Search Results: "reg"

6 August 2020

Chris Lamb: The Bringers of Beethoven

This is a curiously poignant work to me that I doubt I would ever be able to communicate in writing. I found it first about fifteen years ago with a friend who I am quite regrettably no longer in regular contact with, so there was some complicated nostalgia entangled with rediscovering it today. What might I say about it instead? One tell-tale sign of 'good' art is that you can find something new in it, or yourself, each time. In this sense, despite The Bringers of Beethoven being more than a little ridiculous, it is somehow 'good' music to me. For example, it only really dawned on me now that the whole poem is an allegory for a GDR-like totalitarianism. But I also realised that it is not an accident that it is Beethoven himself (quite literally the soundtrack for Enlightenment humanism) that is being weaponised here, rather than some fourth-rate composer of military marches or one with a problematic past. That is to say, not only is the poem arguing that something universally recognised as an unalloyed good can be subverted for propagandistic ends, but that is precisely the point being made by the regime. An inverted Clockwork Orange, if you like. Yet when I listen to it again I can't help but laugh. I think of the 18th-century poet Alexander Pope, who first used the word bathos to refer to those abrupt and often absurd transitions from the elevated to the ordinary, contrasting it with the concept of pathos, the sincere feeling of sadness and tragedy. I can't think of two better words.

5 August 2020

Holger Levsen: 20200805-debconf7

DebConf7 This tshirt is 13 years old and from DebConf7. DebConf7 was my 5th DebConf and took place in Edinburgh, Scotland. And finally I could tell people I was a DD :-D Though as you can guess, that's yet another story to be told. So anyway, Edinburgh. I don't recall exactly whether the video team had to record 6 or 7 talk rooms on 4 floors, but this was probably the most intense set up we ran. And we ran a lot, from floor to floor, and room to room. DebConf7 was also special because it had a very special night venue, which was in an ex-church in a rather normal building, operated as sort of community center or some such, while the old church interior was still very much visible as in everything new was build around the old stuff. And while the night venue was cool, it also ment we (video team) had no access to our machines over night (or for much of the evening), because we had to leave the university over night and the networking situation didn't allow remote access with the bandwidth needed to do anything video. The night venue had some very simple house rules, like don't rearrange stuff, don't break stuff, don't fix stuff and just a few little more and of course we broke them in the best possible way: Toresbe with the help of people I don't remember fixed the organ, which was broken for decades. And so the house sounded in some very nice new old tune and I think everybody was happy we broke that rule. I believe the city is really nice from the little I've seen of it. A very nice old town, a big castle on the hill :) I'm not sure whether I missed the day trip to Glasgow to fix video things or to rest or both... Another thing I missed was getting a kilt, for which Phil Hands made a terrific design (update: the design is called tartan and was made by Phil indeed!), which spelled Debian in morse code. That was pretty cool and the kilts are really nice on DebConf group pictures since then. And if you've been wearing this kilt regularily for the last 13 years it was probably also a sensible investment. ;) It seems I don't have that many more memories of this DebConf, British power plugs and how to hack them comes to my mind and some other stuff here and there, but I remember less than previous years. I'm blaming this on the intense video setup and also on the sheer amount of people, which was the hightest until then and for some years, I believe maybe even until Heidelberg 8 years later. IIRC there were around 470 people there and over my first five years of DebConf I was incredible lucky to make many friends in Debian, so I probably just hung out and had good times.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppCCTZ 0.2.8: Minor API Extension

A new minor release 0.2.8 of RcppCCTZ is now on CRAN. RcppCCTZ uses Rcpp to bring CCTZ to R. CCTZ is a C++ library for translating between absolute and civil times using the rules of a time zone. In fact, it is two libraries. One for dealing with civil time: human-readable dates and times, and one for converting between between absolute and civil times via time zones. And while CCTZ is made by Google(rs), it is not an official Google product. The RcppCCTZ page has a few usage examples and details. This package was the first CRAN package to use CCTZ; by now at least three others do using copies in their packages which remains less than ideal. This version adds three no throw variants of three existing functions, contributed again by Leonardo. This will be used in an upcoming nanotime release which we are finalising now.

