Search Results: "booth"

12 July 2022

Matthew Garrett: Responsible stewardship of the UEFI secure boot ecosystem

After I mentioned that Lenovo are now shipping laptops that only boot Windows by default, a few people pointed to a Lenovo document that says:

Starting in 2022 for Secured-core PCs it is a Microsoft requirement for the 3rd Party Certificate to be disabled by default.

"Secured-core" is a term used to describe machines that meet a certain set of Microsoft requirements around firmware security, and by and large it's a good thing - devices that meet these requirements are resilient against a whole bunch of potential attacks in the early boot process. But unfortunately the 2022 requirements don't seem to be publicly available, so it's difficult to know what's being asked for and why. But first, some background.

Most x86 UEFI systems that support Secure Boot trust at least two certificate authorities:

1) The Microsoft Windows Production PCA - this is used to sign the bootloader in production Windows builds. Trusting this is sufficient to boot Windows.
2) The Microsoft Corporation UEFI CA - this is used by Microsoft to sign non-Windows UEFI binaries, including built-in drivers for hardware that needs to work in the UEFI environment (such as GPUs and network cards) and bootloaders for non-Windows.

The apparent secured-core requirement for 2022 is that the second of these CAs should not be trusted by default. As a result, drivers or bootloaders signed with this certificate will not run on these systems. This means that, out of the box, these systems will not boot anything other than Windows[1].

Given the association with the secured-core requirements, this is presumably a security decision of some kind. Unfortunately, we have no real idea what this security decision is intended to protect against. The most likely scenario is concerns about the (in)security of binaries signed with the third-party signing key - there are some legitimate concerns here, but I'm going to cover why I don't think they're terribly realistic.

The first point is that, from a boot security perspective, a signed bootloader that will happily boot unsigned code kind of defeats the point. Kaspersky did it anyway. The second is that even a signed bootloader that is intended to only boot signed code may run into issues in the event of security vulnerabilities - the Boothole vulnerabilities are an example of this, covering multiple issues in GRUB that could allow for arbitrary code execution and potential loading of untrusted code.

So we know that signed bootloaders that will (either through accident or design) execute unsigned code exist. The signatures for all the known vulnerable bootloaders have been revoked, but that doesn't mean there won't be other vulnerabilities discovered in future. Configuring systems so that they don't trust the third-party CA means that those signed bootloaders won't be trusted, which means any future vulnerabilities will be irrelevant. This seems like a simple choice?

There's actually a couple of reasons why I don't think it's anywhere near that simple. The first is that whenever a signed object is booted by the firmware, the trusted certificate used to verify that object is measured into PCR 7 in the TPM. If a system previously booted with something signed with the Windows Production CA, and is now suddenly booting with something signed with the third-party UEFI CA, the values in PCR 7 will be different. TPMs support "sealing" a secret - encrypting it with a policy that the TPM will only decrypt it if certain conditions are met. Microsoft make use of this for their default Bitlocker disk encryption mechanism. The disk encryption key is encrypted by the TPM, and associated with a specific PCR 7 value. If the value of PCR 7 doesn't match, the TPM will refuse to decrypt the key, and the machine won't boot. This means that attempting to attack a Windows system that has Bitlocker enabled using a non-Windows bootloader will fail - the system will be unable to obtain the disk unlock key, which is a strong indication to the owner that they're being attacked.

The second is that this is predicated on the idea that removing the third-party bootloaders and drivers removes all the vulnerabilities. In fact, there's been rather a lot of vulnerabilities in the Windows bootloader. A broad enough vulnerability in the Windows bootloader is arguably a lot worse than a vulnerability in a third-party loader, since it won't change the PCR 7 measurements and the system will boot happily. Removing trust in the third-party CA does nothing to protect against this.

The third reason doesn't apply to all systems, but it does to many. System vendors frequently want to ship diagnostic or management utilities that run in the boot environment, but would prefer not to have to go to the trouble of getting them all signed by Microsoft. The simple solution to this is to ship their own certificate and sign all their tooling directly - the secured-core Lenovo I'm looking at currently is an example of this, with a Lenovo signing certificate. While everything signed with the third-party signing certificate goes through some degree of security review, there's no requirement for any vendor tooling to be reviewed at all. Removing the third-party CA does nothing to protect the user against the code that's most likely to contain vulnerabilities.

Obviously I may be missing something here - Microsoft may well have a strong technical justification. But they haven't shared it, and so right now we're left making guesses. And right now, I just don't see a good security argument.

But let's move on from the technical side of things and discuss the broader issue. The reason UEFI Secure Boot is present on most x86 systems is that Microsoft mandated it back in 2012. Microsoft chose to be the only trusted signing authority. Microsoft made the decision to assert that third-party code could be signed and trusted.

We've certainly learned some things since then, and a bunch of things have changed. Third-party bootloaders based on the Shim infrastructure are now reviewed via a community-managed process. We've had a productive coordinated response to the Boothole incident, which also taught us that the existing revocation strategy wasn't going to scale. In response, the community worked with Microsoft to develop a specification for making it easier to handle similar events in future. And it's also worth noting that after the initial Boothole disclosure was made to the GRUB maintainers, they proactively sought out other vulnerabilities in their codebase rather than simply patching what had been reported. The free software community has gone to great lengths to ensure third-party bootloaders are compatible with the security goals of UEFI Secure Boot.

So, to have Microsoft, the self-appointed steward of the UEFI Secure Boot ecosystem, turn round and say that a bunch of binaries that have been reviewed through processes developed in negotiation with Microsoft, implementing technologies designed to make management of revocation easier for Microsoft, and incorporating fixes for vulnerabilities discovered by the developers of those binaries who notified Microsoft of these issues despite having no obligation to do so, and which have then been signed by Microsoft are now considered by Microsoft to be insecure is, uh, kind of impolite? Especially when unreviewed vendor-signed binaries are still considered trustworthy, despite no external review being carried out at all.

If Microsoft had a set of criteria used to determine whether something is considered sufficiently trustworthy, we could determine which of these we fell short on and do something about that. From a technical perspective, Microsoft could set criteria that would allow a subset of third-party binaries that met additional review be trusted without having to trust all third-party binaries[2]. But, instead, this has been a decision made by the steward of this ecosystem without consulting major stakeholders.

If there are legitimate security concerns, let's talk about them and come up with solutions that fix them without doing a significant amount of collateral damage. Don't complain about a vendor blocking your apps and then do the same thing yourself.

[Edit to add: there seems to be some misunderstanding about where this restriction is being imposed. I bought this laptop because I'm interested in investigating the Microsoft Pluton security processor, but Pluton is not involved at all here. The restriction is being imposed by the firmware running on the main CPU, not any sort of functionality implemented on Pluton]

[1] They'll also refuse to run any drivers that are stored in flash on Thunderbolt devices, which means eGPU setups may be more complicated, as will netbooting off Thunderbolt-attached NICs
[2] Use a different leaf cert to sign the new trust tier, add the old leaf cert to dbx unless a config option is set, leave the existing intermediate in db

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1 August 2020

Andrew Cater: Debian 10.5 Buster point release 20200801 - all of the fixes :)

The point release is happening today for Debian Buster 10.5. This is an important release because it incorporates all the recent security fixes from the latest GRUB / Secure Boot "Boothole" security problems.

Behind the scenes, there has been a lot of work to get this right: a release subject to an embargo to allow all the Linux releases to co-ordinate this as far as possible, lots of consistent effort, lots of cooperation - the very best of Free/Libre/Open Source working together.

Secure Boot shims are signed with a different key to go to upstream this time around: in due course, when revocation of old, insecure code happens to plug the security hole, older media may be deny-listed. All the updates for all the affected packages (listed in https://www.debian.org/security/2020-GRUB-UEFI-SecureBoot/ ) are included in this release.

This has been a major wake-up call: the work behind the scenes has meant that each affected Linux distribution will be in a much better position going forward and working together is always good.

13 April 2020

Shirish Agarwal: Migrant worker woes and many other stories

I was gonna use this blog post to share about the migrant worker woes as there has been multiple stories doing the rounds. For e.g. a story which caught the idea of few people but most of us, i.e. middle-class people are so much into our own thing that we care a fig leaf about what happens to migrants. This should not be a story coming from a humane society but it seems India is no different than any other country of the world and in not a good way. Allow me to share
Or for those who don t like youtube, here s an alternative link https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=JGEgZq_1jmc Now the above two editorial shares two stories, one of Trump retaliatory threat to India in the Q&A of the journalist. In fact, Trump has upped the ante on visa sanctions as India buckled so easily under pressure. There have been other stories doing the rounds how people who have illnesses who need HCQ in India are either dying or are close to death because of unavailability of HCQ in the medicine shop. There have been reports in Pune as well as South Mumbai (one of the poshest localities in Mumbai/Bombay) that medicine shops are running empty or emptier. There have been so many stories on that, with reporters going to shops and asking owners of the medicine shops and shop-owners being clueless. I think the best article which vividly describes the Government of India (GOI) response to the pandemic is the free-to-read article shared by Arundhati Roy in Financial Times. It has reduced so much of my work or sharing that it s unbelievable. And she has shared it with pictures and all so I can share other aspects of how the pandemic has been affecting India and bringing the worst out in the Government in its our of need. In fact, not surprisingly though, apparently there was also a pro-Israel similar thing which happened in Africa too . As India has too few friends now globally, hence it decided to give a free pass to them.

