Search Results: "rra"

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.

3 August 2020

Holger Levsen: 20200803-debconf5

DebConf5 This tshirt is 15 years old and from DebConf5. It still looks quite nice! :) DebConf5 was my 3rd DebConf and took place in Helsinki, or rather Espoo, in Finland. This was one of my most favorite DebConfs (though I basically loved them all) and I'm not really sure why, I guess it's because of the kind of community at the event. We stayed in some future dorms of the universtity, which were to be first used by some European athletics chamopionship and which we could use even before that, guests zero. Being in Finland there were of course saunas in the dorms, which we frequently used and greatly enjoyed. Still, one day we had to go on a trip to another sauna in the forest, because of course you cannot visit Finland and only see one sauna. Or at least, you should not. Another aspect which increased community bonding was that we had to authenticate using 802.10 (IIRC, please correct me) which was an authentication standard mostly used for wireless but which also works for wired ethernet, except that not many had used it on Linux before. Thus quite some related bugs were fixed in the first days of DebCamp... Then my powerpc ibook also decided to go bad, so I had to remove 30 screws to get the harddrive out and 30 screws back in, to not have 30 screws laying around for a week. Then I put the harddrive into a spare (x86) laptop and only used my /home partition and was very happy this worked nicely. And then, for travelling back, I had to unscrew and screw 30 times again. (I think my first attempt took 1.5h and the fourth only 45min or so ;) Back home then I bought a laptop where one could remove the harddrive using one screw. Oh, and then I was foolish during the DebConf5 preparations and said, that I could imagine setting up a team and doing video recordings, as previous DebConfs mostly didn't have recordings and the one that had, didn't have releases of them... And so we did videos. And as we were mostly inexperienced we did them the hard way: during the day we recorded on tape and then when the talks were done, we used a postprocessing tool called 'cinelerra' and edited them. And because Eric Evans was on the team and because Eric worked every night almost all night, all nights, we managed to actually release them all when DebConf5 was over. I very well remember many many (23 or 42) Debian people cleaning the dorms thoroughly (as they were brand new..) and Eric just sitting somewhere, exhausted and watching the cleaners. And everybody was happy Eric was idling there, cause we knew why. In the aftermath of DebConf5 Ben Hutchings then wrote videolink (removed from sid in 2013) which we used to create video DVDs of our recordings based on a simple html file with links to the actual videos. There were many more memorable events. The boat ride was great. A pirate flag appeared. One night people played guitar until very late (or rather early) close to the dorms, so at about 3 AM someone complained about it, not in person, but on the debian-devel mailinglist. And those drunk people playing guitar, replied immediatly on the mailinglist. And then someone from the guitar group gave a talk, at 9 AM, and the video is online... ;) (It's a very slowwwwwww talk.) If you haven't been to or close to the polar circles it's almost impossible to anticipate how life is in summer there. It get's a bit darker after midnight or rather after 1 AM and then at 3 AM it get's light again, so it's reaaaaaaally easy to miss the night once and it's absolutly not hard to miss the night for several nights in a row. And then I shared a room with 3 people who all snore quite loud... There was more. I was lucky to witness the first (or second?) cheese and whine party which at that time took place in a dorm room with, dunno 10 people and maybe 15 kinds of cheese. And, of course, I met many wonderful people there, to mention a few I'll say Jesus, I mean mooch or data, Amaya and p2. And thanks to some bad luck which turned well, I also had my first time ever Sushi in Helsinki. And and and. DebConfs are soooooooo good! :-) I'll stop here as I originally planned to only write a paragraph or two about each and there are quite some to be written! Oh, and as we all learned, there are probably no mosquitos in Helsinki, just in Espoo. And you can swim naked through a lake and catch a taxi on the other site, with no clothes and no money, no big deal. (And you might not believe it, but that wasn't me. I cannot swim that well.)

28 July 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: The City in the Middle of the Night

Review: The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders
Publisher: Tor
Copyright: February 2019
Printing: February 2020
ISBN: 1-4668-7113-X
Format: Kindle
Pages: 366
January is a tidally-locked planet divided between permanent night and permanent day, an unfortunate destination for a colony starship. Now, humans cling to a precarious existence along the terminator, huddling in two wildly different cities and a handful of smaller settlements, connected by a road through the treacherous cold. The novel opens with Sophie, a shy university student from the dark side of the city of Xiosphant. She has an overwhelming crush on Bianca, her high-class, self-confident roommate and one of the few people in her life to have ever treated her with compassion and attention. That crush, and her almost non-existent self-esteem, lead her to take the blame for Bianca's petty theft, resulting in what should have been a death sentence. Sophie survives only because she makes first contact with a native intelligent species of January, one that the humans have been hunting for food and sport. Sadly, I think this is enough Anders for me. I've now bounced off two of her novels, both for structural reasons that I think go deeper than execution and indicate a fundamental mismatch between what Anders wants to do as an author and what I'm looking for as a reader. I'll talk more about what this book is doing in a moment, but I have to start with Bianca and Sophie. It's difficult for me to express how much I loathed this relationship and how little I wanted to read about it. It took me about five pages to peg Bianca as a malignant narcissist and Sophie's all-consuming crush as dangerous codependency. It took the entire book for Sophie to figure out how awful Bianca is to her, during which Bianca goes through the entire abusive partner playbook of gaslighting, trivializing, contingent affection, jealous rage, and controlling behavior. And meanwhile Sophie goes back to her again, and again, and again, and again. If I hadn't been reading this book on a Kindle, I think it would have physically hit a wall after their conversation in the junkyard. This is truly a matter of personal taste and preference. This is not an unrealistic relationship; this dynamic happens in life all too often. I'm sure there is someone for whom reading about Sophie's spectacularly poor choices is affirming or cathartic. I've not personally experienced this sort of relationship, which doubtless matters. But having empathy for someone who is making awful and self-destructive life decisions and trusting someone they should not be trusting and who is awful to them in every way is difficult work. Sophie is the victim of Bianca's abuse, but she does so many stupid and ill-conceived things in support of this twisted relationship that I found it very difficult to not get angry at her. Meanwhile, Anders writes Sophie as so clearly fragile and uncertain and devoid of a support network that getting angry at her is like kicking a puppy. The result for me was spending nearly an entire book in a deeply unpleasant state of emotional dissonance. I may be willing to go through that for a close friend, but in a work of fiction it's draining and awful and entirely not fun. The other viewpoint character had the opposite problem for me. Mouth starts the book as a traveling smuggler, the sole survivor of a group of religious travelers called the Citizens. She's practical, tough, and guarded. Beneath that, I think the intent was to show her as struggling to come to terms with the loss of her family and faith community. Her first goal in the book is to recover a recording of Citizen sacred scripture to preserve it and to reconnect with her past. This sounds interesting on the surface, but none of it gelled. Mouth never felt to me like someone from a faith community. She doesn't act on Citizen beliefs to any meaningful extent, she rarely talks about them, and when she does, her attitude is nostalgia without spirituality. When Mouth isn't pursuing goals that turn out to be meaningless, she aimlessly meandered through the story. Sophie at least has agency and makes some important and meaningful decisions. Mouth is just there, even when Anders does shattering things to her understanding of her past. Between Sophie and Bianca putting my shoulders up around my ears within the first few pages of the first chapter and failing to muster any enthusiasm for Mouth, I said the eight deadly words ("I don't care what happens to these people") about a hundred pages in and the book never recovered. There are parts of the world-building I did enjoy. The alien species that Sophie bonds with is not stunningly original, but it's a good (and detailed) take on one of the alternate cognitive and social models that science fiction has dreamed up. I was comparing the strangeness and dislocation unfavorably to China Mi ville's Embassytown while I was reading it, but in retrospect Anders's treatment is more decolonialized. Xiosphant's turn to Circadianism as their manifestation of order is a nicely understated touch, a believable political overreaction to the lack of a day/night cycle. That touch is significantly enhanced by Sophie's time working in a salon whose business model is to help Xiosphant residents temporarily forget about time. And what glimmers we got of politics on the colony ship and their echoing influence on social and political structures were intriguing. Even with the world-building, though, I want the author to be interested in and willing to expand the same bits of world-building that I'm engaged with. Anders didn't seem to be. The reader gets two contrasting cities along a road, one authoritarian and one libertine, which makes concrete a metaphor for single-axis political classification. But then Anders does almost nothing with that setup; it's just the backdrop of petty warlord politics, and none of the political activism of Bianca's student group seems to have relevance or theoretical depth. It's a similar shallowness as the religion of Mouth's Citizens: We get a few fragments of culture and religion, but without narrative exploration and without engagement from any of the characters. The way the crew of the Mothership was assembled seems to have led to a factional and racial caste system based on city of origin and technical expertise, but I couldn't tell you more than that because few of the characters seem to care. And so on. In short, the world-building that I wanted to add up to a coherent universe that was meaningful to the characters and to the plot seemed to be little more than window-dressing. Anders tosses in neat ideas, but they don't add up to anything. They're just background scenery for Bianca and Sophie's drama. The one thing that The City in the Middle of the Night does well is Sophie's nervous but excited embrace of the unknown. It was delightful to see the places where a typical protagonist would have to overcome a horror reaction or talk themselves through tradeoffs and where Sophie's reaction was instead "yes, of course, let's try." It provided an emotional strength to an extended first-contact exploration scene that made it liberating and heart-warming without losing the alienness. During that part of the book (in which, not coincidentally, Bianca does not appear), I was able to let my guard down and like Sophie for the first time, and I suspect that was intentional on Anders's part. But, overall, I think the conflict between Anders's story-telling approach and my preferences as a reader are mostly irreconcilable. She likes to write about people who make bad decisions and compound their own problems. In one of the chapters of her non-fiction book about writing that's being serialized on Tor.com she says "when we watch someone do something unforgivable, we're primed to root for them as they search desperately for an impossible forgiveness." This is absolutely not true for me; when I watch a character do something unforgivable, I want to see repudiation from the protagonists and ideally some clear consequences. When that doesn't happen, I want to stop reading about them and find something more enjoyable to do with my time. I certainly don't want to watch a viewpoint character insist that the person who is doing unforgivable things is the center of her life. If your preferences on character and story arc are closer to Anders's than mine, you may like this book. Certainly lots of people did; it was nominated for multiple awards and won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. But despite the things it did well, I had a truly miserable time reading it and am not anxious to repeat the experience. Rating: 4 out of 10

27 July 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: Rise of the Warrior Cop

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

19 July 2020

Enrico Zini: More notable people

Ren Carmille (8 January 1886 25 January 1945) was a French humanitarian, civil servant, and member of the French Resistance. During World War II, Carmille saved tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied France. In his capacity at the government's Demographics Department, Carmille sabotaged the Nazi census of France, saving tens of thousands of Jewish people from death camps.
Gino Strada (born Luigi Strada; 21 April 1948) is an Italian war surgeon and founder of Emergency, a UN-recognized international non-governmental organization.
Il morbo di K una malattia inventata nel 1943, durante la Seconda guerra mondiale, da Adriano Ossicini insieme al dottor Giovanni Borromeo per salvare alcuni italiani di religione ebraica dalle persecuzioni nazifasciste a Roma.[1][2][3][4]
Stage races

18 July 2020

Ritesh Raj Sarraf: Laptop Mode Tools 1.74

Laptop Mode Tools 1.74 Laptop Mode Tools version 1.74 has been released. This release includes important bug fixes, some defaults settings updated to current driver support in Linux and support for devices with nouveau based nVIDIA cards. A filtered list of changes is mentioned below. For the full log, please refer to the git repository

