory. Even when I feel confident in a guiding principle, the hard part of real-world politics is bringing real people with you in the implementation and mitigating the damage that any choice of implementation will cause. There are a lot of details, and those details matter. Without the right balance between addressing a long-term deficit and providing short-term protection and relief, an attempt to alleviate unsustainable long-term misery creates more short-term misery for those least able to afford it. And while I personally may have less sympathy for the relatively well-off who have clawed their way into their own mortgage, being cavalier with their goals and their financial needs is both poor ethics and poor politics. Mobilizing political opponents who have resources and vote locally isn't a winning strategy. Dougherty is a reporter, not a housing or public policy expert, so Golden Gates poses problems and tells stories rather than describes solutions. This book didn't lead me to a brilliant plan for fixing the Bay Area housing crunch, or hand me a roadmap for how to get effectively involved in local politics. What it did do is tell stories about what political approaches have worked, how they've worked, what change they've created, and the limitations of that change. Solving political problems is work. That work requires understanding people and balancing concerns, which in turn requires a lot of empathy, a lot of communication, and sometimes finding a way to make unlikely allies. I'm not sure how broad the appeal of this book will be outside of those who live in the region. Some aspects of the fight for housing generalize, but the Bay Area (and I suspect every region) has properties specific to it or to the state of California. It has also reached an extreme of housing shortage that is rivaled in the United States only by New York City, which changes the nature of the solutions. But if you want to seriously engage with Bay Area housing policy, knowing the background explained here is nearly mandatory. There are some flaws I wish Dougherty would have talked more about traffic and transit policy, although I realize that could be another book but this is an important story told well. If this somewhat narrow topic is within your interests, highly recommended. Rating: 8 out of 10

29 March 2020

Paulo Henrique de Lima Santana: My free software activities in February 2020

My free software activities in february 2020 March is ending but I finally wrote my monthly report about activities in Debian and Free Software in general for February. As I already wrote here, I attended to FOSDEM 2020 on February 1st and 2nd in Brussels. It was a amazing experience. After my return to Curitiba, I felt my energies renewed to start new challenges.

MiniDebConf Macei 2020 I continued helping to organize MiniDebConf and I got positive answers from 4Linux and and they are sponsorsing the event.

FLISOL 2020 I started to talk with Maristela from IEP - Instituto de Engenharia do Paran and after some messages and I joined a meeting with her and other members of C mara T cnica de Eletr nica, Computa o e Ci ncias de Dados. I explained about FLISOL in Curitiba to them and they agreed to host the event at IEP. I asked to use three spaces: Auditorium for FLISOL talks, Sal o Nobre for meetups from WordPress and PostgreSQL Communities, and the hall for Install Fest. Besides FLISOL, they would like to host other events and meetups from Communities in Curitiba as Python, PHP, and so on. At least one per month. I helped to schedule a PHP Paran Community meetup on March.

New job Since 17th I started to work at Rentcars as Infrastructure Analyst. I m very happy to work there because we use a lot of FLOSS and with nice people. Ubuntu LTS is the approved OS for desktops but I could install Debian on my laptop :-)

Misc I signed pgp keys from friends I met in Brussels and I had my pgp key signed by them. Finally my MR to the DebConf20 website fixing some texts was accepted. I have watched v deos from FOSDEM
  1. Until now, I saw these great talks:
  • Growing Sustainable Contributions Through Ambassador Networks
  • Building Ethical Software Under Capitalism
  • Cognitive biases, blindspots and inclusion
  • Building a thriving community in company-led open source projects
  • Building Community for your Company s OSS Projects
  • The Ethics of Open Source
  • Be The Leader You Need in Open Source
  • The next generation of contributors is not on IRC
  • Open Source Won, but Software Freedom Hasn t Yet
  • Open Source Under Attack
  • Lessons Learned from Cultivating Open Source Projects and Communities
That s all folks!

