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Debian

Lampone Pi, a live readonly Raspbian

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Debian

Lampone Pi is a live Debian GNU/Linux Buster arm64 operating system for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer boards. At the time of writing, it’s the only live operating system for the Pi. Although it is not affiliated or derived from Raspbian, it’s the homologous of Raspbian Lite (they both derive from Debian), but differently it’s a 64bit live OS.

Why this project? If the header image looks familiar to you, you already have the answer : )

So, technically it’s a Debian derivative with a unique partitioning scheme crafted for maximizing the strength against filesystem corruption: the ISO9660 system partition is read-only by design at filesystem-level. The data persistence partition contains only the delta: system updates and your data lay there. The data partition mounted on top of a read-only system partition makes the resulting operating system resistent to filesystem-corruption. Moreover, you can do complete system backups by just tar-ring only the files contained within that partition.

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Debian: Ulrike Uhlig and DebConf Updates

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Debian
  • Ulrike Uhlig: The right to demand change

    Two women sit in an office, one asks: "What's the difference between being assertive and being aggressive?" The other replies: "Your gender." (Cartoon by Judy Horacek, 1961.)

    When a person of a marginalized group (read: a person with less privilege, a person with lower rank) is being framed and blamed as being aggressive, she is being told that her behavior is unacceptable. Marginalized people have learnt that they need to comply to fit, and are likely to suppress their feelings. By being framed as aggressive, the marginalized person is also being told that what they are saying cannot be listened to because the way they are saying it does not comply with expectations. There is a word for this: tone policing. This great comic by Robot Hugs has all the important details. Tone policing is a silencing tactic in which privileged participants of a discussion one-sidedly define the terms of the conversation. This tactic has the interesting side effect of shifting the responsibility to prove that one is not {aggressive, hostile, explosive, a minefield, etc.} to the person being framed and blamed - proving that one is worthy to be listened to. (Some of those words are actual quotes taken from real life.)

    Years ago, I worked in a company in which my female developer colleague would put herself in a state of overly expressed sorriness, all the while pretending to be stupid and helpless whenever she needed to ask anything from the sysadmins. When I confronted her with that, she replied: "I do it because it works." In the same company, another woman who generally asked assertively for what she needed ended up being insulted by one of the project managers using the word "dominatrix". While the example comes from my own experience, this kind of thing happens across any oppression/privilege boundaries.

  • DebConf20 moves online, DebConf21 will be in Haifa

    The DebConf team has had to take the hard decision that DebConf 20 cannot happen in-person, in Haifa, in August, as originally planned. This decision is based on the status of the venue in Haifa, the local team's view of the local health situation, the existing travel restrictions and the results of a survey of potential participants.

    DebConf 20 will be held online instead!

    The Debian community can still get together to share ideas, discuss plans in Birds of a Feather sessions, and eat cheese, from the safety of the desks at home.

Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon (June 15-21, 2020)

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Debian
Sci/Tech
  • Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon (June 15-21, 2020)
    Dear Debian Community,
    
    Debian Med joined the virtual (online) [COVID-19 Biohackathon] from
    April 5-11 2020.  We considered the outcome a great success in terms of
    the approached tasks, the new members we gained and the support of
    Debian infrastructure teams (namely the ftpmaster team).
    
    COVID-19 is not over and the Debian Med team wants to do another week of
    hackathon to continue with this great success.  We want to do this from
    June 15th to June 21th 2020.
    
    A [recently shared pre-publication draft paper] highlights which
    software tools are considered useful "to Accelerate SARS-CoV-2 and
    Coronavirus Research".  Many of these tools would benefit from being
    packaged in Debian and all the advantages that Debian brings for both
    users and upstream alike.
    
    As in the first sprint most tasks do not require any knowledge of
    biology or medicine, and all types of contributions are welcome: bug
    triage, testing, documentation, CI, translations, packaging, and code
    contributions.
    
