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Michal Čihař: wlc 0.3

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 18:00

wlc 0.3, a command line utility for Weblate, has been just released. This is probably first release which is worth using so it's probably also worth of bigger announcement.

It is built on API introduced in Weblate 2.6 and still being in development. Several commands from wlc will not work properly if executed against Weblate 2.6, first fully supported version will be 2.7 (current git is okay as well, it is now running on both demo and hosting servers).

How to use it? First you will probably want to store the credentials, so that your requests are authenticated (you can do unauthenticated requests as well, but obviously only read only and on public objects), so lets create ~/.config/weblate:

[weblate] url = [keys] = APIKEY

Now you can do basic commands:

$ wlc show weblate/master/cs ... last_author: Michal Čihař last_change: 2016-05-13T15:59:25 revision: 62f038bb0bfe360494fb8dee30fd9d34133a8663 share_url: total: 1361 total_words: 6144 translate_url: translated: 1361 translated_percent: 100.0 translated_words: 6144 url: web_url:

You can find more examples in wlc documentation.

Filed under: Debian English phpMyAdmin SUSE Weblate | 0 comments

Categories: Elsewhere

Petter Reinholdtsen: I want the courts to be involved before the police can hijack a news site DNS domain (#domstolkontroll)

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 14:00

I just donated to the NUUG defence "fond" to fund the effort in Norway to get the seizure of the news site tested in court. I hope everyone that agree with me will do the same.

Would you be worried if you knew the police in your country could hijack DNS domains of news sites covering free software system without talking to a judge first? I am. What if the free software system combined search engine lookups, bittorrent downloads and video playout and was called Popcorn Time? Would that affect your view? It still make me worried.

In March 2016, the Norwegian police seized (as in forced NORID to change the IP address pointed to by it to one controlled by the police) the DNS domain, without any supervision from the courts. I did not know about the web site back then, and assumed the courts had been involved, and was very surprised when I discovered that the police had hijacked the DNS domain without asking a judge for permission first. I was even more surprised when I had a look at the web site content on the Internet Archive, and only found news coverage about Popcorn Time, not any material published without the right holders permissions.

The seizure was widely covered in the Norwegian press (see for example Hegnar Online and ITavisen and NRK), at first due to the press release sent out by Økokrim, but then based on protests from the law professor Olav Torvund and lawyer Jon Wessel-Aas. It even got some coverage on TorrentFreak.

I wrote about the case a month ago, when the Norwegian Unix User Group (NUUG), where I am an active member, decided to ask the courts to test this seizure. The request was denied, but NUUG and its co-requestor EFN have not given up, and now they are rallying for support to get the seizure legally challenged. They accept both bank and Bitcoin transfer for those that want to support the request.

If you as me believe news sites about free software should not be censored, even if the free software have both legal and illegal applications, and that DNS hijacking should be tested by the courts, I suggest you show your support by donating to NUUG.

Categories: Elsewhere

Stig Sandbeck Mathisen: Puppet 4 uploaded to Debian experimental

Thu, 19/05/2016 - 00:00

I’ve uploaded puppet 4.4.2-1 to Debian experimental.

Please test with caution, and expect sharp corners. This is a new major version of Puppet in Debian, with many new features and potentially breaking changes, as well as a big rewrite of the .deb packaging. Bug reports for src:puppet are very welcome.

As previously described in #798636, the new package names are:

  • puppet (all the software)

  • puppet-agent (package containing just the init script and systemd unit for the puppet agent)

  • puppet-master (init script and systemd unit for starting a single master)

  • puppet-master-passenger (This package depends on apache2 and libapache2-mod-passenger, and configures a puppet master scaled for more than a handful of puppet agents)

Lots of hugs to the authors, keepers and maintainers of autopkgtest, debci, piuparts and ruby-serverspec for their software. They helped me figure out when I had reached “good enough for experimental”.

Some notes:

  • To use exported resources with puppet 4, you need a puppetdb installation and a relevant puppetdb-terminus package on your puppet master. This is not available in Debian, but is available from Puppet’s repositories.