24 September 2017

Julian Andres Klode: APT 1.5 is out

APT 1.5 is out, after almost 3 months the release of 1.5 alpha 1, and almost six months since the release of 1.4 on April 1st. This release cycle was unusually short, as 1.4 was the stretch release series and the zesty release series, and we waited for the latter of these releases before we started 1.5. In related news, 1.4.8 hit stretch-proposed-updates today, and is waiting in the unapproved queue for zesty. This release series moves https support from apt-transport-https into apt proper, bringing with it support for https:// proxies, and support for autodetectproxy scripts that return http, https, and socks5h proxies for both http and https. Unattended updates and upgrades now work better: The dependency on network-online was removed and we introduced a meta wait-online helper with support for NetworkManager, systemd-networkd, and connman that allows us to wait for network even if we want to run updates directly after a resume (which might or might not have worked before, depending on whether update ran before or after network was back up again). This also improves a boot performance regression for systems with rc.local files: The rc.local.service unit specified, and login stuff was After=rc.local.service, and apt-daily.timer was, causing to be pulled into the boot and the rc.local.service ordering dependency to take effect, significantly slowing down the boot. An earlier less intrusive variant of that fix is in 1.4.8: It just moves the Want/After from apt-daily.timer to apt-daily.service so most boots are uncoupled now. I hope we get the full solution into stretch in a later point release, but we should gather some experience first before discussing this with the release time. Balint Reczey also provided a patch to increase the time out before killing the daily upgrade service to 15 minutes, to actually give unattended-upgrades some time to finish an in-progress update. Honestly, I d have though the machine hung up and force rebooted it after 5 seconds already. (this patch is also in 1.4.8) We also made sure that unreadable config files no longer cause an error, but only a warning, as that was sort of a regression from previous releases; and we added documentation for /etc/apt/auth.conf, so people actually know the preferred way to place sensitive data like passwords (and can make their sources.list files world-readable again). We also fixed apt-cdrom to support discs without MD5 hashes for Sources (the Files field), and re-enabled support for udev-based detection of cdrom devices which was accidentally broken for 4 years, as it was trying to load at runtime, but that library had an SONAME change to we now link against it normally. Furthermore, if certain information in Release files change, like the codename, apt will now request confirmation from the user, avoiding a scenario where a user has stable in their sources.list and accidentally upgrades to the next release when it becomes stable. Paul Wise contributed patches to allow configuring the apt-daily intervals more easily apt-daily is invoked twice a day by systemd but has more fine-grained internal timestamp files. You can now specify the intervals in seconds, minutes, hours, and day units, or specify always to always run (that is, up to twice a day on systemd, once per day on non-systemd platforms). Development for the 1.6 series has started, and I intent to upload a first alpha to unstable in about a week, removing the apt-transport-https package and enabling compressed index files by default (save space, a lot of space, at not much performance cost thanks to lz4). There will also be some small clean ups in there, but I don t expect any life-changing changes for now. I think our new approach of uploading development releases directly to unstable instead of parking them in experimental is working out well. Some people are confused why alpha releases appear in unstable, but let me just say one thing: These labels basically just indicate feature-completeness, and not stability. An alpha is just very likely to get a lot more features, a beta is less likely (all the big stuff is in), and the release candidates just fix bugs. Also, we now have 3 active stable series: The 1.2 LTS series, 1.4 medium LTS, and 1.5. 1.2 receives updates as part of Ubuntu 16.04 (xenial), 1.4 as part of Debian 9.0 (stretch) and Ubuntu 17.04 (zesty); whereas 1.5 will only be supported for 9 months (as part of Ubuntu 17.10). I think the stable release series are working well, although 1.4 is a bit tricky being shared by stretch and zesty right now (but zesty is history soon, so ).
Filed under: Debian, Ubuntu

23 July 2017

Gregor Herrmann: RC bugs 2017/08-29

long time no blog post. & the stretch release happened without many RC bug fixes from me; in practice, the auto-removals are faster & more convenient. what I nevertheless did in the last months was to fix RC bugs in pkg-perl packages (it still surprises me how fast rotting & constantly moving code is); prepare RC bug fixes for jessie (also for pkg-perl packages); & in the last weeks provide patches & carry out NMUs for perl packages as part of the ongoing perl 5.26 transition.

