Older blog entries for pabs3 (starting at number 49)

Looking at the logos of Debian derivatives

The logos of the Debian derivatives registered in the derivatives census are overwhelmingly stored in PNG format, with a handful of JPEG and GIF images. One derivative (LMDE) doesn't have a logo registered in the census.

Half of the logo image files have some embedded indication of which program was used to create them or which program they passed through last.

Just over half of these were created with some proprietary Adobe or Macromedia program. The one that surprised me was Emdebian's logo indicating it was created in Adobe Photoshop 3.0, but to be fair it looks like several of the Debian logo files were also created in Adobe Photoshop 3.0 so that might just be copied from the Debian logos. Two of the logos have an easter-egg reminding everyone who looks about the obsession some part of Adobe has with rubber ducks.

Just under half of them were created using Free Software, with most of those being produced in the GIMP and a few in Inkscape.

One of them looks like a derivative work of the KDE logo. Two of them incorporate the Debian swirl indicating their Debian heritage. Two of them in some way incorporate the Tux Linux mascot indicating that they use Linux. One of the logos contains the word Debian and one contains "sid". Three of the logos mention both GNU and Linux and another mentions only GNU. One of them mentions the government organisation sponsoring the distro (LinEx).

A few logos consist solely of text and a few have no text, but most combine both elements. Three have some indication of a URL in them. Several of them have some sort of indication of what the distribution's focus is.

One has Adobe's XMP XML cruft embedded in it indicating document identifiers and two logos have an embedded ICC profile. One logo has the author's name in it.

Syndicated 2011-07-11 16:55:12 from Advogato

Announcing Planet Debian Derivatives!

The first concrete outcome from the Debian derivatives census is the creation of Planet Debian Derivatives. For those of you who are interested in the activites of distributions derived from Debian, it aggregates the blogs and planets of all the distributions represented in the derivatives census. The list of feeds will be expanded semi-automatically as more distributions participate in the census and maintainers of census pages add new blog and planet URLs. Many thanks to Joerg Jaspert for doing the nessecary setup procedures for the addition of the new sub-planet to Planet Debian. I'm glad that it was accepted alongside the sole language-based sub-planet (Planet Debian Spanish).

I plan further integration of informaton about derivatives with Debian infrastructure. My next target will be integration of information about the packages in Debian derivatives into Debian. I hope to work on getting that information into UDD (and rmadison) and the packages.d.o site during DebConf11 and DebCamp. If you are interested in helping out, please add your ideas to the integration wiki page, check out the code and add more scripts to it.

If you have any comments or questions about this or any other activities related to Debian derivatives, please direct them to the debian-derivatives list and the #debian-derivatives IRC channel on OFTC.

Those of you interested in the other side of the software stream might want to take a look at Planet Debian Upstream, which is run by the excellent Joey Hess. He is also on the lookout for interesting blogs by people writing software that is packaged in Debian. The site is created using ikiwiki, hosted on branchable and editable with an OpenID account.

Syndicated 2011-06-16 08:33:26 from Advogato

Debian/Ubuntu games team meeting

The Debian/Ubuntu games team has been less active over the past few years, so we are having an IRC meeting at the end of the week as part of an attempt to revive the team a bit. Some of you might have seen the announcement in the Debian Misc Developer News issue 26. So if you have an interest in gaming and Debian/Ubuntu, please join us on the IRC channel. Gamers and lurkers welcome, come one come all!

The agenda for the meeting is not yet finalised so if you would like to influence it please take a look at the poll. The primary focus of the meeting looks like it will be reviving the team and looking forward to our goals for Debian wheezy.

Syndicated 2011-03-16 04:24:07 from Advogato

Looking towards Debian wheezy

So Debian squeeze has finally been released and it is time to look toward to what we might work on or want to happen for the next release, codenamed Debian wheezy. An informal discussion on IRC mentioned libburnia libraries and apps, finishing DEP5, objnam, wayland, multiarch, Matthew Palmer plans to work on netcfg, ifupdown and the KDE team plan to remove Qt3/KDE3.