  • Syntax highlighting for Emacs and Vim are no longer built from the puppet package. Standalone packages will be made.

  • The packaged puppet modules need an overhaul of their dependencies to install alongside this version of puppet. Testing would probably also be great to see if they actually work.

I sincerely hope someone finds this useful. :)

Categories: Elsewhere

Jonathan McDowell: First steps with the ATtiny45

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 23:25

These days the phrase “embedded” usually means no console (except, if you’re lucky, console on a UART for debugging) and probably busybox for as much of userspace as you can get away with. You possibly have package management from OpenEmbedded or similar, though it might just be a horrible kludged together rootfs if someone hates you. Either way it’s rare for it not to involve some sort of hardware and OS much more advanced than the 8 bit machines I started out programming on.

That is, unless you’re playing with Arduinos or other similar hardware. I’m currently waiting on some ESP8266 dev boards to arrive, but even they’re quite advanced, with wifi and a basic OS framework provided. A long time ago I meant to get around to playing with PICs but never managed to do so. What I realised recently was that I have a ready made USB relay board that is powered by an ATtiny45. First step was to figure out if there were suitable programming pins available, which turned out to be all brought out conveniently to the edge of the board. Next I got out my trusty Bus Pirate, installed avrdude and lo and behold:

$ avrdude -p attiny45 -c buspirate -P /dev/ttyUSB0 Attempting to initiate BusPirate binary mode... avrdude: Paged flash write enabled. avrdude: AVR device initialized and ready to accept instructions Reading | ################################################## | 100% 0.01s avrdude: Device signature = 0x1e9206 (probably t45) avrdude: safemode: Fuses OK (E:FF, H:DD, L:E1) avrdude done. Thank you.

Perfect. I then read the existing flash image off the device, disassembled it, worked out it was based on V-USB and then proceeded to work out that the only interesting extra bit was that the relay was hanging off pin 3 on IO port B. Which led to me knocking up what I thought should be a functionally equivalent version of the firmware, available locally or on GitHub. It’s worked with my basic testing so far and has confirmed to me I understand how the board is set up, meaning I can start to think about what else I could do with it…

Categories: Elsewhere

Andy Simpkins: OpenTAC sprint, Cambridge

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 23:00

Last weekend saw a small group get togeather in Cambridge to hack on the OpenTAC.  OpenTAC is an OpenHardware OpenSoftware test platform, designed specificly to aid automated testing and continious intergration.

Aimed at small / mobile / embedded targets OpenTAC v1 provides all of the  support infrastructure to drive up to 8 DUTs (Device Under Test) to your test or CI system.
Each of the 8 EUT ports provides:

  • A serial port (either RS232 levels on an DB9 socket, or 3V3 TTL on a molex kk plug)
  • USB Power (up-to 2A with a software defined fuse, and alarm limits)
  • USB data interconnect
  • Ethernet

All ports on the EUT interface are relay issolated, this means that cables to your EUT can be ‘unplugged’ under software control (we are aware of several SoC development boards that latch up if there is a serial port connected before power is applied).

Additionly there are 8 GPIO lines that can be used as switch controls to any EUT (perhaps to put a specific EUT into a programming mode, reboot it or even start it)


Anyway, back to the hacking weekend. ..


Joining Steve McIntyre and myself were Mark Brown, and Michael Grzeschik  (sorry Michael, I couldn’t find a homepage).  Mark traveled down from Scotland whilst Michael flew in from Germany for the weekend.  Gents we greatly apprecate you taking the time and expence to join us this weekend.  I should also thank my employer Toby Churchill Ltd. for allowing us to use the office to host the event.

A lot of work got done, and I beleive we have now fully tested and debugged the hardware.  We have also made great progress with the device tree and dvice drivers for the platform.  Mark got the EUT power system working as proof of concept, and has taken an OpenTAC board back with him to turn this into suitable drivers and hopfully push them up stream.  Meanwhile Michael spent his time working on the system portion of the device tree; OpenTAC’s internal power sequancing, thermal managment subsystem, and USB hub control.  Steve  got to grips with the USB serial converters (including how to read and program their internal non-volatile settings).  Finally I was able to explain hardware sequancing to everyone, and to modify boards to overcome some of my design mistakes (the biggest was by far the missing sence resistors for the EUT power managment)



Categories: Elsewhere

Steve Kemp: Accidental data-store ..