    1. [Debian related bugs in COVID-19 related packages]
    
    2. [COVID-19 related software that is awaiting packaging]
       please respond to the RFP with your intent so we don't duplicate work
    
    3. You can also contribute directly to the upstream packages, linked
       from the [Debian Med COVID-19 task page].  Note: many biomedical
       software packages are quite resource limited, even compared to a
       typical FOSS project. Please be kind to the upstream author/maintainers
       and realize that they may have limited resources to review your
       contribution. Triaging open issues and opening pull requests to fix
       problems is likely to be more useful than nitpicking their coding
       style.
    
    4. Architectures/porting: Please focus on amd64, as it is the primary
       architecture for biomedical software. A secondary tier would be arm64 /
       ppc64el / s390x (but beware the endian-related issues on s390x). From a
       free/open hardware perspective it would be great to see more riscv64
       support, but that is not a priority right now
    
    5. Python developers: The Debian Med team is also trying to [improve the
       availability ofautomated biomedical pipelines/workflows]  using the
       Common Workflow Language open standard. The reference implementation of
       CWL is written in Python and there are many [open issues ready for work
       that don't require any biomedical background].
    
    6. It is very easy to contribute to Debian Med team. We have a lowNMU
       policy for all our packages. Merge requests on Salsa are usually
       processed quickly (but please ping some of the latest Uploaders of the
       package to make sure it will be noticed). Even better if you ask for
       membership to the team and push directly to the salsa repository.
    
    7. The [debian-med-team-policy] should answer all questions how to contribute.
    
    8. There is a [work-needed wiki] that will help keep track of who is
       working on which projects.
    
    9. There is also a [NEW requests wiki] where we can request expedited
       NEW processing to support this effort.  In the last sprint ftpmaster
       was picking from here with high priority.  Thanks again for this.
    
    During the hackathon we will coordinate ourselves via the the Salsa
    coordination page, Debian Med mailing list and IRC:
    
    *  https://salsa.debian.org/med-team/community/2020-covid19-...
    *  https://lists.debian.org/debian-med/
    *  https://wiki.debian.org/IRC
    *  irc://irc.debian.org/debian-med
    *  https://jitsi.debian.social/DebianMedCovid19 every day at 15:00 UTC
    
    Thanks in advance for considering to join our sprint.
    
    Sincerely
    
        Andreas Tille on behalf of the Debian Med team.
    
  • Second Debian Med COVID-19 hackathon

    The Debian Med team joined a COVID-19 Biohackathon last April and is planing on doing it again on June 15-21.

Great fonts in Debian 10 (or later)

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Debian

Debian comes with tons of fonts for all kinds of purposes, you can easily list them all (almost) with: apt-cache search ^fonts-

Above you can see a nice composition with examples of several fonts. The composition is published under the MIT (Expat) license and the source SVG (created with Inkscape) can be downloaded here. You will need the fonts to be installed in your system so the SVG is correctly rendered.

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Sparky 2020.06

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Debian

The June snapshot of Sparky 2020.06 of the (semi-)rolling line is out.
It is based on the Debian testing “Bullseye”.

Changes:
• system upgrade from Debian testing repos as of June 5, 2020
• Linux kernel 5.6.14 (5.7.0 in Sparky unstable repos)
• Firefox 77.0
• Thunderbird 68.8.1
• LibreOffice 6.4.4.2
• debi-tool’ replaced by ‘gdebi’
• added ‘spterm’ (Sparky Terminal) to be used by Sparky tools
• Otter Browser replaced by Epiphany Browser (MinimalGUI)
• added RadioStation – a fork of RadioTray-Lite (and Radiotray)
• added Openbox Noir to the desktop list to be installed as a choice (via MinimalGUI & MinimalCLI and APTus too)
• added disk autopartitioning, encrypting and lvm support to the Advanced Installer DEV (still experimental)
• Calamares updated up to 3.2.24; changed password strength to a minimum number of digits as possible in Calamares, as requested a few times by our users (can be used used 1 digit, but I recommend to use strong password); thanks to lami07
• added lxappearance to MinimalGUI iso (Openbox)

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Debian Leftovers and Developers

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Debian
  • Antoine Beaupré: Replacing Smokeping with Prometheus

    I've been struggling with replacing parts of my old sysadmin monitoring toolkit (previously built with Nagios, Munin and Smokeping) with more modern tools (specifically Prometheus, its "exporters" and Grafana) for a while now.