Government of India, news agencies and paid News One of the attempts the state tried to do, although very late IMHO is that it tried to reach out to the opposition i.e. Congress party and the others. Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, who is the Congress president asked that the Government should not run any of its ads on private television channels for a period of two years. There had been plenty of articles, both by medianama and others who have alleged that at least from the last 6 odd years, Government ads. comprise of almost 50-60% advertising budget of a channel advertising budget. This has been discussed also in medianama s roundtable on online content which happened few months back. While an edited version is out there on YT, this was full two day s event which happened across two different cities.
or the alternative to youtube https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=c1PhWR1-Urs It was as if the roundtable discussions were not enough, Mrs. Gandhi clarion call was answered by News Broadcaster s Association (NBA) and this is what they had to say
News Broadcasters Association reply to Mrs. Gandhi
To put it simply, NBA deplored the suggestion by Mrs. Gandhi and even called the economy in recession and all they had were the Government s own advertising budget to justify their existence. The statements in themselves are highly pregnant and reveal both the relationship that the media, print or mainstream news channels have with the Government of India. Now if you see that, doesn t it make sense that media always slants the story from the Government s perspective rather than remaining neutral. If my bread basket were on the onus of me siding with the Govt. that is what most sane persons would do, otherwise they would resign and leave which many reporters who had a conscience did. Interestingly enough, the NBA statement didn t just end there but also used the word recession , this is the term that Government of India (GOI) hates and has in turn has been maintaining the word, terminology slowdown . While from a layman s perspective the two terms may seem to be similar, if India has indeed been in recession then the tools and the decisions that should have been taken by GOI should have been much different than what they took. Interestingly, enough GOI has refrained from saying anything on the matter which only reveals their own interests in the matter. Also if an association head is making the statement, it is more than likely that he consulted a lawyer or two and used application of mind while drafting the response. In other words, or put more simply, this was a very carefully drafted letter because they know that tomorrow the opposition party may come into power so they don t want to upset the power dynamics too much.

Privacy issues arising due to the Pandemic On the same Financial Times, two stories which dealt with the possible privacy violations due to the Pandemic have been doing the rounds. The first one, by Yuval Noah Harari is more exploratory by nature and makes some very good points without going far too deep into specific instances of recent times but rather goes into history and past instances where Governments have used the pandemics to exert more control over their populace and drive their agenda. I especially liked the last few lines which he shared in his op-ed Even if the current administration eventually changes tack and comes up with a global plan of action, few would follow a leader who never takes responsibility, who never admits mistakes, and who routinely takes all the credit for himself while leaving all the blame to others. Yuval Noah Harari . The whole statement could right fit onto the American President which he was talking about while at the same time, fits right into the current Indian Prime Minister, Boris Johnson of UK and perhaps Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil. All these three-four individuals have in common is that most of them belong to right-wing and hence cater only to the rich industrialist s agenda. While I don t know about Jair Bolsanaro much, at least three out of four had to turn to socialism and had to give some bailout packages to the public at large, even though continuing to undermine their own actions. More on this probably a bit down the line. The second story shared by Nic Fildes and Javier Espinoza who broke the story of various surveillance attempts and the privacy concerns that people have. Even the Indian PMO has asked this data and because there was no protest by the civil society, a token protest was done by COAI (Cellular Operator Association of India) but beyond that nothing, I am guessing because the civil society didn t make much noise as everybody is busy with their own concerns of safety and things going on, it s possible that such data may have gone to the Government. There is not much new here that people who had been working on the privacy issues know, it s just how easy Governments are finding to do it. The part of informed consent is really a misnomer . Governments lie all the time, for e.g. in the UK, did the leave party and people take informed consent, no they pushed their own agenda. This is and will be similar in many countries of the world.

False Socialism by RW parties In at least the three countries I have observing, simply due to available time, that lot of false promises are being made by our leaders and more often than not, the bailouts will be given to already rich industrialists. An op-ed by Vivek Kaul, who initially went by his handle which means somebody who is educated but unemployed. While Vivek has been one-man army in revealing most of the Government s mischiefs especially as fudging numbers are concerned among other things, there have been others too. As far as the US is concerned, an e-zine called free press (literally) has been sharing Trump s hollowness and proclamations for U.S. . Far more interestingly, I found New York times investigated and found a cache of e-mails starting from early January, which they are calling Red Dawn . The cache is undeniable proof that medical personnel in the U.S. were very much concerned since January 2020 but it was only after other countries started lock-down that U.S. had to follow suit. I am sure Indian medical professionals may have done similar mail exchanges but we will never know as the Indian media isn t independent enough.

Domestic violence and Patriarchy There have been numerous reports of domestic violence against women going up, in fact two prominent publications have shared pieces about how domestic violence has gone up in India since the lockdown but the mainstream press is busy with its own tropes, the reasons already stated above. In fact, interestingly enough, most women can t wear loose fitting clothes inside the house because of the near ones being there 24 7 . This was being shared as India is going through summer where heat waves are common and most families do not have access to A/C s and rely on either a fan or just ventilation to help them out. I can t write more about this as simply I m not a woman so I haven t had to face the pressures that they have to every day. Interestingly though, there was a piece shared by arre. Interestingly, also arre whose content I have shared a few times on my blog has gone from light, funny to be much darker and more serious tone. Whether this is due to the times we live in is something that a social scientist or a social anthropologist may look into in the times to come. One of the good things though, there hasn t been any grid failures as no industrial activity is happening (at all). In fact SEB s (State Electricity Boards) has shown a de-growth in electricity uptake as no industrial activity has been taken. While they haven t reduced any prices (which they ideally should have) as everybody is suffering.

Loot and price rise Again, don t think it is an Indian issue but perhaps may be the same globally. Because of broken supply chains, there are both real and artificial shortages happening which is leading to reasonable and unreasonable price hikes in the market. Fresh veggies which were normally between INR 10/- to INR 20/- for 250 gm have reached INR 40/- 50/- and even above. Many of the things that we have to become depend upon are not there anymore. The shortage of plastic bottles being case in point.
Aryan Plastic bottle
This and many others like these pictures have been shared on social media but it seems the Government is busy doing something else. The only thing we know for sure is that the lock-down period is only gonna increase, no word about PPE s (Personal Protection Equipment) or face masks or anything else. While India has ordered some, those orders are being diverted to US or EU. In fact, many doctors who have asked for the same have been arrested, sacked or suspended for asking such inconvenient questions, although whether in BJP ruled states or otherwise. In fact, the Centre has suspended MPLADS funds , members of parliament get funds which they can use to provide relief work or whatever they think the money is best to spend upon.

Conditions of Labor in the Pandemic Another sort of depressing story has been how the Supreme Court CJI Justice SA Bobde has made statements and refrained from playing any role in directing the Center to provide relief to the daily wage laborers. In fact, Mr. Bobde made statements such as why they need salaries if they are getting food. This was shared by barandbench, a site curated by lawyers and reporters alike. Both livelaw as well as barandbench have worked to enhance people s awareness about the legal happenings in our High Courts and Supreme Court. And while sadly, they cannot cover all, they at least do attempt to cover a bit of what s hot atm. The Chief Justice who draws a salary of INR 250,000 per month besides other perks is perhaps unaware or doesn t care about fate of millions of casual workers, 400 460 million workers who will face abject poverty and by extension even if there are 4 members of the family so probably 1.2 billion people will fall below the poverty line. Three, four major sectors are going to be severely impacted, namely Agriculture, Construction and then MSME (Micro, small and medium enterprises) which cover everything from autos, industrial components, FMCG, electronics, you name it, it s done by the MSME sector. We know that the Rabi crop, even though it was gonna be a bumper crop this year will rot away in the fields. Even the Kharif crop whose window for sowing is at the most 2-3 weeks will not be able to get it done in time. In fact, with the extended lockdown of another 21 days, people will probably return home after 2 months by which time they would have nothing to do there as well as here in the cities. Another good report was done by the wire, the mainstream media has already left the station.

Ministry of Public Health There was an article penned by Dr. Edmond Fernandes which he published last year. The low salary along with the complexities that Indian doctors are and may face in the near future are just mind-boggling.

The Loss Losses have already started pouring in. Just today Air Deccan has ceased all its operations. I had loved Mr. Gopinath s airline which was started in the early 2000 s. While I won t bore you with the history, most of it can be seen from simplify Deccan . This I believe is just the start and it s only after the few months after the lock-down has been lifted would we really know the true extent of losses everywhere. And the more lenghthier the lockdown, the more difficult it would be businesses to ramp back. People have already diagnosed at the very least 15-20 sectors of the economy which would be hit and another similar or more number of sectors which will have first and second-order of losses and ramp-downs. While some guesses are being made, many are wildly optimistic and many are wildly pessimistic, as shared we would only know the results when the lockdown is opened up.

