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Configuration files for humans and for computers

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 01/12/2007 - 17:16
Erich wonders about a sane way to reorganize the configuration file mess we have, going in fact farther than Aigars' previous rant on the topic: Not only it would be really desirable to do away with the dotfile-as-everything-but-more mess, it would be really, really nice to do it in a more or less standard way. Erich suggests four base configuration syntaxes - I won't reveal too much, as his message deserves being read as well ;-) But hey, I have a question here: I know XML is well-established and well-supported, and I'm told there are a couple several hundred thousand people who think it is really cool and even human-editable. Still, I hate XML. Configuration files are often, yes, written by the programs themselves - But one of my most beloved features of Unix-like systems is that I am free to poke in them, as they are meant to be human-editable. XML is not human-editable. I'm sorry, say whatever you want, but keeping XML valid and happy is... Just not for me. Why not pushing instead something prettier, and with almost the same feature set of XML, plus a much-enhanced readability/modifyability? Why not promoting my dear and beloved YAML? (Yes, the YAML project home page _is_ valid YAML) [update: I was kindly requested in a comment to link to the YAML project page, which hosts more information. I'm keeping the other link anyway. ] Note: No, this only looks like a rant, but it is really a question. Honest!
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Five rarely known things about me

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 01/05/2007 - 15:05
Hah! Targetted memes have hit again - Arareko decided I should talk about myself. I will do this, but I won't point the finger at five others - Lets see just who bites ;-) Besides, having left this post rot as a draft for over a week already, it got a bit more interesting: The meme bit from two sides. Arareko (as well as Ion) was bitten by Cicloid, from the mx.planetalinux.org-derived side of reality, and then Hanna bit Wouter on Planet Debian. Ok, time to get this message out from the freezer... So... Five not very well known things about me? Ok, here I go.
  1. Many people inquire me routinely about my name, specially when reading it off an official document where it appears with both names and both family names (Gunnar Eyal Wolf Iszaevich). As many Jewish families, mine comes from all over Europe: My mother-side grandparents were both born in Poland (hence the Iszajewicz, morphed into the slightly more writable Iszaevich). My father-side grandmother was born in Vienna, Austria (I still have some family in Graz), and my father-side grandfather was a proud child of the Austro-Hungarian empire - His family probably was originally Austriac (Wolf is a German name), but became Hungarian and Hungarian was their home language. He was born in Felszoviso, Transilvania (the part of Hungary that later became Northern Romania). And, yes, I mentioned my family is Jewish, so having the Hebrew name Eyal (my second given name) is no surprise. Now, about Gunnar? Well, I still don't know :) It's a Scandinavian name. My family has no (upwards) relation to Scandinavia, but both of my parents (although merely by coincidence, and with over 30 years between periods) lived in Western Sweden - My father, 1970-1972, and my mother, 2003-2006. Oh, and people usually expect them to carry strange foreign names as well - No, they are Bernardo and Ofelia.
  2. I like to think started my journey into Free Software very early in my life. No, I didn't use Linux until 1994 (and only installed it in 1996), I'm not talking about such a modern piece of free software. I first touched computers around 1983-1984, when my father used to take me on Friday nights to his institute, to play with the computer. This computer was a Foonly F2, administered by La Mancha. What did I use to play on such a beast? Why, of course, I used Emacs to write TeX! Rumors say that this Foonly had the first TeX installation outside of Stanford (I guess this fact derives from Donald Knuth's visit to UNAM in 1977 - But of course I don't remember that!)
  3. My family is bitterly split in two camps: Those who love eggplant and those who hate it. At least my parents, my aunt and I are known to love it. At least my wife (Nadezhda), my brother and two of my cousins are known to hate it. The feelings towards this noble plant are really strong, but out of respect for the other party of the family, we practically never cook with it.
  4. Now that we mention food-related strangeness, I was a vegetarian for almost my first 20 years of life. My father is still a vegetarian (for over 35 years already). Nadezhda became a vegetarian almost a year ago. I still think I have saved enough karma during those 20 years to endure some more meat eating, but who knows... I might switch back just to be on the safe side ;-)
  5. Often, memes can absorb too much energy from me. Even having left this entry not responded for over a week, I've been thinking (and forgetting) on and off what to write in it. So, Mauricio, thanks for making me waste my time this way! ;-) I hope this fact counts as a legal fifth thing.
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A mug of joy