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 20:49

A few months back I was looking over a lot of different object-storage systems, giving them mini-reviews, and trying them out in turn.

While many were overly complex, some were simple. Simplicity is always appealing, providing it works.

My review of camlistore was generally positive, because I like the design. Unfortunately it also highlighted a lack of documentation about how to use it to scale, replicate, and rebalance.

How hard could it be to write something similar, but also paying attention to keep it as simple as possible? Well perhaps it was too easy.


First of all we write a blob-storage system. We allow three operations to be carried out:

  • Retrieve a chunk of data, given an ID.
  • Store the given chunk of data, with the specified ID.
  • Return a list of all known IDs.


API Server

We write a second server that consumers actually use, though it is implemented in terms of the blob-storage server listed previously.

The public API is trivial:

  • Upload a new file, returning the ID which it was stored under.
  • Retrieve a previous upload, by ID.


Replication Support

The previous two services are sufficient to write an object storage system, but they don't necessarily provide replication. You could add immediate replication; an upload of a file could involve writing that data to N blob-servers, but in a perfect world servers don't crash, so why not replicate in the background? You save time if you only save uploaded-content to one blob-server.

Replication can be implemented purely in terms of the blob-servers:

  • For each blob server, get the list of objects stored on it.
  • Look for that object on each of the other servers. If it is found on N of them we're good.
  • If there are fewer copies than we like, then download the data, and upload to another server.
  • Repeat until each object is stored on sufficient number of blob-servers.


My code is reliable, the implementation is almost painfully simple, and the only difference in my design is that rather than having an API-server which allows both "uploads" and "downloads" I split it into two - that means you can leave your "download" server open to the world, so that it can be useful, and your upload-server can be firewalled to only allow a few hosts to access it.

The code is perl-based, because Perl is good, and available here on github:

TODO: Rewrite the thing in #golang to be cool.

Categories: Elsewhere

Bits from Debian: Imagination accelerates Debian development for 64-bit MIPS CPUs

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 09:30

Imagination Technologies recently donated several high-performance SDNA-7130 appliances to the Debian Project for the development and maintenance of the MIPS ports.

The SDNA-7130 (Software Defined Network Appliance) platforms are developed by Rhino Labs, a leading provider of high-performance data security, networking, and data infrastructure solutions.

With these new devices, the Debian project will have access to a wide range of 32- and 64-bit MIPS-based platforms.

Debian MIPS ports are also possible thanks to donations from the aql hosting service provider, the Eaton remote controlled ePDU, and many other individual members of the Debian community.

The Debian project would like to thank Imagination, Rhino Labs and aql for this coordinated donation.

More details about GNU/Linux for MIPS CPUs can be found in the related press release at Imagination and their community site about MIPS.

Categories: Elsewhere

Reproducible builds folks: Reproducible builds: week 55 in Stretch cycle

Wed, 18/05/2016 - 01:09

What happened in the Reproducible Builds effort between May 8th and May 14th 2016:

Documentation updates Toolchain fixes
  • dpkg 1.18.7 has been uploaded to unstable, after which Mattia Rizzolo took care of rebasing our patched version.
  • gcc-5 and gcc-6 migrated to testing with the patch to honour SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH
  • Ximin Luo started an upstream discussion with the Ghostscript developers.
  • Norbert Preining has uploaded a new version of texlive-bin with these changes relevant to us:
    • imported Upstream version 2016.20160512.41045 support for suppressing timestamps (SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH) (Closes: #792202)
    • add support for SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH also to luatex
  • cdbs 0.4.131 has been uploaded to unstable by Jonas Smedegaard, fixing these issues relevant to us:
    • #794241: export SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH. Original patch by akira
    • #764478: call dh_strip_nondeterminism if available. Original patch by Holger Levsen
  • libxslt 1.1.28-3 has been uploaded to unstable by Mattia Rizzolo, fixing the following toolchain issues:
    • #823857: backport patch from upstream to provide stable IDs in the genrated documents.
    • #791815: Honour SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH when embedding timestamps in docs. Patch by Eduard Sanou.
Packages fixed

