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A society coerced into fear

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 09/13/2008 - 22:25

A common trait of virtually all of the media in Mexico -and, as far as I have been able to see, in Latin America- is the push for society to be afraid. The government and the media (which go hand-in-hand, mainly due to a series of favors owed to each other - currently stemming from the government's illegitimacy and lack of trust from the general population) wants us all to think the country is as violent and as dangerous as it has never been before.
And yes, I cannot and won't try to deny that there are many critical points that need attention - But the answer cannot be militarization, cannot be further restraining the civil liberties, cannot be criminalization.
The only way to prevent crime is to reduce poverty. And poverty is not reduced by giving foreign "investors" (bah, ask people living on cities that border the USA if the maquilas have brought any kind of investment or somehow bettered the living conditions of the population!) access to segments of the economy so far limited to the government - Poverty will only be reduced when the government starts reviewing the tax systems to remove the legal loopholes that make it possible for a large enterprise to get tax exemptions on most of their income, and make the lower income people pay zero taxes, even get social aid.
But back to the topic: Since the 1994 crisis (the "decembrine errors"), we are being constantly bombed about the raging insecurity in Mexico. Maybe we have been bombed with that same ideas for more time, but I was not very politically conscious before that. When things go a bit smoother on the political side, the media relaxes the "we are so fucked" mantram.
When our de facto president current ruler took power, on December 2006, he had so much opposition he could not for months attend a single public event. So far, he is still avoiding them; everywhere he goes, the place must be cleared and sanitized of anybody who might show he just does not agree with the imposition we had. What was his first government action? To decree that every branch of the government would get a 10% budget cut on the salaries - but the security forces (the army, the different police corporations) would have a 46% raise.
After almost two years of ineptitude, they keep chanting the old "oh, we are living such dangerous times" mantra. The security forces recently got yet another raise, and everybody in the media says this country cannot be lived in anymore.
And people buy that crap.
Up to a month or two ago, the general outcry is that the drug lords had taken over the country - And, yes, in several areas of Mexico, their presence is bigger than the official security, or the security agencies are completely coopted by them. But not even His Majesty Felipe Calderón I "El Ilegítimo" can say with a straight face that "we are winning the war against the drug lords" (a war brought by himself, of course - Think of it as Mexico's Irak. Think of Calderón as Mexico's Bush.) - A new attention sink was needed.
Of course, this country is not safer than Finland. But crimes do happen there as they happen here. Here, we have got a tremendous movement because of one brutal kidnapping in August, and everybody now thinks that everybody is at risk of dying kidnapped.
So today, after over a month of bombarding us with fear about kidnaps, I am sick of reading stupid reactions. What made me post this was a request for ideas at a local Free Software-related portal about monitoring known potential criminals. Of course, such a proposal would violate the right to anonimity and to lead a personal life even a convicted criminal has. And, of course, the cries of people that think the society should castrate rapists and kill kidnappers, basically going back 4000 years in history. People, let me hand you a stone and a stick so you can club the whole society to death.
The first step towards getting out of this security nightmare perception we have is to be critical towards what the media tells us - and to understand (and _really_ understand. I won't buy your argument that "it's easier to rob somebody for MX$4000 than to work a full day for MX$100", as it's only easier on one level, but it is a tremendous cost on many others) what makes good people act against the society.

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Nekkid city - yet again!

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 23:01

After thinking it over a couple of times, I did it. I told you here about the World Naked Bike Ride. Thousands of bikers, in over 130 cities around the world, voiced their concerns about the lack of caution drivers have towards us, about the abuse of fossil fuels for urban transportation, about the easy we are not to be seen. Many among us have been run over by careless drivers (in my case, no consequences except a broken helmet - And yes, MJ: although the impact was on the flat surface of the road and not on the kerb, the strength of the impact still amazes me). We feel naked against the motorized traffic. So, the WNBR decides to show it by taking the streets of our many cities - Naked.
It was a completely different experience of the massive naked Spencer Tunick photo, as we were there not just to show our freedom and enjoy, but to get the people to look at us. There were some of the same elements of comradeship and trust we had there (and, of course, that many of us learnt in Finland when we became GNUdists at DebConf 5's unforgettable saunas).
Anyway... I did not make the full route (I rode Chapultepec-Zócalo-Diana, ~15Km, but missed the Diana-Gandhi-Cibeles part, maybe some 5Km) as I had an appointment I was already late for. But it was a unique, great experience. If you are interested, we got a fair share of press coverage. Oh, and I must say: I am famous now. And in my favorite newspaper, nothing less :).

