Search Results: "diane"

9 March 2010

John Goerzen: Review: The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox

I know I ve been on something of a religion streak on the blog of late, and this will be the last such post for awhile. I first hear of Harvey Cox s book The Future of Faith during an excellent hour-long interview with NPR s Diane Rehm. It was intriguing enough that I bought the Kindle edition of the book and read it. The title of the book is both very accurate and rather misleading. A lot of the book and, to me, the most fascinating parts of it focus on the history of faith. Cox s repeated point is that we are only now regaining a notion of faith that the earliest Christians had, and it is a notion that happens to be compatible with modern science and incompatible with fundamentalism and intolerance in all its stripes. Throughout this post, it should be understood that quotes or passages are from the book. Cox is so quotable that a good chunk of this review will be showing you some of his quotes, with a bit of discussion around them. I very much enjoyed this book, and highly recommend it. Faith vs. Belief
It is true that for many people faith and belief are just two words for the same thing. But they are not the same and it is important to clarify the difference. Faith is about deep-seated confidence. In everyday speech we usually apply it to people we trust or the values we treasure a matter of what the Hebrews spoke of as the heart. Belief, on the other hand, is more like opinion. We often use the term to express a degree of uncertainty We can believe something to be true without it making much difference to us, but we place our faith only in something that is vital for the way we live.
This is an important distinction, and if you stop and think about it, Cox is arguing with a common notion about faith almost from page 1. Faith isn t about intellectual assent to a set of propositions. It s about what we hold dear, what we think works for us in life. Creeds
Creeds are clusters of beliefs. But Christianity is not a history of creeds. It is the story of a people of faith who sometimes cobbled together creeds out of beliefs. It is also the history of equally faithful people who questioned, altered, and discarded those same creeds But both the doctrinal canons and the architectural constructions are means to an end. Making either the defining element warps the underlying reality of faith.
Cox here reinforces the point that Christianity isn t about believing certain statements, and it isn t even about a literal (or not) reading of the Bible. It s what C. S. Lewis talked about as the inward transformation in onesself. Creeds, such as the Nicene Creed, are rather irrelevant to him. Cox separates the history of Christianity into three periods: the age of faith, stretching from the time of Jesus only a few centuries until Constantine; the age of belief, stretching from Constantine until the 20th century; and the age of the spirit, now dawning. During the age of faith, their sharing in the living Spirit of Christ united Christians with each other, and faith meant hope and assurance in the dawning of a new era of freedom, healing, and compassion that Jesus had demonstrated. Cox makes the point that doctrinal questions just weren t all that important back then, and though differences existed, they weren t considered to be fundamental to the religion. Confidence in Christ was their primary orientation, and hope for his [earthly] Kingdom their motivating drive. Further, he argues that the age of the spirit is a return to this earlier age, albeit with modern twists.
Christianity is growing faster than it ever has before, but mainly outside the West and in movements that accent spiritual experience, discipleship, and hope; pay scant attention to creeds; and flourish without hierarchies. We are now witnessing the beginning of a post-Constantinian era.
Cox describes a person that described himself as a practicing Christian, not always a believing one. He suggests that the belief/non-believer statement is a disservice to Christianity and to other religions. He then quoted a Catholic bishop as saying: The line between belief and unbelief runs through the middle of each one of us, including myself, a bishop of the church. In other words, The experience of the divine is displacing theories about it. Faith and Belief in Bible reading
Creation myths such as the first chapters of Genesis were not primarily composed to answer the how or when questions. They are not scientific accounts, even though their poetical language, when read literally (which is always a mistake), may sound that way. Rather, they grapple with the linked mysteries of both why there is a universe and what our place in it is They are more like lyrical cantatas, symphonies of symbols through which humans have tried to make sense of their place in the world This is where the distinction between faith and belief is vital. These stories are literally not to be believed. They are, rather, artifacts human beings have crafted to try to wring some meaning from the mystery. They are not themselves the mystery.
I liken this to Michael Crichton s novel Jurassic Park. If you were to read it 1000 years in the future, it might not have been conveniently shelved above the word fiction. Would a reader in the future know that it was not meant to be a literal description of facts? I think sometimes we make this mistake when we read the Bible. Note, though, that although we all understand that Jurassic Park wasn t meant to be a literal description of facts, it seems to have been valued by quite a large part of society. And it didn t even address big mysteries. Cox argues against ridding ourselves of the creation myths, suggesting that they are an important reminder that we are similar to humans who grappled with the same big questions centuries ago as we do today.
The ill-advised transmuting of symbols into a curious kind of facts has created an immense obstacle to faith for many thoughtful people. Instead of helping them confront the great mystery, it has effectively prevented them from doing so the objective knowledge science rightly insists on is not the only kind of knowledge human beings need Faith, although it is evoked by the mystery that surrounds us, is not the mystery itself.
Constantine and the Age of Belief
One of the most devastating blunders made by the church, especially as the Age of Belief began, was to insist that the Spirit is present only in believers.
Cox spends a lot of time covering the very interesting topic of how and why the church moved to the Age of Belief. His central thesis is that money, power, and prestige were primarily responsible, and that an unrighteous collusion between bishops and Constantine, each using Christianity for their own purposes, finally made it happen. This is very interesting stuff, but this post is too long already, so I will not spend a lot of time on it. I found the Council of Nicea to be particularly interesting, considering that the Nicean Creed came about partially by exile or execution of those Christians that disagreed with it. Cox also points out that there never was a single early Christianity ; there were many, and the idea of heresy was unknown.
The time is ripe to retrieve the term Way for Christianity and followers of the Way for Christians. It is at once more accurate, more original, and more contemporary than believers.
To the future Cox describes attending a meeting of the church in Hong Kong in 2003, and uses it as a metaphor for the future of faith:
Their idea of interfaith dialogue was to work with their fellow Asians of whatever religion to advance the Kingdom that Jesus had inspired them, as Christians, to strive for, regardless of what the others called it. They were neither fundamentalist nor modernist. They seemed more attuned to the element of mystery at the core of Christianity and to its vision of justice. They were also clearly impatient with many of the disputes that preoccupy the different wings of the American churches.
Conclusion I found this book to be both enlightening and informative. I highly recommend it, even if you disagree with some of Cox s conclusions. It is a fascinating view into how the world s largest religion evolved over the years, and a candid look at the mistakes it has made in that time.