The following 28 packages have become newly reproducible due to changes in their build dependencies: actor-framework ask asterisk-prompt-fr-armelle asterisk-prompt-fr-proformatique coccinelle cwebx d-itg device-tree-compiler flann fortunes-es idlastro jabref konclude latexdiff libint minlog modplugtools mummer mwrap mxallowd mysql-mmm ocaml-atd ocamlviz postbooks pycorrfit pyscanfcs python-pcs weka

The following 9 packages had older versions which were reproducible, and their latest versions are now reproducible again due to changes in their build dependencies: csync2 dune-common dune-localfunctions libcommons-jxpath-java libcommons-logging-java libstax-java libyanfs-java python-daemon yacas

The following packages have become newly reproducible after being fixed:

The following packages had older versions which were reproducible, and their latest versions are now reproducible again after being fixed:

  • klibc/2.0.4-9 by Ben Hutchings.

Some uploads have fixed some reproducibility issues, but not all of them:

Patches submitted that have not made their way to the archive yet:

  • #787424 against emacs24 by Alexis Bienvenüe: order hashes when generating .el files
  • #823764 against sen by Daniel Shahaf: render the build timestamp in a consistent timezone
  • #823797 against openclonk by Alexis Bienvenüe: honour SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH
  • #823961 against herbstluftwm by Fabian Wolff: honour SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH
  • #824049 against emacs24 by Alexis Bienvenüe: make start value of gensym-counter reproducible
  • #824050 against emacs24 by Alexis Bienvenüe: make autoloads files reproducible
  • #824182 against codeblocks by Fabian Wolff: honour SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH
  • #824263 against cmake by Reiner Herrmann: sort file lists from file(GLOB ...)
Package reviews

344 reviews have been added, 125 have been updated and 20 have been removed in this week.

14 FTBFS bugs have been reported by Chris Lamb. Misc.

Dan Kegel sent a mail to report about his experiments with a reproducible dpkg PPA for Ubuntu. According to him sudo add-apt-repository ppa:dank/dpkg && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install dpkg should be enough to get reproducible builds on Ubuntu 16.04.

This week's edition was written by Ximin Luo and Holger Levsen and reviewed by a bunch of Reproducible builds folks on IRC.

Categories: Elsewhere

Mehdi Dogguy: Newmaint — Call for help

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 23:49
The process leading to acceptation of new Debian Maintainers is mainly administrative today and is handled by the Newmaint team. In order to simplify this process further, the team wants to integrate their workflow into's interface so that prospective maintainers can send their application online and the Newmaint team review it from within the website.

We need your help to implement the missing pieces into It is written in Python and using Django. If you have some experience with that, you should definitely join the newmaint-site mailing list and ask for the details. Enrico or someone else in the list will do their best to share their vision and explain the needed work in order to get this properly implemented!

It doesn't matter if you're already a Debian Developer to be able to contribute to this project. Anyone can step up and help!
Categories: Elsewhere

Sean Whitton: seoulviasfo

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 21:54

I spent last night in San Francisco on my way from Tucson to Seoul. This morning as I headed to the airport, I caught the end of a shouted conversation between a down-and-out and a couple of middle school-aged girls, who ran away back to the Asian Art museum as the conversation ended. A security guard told the man that he needed him to go away. The wealth divide so visible here just isn’t something you really see around Tucson.

I’m working on a new module for Propellor that’s complicated enough that I need to think carefully about the Haskell in order to write produce a flexible and maintainable module. I’ve only been doing an hour or so of work on it per day, but the past few days I wake up each day with an idea for restructuring yesterday’s code. These ideas aren’t anything new to me: I think I’m just dredging up the understanding of Haskell I developed last year when I was studying it more actively. Hopefully this summer I can learn some new things about Haskell.