Predictions for the future While things are very much in the air, some predictions can be made or rationally deduced. For instance, investments made in automation and IT would remain and perhaps even accelerate a little. Logistics models would need to be re-worked and maybe, just maybe there would be talk and action in making local supply chains a bit more robust. Financing is going to be a huge issue for at least 6 months to a year. Infrastructure projects which require huge amount of cash upfront will either have to be re-worked or delayed, how they will affect projects like Pune Metro and other such projects only time will tell.

Raghuram Rajan Raghuram Rajan was recently asked if he would come back and let bygones be bygones. Raghuram in his own roundabout way said no. He is right now with Chicago Booth doing the work that he always love. Why would he leave that and be right in the middle of the messes other people have made. He probably gets more money, more freedom and probably has a class full of potential future economists. Immigration Control, Conferences and thought experiment There are so many clueless people out there, who don t know why it takes so long for any visa to be processed. From what little I know, it is to verify who you say you are and you have valid reason to enter the country. The people from home ministry verify credentials, as well as probably check with lists of known criminals and their networks world-wide. They probably have programs for such scenarios and are part and parcel of their everyday work. The same applies to immigration control at Airports. there has been a huge gap at immigration counters and the numbers of passengers who were flying internationally to and fro from India. While in India, we call them as Ministry of Home Affairs, in U.S. it s Department of Homeland security, other countries using similar jargons. Now even before this pandemic happened, the number of people who are supposed to do border control and check people was way less and there have been scenes of Air rage especially in Indian airports after people came after a long-distance flight. Now there are couple of thought experiments, just day before yesterday scientists discovered six new coronaviruses in bats and scientists in Iceland found 40 odd mutations of the virus on people. Now are countries going to ban people from Iceland as in time the icelandic people probably would have anti-bodies on all the forty odd mutations. Now if and when they come in contact onto others who have not, what would happen ? And this is not specifically about one space or ethnicity or whatever, microbes and viruses have been longer on earth than we have. In our greed we have made viruses resistant to antibiotics. While Mr. Trump says as he discovered it today, this has been known to the medical fraternity since tht 1950 s. CDC s own chart shows it. We cannot live in fear of a virus, the only way we can beat it is by understanding it and using science. Jon Cohen shared some of the incredible ways science is looking to beat this thing
or as again an alternative to youtube https://www.invidio.us/watch?v=MPVG_n3w_vM One of the most troubling question is how the differently-abled communities which don t have media coverage at the best of times, haven t had any media coverage at all during the pandemic. What are their stories and what they are experiencing ? How are they coping ? Are there anyways we could help each other ? By not having those stories, we perhaps have left them more vulnerable than we intend. And what does that speak about us, as people or as a community or a society ?

Silver Linings While there is not a lot to be positive about, one interesting project I came about is openbreath.tech . This is an idea, venture started by IISER (Indian Institute of Science Education and Research) , IUCAA (Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics). They are collaborating with octogeneraian Capt (Retd) Rustom Barucha from Barucha Instrumentation and Control, besides IndoGenius, New Delhi, and King s College, London. The first two institutes are from my home town, Pune. While I don t know much of the specifics of this idea other than that there is an existing Barucha ventilator which they hope to open-source and make it easier for people to produce their own. While I have more questions than answers at this point, this is something hopefully to watch out for in the coming days and weeks. The other jolly bit of good news has come from Punjab where after several decades, people in Northern Punjab are finally able to see the Himalayas or the Himalayan mountain range.
Dhauladhar range Northern Punjab Copyright CNN.Com
There you have it, What I have covered is barely scratching the surface. As a large section of the media only focuses on one narrative, other stories and narratives are lost. Be safe, till later.

16 May 2017

Daniel Pocock: Building an antenna and receiving ham and shortwave stations with SDR

In my previous blog on the topic of software defined radio (SDR), I provided a quickstart guide to using gqrx, GNU Radio and the RTL-SDR dongle to receive FM radio and the amateur 2 meter (VHF) band. Using the same software configuration and the same RTL-SDR dongle, it is possible to add some extra components and receive ham radio and shortwave transmissions from around the world. Here is the antenna setup from the successful SDR workshop at OSCAL'17 on 13 May: After the workshop on Saturday, members of the OSCAL team successfully reconstructed the SDR and antenna at the Debian info booth on Sunday and a wide range of shortwave and ham signals were detected: Here is a close-up look at the laptop, RTL-SDR dongle (above laptop), Ham-It-Up converter (above water bottle) and MFJ-971 ATU (on right): Buying the parts
Component Purpose, Notes Price/link to source
RTL-SDR dongle Converts radio signals (RF) into digital signals for reception through the USB port. It is essential to buy the dongles for SDR with TCXO, the generic RTL dongles for TV reception are not stable enough for anything other than TV. ~ 25
Enamelled copper wire, 25 meters or more Loop antenna. Thicker wire provides better reception and is more suitable for transmitting (if you have a license) but it is heavier. The antenna I've demonstrated at recent events uses 1mm thick wire. ~ 10
4 (or more) ceramic egg insulators Attach the antenna to string or rope. Smaller insulators are better as they are lighter and less expensive. ~ 10
4:1 balun The actual ratio of the balun depends on the shape of the loop (square, rectangle or triangle) and the point where you attach the balun (middle, corner, etc). You may want to buy more than one balun, for example, a 4:1 balun and also a 1:1 balun to try alternative configurations. Make sure it is waterproof, has hooks for attaching a string or rope and an SO-239 socket. from 20
5 meter RG-58 coaxial cable with male PL-259 plugs on both ends If using more than 5 meters or if you want to use higher frequencies above 30MHz, use thicker, heavier and more expensive cables like RG-213. The cable must be 50 ohm. ~ 10
Antenna Tuning Unit (ATU) I've been using the MFJ-971 for portable use and demos because of the weight. There are even lighter and cheaper alternatives if you only need to receive. ~ 20 for receive only or second hand
PL-259 to SMA male pigtail, up to 50cm, RG58 Joins the ATU to the upconverter. Cable must be RG58 or another 50 ohm cable ~ 5
Ham It Up v1.3 up-converter Mixes the HF signal with a signal from a local oscillator to create a new signal in the spectrum covered by the RTL-SDR dongle ~ 40
SMA (male) to SMA (male) pigtail Join the up-converter to the RTL-SDR dongle ~ 2
USB charger and USB type B cable Used for power to the up-converter. A spare USB mobile phone charge plug may be suitable. ~ 5
String or rope For mounting the antenna. A ligher and cheaper string is better for portable use while a stronger and weather-resistent rope is better for a fixed installation. 5
Building the antenna There are numerous online calculators for measuring the amount of enamelled copper wire to cut. For example, for a centre frequency of 14.2 MHz on the 20 meter amateur band, the antenna length is 21.336 meters. Add an extra 24 cm (extra 12 cm on each end) for folding the wire through the hooks on the balun. After cutting the wire, feed it through the egg insulators before attaching the wire to the balun. Measure the extra 12 cm at each end of the wire and wrap some tape around there to make it easy to identify in future. Fold it, insert it into the hook on the balun and twist it around itself. Use between four to six twists. Strip off approximately 0.5cm of the enamel on each end of the wire with a knife, sandpaper or some other tool. Insert the exposed ends of the wire into the screw terminals and screw it firmly into place. Avoid turning the screw too tightly or it may break or snap the wire. Insert string through the egg insulators and/or the middle hook on the balun and use the string to attach it to suitable support structures such as a building, posts or trees. Try to keep it at least two meters from any structure. Maximizing the surface area of the loop improves the performance: a circle is an ideal shape, but a square or 4:3 rectangle will work well too. For optimal performance, if you imagine the loop is on a two-dimensional plane, the first couple of meters of feedline leaving the antenna should be on the plane too and at a right angle to the edge of the antenna. Join all the other components together using the coaxial cables. Configuring gqrx for the up-converter and shortwave signals Inspect the up-converter carefully. Look for the crystal and find the frequency written on the side of it. The frequency written on the specification sheet or web site may be wrong so looking at the crystal itself is the best way to be certain. On my Ham It Up, I found a crystal with 125.000 written on it, this is 125 MHz. Launch gqrx, go to the File menu and select I/O devices. Change the LNB LO value to match the crystal frequency on the up-converter, with a minus sign. For my Ham It Up, I use the LNB LO value -125.000000 MHz. Click OK to close the I/O devices window. On the Input Controls tab, make sure Hardware AGC is enabled. On the Receiver options tab, change the Mode value. Commercial shortwave broadcasts use AM and amateur transmission use single sideband: by convention, LSB is used for signals below 10MHz and USB is used for signals above 10MHz. To start exploring the 20 meter amateur band around 14.2 MHz, for example, use USB. In the top of the window, enter the frequency, for example, 14.200 000 MHz. Now choose the FFT Settings tab and adjust the Freq zoom slider. Zoom until the width of the display is about 100 kHZ, for example, from 14.15 on the left to 14.25 on the right. Click the Play icon at the top left to start receiving. You may hear white noise. If you hear nothing, check the computer's volume controls, move the Gain slider (bottom right) to the maximum position and then lower the Squelch value on the Receiver options tab until you hear the white noise or a transmission. Adjust the Antenna Tuner knobs Now that gqrx is running, it is time to adjust the knobs on the antenna tuner (ATU). Reception improves dramatically when it is tuned correctly. Exact instructions depend on the type of ATU you have purchased, here I present instructions for the MFJ-971 that I have been using. Turn the TRANSMITTER and ANTENNA knobs to the 12 o'clock position and leave them like that. Turn the INDUCTANCE knob while looking at the signals in the gqrx window. When you find the best position, the signal strength displayed on the screen will appear to increase (the animated white line should appear to move upwards and maybe some peaks will appear in the line). When you feel you have found the best position for the INDUCTANCE knob, leave it in that position and begin turning the ANTENNA knob clockwise looking for any increase in signal strength on the chart. When you feel that is correct, begin turning the TRANSMITTER knob. Listening to a transmission At this point, if you are lucky, some transmissions may be visible on the gqrx screen. They will appear as darker colours in the waterfall chart. Try clicking on one of them, the vertical red line will jump to that position. For a USB transmission, try to place the vertical red line at the left hand side of the signal. Try dragging the vertical red line or changing the frequency value at the top of the screen by 100 Hz at a time until the station is tuned as well as possible. Try and listen to the transmission and identify the station. Commercial shortwave broadcasts will usually identify themselves from time to time. Amateur transmissions will usually include a callsign spoken in the phonetic alphabet. For example, if you hear "CQ, this is Victor Kilo 3 Tango Quebec Romeo" then the station is VK3TQR. You may want to note down the callsign, time, frequency and mode in your log book. You may also find information about the callsign in a search engine. The video demonstrates reception of a transmission from another country, can you identify the station's callsign and find his location? If you have questions about this topic, please come and ask on the Debian Hams mailing list. The gqrx package is also available in Fedora and Ubuntu but it is known to crash on startup in Ubuntu 17.04. Users of other distributions may also want to try the Debian Ham Blend bootable ISO live image as a quick and easy way to get started.