12 February 2010

Sandro Tosi: This RRD was created on another architecture

That is the message you'll receive when trying to open a RRD database created on a 32bit machine from a 64bit one (it's also true the reverse). It's due to the fact that RRD is an architecture-dependent file format: endianess and integer bits length matter.

That's quite boring, given it's quite common to let each machine generate its own RRDs and graph them from a central place, and the more machines you have, the more chances of the above problem.

So, for another example, if you migrate one machine from 32 to 64 bits, you'll have to:
as described here. And when you have +4GB of RRDs it's not so painless.

So, can we haz an architecture independed RRD file format? Pretty please?

It was planned for 1.4, and now that 1.4 is release it's planned for 1.5. Let's hope it comes soon, it would be really nice! :)

31 December 2009

John Goerzen: My Reading List for 2010

I can hear the question now: What kind of guy puts The Iliad and War and Peace on a list of things to read for fun? Well, me. I think that reading things by authors I ve never read before, people that take positions I haven t heard of before or don t agree with, or works that are challenging, will teach me something. And learning is fun. My entire list for 2010 is at Goodreads. I ve highlighted a few below. I don t expect to read all 34 books on the Goodreads list necessarily, but there is the chance. The Iliad by Homer, 750BC, trans. by Alexander Pope, 704 pages. A recent NPR story kindled my interest in this work. I m looking forward to it. The Oxford History of the Classical World by Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, 1986, 882 pages. It covers ancient Greece and Rome up through the fall of the Roman empire. The Fires of Heaven (Wheel of Time #5) by Robert Jordan, 1994, 912 pages. I ve read books 1 through 4 already, and would like to continue on the series. War and Peace by Lev Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy, 1869, 1392 pages. Been on my list for way too long. Time to get to it. Haven t read anything by Tolstoy before. The Politics of Jesus by John Howard Yoder, 1972, 2nd ed., 270 pages. Aims to dispel the notion of Jesus as apolitical. An Intimate History of Humanity by Theodore Zeldin, 1996, 496 pages. Picked this up at Powell s in Portland on a whim, and it s about time I get to it. The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church by Gregory A. Boyd, 2007, 224 pages. An argument that the American evangelical church allowed itself to be co-opted by the political right (and some on the left) and argues this is harmful to the church. Also challenges the notion that America ever was a Christian nation. Daily Life in Ancient Rome: The People and the City at the Height of the Empire, by Jerome Carcopino, 2003, 368 pages. I ve always been fascinated with how things were on the ground rather than at the perspective of generals and kings, and this promises to be interesting. Slavery, Sabbath, War, and Women: Case Issues in Biblical Interpretation (Conrad Grebel Lectures) by Willard M. Swartley, 1983, 368 pages. Looking at how people have argued from different Biblical perspectives about various issues over the years. To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, 1927, 252 pages. I can t believe I ve never read Woolf before. Yet another one I m really looking forward to. Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1922, 319 pages. Per Goodreads: This book of five confessional essays from the 1930s follows Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda from the height of their celebrity as the darlings of the 1920s to years of rapid decline leading to the self-proclaimed Crack Up in 1936. Ulysses by James Joyce, 1922 (1961 unabridged version), 783 pages. The Future of Faith by Harvey Cox, 2009, 256 pages. Per Goodreads, Cox explains why Christian beliefs and dogma are giving way to new grassroots movements rooted in social justice and spiritual experience. Heard about this one in an interview with Diane Rehm. Being There by Jerzy Kosi ski, 1970, 128 pages. Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary by Marcus Borg, 2006, 352 pages. Whether or not you agree with Borg, this has got to be a thought-provoking title. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, 1844, 640 pages. The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura, 1906, 154 pages. Per Goodreads: In 1906 in turn-of-the century Boston, a small, esoteric book about tea was written with the intention of being read aloud in the famous salon of Isabella Gardner. It was authored by Okakura Kakuzo, a Japanese philosopher, art expert, and curator. Little known at the time, Kakuzo would emerge as one of the great thinkers of the early 20th century, a genius who was insightful, witty and greatly responsible for bridging Western and Eastern cultures. Nearly a century later, Kakuzo s The Book of Tea is still beloved the world over. Interwoven with a rich history of tea and its place in Japanese society is poignant commentary on Eastern culture and our ongoing fascination with it, as well as illuminating essays on art, spirituality, poetry, and more. More of my list is at Goodreads.