I personally plan to work on catching up with my packages, the removal of defoma, boosting the Debian games team, improving collaboration with derivatives, changes to the Debian wiki, reviewing more packages mentioned on debian-mentors and more.

I am really excited to see the cross-distro collaboration of Enrico Zini and others in bringing application management to Linux distributions, the multiarch work by Steve Langasek and others and hopefully optimistic about the recent discussions of automated post-install testing.

I probably will not work on almost all of these but I would like to see multiarch, cross compiliation, widespread systemd integration, netconf revival, porting to phones/tablets, OEM mode and media for d-i, partitioning improvments for d-i, widespread automated post-install testing, expansion of daca, deployment of debexpo, widespread adoption of PET, automated removal of bad packages, better pro-active security measures, building all packages on buildds, migration away from Debian-specific stuff in favour of cross-distro solutions, addition of new UI experiences (like MeeGo, Android, Unity, QtMoko), addition of new APIs for portability (like Android, Khronos, MacOS/iOS stuff), more interesting/weird ports, merging derivatives into Debian, better integration of Debian Pure Blends, removing non-free packages where free alternatives exist, ex-developers and MIA folks returning to Debian, expansion of the backports repository, fixes for lots of bugs and probably other things I forgot.

What are you going to work on? What do you wish you could work on? What work are you hoping others will do? What work are you excited about that others are doing?

Syndicated 2011-02-08 12:10:44 from Advogato

Another year, another log entry

It has been almost a full year since my last log entry. It has been a busy work year, I attended some nice conferences and did minimal FLOSS stuff.

On the work side of things I was a third of an Australian VoIP startup that came and went. I setup Debian servers, installed OpenSIPS and associated software, wrote OpenSIPS scripts, wrote peripheral software and did customer support. We had a good thing going there for a while, some fans on the Whirlpool forums but in the end there wasn't enough money for the requisite marketing and local market circumstances were squeezing Australian VoIP providers anyway.

On the conference side of things I went to LCA 2010, the Thai Mini-DebCamp 2010, DebConf10 and FOSSASIA 2010. Had a great time at all of them.

At LCA 2010 in windy Wellington, New Zealand the distributions summit organised by Martin Krafft was one of the highlights. It was dominated by Debian/Ubuntu talks but there were some other interesting ones, especially the one on GoboLinux's integration of domain-specific package managers. Also excellent were the keynotes given by Gabriella Coleman (Best & worst of times), Mako Hill (Antifeatures) and others, which I felt gave LCA an improved and very welcome focus on software freedom. There were quite a few Debian folks at LCA, it was great to hang out with them during the week and afterwards. Monopedal sumo with mako and others was hilarious fun.

At the Thailand Mini-DebCamp 2010 in Khon Kaen, I was glad to see Andrew Lee (Taiwan) and Christian Perrier (France) again and meet Yukiharu YABUKI (Japan) and Daiki Ueno (Japan). In addition to the five international folks, there were quite a few locals, including Thailand's currently sole Debian member, Theppitak Karoonboonyanan. The event was hosted at Khon Kaen University and opened with my talk about the Debian Social Contract and the Debian Free Software Guidelines. This was followed by a number of talks about Debian package building, a 3-day BSP where we touched 57 bugs, a great day of sightseeing and talks about i18n, derivative distros, keysigning, mirrors, contribution and a discussion about DebConf. During the week there was also the usual beersigning, combined with eating of unfamiliar and "interesting" Thai snacks. After the conference Andrew and I roamed some markets in Bangkok and got Thai massages. Beforehand I also visited a friend from my travels on the RV Heraclitus in Chiang Mai, once again experiencing the awesomeness of trains in Asia, unfortunately during the dry season this time. I took a lot of photos during my time in Thailand and ate a lot of great and spicy food. As a vegetarian I especially appreciated the organiser's efforts to accommodate this during the conference.