    Replacing Munin with Prometheus and Grafana is fairly straightforward: the network architecture ("server pulls metrics from all nodes") is similar and there are lots of exporters. They are a little harder to write than Munin modules, but that makes them more flexible and efficient, which was a huge problem in Munin. I wrote a Migrating from Munin guide that summarizes those differences. Replacing Nagios is much harder, and I still haven't quite figured out if it's worth it.

    [...]

    A naive implementation of Smokeping in Prometheus/Grafana would be to use the blackbox exporter and create a dashboard displaying those metrics. I've done this at home, and then I realized that I was missing something.

  • Reproducible Builds in May 2020

    One of the original promises of open source software is that distributed peer review and transparency of process results in enhanced end-user security. Nonetheless, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free and open source software for malicious flaws, almost all software today is distributed as pre-compiled binaries. This allows nefarious third-parties to compromise systems by injecting malicious code into seemingly secure software during the various compilation and distribution processes.

  • Steve McIntyre: Interesting times, and a new job!

    It's been over ten years since I started in Arm, and nine since I joined Linaro as an assignee. It was wonderful working with some excellent people in both companies, but around the end of last year I started to think that it might be time to look for something new and different. As is the usual way in Cambridge, I ended up mentioning this to friends and things happened!

    [...]

    Where do I fit in? Pexip is a relatively small company with a very flat setup in engineering, so that's a difficult question to answer! I'll be starting working in the team developing and maintaining PexOS, the small Linux-based platform on which other things depend. (No prizes for guessing which distro it's based on!) But there's lots of scope to get involved in all kinds of other areas as needs and interests arise. I can't wait to get stuck in!

    Although I'm no longer going to be working on Debian arm port issues on work time, I'm still planning to help where I can. Let's see how that works...

Linux Powered Industrial IoT Gateway Offers WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, 4G LTE Connectivity

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Linux
Debian

Compulab IOT-GATE-IMX8 is a Debian Linux powered fanless Industrial IoT gateway powered by NXP i.MX 8M Mini processor and specially designed for industrial control and monitoring with optional support for WiFI 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1, 4G LTE, and GNSS connectivity.

The gateway is equipped with up to 4GB RAM and 128GB eMMC flash, takes variable DC input from 8V to 36V, and operates in a wide temperature range of -40C to 80°C with the company providing a 5-year warranty and 15-year availability.

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Debian Development: MiniDebConf, BigBlueButton, and Ben Hutchings' Work

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Debian
  • Debian Project Leader: DPL Activity logs for April/May 2020

    I survived my first month as DPL! I agree with previous DPLs who have described it as starting a whole new job. Fortunately it wasn't very stressful, but it certainly was very time consuming. On the very first day my inbox exploded with requests. I dealt with this by deferring anything that wasn't important right away and just started working through it. Fortunately the initial swell subsided as the month progressed. The bulk of my remaining e-mail backlog are a few media outlets who wants to do interviews. I'll catch up with those during this month.

    Towards the end of the month, most of my focus was on helping to prepare for an online MiniDebConf that we hosted over the last weekend in May. We had lots of fun and we had some great speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise during the weekend.

  • Olivier Berger: Automate the capture a full BigBlueButton conference replay, with bbb-downloader

    BigBlueButton, aka BBB, is a webrtc conferencing solution, that among many features, allows to record a conference, for later replay.