13 April 2017

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian s report about Debian Long Term Support, March 2017

A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS. Individual reports In March, about 190 work hours have been dispatched among 14 paid contributors. Their reports are available: Evolution of the situation The number of sponsored hours has been unchanged but will likely decrease slightly next month as one sponsor will not renew his support (because they have switched to CentOS). The security tracker currently lists 52 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file 40. The number of open issues continued its slight increase not worrisome yet but we need to keep an eye on this situation. Thanks to our sponsors New sponsors are in bold.

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16 March 2017

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian s report about Debian Long Term Support, February 2017

A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS. Individual reports In January, about 154 work hours have been dispatched among 13 paid contributors. Their reports are available: Evolution of the situation The number of sponsored hours increased slightly thanks to Bearstech and LiHAS joining us. The security tracker currently lists 45 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file 39. The number of open issues continued its slight increase, this time it could be explained by the fact that many contributors did not spend all the hours allocated (for various reasons). There s nothing worrisome at this point. Thanks to our sponsors New sponsors are in bold.

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13 February 2017

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian s report about Debian Long Term Support, January 2017

A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS. Individual reports In January, about 159 work hours have been dispatched among 13 paid contributors. Their reports are available: Evolution of the situation The number of sponsored hours increased slightly thanks to Exonet joining us. The security tracker currently lists 37 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file 36. The situation is roughly similar to last month even though the number of open issues increased slightly. Thanks to our sponsors New sponsors are in bold.