At DebConf10 in New York City, by far the highlight was Eben Moglen's vision of the FreedomBox. Negotiating the hot rickety subways was fun, the party at the NYC Resistor space was most excellent, Coney Island was hot and the water a bit yuck, zack threw a ball, the food and campus was really nice. Really enjoyed the lintian BoF, ARM discussions, shy folks, GPLv3 question time, paulproteus' comments & insights, wiki BoF, puppet BoF, derivatives BoF, Sita, astronomy rooftop, cheese, virt BoF, Libravatar, DebConf11, Brave new Multimedia World, bagels for breakfast, CUT, OpenStreetMap & lightning talks. Having my power supply die was not fun at all. Afterwards I hung out with a couple of the exhausted organisers, ate awesome vegan food and fell asleep watching a movie about dreams. One weird thing about DebConf10 was that relatively few folks used the DebConf gallery to host their photos, months later only myself and Aigars Mahinovs posted any photos there.

At FOSSASIA 2010 in Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC) was a mini-DebConf. I arrived at the HCMC airport and was greeted by Huyen (thanks!!), one of FOSSASIA's numerous volunteers, who bundled me into a taxi bound for the speakers accommodation and pre-event meetup at The Spotted Cow Bar. The next day the conference opened at the Raffles International College and after looking at the schedule I noticed that I was to give a talk about Debian that day. Since I didn't volunteer for such a talk and had nothing prepared, the schedule took me by surprise. So shortly after an awesome lunch of Vietnamese pancakes we gathered some Debian folks and a random Fedora dude and prepared a short intro to Debian. The rest of the day the highlights were the intro, video greetings and the fonts, YaCy and HTML5 talks. The next day the Debian MiniConf began with Arne Goetje and everyone trying to get Debian Live LXDE USB keys booted on as many machines in the classroom as possible (many didn't boot). Once people started showing up we kicked off with Thomas Goirand's introduction to the breadth of Debian. Others talked about Debian pure blends, Gnuk and building community and packages. The second last session was about showing the Vietnamese folks in the room how to do l10n and translation since Debian had only one Vietnamese translator (Clytie Siddall). After manually switching keyboard layouts (seems LXDE doesn't have a GUI for that) on the English LXDE installs, the two Cambodian folks were able to do some Khmer translation too. This was a great session and it resulted in two extra Vietnamese translators joining Debian. It went over time so I didn't end up doing my presentation about package reviewing. We rushed off to a university where the random Fedora ch^Wambassador was hosting a Fedora 14 release party in a huge packed classroom. There were a lot of excited faces, interesting and advanced questions and it was in general a success. Afterwards we had some food, joined up with some other speakers and ended up in a bar in the gross tourist zone. On the final day we hung around in the Debian room, went downstairs for the group photo and final goodbyes. Later we found a place with baked goods, coffee and juices and navigated the crazy traffic to a nice local restaurant. The next morning Arne & I went to the airport, others went on a Mekong Delta tour and Jonas hung out with the organisers. I took less photos than at other events but got a few interesting ones.

I avoided doing a lot of FLOSS stuff over the last year, I hope to work on some things in the coming months;

  • revive various (semi-)abandoned upstream projects
  • do some more work on the Debian wiki
  • contribute to RC bug squashing efforts
  • push the VoIP company patches upstream
  • contribute to debexpo/debshots/lintian/qa
  • contribute to the Debian multimedia/FSO teams
  • promote/organise/rejuvenate the Debian games team
  • announce the Debian derivatives census more widely
  • finish writing a SANE driver for my scanner
  • finish the removal of defoma from Debian
  • watch some videos from LCA and DebConf

I'm also planning some interesting travel and acquiring some new technological goods, more on those in some later posts.

Syndicated 2011-01-07 10:29:19 from Advogato

Another decade, another ...