What's a blog planet for?

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 04/21/2008 - 10:52

It seems everybody is ranting in Planet Debian about what our planet should be about, what content should be acceptable, whether technical-only, Debian-only, everything-goes... Even archiving the posts via a mailing-list interface has been mentioned. Besides, following the planet seems to have become mandatory to people linked to Debian, almost as mandatory as following debian-devel-announce.
I won't bother linking to other posts in this topic, as they are far too many. The whole discussion seems childlike and sterile to me. For different people, Debian means different things - This topic has come up in the planet a couple of times in the past (funny, hah, using posts in mutually-unlinked personal blogs as a way to follow a discussion). And a planet should IMHO cover a specific use case: Providing a place for those of us who think of Debian as a social frame, and value knowing -exactly- the type of information each of us publishes in his/her blog: What's up with Debian-related people's lifes.
Of course, a large fraction of this information should be somehow technical or Debian-related. But I do value having a place to learn about my peers' life accomplishments. To know if they are going through a hard time. To understand the personal interests of them. Maybe to learn I'm not the only DD who enjoys running (although I'm far under Dirk's or Christian's league) or cycling in a big city (although I lack MJ's political involvement and dedication). I actually like trying to find some logic in senseless Steve-like messages, there are some funny bits in his stuff. I like knowing I can share what I feel important about my life in a simple way with my peers, without having them drop over to my site. And yes, of course I do enjoy learning about the ongoing technical work of the bunch, even if it is often in fields I would not wander into at all (i.e. Simon's frustration with writing device drivers for Windows, Michal's advances on Gammu).
So... Please stop over-regulation. Leave the planet as it is. If you don't like it, come up with a way to filter and maybe adjust its content based on user profiles. But don't try to censor it.

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Nice electoral results

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 04/13/2008 - 12:17

Of course, this post is about the results for the recent Debian Project Leader elections. Although I've written quite a bit about politics in my country, I cannot sadly hold any hopes for decent electoral (or post-electoral, or political in general) results here in Banana-land. All hail our de-facto president, BTW.
Anyway, on to happier realms. The DPL elections are over. Voter turnout was low, as Manoj pointed out, but it's not as low as I feared. And, /methinks, not only because of the shortened period - but because this was generally an easy-going election, with three quite good candidates. As CMOT pointed out in my previous posting on this topic, many people would have voted 111- (which means, for the casual reader, any of them is quite OK with me). Debian elections are voted with a very interesting system, the Condorcet method. Developers don't vote just for their favorite option, but rank all of the available options (including none of the above, or NOTA) according to their personal preference.
The final numbers are very worth noting - Excuse me for hot-linking the image, but I know many non-Debian people read this:

What is so unique this time? First, as I anticipated on my previous posting, all of the candidates are above NOTA. Not only that, they are all well over NOTA, with the smallest distance being 237 votes (out of a 401 total votes received).
Second, something very positive as well, the distance between the three candidates is quite large this time. In 2006, the distance between first and second place was 6 votes (reason for which, together with the proximity in their platforms of course, Steve was appointed Second in Command or 2IC by AJ). In 2007, Steve was (again) second place, eight votes under Sam. Looking a bit into the history, in 2003, the closest election we have had, Martin beat Bdale by four and Branden by 11 votes... No, the distance is not really that important in the end, as we are quite far from having political quarrels over vote results - But still, having nice, clear numbers feels much better. And as I said in a previous message as well, it somehow speaks of Debian being a more mature, stable project.
Anyway - Congratulations, Steve! Best wishes for a stressful year, quite probably full of travelling, presentations and work in general!