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30 January 2017

Shirish Agarwal: Different strokes

Delhi Metro - courtesy Statutory warning It s a long read. I start by sharing I regret, I did not hold onto the Budget and Economics 101 blog post for one more day. I had been holding/thinking on to it for almost couple of weeks before posting, if I had just waited a day more, I would have been able to share an Indian Express story . While I thought that the work for the budget starts around 3 months before the budget, I came to learn from that article that it takes 6 months. As can be seen in the article, it is somewhat of a wasted opportunity, part of it probably due to the Government (irrespective of any political party, dynasty etc.) mismanagement. What has not been stated in the article is what I had shared earlier, reading between the lines, it seems that the Government isn t able to trust what it hears from its advisers and man on the street. Unlike Chanakya and many wise people before him who are credited with advising about good governance, that a good king is one who goes out in disguise, learns how his/er subjects are surviving, seeing what ills them and taking or even not taking corrective steps after seeing the problem from various angles. Of course it s easier said then done, though lot of Indian kings did try and ran successful provinces. There were also some who were more interested in gambling, women and threw/frittered away their kingdoms. The 6-month things while not being said in the Express article is probably more about checking and re-checking figures and sources to make sure they are able to read whatever pattern the various Big Businesses, Industry, Social Welfare schemes and people are saying I guess. And unless mass digitalization as well as overhaul of procedures, Right to Information (RTI) happens, don t see any improvement in the way the information is collected, interpreted and shared with the public at large. It would also require people who are able to figure out how things work sharing the inferences (right or wrong) through various media so there is discussion about figures and policy-making. Such researchers and their findings are sadly missing in Indian public discourses and only found in glossy coffee table books :(. One of the most basic question for instance is, How much of any policy should be based on facts and figures and how much giving fillip to products and services needed in short to medium term ? Also how much morality should play a part in Public Policy ? Surprisingly, or probably not, most Indian budgets are populist by nature with some scientific basis but most of the times there is no dialog about how the FM came to some conclusion or Policy-making. I am guessing a huge part of that has also to do with basic illiteracy as well as Economic and Financial Illiteracy. Just to share a well-known world-over example, one of the policies where the Government of India has been somewhat lethargic is wired broadband penetration. As have shared umpteen times, while superficially broadband penetration is happening, most of the penetration is the unreliable and more expensive mobile broadband penetration. While this may come as a shock to many of the users of technology, BSNL, a Government company who provides broadband for almost 70-80% of the ADSL wired broadband subscribers gives 50:1 contention ratio to its customers. One can now understand the pathetic speeds along with very old copper wiring (20 odd years) on which the network is running. The idea/idiom of running network using duct-tape seems pretty apt in here  Now, the Government couple of years ago introduced FFTH Fiber-to-the-home but because the charges are so high, it s not going anywhere. The Government could say 10% discount in your Income Tax rates if you get FFTH. This would force people to get FFTH and would also force BSNL to clean up its act. It has been documented that a percentage increase in broadband equals a similar percentage rise in GDP. Having higher speeds of broadband would mean better quality of streaming video as well as all sorts of remote teaching and sharing of ideas which will give a lot of fillip to all sorts of IT peripherals in short, medium and long-term as well. Not to mention, all the software that will be invented/coded to take benefit of all that speed. Although, realistically speaking I am cynical that the Government would bring something like this  Moving on Behind a truck - Courtesy Another interesting story which I had shared was a bit about World History Now the Economist sort of confirmed how things are in Pakistan. What is and was interesting that the article is made by a politically left-leaning magazine which is for globalization, business among other things . So, there seem to be only three options, either I and the magazine are correct or we both are reading it wrong. The third and last option is that the United States realize that Pakistan can no longer be trusted as Pakistan is siding more and more with Chinese and Russians, hence the article. Atlhough it seems a somewhat far-fetched idea as I don t see the magazine getting any brownie points with President Trump. Unless, The Economist becomes more hawkish, more right-wingish due to the new establishment. I can t claim to have any major political understanding or expertise but it does seem that Pakistan is losing friends. Even UAE have been cautiously building bridges with us. Now how this will play out in the medium to long-term depends much on the personal equations of the two heads of state, happenings in geopolitics around the world and the two countries, decisions they take, it is a welcome opportunity as far they (the Saudis) have funds they want to invest and India can use those investments to make new infrastructure. Now, I need a bit of help of Java and VCS (Version control system) experts . There is a small game project called Mars-Sim. I asked probably a few more questions than I should have and the result was that I was made a member of the game team even though I had shared with them that I m a non-coder. I think such a game is important as it s foss. Both the game itself is foss as well as its build-tools with a basic wiki. Such a game would be useful not only to Debian but all free software distributions. Journeying into the game Unfortunately, the game as it is currently, doesn t work with openjdk8 but private conversations with the devs. have shared they will work on getting it to work on OpenJDK 9 which though is sometime away. Now as it is a game, I knew it would have multiple multimedia assets. It took me quite sometime to figure out where most of the multimedia assets are. I was shocked to find that there aren t any tool/s in Debian as well a GNU/Linux to know about types of content is there inside a directory and its sub-directories. I framed it in a query and found a script as an answer . I renamed the script to (for lack of imagination of better name). After that, I downloaded a snapshot of the head of the project from where it shows a link to download the snapshot. unzipped it and then ran the script on it [$] bash mars-sim-code-3846-trunk
theme: 1770
dtd: 31915
py: 10815
project: 5627
JPG: 762476
fxml: 59490
vm: 876
dat: 15841044
java: 13052271
store: 1343
gitignore: 8
jpg: 3473416
md: 5156
lua: 57
gz: 1447
desktop: 281
wav: 83278
1: 2340
css: 323739
frag: 471
svg: 8948591
launch: 9404
index: 11520
iml: 27186
png: 3268773
json: 1217
ttf: 2861016
vert: 712
ogg: 12394801
prefs: 11541
properties: 186731
gradle: 611
classpath: 8538
pro: 687
groovy: 2711
form: 5780
txt: 50274
xml: 794365
js: 1465072
dll: 2268672
html: 1676452
gif: 38399
sum: 23040
(none): 1124
jsx: 32070