Changes in version 0.2.8 (2020-08-04)
  • Added three new nothrow variants (for win32) needed by the expanded nanotime package (Leonardo in #37)

We also have a diff to the previous version thanks to CRANberries. More details are at the RcppCCTZ page; code, issue tickets etc at the GitHub repository. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

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

3 August 2020

Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS and ELTS - July 2020

Debian LTS Logo Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor. In July, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability - I was assigned 25.25h for LTS (out of 30 max; all done) and 13.25h for ELTS (out of 20 max; all done). We shifted suites: welcome Stretch LTS and Jessie ELTS. The LTS->ELTS switch happened at the start of the month, but the oldstable->LTS switch happened later (after finalizing and flushing proposed-updates to a last point release), causing some confusion but nothing major. ELTS - Jessie LTS - Stretch Documentation/Scripts

1 August 2020

Utkarsh Gupta: FOSS Activites in July 2020

Here s my (tenth) monthly update about the activities I ve done in the F/L/OSS world.

Debian
This was my 17th month of contributing to Debian. I became a DM in late March last year and a DD last Christmas! \o/ Well, this month I didn t do a lot of Debian stuff, like I usually do, however, I did a lot of things related to Debian (indirectly via GSoC)! Anyway, here are the following things I did this month:

Uploads and bug fixes:

Other $things:
  • Mentoring for newcomers.
  • FTP Trainee reviewing.
  • Moderation of -project mailing list.
  • Sponsored php-twig for William, ruby-growl, ruby-xmpp4r, and uby-uniform-notifier for Cocoa, sup-mail for Iain, and node-markdown-it for Sakshi.

GSoC Phase 2, Part 2! In May, I got selected as a Google Summer of Code student for Debian again! \o/
I am working on the Upstream-Downstream Cooperation in Ruby project. The first three blogs can be found here: Also, I log daily updates at gsocwithutkarsh2102.tk. Whilst the daily updates are available at the above site^, I ll breakdown the important parts of the later half of the second month here:
  • Marc Andre, very kindly, helped in fixing the specs that were failing earlier this month. Well, the problem was with the specs, but I am still confused how so. Anyway..
  • Finished documentation of the second cop and marked the PR as ready to be reviewed.
  • David reviewed and suggested some really good changes and I fixed/tweaked that PR as per his suggestion to finally finish the last bits of the second cop, RelativeRequireToLib.
  • Merged the PR upon two approvals and released it as v0.2.0!
  • We had our next weekly meeting where we discussed the next steps and the things that are supposed to be done for the next set of cops.
  • Introduced rubocop-packaging to the outer world and requested other upstream projects to use it! It is being used by 13 other projects already!
  • Started to work on packaging-style-guide but I didn t push anything to the public repository yet.
  • Worked on refactoring the cops_documentation Rake task which was broken by the new auto-corrector API. Opened PR #7 for it. It ll be merged after the next RuboCop release as it uses CopsDocumentationGenerator class from the master branch.
  • Whilst working on autoprefixer-rails, I found something unusual. The second cop shouldn t really report offenses if the require_relative calls are from lib to lib itself. This is a false-positive. Opened issue #8 for the same.

Debian (E)LTS
Debian Long Term Support (LTS) is a project to extend the lifetime of all Debian stable releases to (at least) 5 years. Debian LTS is not handled by the Debian security team, but by a separate group of volunteers and companies interested in making it a success. And Debian Extended LTS (ELTS) is its sister project, extending support to the Jessie release (+2 years after LTS support). This was my tenth month as a Debian LTS and my first as a Debian ELTS paid contributor.
I was assigned 25.25 hours for LTS and 13.25 hours for ELTS and worked on the following things:

LTS CVE Fixes and Announcements:

ELTS CVE Fixes and Announcements:

Other (E)LTS Work:
  • Did my LTS frontdesk duty from 29th June to 5th July.
  • Triaged qemu, firefox-esr, wordpress, libmediainfo, squirrelmail, xen, openjpeg2, samba, and ldb.
  • Mark CVE-2020-15395/libmediainfo as no-dsa for Jessie.
  • Mark CVE-2020-13754/qemu as no-dsa/intrusive for Stretch and Jessie.
  • Mark CVE-2020-12829/qemu as no-dsa for Jessie.
  • Mark CVE-2020-10756/qemu as not-affected for Jessie.
  • Mark CVE-2020-13253/qemu as postponed for Jessie.
  • Drop squirrelmail and xen for Stretch LTS.
  • Add notes for tomcat8, shiro, and cacti to take care of the Stretch issues.
  • Emailed team@security.d.o and debian-lts@l.d.o regarding possible clashes.
  • Maintenance of LTS Survey on the self-hosted LimeSurvey instance. Received 1765 (just wow!) responses.
  • Attended the fourth LTS meeting. MOM here.
  • General discussion on LTS private and public mailing list.