Riding on the “Bay Area Rapid Transit” (BART) feels like stepping back in time to the years of Microsoft’s ascendency, before we had a tech world dominated by Google and Facebook: the platform announcements are in a computerised voice that sounds like it was developed in the nineties. They’ll eventually replace the old trains—apparently some new ones are coming in 2017—so I feel privileged to have been able to ride the older ones. I feel the same about the Tube in London.

I really appreciate old but supremely reliable and effective public transport. It reminds me of the Debian toolchain: a bit creaky, but maintained over a sufficiently long period that it serves everyone a lot better than newer offerings, which tend to be produced with ulterior corporate motives.

Categories: Elsewhere

Mark Brown: OpenTAC sprint

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 17:11

This weekend Toby Churchill kindly hosted a hacking weekend for OpenTAC – myself, Michael Grzeschik, Steve McIntyre and Andy Simpkins got together to bring up the remaining bits of the hardware on the current board revision and get some of the low level tooling like production flashing for the FTDI serial ports on the board up and running. It was a very productive weekend, we verified that everything was working with only few small mods needed for the board . Personally the main thing I worked on was getting most of an initial driver for the EMC1701 written. That was the one component without Linux support and allowed us to verify that the power switching and measurement for the systems under test was working well.

There’s still at least one more board revision and quite a bit of software work to do (I’m hoping to get the EMC1701 upstream for v4.8) but it was great to finally see all the physical components of the system working well and see it managing a system under test, this board revision should support all the software development that’s going to be needed for the final board.

Thanks to all who attended, Pengutronix for sponsoring Michael’s attendance and Toby Churchill for hosting!

Categories: Elsewhere

Mike Gabriel: NXv3 Rebase: Build nxagent against 7.0

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 16:27

As already hinted in my previous blog post, here comes a short howto that explains how to test-build nxagent (v3) against a modularized 7.0 source tree.

WARNING: Please note that mixing NX code and code partially turns the original code base into GPL-2 code. We are aware of this situation and work on moving all NXv3 related GPL-2 code into the nxagent DDX code (xserver-xorg/hw/nxagent) or--if possible--dropping it completely. The result shall be a range of patches against (licensable under the same license as the respective files) and a GPL-2 licensed DDX (i.e. nxagent).

How to build this project For the Brave and Playful $ git clone . $ bash sources.lst $ ./

You can find the built tree in the _install/ sub-directory.

Please note that cloning Git repositories over the https protocol can be considerably slow. If you want to speed things up, consider signing up with our GitLab server.

For Developers...

... who have registered with our GitLab server.

$ git clone . $ bash sources-devs.lst $ ./

You will find the built tree in the _install/ sub-directory.

The related git repositories are in the repos/ sub-directory. All repos modified for NX have been cloned from the Arctica Project's GitLab server via SSH. Thus, you as a developer can commit changes on those repos and push back your changes to the GitLab server.

Required tools for building Debian/Ubuntu and alike
  • build-essential
  • automake
  • gawk
  • git
  • pkg-config
  • libtool
  • libz-dev
  • libjpeg-dev
  • libpng-dev

In a one-liner command:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential automake gawk git pkg-config libtool libz-dev libjpeg-dev libpng-dev Fedora

If someone tries this out in a clean Fedora chroot environment, please let us know about build dependent packages.


If someone tries this out in a clean openSUSE chroot environment, please let us know about build dependent packages.

Testing the built nxagent and nxproxy

The tests/ subdir contains some scripts which can be used to test the compile results.

  • run-nxagent runs an nxagent and starts an nxproxy connection to it (do this as normal non-root user):
    $ tests/run-nxagent $ export DISPLAY=:9 # launch e.g. MATE desktop environment on Debian, adapt session type and Xsession startup to your system / distribution $ STARTUP=mate-session /etc/X11/Xsession
  • run-nxproxy2nxproxy-test connects to nxproxys using the nx compression protocol: $ tests/run-nxproxy2nxproxy-test $ export DISPLAY=:8 # launch e.g. xterm and launch other apps from within that xterm process $ xterm &
  • more to come...
Notes on required changes (NX_MODIFICATIONS)