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 12/20/2006 - 16:16
I'm officially on vacation. That basically means there is nobody at my office. This time, though, it does not mean I will be the only sentient being in the building - I'll take most of the three weeks at home. I hope to be able to do some Debian work and catch up with some other projects... Anyway, part of not being at the office means I don't have my usual dose of coffee. At home, I very seldom drink coffee, although I really love to have it home-style (i.e. not made by the easy-to-massify drip coffee machine). In fact, for at least a month, we had not had any coffee. Yesterday I bought 1/2 Kg of fresh ground coffee at a nearby store. Right away, I drank two large mugs of coffee. Yummy. Today, I felt a bit more creative. One of the things that my nutriologist taught me in the last year (wow... it's been over a year I started dieting and excercising daily! Around 40Kg less. Not bad, huh? :D ) is that I was eating too little sugar, and ordered me to get at least two portions of sugar a day. So, I'm having today's second coffee. With kahlúa (coffee liquor), which would be forbidden at my workplace. And I'm enjoying it terribly. Hmh... I do hope I don't get too much sugar during vacations! ;-) (including the family dinners over holidays)
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Comments in blogs

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 12/19/2006 - 21:14
Many people have recently posted in Planet Debian regarding the use, usability and usefulness of having comments enabled in blogs, of using comments as the right way for following discussions, of dealing with spam, and so on. I'm sorry I'm not linking to more of them, but I'm too lazy to look them up. This is one of the down-sides of not using comments - Ideally, if I were interested on commenting on a topic, I would just leave the comment on the blog that started it. It goes somewhat against Joey's logic of posting both the comment and the posting itself - Of course, we all want everybody and their dogs to read our comments, don't we? And, given we know that (most of) our target readers regularly follow Planet Debian, we continue ranting on our personal blogs (as I'm doing now). Besides, that will rank our page higher. We all want Google to love us, right? Of course, following discussions on a bunch of blogs is not optimal, as it's easier to miss parts of it (hey, would somebody volunteer on writing threading support for Planet? It'd have to be multidimensional, as postings often refer to different threads... Bah :) ). Besides, many of us are syndicated on different planets (and many people read our blogs as individuals as well), so many of my postings start with a stupid amount of background information so the martians understand the terrans. But still, here I am, writing a post that provides nothing but a braindump, serves no purpose, and links to your posting. So there, the world is not ideal. QED. As always, MJR rants against captchas (and yes, thank you, you have commented on my blog that most captchas are trivially crackable by automated means). They do reduce spam, but they are REALLY not a strong barrier against it. I have thought of some ideas, or thought about implementations for other ideas I've read here and there, but I'm too lazy to implement them on my blogging software. I could switch, but I happen to like Jaws. I would like to contribute to making it better, but have had a permanent lack of time for a long time already :-/ I do get swamped by spam comments, and every now and then mass-delete whatever looks like spam (hundreds to thousands of comments, for crap's sake!), but anyway... It's not too important for me. I like having comments on my entries, but sometimes a long time must pass until I even read them (I read my own blog syndicated via the Planets, on a RSS reader). BTW, Lucas: I used to have trackbacks enabled. The amount of spam, and the control I have over spam in my blog, makes me favor comments against trackbacks. My trackbacks used to be so wildly abused that it almost made me cry. I hope it is not your case :)
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Nice map!