Other(s)
Sometimes it gets hard to categorize work/things into a particular category.
That s why I am writing all of those things inside this category.
This includes two sub-categories and they are as follows.

Personal: This month I did the following things:
  • Released v0.2.0 of rubocop-packaging on RubyGems!
    It s open-sourced and the repository is here.
    Bug reports and pull requests are welcomed!
  • Released v0.1.0 of get_root on RubyGems!
    It s open-sourced and the repository is here.
  • Wrote max-word-frequency, my Rails C1M2 programming assignment.
    And made it pretty neater & cleaner!
  • Refactored my lts-dla and elts-ela scripts entirely and wrote them in Ruby so that there are no issues and no false-positives!
    Check lts-dla here and elts-ela here.
  • And finally, built my first Rails (mini) web-application!
    The repository is here. This was also a programming assignment (C1M3).
    And furthermore, hosted it at Heroku.

Open Source: Again, this contains all the things that I couldn t categorize earlier.
Opened several issues and PRs:
  • Issue #8273 against rubocop, reporting a false-positive auto-correct for Style/WhileUntilModifier.
  • Issue #615 against http reporting a weird behavior of a flaky test.
  • PR #3791 for rubygems/bundler to remove redundant bundler/setup require call from spec_helper generated by bundle gem.
  • Issue #3831 against rubygems, reporting a traceback of undefined method, rubyforge_project=.
  • Issue #238 against nheko asking for enhancement in showing the font name in the very font itself.
  • PR #2307 for puma to constrain rake-compiler to v0.9.4.
  • And finally, I joined the Cucumber organization! \o/

Thank you for sticking along for so long :) Until next time.
:wq for today.

31 July 2020

Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, July 2020

I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian's Debian LTS initiative, but only worked 5 hours this month and returned the remainder to the pool. Now that Debian 9 'stretch' has entered LTS, the stretch-backports suite will be closed and no longer updated. However, some stretch users rely on the newer kernel version provided there. I prepared to add Linux 4.19 to the stretch-security suite, alongside the standard package of Linux 4.9. I also prepared to update the firmware-nonfree package so that firmware needed by drivers in Linux 4.19 will also be available in stretch's non-free section. Both these updates will be based on the packages in stretch-backports, but needed some changes to avoid conflicts or regressions for users that continue using Linux 4.9 or older non-Debian kernel versions. I will upload these after the Debian 10 'buster' point release.

Chris Lamb: Free software activities in July 2020

Here is my monthly update covering what I have been doing in the free and open source software world during July 2020 (previous month): For Lintian, the static analysis tool for Debian packages:

Reproducible Builds One of the original promises of open source software is that distributed peer review and transparency of process results in enhanced end-user security. However, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free and open source software for malicious flaws, almost all software today is distributed as pre-compiled binaries. This allows nefarious third-parties to compromise systems by injecting malicious code into ostensibly secure software during the various compilation and distribution processes. The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised. The project is proud to be a member project of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella allowing projects to operate as non-profit initiatives without managing their own corporate structure. If you like the work of the Conservancy or the Reproducible Builds project, please consider becoming an official supporter. This month, I:

diffoscope Elsewhere in our tooling, I made the following changes to diffoscope, including preparing and uploading versions 150, 151, 152, 153 & 154 to Debian:

Debian In Debian, I made the following uploads this month:

Debian LTS This month I have worked 18 hours on Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and 12 for the Extended LTS project. This included: You can find out more about the project via the following video:

28 July 2020

Chris Lamb: Pop culture matters

Many people labour under the assumption that pop culture is trivial and useless while only 'high' art can grant us genuine and eternal knowledge about the world. Given that we have a finite time on this planet, we are all permitted to enjoy pop culture up to a certain point, but we should always minimise our interaction with it, and consume more moral and intellectual instruction wherever possible. Or so the theory goes. What these people do not realise is that pop and mass culture can often provide more information about the world, humanity in general and what is even more important ourselves. This is not quite the debate around whether high art is artistically better, simply that pop culture can be equally informative. Jeremy Bentham argued in the 1820s that "prejudice apart, the game of push-pin is of equal value with the arts and sciences of music and poetry", that it didn't matter where our pleasures come from. (John Stuart Mill, Bentham's intellectual rival, disagreed.) This fundamental question of philosophical utilitarianism will not be resolved here. However, what might begin to be resolved is our instinctive push-back against pop culture. We all share an automatic impulse to disregard things we do not like and to pretend they do not exist, but this wishful thinking does not mean that these cultural products do not continue to exist when we aren't thinking about them and, more to our point, continue to influence others and even ourselves. Take, for example, the recent trend for 'millennial pink'. With its empty consumerism, faux nostalgia, reductive generational stereotyping, objectively ugly sthetics and tedious misogyny (photographed with Rose Gold iPhones), the very combination appears to have been deliberately designed to annoy me, curiously providing circumstantial evidence in favour of intelligent design. But if I were to immediately dismiss millennial pink and any of the other countless cultural trends I dislike simply because I find them disagreeable, I would be willingly keeping myself blind to their underlying ideology, their significance and their effect on society at large. If I had any ethical or political reservations I might choose not to engage with them economically or to avoid advertising them to others, but that is a different question altogether. Even if we can't notice this pattern within ourselves we can first observe it in others. We can all recall moments where someone has brushed off a casual reference to pop culture, be it Tiger King, TikTok, team sports or Taylor Swift; if you can't, simply look for the abrupt change of tone and the slightly-too-quick dismissal. I am not suggesting you attempt to dissuade others or even to point out this mental tic, but merely seeing it in action can be highly illustrative in its own way. In summary, we can simultaneously say that pop culture is not worthy of our time relative to other pursuits while consuming however much of it we want, but deliberately dismissing pop culture doesn't mean that a lot of other people are not interacting with it and is therefore undeserving of any inquiry. And if that doesn't convince you, just like the once-unavoidable millennial pink, simply sticking our collective heads in the sand will not mean that wider societal-level ugliness is going to disappear anytime soon. Anyway, that's a very long way of justifying why I plan to re-watch TNG.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: ttdo 0.0.6: Bugfix

A bugfix release of our (still small) ttdo package arrived on CRAN overnight. As introduced last fall, the ttdo package extends the most excellent (and very minimal / zero depends) unit testing package tinytest by Mark van der Loo with the very clever and well-done diffobj package by Brodie Gaslam to give us test results with visual diffs: ttdo screenshot This release corrects a minor editing error spotted by the ever-vigilant John Blischak. The NEWS entry follow.

Changes in ttdo version 0.0.6 (2020-07-27)
  • Correct a minor editing mistake spotted by John Blischak.

CRANberries provides the usual summary of changes to the previous version. Please use the GitHub repo and its issues for any questions. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

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

Steve Kemp: I'm a bit of a git (hacker?)

Sometimes I enjoy reading the source code to projects I like, use, or am about to install for the first time. This was something I used to do on a very regular basis, looking for security issues to report. Nowadays I don't have so much free time, but I still like to inspect the source code to new applications I install, and every now and again I'll find the time to look at the source to random projects. Reading code is good. Reading code is educational. One application I've looked at multiple times is redis, which is a great example of clean and well-written code. That said when reading the redis codebase I couldn't help noticing that there were a reasonably large number of typos/spelling mistakes in the comments, so I submitted a pull-request: Sadly that particular pull-request didn't receive too much attention, although a previous one updating the configuration file was accepted. I was recently reminded of these pull-requests when I was when I was doing some other work. So I figured I'd have a quick scan of a couple of other utilities. In the past I'd just note spelling mistakes when I came across them, usually I'd be opening each file in a project one by one and reading them from top to bottom. (Sometimes I'd just open files in emacs and run "M-x ispell-comments-and-strings", but more often I'd just notice them with my eyes). It did strike me that if I were to do this in a more serious fashion it would be good to automate it. So this time round I hacked up a simple "dump comments" utility, which would scan named files and output the contents of any comments (be they single-line, or multi-line). Once I'd done that I could spell-check easily:
 $ go run dump-comments.go *.c > comments
 $ aspell -c comments
Anyway the upshot of that was a pull-request against git: We'll see if that makes its way live sometime. In case I get interested in doing this again I've updated my sysbox-utility collection to have a comments sub-command. That's a little more robust and reliable than my previous hack:
$ sysbox comments -pretty=true $(find . -name '*.c')
..
..
The comments sub-command has support for: Adding new support would be trivial, I just need a start and end pattern to search against. Pull-requests welcome:

27 July 2020

Martin Michlmayr: ledger2beancount 2.4 released

I released version 2.4 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter. There are two notable changes in this release:
  1. I fixed two regressions introduced in the last release. Sorry about the breakage!
  2. I improved support for hledger. I believe all syntax differences in hledger are supported now.
Here are the changes in 2.4: Thanks to Kirill Goncharov for pointing out one regressions, to Taylor R Campbell for for a patch, to Stefano Zacchiroli for some input, and finally to Simon Michael for input on hledger! You can get ledger2beancount from GitHub

24 July 2020

Dirk Eddelbuettel: anytime 0.3.8: Minor Maintenance

A new minor release of the anytime package arrived on CRAN overnight. This is the nineteenth release, and it comes just over six months after the previous release giving further indicating that we appear to have reached a nice level of stability. anytime is a very focused package aiming to do just one thing really well: to convert anything in integer, numeric, character, factor, ordered, format to either POSIXct or Date objects and to do so without requiring a format string. See the anytime page, or the GitHub README.md for a few examples. This release mostly plays games with CRAN. Given the lack of specification for setups on their end, reproducing test failures remains, to put it mildly, somewhat challenging . So we eventually gave up and weaponed up once more and now explicitly test for the one distribution where tests failed (when they clearly passed everywhere else). With that we now have three new logical predicates for various Linux distribution flavours, and if that dreaded one is seen in one test file the test is skipped. And with that we now score twelve out of twelve OKs. This being a game of cat and mouse, I am sure someone somewhere will soon invent a new test The full list of changes follows.

Changes in anytime version 0.3.8 (2020-07-23)
  • A small utility function was added to detect the Linux distribution used in order to fine-tune tests once more.
  • Travis now uses Ubuntu 'bionic' and R 4.0.*.

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release. More information is on the anytime page. The issue tracker tracker off the GitHub repo can be use for questions and comments. If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

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

Mike Gabriel: Ayatana Indicators / IDO - Menu Rendering Fixed with vanilla GTK-3+

At DebConf 17 in Montreal, I gave a talk about Ayatana Indicators [1] and the project's goal to continue the by then already dropped out of maintenance Ubuntu Indicators in a separate upstream project, detached from Ubuntu and its Ubuntu'isms. Stalling The whole Ayatana Indicators project received a bit of a show stopper by the fact that the IDO (Indicator Display Object) rendering was not working in vanilla GTK-3 without a certain patch [2] that only Ubuntu has in their GTK-3 package. Addressing GTK developers upstream some years back (after GTK 3.22 had already gone into long term maintenance mode) and asking for a late patch acceptance did not work out (as already assumed). Ayatana Indicators stalled at a level of 90% actually working fine, but those nice and shiny special widgets, like the calendar widget, the audio volume slider widgets, switch widgets, etc. could not be rendered appropriately in GTK based desktop environments (e.g. via MATE Indicator Applet) on other distros than Ubuntu. I never really had the guts to sit down without a defined ending and find a patch / solution to this nasty problem. Ayatana Indicators stalled as a whole. I kept it alive and defended its code base against various GLib and what-not deprecations and kept it in Debian, but the software was actually partially broken / dysfunctional. Taking the Dog for a Walk and then It Became all Light+Love Several days back, I received a mail from Robert Tari [3]. I was outside on a hike with our dog and thought, ah well, let's check emails... I couldn't believe what I read then, 15 seconds later. I could in fact, hardly breathe... I have known Robert from earlier email exchanges. Robert maintains various "little" upstream projects, like e.g. Caja Rename, Odio, Unity Mail, etc. that I have looked into earlier regarding Debian packaging. Robert is also a Manjaro contributor and he has been working on bringing Ayatana Indicators to Manjaro MATE. In the early days, without knowing Robert, I even forked one of his projects (indicator-notification) and turned it into an Ayatana Indicator. Robert and I also exchanged some emails about Ayatana Indicators already a couple of weeks ago. I got the sense of him maybe being up to something already then. Oh, yeah!!! It turned out that Robert and I share the same "love" for the Ubuntu Indicators concept [4]. From his email, it became clear that Robert had spent the last 1-2 weeks drowned in the Ayatana IDO and libayatana-indicator code and worked him self through the bowels of it in order to understand the code concept of Indicators to its very depth. When emerging back from his journey, he presented me (or rather: the world) a patch [5] against libayatana-indicator that makes it possible to render IDO objects even if a vanilla GTK-3 is installed on the system. This patch is a game changer for Indicator lovers. When Robert sent me his mail pointing me to this patch, I think, over the past five years, I have never felt more excited (except from the exact moment of getting married to my wife two-to-three years ago) than during that moment when my brain tried to process his email. "Like a kid on Christmas Eve...", Robert wrote in one of his later mails to me. Indeed, like a "kid on Christmas Eve", Robert. Try It Out As a proof of all this to the Debian people, I have just done the first release of ayatana-indicator-datetime and uploaded it to Debian's NEW queue. Robert is doing the same for Manjaro. The Ayatana Indicator Sound will follow after my vacation. For fancy widget rendering in Ayatana Indicator's system indicators, make sure you have libayatana-indicator 0.7.0 or newer installed on your system. Credits One of the biggest thanks ever I send herewith to Robert Tari! Robert is now co-maintainer of Ayatana Indicators. Welcome! Now, there is finally a team of active contributors. This is so delightful!!! References P.S. Expect more Ayatana Indicators to appear in your favourite distro soon...

Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 153 released

The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 153. This version includes the following changes:
[ Chris Lamb ]
* Drop some legacy argument styles; --exclude-directory-metadata and
  --no-exclude-directory-metadata have been replaced with
  --exclude-directory-metadata= yes,no .
* Code improvements:
  - Make it easier to navigate the main.py entry point.
  - Use a relative import for get_temporary_directory in diffoscope.diff.
  - Rename bail_if_non_existing to exit_if_paths_do_not_exist.
  - Rewrite exit_if_paths_do_not_exist to not check files multiple times.
* Documentation improvements:
  - CONTRIBUTING.md:
    - Add a quick note about adding/suggesting new options.
    - Update and expand the release process documentation.
    - Add a reminder to regenerate debian/tests/control.
  - README.rst:
    - Correct URL to build job on Jenkins.
    - Clarify and correct contributing info to point to salsa.debian.org.
You find out more by visiting the project homepage.

23 July 2020

Sean Whitton: keyboardingupdates

Marks and mark rings in GNU Emacs I recently attempted to answer the question of whether experienced Emacs users should consider partially or fully disabling Transient Mark mode, which is (and should be) the default in modern GNU Emacs. That blog post was meant to be as information-dense as I could make it, but now I d like to describe the experience I have been having after switching to my custom pseudo-Transient Mark mode, which is labelled mitigation #2 in my older post. In summary: I feel like I ve uncovered a whole editing paradigm lying just beneath the surface of the editor I ve already been using for years. That is cool and enjoyable in itself, but I think it s also helped me understand other design decisions about the basics of the Emacs UI better than before in particular, the ideas behind how Emacs chooses where to display buffers, which were very frustrating to me in the past. I am now regularly using relatively obscure commands like C-x 4 C-o. I see it! It all makes sense now! I would encourage everyone who has never used Emacs without Transient Mark mode to try turning it off for a while, either fully or partially, just to see what you can learn. It s fascinating how it can come to seem more convenient and natural to pop the mark just to go back to the end of the current line after fixing up something earlier in the line, even though doing so requires pressing two modified keys instead of just C-e. Eshell I was amused to learn some years ago that someone was trying to make Emacs work as an X11 window manager. I was amazed and impressed to learn, more recently, that the project is still going and a fair number of people are using it. Kudos! I suspect that the basic motivation for such projects is that Emacs is a virtual Lisp machine, and it has a certain way of managing visible windows, and people would like to be able to bring both of those to their X11 window management. However, I am beginning to suspect that the intrinsic properties of Emacs buffers are tightly connected to the ways in which Emacs manages visible windows, and the intrinsic properties of Emacs buffers are at least as fundamental as its status as a virtual Lisp machine. Thus I am not convinced by the idea of trying to use Emacs ways of handling visible windows to handle windows which do not contain Emacs buffers. (but it s certainly nice to learn it s working out for others) The more general point is this. Emacs buffers are as fundamental to Emacs as anything else is, so it seems unlikely to be particularly fruitful to move something typically done outside of Emacs into Emacs, unless that activity fits naturally into an Emacs buffer or buffers. Being suited to run on a virtual Lisp machine is not enough. What could be more suited to an Emacs buffer, however, than a typical Unix command shell session? By this I mean things like running commands which produce text output, and piping this output between commands and into and out of files. Typically the commands one enters are sort of like tiny programs in themselves, even if there are no pipes involved, because you have to spend time determining just what options to pass to achieve what you want. It is great to have all your input and output available as ordinary buffer text, navigable just like all your other Emacs buffers. Full screen text user interfaces, like top(1), are not the sort of thing I have in mind here. These are suited to terminal emulators, and an Emacs buffer makes a poor terminal emulator what you end up with is a sort of terminal emulator emulator. Emacs buffers and terminal emulators are just different things. These sorts of thoughts lead one to Eshell, the Emacs Shell. Quoting from its documentation:
The shell s role is to make [system] functionality accessible to the user in an unformed state. Very roughly, it associates kernel functionality with textual commands, allowing the user to interact with the operating system via linguistic constructs. Process invocation is perhaps the most significant form this takes, using the kernel s fork' andexec functions. Emacs is a user application, but it does make the functionality of the kernel accessible through an interpreted language namely, Lisp. For that reason, there is little preventing Emacs from serving the same role as a modern shell. It too can manipulate the kernel in an unpredetermined way to cause system changes. All it s missing is the shell-ish linguistic model.
Eshell has been working very well for me for the past month or so, for, at least, Debian packaging work, which is very command shell-oriented (think tools like dch(1)). The other respects in which Eshell is tightly integrated with the rest of Emacs are icing on the cake. In particular, Eshell can transparently operate on remote hosts, using TRAMP. So when I need to execute commands on Debian s ftp-master server to process package removal requests, I just cd /ssh:fasolo: in Eshell. Emacs takes care of disconnecting and connecting to the server when needed there is no need to maintain a fragile SSH connection and a shell process (or anything else) running on the remote end. Or I can cd /ssh:athena\ sudo:root@athena: to run commands as root on the webserver hosting this blog, and, again, the text of the session survives on my laptop, and may be continued at my leisure, no matter whether athena reboots, or I shut my laptop and open it up again the next morning. And of course you can easily edit files on the remote host.

Sean Whitton: Kinesis Advantage 2 for heavy Emacs users

A little under two months ago I invested in an expensive ergonomic keyboard, a Kinesis Advantage 2, and set about figuring out how to use it most effectively with Emacs. The default layout for the keyboard is great for strong typists who control their computer mostly with their mouse, but less good for Emacs users, who are strong typists that control their computer mostly with their keyboard. It took me several tries to figure out where to put the ctrl, alt, backspace, delete, return and spacebar keys, and aside from one forum post I ran into, I haven t found anyone online who came up with anything much like what I ve come up with, so I thought I should probably write up a blog post. The mappings Sequences of two modified keys on different halves of the keyboard It is desirable to input sequences like C-x C-o without switching which hand is holding the control key. This requires one-handed chording, but this is trecherous when the modifier keys not under the thumbs, because you might need to press the modified key with the same finger that s holding the modifier! Fortunately, most or all sequences of two keys modified by ctrl or alt/meta, where each of the two modifier keys is typed by a different hand, begin with C-c, C-x or M-g, and the left hand can handle each of these on its own. This leaves the right hand completely free to hit the second modified key while the left hand continues to hold down the modifier. My rebindings for ordinary keyboards I have some rebindings to make Emacs usage more ergonomic on an ordinary keyboard. So far, my Kinesis Advantage setup is close enough to that setup that I m not having difficulty switching back and forth from my laptop keyboard. The main difference is for sequences of two modified keys on different halves of the keyboard which of the two modified keys is easiest to type as a one-handed chord is different on the Kinesis Advantage than on my laptop keyboard. At this point, I m executing these sequences without any special thought, and they re rare enough that I don t think I need to try to determine what would be the most ergonomic way to handle them.