1.74 - Sat Jul 18 19:10:40 IST 2020
* With 4.15+ kernels, Linux Intel SATA has a better link power
  saving policy, med_power_with_dipm, which should be the recommended
  one to use
* Disable defaults for syslog logging
* Initialize LM_VERBOSE with default to disabled
* Merge pull request #157 from rickysarraf/nouveau
* Add power saving module for nouveau cards
* Disable ethernet module by default
* Add board-specific folder and documentation
* Add execute bit on module radeon-dpm
* Drop unlock because there is no lock acquired

Resources

What is Laptop Mode Tools
Description: Tools for Power Savings based on battery/AC status
 Laptop mode is a Linux kernel feature that allows your laptop to save
 considerable power, by allowing the hard drive to spin down for longer
 periods of time. This package contains the userland scripts that are
 needed to enable laptop mode.
 .
 It includes support for automatically enabling laptop mode when the
 computer is working on batteries. It also supports various other power
 management features, such as starting and stopping daemons depending on
 power mode, automatically hibernating if battery levels are too low, and
 adjusting terminal blanking and X11 screen blanking
 .
 laptop-mode-tools uses the Linux kernel's Laptop Mode feature and thus
 is also used on Desktops and Servers to conserve power

Abhijith PA: Workstation setup

Workstation Hello, Recently I ve seen lot of people sharing about their home office setup. I thought why don t I do something similar. Not to beat FOMO, but in future when I revisit this blog, it will be lovely to understand that I had some cool stuffs. There are people who went deep down in the ocean to lay cables for me to have a remote job and I am thankful to them. Being remote my home is my office. On my work table I have a Samsung R439 laptop. I ve blogged about it earlier. New addition is that it have another 4GB RAM, a total of 6GB and 120GB SSD. I run Debian testing on it. Laptop is placed on a stand. Dell MS116 as external mouse always connected to it. I also use an external keyboard from fingers. The keys are very stiff so I don t recommend this to anyone. The only reason I took this keyboard that it is in my budget and have a backlit, which I needed most. I have a Micromax MM215FH76 21 inch monitor as my secondary display which stacked up on couple of old books to adjust the height with laptop stand. Everything is ok with this monitor except that it don t have a HDMI point and stand is very weak. I use i3wm and this small script help me to manage my monitor arrangement.
# samsung r439
xrandr --output LVDS1 --primary --mode 1366x768 --pos 1920x312 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output HDMI1 --off --output VGA1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off
# thinkpad t430s
#xrandr --output LVDS1 --primary --mode 1600x900 --pos 1920x180 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output DP2 --off --output DP3 --off --output HDMI1 --off --output HDMI2 --off --output HDMI3 --off --output VGA1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off
i3-msg workspace 2, move workspace to left
i3-msg workspace 4, move workspace to left
i3-msg workspace 6, move workspace to left
I also have another Viewsonic monitor 19 inch, it started to show some lines and unpleasant colors. Thus moved back to shelf. I have an orange pi zero plus 2 running Armbian which serve as my emby media server. I don t own any webcam or quality headset at the moment. I have a boat, and Mi, headphones. My laptop inbuilt webcam is horrible, so for my video conferencing need I use jitsi app on my mobile device.

Abhijith PA: Workstation setup

Workstation Hello, Recently I ve seen lot of people sharing about their home office setup. I thought why don t I do something similar. Not to beat FOMO, but in future when I revisit this blog, it will be lovely to understand that I had some cool stuffs. There are people who went deep down in the ocean to lay cables for me to have a remote job and I am thankful to them. Being remote my home is my office. On my work table I have a Samsung R439 laptop. I ve blogged about it earlier. New addition is that it have another 4GB RAM, a total of 6GB and 120GB SSD. I run Debian testing on it. Laptop is placed on a stand. Dell MS116 as external mouse always connected to it. I also use an external keyboard from fingers. The keys are very stiff so I don t recommend this to anyone. The only reason I took this keyboard that it is in my budget and have a backlit, which I needed most. I have a Micromax MM215FH76 21 inch monitor as my secondary display which stacked up on couple of old books to adjust the height with laptop stand. Everything is ok with this monitor except that it don t have a HDMI point and stand is very weak. I use i3wm and this small script help me to manage my monitor arrangement.
# samsung r439
xrandr --output LVDS1 --primary --mode 1366x768 --pos 1920x312 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output HDMI1 --off --output VGA1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off
# thinkpad t430s
#xrandr --output LVDS1 --primary --mode 1600x900 --pos 1920x180 --rotate normal --output DP1 --off --output DP2 --off --output DP3 --off --output HDMI1 --off --output HDMI2 --off --output HDMI3 --off --output VGA1 --mode 1920x1080 --pos 0x0 --rotate normal --output VIRTUAL1 --off
i3-msg workspace 2, move workspace to left
i3-msg workspace 4, move workspace to left
i3-msg workspace 6, move workspace to left
I also have another Viewsonic monitor 19 inch, it started to show some lines and unpleasant colors. Thus moved back to shelf. I have an orange pi zero plus 2 running Armbian which serve as my emby media server. I don t own any webcam or quality headset at the moment. I have a boat, and Mi, headphones. My laptop inbuilt webcam is horrible, so for my video conferencing need I use jitsi app on my mobile device.

16 July 2020

Enrico Zini: Build Qt5 cross-builder with raspbian sysroot: compiling with the sysroot