9 October 2016

Nathan Handler: Ohio Linux Fest

This weekend, I traveled to Columbus, Ohio to attend Ohio Linux Fest. I departed San Francisco early on Thursday. It was interesting getting to experience the luxurious side of flying as I enjoyed a mimosa in the American Express Centurion lounge for the first time. I even happend to cross paths with Corey Quinn, who was on his way to [DevOpsDays Boise]. While connecting in Houston, I met up with the always awesome Jos Antonio Rey, who was to be my travel companion for this trip. The long day of travel took its toll on us, so we had a lazy Friday morning before checking in for the conference around lunch time. I was not that interested in the afternoon sessions, so I spent the majority of the first day helping out at the Ubuntu booth and catching up with friends and colleagues. The day ended with a nice Happy Hour sponsored by Oracle. Saturday was the main day for the conference. Ethan Galstad, Founder and CEO of Nagios, started the day with a Keynote about Becoming the Next Tech Entrepreneur. Next up was Elizabeth K. Joseph with A Tour of OpenStack Deployment Scenarios. While I ve read plenty about OpenStack, I ve never actually used it before. As a result, this demo and introduction was great to watch. It was entertaining to watch her login to CirrOS with the default password of cubswin:), as the Chicago Cubs are currently playing the San Francisco Giants in the National League Divisional Series (and winning). Unfortunately, I was not able to win a copy of her new Common OpenStack Deployments book, but it was great getting to watch her signing copies for other attendees after all of the hard work that went into writing the book. For lunch, Jos , Elizabeth, and Svetlana Belkin all gathered together for an informal Ubuntu lunch. Finally, it was time for me to give my talk. This was the same talk I gave at FOSSCON, but this time, I had a significantly larger audience. Practice definitely makes perfect, as my delivery was a lot better the second time giving this talk. Afterwards, I had a number of people come up to me to let me know that they really enjoyed the presentation. Pro Tip: If you ever attend a talk, the speaker will really appreciate any feedback you send their way. Even if it is a simple, Thank You , it really means a lot. One of the people who came up to me after the talk was Unit193. We have known each other through Ubuntu for years, but there has never been an opportunity to meet in person. I am proud to be able to say with 99% confidence that he is not a robot, and is in fact a real person. Next up was a lesson about the /proc filesystem. While I ve explored it a bit on my own before, I still learned a few tips and tricks about information that can be gained from the files in this magical directory. Following this was a talk about Leading When You re Not the Boss. It was even partially taught by a dummy (the speaker was a ventriloquist). The last regular talk of the day was one of the more interesting ones I attended. It was a talk by Patrick Shuff from Facebook about how they have built a load balancer than can handle a billion users. The slide deck was well-made with very clear diagrams. The speaker was also very knowledgeable and dealt with the plethora of questions he received. Prior to the closing keynote was a series of lightning talks. These served as a great means to get people laughing after a long day of talks. The closing keynote was given by father and daughter Joe and Lilly Born about The Democratization of Invention. Both of them had very interesting stories, and Lily was quite impressive given her age. We skipped the Nagios After Party in favor of a more casual pizza dinner. Overall, it was a great conference, and I am very glad to have had the opportunity to attend. A big thanks to Canonical and the Ubuntu Community for fudning my travel through the Ubuntu Community Fund and to the Ohio Linux Fest staff for allowing me the opportunity to speak at such a great conference.

3 March 2016

Antonio Terceiro: Debian Ruby Sprint 2016 - day 3: Ruby 2.3 in unstable, Reproducible Builds, and Data Structures for Dinner Booths

Day 3 was again a full of useful work. Since the beginning of the sprint, we were able to fix more than 50 FTBFS bugs, alongside general quality improvements in the packages.
in the Debian jargon, FTBFS means that a package fails to build from source , which in Debian is a critical bug because users need to be able to produce binary packages from their source code to fully exercise the free software principles.
An important milestone that was also achieved on day 3 was the upload of ruby-defaults 1:2.3.0+1, making ruby2.3 the new default version of Ruby. That is the version that will shipped in the next Debian release, codenamed stretch. This is the culmination of a joint effort between the Ruby team and Debian Release Team that involves rebuilding a little more than 130 packages that use the Ruby C API to make sure everything will just work on upgrades, both from the previous stable release, and from earlier snapshots of the current development release. Another small change that will have a big impact for Debian and for free software was an improvement to gem2deb that fixes a reproducibility issue in Ruby packages and will help currently more than 100 Ruby packages become reproducible. The full list of items that have been worked on is this: The day ended at Outback, where we had an amount of beer that led us to formulate what we will now call the One-Sided Dinner Booth Problem. In a party arranged like above, when the people closest to wall need to go alleviate themselves of some beer, you basically have to perform a removal from the bottom of a stack, which requires popping all the elements at the top. When they come back, you have to options: The One-Sided Dinner Booth Problem is finding the optimal data structure and algorithm for this situation. It is postulated that this is an NP-complete problem, and that only probabilistic solutions are cost-effective.

1 December 2015

Raphaël Hertzog: My Free Software Activities in November 2015

My monthly report covers a large part of what I have been doing in the free software world. I write it for my donators (thanks to them!) but also for the wider Debian community because it can give ideas to newcomers and it s one of the best ways to find volunteers to work with me on projects that matter to me. Debian LTS This month I have been paid to work 21.25 hours on Debian LTS. During this time I worked on the following things: The Debian Administrator s Handbook Now that the English version has been finalized for Debian 8 Jessie (I uploaded the package to Debian Unstable), I concentrated my efforts on the French version. The book has been fully translated and we re now finalizing the print version that Eyrolles will again edit. Paris Open Source Summit On November 18th and 19th, I was in Paris for the Paris Open Source Summit. I helped to hold a booth for Debian France during two days (with the help of Fran ois-R gis and several others).
Fran ois Vuillemin, Juliette Belin and Rapha l HertzogFran ois-R gis Vuillemin, Juliette Belin and Rapha l Hertzog
On the booth, we had the visit of Juliette Belin who created the theme and the artwork of Debian 8 Jessie. We lacked goodies but we organized a lottery to win 12 copies of my French book. Debian packaging work Django. After two weeks of preparation for revers dependencies, I uploaded Django 1.8 to unstable and raised the severity of remaining bugs. Later I uploaded a new upstream point release (1.8.6). I also handled a release critical bug first by opening a ticket upstream and then by writing a patch and submitting it upstream. I uploaded 1.8.7-2 to Debian with my patch. I also submittted another small fix which has been rejected because the manual page is generated via Sphinx and I thus had to file a bug against Sphinx (which I did). A work-around has been found in the mean time. apt-xapian-index NMU. A long time ago, I filed a release critical bug against that package (#793681) but the maintainer did not handle it. Fortunately Sven Joachim prepared an NMU and I just uploaded his work. This resulted in another problem due bash-completion changes that Sven promptly fixed and I uploaded a second NMU a few days later. Gnome-shell-timer. I forwarded #805347 to gnome-shell-timer issue #29 but gnome-shell-timer is abandoned upstream. On a suggestion of Paul Wise, I tried to get this nice extension integrated into gnome-shell-extensions but the request has been turned down. Is there anyone with javascript skills who would like to adopt this project as an upstream developer? It s a low maintenance project with a decent and loyal user base. Misc. I fixed bug #804763 in zim which was the result of a bad Debian-specific patch.
I sponsored pylint-plugin-utils_0.2.3-2.dsc for Joseph Herlant to fix a release critical bug. I filed 806237 against lintian. I filed more tickets upstream, related to my Kali packaging work: one against sddm, one against john Other Debian-related work Distro-Tracker. I finally merged the work of Orestis Ioannou on bug #756766 which added the possibility to browse old news of each package. Debian Installer. I implemented two small features that we wanted in Kali: I fixed #647405 to have a way to disable deb-src lines in generated sources.list files. I also filed #805291 to see how to allow kernel command line preseeding to override initrd preseeding the fix is trivial and it works in Kali. I just have to commit it in Debian, I was hoping to get an ack from someone in charge before doing it. Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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5 October 2015