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian s report about Debian Long Term Support, June 2020

A Debian LTS logo Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS. Individual reports In June, 202.00 work hours have been dispatched among 12 paid contributors. Their reports are available: Evolution of the situation June was the last month of Jessie LTS which ended on 2020-06-20. If you still need to run Jessie somewhere, please read the post about keeping Debian 8 Jessie alive for longer than 5 years.
So, as (Jessie) LTS is dead, long live the new LTS, Stretch LTS! Stretch has received its last point release, so regular LTS operations can now continue.
Accompanying this, for the first time, we have prepared a small survey about our users and contributors, who they are and why they are using LTS. Filling out the survey should take less than 10 minutes. We would really appreciate if you could participate in the survey online! On July 27th 2020 we will close the survey, so please don t hesitate and participate now! After that, there will be a followup with the results. The security tracker for Stretch LTS currently lists 29 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file has 44 packages needing an update in Stretch LTS. Thanks to our sponsors New sponsors are in bold. We welcome CoreFiling this month!

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22 July 2020

Bits from Debian: Let's celebrate DebianDay 2020 around the world

We encourage our community to celebrate around the world the 27th Debian anniversary with organized DebianDay events. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot organize in-person events, so we ask instead that contributors, developers, teams, groups, maintainers, and users promote The Debian Project and Debian activities online on August 16th (and/or 15th). Communities can organize a full schedule of online activities throughout the day. These activities can include talks, workshops, active participation with contributions such as translations assistance or editing, debates, BoFs, and all of this in your local language using tools such as Jitsi for capturing audio and video from presenters for later streaming to YouTube. If you are not aware of any local community organizing a full event or you don't want to join one, you can solo design your own activity using OBS and stream it to YouTube. You can watch an OBS tutorial here. Don't forget to record your activity as it will be a nice idea to upload it to Peertube later. Please add your event/activity on the DebianDay wiki page and let us know about and advertise it on Debian micronews. To share it, you have several options: PS: DebConf20 online is coming! It will be held from August 23rd to 29th, 2020. Registration is already open.

20 July 2020

Dominique Dumont: Security gotcha with log collection on Azure Kubernetes cluster.

Azure Kubernetes Service provides a nice way to set up Kubernetes
cluster in the cloud. It s quite practical as AKS is setup by default
with a rich monitoring and reporting environment. By default, all
container logs are collected, CPU and disk data are gathered.  I used AKS to setup a cluster for my first client as a
freelance. Everything was nice until my client asked me why logs
collection was as expensive as the computer resources. Ouch  My first reflex was to reduce the amount of logs produced by all our
containers, i.e. start logging at warn level instead of info
level
. This reduced the amount of logs quite a lot. But this did not reduce the cost of collecting logs, which looks like
to a be a common issue. Thanks to the documentation provided by Microsoft, I was able to find
that ContainerInventory data table was responsible of more than 60%
of our logging costs. What is ContainerInventory ? It s a facility to monitor the content
of all environment variables from all containers. Wait What ?  Should we be worried about our database credentials which are, legacy
oblige, stored in environment variables ? Unfortunately, the query shown below confirmed that, yes, we should:
the logs aggregated by Azure contains the database credentials of my
client.
ContainerInventory
  where TimeGenerated > ago(1h)
Having credentials collected in logs is lackluster from a security
point of view.  And we don t need it because our environment variables do not change. Well, it s now time to fix these issues.  We re going to:
  1. disable the collection of environment variables in Azure, which
    will reduce cost and plug the potential credential leak
  2. renew all DB credentials, because the previous credentials can be
    considered as compromised (The renewal of our DB passwords is quite
    easy with the script I provided to my client)
  3. pass credentials with files instead of environment variables.
In summary, the service provided by Azure is still nice, but beware of
the default configuration which may contain surprises. I m a freelance, available for hire. The https://code-straight.fr site
describes how I can help your projects. All the best

18 July 2020

Dirk Eddelbuettel: tint 0.1.3: Fixes for html mode, new demo

A new version 0.1.3 of the tint package arrived at CRAN today. It corrects some features for html output, notably margin notes and references. It also contains a new example for inline references. The full list of changes is below.

Changes in tint version 0.1.3 (2020-07-18)
  • A new minimal demo was added showing inline references (Dirk addressing #42).
  • Code for margin notes and reference in html mode was updated with thanks to tufte (Dirk in #43 and #44 addressing #40).
  • The README.md was updated with a new 'See Also' section and a new badge.

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release. More information is on the tint page. For questions or comments use the issue tracker off the GitHub repo.

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

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