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 12/13/2006 - 12:20
Thanks to H01ger for linking to one of the coolest map-like things I've seen in a long time: Yet another map of Internet - this time, an IPv4 allocation map. Useful? Maybe not, having tools such as Geo-IPfree. But quite nice to print and have as a poster ;-)
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SmbGate: Almost entirely not frustrating

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 12/07/2006 - 16:11
I've been working a bit over a week on writing SmbGate, a simple and quite braindead Web app giving my users web access (read-only for now at least) their home shares in a Samba server from outside the Institute, which will be basically closed for vacations/moving to a new building for over a month. It went quite smoothly. Even using a quite ugly API (Filesys::SmbClient - It works, but in an ugly fashion), getting the basic app to work took me only two days, and I've been beautifying bits of it for around a week. I even got around to write a user manual, which -to my surprise and astonishement- has been followed by the users. Wow, I'm productive! I even think this can be useful to other people, so I'll put the code online soon - As soon as I get the workplace-specific things weeded out to a configuration file. Of course, everything has its ups and downs. Yesterday, I found a bug. Today, a user reported the bug to me. And, of course, it seems to depend on MSIE's weirdness. I really, really hate my users experiencing browser incompatibilities - That's why I installed W2k under qemu (which, when used with the non-free but downloable with no fee required kqemu kernel module is perfectly speed-comparable with the completely-non-free VMware - Go try qemu now!). I tested thoroughly the system from the guest W2k system to my development machine (which is, incidentally, the same physical box), and it worked perfectly. Of course, locally, I didn't care about setting it up in a SSL-protected area. For my users, of course, access to their files is SSL-protected. I tested the production system from Linux, using Firefox. Works like a charm. So, why am I bitching? Because browsing the directories works correctly from MSIE, but downloading the files doesn't (it says, in such a Spanish that I don't really understand the error message, that the file does not exist or the site is unavailable). Of course, debugging a HTTP request over a SSL session is not feasible. I installed an instance of this system in my regular unencrypted HTTP server - But, surprise surprise, it now works fine under MSIE. Exactly the same URL, only with the https replaced by http So... I am almost entirely non frustrated. I have hit a bug which does not like being debugged. Joy, joy. But, I promise, victory will be mine.
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MIDE - Interactive Economy Museum

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 12/02/2006 - 20:28
I was very happily surprised today. Some weeks ago, walking in downtown Mexico City, I found the Interactive Economy Museum (Museo Interactivo de Economía - MIDE, for which I had seen some posters at my workplace (of course, as some of you know, I work at UNAM's Institute for Economics Research (Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas)). MIDE is one Mexico's youngest museums (opened about two months ago), and it is... Frankly impressive and well done. When I first heard about an interactive economy museum, I could only think about entering a room with buttons that would cause economic or politic crisis in different Asian or African countries, so we could watch the outcome. Of course, it was not so (or at least, I hope so - I pressed quite a number of buttons!) The museum is multimedia rich, and will attract children (I'd suggest going with 10 year old kids and older) and grown-ups. It is quite well balanced, having many things that are just fun to do (i.e. for the scarcity topic, recording a video saying what do you want but don't have so other people see you, and see other people's videos, or "designing" -of course, quite simplisticly, but still- your own banknote, with your own photo), that give you a better insight of the full economic process (how money changes hands: A story told by six different animations, each explaining a different part of the process, about the relations between a family, the bank, the factory owner and the supermarket; a stock exchange simulator; comparisons between different indicators on the living standards over the world). But even more than the exhibit itself, just being at the Bethlehemit ex-convent and ex-hospital is very well worth a visit. Even if the XVIII-century building endured very rough times and got severely deteriorated, it has been completely rescued - and unlike most colonial palaces we have, it was rescued mixing modern elements with the old architecture with a very good balance and taste. ...Very well worth a visit. Really. If you happen to be in the Mexico City center, go to Tacuba street, just by Metro Allende, in front of Café Tacuba. Oh, and don't go without having lunch first: We entered at 2PM, and had to fast-track over half of the museum because we were too hungry to pay attention. Of course, we plan to return with the family, so it's not lost. Besides, maybe next time I'll have time for a nice chat with Adam Smith and Karl Marx, who are seen walking around the museum. I talked a bit with one of the Bethlehemit monks. Who runs the museum? It is never obvious, and I want to know. The building was, accodring to their web site, acquired in 1989 and remodeled since then by the Bank of Mexico, which would make perfect sense. Besides, it's quite clear that the Bank helped for some of the exhibits, such as the numismatics collection or the banknote printing technology room.
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Yet again, bitten by a meme

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/29/2006 - 11:33
I came across Adam's post inviting everybody to participate in a simple meme propagation speed and path tracking experiment. Well, I bite. Here I am. Some points to consider (for Acephalous, who started and tracks this meme): If people like me read Adam's blog via an aggregator (Planet Debian), and when I post I I get syndicated at the same aggregator, won't this disturb your metrics/readings? Or if I know I'm syndicated at least in two aggregators (Planet Debian and Planeta Linux México - If there is another one, please tell me :) ), won't that also influence somehow?
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Are Debian people real Free Software zealots?