Sune Vuorela: KDE at Qt World Summit

So. KDE has landed at Qt World Summit. kdeboothqtws2015 You can come and visit our booth and KDE 19 years of Qt Experience.

14 August 2015

Alberto Garc a: I/O limits for disk groups in QEMU 2.4

QEMU 2.4.0 has just been released, and among many other things it comes with some of the stuff I have been working on lately. In this blog post I am going to talk about disk I/O limits and the new feature to group several disks together. Disk I/O limits Disk I/O limits allow us to control the amount of I/O that a guest can perform. This is useful for example if we have several VMs in the same host and we want to reduce the impact they have on each other if the disk usage is very high. The I/O limits can be set using the QMP command block_set_io_throttle, or with the command line using the throttling.* options for the -drive parameter (in brackets in the examples below). Both the throughput and the number of I/O operations can be limited. For a more fine-grained control, the limits of each one of them can be set on read operations, write operations, or the combination of both: Example:
-drive if=virtio,file=hd1.qcow2,throttling.bps-write=52428800,throttling.iops-total=6000
In addition to that, it is also possible to configure the maximum burst size, which defines a pool of I/O that the guest can perform without being limited: One additional parameter named iops_size allows us to deal with the case where big I/O operations can be used to bypass the limits we have set. In this case, if a particular I/O operation is bigger than iops_size then it is counted several times when it comes to calculating the I/O limits. So a 128KB request will be counted as 4 requests if iops_size is 32KB. Group throttling All of these parameters I ve just described operate on individual disk drives and have been available for a while. Since QEMU 2.4 however, it is also possible to have several drives share the same limits. This is configured using the new group parameter. The way it works is that each disk with I/O limits is member of a throttle group, and the limits apply to the combined I/O of all group members using a round-robin algorithm. The way to put several disks together is just to use the group parameter with all of them using the same group name. Once the group is set, there s no need to pass the parameter to block_set_io_throttle anymore unless we want to move the drive to a different group. Since the I/O limits apply to all group members, it is enough to use block_set_io_throttle in just one of them. Here s an example of how to set groups using the command line:
-drive if=virtio,file=hd1.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=6000,throttling.group=foo
-drive if=virtio,file=hd2.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=6000,throttling.group=foo
-drive if=virtio,file=hd3.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=3000,throttling.group=bar
-drive if=virtio,file=hd4.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=6000,throttling.group=foo
-drive if=virtio,file=hd5.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=3000,throttling.group=bar
-drive if=virtio,file=hd6.qcow2,throttling.iops-total=5000
In this example, hd1, hd2 and hd4 are all members of a group named foo with a combined IOPS limit of 6000, and hd3 and hd5 are members of bar. hd6 is left alone (technically it is part of a 1-member group). Next steps I am currently working on providing more I/O statistics for disk drives, including latencies and average queue depth on a user-defined interval. The code is almost ready. Next week I will be in Seattle for the KVM Forum where I will hopefully be able to finish the remaining bits.
I will also attend LinuxCon North America. Igalia is sponsoring the event and we have a booth there. Come if you want to talk to us or see our latest demos with WebKit for Wayland. See you in Seattle!

19 July 2015

Gregor Herrmann: RC bugs 2015/17-29

after the release is before the release. or: long time no RC bug report. after the jessie release I spent most of my Debian time on work in the Debian Perl Group. we tried to get down the list of new upstream releases (from over 500 to currently 379; unfortunately the CPAN never sleeps), we were & still are busy preparing for the Perl 5.22 transition (e.g. we uploaded something between 300 & 400 packages to deal with Module::Build & CGI.pm being removed from perl core; only team-maintained packages so far), & we had a pleasant & productive sprint in Barcelona in May. & I also tried to fix some of the RC bugs in our packages which popped up over the previous months. yesterday & today I finally found some time to help with the GCC 5 transition, mostly by making QA or Non-Maintainer Uploads with patches that already were in the BTS. a big thanks especially to the team at HP which provided a couple dozens patches! & here's the list of RC bugs I've worked on in the last 3 months:

31 March 2015

Zlatan Todori : Interviews with FLOSS developers: Francesca Ciceri

Debian and FLOSS community don't only occupy coding developers. They occupy people who write news, who talk about FLOSS, who help on booths and conferences, who create artistic forms of the community and so many others that contribute in countless ways. A lady, that is doing many of that is Francesca Ciceri, known in Debian as MadameZou. She is non-packaging Debian Developer, a fearless warrior for diversity and a zombie fan. Although it sounds intimidating, she is deep caring and great human being. So, what has MadaZou to tell us? Picture of MadameZou Who are you? My name is Francesca and I'm totally flattered by your intro. The fearless warrior part may be a bit exaggerated, though. What have you done and what are you currently working on in FLOSS world? I've been a Debian contributor since late 2009. My journey in Debian has touched several non-coding areas: from translation to publicity, from videoteam to www. I've been one of the www.debian.org webmasters for a while, a press officer for the Project as well as an editor for DPN. I've dabbled a bit in font packaging, and nowadays I'm mostly working as a Front Desk member. Setup of your main machine? Wow, that's an intimate question! Lenovo Thinkpad, Debian testing. Describe your current most memorable situation as FLOSS member? Oh, there are a few. One awesome, tiring and very satisfying moment was during the release of Squeeze: I was member of the publicity and the www teams at the time, and we had to pull a 10 hours of team work to put everything in place. It was terrible and exciting at the same time. I shudder to think at the amount of work required from ftpmaster and release team during the release. Another awesome moment was my first Debconf: I was so overwhelmed by the sense of belonging in finally meeting all these people I've been worked remotely for so long, and embarassed by my poor English skills, and overall happy for just being there... If you are a Debian contributor I really encourage you to participate to Debian events, be they small and local or as big as DebConf: it really is like finally meeting family. Some memorable moments from Debian conferences? During DC11, the late nights with the "corridor cabal" in the hotel, chatting about everything. A group expedition to watch shooting stars in the middle of nowhere, during DC13. And a very memorable videoteam session: it was my first time directing and everything that could go wrong, went wrong (including the speaker deciding to take a walk outside the room, to demonstrate something, out of the cameras range). It was a disaster, but also fun: at the end of it, all the video crew was literally in stitches. But there are many awesome moments, almost too many to recall. Each conference is precious on that regard: for me the socializing part is extremely important, it's what cements relationships and help remote work go smoothly, and gives you motivation to volunteer in tasks that sometimes are not exactly fun. You are known as Front Desk member for DebConf's - what work does it occupy and why do you enjoy doing it? I'm not really a member of the team: just one of Nattie's minions! You had been also part of DebConf Video team - care to share insights into video team work and benefits it provides to Debian Project? The video team work is extremely important: it makes possible for people not attending to follow the conference, providing both live streaming and recording of all talks. I may be biased, but I think that DebConf video coverage and the high quality of the final recordings are unrivaled among FLOSS conferences - especially since it's all volunteer work and most of us aren't professional in the field. During the conference we take shifts in filming the various talks - for each talk we need approximately 4 volunteers: two camera operators, a sound mixer and the director. After the recording, comes the boring part: reviewing, cutting and sometimes editing the videos. It's a long process and during the conference, you can sometimes spot the videoteam members doing it at night in the hacklab, exhausted after a full day of filming. And then, the videos are finally ready to be uploaded, for your viewing pleasure. During the last years this process has become faster thanks to the commitment of many volunteers, so that now you have to wait only few days, sometimes a week, after the end of the conference to be able to watch the videos. I personally love to contribute to the videoteam: you get to play with all that awesome gear and you actually make a difference for all the people who cannot attend in person. You are also non-packaging Debian Developer - how does that feel like? Feels awesome! The mere fact that the Debian Project decided - in 2009 via a GR - to recognize the many volunteers who contribute without doing packaging work is a great show of inclusiveness, in my opinion. In a big project like Debian just packaging software is not enough: the final result relies heavily on translators, sysadmins, webmasters, publicity people, event organizers and volunteers, graphic artists, etc. It's only fair that these contributions are deemed as valuable as the packaging, and to give an official status to those people. I was one of the firsts non-uploading DD, four years ago, and for a long time it was just really an handful of us. In the last year I've seen many others applying for the role and that makes me really happy: it means that finally the contributors have realized that they deserve to be an official part of Debian and to have "citizenship rights" in the project. You were the leading energy on Debian's diversity statement - what gave you the energy to drive into it? It seemed the logical conclusion of the extremely important work that Debian Women had done in the past. When I first joined Debian, in 2009, as a contributor, I was really surprised to find a friendly community and to not be discriminated on account of my gender or my lack of coding skills. I may have been just lucky, landing in particularly friendly teams, but my impression is that the project has been slowly but unequivocally changed by the work of Debian Women, who raised first the need for inclusiveness and the awareness about the gender problem in Debian. I don't remember exactly how I stumbled upon the fact that Debian didn't have a Diversity Statement, but at first I was very surprised by it. I asked zack (Stefano Zacchiroli), who was DPL at the time, and he encouraged me to start a public discussion about it, sending out a draft - and helped me all the way along the process. It took some back and forth in the debian-project mailing list, but the only thing needed was actually just someone to start the process and try to poke the discussion when it stalled - the main blocker was actually about the wording of the statement. I learned a great deal from that experience, and I think it changed completely my approach in things like online discussions and general communication within the project. At the end of the day, what I took from that is a deep respect for who participated and the realization that constructive criticism does require certainly a lot of work for all parts involved, but can happen. As for the statement in itself: these things are as good as you keep them alive with best practices, but I think that are better stated explicitly rather than being left unsaid. You are involved also with another Front Desk, the Debian's one which is involved with Debian's New Members process - what are tasks of that FD and how rewarding is the work on it? The Debian Front Desk is the team that runs the New Members process: we receive the applications, we assign the applicant a manager, and we verify the final report. In the last years the workflow has been simplified a lot by the re-design of the nm.debian.org website, but it's important to keep things running smoothly so that applicants don't have too lenghty processes or to wait too much before being assigned a manager. I've been doing it for a less more than a month, but it's really satisfying to usher people toward DDship! So this is how I feel everytime I send a report over to DAM for an applicant to be accepted as new Debian Developer: Crazy pic How do you see future of Debian development? Difficult to say. What I can say is that I'm pretty sure that, whatever the technical direction we'll take, Debian will remain focused on excellence and freedom. What are your future plans in Debian, what would you like to work on? Definetely bug wrangling: it's one of the thing I do best and I've not had a chance to do that extensively for Debian yet. Why should developers and users join Debian community? What makes Debian a great and happy place? We are awesome, that's why. We are strongly committed to our Social Contract and to users freedom, we are steadily improving our communication style and trying to be as inclusive as possible. Most of the people I know in Debian are perfectionists and outright brilliant in what they do. Joining Debian means working hard on something you believe, identifying with a whole project, meeting lots of wonderful people and learning new things. It ca be at times frustrating and exhausting, but it's totally worth it. You have been involved in Mozilla as part of OPW - care to share insights into Mozilla, what have you done and compare it to Debian? That has been a very good experience: it meant have the chance to peek into another community, learn about their tools and workflow and contribute in different ways. I was an intern for the Firefox QA team and their work span from setting up specific test and automated checks on the three version of Firefox (Stable, Aurora, Nightly) to general bug triaging. My main job was bug wrangling and I loved the fact that I was a sort of intermediary between developers and users, someone who spoke both languages and could help them work together. As for the comparison, Mozilla is surely more diverse than Debian: both in contributors and users. I'm not only talking demographic, here, but also what tools and systems are used, what kind of skills people have, etc. That meant reach some compromises with myself over little things: like having to install a proprietary tool used for the team meetings (and getting crazy in order to make it work with Debian) or communicating more on IRC than on mailing lists. But those are pretty much the challenges you have to face whenever you go out of your comfort zone . You are also volunteer of the Organization for Transformative Works - what is it, what work do you do and care to share some interesting stuff? OTW is a non profit organization to preserve fan history and cultures, created by fans. Its work range from legal advocacy and lobbying for fair use and copyright related issues, developing and maintaining AO3 -- a huge fanwork archive based on open-source software --, to the production of a peer-reviewed academic journal about fanworks. I'm an avid fanfiction reader and writer, and joining the OTW volunteers seemed a good way to give back to the community - in true Debian fashion . As a volunteer, I work for the Translation Committee: we are more than a hundred people - divided in several language teams - translating the OTW website, the interface of AO3 archive, newsletter, announcements and news posts. We have a orga-wide diversity statement, training for recruits, an ever growing set of procedures to smooth our workflow, monthly meetings and movie nights. It's an awesome group to work with. I'm deeply invested in this kind of work: both for the awesomeness of OTW people and for the big role that fandom and fanworks have in my life. What I find amazing is that the same concept we - as in the FLOSS ecosystem - apply to software can be applied to cultural production: taking a piece of art you love and expand, remix, explore it. Just for the fun of it. Protect and encourage the right to play in this cultural sandbox is IMO essential for our society. Most of the participants in the fandom come from marginalised group or minorities whose point of view is usually not part of the mainstream narratives. This makes the act of writing, remixing and re-interpreting a story not only a creative exercise but a revolutionary one. As Elizabeth Minkel says: "My preferred explanation is the idea that the vast majority of what we watch is from the male perspective authored, directed, and filmed by men, and mostly straight white men at that. Fan fiction gives women and other marginalised groups the chance to subvert that perspective, to fracture a story and recast it in her own way." In other words, "fandom is about putting debate and conversation back into an artistic process". On a personal side - you do a lot of DIY, handmade works. What have you done, what joy does it bring to you and share with us a picture of it? I like to think that the hacker in me morphs in a maker whenever I can actually manipulate stuff. The urge to explore ways of doing things, of create and change is probably the same. I've been blessed with curiousity and craftiness and I love to learn new DIY techniques: I cannot describe it, really, but if I don't make something for a while I actually feel antsy. I need to create stuff. Nowadays, I'm mostly designing and sewing clothes - preferably reproductions of dresses from the 40s and the 50s - and I'm trying to make a living of that. It's a nice challenge: there's a lot of research involved, as I always try to be historically accurate in design, sewing tecniques and material, and many hours of careful attention to details. I'm right in the process of make photoshoots for most of my period stuff, so I'll share with you something different: a t-shirt refashion done with the DebConf11 t-shirt! (here's the tutorial) T-shirt pic

8 March 2015

Hideki Yamane: community booth @ "developers summit 2015" in Tokyo (19th&20th Feb)

I'm back to Developers Summit at (Meguro Gajoen), Tokyo. I was an attendee 2 years ago, and I'm at community booth this year :)

We were at booth "Debian JP Project" (Japanese local Debian community) and other distro people (Ubuntu Japanese Team, openSUSE, VineLinux)






Its conference mostly focuses "development style" in companies, not FLOSS -Keyword: Agile (Scrum), DevOps, using cloud infrastructure, IoT, etc. So, we're a bit stranger but enjoyed chat with some people.

13 November 2014

Bits from Debian: DebConf15 welcomes its first nine sponsors!

DebConf15 will take place in Heidelberg, Germany in August 2015. We strive to provide an intense working environment and enable good progress for Debian and for Free Software in general. We extend an invitation to everyone to join us and to support this event. As a volunteer-run non-profit conference, we depend on our sponsors. Nine companies have already committed to sponsor DebConf15! Let's introduce them: Our first Gold sponsor is credativ, a service-oriented company focusing on open-source software, and also a Debian development partner. Our second Gold sponsor is sipgate, a Voice over IP service provider based in Germany that also operates in the United Kingdom (sipgate site in English). Google (the search engine and advertising company), Fairsight Security, Inc. (developers of real-time passive DNS solutions), Martin Alfke / Buero 2.0 (Linux & UNIX Consultant and Trainer, LPIC-2/Puppet Certified Professional) and Ubuntu (the OS supported by Canonical) are our three Silver sponsors. And last but not least, Logilab, Netways and Hetzner have agreed to support us as Bronze-level. Become a sponsor too! Would you like to become a sponsor? Do you know of or work in a company or organization that may consider sponsorship? Please have a look at our sponsorship brochure (also available in German), in which we outline all the details and describe the sponsor benefits. For instance, sponsors have the option to reach out to Debian contributors, derivative developers, upstream authors and other community members during a Job Fair and through postings on our job wall, and to show-case their Free Software involvement by staffing a booth on the Open Weekend. In addition, sponsors are able to distribute marketing materials in the attendee bags. And it goes without saying that we honour your sponsorship with visibility of your logo in the conference's videos, on our website, on printed materials, and banners. The final report of DebConf14 is also available, illustrating the broad spectrum, quality, and enthusiasm of the community at work, and providing detailed information about the different outcomes that last conference brought up (talks, participants, social events, impact in the Debian project and the free software scene, and much more). For further details, feel free to contact us through sponsors@debconf.org, and visit the DebConf15 website at http://debconf15.debconf.org.