Whack-A-Mole machines from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Whac-A-Mole_Cedar_Point.jpg> This is part of a series of posts on compiling a custom version of Qt5 in order to develop for both amd64 and a Raspberry Pi. Now that I have a sysroot, I try to use it to build Qt5 with QtWebEngine. Nothing seems to work straightforwardly with Qt5's build system, and hit an endless series of significant blockers to try and work around.
Problem in wayland code QtWayland's source currently does not compile:
../../../hardwareintegration/client/brcm-egl/qwaylandbrcmeglwindow.cpp: In constructor  QtWaylandClient::QWaylandBrcmEglWindow::QWaylandBrcmEglWindow(QWindow*) :
../../../hardwareintegration/client/brcm-egl/qwaylandbrcmeglwindow.cpp:131:67: error: no matching function for call to  QtWaylandClient::QWaylandWindow::QWaylandWindow(QWindow*&) 
     , m_eventQueue(wl_display_create_queue(mDisplay->wl_display()))
                                                                   ^
In file included from ../../../../include/QtWaylandClient/5.15.0/QtWaylandClient/private/qwaylandwindow_p.h:1,
                 from ../../../hardwareintegration/client/brcm-egl/qwaylandbrcmeglwindow.h:43,
                 from ../../../hardwareintegration/client/brcm-egl/qwaylandbrcmeglwindow.cpp:40:
../../../../include/QtWaylandClient/5.15.0/QtWaylandClient/private/../../../../../src/client/qwaylandwindow_p.h:97:5: note: candidate:  QtWaylandClient::QWaylandWindow::QWaylandWindow(QWindow*, QtWayland
Client::QWaylandDisplay*) 
     QWaylandWindow(QWindow *window, QWaylandDisplay *display);
     ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~
../../../../include/QtWaylandClient/5.15.0/QtWaylandClient/private/../../../../../src/client/qwaylandwindow_p.h:97:5: note:   candidate expects 2 arguments, 1 provided
make[5]: Leaving directory '/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qttools/src/qdoc'
I am not trying to debug here. I understand that Wayland support is not a requirement, and I'm adding -skip wayland to Qt5's configure options. Next round. nss not found Qt5 embeds Chrome's sources. Chrome's sources require libnss3-dev to be available for both host and target architectures. Although I now have it installed both on the build system and in the sysroot, the pkg-config wrapper that Qt5 hooks into its Chrome's sources, failes to find it:
Command: /usr/bin/python2 /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/linux/pkg-config.py -s /home/build/sysroot/ -a arm -p /usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-pkg-config --system_libdir lib nss -v -lssl3
Returned 1.
stderr:
Package nss was not found in the pkg-config search path.
Perhaps you should add the directory containing  nss.pc'
to the PKG_CONFIG_PATH environment variable
No package 'nss' found
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/linux/pkg-config.py", line 248, in <module>
    sys.exit(main())
  File "/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/linux/pkg-config.py", line 143, in main
    prefix = GetPkgConfigPrefixToStrip(options, args)
  File "/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/linux/pkg-config.py", line 82, in GetPkgConfigPrefixToStrip
    "--variable=prefix"] + args, env=os.environ).decode('utf-8')
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/subprocess.py", line 223, in check_output
    raise CalledProcessError(retcode, cmd, output=output)
subprocess.CalledProcessError: Command '['/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-pkg-config', '--variable=prefix', 'nss']' returned non-zero exit status 1
See //build/config/linux/nss/BUILD.gn:15:3: whence it was called.
  pkg_config("system_nss_no_ssl_config")  
  ^---------------------------------------
See //crypto/BUILD.gn:218:25: which caused the file to be included.
    public_configs += [ "//build/config/linux/nss:system_nss_no_ssl_config" ]
                        ^--------------------------------------------------
Project ERROR: GN run error!
It's trying to look into $SYSROOT/usr/lib/pkgconfig, while it should be $SYSROOT//usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/pkgconfig. I worked around this this patch to qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/linux/pkg-config.py:
--- pkg-config.py.orig  2020-07-16 11:46:21.005373002 +0200
+++ pkg-config.py   2020-07-16 11:46:02.605296967 +0200
@@ -61,6 +61,7 @@
   libdir = sysroot + '/usr/' + options.system_libdir + '/pkgconfig'
   libdir += ':' + sysroot + '/usr/share/pkgconfig'
+  libdir += ':' + sysroot + '/usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/pkgconfig'
   os.environ['PKG_CONFIG_LIBDIR'] = libdir
   return libdir
Next round. g++ 8.3.0 Internal Compiler Error Qt5's sources embed Chrome's sources that embed the skia library sources. One of the skia library sources, when cross-compiled to ARM with -O1 or -O2 with g++ 8.3.0, produces an Internal Compiler Error:
/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++ -MMD -MF obj/skia/skcms/skcms.o.d -DUSE_UDEV -DUSE_AURA=1 -DUSE_NSS_CERTS=1 -DUSE_OZONE=1 -DOFFICIAL_BUILD -DTOOLKIT_QT -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE -DNO_UNWIND_TABLES -D__STDC_CONSTANT_MACROS -D__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS -DCR_SYSROOT_HASH=76e6068f9f6954e2ab1ff98ce5fa236d3d85bcbd -DNDEBUG -DNVALGRIND -DDYNAMIC_ANNOTATIONS_ENABLED=0 -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/include/third_party/skcms -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium -w -std=c11 -mfp16-format=ieee -fno-strict-aliasing --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -fstack-protector -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables -fPIC -pipe -pthread -march=armv7-a -mfloat-abi=hard -mtune=generic-armv7-a -mfpu=vfpv3-d16 -mthumb -Wall -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -Wno-psabi -Wno-unused-local-typedefs -Wno-maybe-uninitialized -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fno-delete-null-pointer-checks -Wno-comments -Wno-packed-not-aligned -Wno-dangling-else -Wno-missing-field-initializers -Wno-unused-parameter -O2 -fno-ident -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -fno-omit-frame-pointer -g0 -fvisibility=hidden -std=gnu++14 -Wno-narrowing -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-attributes -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-subobject-linkage -Wno-invalid-offsetof -Wno-return-type -Wno-deprecated-copy -fno-exceptions -fno-rtti --sysroot=../../../../../../sysroot/ -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -c ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/skcms/skcms.cc -o obj/skia/skcms/skcms.o
during RTL pass: expand
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/skcms/skcms.cc:2053:
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/skcms/src/Transform_inl.h: In function  void baseline::exec_ops(const Op*, const void**, const char*, char*, int) :
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/skcms/src/Transform_inl.h:766:13: internal compiler error: in convert_move, at expr.c:218
 static void exec_ops(const Op* ops, const void** args,
             ^~~~~~~~
Please submit a full bug report,
with preprocessed source if appropriate.
See <file:///usr/share/doc/gcc-8/README.Bugs> for instructions.
I reported the bug at https://gcc.gnu.org/bugzilla/show_bug.cgi?id=96206 Since this source compiles with -O0, I attempted to fix this by editing qtwebkit/src/3rdparty/chromium/build/config/compiler/BUILD.gn and replacing instances of -O1 and -O2 with -O0. Spoiler: wrong attempt. We'll see it in the next round. Impossible constraint in asm Qt5's sources embed Chrome's sources that embed the ffmpeg library sources. Even if ffmpeg's development libraries are present both in the host and in the target system, the build system insists in compiling and using the bundled version. Unfortunately, using -O0 breaks the build of ffmpeg:
/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-gcc -MMD -MF obj/third_party/ffmpeg/ffmpeg_internal/opus.o.d -DHAVE_AV_CONFIG_H -D_POSIX_C_SOURCE=200112 -D_XOPEN_SOURCE=600 -DPIC -DFFMPEG_CONFIGURATION=NULL -DCHROMIUM_NO_LOGGING -D_ISOC99_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -DUSE_UDEV -DUSE_AURA=1 -DUSE_NSS_CERTS=1 -DUSE_OZONE=1 -DOFFICIAL_BUILD -DTOOLKIT_QT -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE -DNO_UNWIND_TABLES -DCR_SYSROOT_HASH=76e6068f9f6954e2ab1ff98ce5fa236d3d85bcbd -DNDEBUG -DNVALGRIND -DDYNAMIC_ANNOTATIONS_ENABLED=0 -DOPUS_FIXED_POINT -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/chromium/config/Chromium/linux/arm -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/compat/atomics/gcc -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/opus/src/include -fPIC -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fomit-frame-pointer -w -std=c99 -pthread -fno-math-errno -fno-signed-zeros -fno-tree-vectorize -fno-strict-aliasing --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -fstack-protector -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables -fPIC -pipe -pthread -march=armv7-a -mfloat-abi=hard -mtune=generic-armv7-a -mfpu=vfpv3-d16 -mthumb -g0 -fvisibility=hidden -Wno-psabi -Wno-unused-local-typedefs -Wno-maybe-uninitialized -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fno-delete-null-pointer-checks -Wno-comments -Wno-packed-not-aligned -Wno-dangling-else -Wno-missing-field-initializers -Wno-unused-parameter -O0 -fno-ident -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -std=gnu11 --sysroot=../../../../../../sysroot/ -c ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavcodec/opus.c -o obj/third_party/ffmpeg/ffmpeg_internal/opus.o
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavutil/intmath.h:30,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavutil/common.h:106,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavutil/avutil.h:296,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavutil/audio_fifo.h:30,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavcodec/opus.h:28,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavcodec/opus_celt.h:29,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavcodec/opus.c:32:
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavcodec/opus.c: In function  ff_celt_quant_bands :
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ffmpeg/libavutil/arm/intmath.h:77:5: error: impossible constraint in  asm 
     __asm__ ("usat %0, %2, %1" : "=r"(x) : "r"(a), "i"(p));
     ^~~~~~~
The same source compiles with using -O2 instead of -O0. I worked around this by undoing the previous change, and limiting -O0 to just the source that causes the Internal Compiler Error. I edited qtwebengine/src/3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/skcms/skcms.cc to prepend:
#pragma GCC push_options
#pragma GCC optimize ("O0")
and append:
#pragma GCC pop_options
Next round. Missing build-deps for i386 code Qt5's sources embed Chrome's sources that embed the V8 library sources. For some reason, torque, that is part of V8, wants to build some of its sources into 32 bit code with -m32, and I did not have i386 cross-compilation libraries installed:
/usr/bin/g++ -MMD -MF v8_snapshot/obj/v8/torque_base/csa-generator.o.d -DUSE_UDEV -DUSE_AURA=1 -DUSE_NSS_CERTS=1 -DUSE_OZONE=1 -DOFFICIAL_BUILD -DTOOLKIT_QT -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE -DNO_UNWIND_TABLES -D__STDC_CONSTANT_MACROS -D__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS -DNDEBUG -DNVALGRIND -DDYNAMIC_ANNOTATIONS_ENABLED=0 -DV8_TYPED_ARRAY_MAX_SIZE_IN_HEAP=64 -DENABLE_MINOR_MC -DV8_INTL_SUPPORT -DV8_CONCURRENT_MARKING -DV8_ENABLE_LAZY_SOURCE_POSITIONS -DV8_EMBEDDED_BUILTINS -DV8_SHARED_RO_HEAP -DV8_WIN64_UNWINDING_INFO -DV8_ENABLE_REGEXP_INTERPRETER_THREADED_DISPATCH -DV8_31BIT_SMIS_ON_64BIT_ARCH -DV8_DEPRECATION_WARNINGS -DV8_TARGET_ARCH_ARM -DCAN_USE_ARMV7_INSTRUCTIONS -DCAN_USE_VFP3_INSTRUCTIONS -DUSE_EABI_HARDFLOAT=1 -DV8_HAVE_TARGET_OS -DV8_TARGET_OS_LINUX -DDISABLE_UNTRUSTED_CODE_MITIGATIONS -DV8_31BIT_SMIS_ON_64BIT_ARCH -DV8_DEPRECATION_WARNINGS -Iv8_snapshot/gen -I../../3rdparty/chromium -I../../3rdparty/chromium/v8 -Iv8_snapshot/gen/v8 -fno-strict-aliasing --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -fstack-protector -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables -fPIC -pipe -pthread -m32 -msse2 -mfpmath=sse -mmmx -Wall -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -Wno-unused-local-typedefs -Wno-maybe-uninitialized -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fno-delete-null-pointer-checks -Wno-comments -Wno-packed-not-aligned -Wno-dangling-else -Wno-missing-field-initializers -Wno-unused-parameter -fno-omit-frame-pointer -g0 -fvisibility=hidden -Wno-strict-overflow -Wno-return-type -O3 -fno-ident -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -std=gnu++14 -Wno-narrowing -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-attributes -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-subobject-linkage -Wno-invalid-offsetof -Wno-return-type -Wno-deprecated-copy -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -fexceptions -frtti -c ../../3rdparty/chromium/v8/src/torque/csa-generator.cc -o v8_snapshot/obj/v8/torque_base/csa-generator.o
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/v8/src/torque/csa-generator.h:8,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/v8/src/torque/csa-generator.cc:5:
/usr/include/c++/8/iostream:38:10: fatal error: bits/c++config.h: No such file or directory
 #include <bits/c++config.h>
          ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
compilation terminated.
New build dependencies needed:
apt install lib32stdc++-8-dev
apt install libc6-dev-i386
dpkg --add-architecture i386
apt install linux-libc-dev:i386
Next round. OpenGL build issues Next bump are OpenGL related compiler issues:
/usr/bin/arm-linux-gnueabihf-g++ -MMD -MF obj/QtWebEngineCore/gl_ozone_glx_qt.o.d -DCHROMIUM_VERSION=\"80.0.3987.163\" -DUSE_UDEV -DUSE_AURA=1 -DUSE_NSS_CERTS=1 -DUSE_OZONE=1 -DOFFICIAL_BUILD -DTOOLKIT_QT -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE -DNO_UNWIND_TABLES -D__STDC_CONSTANT_MACROS -D__STDC_FORMAT_MACROS -DCR_SYSROOT_HASH=76e6068f9f6954e2ab1ff98ce5fa236d3d85bcbd -DNDEBUG -DNVALGRIND -DDYNAMIC_ANNOTATIONS_ENABLED=0 -DQT_NO_LINKED_LIST -DQT_NO_KEYWORDS -DQT_USE_QSTRINGBUILDER -DQ_FORWARD_DECLARE_OBJC_CLASS=QT_FORWARD_DECLARE_CLASS -DQTWEBENGINECORE_VERSION_STR=\"5.15.0\" -DQTWEBENGINEPROCESS_NAME=\"QtWebEngineProcess\" -DBUILDING_CHROMIUM -DQTWEBENGINE_EMBEDDED_SWITCHES -DQT_NO_EXCEPTIONS -D_LARGEFILE64_SOURCE -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -DQT_NO_DEBUG -DQT_QUICK_LIB -DQT_GUI_LIB -DQT_QMLMODELS_LIB -DQT_WEBCHANNEL_LIB -DQT_QML_LIB -DQT_NETWORK_LIB -DQT_POSITIONING_LIB -DQT_CORE_LIB -DQT_WEBENGINECOREHEADERS_LIB -DVK_NO_PROTOTYPES -DGL_GLEXT_PROTOTYPES -DUSE_GLX -DUSE_EGL -DGOOGLE_PROTOBUF_NO_RTTI -DGOOGLE_PROTOBUF_NO_STATIC_INITIALIZER -DHAVE_PTHREAD -DU_USING_ICU_NAMESPACE=0 -DU_ENABLE_DYLOAD=0 -DUSE_CHROMIUM_ICU=1 -DU_STATIC_IMPLEMENTATION -DICU_UTIL_DATA_IMPL=ICU_UTIL_DATA_FILE -DUCHAR_TYPE=uint16_t -DWEBRTC_NON_STATIC_TRACE_EVENT_HANDLERS=0 -DWEBRTC_CHROMIUM_BUILD -DWEBRTC_POSIX -DWEBRTC_LINUX -DABSL_ALLOCATOR_NOTHROW=1 -DWEBRTC_USE_BUILTIN_ISAC_FIX=1 -DWEBRTC_USE_BUILTIN_ISAC_FLOAT=0 -DHAVE_SCTP -DNO_MAIN_THREAD_WRAPPING -DSK_HAS_PNG_LIBRARY -DSK_HAS_WEBP_LIBRARY -DSK_USER_CONFIG_HEADER=\"../../skia/config/SkUserConfig.h\" -DSK_GL -DSK_HAS_JPEG_LIBRARY -DSK_USE_LIBGIFCODEC -DSK_VULKAN_HEADER=\"../../skia/config/SkVulkanConfig.h\" -DSK_VULKAN=1 -DSK_SUPPORT_GPU=1 -DSK_GPU_WORKAROUNDS_HEADER=\"gpu/config/gpu_driver_bug_workaround_autogen.h\" -DVK_NO_PROTOTYPES -DLEVELDB_PLATFORM_CHROMIUM=1 -DLEVELDB_PLATFORM_CHROMIUM=1 -DV8_31BIT_SMIS_ON_64BIT_ARCH -DV8_DEPRECATION_WARNINGS -I../../3rdparty/chromium/skia/config -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/boringssl/src/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/include/core -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/api -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQuick/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQuick/5.15.0/QtQuick -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtGui/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtGui/5.15.0/QtGui -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQuick -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtGui -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQmlModels/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQmlModels/5.15.0/QtQmlModels -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQml/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQml/5.15.0/QtQml -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtCore/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtCore/5.15.0/QtCore -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQmlModels -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebchannel/include -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebchannel/include/QtWebChannel -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtdeclarative/include/QtQml -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtNetwork -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtlocation/include -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtlocation/include/QtPositioning -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/include/QtCore -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/include -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/include/QtWebEngineCore -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/include/QtWebEngineCore/5.15.0 -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/include/QtWebEngineCore/5.15.0/QtWebEngineCore -I.moc -I/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include -I/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include/interface/vcos/pthreads -I/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include/interface/vmcs_host/linux -Igen/.moc -I/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtbase/mkspecs/devices/linux-rasp-pi2-g++ -Igen -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/libyuv/include -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/jsoncpp/source/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/jsoncpp/generated -Igen -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/khronos -I../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/vulkan/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/perfetto/include -Igen/third_party/perfetto/build_config -Igen -Igen -Igen/third_party/dawn/src/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/dawn/src/include -Igen -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/boringssl/src/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/protobuf/src -Igen/protoc_out -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/protobuf/src -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/ced/src -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/icu/source/common -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/icu/source/i18n -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/webrtc_overrides -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/webrtc -Igen/third_party/webrtc -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/abseil-cpp -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/libgifcodec -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/vulkan/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/skia/third_party/vulkanmemoryallocator -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/vulkan/include -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/non_mac -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/linux -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/non_win -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/libwebm/source -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase/src -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase/src/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/v8/include -Igen/v8/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/mesa_headers -fno-strict-aliasing --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -fstack-protector -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables -fPIC -pipe -pthread -march=armv7-a -mfloat-abi=hard -mtune=generic-armv7-a -mfpu=vfpv3-d16 -mthumb -Wall -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -Wno-psabi -Wno-unused-local-typedefs -Wno-maybe-uninitialized -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fno-delete-null-pointer-checks -Wno-comments -Wno-packed-not-aligned -Wno-dangling-else -Wno-missing-field-initializers -Wno-unused-parameter -O2 -fno-ident -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -fno-omit-frame-pointer -g0 -fvisibility=hidden -g -O2 -fdebug-prefix-map=/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0=. -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wdate-time -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -O2 -fno-exceptions -Wall -Wextra -D_REENTRANT -I/home/build/sysroot/usr/include/nss -I/home/build/sysroot/usr/include/nspr -std=gnu++14 -Wno-narrowing -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-attributes -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-subobject-linkage -Wno-invalid-offsetof -Wno-return-type -Wno-deprecated-copy -fno-exceptions -fno-rtti --sysroot=../../../../../../sysroot/ -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -g -O2 -fdebug-prefix-map=/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0=. -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wdate-time -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -O2 -std=gnu++1y -fno-exceptions -Wall -Wextra -D_REENTRANT -Wno-unused-parameter -Wno-unused-variable -Wno-deprecated-declarations -c /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/ozone/gl_ozone_glx_qt.cpp -o obj/QtWebEngineCore/gl_ozone_glx_qt.o
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_bindings.h:497,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_gl_api_implementation.h:12,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/ozone/gl_ozone_glx_qt.cpp:49:
../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_bindings_autogen_egl.h:227:5: error:  EGLSetBlobFuncANDROID  has not been declared
     EGLSetBlobFuncANDROID set,
     ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_bindings_autogen_egl.h:228:5: error:  EGLGetBlobFuncANDROID  has not been declared
     EGLGetBlobFuncANDROID get);
     ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_bindings_autogen_egl.h:571:46: error:  EGLSetBlobFuncANDROID  has not been declared
                                              EGLSetBlobFuncANDROID set,
                                              ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
../../3rdparty/chromium/ui/gl/gl_bindings_autogen_egl.h:572:46: error:  EGLGetBlobFuncANDROID  has not been declared
                                              EGLGetBlobFuncANDROID get) = 0;
                                              ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
cc1plus: warning: unrecognized command line option  -Wno-deprecated-copy 
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-Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -Igen/third_party/perfetto -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/non_mac -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/linux -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/crashpad/crashpad/compat/non_win -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/libwebm/source -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase/src -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/leveldatabase/src/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/v8/include -Igen/v8/include -I../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/mesa_headers -fno-strict-aliasing --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -fstack-protector -fno-unwind-tables -fno-asynchronous-unwind-tables -fPIC -pipe -pthread -march=armv7-a -mfloat-abi=hard -mtune=generic-armv7-a -mfpu=vfpv3-d16 -mthumb -Wall -U_FORTIFY_SOURCE -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -Wno-psabi -Wno-unused-local-typedefs -Wno-maybe-uninitialized -Wno-deprecated-declarations -fno-delete-null-pointer-checks -Wno-comments -Wno-packed-not-aligned -Wno-dangling-else -Wno-missing-field-initializers -Wno-unused-parameter -O2 -fno-ident -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections -fno-omit-frame-pointer -g0 -fvisibility=hidden -g -O2 -fdebug-prefix-map=/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0=. -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wdate-time -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -O2 -fno-exceptions -Wall -Wextra -D_REENTRANT -I/home/build/sysroot/usr/include/nss -I/home/build/sysroot/usr/include/nspr -std=gnu++14 -Wno-narrowing -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-attributes -Wno-class-memaccess -Wno-subobject-linkage -Wno-invalid-offsetof -Wno-return-type -Wno-deprecated-copy -fno-exceptions -fno-rtti --sysroot=../../../../../../sysroot/ -fvisibility-inlines-hidden -g -O2 -fdebug-prefix-map=/home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0=. -fstack-protector-strong -Wformat -Werror=format-security -Wdate-time -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -O2 -std=gnu++1y -fno-exceptions -Wall -Wextra -D_REENTRANT -Wno-unused-parameter -Wno-unused-variable -Wno-deprecated-declarations -c /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp -o obj/QtWebEngineCore/display_gl_output_surface.o
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_interface.h:8,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_transfer_cache.h:15,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:28,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include/GLES2/gl2.h:78: warning: "GL_FALSE" redefined
 #define GL_FALSE                          (GLboolean)0
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_context_state.h:10,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:27,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/khronos/GLES3/gl3.h:85: note: this is the location of the previous definition
 #define GL_FALSE                          0
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_interface.h:8,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_transfer_cache.h:15,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:28,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include/GLES2/gl2.h:79: warning: "GL_TRUE" redefined
 #define GL_TRUE                           (GLboolean)1
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_context_state.h:10,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:27,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/khronos/GLES3/gl3.h:86: note: this is the location of the previous definition
 #define GL_TRUE                           1
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_interface.h:8,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_transfer_cache.h:15,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:28,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
/home/build/sysroot/opt/vc/include/GLES2/gl2.h:600:37: error: conflicting declaration of C function  void glShaderSource(GLuint, GLsizei, const GLchar**, const GLint*) 
 GL_APICALL void         GL_APIENTRY glShaderSource (GLuint shader, GLsizei count, const GLchar** string, const GLint* length);
                                     ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In file included from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/client_context_state.h:10,
                 from ../../3rdparty/chromium/gpu/command_buffer/client/gles2_implementation.h:27,
                 from /home/build/armhf/qt-everywhere-src-5.15.0/qtwebengine/src/core/compositor/display_gl_output_surface.cpp:47:
../../3rdparty/chromium/third_party/khronos/GLES3/gl3.h:624:29: note: previous declaration  void glShaderSource(GLuint, GLsizei, const GLchar* const*, const GLint*) 
 GL_APICALL void GL_APIENTRY glShaderSource (GLuint shader, GLsizei count, const GLchar *const*string, const GLint *length);
                             ^~~~~~~~~~~~~~
cc1plus: warning: unrecognized command line option  -Wno-deprecated-copy 
I'm out of the allocated hour budget, and I'll stop here for now. Building Qt5 has been providing some of the most nightmarish work time in my entire professional life. If my daily job became being required to deal with this kind of insanity, I would strongly invest in a change of career. Update Andreas Gruber wrote:
Long story short, a fast solution for the issue with EGLSetBlobFuncANDROID is to remove libraspberrypi-dev from your sysroot and do a full rebuild. There will be some changes to the configure results, so please review them - if they are relevant for you - before proceeding with your work.
And thanks to Andreas, the story can continue...