For this build workflow to work, we (i.e. mostly Ulrich Sibiller) had to work several NoMachine patches into original 7.0 code. Here is a list of modified X11 components with URLs pointing to the branch containing those changes:

xkbdata xorg/data/xkbdata rebasenx 1.0.1 libfontenc xorg/lib/libfontenc rebasenx 1.0.1 libSM xorg/lib/libSM rebasenx 1.0.0 libX11 xorg/lib/libX11 rebasenx 1.0.0 libXau xorg/lib/libXau rebasenx 1.0.0 libXfont xorg/lib/libXfont rebasenx 1.3.1 libXrender xorg/lib/libXrender rebasenx xtrans xorg/lib/libxtrans rebasenx 1.0.0 kbproto xorg/proto/kbproto rebasenx 1.0.2 xproto xorg/proto/xproto rebasenx 7.0.4 xorg-server xorg/xserver rebasenx 1.0.1 mesa mesa/mesa rebasenx 6.4.1 Credits

Nearly all of this has been achieved by Ulrich Sibiller. Thanks a lot for giving your time and energy to that. As the rebasing of NXv3 is currently a funded project supported by the Qindel Group, we are currently negotiating ways of monetarily appreciating Ulrich's intensive work on this. Thanks a lot, once more!!!


If anyone of you feels like trying out the test build as described above, please consider signing up with the Arctica Project's GitLab server and reporting your issues there directly (against the repository nx-X11-rebase/build). Alternatively, feel free to contact us on IRC (Freenode): #arctica or subscribe to our developers' mailing list. Thank you.

Mike Gabriel

Categories: Elsewhere

Raphaël Hertzog: Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, April 2016

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 15:57

Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

Individual reports

In April, 116.75 work hours have been dispatched among 9 paid contributors. Their reports are available:

  • Antoine Beaupré did 16h.
  • Ben Hutchings did 12.25 hours (out of 15 hours allocated + 5.50 extra hours remaining, he returned the remaining 8.25h to the pool).
  • Brian May did 10 hours.
  • Chris Lamb did nothing (instead of the 16 hours he was allocated, his hours have been redispatched to other contributors over May).
  • Guido Günther did 2 hours (out of 8 hours allocated + 3.25 remaining hours, leaving 9.25 extra hours for May).
  • Markus Koschany did 16 hours.
  • Santiago Ruano Rincón did 7.50 hours (out of 12h allocated + 3.50 remaining, thus keeping 8 extra hours for May).
  • Scott Kitterman posted a report for 6 hours made in March but did nothing in April. His 18 remaining hours have been returned to the pool. He decided to stop doing LTS work for now.
  • Thorsten Alteholz did 15.75 hours.

Many contributors did not use all their allocated hours. This is partly explained by the fact that in April Wheezy was still under the responsibility of the security team and they were not able to drive updates from start to finish.

In any case, this means that they have more hours available over May and since the LTS period started, they should hopefully be able to make a good dent in the backlog of security updates.

Evolution of the situation

The number of sponsored hours reached a new record with 132 hours per month, thanks to two new gold sponsors (Babiel GmbH and Plat’Home). Plat’Home’s sponsorship was aimed to help us maintain Debian 7 Wheezy on armel and armhf (on top of already supported amd64 and i386). Hopefully the trend will continue so that we can reach our objective of funding the equivalent of a full-time position.

The security tracker currently lists 45 packages with a known CVE and the dla-needed.txt file lists 44 packages awaiting an update.

This is a bit more than the 15-20 open entries that we used to have at the end of the Debian 6 LTS period.

Thanks to our sponsors

New sponsors are in bold.