  • GPG key, better late than never :) Thanks to go to ana for her howto.
  • linux.conf.au, I hear awesome folks are going to be there!
  • battery, sucks to be at a conference with a crap laptop battery
  • regret, using and working on non-free software is driving me insane
  • hope, to meet Debian folks in Thailand again and eat Thai food
  • want, to escape the internets for the sea and local wilderness
  • wish, that there was more time in a decade, year and day

Thanks to all the Debian, FLOSS and Indymedia folks out there, you've made the last decade much more enjoyable.

Syndicated 2010-01-13 15:04:09 from Advogato

Adobe CMap and AGLFN data now free software!

In March 2009 I contacted Adobe about the self-contradictory nature of the license for the Adobe Glyph List For New Fonts (AGLFN) data. I did so because one of the upstreams I am involved in (fonttools) embeds a copy of aglfn.txt and I noticed the license was a bit strange. An Adobe employee by the name of David Lemon replied to say that the license would become less free than it was. I then asked him to consider using a free software license for both the Adobe CMap and AGLFN data. We discussed the benefits and drawbacks of doing this for both Adobe and the free software community. David was initially skeptical about the balance between benefits and drawbacks for Adobe and I was feeling pessimistic about the situation. The conversation ended and several months passed, with me sending the occasional ping and David being busy. Then in June he told me a new license was coming in a month. So I sent another ping on September 20th to find out what the status of that was. A couple of days later I received a mail saying that the Adobe CMap data has now been released under the BSD license and that the Adobe AGLFN data will soon follow! Please note that while this means that modifications are technically allowed, they are still strongly discouraged for compatibility reasons. Adobe has assigned an emailable maintainer (currently Ken Lunde) for these files so there is no reason that modifications should not be done upstream. You can also edit the wiki to document things or post in the forum. If you happen to meet David, Ken or Dave McAllister (who manages the Open@Adobe program) somewhere, please thank them and offer beverages.

So, what does this mean for free software projects? Debian CJK users will be able to read many more PDFs with CJK characters without using any non-free packages once the new CMap files reach main. I will need to package the new AGLFN data for Debian. I will need to remove the embedded AGLFN from fonttools upstream and adapt it to use the packaged one if available or suggest the user download it if not. GNU Classpath and the other software projects using AGLFN data might like to do the same. I may consider writing a library for loading the AGLFN data, mainly as an exercise in learning how to write a good library though.

Oh, and perhaps I can convince 武藤 健志 (Kenshi MUTO) my minimal level of involvement in this is worth a beer if I ever meet him :D

Syndicated 2009-09-24 02:36:06 from Advogato

Delving into personal software freedom

Over on Planet Ubuntu there is a VRMS meme winding down. Usually I tend to think web log aggregator memes are an abomination, however, this one is a little more interesting, especially if Debian folk pick it up. It seems like many Planet Ubuntu posters require some non-free stuff, examples include; graphics and other drivers/firmware, Flash (Gnash/Swfdec aren't there yet), Sun Java (despite OpenJDK), RAR 3.0 archives, LHZ archives (despite jlha), Microsoft fonts (despite ttf-liberation), icon themes, ICC profiles, mind mapping, support for codec DLLs from Windows, VirtualBox drivers for Windows, the Opera web browser, games and other things. For Debian users, the popcon information pretty much confirms the above issues. Some other stuff Debian users use that isn't in Debian include; patented codecs, skype, acroread, the non-free version of VirtualBox and more.

Next, lets get in on the getting your meme on part. On my Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop I have following Debian non-free/contrib stuff installed; firmware-iwlwifi, gcc-doc, gcc-doc-base, gcc-4.3-doc, autoconf-doc, gdb-doc, make-doc. On my OpenMoko FreeRunner phone I have nothing installed from Debian non-free/contrib. My wireless router and ADSL modem don't run Debian. The wireless router is a MIPS-based Netgear WGR614L (that is marketed as supporting DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato) so I could conceivably install OpenWRT etc or Debian on it, but I haven't gotten around to that yet. The ADSL modem is a MIPS-based Siemens SpeedStream 4200, but it looks like that would require a significant amount of effort to get running FLOSS.