14 July 2020

Ian Jackson: MessagePack vs CBOR (RFC7049)

tl;dr: Use MessagePack, rather than CBOR. Introduction I recently wanted to choose a binary encoding. This was for a project using Rust serde, so I looked at the list of formats there. I ended up reading about CBOR and MessagePack. Both of these are binary formats for a JSON-like data model. Both of them are "schemaless", meaning you can decode them without knowing the structure. (This also provides some forwards compatibility.) They are, in fact, quite similar (although they are totally incompatible). This is no accident: CBOR is, effectively, a fork of MessagePack. Both formats continue to exist and both are being used in new programs. I needed to make a choice but lacked enough information. I thought I would try to examine the reasons and nature of the split, and to make some kind of judgement about the situation. So I did a lot of reading [11]. Here are my conclusions. History and politics Between about 2010 and 2013 there was only MessagePack. Unfortunately, MessagePack had some problems. The biggest of these was that it lacked a separate string type. Strings were to be encoded simply as byte blocks. This caused serious problems for many MessagePack library implementors: for example, when decoding a MessagePack file the Python library wouldn't know whether to produce a Python bytes object, or a string. Straightforward data structures wouldn't round trip through MessagePack. [1] [2] It seems that in late 2012 this came to the attention to someone with an IETF background. According to them, after unsatisfactory conversations with MessagePack upstream, they decided they would have to fork. They submitted an Internet Draft for a partially-incompatible protocol [3] [4]. Little seemed to happen in the IETF until soon before the Orlando in-person IETF meeting in February 2013.[5] These conversations sparked some discussion in the MessagePack issue tracker. There were long threads including about process [1,2,4 ibid]. But there was also a useful technical discussion, about proposed backward compatible improves to the MessagePack spec.[5] The prominent IETF contributor provided some helpful input in these discussions in the MessagePack community - but also pushed quite hard for a "tagging" system, which suggestion was not accepted (see my technical analysis, below). An improved MessagePack spec resulted, with string support, developed largely by the MessagePack community. It seems to have been available in useable form since mid-2013 and was officially published as canonical in August 2013. Meanwhile a parallel process was pursued in the IETF, based on the IETF contributor's fork, with 11 Internet-Drafts from February[7] to September[8]. This seems to have continued even though the original technical reason for the fork - lack of string vs binary distinction - no longer applied. The IETF proponent expressed unhappiness about MessagePack's stewardship and process as much as they did about the technical details [4, ibid]. The IETF process culminated in the CBOR RFC[9]. The discussion on process questions between the IETF proponent and MessagePack upstream, in the MessagePack issue tracker [4, ibid] should make uncomfortable reading for IETF members. The IETF acceptance of CBOR despite clear and fundamental objections from MessagePack upstream[13] and indeed other respected IETF members[14], does not reflect well on the IETF. The much vaunted openness of the IETF process seems to have been rather one-sided. The IETF proponent here was an IETF Chair. Certainly the CBOR author was very well-spoken and constantly talks about politeness and cooperation and process; but what they actually did was very hostile. They accused the MessagePack community of an "us and them" attitude while simultaneously pursuing a forked specification! The CBOR RFC does mention MessagePack in Appendix E.2. But not to acknowledge that CBOR was inspired by MessagePack. Rather, it does so to make a set of tendentious criticisms of MessagePack. Perhaps these criticisms were true when they were first written in an I-D but they were certainly false by the time the RFC was actually published, which occurred after the MessagePack improvement process was completely concluded, with a formal spec issued. Since then both formats have existed in parallel. Occasionally people discuss which one is better, and sometimes it is alleged that "yes CBOR is the successor to MessagePack", which is not really fair.[9][10] Technical differences The two formats have a similar arrangement: initial byte which can encode small integers, or type and length, or type and specify a longer length encoding. But there are important differences. Overall, MessagePack is very significantly simpler. Floating point CBOR supports five floating point formats! Not only three sizes of IEEE754, but also decimal floating point, and bigfloats. This seems astonishing for a supposedly-simple format. (Some of these are supported via the semi-optional tag mechanism - see below.) Indefinite strings and arrays Like MessagePack, CBOR mostly precedes items with their length. But CBOR also supports "indefinite" strings, arrays, and so on, where the length is not specified at the beginning. The object (array, string, whatever) is terminated by a special "break" item. This seems to me to be a mistake. If you wanted the kind of application where MessagePack or CBOR would be useful, streaming sub-objects of unknown length is not that important. This possibility considerably complicates decoders. CBOR tagging system CBOR has a second layer of sort-of-type which can be attached to each data item. The set of possible tags is open-ended and extensible, but the CBOR spec itself gives tag values for: two kinds of date format; positive and negative bignums; decimal floats (see above); binary but expected to be encoded if converted to JSON (in base64url, base64, or base16); nestedly encoded CBOR; URIs; base64 data (two formats); regexps; MIME messages; and a special tag to make file(1) work. In practice it is not clear how many of these are used, but a decoder must be prepared to at least discard them. The amount of additional spec complexity here is quite astonishing. IMO binary formats like this will (just like JSON) be used by a next layer which always has an idea of what the data means, including (where the data is a binary blob) what encoding it is in etc. So these tags are not useful. These tags might look like a middle way between (i) extending the binary protocol with a whole new type such as an extension type (incompatible with old readers) and encoding your new kind data in a existing type (leaving all readers who don't know the schema to print it as just integers or bytes or string). But I think they are more trouble than they are worth. The tags are uncomfortably similar to the ASN.1 tag system, which is widely regarded as one of ASN.1's unfortunate complexities. MessagePack extension mechanism MessagePack explicitly reserves some encoding space for users and for future extensions: there is an "extension type". The payload is an extension type byte plus some more data bytes; the data bytes are in a format to be defined by the extension type byte. Half of the possible extension byte values are reserved for future specification, and half are designated for application use. This is pleasingly straightforward. (There is also one unused primary initial byte value, but that would be rejected by existing decoders and doesn't seem like a likely direction for future expansion.) Minor other differences in integer encoding The encodings of integers differ. In MessagePack, signed and unsigned integers have different typecodes. In CBOR, signed and unsigned positive integers have the same typecodes; negative integers have a different set of typecodes. This means that a CBOR reader which knows it is expecting a signed value will have to do a top-bit-set check on the actual data value! And a CBOR writer must check the value to choose a typecode. MessagePack reserves fewer shortcodes for small negative integers, than for small positive integers. Conclusions and lessons MessagePack seems to have been prompted into fixing the missing string type problem, but only by the threat of a fork. However, this fork went ahead even after MessagePack clearly accepted the need for a string type. MessagePack had a fixed protocol spec before the IETF did. The continued pursuit of the IETF fork was ostensibly been motivated by a disapproval of the development process and in particular a sense that the IETF process was superior. However, it seems to me that the IETF process was abused by CBOR's proponent, who just wanted things their own way. I have seen claims by IETF proponents that the open decisionmaking system inherently produces superior results. However, in this case the IETF process produced a bad specification. To the extent that other IETF contributors had influence over the ultimate CBOR RFC, I don't think they significantly improved it. CBOR has been described as MessagePack bikeshedded by the IETF. That would have been bad enough, but I think it's worse than that. To a large extent CBOR is one person's NIH-induced bad design rubber stamped by the IETF. CBOR's problems are not simply matters of taste: it's significantly overcomplicated. One lesson for the rest of us is that although being the upstream and nominally in charge of a project seems to give us a lot of power, it's wise to listen carefully to one's users and downstreams. Once people are annoyed enough to fork, the fork will have a life of its own. Another lesson is that many of us should be much warier of the supposed moral authority of the IETF. Many IETF standards are awful (Oauth 2 [12]; IKE; DNSSEC; the list goes on). Sometimes (especially when network adoption effects are weak, as with MessagePack vs CBOR) better results can be obtained from a smaller group, or even an individual, who simply need the thing for their own uses. Finally, governance systems of public institutions like the IETF need to be robust in defending the interests of outsiders (and hence of society at large) against eloquent insiders who know how to work the process machinery. Any institution which nominally serves the public good faces a constant risk of devolving into self-servingness. This risk gets worse the more powerful and respected the institution becomes. References
  1. #13: First-class string type in serialization specification (MessagePack issue tracker, June 2010 - August 2013)
  2. #121: Msgpack can't differentiate between raw binary data and text strings (MessagePack issue tracker, November 2012 - February 2013)
  3. draft-bormann-apparea-bpack-00: The binarypack JSON-like representation format (IETF Internet-Draft, October 2012)
  4. #129: MessagePack should be developed in an open process (MessagePack issue tracker, February 2013 - March 2013)
  5. Re: JSON mailing list and BoF (IETF apps-discuss mailing list message from Carsten Bormann, 18 February 2013)
  6. #128: Discussions on the upcoming MessagePack spec that adds the string type to the protocol (MessagePack issue tracker, February 2013 - August 2013)
  7. draft-bormann-apparea-bpack-01: The binarypack JSON-like representation format (IETF Internet-Draft, February 2013)
  8. draft-bormann-cbor: Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) (IETF Internet-Drafts, May 2013 - September 2013)
  9. RFC 7049: Concise Binary Object Representation (CBOR) (October 2013)
  10. "MessagePack should be replaced with [CBOR] everywhere ..." (floatboth on Hacker News, 8th April 2017)
  11. Discussion with very useful set of history links (camgunz on Hacker News, 9th April 2017)
  12. OAuth 2.0 and the Road to Hell (Eran Hammer, blog posting from 2012, via Wayback Machine)
  13. Re: [apps-discuss] [Json] msgpack/binarypack (Re: JSON mailing list and BoF) (IETF list message from Sadyuki Furuhashi, 4th March 2013)
  14. "no apologies for complaining about this farce" (IETF list message from Phillip Hallam-Baker, 15th August 2013)
    Edited 2020-07-14 18:55 to fix a minor formatting issue, and 2020-07-14 22:54 to fix two typos


comment count unavailable comments

12 July 2020

Enrico Zini: Police brutality links

I was a police officer for nearly ten years and I was a bastard. We all were.
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As nationwide protests over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor are met with police brutality, John Oliver discusses how the histories of policing ...
La morte di Stefano Cucchi avvenne a Roma il 22 ottobre 2009 mentre il giovane era sottoposto a custodia cautelare. Le cause della morte e le responsabilit sono oggetto di procedimenti giudiziari che hanno coinvolto da un lato i medici dell'ospedale Pertini,[1][2][3][4] dall'altro continuano a coinvolgere, a vario titolo, pi militari dell Arma dei Carabinieri[5][6]. Il caso ha attirato l'attenzione dell'opinione pubblica a seguito della pubblicazione delle foto dell'autopsia, poi riprese da agenzie di stampa, giornali e telegiornali italiani[7]. La vicenda ha ispirato, altres , documentari e lungometraggi cinematografici.[8][9][10]
La morte di Giuseppe Uva avvenne il 14 giugno 2008 dopo che, nella notte tra il 13 e il 14 giugno, era stato fermato ubriaco da due carabinieri che lo portarono in caserma, dalla quale venne poi trasferito, per un trattamento sanitario obbligatorio, nell'ospedale di Varese, dove mor la mattina successiva per arresto cardiaco. Secondo la tesi dell'accusa, la morte fu causata dalla costrizione fisica subita durante l'arresto e dalle successive violenze e torture che ha subito in caserma. Il processo contro i due carabinieri che eseguirono l'arresto e contro altri sei agenti di polizia ha assolto gli imputati dalle accuse di omicidio preterintenzionale e sequestro di persona[1][2][3][4]. Alla vicenda dedicato il documentario Viva la sposa di Ascanio Celestini[1][5].
Il caso Aldrovandi la vicenda giudiziaria causata dall'uccisione di Federico Aldrovandi, uno studente ferrarese, avvenuta il 25 settembre 2005 a seguito di un controllo di polizia.[1][2][3] I procedimenti giudiziari hanno condannato, il 6 luglio 2009, quattro poliziotti a 3 anni e 6 mesi di reclusione, per "eccesso colposo nell'uso legittimo delle armi";[1][4] il 21 giugno 2012 la Corte di cassazione ha confermato la condanna.[1] All'inchiesta per stabilire la cause della morte ne sono seguite altre per presunti depistaggi e per le querele fra le parti interessate.[1] Il caso stato oggetto di grande attenzione mediatica e ha ispirato un documentario, stato morto un ragazzo.[1][5]
Federico Aldrovandi (17 July 1987 in Ferrara 25 September 2005 in Ferrara) was an Italian student, who was killed by four policemen.[1]
24 Giugno 2020

9 July 2020

Enrico Zini: Laptop migration

This laptop used to be extra-flat My laptop battery started to explode in slow motion. HP requires 10 business days to repair my laptop under warranty, and I cannot afford that length of downtime. Alternatively, HP quoted me 375 + VAT for on-site repairs, which I tought was very funny. For 376.55 + VAT, which is pretty much exactly the same amount, I bought instead a refurbished ThinkPad X240 with a dual-core I5, 8G of RAM, 250G SSD, and a 1920x1080 IPS display, to use as a spare while my laptop is being repaired. I'd like to thank HP for giving me the opportunity to own a ThinkPad. Since I'm migrating all my system to the spare and then (hopefully) back, I'm documenting what I need to be fully productive on new hardware. Install Debian A basic Debian netinst with no tasks selected is good enough to get going. Note that if wifi worked in Debian Installer, it doesn't mean that it will work in the minimal system it installed. See here for instructions on quickly bringing up wifi on a newly installed minimal system. Copy /home A simple tar of /home is all I needed to copy my data over. A neat way to do it was connecting the two laptops with an ethernet cable, and using netcat:
# On the source
tar -C / -zcf - home   nc -l -p 12345 -N
# On the target
nc 10.0.0.1 12345   tar -C / -zxf -
Since the data travel unencrypted in this way, don't do it over wifi. Install packages I maintain a few simple local metapackages that depend on the packages I usually used. I could just install those and let apt bring in their dependencies. For the build dependencies of the programs I develop, I use mk-build-deps from the devscripts package to create metapackages that make sure they are installed. Here's an extract from debian/control of the metapackage:
Source: enrico
Section: admin
Priority: optional
Maintainer: Enrico Zini <enrico@debian.org>
Build-Depends: debhelper (>= 11)
Standards-Version: 3.7.2.1
Package: enrico
Section: admin
Architecture: all
Depends:
  mc, mmv, moreutils, powertop, syncmaildir, notmuch,
  ncdu, vcsh, ddate, jq, git-annex, eatmydata,
  vdirsyncer, khal, etckeeper, moc, pwgen
Description: Enrico's working environment
Package: enrico-devel
Section: devel
Architecture: all
Depends:
  git, python3-git, git-svn, gitk, ansible, fabric,
  valgrind, kcachegrind, zeal, meld, d-feet, flake8, mypy, ipython3,
  strace, ltrace
Description: Enrico's development environment
Package: enrico-gui
Section: x11
Architecture: all
Depends:
  xclip, gnome-terminal, qalculate-gtk, liferea, gajim,
  mumble, sm, syncthing, virt-manager
Recommends: k3b
Description: Enrico's GUI environment
Package: enrico-sanity
Section: admin
Architecture: all
Conflicts: libapache2-mod-php, libapache2-mod-php5, php5, php5-cgi, php5-fpm, libapache2-mod-php7.0, php7.0, libphp7.0-embed, libphp-embed, libphp5-embed
Description: Enrico's sanity
 Metapackage with a list of packages that I do not want anywhere near my
 system.
System-wide customizations I tend to avoid changing system-wide configuration as much as possible, so copying over /home and installing packages takes care of 99% of my needs. There are a few system-wide tweaks I cannot do without: For postfix, I have a little ansible playbook that takes care of it. Network Manager system connections need to be copied manually: a plain copy and a systemctl restart network-manager are enough. Note that Network Manager will ignore the files unless their owner and permissions are what it expects. Fine tuning Comparing the output of dpkg --get-selections between the old and the new system might highlight packages manually installed in a hurry and not added to the metapackages. Finally, what remains is fixing the sad state of mimetype associations, which seem to associate opening file depending on whatever application was installed last, phases of the moon, and what option is the most annoying. Currently on my system, PDFs are opened in inkscape by xdg-open and in calibre by run-mailcap. Let's see how long it takes to figure this one out.