It gave me some idea of what sort of file were under the repository. I do wish the script defaulted to showing file-sizes in KB if not MB to better assess how the directory is made up but not a big loss . The above listing told me that at the very least theme, JPG, dat, wav, png, ogg and lastly gif files. For lack of better tools and to get an overview of where those multimedia assets used ncdu [shirish@debian] - [~/games/mars-sim-code-3846-trunk] - [10210]
[$] ncdu mars-sim/
--- /home/shirish/games/mars-sim-code-3846-trunk/mars-sim --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
46.2 MiB [##########] /mars-sim-ui
15.2 MiB [### ] /mars-sim-mapdata
8.3 MiB [# ] /mars-sim-core
2.1 MiB [ ] /mars-sim-service
500.0 KiB [ ] /mars-sim-main
188.0 KiB [ ] /mars-sim-android
72.0 KiB [ ] /mars-sim-network
16.0 KiB [ ] pom.xml
12.0 KiB [ ] /.settings
4.0 KiB [ ]
4.0 KiB [ ] mars-sim.iml
4.0 KiB [ ] .project
I found that all the media is distributed randomly and posted a ticket about it. As I m not even a java newbie, could somebody look at mokun s comment and help out please ? On the same project, there has been talk of migrating to Now whatever little I know of git, it makes a copy of the whole repository under .git/ folder/directory so having multimedia assets under git is a bad, bad idea, as each multimedia binary format file would be unique and no possibility of diff. between two binary files even though they may be the same file with some addition or subtraction from earlier version. I did file a question but am unhappy with the answers given. Can anybody give some definitive answers if they have been able to do how I am proposing , if yes, how did they go about it ? And lastly Immigrants of the United States in 2000 by country of birth America was founded by immigrants. Everybody knows the story about American Indians, the originals of the land were over-powered by the European settlers. So any claim, then and now that immigration did not help United States is just a lie. This came due to a conversation on #debconf by andrewsh
[18:37:06] I d be more than happy myself to apply for an US tourist not transit visa when I really need it, as a transit visa isn t really useful, is just as costly as a tourist visa, and nearly as difficult to get as a tourist visa
[18:37:40] I m not entirely sure I wish to transit through the US in its Trumplandia incarnation either
[18:38:07] likely to be more difficult and unfun
FWIW I am in complete agreement with Andrew s assessment of how it might be with foreigners. It has been on my mind and thoughts for quite some time although andrewsh put it eloquently. But as always I m getting ahead of myself. The conversation is because debconf this year would be in Canada. For many a cheap flight, one of the likely layovers/stopover can be the United States. I actually would have gone one step further, even if it was cheap transit visa, it would equally be unfun as it would discriminate. About couple of years back, a friend of mine while explaining what visa is, put it rather succinctly the visa officer looks at only 3 things a. Your financial position something which tells that you can take care of your financial needs if things go south b. You are not looking to settle there unlawfully c. You are not a criminal. While costs do matter, what is disturbing more is the form of extremism being displayed therein. While Indians from the South Asian continent in US have been largely successful, love to be in peace (one-off incidents do and will happen anywhere) if I had to take a transit or tourist visa in this atmosphere, it would leave a bad taste in the mouth. When one of my best friends is a Muslim, 20% of the population in India is made of Muslims and 99% of the time both of us co-exist in peace I simply can t take any alternative ideology. Even in Freakonomics 2.0 the authors when they shared that it s less than 0.1 percent of Muslims who are engaged in terrorist activities, if they were even 1 percent than all the world s armed forces couldn t fight them and couldn t keep anyone safe. Which simply means that 99.99% of even all Muslims are good. This resonates strongly with me for number of reasons. One of my uncles in early to late 80 s had an opportunity for work to visit Russia for official work. He went there and there were Secret Police after him all the time. While he didn t know it, I later read it, that it was SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) when all and any foreigners came visiting the country, and not just foreigners, they had spies for their own citizens. Russka a book I read several years ago explained the paranoia beautifully. While U.S. in those days was a more welcoming place for him. I am thankful as well as find it strange that Canada and States have such different visa procedures. While Canada would simply look at the above things, probably discreetly inquire about you if you have been a bad boy/girl in any way and then make a decision which is fine. For United States, even for a transit visa I probably would have to go to Interview where my world view would probably be in conflict with the current American world view. Interestingly, while I was looking at conversations on the web and one thing that is missing there is that nobody has talked about intelligence community. What Mr. Trump is saying in not so many words is that our intelligence even with all the e-mails we monitor and everything we do, we still can t catch you. It almost seems like giving a back-handed compliment to the extremists saying you do a better job than our intelligence community. This doesn t mean that States doesn t have interesting things to give to the world, Star Trek conventions, Grand Canyon (which probably would require me more than a month or more to explore even a little part), NASA, Intel, AMD, SpaceX, CES (when it s held) and LPC (Linux Plumber s conference where whose who come to think of roadmap for GNU/Linux). What I wouldn t give to be a fly in the wall when LPC, CES happens in the States. What I actually found very interesting is that in the current Canadian Government, if what I read and heard is true, then Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada made 50 of his cabinet female. Just like in the article, studies even in Indian parliament have shown that when women are in power, questions about social justice, equality, common good get asked and policies made. If I do get the opportunity to be part of debconf, I would like to see, hear, watch, learn how the women cabinet is doing things. I am assuming that reporting and analysis standards of whatever decisions are more transparent and more people are engaged in the political process to know what their elected representatives are doing. Mountain biking in British Columbia, Canada - source One another interesting point I came to know is that Canada is home to bicycling paths. While I stopped bicycling years ago  as it has been becoming more and more dangerous to bicycle here in Pune as there is no demarcation for cyclists, I am sure lot of Canadians must be using this opportunity fully. Lastly, on the debconf preparation stage, things have started becoming a bit more urgent and hectic. From a monthly IRC meet, it has now become a weekly meet. Both the wiki and the website are slowly taking up shape. is a nice way to know/see progress of the activities happening . One important decision that would be taken today is where people would stay during debconf. There are options between on-site and two places around the venue, one 1.9 km around, the other 5 km. mark. Each has its own good and bad points. It would be interesting to see which place gets selected and why.
Filed under: Miscellenous Tagged: #budget, #Canada, #debconf organization, #discrimination, #Equal Opportunity, #Fiber, #svn, #United States, #Version Control, Broadband, Git, Pakistan, Subversion