2 December 2008

Miriam Ruiz: Collaborative maintenance of games between developers of different Linux and BSD systems

Games are probably the kind of software that needs more patching and maintenance. In some cases we even have to effectively act as upstreams ourselves. Currently every distro is doing that on their own, and we end up making n times similar patches to provide the same functionality (put files in the proper places, endianess and word size stuff, building with newer versions of gcc or free toolchains, etc). It makes a lot of sense to share among us all that stuff. Some of us, developers of different Linux distributions and BSD operative systems have started working together to reduce duplicated work, creating a distribution-agnostic mailing list in freedesktop servers as a first step. Debian Project News talks about this too. You can read more about our goals here. Wish us luck in this new quest, and join us if you’re interested too :)

22 September 2008

Axel Beckert: Can't resist this meme

Just stumbled over this meme at Adrian (the meme seems to be started by madduck involuntarily), and since I’m fascinated by how people choose hostnames since my early years at university, I can’t resist to add my two cents to this meme. To be exact, I have two schemes, one for servers out there somewhere (Hetzner, xencon, etc.) and they’re all wordplays on their domain name, e.g. (short name “sym” :-), (usually an alias for one of the machines below), (always a virtual machine, initially UML, soon a Xen DomU), etc. So nothing for a quiz here. My other scheme is for all my machines at home and my mobile machines. I’ll start this list with the not so obvious hostnames, so the earlier you guess the scheme, the better you are (or the better you know me ;-). One more hint in advance: “(*)” means this attribute or fact made me choose the name for the machine and therefore can be used as hint for the scheme. :-)
My first PC at all, a 386 with 25 MHz and MS-DOS. (Got named retroactively(*). Hadn’t hostnames at that time.)
ak (pronounced as letters)
Got it from my brother after he didn’t need it anymore. It initially was identical to azam, but once was upgraded to a 486. Still have the 386 board, though.
My first self-bought computer, a pure SCSI system with a AMD K5-PR133 and 32 MB RAM. Initially had SuSE 4.4 and Windows 95 on. Still my last machine which had a Windows installed! :-)
Same case and same speed as azka. Used it for experimenting(*) with Sid years ago.
Initially also an AMD K5-PR133, later replaced by a Pentium 90 and used as DSL router.
An HP Vectra 386/25N book size mini desktop I saved from the scrapyard at Y_Plentyn before his (first) move to Munich. The cutest(*) 386 I ever saw.
A 386 with 387 co-processor(*) and solded 8 MB of RAM.
A 1992 Toshiba T6400C 486 laptop bought at VCFe 5.0.
My 1996 ThinkPad 760ED, which is still working and running Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 Lenny (I started with Debian 3.0 Woody on it and always dist-upgraded it! :-)
gsa (pronounced as letters)
My long-time desktop after azka. A Pentium II with 400 MHz and 578 MB of RAM at the end. Bought used at LinuxTag 2003, it worked until end of last year when it started to suddenly switch off more and more often and now refuses to boot at all. Hasn’t been replaced yet though. I mostly use my laptops at home since then.
gsx (pronounced as letters)
An AMD K6 with 500 MHz I got from maol and which was used as Symlink test server more than once. (It was the machine initially named because of that.)
My 32 bit Sparc, a Hamilton Hamstation.
hz (pronounced as letters)
My 64 bit Sparc, an UltraSparc 5.
An HP Apollo 9000 Series 400, model 400t from 1990.
tpv (pronounced as letters, too ;-)
My Zaurus SL-5500G.
A Unisys Acquanta CP mini desktop with a passively cooled(*) 200 MHz Pemtium MMX. Used as DSL router for while, but the power supply fan was too noisy.
lna (pronounced as letters)
A 233 MHz Alpha
An IBM ThinkPad A31 running Sid. I use it as beside terminal.
A Compaq LTE5100 laptop with a Pentium 90 running Sid.
A Sony Vaio laptop which ran Debian GNU/kFreeBSD until it broke.