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Categories: Elsewhere

Bits from Debian: New Debian Developers and Maintainers (March and April 2016)

Tue, 17/05/2016 - 00:10

The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

  • Sven Bartscher (kritzefitz)
  • Harlan Lieberman-Berg (hlieberman)


Categories: Elsewhere

Clint Adams: Canadian Automobile Association

Mon, 16/05/2016 - 22:18

bind9 in jessie does not support CAA records

Categories: Elsewhere

Steinar H. Gunderson: stretch on ODROID XU4

Mon, 16/05/2016 - 17:58

I recently acquired an ODROID XU4. Despite being 32-bit, it's currently at the upper end of cheap SoC-based devboards; it's based on Exynos 5422 (which sits in Samsung Galaxy S5), which means 2 GHz quadcore Cortex-A15 (plus four slower Cortex-A7, in a big.LITTLE configuration), 2 GB RAM, USB 3.0, gigabit Ethernet, a Mali-T628 GPU and eMMC/SD storage. (My one gripe about the hardware is that you can't put on the case lid while still getting access to the serial console.)

Now, since I didn't want it for HTPC or something similar (I wanted a server/router I could carry with me), I didn't care much about the included Ubuntu derivative with all sorts of Samsung modifications, so instead, I went on to see if I could run Debian on it. (Spoiler alert: You can't exactly just download debian-installer and run it.) It turns out there are lots of people who make Debian images, but they're still filled with custom stuff here and there.

In recent times, people have put down heroic efforts to make unified ARM kernels; servers et al can now enumerate hardware using ACPI, while SoCs (such as the XU4) have a “device tree” file (loaded by the bootloader) containing a functional description of what hardware exists and how it's hooked up. And lo and behold, the 4.5.0 “armmp” kernel from stretch boots and mostly works! Well… except for that there's no HDMI output. :-)

There are two goals I'd like to achieve by this exercise: First, it's usually much easier to upgrade things if they are close to mainline. (I wanted support for sch_fq, for instance, which isn't in 3.10, and the vendor kernel is 3.10.) Second, anything that doesn't work in Debian is suddenly exposed pretty harshly, and can be filed bugs for and fixed—which benefits not only XU4 users (if nothing else, because the custom distros have to carry less delta), but usually also other boards as most issues are of a somewhat more generic nature. Yet, the ideal seems to puzzle some of the more seasoned people in the ODROID user groups; I guess sometimes it's nice to come in as a naïve new user. :-)

So far, I've filed bugs or feature requests to the kernel (#823552, #824435), U-Boot (#824356), grub (#823955, #824399), and login (#824391)—and yes, that includes for the aforemented lack of HDMI output. Some of them are already fixed; with some luck, maybe the XU4 can be added next to the other Exynos5 board at the compatibility list for the armmp kernels at some point. :-)

You can get the image at Be sure to read the README and the linked ODROID forum post.

Categories: Elsewhere

Russ Allbery: Review: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

Mon, 16/05/2016 - 05:59

Review: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Series: Vorkosigan #15 Publisher: Baen Copyright: 2015 Printing: February 2016 ISBN: 1-4767-8122-2 Format: Kindle Pages: 352

This is very late in the Vorkosigan series, but it's also a return to a different protagonist and a change of gears to a very different type of story. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen has Cordelia as a viewpoint character for, I believe, the first time since Barrayar, very early in the series. But you would still want to read the intermediate Miles books before this one given the nature of the story Bujold is telling here. It's a very character-centric, very quiet story that depends on the history of all the Vorkosigan characters and the connection the reader has built up with them. I think you have to be heavily invested in this series already to get that much out of this book.

The protagonist shift has a mildly irritating effect: I've read the whole series, but I was still a bit adrift at times because of how long it's been since I read the books focused on Cordelia. I only barely remember the events of Shards of Honor and Barrayar, which lay most of the foundations of this story. Bujold does have the characters retell them a bit, enough to get vaguely oriented, but I'm pretty sure I missed some subtle details that I wouldn't have if the entire series were fresh in memory. (Oh for the free time to re-read all of the series I'd like to re-read.)

Unlike recent entries in this series, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen is not about politics, investigations, space (or ground) combat, war, or any of the other sources of drama that have shown up over the course series. It's not even about a wedding. The details (and sadly even the sub-genre) are all spoilers, both for this book and for the end of Cryoburn, so I can't go into many details. But I'm quite curious how the die-hard Baen fans would react to this book. It's a bit far afield from their interests.