26 October 2014

Hideki Yamane: Open Source Conference 2014 Tokyo/Fall


18th and 19th October, "Open Source Conference 2014 Tokyo/Fall" was held in Meisei University, Tokyo. About 1,500 participates there. "Tokyo area Debian Study Meeting" booth was there, provided some flyers, DVDs and chat.




In our Debian community session, Nobuhiro Iwamatsu talked about status of Debian8 "Jessie". Thanks, Nobuhiro :)


It seems to be not a "conference" itself but a festival for FOSS and other IT community members, so they enjoyed a lot.





... and we also enjoyed beer after party (of course :)




see you - next event!

12 September 2014

Dariusz Dwornikowski: profanity and libstrophe status in Debian

profanity is a great console based XMPP client written in ncurses and C by James Booth. The code has a great quality, upstream is super collaborative, and willing, so packaging should be pretty straightforward. This post will show that this was not the case here. profanity First obstacle was that profanity depended on libstrophe, an XMPP library, which was not in Debian. As it occurred libstrophe's upstream was not responsive, so any changes that were needed to prepare libstrophe for high quality packaging could not be met.
  1. First of all libstrophe's build system (automake and friends) built only a static library.
  2. The second problem was that libstrophe did not tag releases on github, this was needed to make Debian watch file work.
  3. A third, smaller problem was the presence of debian/ directory in upstream's source. It can be neglected most of the time, since you can tell git-import-orig to delete it.
To solve those 3 problems I created a pull request fixing the build system to build also a shared library, deleting debian/ directory and politely asking for tagging releases. You can see my pull request here dated on April 26th. There was no answer for the libstrophe's upstream but I has some support from profanity's developers and other users wanting to make those changes. Finally metajack (libstrophe upstream) gave us right to the repo and we could merge the pull request on August 6th. The lesson learned - be patient and know autotools (a great tutorial is here). With profanity there were less changes to do. The most important one was that it linked to OpenSSL and due to the license incompatibility with GPL it could not go into Debian. Fortunately upstream added the OpenSSL exception, and profanity could be finally packaged. Now both profanity and libstrophe are in NEW queue and hopefully they will be accepted by ftp masters. When they are, there is plenty to do with them in the future, upstream closed some bugs, new upstream versions are tagged.

5 August 2014

Francesca Ciceri: Just Rockin' and Rollin'!

[Warning: quite a bit of pics in this post] [Edit: changed the post title, while I love the music, the actual lyrics of "Shake Rattle and Roll" made me facepalm. Ronnie Dawson's song is better :)] Last weekend I've been in Senigallia for the 15th edition of Summer Jamboree.
It was my first time there, and it was epic. Really.
If you are into roots music and early rock'n'roll and/or into vintage 40s and 50s clothes, go there.
You won't regret it! (You have time until August 10th, hurry up!) If you follow my identi.ca account (whooo! shameless plug!), you may know that I love music in general and Blues, Jazz and Rockabilly in particular.
If you read my blog, you may know that I make clothes - particularly reproductions of 50s and retro clothes.
So, it's not much of a surprise that going to the Summer Jamboree has been a mindblowing experience to me.
What surprised me it's that I've felt the very same wonder of my first Debconf: the amazing feeling that you are not alone, there are other people like you out there, who love the same things you love, who are silly about the same little details (yes, I equally despise historically innacurate pin up shoes and non free software), who dance - metaphorically and not - at your same beat.
Same wonder I felt when I first read some authors - Orwell and David Foster Wallace, just to mention a couple - or when I first delved in anarchist thinkers.
By nature I'm not much of a social person, and I tend to live and love alone. But that sense of being part of something, to find like-minded people always blows me away. I'm not much of a blog writer, so I won't probably be able to give you a good impression of the awesomness of it.
But hey, watch me trying. The Vintage Market I spent most of the morning travelling by train to reach Senigallia (and met the most beautiful French girl ever in the process, who sketched me in her notebook because, hey!, I was already in full Rockabilly gear).
The hotel was pretty close to the station, and to the part of the city where the festival was taking place, so I spent a couple of hours sleeping, then started the adventure.
The festival takes place mostly near the Rocca Roveresca, a beautiful fifteenth century castle, and on its gardens, but the all the other venues are in walking distance.
All around the Rocca there is a market with vintage clothes, records, shoes, retro jewelry. A special mention for two fantastic dressmakers: Laura of Bloody Edith Atelier from Rome and Debora of The Black Pinafore from Sarzana. I bought just a piece from each of them, but I was able to do that only with a huge amount of self restraint. Guitars! Tattoos! Yes, I may have spent a bit drooling on the Gibson Cherry Red, and I tried (without amp, though) that beautiful orange Gretsch Electromatic. guitars! And Greg Gregory of the Travel Ink Tattoo Studio from UK was there, with his shiny Airstream. The airstream of Travel Ink Tattoo I also spent a while among the records in the Bear Family Records booth. They are a Germany based independent record label specialised in reissues of country and 50s rock'n'roll. Couldn't resist, and I bought a beautiful Sun Records' tshirt. Just Rockin' and Rollin'. Aka: dance time After that, it was time to dance. I missed the dance camp of the afternoon, but the DJ sets were fantastic, all 40s and 50s stuff, and I fell in love with Lindy Hop and Boogie Woogie, and well, obviously, Jive. I could have spent hours watching the people dancing, and clumsily trying the most basic moves myself. people dancing more dancers People And the people, did I mention the people?
They were cosplaying the 40s and 50s so wonderfully I couldn't help but take some photos (and find a new fetish of mine: men in 40s clothes. Sexy as hell). For instance, Angelo Di Liberto, artistic director of the festival with the beautiful burlesque artist Grace Hall. Angelo Di Liberto and Grace Hall Or the amazingly dressed German couple I met in via Carducci. A beautifully dressed couple And this couple too, was pretty cool. And another very in-character couple The Prettiest Smile award goes to these lovely ladies! Smiling lovely ladies Cars Who knows me, can tell that I don't love cars.
They stink, they are noisy, they are big.
But these ones where shiny and looked beautiful. Oldtimer cars Also, the black Cadillac had the terrible effect on me of putting "Santa Claus is Back in Town" in my head (or, more precisely, Elvis tomcatting his way through the song, singing "Got no sleigh with reindeer / No sack on my back / You're gonna see me comin' in a big black Cadillac"). the big black cadillac cadillac detail Music! Sadly, I missed Stray Cat's Slim Jim Phantom but I was just in time for Ben E. King.
It was lovely: backed by the house band (The Good Fellas), he sang a lot of old Drifters hits, from On Broadway to Save the Last Dance for Me to - obviously - the great Stand By Me. Then a bit of hillbilly country, with Shorty Tom and the Longshots, a French combo consisting of a double bass, a rhythm guitar and a steel guitar. Shorty Tom and the Longshots And, well, more dancing: the dj sets on the three stages went on until 3 am. Day 2 The next morning I took advantage of the early opening of Rocca Roveresca to visit it. The Rocca itself is beautiful and very well maintained, and hosts various exhibitions.
"Marilyn In White" shows the incredible photos taken by George Barris on the set of "The Seven Year Itch" as well as some taken in 1962. Beautiful, really, especially the series on the beach. photos from the exhibition But the ones moving me were the pics from "Buddy Holly, The Day The Music Dies": a collection of photos taken by Bill Francis during the (sadly brief) career of Buddy Holly from the very beginnings to his death. After that, it was time to come back to year 2014, but really I felt like I've walked for a while in another decade and planet. And the cool thing is that I could enjoy the great 40s and 50s music and dances (and clothes!) without the horrible stereotypes and cultural norms of the time period. A total win. :) So, ehm, that's it. I'm a bit sad to be back, and to cheer myself up I'm already planning to attend Wanda Jackson gig in Aarburg (CH) next month.
And take Lindy Hop and Boogie lessons, obviously.

3 July 2014

Hideki Yamane: Open Source Conference 2014 Hokkaido

Oh, time flies... (= I'm lazy)

14th June, I've participated to OSC (Open Source Conference) 2014 Hokkaido in Sapporo, Hokkaido (sorry openSUSE folks, OSC does not mean openSUSE Conference ;) OSC has 10 years history in Japan, so don't blame me...)

Hokkaido is northan island of Japan (it has 4 major islands - Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu), takes 1.5 hours from Tokyo (HND-CTS) and debian-mirror.sakura.ne.jp is also there.

As always, we show the Debian booth with Debian lovers, Squeeze, Woody and Jessie.


And I gave talk about Debian a little,
mostly how it is developed and distribute, and shapes in Jessie at that time (PDF/odf is my page on Debian Wiki as usual).