Those who know me quite good should already have guessed the scheme, even if they can’t assign all the names. For all others, here’s one name which doesn’t exactly fit into the scheme, but still is related in someway, but you need to knowledge of the theme’s subject to know the relation:
A big tower from the early 90s designed by Colani.
Ok, and now the more obvious hostnames:
A very compact Toshiba T1000LE 8086 laptop running ELKS and FreeDOS.
Also an old Symlink test server from maol. He named it “dual”. 2x(*) Pentium I with 166 MHz. Unfortunately doesn’t boot anymore.
An IBM NetVista workstation running Debian GNU/kFreeBSD. My current IRC host.
My ASUS EeePC running Debian 5.0 Lenny.
My current WLAN router running FreeWRT.
My MicroClient JrSX, an embedded 486SX compatible machine with 300 Mhz for VESA mountings.
My MicroClient Jr, an embedded Pentium MMX compatible machine with 200 Mhz for VESA mountings.
My Lenovo ThinkPad T61 running Debian 5.0 Lenny.
c-cactus and c-metisse
The KVM based virtual(*) machines on c-crosser running Sid and Debian GNU/kFreeBSD.
My NAS(*) at home, currently a TheCus N4100. Soon to be replaced by some Mini-ITX box.
Any one who hasn’t guessed the scheme yet? For those understanding German it’s explained at the end of my old hardware page. For all others I suggest either to look at the domain name in my e-mail address (no, it’s usually not Still not clear? Well, feel free to ask me for all the gory details or mark the following white box to see the scheme as well as the explanations for nearly all hostnames hidden in there:
All the machines are named after Citroëns. Old machines after old Citroëns, current hardware after current Citroën models or prototypes. Those names starting with “A” are 2CV derivatives since the 2CV was Citroëns “A” model. “AZ” was the 2CV, AZU and AK were 2CV vans and everything starting with AY (e.g. AYA, AYA2, AYB – but those don’t sound that nice ;-) is Dyane based, but I currently only use Méhara names (AYCA is the normal Méhari, AYCE the 4x4 version). Interestingly not everything starting with AYC is a Méhari: AYCD was the Acadiane, the Dyane van. HY and HZ are variants of Citroëns “H van” (HX, HW and H1600 as well, but they don’t sound that nice), TUB was the pre-WWII “H van” prototype and later the nickname of the “H van” in France. TPV was the name of the pre-WWII 2CV prototype and an abbreviation for Toute Petite Voiture (French for “Very Small Car”), hence the Zaurus, my smallest Linux box, got that name. Rosalie was the nickname of a rear-wheel drive pre-WWII Citroën. M35 was a Wankel engine prototype of the Ami 8 and the Ami Super was the 4 cylinder version of the Ami 8. Bijou was a 2CV based coupé build by Citroën UK in the late 50s and early 60s. Visa and LNA were 2CV predecessors which were available with 2CV engines, but were stopped before the 2CV. GSA and GSX are GS late derivatives. C1, C2, (C3) Pluriel, C-Crosser, Jumper and Nemo are current Citroën models and C-Cactus and C-Métisse are recent Citroën prototypes and show cars. The 2CV Dagonet was an aerodynamically optimised 2CVs by Jean Dagonet in the 50s. The Tryane is an aerodynamic and fuel efficient, three wheeled car by Friend Wood based on the 2CV and with a body of wood. And Colani once dressed a 2CV so that it broke several efficiency world records. The Namco Pony was a 2CV based light utility truck (similar to the Méhari, but with steel body) built in Greece under license in many variants. And Loadrunner is the name of some CX six-wheeler conversions.
Some links about the naming items: Hope you had fun. I had. ;-)

Now playing: Willi Astor — Gwand Anham Ära

19 September 2008

John Goerzen: Interesting take on the markets

Yesterday on NPR's Diane Rehm show, one of the commentators made this point: (paraphrased)

The "bad debt" that all the banks are carrying, and that everyone talks about as the cause for this problem, is mortgage-backed securities. It's bad because there are so many foreclosures, meaning that people aren't paying back their loans. And that's a problem because the banks turn out to have a much less solid investment than they thought.