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Vote casted!

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 04/04/2008 - 18:47

Some readers might not now that Debian is in this annual process where we vote for our Leader for the following next year.
I just submitted my vote.
I think it is worth mention that this year there is very little discussion on this subject among DDs. Also, I've practically seen nobody publicly posting their votes or preferences, as it is usual (well, usually we get maybe 10 votes posted to the planet or the different lists).
It must be related to the fact that this year we have neither a candidate or quasi-candidate who raises passions for or against (as the two last years), nor there are very significant differences between the three candidates. They are all quite OK, IMHO, uncontroversial.
This years' elections will probably be the first (at least, since I was accepted in the project) where no candidate is ranked below None of the above. And that, I think, is a good sign. It might be more boring, but shows maturity ;-) And yes, it also shows off good work from our current (and active, and much loved) leader, Sam.
...And yes, I'm not posting my vote either. As things are, the platforms/rebuttals/debate did shape my vote a bit, but the main differentiator ended up being... My personal relationship and opinion towards each of them.

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World Social Forum 2008 - Another world is possible

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 01/20/2008 - 23:10
A phone call in December made me very proud: A colleague I met thanks to the Espora collective told me she was involved in the Mexican activities for this year's World Social Forum (FSM Mexico 2008 site). The Mexican activities? Yes. This year, the World Social Forum will not be held at one -or several- distinct places, but it will happen globally. There will be activities in tens of countries. The activity program for Mexico (full PDF version) is quite loaded - And I was invited to give one of the talks, this Friday (Jan 25) at 12:00, about Free Software for a Free Society, in the Foro Derecho a la Comunicación track.
I am very honored by this invitation! I just spent a couple of hours organizing/going through the topics I will be presenting. I hope to be able to be at some other of the forum's activities, as it just is too important and interesting to miss out!

Mini-post-mortem of a failed mini-Debconf

Submitted by gwolf on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 13:04

Over one year ago, still at DebConf 6, the Latin American Debian people (and by people I mean just interested people, regardless of whether they were/are official DDs or not) held a BoF session. One of the ideas we discussed there was that, in order to increase Debian presence in our region (which is by no means small - Let alone the geographical aspects, I'm guessing we are about 350 million people, roughly split in half between [officially] Spanish- and Portuguese- speaking countries). Yet, this is an area with very little involvement in Debian in particular, and with Free Software in general.

One of our first issues seems to be language - Just by its scale and economic importance, we cannot even put in the same scale Brazil and the Spanish-speaking countries... So I'll focus on Spanish-speaking Latin America, as (I recall) we did in that session.

So, we agree: We need more local involvement in each of our communities. And, so far, we have seen quite relevant results. The number of people directly involved in Debian in Argentina, Chile, Perú, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador and Mexico (excuse me if I forget you in another country!) has notably risen since I brought this topic up, together with Christian Perrier, back in DebConf5, Helsinki. An undeniable fact is that distances in our continent, however, are huge. In the 2006 BoF, we agreed we should promote regional meetings, that would serve both for working focused on Debian topics (i.e. hack sessions, as we do in DebConf) and for spreading our work to the local population, to help them see that it is not needed to be super-skilled or anything like that to contribute to a real, important and large Free Software project such as ours. Of course, taking into account the distances in the continent, we thought it would be sensible to split it in two - and to try and hold regional mini-debconfs - One for the Northern half (i.e. Perú, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Central America, Cuba and Mexico), and one for the Southern half (Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay). And, for logistical reasons mainly, I strongly advocated having our first Northern meeting in Panamá. Why Panamá? Because it is a place cheap and easy to get to. They have a very important international airport, connecting to most if not all countries in the region, and -as they have risen as a business center- have good connectivity. Visa is required for many of the interested countries, but trivial to get (as opposed to what happened here in Mexico :-( ). Of course, other countries also looked interesting (there was some argument pushing Venezuela, but in the end, we all conceded it would be in Panamá.