4 July 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: The Light Brigade

Review: The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley
Publisher: Saga
Copyright: 2019
ISBN: 1-4814-4798-X
Format: Kindle
Pages: 355
In the wake of the Blink, which left a giant crater where S o Paulo was, Dietz signed up for the military. To be a hero. To satisfy an oath of vengeance. To kill aliens. Corporations have consumed the governments that used to run Earth and have divided the world between them. Dietz's family, before the Blink, were ghouls in Tene-Silva territory, non-citizens who scavenged a precarious life on the margins. Citizenship is a reward for loyalty and a mechanism of control. The only people who don't fit into the corporate framework are the Martians, former colonists who went dark for ten years and re-emerged as a splinter group offering to use their superior technology to repair environmental damage to the northern hemisphere caused by corporate wars. When the Blink happens, apparently done with technology far beyond what the corporations have, corporate war with the Martians is the unsurprising result. Long-time SF readers will immediately recognize The Light Brigade as a response to Starship Troopers with far more cynical world-building. For the first few chapters, the parallelism is very strong, down to the destruction of a large South American city (S o Paulo instead of Buenos Aires), a naive military volunteer, and horrific basic training. But, rather than dropships, the soldiers in Dietz's world are sent into battle via, essentially, Star Trek transporters. These still very experimental transporters send Dietz to a different mission than the one in the briefing. Advance warning that I'm going to talk about what's happening with Dietz's drops below. It's a spoiler, but you would find out not far into the book and I don't think it ruins anything important. (On the contrary, it may give you an incentive to stick through the slow and unappealing first few chapters.) I had so many suspension of disbelief problems with this book. So many. This starts with the technology. The core piece of world-building is Star Trek transporters, so fine, we're not talking about hard physics. Every SF story gets one or two free bits of impossible technology, and Hurley does a good job showing the transporters through a jaundiced military eye. But, late in the book, this technology devolves into one of my least-favorite bits of SF hand-waving that, for me, destroyed that gritty edge. Technology problems go beyond the transporters. One of the bits of horror in basic training is, essentially, torture simulators, whose goal is apparently to teach soldiers to dissociate (not that the book calls it that). One problem is that I never understood why a military would want to teach dissociation to so many people, but a deeper problem is that the mechanics of this simulation made no sense. Dietz's training in this simulator is a significant ongoing plot point, and it kept feeling like it was cribbed from The Matrix rather than something translatable into how computers work. Technology was the more minor suspension of disbelief problem, though. The larger problem was the political and social world-building. Hurley constructs a grim, totalitarian future, which is a fine world-building choice although I think it robs some nuance from the story she is telling about how militaries lie to soldiers. But the totalitarian model she uses is one of near-total information control. People believe what the corporations tell them to believe, or at least are indifferent to it. Huge world events (with major plot significance) are distorted or outright lies, and those lies are apparently believed by everyone. The skepticism that exists is limited to grumbling about leadership competence and cynicism about motives, not disagreement with the provided history. This is critical to the story; it's a driver behind Dietz's character growth and is required to set up the story's conclusion. This is a model of totalitarianism that's familiar from Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. The problem: The Internet broke this model. You now need North Korean levels of isolation to pull off total message control, which is incompatible with the social structure or technology level that Hurley shows. You may be objecting that the modern world is full of people who believe outrageous propaganda against all evidence. But the world-building problem is not that some people believe the corporate propaganda. It's that everyone does. Modern totalitarians have stopped trying to achieve uniformity (because it stopped working) and instead make the disagreement part of the appeal. You no longer get half a country to believe a lie by ensuring they never hear the truth. Instead, you equate belief in the lie with loyalty to a social or political group, and belief in the truth with affiliation with some enemy. This goes hand in hand with "flooding the zone" with disinformation and fakes and wild stories until people's belief in the accessibility of objective truth is worn down and all facts become ideological statements. This does work, all too well, but it relies on more information, not less. (See Zeynep Tufekci's excellent Twitter and Tear Gas if you're unfamiliar with this analysis.) In that world, Dietz would have heard the official history, the true history, and all sorts of wild alternative histories, making correct belief a matter of political loyalty. There is no sign of that. Hurley does gesture towards some technology to try to explain this surprising corporate effectiveness. All the soldiers have implants, and military censors can supposedly listen in at any time. But, in the story, this censorship is primarily aimed at grumbling and local disloyalty. There is no sign that it's being used to keep knowledge of significant facts from spreading, nor is there any sign of the same control among the general population. It's stated in the story that the censors can't even keep up with soldiers; one would have to get unlucky to be caught. And yet the corporation maintains preternatural information control. The place this bugged me the most is around knowledge of the current date. For reasons that will be obvious in a moment, Dietz has reasons to badly want to know what month and year it is and is unable to find this information anywhere. This appears to be intentional; Tene-Silva has a good (albeit not that urgent) reason to keep soldiers from knowing the date. But I don't think Hurley realizes just how hard that is. Take a look around the computer you're using to read this and think about how many places the date shows up. Apart from the ubiquitous clock and calendar app, there are dates on every file, dates on every news story, dates on search results, dates in instant messages, dates on email messages and voice mail... they're everywhere. And it's not just the computer. The soldiers can easily smuggle prohibited outside goods into the base; knowledge of the date would be much easier. And even if Dietz doesn't want to ask anyone, there are opportunities to go off base during missions. Somehow every newspaper and every news bulletin has its dates suppressed? It's not credible, and it threw me straight out of the story. These world-building problems are unfortunate, since at the heart of The Light Brigade is a (spoiler alert) well-constructed time travel story that I would have otherwise enjoyed. Dietz is being tossed around in time with each jump. And, unlike some of these stories, Hurley does not take the escape hatch of alternate worlds or possible futures. There is a single coherent timeline that Dietz and the reader experience in one order and the rest of the world experiences in a different order. The construction of this timeline is incredibly well-done. Time can only disconnect at jump and return points, and Hurley maintains tight control over the number of unresolved connections. At every point in the story, I could list all of the unresolved discontinuities and enjoy their complexity and implications without feeling overwhelmed by them. Dietz gains some foreknowledge, but in a way that's wildly erratic and hard to piece together fast enough for a single soldier to do anything about the plot. The world spins out of control with foreshadowing of grimmer and grimmer events, and then Hurley pulls it back together in a thoroughly satisfying interweaving of long-anticipated scenes and major surprises. I'm not usually a fan of time travel stories, but this is one of the best I've read. It also has a satisfying emotional conclusion (albeit marred for me by some unbelievable mystical technobabble), which is impressive given how awful and nasty Hurley makes this world. Dietz is a great first-person narrator, believably naive and cynical by turns, and piecing together the story structure alongside the protagonist built my emotional attachment to Dietz's character arc. Hurley writes the emotional dynamics of soldiers thoughtfully and well: shit-talking, fights, sudden moments of connection, shared cynicism over degenerating conditions, and the underlying growth of squad loyalty that takes over other motivations and becomes the reason to keep on fighting. Hurley also pulled off a neat homage to (and improvement on) Starship Troopers that caught me entirely by surprise and that I've hopefully not spoiled. This is a solid science fiction novel if you can handle the world-building. I couldn't, but I understand why it was nominated for the Hugo and Clarke awards. Recommended if you're less picky about technological and social believability than I am, although content warning for a lot of bloody violence and death (including against children) and a horrifically depressing world. Rating: 6 out of 10

30 June 2020

Russ Allbery: Review: The Fifth Risk

Review: The Fifth Risk, by Michael Lewis
Publisher: W.W. Norton
Copyright: 2018
Printing: 2019
ISBN: 0-393-35745-7
Format: Kindle
Pages: 254
The Fifth Risk starts with the presidential transition. Max Stier, the first person profiled by Lewis in this book, is the founder of the Partnership for Public Service. That foundation helped push through laws to provide more resources and structure for the transition of the United States executive branch from one president to the next. The goal was to fight wasted effort, unnecessary churn, and pointless disruption in the face of each administration's skepticism about everyone who worked for the previous administration.
"It's Groundhog Day," said Max. "The new people come in and think that the previous administration and the civil service are lazy or stupid. Then they actually get to know the place they are managing. And when they leave, they say, 'This was a really hard job, and those are the best people I've ever worked with.' This happens over and over and over."
By 2016, Stier saw vast improvements, despite his frustration with other actions of the Obama administration. He believed their transition briefings were one of the best courses ever produced on how the federal government works. Then that transition process ran into Donald Trump. Or, to be more accurate, that transition did not run into Donald Trump, because neither he nor anyone who worked for him were there. We'll never know how good the transition information was because no one ever listened to or read it. Meetings were never scheduled. No one showed up. This book is not truly about the presidential transition, though, despite its presence as a continuing theme. The Fifth Risk is, at its heart, an examination of government work, the people who do it, why it matters, and why you should care about it. It's a study of the surprising and misunderstood responsibilities of the departments of the United States federal government. And it's a series of profiles of the people who choose this work as a career, not in the upper offices of political appointees, but deep in the civil service, attempting to keep that system running. I will warn now that I am far too happy that this book exists to be entirely objective about it. The United States desperately needs basic education about the government at all levels, but particularly the federal civil service. The public impression of government employees is skewed heavily towards the small number of public-facing positions and towards paperwork frustrations, over which the agency usually has no control because they have been sabotaged by Congress (mostly by Republicans, although the Democrats get involved occasionally). Mental images of who works for the government are weirdly selective. The Coast Guard could say "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" every day, to the immense gratitude of the people they rescue, but Reagan was still able to use that as a cheap applause line in his attack on government programs. Other countries have more functional and realistic social attitudes towards their government workers. The United States is trapped in a politically-fueled cycle of contempt and ignorance. It has to stop. And one way to help stop it is someone with Michael Lewis's story-telling skills writing a different narrative. The Fifth Risk is divided into a prologue about presidential transitions, three main parts, and an afterword (added in current editions) about a remarkable government worker whom you likely otherwise would never hear about. Each of the main parts talks about a different federal department: the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Commerce. In keeping with the theme of the book, the people Lewis profiles do not do what you might expect from the names of those departments. Lewis's title comes from his discussion with John MacWilliams, a former Goldman Sachs banker who quit the industry in search of more personally meaningful work and became the chief risk officer for the Department of Energy. Lewis asks him for the top five risks he sees, and if you know that the DOE is responsible for safeguarding nuclear weapons, you will be able to guess several of them: nuclear weapons accidents, North Korea, and Iran. If you work in computer security, you may share his worry about the safety of the electrical grid. But his fifth risk was project management. Can the government follow through on long-term hazardous waste safety and cleanup projects, despite constant political turnover? Can it attract new scientists to the work of nuclear non-proliferation before everyone with the needed skills retires? Can it continue to lay the groundwork with basic science for innovation that we'll need in twenty or fifty years? This is what the Department of Energy is trying to do. Lewis's profiles of other departments are similarly illuminating. The Department of Agriculture is responsible for food stamps, the most effective anti-poverty program in the United States with the possible exception of Social Security. The section on the Department of Commerce is about weather forecasting, specifically about NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). If you didn't know that all of the raw data and many of the forecasts you get from weather apps and web sites are the work of government employees, and that AccuWeather has lobbied Congress persistently for years to prohibit the NOAA from making their weather forecasts public so that AccuWeather can charge you more for data your taxes already paid for, you should read this book. The story of American contempt for government work is partly about ignorance, but it's also partly about corporations who claim all of the credit while selling taxpayer-funded resources back to you at absurd markups. The afterword I'll leave for you to read for yourself, but it's the story of Art Allen, a government employee you likely have never heard of but whose work for the Coast Guard has saved more lives than we are able to measure. I found it deeply moving. If you, like I, are a regular reader of long-form journalism and watch for new Michael Lewis essays in particular, you've probably already read long sections of this book. By the time I sat down with it, I think I'd read about a third in other forms on-line. But the profiles that I had already read were so good that I was happy to read them again, and the additional stories and elaboration around previously published material was more than worth the cost and time investment in the full book.
It was never obvious to me that anyone would want to read what had interested me about the United States government. Doug Stumpf, my magazine editor for the past decade, persuaded me that, at this strange moment in American history, others might share my enthusiasm.
I'll join Michael Lewis in thanking Doug Stumpf. The Fifth Risk is not a proposal for how to fix government, or politics, or polarization. It's not even truly a book about the Trump presidency or about the transition. Lewis's goal is more basic: The United States government is full of hard-working people who are doing good and important work. They have effectively no public relations department. Achievements that would result in internal and external press releases in corporations, not to mention bonuses and promotions, go unnoticed and uncelebrated. If you are a United States citizen, this is your government and it does important work that you should care about. It deserves the respect of understanding and thoughtful engagement, both from the citizenry and from the politicians we elect. Rating: 10 out of 10