Instead of spending $100 billion or more bailing out bank after bank, the government ought to spend that money to stabilize the real estate sector. Invest it in programs to help people stay in their homes and avoid foreclosure. This will help both the individuals, and simultaneously fix the problems with the banks, because the mortgage-backed securities will regain their value.

Sounds way too sensible to do, doesn't it?

After all, we wouldn't want to encourage risky behavior on the part of the common folk that don't know better. No, we only want to encourage that with our large multi-national financial institutions that can wreck the entire economy.

14 May 2008

Erich Schubert: Consequences of the SSH/SSL weakness

Let me just point out, that the consequences affect all users of SSH. Therefore IMHO all other Linux and BSD distributions need to release a security update to OpenSSH as well, to prevent the use of insecure (too common) keys, because it threatens the security of their systems as well!Apparently, there are only about 2^15 different keys generated by the SSH versions shipped with Debian for 2 years. It's really surprising that noone noticed this earler. This is just about 32767 different keys. (For each type, size and endianess, but that still makes this number much much much too low) The weakness is caused by a bad random number generator in the Debian package.Hackers have already generated all these 32767 different keys, for two key lengths and types. In a few hours, they'll also have generated all the 4096 bit keys that could have been generated. Other key lengths are uncommon and sometimes might even be unsupported. Most people use keys with length 1024 or 2048.So we now have about 32767 keys which are used by lots of Debian and Ubuntu users. That's not very much. Now you have to realize how the keys are used:The key is used to log into a system without a password. Sometimes a key is protected with a passphrase (you really should do that), but this doesn't help here, because an unencrypted clone of the key was already generated.Sometimes (or let me even claim 'often') one such key is also used to login as root into a server. This is equivalent to just 32767 different passwords being used as root passwords. So with about this number of tries, an attacker might be able to log into your server as 'root'!Now the weakness is 'distributed' by the users, it's not just a server-side vulnerability. If your server is running e.g. RedHat, it doesn't mean it is secure!.In fact, if your server is running Debian and you installed the Debian security update for openssh, it will be much more secure than the RedHat server. Because the Debian server has a blacklist of keys that are too common. The other-Linux server who doesn't have this blacklist doesn't know that a certain 'weak' key is not trustworthy.Fixing the bad key-generation is just half of the deal. "Recalling" all the keys in use out there is the big challenge, that affects all systems using SSH (and to a different extend, SSL). The most reliable way is if all other distributions would release a security update as well, which refuses to accept the keys that were generated by vulnerable Debian systems.Let me just repeat it in other words: Any Linux/Unix/*BSD system is vulnerable that grants access to a key that was generated on an affected Debian or Ubuntu system. (Until the system has a reliable detection method of such weak keys.) Keys are usually generated on the users workstation, so if any of your users is or was potentially running Debian or Ubuntu ... you get the idea.Note that if you are not careful, you might lock yourself out from your server. If you don't have or remember the password, installing the security update might disable your login key. So if your key is bad, make sure to generate a new, secure key and distribute it ASAP. Also remove any vulnerable key ASAP; remember that hackers now have a list of all possible keys and could use that to brute-force login.P.S. Since some people still don't seem to get the consequences in full: The bigger problem is to remove are the weak keys, not to fix the broken library. The weak keys (especially in the form of public keys!) can live on tons of other systems, not just on Debian and Ubuntu. This is why TOR also released a security update and e.g. CACert urges non-Debian distributors to also ship and use the blacklists of known weak keys. Also note that not all keys that can be considered compromised can be detected this easily. If you've been using a DSA key on an affected system - even when it was created on a different system - it is to be considered compromised.

22 September 2007

Theodore Ts'o: How to properly support writers/artists?