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 11/28/2006 - 11:30
Wow... The amount of press/coverage inside the FS community (not necessarily good press) the Ubuntu people are receiving lately is huge. I smell the possibility where Canonical might face what many people call the ugly side of Debian - But what we, the insiders, call it the most important part of it: Our people's devotion to the Free Software ideals. Of course, even inside Debian there are all kind of opinions (to the point that Debian's main activity seems at times to be debating rather than coding), but the general perception is that we are the fundamentalist zealots. It's only funny to imagine what lies ahead. No, I'm not talking (for people not following planet.debian.org) about Ubuntu's latest big media scandal, although it might share some connections. Apparently, Canonical wants to grow and bring more people in. And, of course, being a commercial desktop-oriented distribution, being flashy (or in their words, going for the bling) is needed to keep up with the Joneses. This time, it starts (for me) with Scott's interesting and worthy posting regarding the future of binary blobs and clearly non-free drivers inside Ubuntu. In short: Scott explains why Ubuntu will apparently sacrifice some of its ideals for (what I read as) some extra popularity, and states he is not too happy with it. This, of course, has triggered a load of postings - not necessarily in chronological order, but: Mako, also an Ubuntite, asks people (users, developers) to tell their opinions on this - But he is not at all happy with the direction this might take. Many Ubuntu enthusiasts are voicing their opinions in Wiki form. I guess that Joey's peace of mind comes also because of this discussion (although I'm only stretching my views). ...There is always the debate of whether Ubuntu is good or bad for Debian, as Norbert points out. I've tried to stay away from it, quoting one of Luis Echeverría's famous it's neither good nor bad, it's just the opposite. I do think the two systems will eventually diverge too much - But I'm not at all involved in Ubuntu, and I refuse to back my claims ;-) The point of this posting is: When forming Canonical, obviously Mark wanted to gather the best of the best, people who knew their way developing and coordinating an eminently Free and high-quality distribution, but without the distraction of 1000+ developers trying to pull the whole distribution their way. By being the boss, he can ensure a single vision (and not a multitude of egos) drives the excellent work of talented hackers. However, there might be a subtle mistake: Maybe his team are too Debianites? Maybe they will show they are as strongly Free Software (and not Opensource) oriented as they were when they joined Debian? Maybe, even with the unlimited powers that being a SABDFL gives, Mark and the Ubuntu technical committee/community council will have to concede on not having the latest and flashiest, just to keep his elite team happily working? I'm not, of course, blaming them for selling their principles - Of all the commercially-oriented Linux distributions, Ubuntu is clearly the one that stays closer to what I'd like. And it's not by mere chance that it derives and keeps in constant sync (at least until now) with Debian. Still... This has the potential to make a big dent on their structure and vision.
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Honest spammers

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/23/2006 - 19:54
Wow...This time I'm truly amazed. A spam just hit my debian-devel mailbox. That's sadly not strange at all, I know. Only that I started reading it. It says:
Spammers don't seem to target us for their random alias generation
tools, or        maybe they haven't got to the letter 'o' yet. com
for subsequent posts, but that whole barn door thing comes to mind.
In so doing, values are overlooked often and mistakes are made. Maybe
Microsoft will let me        change my alias.
Maybe some of it would actually be useful to me. For whatever reason, my
Microsoft email address didn't ever get        spam.
Then it goes on talking nonsense splattered with all kinds of garbage talk, some news (or whatever) about stock options of a China Health thing, and goes on throwing nonsense blabber. Sorry, I'm not linking to it (I'll probably later update this entry), it's still not available in the Web archive of debian-devel.">
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O mighty Tezcatlipoca, we bow before you!