Craig Sanders: Fuck Grey Text

fuck grey text on white backgrounds
fuck grey text on black backgrounds
fuck thin, spindly fonts
fuck 10px text
fuck any size of anything in px
fuck font-weight 300
fuck unreadable web pages
fuck themes that implement this unreadable idiocy
fuck sites that don t work without javascript
fuck reactjs and everything like it thank fuck for Stylus. and uBlock Origin. and uMatrix. Fuck Grey Text is a post from: Errata

28 June 2020

Russ Allbery: PGP::Sign 1.00

This is the first new release of PGP::Sign in 13 years, so it's long-overdue. I have finally updated it in preparation for creating a new, more modern signing key for the Big Eight Usenet hierarchies and issuing control messages with both the old and new keys, using GnuPG v2 for the new key. The biggest change in this release is that it drops support for all OpenPGP implementations other than GnuPG, and adds support for GnuPG v2. I think some of the other PGP implementations are still around, but I haven't seen them in years and have no way to test against them, so it didn't seem worthwhile to continue to support them. GnuPG v2 support is obviously long-overdue, given that we're getting close to the point where GnuPG v1 will start disappearing from distributions. The default backend is now GnuPG v2, although the module can be configured to use GnuPG v1 instead. This release also adds a new object-oriented API. When I first wrote this module, it was common in the Perl community to have functional APIs configured with global variables. Subsequently we've learned this is a bad idea for a host of reasons, and I finally got around to redoing the API. It's still not perfect (in particular, the return value of the verify method is still a little silly), but it's much nicer. The old API is still supported, implemented as a shim in front of the new API. A few other, more minor changes in this release: It also now uses IPC::Run and File::Temp instead of hand-rolling equivalent functionality, and the module build system is now Module::Build. You can get the latest version from CPAN or from the PGP::Sign distribution page.

26 June 2020

Chris Lamb: On the pleasure of hating

People love to tell you that they "don't watch sports" but the story of Lance Armstrong provides a fascinating lens through which to observe our culture at large. For example, even granting all that he did and all the context in which he did it, why do sports cheats act like a lightning rod for such an instinctive hatred? After all, the sheer level of distaste directed at people such as Lance eludes countless other criminals in our society, many of whom have taken a lot more with far fewer scruples. The question is not one of logic or rationality, but of proportionality. In some ways it should be unsurprising. In all areas of life, we instinctively prefer binary judgements to moral ambiguities and the sports cheat is a clich of moral bankruptcy cheating at something so seemingly trivial as a sport actually makes it more, not less, offensive to us. But we then find ourselves strangely enthralled by them, drawn together in admiration of their outlaw-like tenacity, placing them strangely close to criminal folk heroes. Clearly, sport is not as unimportant as we like to claim it is. In Lance's case in particular though, there is undeniably a Shakespearean quality to the story and we are forced to let go of our strict ideas of right and wrong and appreciate all the nuance.

There is a lot of this nuance in Marina Zenovich's new documentary. In fact, there's a lot of everything. At just under four hours, ESPN's Lance combines the duration of a Tour de France stage with the depth of the peloton an endurance event compared to the bite-sized hagiography of Michael Jordan's The Last Dance. Even for those who follow Armstrong's story like a mini-sport in itself, Lance reveals new sides to this man for all seasons. For me, not only was this captured in his clumsy approximations at being a father figure but also in him being asked something I had not read in countless tell-all books: did his earlier experiments in drug-taking contribute to his cancer? But even in 2020 there are questions that remain unanswered. By needlessly returning to the sport in 2009, did Lance subconsciously want to get caught? Why does he not admit he confessed to Betsy Andreu back in 1999 but will happily apologise to her today for slurring her publicly on this very point? And why does he remain so vindictive towards former-teammate Floyd Landis? In all of Armstrong's evasions and masterful control of the narrative, there is the gnawing feeling that we don't even know what questions we should be even asking. As ever, the questions are more interesting than the answers.

Lance also reminded me of how professional cycling's obsession with national identity. Although I was intuitively aware of it to some degree, I had not fully grasped how much this kind of stereotyping runs through the veins of the sport itself, just like the drugs themselves. Journalist Daniel Friebe first offers us the portrait of:
Spaniards tend to be modest, very humble. Very unpretentious. And the Italians are loud, vain and outrageous showmen.
Former directeur sportif Johan Bruyneel then asserts that "Belgians are hard workers... they are ambitious to a certain point, but not overly ambitious", and cyclist J rg Jaksche concludes with:
The Germans are very organised and very structured. And then the French, now I have to be very careful because I am German, but the French are slightly superior.
This kind of lazy caricature is nothing new, especially for those brought up on a solid diet of Tintin and Asterix, but although all these examples are seemingly harmless, why does the underlying idea of ascribing moral, social or political significance to genetic lineage remain so durable in today's age of anti-racism? To be sure, culture is not quite the same thing as race, but being judged by the character of one's ancestors rather than the actions of an individual is, at its core, one of the many conflations at the heart of racism. There is certainly a large amount of cognitive dissonance at work, especially when Friebe elaborates:
East German athletes were like incredible robotic figures, fallen off a production line somewhere behind the Iron Curtain...
... but then bermensch Jan Ullrich is immediately described as "emotional" and "struggled to live the life of a professional cyclist 365 days a year". We see the habit to stereotype is so ingrained that even in the face of this obvious contradiction, Friebe unironically excuses Ullrich's failure to live up his German roots due to him actually being "Mediterranean".

I mention all this as I am known within my circles for remarking on these national characters, even collecting stereotypical examples of Italians 'being Italian' and the French 'being French' at times. Contrary to evidence, I don't believe in this kind of innate quality but what I do suspect is that people generally behave how they think they ought to behave, perhaps out of sheer imitation or the simple pleasure of conformity. As the novelist Will Self put it:
It's quite a complicated collective imposture, people pretending to be British and people pretending to be French, and then they get really angry with each other over what they're pretending to be.
The really remarkable thing about this tendency is that even if we consciously notice it there is no seemingly no escape even I could not smirk when I considered that a brash Texan winning the Tour de France actually combines two of America's cherished obsessions: winning... and annoying the French.

25 June 2020

Russell Coker: How Will the Pandemic Change Things?

