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Libraries, Liberty, and The Onion Router

Since Hypatia, and possibly before, libraries were not about just books, they are places where both learning and teaching occur. Back in July, the Kilton Public Library in New Hampshire became the first public library to openly enable an encryption tool called "The Onion Router", or "Tor".

Real Net Neutrality

The 'Net is made up of independent providers with private peering contracts between them. This is one of the details in the "debate" about "Net Neutrality" that tends to get lost.

TDE needs your help!

On Monday the equipment that cools the TDE build farm and servers was destroyed due to a combination of age and utility line problems. As a result, the build farm is offline and will remain offline until the cooling equipment can be funded and replaced.

Installing the Trinity Desktop Environment on Debian

A recent discussion on LXer concerning the greatness that was Kmail reminded me that I never did a good write-up on installing the KDE3 fork, Trinity-DE.

One of the more interesting aspects of this particular discussion is that I wasn't the one to bring up Trinity-DE. Usually, it's me who points out that the wondrous fantasticness that was KDE3 has not left the world, that Trinity-DE is alive and well.

So it's time for a screenshot tutorial on installing Trinity-DE.

Learning by doing: Compiling your own custom kernel for fun and profit

You know that Linux kernel thing, that has thousands of developers from all over the world, some of which do it professionally, most of which do it for the love of solving problems (or something)?

I look at it as a great chance for learning.

The Copyright Propaganda Machine Gets a New Agent: Your ISP

The copyright surveillance machine known as the Copyright Alert System (CAS) is finally launching. CAS is an agreement between Big Content and large Internet Service Providers to monitor peer to peer networks for copyright infringement and target subscribers who are alleged to infringe—via everything from from “educational” alerts to throttling Internet speeds.

Here we go again. TPP Incentivizes ISPs to Police the Internet.

  • Electronic Frontier Foundation; By Carolina Rossini and Kurt Opsahl (Posted by Bob_Robertson on Aug 28, 2012 11:42 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: News Story; Groups: Community
The draft chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement on Intellectual Property insists that signatories provide legal incentives for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to privately enforce copyright protection rules. The TPP wants service providers to undertake the financial and administrative burdens of becoming copyright cops, serving a copyright maximalist agenda while disregarding the consequences for Internet freedom and innovation.

New Hampshire mandates State use of Free and Open Source software and file formats

On May 11th, New Hampshire HB418, mandating that all State offices use Free and Open Source software and file formats takes effect, having been signed by the Governor on March 12th.

Go fsck yourself

  • Anarchy != Chaos; By Curt Howland (Posted by Bob_Robertson on Mar 12, 2012 5:21 PM EDT)
  • Story Type: Humor; Groups: Debian
I was able to boot using a Live CD, but several of the ones I have didn't work. Time to purge my "rescue disk" collection, download the latest Trinity Rescue and Knoppix, etc. The one that did work would not recognize that the HD even existed. So no fdisk, no mounting the partitions for backup, nothing. Doomed, I thought. Fried disk. Right.

Abandon Skype all ye who enter here

But this obvious need, to find people, is being met by scores of different efforts in scores of different ways. People Finders are popping up like crazy. Put a proper name in a Google search and see for yourself. At this point many are paid services, if the individual has not put themselves online deliberately, but one's SIP address is just as easy to list as any other address or phone number.

Microsoft devours Skype

Skype has been purchased by Microsoft, for $8.5 Billion. I have used Skype for years on Linux, even though Skype treated their Linux client as something like a red-headed step-child. Features like video chat were always included in the Linux client long after they were in the Windows version, bug fixes were slow, stuff like that. But, and here's the biggest thing: It worked.

I am now a Linux Kernel Developer

On Sunday, March 20th, I submitted a patch to the Linux Kernel Mailing List, to fix a compile problem that began when the "binutils" package, that handles programs written in assembly, was updated such that something that was never a problem before became a problem.

Bodhi Linux 0.1.7 and the Enlightenment Desktop

Bodhi has released 0.1.7, a further development release of the Bodhi Enlightenment desktop Linux distribution. As I've mentioned before, Bodhi is focusing on providing usability with a minimal footprint.

By using the Enlightenment graphics environment, Bodhi creates highly configurable, and aesthetically pleasing, visual effects without loading the system down with bloat.

As Bodhi is a tributary of Ubuntu, and so it's no surprise that Bodhi works as a liveCD and not just an install disk. As an old Debian hack myself, I'm so used to install disks doing nothing but installing that it's still a bit of a pleasant surprise.

The joys of multi-card reading

As mentioned at the bottom of my prior posting, because of a surprising number of errors being received when I tried to use my venerable external card reader, I had ordered an internal multi-card reader. Well, it arrived in good order, and now the front of my PC has one more blue LED than it had. I guess this is the way that streetlights have destroyed the night for so many of us, one bulb at a time.

Recovering from motherboard failures, and clean computing

When last we left the scene, one server was dead, the desktop dieing. However, ordering two new motherboards was successful. They arrived from Magic Micro quickly and in good order, and it was time to clean things up and make two working machines. First, a note on cleaning. I am sick (and tired) of computer hardware that cannot be cleaned. Laptops that require being sent back to the manufacturers in order to be cleaned, things like that. I remember one call to Circuit City for a Sony Vaio laptop I owned, where the person who answered the phone simply did not understand what I meant when I said the fan needed to be cleaned.

SSH, X11, and You

Recently I read an article where the author went through great pains to launch an application on a remote system and display it locally, over an encrypted session.

Doing this is actually far, far easier to do than ggarron makes it out to be. It's no more difficult than a single option in SSH. But first, what is SSH to you?

Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and the Unity Desktop, for real this time!

The Ubuntu development community is racing ahead with Unity, including creating a 2-D Unity variant which will work under VirtualBox, which I must use since I don't have a spare system upon which to install Ubuntu Natty Narwhal for testing. When you get the login screen you will see the option for Unity 2D. Select it, log in.... And Behold! Unity! (insert angelic choral wha-aaaah here)

You know the universe is out to get you when....

Friday, my server was purring along just fine, and then it stopped. I thought it was a power supply problem, but as I was trying to determine if the power supply was still working, I saw a small orange flash.

The next power cycle attempt also got a bit of orange, but it was not small, and the smoke and cracking sound was more than clear as to exactly what had gone wrong. I have a picture of the offending surface-mount component, but it will be hard for me to post the picture due to the other problem.

When The Net Was Young

I started working at NASA Ames Research Center in July, 1992. Prior to this I had worked as a computer operator then network engineer for a large multinational, and I'd been using network services starting with Compu$erve in 1983, then Fido-net, I-link, many BBS's, etc. Being about as close to the heart of things as one could get, and working the graveyard and evening shifts, gave me a wonderful ring-side seat to watch as a Liberty occurred.

A response to DistroWatch "Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0"

The 8th DistroWatch Weekly of 2011 feature article, "Introducing Debian GNU/Linux 6.0", comes in as a qualified success for Debian.

The author, Jesse Smith, seems to have had trouble with Debian in the past, even while the various tributary distributions like Ubuntu and KNOPPIX would run on his hardware just fine. Hardware wouldn't be recognized, the installer would crash, and so on. But in the words of Michael Palin, "This one stayed up!"

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