    We have been working together with my colleague François Trahay, on a set of scripts (bbb-downloader) that will allow to easily (on Linux) download recordings of BBB conferences, for local backup, video editing, upload on video sharing platforms, etc. This is particularly useful in our distance learning contexts where students may have to catch up on a live session that was recorded.

    We have integrated a hackish solution to capture, as a single video, presentations that contained slide deck presentations. Let me explain why this was necessary.

  • Ben Hutchings: Introducing debplate, a template system for Debian packages

    For about two months I've been working on a new project, debplate, which currently lives at benh/debplate on Salsa. This is a template system for Debian packages, primarily intended to ease building multiple similar binary packages from a single source. With some changes, it could also be useful for making multiple source packages consistent (issue #9).

  • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, May 2020

    I sent a request for testing an update of the linux package to 3.16.83. I then prepared and, after review, released Linux 3.16.84. I rebased the linux package onto that and sent out a further request for testing. I then backported some additional security fixes, but have still not made an upload.

Debian: SReview, Nageru, Clang build and More

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Debian
  • Wouter Verhelst: SReview 0.6

    I had planned to release a new version of SReview, my online video review and transcoding system that I wrote originally for FOSDEM but is being used for DebConf, too, after it was set up and running properly for FOSDEM 2020. However, things got a bit busy (both in my personal life and in the world at large), so it fell a bit by the wayside.

    I've now also been working on things a bit more, in preparation for an improved administrator's interface, and have started implementing a REST API to deal with talks etc through HTTP calls. This seems to be coming along nicely, thanks to OpenAPI and the Mojolicious plugin for parsing that. I can now design the API nicely, and autogenerate client side libraries to call them.

    While at it, because libmojolicious-plugin-openapi-perl isn't available in Debian 10 "buster", I moved the docker containers over from stable to testing. This revealed that both bs1770gain and inkscape changed their command line incompatibly, resulting in me having to work around those incompatibilities. The good news is that I managed to do so in a way that keeps running SReview on Debian 10 viable, provided one installs Mojolicious::Plugin::OpenAPI from CPAN rather than from a Debian package. Or installs a backport of that package, of course. Or, heck, uses the Docker containers in a kubernetes environment or some such -- I'd love to see someone use that in production.

  • Nageru 2.0.0 released

    I've released version 2.0.0 of Nageru, my live video mixer. Obviously, version 2 of anything is a major milestone; in this case, it wasn't so much this specific release being so big, but the combined work that has gone on through the 1.x versions. (Also, if you go from 1.9.0 to 1.10.0, you can be pretty sure 2.0 is never coming!) There were several major features where I could probably have justified a 2.0 bump alone (e.g., the multichannel audio processing support, HTML5 graphics, slow motion through Futatabi, or the large reworking of the themes in 1.9.0), and now, it was time. Interestingly enough, despite growing by 40,000 lines or so since the 1.0.0 release four and a half years ago, the basic design has proved fairly robust; there are always things I would like to do different, but I'm fairly happy about how flexible and reliable things have turned out to be, even though my own use cases have shifted from simple conference video to complex sports productions.

  • Debian rebuild with clang 10 + some patches

    Instead of patching clang itself, I used a different approach this time: patching Debian tools or implementing some workaround to mitigate an issue.

  • Olivier Berger: Mixing NRELab’s Antidote and Eclipse Che on the same k8s cluster

    You may have heard of my search for Cloud solutions to run labs in an academic context, with a focus on free an open source solutions . You may read previous installments of this blog, or for a shorter, check the presentation I’ve recorded last week.

    I’ve become quite interested, in the latest month, in 2 projects: NRELab’s Antidote and Eclipse Che.

    Antidote is the software that powers NRELabs, a labs platform for learning network automation, which runs on top of Kubernetes (k8s). The interesting thing is that for each learner, there can be a dedicated k8s namespace with multiple virtual nodes running on a separate network. This can be used in the context of virtual classes/labs where our students will perform network labs in parallel on the same cluster.