Lets ponder my laptop freeness a bit more. The docs are all FSF-free, but not DFSG-free. It appears they are not DFSG-free because the FSF will not allow 28 words of FSF/GNU advertising to be removed (I'm not sure if Debian or the FSF is more pedantic). I'm not aware of any DFSG-free alternatives to them and I don't particularly care about the restrictions. My wireless card is an Intel 3945ABG mini PCI card that requires the kernel to upload the iwlwifi firmware before it works. Intel refuse to release firmware source code under a free license, citing FCC requirements. I'm not aware of any free firmware (or firmware reverse engineering efforts) for this device so the only alternative is to use wired Ethernet or buy another wireless card. Ethernet wires everywhere would be very inconvenient, so I've been thinking about trying to replace the card or laptop as soon as I am able. Since Atheros has released GPLv2 firmware for its AR9170 802.11n USB chipset I'll probably get something released by Atheros. I wonder why the FCC didn't prevent Atheros from releasing modifiable firmware, perhaps Intel will change their position too. So, what other software is on my laptop apart from Debian? Lets see, nothing on the HD apart from GRUB 2, /boot containing a Linux image/initrd from Debian and the LUKS partition containing swap and the Debian ext3 rootfs. Coreboot laptop support seems to be in the very early stages so I have no alternative to the supplied Dell BIOS at the moment. There is also the CPU microcode and other firmware installed in the various devices on the system, at least the HD, Ethernet, Bluetooth, GPU, DVD drive etc. have some kind of firmware in them. Some of this firmware is updatable using software from the Dell Linux repositories.

Lets ponder my phone freeness a bit more. On it I have two copies of the u-boot bootloader (one in the protected NOR flash), u-boot is free. The NAND flash has an old Qt Extended Improved (QTEI) install that I need to copy stuff off and wipe. I also have a 4GB microSD card containing QTEI, Debian, FDOM and SHR. Now that QtMoko has brought QTEI to Debian packages I can probably ditch the QTEI install. I read that OM2009 is being merged into SHR so I can get rid of FDOM. That leaves SHR and Debian/QtMoko (nothing non-free). IIRC SHR does contain some firmware for devices that the OpenMoko FreeRunner doesn't contain, but that will get removed as Linux upstream moves more and more of that into linux-firmware.git. Nothing more on the main flash or microSD storage, so what else? The OpenMoko contains lots of hardware, but the main problematic devices here are the AR6000 Wi-Fi chip and the TI Calypso GSM device. The AR6000 is an issue because the firmware embedded in the chip is non-free and FullMAC so it is hard to add new features like AP mode or improve the connection quality/etc. In addition the firmware currently on the device is a development version of a 2.0 version (1.x was apparently broken) and further development does not seem to be happening yet. Since Atheros GPLed the AR9170 firmware I idly wonder if they could be convinced to release the source and GPL the AR6000 firmware. Perhaps a life-size gold statue of RMS would help there. The GSM device is problematic because of various bugs in the firmware. It apparently is an ARM chip with Nucleos, so perhaps uCLinux or something could be ported to it or written for it. There has been at least one discussion about hacking the GSM firmware (thar be dragons). Searching for some keywords extracted from the end of the first mail in that thread lead to some interesting results indeed.

Lets ponder my network freeness a bit more. I should allocate some time to investigate putting Debian on my wireless router and ADSL modem. These generally just work except the ADSL modem reboots itself a lot during the summer. The just-works status of these devices means that messing with them is problematic in case I brick them (luckily I have a spare for the ADSL modem though). I presume OpenWRT and similar have replacements for all the software on my wireless router, drivers may be an issue though. I use gmail for reading email lists, mainly because of intertia, cheapness and because the interface has no GUI FLOSS peers yet (sup-mail exists for console use). TangoGPS, OpenStreetMap and other tools are slowly replacing my use of Google Maps, although I imagine routing will remain an issue for many years yet. One of the tech groups I'm involved in uses Plesk as a hosting control panel, mainly out of intertia, I'm not familiar with any FLOSS replacement though. Some of the upstream FLOSS projects I'm involved with use sourceforge as a hosting platform. There is a certain level of lock-in with SF.net, most of the data is easily exportable though.