The Bulwark has an interesting article on why they can t Reopen America [1]. I wonder how many changes will be long term. According to the Wikipedia List of Epidemics [2] Covid-19 so far hasn t had a high death toll when compared to other pandemics of the last 100 years. People s reactions to this vary from doing nothing to significant isolation, the question is what changes in attitudes will be significant enough to change society. Transport One thing that has been happening recently is a transition in transport. It s obvious that we need to reduce CO2 and while electric cars will address the transport part of the problem in the long term changing to electric public transport is the cheaper and faster way to do it in the short term. Before Covid-19 the peak hour public transport in my city was ridiculously overcrowded, having people unable to board trams due to overcrowding was really common. If the economy returns to it s previous state then I predict less people on public transport, more traffic jams, and many more cars idling and polluting the atmosphere. Can we have mass public transport that doesn t give a significant disease risk? Maybe if we had significantly more trains and trams and better ventilation with more airflow designed to suck contaminated air out. But that would require significant engineering work to design new trams, trains, and buses as well as expense in refitting or replacing old ones. Uber and similar companies have been taking over from taxi companies, one major feature of those companies is that the vehicles are not dedicated as taxis. Dedicated taxis could easily be designed to reduce the spread of disease, the famed Black Cab AKA Hackney Carriage [3] design in the UK has a separate compartment for passengers with little air flow to/from the driver compartment. It would be easy to design such taxis to have entirely separate airflow and if setup to only take EFTPOS and credit card payment could avoid all contact between the driver and passengers. I would prefer to have a Hackney Carriage design of vehicle instead of a regular taxi or Uber. Autonomous cars have been shown to basically work. There are some concerns about safety issues as there are currently corner cases that car computers don t handle as well as people, but of course there are also things computers do better than people. Having an autonomous taxi would be a benefit for anyone who wants to avoid other people. Maybe approval could be rushed through for autonomous cars that are limited to 40Km/h (the maximum collision speed at which a pedestrian is unlikely to die), in central city areas and inner suburbs you aren t likely to drive much faster than that anyway. Car share services have been becoming popular, for many people they are significantly cheaper than owning a car due to the costs of regular maintenance, insurance, and depreciation. As the full costs of car ownership aren t obvious people may focus on the disease risk and keep buying cars. Passenger jets are ridiculously cheap. But this relies on the airline companies being able to consistently fill the planes. If they were to add measures to reduce cross contamination between passengers which slightly reduces the capacity of planes then they need to increase ticket prices accordingly which then reduces demand. If passengers are just scared of flying in close proximity and they can t fill planes then they will have to increase prices which again reduces demand and could lead to a death spiral. If in the long term there aren t enough passengers to sustain the current number of planes in service then airline companies will have significant financial problems, planes are expensive assets that are expected to last for a long time, if they can t use them all and can t sell them then airline companies will go bankrupt. It s not reasonable to expect that the same number of people will be travelling internationally for years (if ever). Due to relying on economies of scale to provide low prices I don t think it s possible to keep prices the same no matter what they do. A new economic balance of flights costing 2-3 times more than we are used to while having significantly less passengers seems likely. Governments need to spend significant amounts of money to improve trains to take over from flights that are cancelled or too expensive. Entertainment The article on The Bulwark mentions Las Vegas as a city that will be hurt a lot by reductions in travel and crowds, the same thing will happen to tourist regions all around the world. Australia has a significant tourist industry that will be hurt a lot. But the mention of Las Vegas makes me wonder what will happen to the gambling in general. Will people avoid casinos and play poker with friends and relatives at home? It seems that small stakes poker games among friends will be much less socially damaging than casinos, will this be good for society? The article also mentions cinemas which have been on the way out since the video rental stores all closed down. There s lots of prime real estate used for cinemas and little potential for them to make enough money to cover the rent. Should we just assume that most uses of cinemas will be replaced by Netflix and other streaming services? What about teenage dates, will kissing in the back rows of cinemas be replaced by Netflix and chill ? What will happen to all the prime real estate used by cinemas? Professional sporting matches have been played for a TV-only audience during the pandemic. There s no reason that they couldn t make a return to live stadium audiences when there is a vaccine for the disease or the disease has been extinguished by social distancing. But I wonder if some fans will start to appreciate the merits of small groups watching large TVs and not want to go back to stadiums, can this change the typical behaviour of groups? Restaurants and cafes are going to do really badly. I previously wrote about my experience running an Internet Cafe and why reopening businesses soon is a bad idea [4]. The question is how long this will go for and whether social norms about personal space will change things. If in the long term people expect 25% more space in a cafe or restaurant that s enough to make a significant impact on profitability for many small businesses. When I was young the standard thing was for people to have dinner at friends homes. Meeting friends for dinner at a restaurant was uncommon. Recently it seemed to be the most common practice for people to meet friends at a restaurant. There are real benefits to meeting at a restaurant in terms of effort and location. Maybe meeting friends at their home for a delivered dinner will become a common compromise, avoiding the effort of cooking while avoiding the extra expense and disease risk of eating out. Food delivery services will do well in the long term, it s one of the few industry segments which might do better after the pandemic than before. Work Many companies are discovering the benefits of teleworking, getting it going effectively has required investing in faster Internet connections and hardware for employees. When we have a vaccine the equipment needed for teleworking will still be there and we will have a discussion about whether it should be used on a more routine basis. When employees spend more than 2 hours per day travelling to and from work (which is very common for people who work in major cities) that will obviously limit the amount of time per day that they can spend working. For the more enthusiastic permanent employees there seems to be a benefit to the employer to allow working from home. It s obvious that some portion of the companies that were forced to try teleworking will find it effective enough to continue in some degree. One company that I work for has quit their coworking space in part because they were concerned that the coworking company might go bankrupt due to the pandemic. They seem to have become a 100% work from home company for the office part of the work (only on site installation and stock management is done at corporate locations). Companies running coworking spaces and other shared offices will suffer first as their clients have short term leases. But all companies renting out office space in major cities will suffer due to teleworking. I wonder how this will affect the companies providing services to the office workers, the cafes and restaurants etc. Will there end up being so much unused space in central city areas that it s not worth converting the city cinemas into useful space? There s been a lot of news about Zoom and similar technologies. Lots of other companies are trying to get into that business. One thing that isn t getting much notice is remote access technologies for desktop support. If the IT people can t visit your desk because you are working from home then they need to be able to remotely access it to fix things. When people make working from home a large part of their work time the issue of who owns peripherals and how they are tracked will get interesting. In a previous blog post I suggested that keyboards and mice not be treated as assets [5]. But what about monitors, 4G/Wifi access points, etc? Some people have suggested that there will be business sectors benefiting from the pandemic, such as telecoms and e-commerce. If you have a bunch of people forced to stay home who aren t broke (IE a large portion of the middle class in Australia) they will probably order delivery of stuff for entertainment. But in the long term e-commerce seems unlikely to change much, people will spend less due to economic uncertainty so while they may shift some purchasing to e-commerce apart from home delivery of groceries e-commerce probably won t go up overall. Generally telecoms won t gain anything from teleworking, the Internet access you need for good Netflix viewing is generally greater than that needed for good video-conferencing. Money I previously wrote about a Basic Income for Australia [6]. One of the most cited reasons for a Basic Income is to deal with robots replacing people. Now we are at the start of what could be a long term economic contraction caused by the pandemic which could reduce the scale of the economy by a similar degree while also improving the economic case for a robotic workforce. We should implement a Universal Basic Income now. I previously wrote about the make-work jobs and how we could optimise society to achieve the worthwhile things with less work [7]. My ideas about optimising public transport and using more car share services may not work so well after the pandemic, but the rest should work well. Business There are a number of big companies that are not aiming for profitability in the short term. WeWork and Uber are well documented examples. Some of those companies will hopefully go bankrupt and make room for more responsible companies. The co-working thing was always a precarious business. The companies renting out office space usually did so on a monthly basis as flexibility was one of their selling points, but they presumably rented buildings on an annual basis. As the profit margins weren t particularly high having to pay rent on mostly empty buildings for a few months will hurt them badly. The long term trend in co-working spaces might be some sort of collaborative arrangement between the people who run them and the landlords similar to the way some of the hotel chains have profit sharing agreements with land owners to avoid both the capital outlay for buying land and the risk involved in renting. Also city hotels are very well equipped to run office space, they have the staff and the procedures for running such a business, most hotels also make significant profits from conventions and conferences. The way the economy has been working in first world countries has been about being as competitive as possible. Just in time delivery to avoid using storage space and machines to package things in exactly the way that customers need and no more machines than needed for regular capacity. This means that there s no spare capacity when things go wrong. A few years ago a company making bolts for the car industry went bankrupt because the car companies forced the prices down, then car manufacture stopped due to lack of bolts this could have been a wake up call but was ignored. Now we have had problems with toilet paper shortages due to it being packaged in wholesale quantities for offices and schools not retail quantities for home use. Food was destroyed because it was created for restaurant packaging and couldn t be packaged for home use in a reasonable amount of time. Farmer s markets alleviate some of the problems with packaging food etc. But they aren t a good option when there s a pandemic as disease risk makes them less appealing to customers and therefore less profitable for vendors. Religion Many religious groups have supported social distancing. Could this be the start of more decentralised religion? Maybe have people read the holy book of their religion and pray at home instead of being programmed at church? We can always hope.

24 June 2020

Fran ois Marier: Automated MythTV-related maintenance tasks

Here is the daily/weekly cronjob I put together over the years to perform MythTV-related maintenance tasks on my backend server. The first part performs a database backup:
5 1 * * *  mythtv  /usr/share/mythtv/mythconverg_backup.pl
which I previously configured by putting the following in /home/mythtv/.mythtv/backuprc:
DBBackupDirectory=/var/backups/mythtv
and creating a new directory for it:
mkdir /var/backups/mythtv
chown mythtv:mythtv /var/backups/mythtv
The second part of /etc/cron.d/mythtv-maintenance runs a contrib script to optimize the database tables:
10 1 * * *  mythtv  /usr/bin/chronic /usr/share/doc/mythtv-backend/contrib/maintenance/optimize_mythdb.pl
once a day. It requires the libmythtv-perl and libxml-simple-perl packages to be installed on Debian-based systems. It is quickly followed by a check of the recordings and automatic repair of the seektable (when possible):
20 1 * * *  mythtv  /usr/bin/chronic /usr/bin/mythutil --checkrecordings --fixseektable
Next, I force a scan of the music and video databases to pick up anything new that may have been added externally via NFS mounts:
30 1 * * *  mythtv  /usr/bin/mythutil --quiet --scanvideos
31 1 * * *  mythtv  /usr/bin/mythutil --quiet --scanmusic
Finally, I defragment the XFS partition for two hours every day except Friday:
45 1 * * 1-4,6-7  root  /usr/sbin/xfs_fsr
and resync the RAID-1 arrays once a week to ensure that they stay consistent and error-free:
15 3 * * 2  root  /usr/local/sbin/raid_parity_check md0
15 3 * * 4  root  /usr/local/sbin/raid_parity_check md2
using a trivial script. In addition to that cronjob, I also have smartmontools run daily short and weekly long SMART tests via this blurb in /etc/smartd.conf:
/dev/sda -a -d ata -o on -S on -s (S/../.././04 L/../../6/05)
/dev/sdb -a -d ata -o on -S on -s (S/../.././04 L/../../6/05)
If there are any other automated maintenance tasks you do on your MythTV server, please leave a comment!

21 June 2020

Daniel Lange: Upgrading Limesurvey with (near) zero downtime

Limesurvey is an online survey tool. It is very powerful and commonly used in academic environments because it is Free Software (GPLv2+), allows for local installations protecting the data of participants and allowing to comply with data protection regulations. This also means there are typically no load-balanced multi-server szenarios with HA databases. But simple VMs where Limesurvey runs and needs upgrading in place. There's an LTS branch (currently 3.x) and a stable branch (currently 4.x). There's also a 2.06 LTS branch that is restricted to paying customers. The main developers behind Limesurvey offer many services from template design to custom development to support to hosting ("Cloud", "Limesurvey Pro"). Unfortunately they also charge for easy updates called "ComfortUpdate" (currently 39 for three months) and the manual process is made a bit cumbersome to make the "ComfortUpdate" offer more attractive. Due to Limesurvey being an old code base and UI elements not being clearly separated, most serious use cases will end up patching files and symlinking logos around template directories. That conflicts a bit with the opaque "ComfortUpdate" process where you push a button and then magic happens. Or you have downtime and a recovery case while surveys are running. If you do not intend to use the "ComfortUpdate" offering, you can prevent Limesurvey from connecting to http://comfortupdate.limesurvey.org daily by adding the updatable stanza as in line 14 to limesurvey/application/config/config.php:
  1. return array(
  2. [...]
  3. // Use the following config variable to set modified optional settings copied from config-defaults.php
  4. 'config'=>array(
  5. // debug: Set this to 1 if you are looking for errors. If you still get no errors after enabling this
  6. // then please check your error-logs - either in your hosting provider admin panel or in some /logs directory
  7. // on your webspace.
  8. // LimeSurvey developers: Set this to 2 to additionally display STRICT PHP error messages and get full access to standard templates
  9. 'debug'=>0,
  10. 'debugsql'=>0, // Set this to 1 to enanble sql logging, only active when debug = 2
  11. // Mysql database engine (INNODB MYISAM):
  12. 'mysqlEngine' => 'MYISAM'
  13. , // Update default LimeSurvey config here
  14. 'updatable' => false,
  15. )
  16. );
The comma on line 13 is placed like that in the current default limesurvey config.php, don't let yourself get confused. Every item in a php array must end with a comma. It can be on the next line. The basic principle of low risk, near-zero downtime, in-place upgrades is:
  1. Create a diff between the current release and the target release
  2. Inspect the diff
  3. Make backups of the application webroot
  4. Patch a copy of the application in-place
  5. (optional) stop the web server
  6. Make a backup of the production database
  7. Move the patched application to the production webroot
  8. (if 5) Start the webserver
  9. Upgrade the database (if needed)
  10. Check the application
So, in detail: Continue reading "Upgrading Limesurvey with (near) zero downtime"

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