Russell Coker, commenting on my last blog, and apparently after exploring some of the links stemming from the SFWA kerfuflle, apparently stumbled on a post from former SFWA VP Howard V. Hendrix, where he took the amazing position (for a SF writer) that he hated the using the internet, and that people who posted their stories on the web for free download were web-scabs, has taken the position that since such comments were an attack on our (Open Source Developer’s) community, that he would resolve “to not buy any more Sci-Fi books until I have read all the freely available books that I want to read”. Obviously, that’s his choice, but while I don’t have much respect for SFWA the organization, and certainly not for their choice in past and current vice presidents, there’s another side of the story here. First of all, Dr. Hendrix comments are not the official position of the SFWA, and there are many others who are SFWA members who would very strongly disagree with both the attitudes of Dr. Hendrix as well as the ham-handed DMCA pseudo-invocation by Dr. Burt. In addition, to quote Rick Cook:
The first thing you ve got to understand about the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America is that it isn t. Like the Holy Roman Empire, which in Voltaire s phrase was neither holy, Roman nor an empire, SFWA is not an organization of science fiction and fantasy writers. While some of the leading SF and Fantasy writers belong, the vast majority of the members are people who barely meet SFWA s extremely lax publication requirements. They are not professional SF or Fantasy writers in any meaningful sense of the term and many of them haven t published a word of either science fiction or fantasy in years.
Secondly, there are plenty of Science Fiction writers that do really understand this issue quite well. In addition Rick Cook, whom I recommended in my last post, another example of a Science Function writer who has penned a very cogent series of articles about copyright, science fiction, and the business issues of being a SFF writer is Eric Flint. I strongly recommend his series, “Salvos Against Big Brother”,which includes a back-to-the basics examination of copyright quoting and reprinting two speeches by British Parliamentarian Thomas McCauley in 1841. Definitely worth a read, and again a demonstration that there exists Science Fiction authors that aren’t stuck in the dark ages; few (at least it is to be hoped) are like Dr. Hendrix. Eric Flint is also a senior editor for Baen Books (read more about the founder, Jim Baen here). Baen makes all of its titles available in e-book form without DRM, and many of its authors have agreed to make their books available completely free of charge. Eric Flint does so for all or most of his books shortly after they are published in mass-market paperback form; others only make a few of their books available, typically the first or second books in a series (in the hopes you will buy the rest of their books) — a wise strategy, as he explains in one of his Salvos Against Big Brother columns. More importantly, I strongly believe that if we enjoy an artist’s works, we should support the artist. That’s why I’ve directly reached out and given money to musicians, authors, and Debian release engineers. (Yes, that last was controversial, but to me and personal ethics, it’s all of the same piece.) Is patronage the right way to support musicians? Well, it’s one way, and I’ve always been fond of the “distributed patronage” model where we use the Internet to allow a large number of people to each contribute to support an artist’s work. The Big Meow is a good example how it might work. (By the way, to people who are wondering what is happening with The Big Meow — I have very recently pinged Diane, and she’s working on it. Between health and family emergencies, the last 12 months have thrown a lot of delays into her writing schedule.) Are there other models other than patronage that might work? Well, there is the traditional one — just buying the author’s books. But what if we don’t want a dead-tree copy and just want to be able to read it on our Irex Iliad, and the book wasn’t published by Baen Books, or one of the few enlightened publishers who make non-DRM’d eBooks available? That’s a harder question. Personally, I don’t find “Copyright Theft” immoral per se. Illegal, yes, but immoral only if I haven’t done something to materially support the author. If I’ve purchased a new copy of a book, and the eBook version isn’t available via legal means, I don’t believe it is immoral to download it from a site like scribd so I can read it on my laptop. Of course, that brings up other questions, such as what if the book is out of print (because the publisher don’t think it’s commercially viable to reissue the books), the author is dead, and the widow needs money? Lots of hard questions, and no good answers…. But in any case, I think it is the right thing to do to support those authors we care about as we can, and boyotting all SFF books isn’t necessarily appropriate or helpful.

13 July 2007

Eddy Petrișor: glest: a free 3D real time strategy game

After almost a year of working on and off on the package, glest is now in the new queue.

Glest is really a free 3D real time strategy game with amazing graphics and really interesting game play.

So maybe you're wondering why did it took me so long to package it. Well, glest is mainly developed on a Windows platform and GNU/Linux is the platform it was later ported to. So this came with some problems:
Since when I started the packaging work I was using a PowerBook G4 as my main machine I was upset that the game was little endian only, so I started working on a patch. I made an incomplete patch but I got stuck at some point. Time passed by and I replaced my laptop and I wasn't able to continue working on the patch. So I kind of forgot about it. Before debconf I decided is time to do the upload for little endian machines, add the endianess patch disabled.

During debconf I asked Tolimar to make an upload, and it turns out that for some reason I still don't know, the build resulted in a statically linked binary. I was amazed since I didn't recall doing any changes that might have triggered this. At some point I suspected that the build system is broken on other arches than i386 (my main machine is amd64) and halted. This until a few days ago Joey Hess added a comment in the ITP bug pointing out that the game is ok. After a couple of emails I realized that the static issue was just some strange temporary issue on my machine and now the package is in NEW.