Does Cowgirl Dream of Red Swirl? from Hideki Yamane


After that, Enjoyed food, beer (sure! :) and chatting in party.


Folks, see you in #osc15do again!

2 June 2014

Raphaël Hertzog: My Free Software Activities since January 2014

If you follow my blog closely, you noticed that I skipped all my usual monthly summaries in 2014. It s not that I stopped doing free software work, instead I was just too busy to be able to report about what I did. As an excuse, let me tell you that we just moved into a new house which was in construction since may last year. The lack of visible activity on my blog resulted in a steady decrease of the amount of donations received (January: 70.72 , February: 71.75 , March: 51.25 , April: 39.9 , May: 40.33 ). Special thanks to all the people who kept supporting my work even though I stopped reporting about it. So let s fix this. This report will be a bit less detailed since it covers the whole period since the start of the year. Debian France Preparations related to general assemblies. The year started with lots of work related to Debian France. First I took care of setting up limesurvey with Alexandre Delano to handle the vote to pick our new logo:
The new logo of Debian France I also helped Sylvestre Ledru to finalize and close the accounting books for 2013 in preparation for the general assembly that was due later in the month. I wrote the moral report of the president to be presented to the assembly. And last step, I collected vote mandates to ensure that we were going to meet the quorum for the extraordinary assembly that was planned just after the usual yearly assembly. The assemblies took place during a two days mini-debconf in Paris (January 17-18) where I was obviously present even though I gave no talk besides announcing the logo contest winner and thanking people for their participation.
Assembl e g n rale 2014 de Debian France

The Debian France members during the general assembly

It s worth noting that the extraordinary assembly was meant primarily to enshrine in our bylaws the possibility to act as a trusted organization for Debian. This status should be officialized by the Debian project leader (Lucas Nussbaum) in the upcoming weeks since we answered satisfactorily to all questions. Our paypal donation form and the accounting tools behind it are ready. Galette packaging and members map. I managed to hand over the package maintenance of galette to Fran ois-R gis Vuillemin. I sponsored all his uploads and we packaged a new plugin that allows to create a map with all the members who accept to share their location. The idea was to let people meet each other when they don t live far away with the long term goal to have Debian France organized activities not only in Paris but everywhere in France. New contributor game. Last but not least, I organized a game to encourage people to do their first contribution to Debian by offering them a copy of my book if they managed to complete a small Debian project. We got many interesting projects but the result so far seem to be very mixed. Many people did not complete their project (yet) that said for the few that did substantial work, it was rather good and they seem to be interested to continue to contribute. Debian France booth at Solutions Linux in Paris. Like each year, I spent two days in Paris to help man the Debian France booth at Solutions Linux. We had lots of goodies on sale and we made more than 2000 EUR in earnings during the two days. I also used this opportunity to try to convince companies to support the new Debian LTS effort.
Debian France booth at Solutions Linux

Tanguy Ortolo and Fernando Lagrange behind the Debian France booth

The Debian Administrator s Handbook In the last days of 2013, we released the wheezy update of the book. Then I quickly organized everything needed so that the various translation teams can now focus their efforts on the latest release of the book. Later (in February) I announced the availability of the French and Spanish translations. Debian Squeeze LTS When the security team called for help to try to put in place long term support for Squeeze, I replied positively because I m convinced that it s very important if Debian wants to stay an acceptable choice in big deployments and because I knew that some of my customers would be interested Thus I followed all the discussions (on a semi-private list first and then on debian-lts@lists.debian.org) and contributed my own experience. I have also taken up the responsibility to coordinate with the Debian contributors who can be hired to work on Squeeze LTS so that we have a clear common offer for all the companies who have offered financial support towards Squeeze LTS. Expect further news on this front in the upcoming days/weeks. Tryton I have been a long time user of SQL-Ledger to manage the accounting of my company Freexian. But while the license is free software, the project is not. It s the work of a single developer who doesn t really accept help. I have thus been considering to move to something else for a long time but never did anything. This year, after some rough evaluation, I decided to switch to Tryton for my company. It s probably not a wise choice from a business perspective because that migration took me many hours of unpaid labor but from a free software perspective it s definitely better than everything else I saw. I contributed a lot of bug reports and a few patches already (#3596, #3631, #3633, #3665, #3667, #3694, #3695, #3696, #3697) mainly about problems found in the French chart of accounts but also about missing features for my use case. I also accepted to sponsor Matthias Berhle, who is maintaining the official Debian packages of Tryton. He s already a Debian maintainer so it s mainly a matter of reviewing new source packages and granting him the required rights. Misc Debian work Thanks See you next month for a new summary of my activities.

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26 May 2014

Clint Adams: Before the tweet in Grand Cayman

Jebediah boarded the airplane. It was a Bombardier CRJ900 with two turbofan jet engines. Run by SPARK, a subset of Ada. He sat down in his assigned seat and listened to the purser inform him that he was free to use his phone door-to-door on all Delta Connection flights. As long as the Airplane Mode was switched on. Jebediah knew that this was why Delta owned 49% of Virgin Atlantic. On the plane ride, a woman in too much makeup asked Jebediah to get the man next to him so she could borrow his copy of the Economist. The man said she could keep it and that it was old. He had stubby little fingers. She was foreign. At Terminal 2, they passed by Kids on the Fly, an exhibit of the Chicago Children's Museum at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. A play area. Jebediah thought of Dennis. The Blue Line of the Chicago Transit Authority was disrupted by weekend construction, so they had to take a small detour through Wicker Park. Wicker Park is a neighborhood. In Chicago. Jebediah looked at Glazed & Infused Doughnuts. He wondered if they made doughnuts there. Because of the meeting, he knocked someone off a Divvy bike and pedaled it to the Loop. The Berghoff was opened in 1898 by Herman Joseph Berghoff. Once he got to the Berghoff, he got a table for seven on the west wall. He eyed the electrical outlet and groaned. He had brought 3 cigarette lighter adapters with him, but nothing to plug into an AC outlet. How would he charge his device? An older gentleman came in. And greeted him. Hello, I'm Detective Chief Inspector Detweiler. Did you bring the evidence? Said the man. Jebediah coughed and said that he had to go downstairs. He went downstairs and looked at the doors. He breathed a sigh of relief. Seeing the word washroom in print reminded him of his home state of Canada. Back at the table he opened a bag, glared angrily at a cigarette lighter adapter, and pulled out a Palm m125. Running Palm OS 4.0. He noticed a third person at the table. It was the ghost of Bob Ross. , said the ghost of Bob Ross. It was good for him to communicate telepathically with Sarah Palin. This has eight megabytes of RAM, Jebediah informed the newcomer. Bob Ross's ghost right-clicked on his face and rated him one star. Jebediah looked angrily at the AC outlet and fidgeted with two of his cigarette lighter adapters. DCI Detweiler said, I had a Handspring Visor Deluxe, and pulled out a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0 eight-inch Android-based tablet computer running the Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean operating system by Google. This also has eight megabytes of RAM, he continued. As you requested, I brought the video of your nemesis at the Robie House. Jebediah stared at the tablet. He could see a compressed video file, compressed with NetBSD compression and GNU encryption. It was on the tablet. Some bridges you just don't cross, he hissed. Meanwhile, in Gloucestershire, someone who looked suspiciously like Bobby Rainsbury opened up a MacBook Air and typed in a three-digit passcode. Across the street a wall safe slid out of the wall. And dropped onto someone's head. She closed the laptop. And went to Dumfries. Not far from the fallen safe, a group of men held a discussion. FBI: Why are we here on this junket? CIA: Where are we? DIA: We're here. JIA: This is confusing. NSA: I have to get back to that place in Germany where I don't work. ATF: We're talking about giant robots here, people. EPA: Huh? Part 2 AUD:USD 1.0645 donuts:dozen 12 Gold $1318.60 Giant robot spiders fought each other in a supermarket parking lot. Detective Seabiscuit sucked on a throat lozenge. Who are you again? he asked the toll-booth operator. I said my name is Rogery Sterling, replied the toll-booth operator. Rajry what? I said my name is Rogery Sterling, replied the toll-booth operator. Again. Where am I? Look, I'm telling you that that murder you're investigating was caused by software bugs in the software. Are we on a boat? Look at the diagram. This agency paid money to introduce, quite deliberately, weaknesses in the security of this library, through this company here, and this company here. Library, oh no. I have overdue fees. And they're running a PR campaign to increase use of this library. Saying that the competing options are inferior. But don't worry, they're trying to undermine those too. Detective Seabiscuit wasn't listening. He had just remembered that he needed to stop by the Robie House.

5 May 2014

Michal Čihař: Going to LinuxTag

Together with many phpMyAdmin guys, I'm traveling to LinuxTag 2014 in few days. We'll have a booth there (hall 6, booth A13), where we will show some demos and you can stop by and chat with us. Of course my presence there will not be just about phpMyAdmin, I'll meet there few Weblate users and developers, but if you have anything else to discuss, just stop by, I'll be usually around the booth.

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