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 15:37
Tezcatlipoca, the smoking mirror, was (quoting from Wikipedia) the god of the night, the north, temptation, sorcery, beauty and war. He was known by other descriptive names, such as Titlacauan (We His Slaves), Ipalnemoani (He by whom we live), Necocyaotl (Sower of Discord on Both Sides) and Tloque Nahuaque (Lord of the Near and Nigh) and Yohualli Èecatl (Night, Wind). And today, I strongly feel as being born his servant. Why? Because today I took courage and started working on the integration of our ~20 print servers into a single, smarter scheme, with user control and printer assignment done by a central server. I cannot, of course, say that in the course of a day my troubles are over - No, no, quite far from it... But at least, I managed to grasp how to send the CUPS generic Postscript driver as the default driver for W2K/XP clients (no, I haven't worked on older ones yet - and yes, we still have many W98 machines around). I'm quite used to the fact that things in a Unix system are just easy to understand. Yes, sometimes it takes some time, sometimes you have to dig into the manuals, but all in all things can be finally understood. Today, after a couple of hours sticking my nose into the extremely extensive Official Samba HOWTO and Reference guide (chapters 21 and 22) and having my attention drift over the quite interesting Implementing CIFS book in a vain attempt to fully understand what goes on behind the curtains, after trying to debug my Windows-Linux communication issues by grokking what Wireshark finds over the wire... I can only understand that CUPS is pure black magic, although quite well documented. Samba is elegant and feels nice and easy, but really begs to be debugged with the Malleus Maleficarum at hand. CIFS (also here) is the subtle utterance of a dark spell pronounced by a stuttering sorcerer. And the way Windows integrates with it all is... Bah.
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AGH! The Devil! The Devil!

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 07:20
Winter is mercilessly arriving in Mexico City. This is the third day we get an average temperature of 10 Celsius (although the first day it happens with a nice, unclouded sky, as Winter is usually offered here). People wear jackets everywhere, and every conversation starts with mention of the cold weather. Of course, remember very few people have any kind of heating here, as the lowest we ever get is close to the freezing point. In general lines, I enjoy our winter. However, something happened today that made me have apocalyptic visions: Automatic, synthetic and terrible Christmas music. Yes, somebody brought to the office musical Christmas decorations. I have two choices: Listen to my music loud enough to bother other people (and drown the Christmas chimes) or just go nuts. Well, three choices. If they don't stop it, I might just short-circuit it so it goes to hell forever.
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Of broken promises and fixed websites

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/16/2006 - 16:38
Over five years ago, I wrote a very simple web-based system. This system, however, did some basic client-side (Javascript, of course) validations before sending the data off to the server. And it worked nicely. On Linux, of course. The system went live. It worked correctly less than 1/10th of the time. Yes, somewhat strangely, quite close to the ratio of Netscape/MSIE users. Yes, a Javascript coding bug. The embarassment made me swear not to get close to Javascript ever, ever again. Of course, we live in a world where idle loops get optimized and where infinite loops have an ETA, this had to change at some point. Earlier this week, I decided to unfuck a web layout that worked (again) correctly in Mozilla and KHTML, but horribly in MSIE. I didn't care before, because this layout was used on a production system at work, but its users were only two colleagues and myself - Only I'm about to put a public module up. I re-did the site layout and CSS (I cannot believe Dreamweaver code is that ugly!)... The only problem was, I now know, quite common: I needed equal height CSS-made columns. And although I had come to several pseudo-solutions, they all appeared pseudo-b0rked in one or more pseudo-browsers. The only way I found to get it working was to free myself from prejudices and go back to Javascript. BTW, the Javascript X library looks quite handy - but at over 50k, it's not something I'm terribly happy about including in a website. What's next? Am I going to fall for coding over-AJAXy sites? I hope to maintain at least partial sanity.
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Oaxaca on fire