I have to strongly thank Guillermo García - He is not (yet? :) I hope he still wants to get involved with this bunch of people) in Debian in any way, but after I contacted him, he agreed to start looking for a way to get us the right facilities in Panamá. He coordinated with a team which did most of the organization - A very nice web site is still available so you can look at their work - Quite a good job, I must add.

They contacted Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá, started talking with several potential sponsors, got information regarding hotels for us... But in the end, it flopped. Why? Because, although many of us were originally interested, in the end very few people (only three, none of them officially a Debian Developer, according to their last press release) confirmed their intention to attend.

Which brings me again to the question: Why?

First and foremost, I think it was lack of involvement. For one reason or another, all of the people that in the beginning pushed for this miniDebConf ended up busy doing other stuff, and didn't get at all involved in organization. It would have been a great present from our Panaman friends, yes, but quite unfair. And, of course, with no Debian people involved in organizing it, we got an chicken-and-eggesque situation... Where it didn't grab the attention of other Debian people.

Second, what they offered us was quite different to what we intended in the first place - At least, to what I imagined. On my first messages both to debian-devel-spanish and to Guillermo, I tried to get something close to what we had in mind: Something as informal and as intimate as it could be. My original request to Guillermo was just to get us a room where we could hack and talk, and probably sleep with sleeping bags.

Of course, I can perfectly imagine that when he requested the space to the university, on one hand, they didn't feel at ease having International Guests (with capital I and G - Very important for most Latin American universities!) sleeping on the floor. And, on the other hand, they would love to be able to show us around! Having an international project focus on a university in a non-technologically-well-known little country is quite something to show off!

Anyway... What happened? I was among the instigators, but Real Life called me away (I've been mostly inactive in Debian since September! :-( ). The miniconf was scheduled for November 14-17. I also insisted originally on having the miniconf on a long weekend (say, Friday through Sunday), as -being a miniconf and not the Real Deal- it'd be much easier for most of us to rob one day off work than a full week. In the end, this was the most important point for my decision not to join: I cannot afford more time off my work, not at this time of year. About the other involved people? I do not want to speak for any other people.

In the end, sadly, Guillermo had to inform us they cancelled - No, not postponed, but definitively cancelled. Why? Because -and I have to agree- next year we will have DebConf in Argentina... And many people in the region will focus our time and money on getting there.

Ok, making this whole story short: I'm very, very ashamed and sorry, with you personally, Guillermo, and with your whole team. And I hope we can resurrect this idea - be it in Venezuela (as it was suggested once) or elsewhere.

On sending out the right image

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 05/22/2007 - 22:29
At my Institute, we get the El Financiero newspaper - I like it quite a bit. It's very well balanced, with opinions from all of the political and economical points of view. Of course, it has huge business and market sections which I don't usually even care on looking at, as I won't understand much anyway. Those sections usually include advertisements for potential courses and businesses.
Today, Nadezhda showed me an ad that's just beautiful - It shows off the level of commitment and seriousness a company has. It is so beautiful that it deserves me copying it in Spanish and translating it for your further enjoyment. Of course, if somebody stumbles upon this advertisement at my personal blog - I don't know them, they might just be serious but clueless :)
A académicos, investigadores, intelectuales, economistas y expertos en reformas estructurales para el análisis de las siguientes:
  • Economía y finanzas
  • Educación y empleo
  • Seguridad y desarrollo social
  • Política y Energía
  • Reforma del estado
Para integrarse a un equipo serio y propositivo de Profesionales en estas áreas que brinde asesoría puntual sobre las antes descritas.
REQUISITOS: Titulados con Maestría y/o Doctorado. Contar con publicaciones especializadas.
Interesados enviar CV al correo electrónico:

Bosque de Ciruelos No. 140, piso 12, oficina 1202, col. Bosques de las Lomas
And now, for your further amusement, in my hastily translated English, as faithfully as I can do it.
Academics, researchers, intelectuals, economists and structural reform experts for the analysis of the following areas:
  • Economics and finances
  • Education and employment
  • Social security and development
  • Politics and Energy
  • State reform
To join a serious and propositive team of Professionals in the above areas that gives punctual advice regarding the aforementioned.
REQUIREMENTS: Holders of a title, with M.Sc. or Ph.D. studies. Having specialized publications.
Interested people, send your CV by email to:

Bosque de Ciruelos No. 140, piso 12, oficina 1202, col. Bosques de las Lomas
Yes, several of the redaction mistakes are in the original text (and several more were introduced due to my English translation, of course).
Anyway... Would you believe in the seriousness of a professional-looking group of economists, paying around US$2000 for 1/4 page in one of the leading Mexican newspapers? By the way, their offices are located at one of Mexico City's most exclusive, expensive areas. But... For ${deity}'s sake... COME ON! Please tell juan_zzz to get a decent-looking mail and domain! Having their main contact addresses at two free mail providers, Starmedia and Yahoo, does no service at all to their professional image! How can people still not pay even a bit of attention to those basic details?
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On magazines without editorial direction

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 05/16/2007 - 14:45
Scott complains on how Linux Format #93's articles comparing Ubuntu and other distributions often contradict each other, and blames it on the lack of any editorial direction or basic research.
I... Have to confirm this. But anyway, I can stand a bit on the different writers' side - Each article is written by a different person and, although the magazine must try to be coherent (of course, within certain limits - if the magazine suggests editor's picks in one article, they should not bash them to death in the next one).
I write the Linux column in the Spanish edition of PC Magazine. No, it's by far not a technical column, nor anything far like it. The magazine is end-user oriented, and clearly sponsorship-driven - In fact, my column was not part of the magazine for quite some time, as they gear it towards end-users, and sponsors (I cannot venture which sponsors, but your imagination will probably go to the same company as mine) do not like what I write about. All in all, I get the general topics which each month's edition will cover, and I just have to write an article about one of them. Of course, I don't know most of the other writers. There is no interaction at all.
And I guess that Linux Format is a typical magazine - If they run like PC Magazine, they just won't have the time to put all the articles together checking for inconsistencies. I think it is enough of a task to chase the contributors month after month (BTW, I'm a week late already :-/ But I cannot finish just today, as there's too much work to do, and I spend my time blogging... Hmh, time to finish this post, as coitus interruptus as it may seem).
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On certifications