  • Olivier Berger: Experimenting on distant labs and labs on the Cloud

    I mention tools like Guacamole, MeshCentral, NRELab’s Antidote, Eclipse Che and Labtainers, as well as k8s and Docker, as interesting tools that may allow us to continue teaching in labs while allowing more flexibility, distant learning, and hopefully improved quality.

  • Sylvain Beucler: Debian LTS and ELTS - May 2020

    Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

    In May, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability - I was assigned 17.25h for LTS (out of 30 max; all done) and 9.25h for ELTS (out of 20 max; all done).

Tails 4.7 is out

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Debian

This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

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Geoffrey Knauth elected Free Software Foundation president; Odile Bénassy joins the board

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced the addition of a new director to its board, and the election of a new president. Long-time free software activist and developer Odile Bénassy, known especially for her work promoting free software in France, was elected to the FSF's board of directors. Geoffrey Knauth, who has served on the FSF's board for over thirty years, was elected president. On her election, Bénassy said, "I'm happy and proud to accept FSF's invitation to be part of the board. I want to help keep steady the principles of free software, and the philosophical values around it. Free software counts among what the world badly needs nowadays." Knauth welcomed Bénassy, saying, "I am delighted that Odile Bénassy has agreed to become a director of the FSF, FSF's first director from Europe. Odile is a mathematics educator, researcher, software engineer, and leader of the GNU Edu project. She has been advocating for and developing free software for more than twenty years." FSF's executive director, John Sullivan, added, "Being on the FSF's board of directors means first and foremost standing as a guardian for free software and the associated user freedoms. With such a long track record, Odile has shown herself to be someone FSF members and supporters can count on. I'm really looking forward to working with her, and I'm excited to see all the ways she'll help the FSF be better and stronger." Describing his approach to his new position as president, Knauth posted a statement which begins, "The FSF board chose me at this moment as a servant leader to help the community focus on our shared dedication to protect and grow software that respects our freedoms. It is also important to protect and grow the diverse membership of the community. It is through our diversity of backgrounds and opinions that we have creativity, perspective, intellectual strength and rigor." Read more

Android Leftovers

Review of Firefox “Fenix” for Android

Mozilla has begun a staged roll-out of its redesigned and rearchitected Firefox browser for Android (codename “Fenix”). So far, Fenix has only been released in 14 countries through the Google Play Store. Here’s my review of Mozilla’s new flagship mobile browser as a long-time user and as an extension developer. Fenix’s user interface is minimal, but it represents a large amount of work under the hood. It’s built on GeckoView and Mozilla Android Components (MOZAC); a set of reusable components for mobile app developers that makes it easier to build a web browser based on Mozilla technology. These components are a modernization of the old codebase as well as a direct competitor to WebView — the web engine that’s built-in to Android, as well as Google’s ChromiumView. Read more

Interview: RISC-V CTO Mark Himelstein

RISC-V doesn’t have the necessary sacks of cash to spread around, however. The brute force approach is closed to Himelstein and his colleagues, so how does he motivate developers who might be on the fence? “I’m working on it,” he admits. “Look at Linux, at Hadoop, at Eclipse, at Apache… They grew up around the contributor model. Contributors to Hadoop are rock stars. It’s exciting. There’s cachet. It’s like being in an exclusive club. It’s hard to say how that happened. It just evolved.” He contrasts that process to seemingly similar open-source processors like OpenSPARC or OpenPower. Those examples are ex post facto open source, he says. They started out as proprietary commercial products (at Sun and IBM, respectively) and then backed into the open-source world after the fact. “They just hopped on the open-source train.” Nobody in those groups seems to have the same level of enthusiastic self-motivation that you see in, say, Hadoop or Linux circles, he says. “We want to be more like Linux or Hadoop.” Read more