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/02/2006 - 13:22
Before anything else: Please excuse some grammatical mistakes I've made in this post. You should understand the topic is really upsetting, and typing while searching for links, listening to news, and gathering the basic information for a five month old conflict is not exactly compatible with me spewing out proper English ;-) Just to re-state the obvious: Mexico is, once again, on fire. This posting is mainly written with the Debian people in mind - An important number of them, after Debconf 6, went to visit Oaxaca - In late May, during the first weeks of this incredible, stupid and scary conflict we are now facing. I've written in my blog every now and then about our political situation. Many of us had high hopes on our current government. We thought that the authoritarian regimes were a thing of the past, we hoped for real democracy, we hoped for a government that would honor human rights and solve long-standing topics for our society - Yes, we all knew president Fox came from a right-wing party, and didn't expect much advance in the social agenda -which many of us perceive as the real problem in Mexico- but still, hoped for openness and reconciliation with the past. I won't repeat what I've extensively said over and over - The thing is, Fox's government continues to amaze us with its stupidity, with its near-sightedness, with its hypocresy. Fox's term is really close to an end - In one more month, the govt. will change hands to the first de-facto president since Carlos Salinas (going over another story we hoped to forget). As some of you wittnessed, there was a popular protest taking place mainly in Oaxaca - Basically, the State's public elementary school teachers demanding better payment for their work. Such a protest is already a common occurrence in Mexico, as public school teachers are among the worstly paid workers (no wonder, then, our country is still undeveloped - Make public education worse, and you have the warranty of an unprepared, ignorant population). The teachers went on strike in early May, briefly returned to classes on late June to properly close the 2005-2006 lective year, but went back on strike afterwards. Of course, the local government (Mexico is a federative republic, each state is autonomous and makes decisions independently) took a very long time to act - and acted the worst way possible: By sending policemen to forcefully throw the teachers from their camps in the downtown streets, with no negotiation, no answer, not a drop of common sense. That led to the formation of the (pleonasmicaly named) APPO: Popular Assembly of Oaxaca's People - A group of people, partly formed by the unhappy teachers, mainly demanding the Oaxaca state governor to step down, after he proved he is inept for his office. And yes, I'm oversimplifying here, but I don't want to dig too much - There is fortunately plenty of available information in this regard. That happened over four months ago. APPO kept control of the city. Nobody denies that this has caused Oaxaca, a city that attracts national and international tourism like few others in the country, a great deal of economic damage - Oaxacan people are, however, still sympathetic to APPO's demands. Governor Ulises Ruiz (from PRI, the party that ruled the country for over 70 years) has not been able to be seen in public in his state for some months already. The legislative power has also been unable to work properly, and the judicial power is half-dead, doing only its most basic tasks. Renowned jurists, such as Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa, have repeatedly stated that this is enough for the Federal Senate to declare the governing powers in Oaxaca have disappeared - This would put an end to the conflict, leading to immediate elections, but the Senate has denied taking this course of action. Not only that, but the Federal government took the command of the local security forces, tacitly recognizing the local government is unable to coherently excersise their authority. After almost five months, last week they issued an unanymous -but mild- exhort, asking Ulises Ruiz to consider stepping down. So far, 15 people have been killed in the different represive actions taken, first by the local police under local command, later by the local police under federal command, and starting last week, by the federal police. Today, it seems the army is getting in the conflict as well, despite promises of not doing so by the federal authorities - Of course, they have become masters in the art of breaking promises. Why is the federal government upholding Ulises Ruiz? Simple: After the undeniable electoral fraud we had some months ago, there are too many indicatives pointing out that our (supposedly) elected president Felipe Calderón (FeCal, as he is better known as) will have a hard time becoming the president, and many people doubt he will be able to hold the authority for the six years. So far, he has shown no better aptitude as a statesman than Vicente Fox: Instead of boldly facing the claims of fraud, he just chickened out and has spent many months hiding from the public, appearing only for selected, friendly audiences. For many months already we have heard "Ulises ya cayó, le sigue Calderón" (Ulises has fallen, Calderón is next). This country has not been so badly shaken in decades - Of course, Great Statesman Vicente Fox insists the country is in peace and there are no red spots. Fox even was stupid/blind enough to state that the problems in Oaxaca would be dealt with easily and successfully, just as the problems in Chiapas and Atenco were doing his term. During Fox's campaign, he promised to solve the centuries-old Chiapas problem (that resulted in the EZLN uprising in 1994) in just 15 minutes - He just has not had time to do so. Atenco? Yes, in 2002 an angry people made him step back from the most important project of his term (a new airport for Mexico City). In May 2006, Atenco sprang again to the news because of a massive repression - I'm not going into details on Atenco right now, as it would be off-topic, but you can look at my article in FeCal.org.mx or watch a very strong video by Canal Seis de Julio (both in Spanish only) for further details. Last Friday, however, something was different. In a repressive action, a USA citizen, the Indymedia reporter and cameraman Brad Will was killed by a paramilitary group. Even more, he was killed while doing his work, and we can clearly see this evidence on his last tape. Of course, the US ambassador issued a warning, asking the US citizens not to go to Oaxaca. And, as Lorenzo Mayer says, hay de muertos and muertos - There are different categories of dead people. A highly visible US citizen is more important than the other 14 dead Mexicans, and now the Federal Preventive Police is clashing in Oaxaca. What should be shocking, but is not so much to those of us who know this beaten country, is the attitude of the authority when taking the city. After five months of occupation, the Oaxacan people have got used to living with APPO - be it for good or for bad. Tourism has diminished, but the people's living sources have not been attacked. Of course, as soon as the Federal Police took the downtown areas, all sorts of reports of looting have been reported. The policemen are robbing even sodas and chips, and up to TVs and microwaves. As many people state, this is a very Kafkian country. Of course, we don't know what will come next. Most of the city has been "freed", and the APPO is holding at the University. The University is autonomous, and the PFP commands have promised not to break its autonomy - but we don't believe that. There are fights very close to the University. The Rector himself spoke a couple of hours ago at Radio Universidad, the main broadcasting point for real news on this subject (I am following on the news thanks to KeHuelga, 102.9MHz FM in Southern Mexico City, or at their webpage, from where they link to many other underground or Internet radio stations joining in the broadcast), and the reports are dramatic. Dramatic, as well, is the way all of the commercial news sources are ignoring the facts. I want to keep you updated, as one of the very few reasons things are not worse is the public opinion and, even more, the international pressure. I'm sorry I'm not giving more links right now, but I will soon. I don't want, of course, to flood people that read my blog through the different syndications with a technical profile, so updates via my blog will be quite sparse. If you can read Spanish, we have posted many articles at FeCal, and many other individual sites are also joining in. A couple of links, and I'm off for now.
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Reflections on the air