So, that's my excuse. I hope that upstream glest issue get fixed. If not, I'll probably package glevolution, too.

4 July 2007

Jeff Bailey: Leif's Dedication

Originally uploaded by jbailey
Photo taken by Alice Robinette
We celebrated Leif's dedication a couple weekends ago on June 17th at the Unitarian Church of Montr al. I got permission from Diane Rollert, our minister, to post the text of it.

(LJ-cut used to keep it from being too long)

Dedication of Leif Alexander Bailey, June 17, 2007

To the Child:
Leif Alexander Bailey, you have come with stardust in your hair, with the rush of planets in your blood, your heart beating out the seasons of eternity, with a shining in your eyes like the sunlight.

Your parents have brought you here to be dedicated, to celebrate the joy they have and to count themselves blessed that you are a part of their family.

As you grow, may you come to love what it is that your parents and this community of Unitarian Universalists value. May you learn to count the number of your days, to weigh their meaning, to gather into your mind the wisdom of your ancestors, to know why we call one thing right and another wrong, and to treasure beauty, mercy and justice in the deepest places of your being.

To the Congregation:
A dedication in the Unitarian Universalist tradition is one of the few sacred rituals we share together as a community. It is a covenant, a promise of love and care, that the entire community bestows upon a child.
Although Leif and his parents are leaving us to pursue new lives in San Francisco, they have chosen to dedicate Leif here in this church that has meant so much to them. Their travels may take them far away, but in this act of dedication today, we will covenant to continue to hold a place of care and concern in our hearts for Leif as he grows. Do you, as this religious community called the Unitarian Church of Montreal, take upon yourselves the privilege and the responsibility of helping to nurture the character and spirit of this child even at a distance?

Congregational Response:
We who are members of this congregation rejoice with this family in the promise of this child. We pledge him now the love and care of this community.

To the Parents:
Angie and Jeff, parents of Leif, please repeat after me this pledge. Leif, we pledge to help you to realize the best that is in you. We will seek, to the best of our ability, to instruct you by our teaching and by our example. We promise to love you with an unselfish love.

To the Child:
Leif, I dedicate you to the service of goodness, beauty and truth. I touch you with this water, which is a symbol of purity, and with this rose which is a symbol of your unfolding life, on your brow, your eyes, your lips, your heart and your hands, that your thoughts, your vision, your speech, your love and your generosity may be dedicated to the care of the earth and its people. We dedicate you that the transcending power of all that is divine may be present in you all your life long.

Closing Prayer:
Spirit of Life and Transcending Source of Love that connects us all, bless this beautiful child Leif this day and all the days of his life. As we rejoice in the promise of Leif s life that stretches out before him, let us remember those no longer with us, especially Leif s grandmother Glennis Bailey who left this earth too soon to meet her grandson, but whose memory and spirit will continue on through him. May Leif continue to serve with strength as his life unfolds so that the richness and wonder of life may be abundantly his. May peace dwell in his heart,and understanding in his mind. May courage strengthen his will and may the love of truth forever guide him.

16 November 2006

Zak B. Elep: Ubuntu-PH Release Party for 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

Last night I called Ubunteros nearby Manila for the Edgy Eft (belated) release party at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf at Greenbelt 3. Little did I know that there will be a lot of folks coming from the just-concluded FOSS@work workshop joining in the fun, thanks to Yolynne Medina and Eric Pareja. Diane Gonzales and I got to the venue first, then followed by the FOSS@Work folks. Dominique Cimafranca, Migs Paraz, Ranulf Goss, Jopes Gallardo, and Joel Bryan Juliano were there too, and all in all we were easily the noisiest group in the coffee shop, seemingly occupying the entirety of the place. I originally planned to move the group to have dinner somewhere, but along the way everybody seemed to forgot dinner and we quite engaged in talking to everyone else. It was terrific. The 2 boxes of Edgy ,K,Ed Ubuntu CDs I brought were easily given away to everyone; we even had them exchanged and autographed (naks!) reminiscent of what Ealden and I did last February when Mark came here. As a finale, we had a group photo of everyone with their CDs; Dominique remarks that in his informal’ study, more and more women prefer Ubuntu (and I sure do think he’ll be blogging more about this soon. ;) Needless to say, the above photo doesn’t do great justice to what happened last night; it came from my elric which I didn’t get use much as a camera since I too was happily chatting away. That said, I expect RJ Ian will be posting his photos from his brand-spanking-new Kodak camera to the Ubuntu-PH site once he gets back to Mindanao with Yolynne and company. I also think the FOSS@Work folks also have their own photosite or wiki to post more photos, which we’ll be seeing sooner. Jerome Gotangco and Ealden Esca an, the guys whom we all owe Ubuntu-PH to, were unfortunately unable to attend last night, as Jerome was off to Cebu to participate in the ICT congress there, while Ealden was quite busy at work. Hopefully they (as well as last night’s attendees!) can attend the next Release Party for 7.04 (aka Feisty Fawn,) and hopefully it will be just as fun, and be more meaningful if more Ubuntu-PH folks get involved in its development! Update: Yolynne and RJ just posted pics fresh from their arrival to home. Expect more pics later, nicely tagged too…