Lets ponder my software freeness in comparison to Planet Ubuntu posters. I have no freeness issues with drivers at the moment, however firmware seems likely to have freeness issues for a long time to come. I've avoided the need for the Adobe Flash Player by using swfdec and clive for downloading videos for some sites. swfdec works OK for some sites, some that I care about where it doesn't work and clive cannot download video include Vimeo, abc.net.au and sbs.com.au. For Vimeo you can download raw video if you have a login, but I do not, bugmenot is unreliable and Vimeo doesn't seem to be accepting new registrations. SBS I watch on television and ABC I get no reception so I just don't watch it. Java isn't an issue now that OpenJDK exists. I sometimes need to extract RAR 3.0 archives, which I do by copying the files to a friend's Windows machine or using a RAR extractor website. There is no free implementation of a RAR 3.0 extractor yet. I seem to remember that there is source code for a non-free extractor so presumably a clean-room documentation and reimplementation effort could fix this. I don't encounter LHZ files, but jlha-utils is available for if I do. I feel no need to install Microsoft fonts since the Liberation fonts and DejaVu meet my general font needs and Debian contains fonts covering all the scripts of Unicode (except for about half the huge amount of Han characters). In my music collection, only the Voxware audio codec and DigiTrakker MDL files are not supported by Rhythmbox, but I don't really miss those few tracks. I rarely have audio/video codec issues with video from the Internet. I don't have a use for Opera. Thanks in part to the efforts of the Debian games team, games from Debian main (such as warzone2100) satisfy my gaming needs. I just don't use Skype.

Overall, I'm generally happy with my level of software freedom. My main strategy for preventing regressions in my software freedom is to just avoid doing things that require non-free software. The most problematic FLOSS issues for me are Flash support (adoption of the HTML5 video tag will resolve this for me), RAR 3.0 support and firmware. Please feel free to contact me with any comments or questions.

Happy Software Freedom Day everyone!

Syndicated 2009-09-19 06:01:31 from Advogato

Importing GeoRSS feeds into TangoGPS

DebConf9 is getting closer so I was browsing the Internet and the DebConf9 wiki for information. When I'm travelling I enjoy having maps to be able to get around and not get lost. For DebConf8 I relied on TangogGPS with OpenStreetMap on my OpenMoko Freerunner since my laptop is fairly cumbersome and has relatively little battery life these days. For DebConf9 I'll probably do the same since navit doesn't seem too reliable for me yet. During my information gathering for DebConf9 I came across the DebConf9 map overlay and the Madrid free Wi-Fi map. I wanted to have these available in TangoGPS so I wrote a short python script to import them into the TangoGPS POI (points of interest) database. It requires the feedparser and beautifulsoup python modules. First download the GeoRSS feeds you are interested in and then run the script on the machines where you want to use TangoGPS with the filenames as arguments. It only handles points, not lines or polygons since TangoGPS doesn't allow that. Hopefully it will be included in TangoGPS upstream or the Debian TangoGPS package soon. If you want to update the feed you'll need to manually delete the relevant points from the database or remove and recreate the database and then import the feed(s) again.

Syndicated 2009-05-28 07:27:45 from Advogato

21 Apr 2009 (updated 24 May 2009 at 07:48 UTC) »

Going to DebConf!

I'm going to DebConf9!

I caught the end of a sale for international flights :D

Perth -> Dubai -> London Gatwick -> Madrid -> Cáceres.

Might be stopping in to see family in the UK and or other folks in Germany.

If any folks in London near Gatwick feel like lending a couch to a Debian developer on July 13th, please contact me.

Definitely looking forward to the debexpo hacking and deployment session, having fun with Debian games folks and seeing Debian folks again.

Syndicated 2009-04-21 07:27:45 (Updated 2009-04-21 08:08:47) from pabs

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