25 January 2017

B lint R czey: Stretch preparations before the freeze

These are the last hours when we can update packages and they migrate to testing after 10 days right before the full freeze on 5 February. The latest Wireshark upstream version, 2.2.4 has been released on Monday and it is waiting patiently to be part of next Debian stable. I have just tested the fix for Kodi s bug preventing playing DVD-s and today it will be fixed in unstable as well. If you have packages which could be updated to make Stretch even better you can still do it today, but don t wait too long! Thanks to everyone working on Debian! Stretch will be awesome!

18 January 2017

B lint R czey: My debian-devel pledge

I pledge that before sending each email to the debian-devel mailing list I move forward at least one actionable bug in my packages.

16 January 2017

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian s report about Debian Long Term Support, December 2016

A Debian LTS logoLike each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS. Individual reports In December, about 175 work hours have been dispatched among 14 paid contributors. Their reports are available: Evolution of the situation The number of sponsored hours did not increase but a new silver sponsor is in the process of joining. We are only missing another silver sponsor (or two to four bronze sponsors) to reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full time position. The security tracker currently lists 31 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file 27. The situation improved a little bit compared to last month. Thanks to our sponsors New sponsors are in bold.

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10 January 2017

B lint R czey: Debian Developer Game of the Year

I have just finished level one, fixing all RC bugs in packages under my name, even in team-maintained ones.  Next level is no unclassified bug reports, which gonna be harder since I have just adopted shadow with 70+ open bugs. :-\ Luckily I can still go on bonus tracks which is fixing (RC) bugs in others packages, but one should not spend all the time on those track before finishing level 1! PS: Last time I tried playing a conventional game I ended up fixing it in a few minutes instead.