23 August 2006

Clint Adams: Solid ground, lost and found

I am shocked and appalled that the Debian Inquirer has squelched its sixteen-page, four-color article about Debian's bar/bat mitzvah this month. My sources tell me that the article discussed in great detail the knishes, the blintzes, the challah, the rugelach, the Manischewitz loganberry surprise, the hummus, those homosexual Italian things, the Jews, the goyim, Belkinsauce the cat rubbing his hindquarters in the egg salad, the light-switch antics, the discussion of Diane Lane's bizarre transformation, the boasting of mad phat Journey skillZ, the disgusting spectacle created by Asshands, the revelation of gay wikipedia vandalists, the Jewish penis competition, festival reading the Torah, some kind of shell tricks competition, some underage girl brought for tea purposes, fun facts about Mr. De Cock, and phoned-in porn play-by-play. Among other things, the article left out the most sinister and disturbing aspect of this celebration: the Star Trek conspiracy. Maybe it was just too subtle, or maybe they just don't want you to know. I can point to these examples: Barbie sneaked the Picard Song into the Quod Libet queue. There was rantful discourse about Star Trek: Episode 1. Barbie's recently acquired trinket was not actually a token of gay alliance, but an artifact from Star Trek season 3, episode 27, The Valley of the Rainbow Mezuzot . However, what really tops the list is the floating image of Lt. Worf with white stuff on his upper lip in the wee hours of the morning. That's just. Unnatural. As unnatural. As sugar-free Vermont maple syrup . As unusual as Mary J. Blige & U2.

22 January 2006

Eric Dorland: contrary to popular opinion, we do actually fix bugs

A recent post by Ingo Juergensmann lamenting m68k not making the cut in this round of architecture qualifications. While it is a shame I think, I don't think it's necessarily the end of the world and his complaint that developers will now stop fixing bugs is crazy. Just because they're suddenly not release critical doesn't mean (good) maintainers will be unwilling to fix them. Most architecture bugs are toolchain bugs (ie not the package maintainer's fault), general types of architecture bugs (eg endianess, int size) that affect more than one architecture and tend to get fixed quickly and easily and really freaking hard problems that most package maintainers don't have the skill to fix on their own (eg #343687, help!). But if someone submits a bug that's trivial to fix, or gives me a patch, that bug will get fixed. I don't like bugs in my packages and probably most other developers don't either.

20 January 2006

Eric Dorland: contrary to popular opinion, we do actually fix bugs

A recent post by Ingo Juergensmann lamenting m68k not making the cut in this round of architecture qualifications. While it is a shame I think, I don't think it's necessarily the end of the world and his complaint that developers will now stop fixing bugs is crazy. Just because they're suddenly not release critical doesn't mean (good) maintainers will be unwilling to fix them. Most architecture bugs are toolchain bugs (ie not the package maintainer's fault), general types of architecture bugs (eg endianess, int size) that affect more than one architecture and tend to get fixed quickly and easily and really freaking hard problems that most package maintainers don't have the skill to fix on their own (eg #343687, help!). But if someone submits a bug that's trivial to fix, or gives me a patch, that bug will get fixed. I don't like bugs in my packages and probably most other developers don't either.

27 December 2005

Eric Dorland: contrary to popular opinion, we do actually fix bugs

A recent post by Ingo Juergensmann lamenting m68k not making the cut in this round of architecture qualifications. While it is a shame I think, I don't think it's necessarily the end of the world and his complaint that developers will now stop fixing bugs is crazy. Just because they're suddenly not release critical doesn't mean (good) maintainers will be unwilling to fix them. Most architecture bugs are toolchain bugs (ie not the package maintainer's fault), general types of architecture bugs (eg endianess, int size) that affect more than one architecture and tend to get fixed quickly and easily and really freaking hard problems that most package maintainers don't have the skill to fix on their own (eg #343687, help!). But if someone submits a bug that's trivial to fix, or gives me a patch, that bug will get fixed. I don't like bugs in my packages and probably most other developers don't either.