Gentleman Jole is all about characters: about deciding what one wants to do with one's life, about families and how to navigate them, about boundaries and choices. Choices about what to communicate and what not to communicate, and, partly, about how to maintain sufficient boundaries against Miles to keep his manic energy from bulldozing into things that legitimately aren't any of his business. Since most of the rest of the series is about Miles poking into things that appear to not be his business and finding ways to fix things, it's an interesting shift. It also cast Cordelia in a new light for me: a combination of stability, self-assurance, and careful and thoughtful navigation around others' feelings. Not a lot happens in the traditional plot sense, so one's enjoyment of this book lives or dies on one's investment in the mundane life of the viewpoint characters. It worked for me.

There is also a substantial retcon or reveal about an aspect of Miles's family that hasn't previously been mentioned. (Which term you use depends on whether you think Bujold has had this in mind all along. My money is on reveal.) I suspect some will find this revelation jarring and difficult to believe, but it worked perfectly for me. It felt like exactly the sort of thing that would go unnoticed by the other characters, particularly Miles: something that falls neatly into his blind spots and assumptions, but reads much differently to Cordelia. In general, one of the joys of this book for me is seeing Miles a bit wrong-footed and maneuvered by someone who simply isn't willing to be pushed by him.

One of the questions the Vorkosigan series has been asking since the start is whether anyone can out-maneuver Miles. Ekaterin only arguably managed it, but Gentleman Jole makes it clear that Miles is no match for his mother on her home turf.

This is a quiet and slow book that doesn't feel much like the rest of the series, but it worked fairly well for me. It's not up in the ranks of my favorite books of this series, partly because the way it played out was largely predictable and I never quite warmed to Jole, but Cordelia is delightful and seeing Miles from an outside perspective is entertaining. An odd entry in the series, but still recommended.

Rating: 7 out of 10

Categories: Elsewhere

Bits from Debian: What does it mean that ZFS is included in Debian?

Sun, 15/05/2016 - 22:55

Petter Reinholdtsen recently blogged about ZFS availability in Debian. Many people have worked hard on getting ZFS support available in Debian and we would like to thank everyone involved in getting to this point and explain what ZFS in Debian means.

The landing of ZFS in the Debian archive was blocked for years due to licensing problems. Finally, the inclusion of ZFS was announced slightly more than a year ago, on April 2015 by the DPL at the time, Lucas Nussbaum who wrote "We received legal advice from Software Freedom Law Center about the inclusion of libdvdcss and ZFS in Debian, which should unblock the situation in both cases and enable us to ship them in Debian soon.". In January this year, the following DPL, Neil McGovern blogged with a lot of more details about the legal situation behind this and summarized it as "TLDR: It’s going in contrib, as a source only dkms module."

ZFS is not available exactly in Debian, since Debian is only what's included in the "main" section archive. What people really meant here is that ZFS code is now in included in "contrib" and it's available for users using DKMS.

Many people also mixed this with Ubuntu now including ZFS. However, Debian and Ubuntu are not doing the same, Ubuntu is shipping directly pre-built kernel modules, something that is considered to be a GPL violation. As the Software Freedom Conservancy wrote "while licensed under an acceptable license for Debian's Free Software Guidelines, also has a default use that can cause licensing problems for downstream Debian users".

Categories: Elsewhere

Sven Hoexter: Failing with F5: ASM default ruleset vs curl

Sun, 15/05/2016 - 13:16

Not sure what to say on days when the default ruleset of a "web application firewall" denies access for curl, and the circumvention is as complicated as:

alias curl-vs-asm="curl -A 'Mozilla'"

It starts to feel like wasting my lifetime when I see something like that. Otherwise I like my job (that's without irony!).

Update: Turns out it's even worse. They specifically block curl. Even

curl -A 'A' https://wherever-asm-is-used.example


Categories: Elsewhere

Jonathan Dowland: Announcement

Sun, 15/05/2016 - 04:11

It has become a bit traditional within Debian to announce these things in a geeky manner, so for now

# ed -p: /etc/exim4/virtual/ :a holly: :fail: reserved for future use . :wq 99

More soon!

Categories: Elsewhere