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 10/15/2006 - 13:02
[2006-10-13 18:00] There is a popular saying in Spanish, "en viernes 13 ni te cases ni te embarques" - Roughly, On Friday the 13th, don't get married and don't board a ship. That makes perfect sense - I'm already married, so I'm not worried about the first part. About the second, you never now - So I'd better take the plane to a country without sea access. Bolivia, here I go. [2006-10-13 23:30] I'm writing this blog entry as I fly out of Mexico towards Bolivia, via Panama, on Lloyd Aereo Boliviano's flight number 911. The captain just announced that dinner will be served shortly, and invited those of us who want to enjoy the meal to open the tables, in order to get a better service. I fear that if I don't open it, I might get soup served straight over my pants, or something like that. [2006-10-14 02:40] At the Panama airport. Captain informs again: "Passengers, we inform you we will replenish fuel. Therefore, if you choose not to go out for 15 minutes, we will request you to sit down with your seat belt unlocked. You will not be allowed to walk along the ailes. The bathrooms will be closed. Please do not ring the bells." Damn, that brings quite a lot of quiet about the refueling process - Of course I went down for 15 minutes, along with everybody else. BTW, shame I didn't take my laptop with me, as the battery is now at 15%... The Panama airport has (contrary to most airports I've been to in recent years) plenty of power outlets. Anyway, maybe on the way back. It's now 03:00 (Mexico time), and I think I'll have a better use for the next four hours until we arrive to Bolivia than coding.
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