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 05/03/2007 - 12:33
Ok, so LPI will be at Debconf, giving discounted certifications to registered attendees. Is this good or bad? Mario likes the idea, Madduck is in the middle ground, not decided on his stance on this regard, and Joerg basically says it's not worth much to him personally. Actually, I'll quote Madduck, as he has an interesting point:
I am not looking for employment, and if I was, I'd certainly not want to work at a company that thinks certifications are the true proof of capabilities. So I guess that leaves me with a 'no' still.
When confronted with this topic, I always oppose certifications. Why? First of all, I think they are worth very little. I got three or four Brainbench certifications when they were free - And of course, noticed right away that such a simplistic test is worth very little. Of course, LPI is a better established name, and is usually respected - Lets be fair, and talk about LPI together in the line with Cisco's, Microsoft's, Novell's and similar certification programs.
I've worked with several people who have got certified in different technologies, and almost always, this works against them rather than in their favor - Such people usually are blinded to all but their technologies. My most recent experiences are with the network infrastructure people - Cisco people know how to push Cisco, but know very little about protocol details, and cannot recommend a tool that's not madesold by Cisco. Same goes for 3Com. Same goes for everybody else.
Although many certification tests include general situations like Solve this real-world problem, they are hampered by the final exam syndrome: The certification candidate spent a couple of nights frantically reading the books, and the material sits eager to jump on his brain lobes. Of course, given a couple of weeks, he has forgotten most of it and confused the rest. No, I don't have hard data to back this up except for my experience - But I have some experience at least. Oh, and of course: This people can quote from memory in inverse alphabetical order each of the command-line options to ls, but might be unable to spit up a clever shell pipeline without sketching it in paper and thinking it over for some minutes.
What will this mean for most of Debconf's target audience? Well, just what Ganneff and Madduck said: Take the test if you want to get a new job more easily - but you should have more confidence in yourself.
Just as a final note: Whenever I've interviewed people to work with me or for people that trust me, from all of the received curricula, I start by throwing out every curriculum that has the certifications earned in a prominent place. People who give too much weight to certifications IMHO tends to be worthless to work with.
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09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 05/03/2007 - 10:48
This looks like random blabbering, right? A very specific random blabbering that has somehow appeared in blogs of at least tens (if not hundreds, maybe even more) blogs of techies all over the place. What is it?
For the more tech-friendly readers, it has some resemlance to a number - a long number, a 32128 bit one. And for those of you who are not Computer Science minded, you might actually prefer to see it as a simple base-10 (that means, decimal system) number: 13'256,278'887,989'457,651'018,865'901,401'704,640. I don't know how to spell it in English, but I do in Spanish (why? Because we have this difference: In Spanish, a billion is a million millions, and a trillion is a million billions - unlike English, where a billion is a thousand millions and a trillion is a thousand billions). So, lets do the excercise in Spanish:
Trece sextillones, doscientos cinuenta y seis mil doscientos setenta y ocho quintillones, ochocientos ochenta y siete mil novecientos ochenta y nueve cuatrillones, cuatrocientos cincuenta y siete mil seiscientos cincuenta y un trillones, dieciochomil ochocientos sesenta y cinco billones, novecientos un mil cuatrocientos un millones, setecientos cuatromil seiscientos cuarenta
Hah! I guess my fifth-grade teacher would be quite proud of me!
Now, I hereby pronounce my transcription of this utterly long and basically random-generated number into the beautiful Spanish language copyrighted by me, and publicly available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License, as it is a very valuable and hard literary work.
But, really, what is it? Well, this mindboggingly long number is the key with which most HD-DVD movies processed so far is encrypted with. Of course, the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) does not want this (again, randomly generated) number to be out there in the wild, so they say the number is copyrighted by them - This does not hold up, as it has been widely shown before (i.e. Intel dropped its 286/386/486 numbering scheme because a number is not copyrightable or trademarkable - and AMD was perfectly able to legally sell 386/486 chips). So, I have put more work into this number than what they have. I deserve the credit - the transcription is mine. Use it freely.
Oh, and of course, some more examples:[update]: Yes, sorry, I was counting with half of my brain shut down and the other half brain trying to fetch some coffeine, or something like that. It's a 128 bit number, not 32!
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Init followup

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 04/17/2007 - 14:03
First of all, sorry for the delay. Leaving just as the discussion gets started is bad, yes... But I'm only now reading Erich's and Sven's follow-ups. Both (as well as some comments in my blog) ask why not integrating the startup links in each of the packages - Well, basically because I don't think that most maintainers will take care to do this, and we will end up having a situation very close to what we have today: If I'm not interested in supporting your favorite init system in my packages, I just won't bother to make the scripts.
Note: I'm going into braindump mode. Verbose blabber and some stupidity might follow ;-)
Think on the webapp scene - Most webapps ship with an Apache-like snippet so that http://yourserver/thisapp just works(tm). I love that, and it's one of the little details that make Debian shine - Things usually work with the least administrator burden possible. But it happens that there are other web servers around there - They just become somehow second class citizens (I happen to sponsor/comaintain Cherokee, for instance), as nobody cares to include the equivalent snippets for them. Apache is the standard, and is good enough.
The same goes for sysv-rc: It just rules the world. Who will work all the needed patches to support all the different init systems? As the maintainer for a simple package which requires to be started up, I probably won't care to even understand all the intimacies of every init system, at least until they all have a decent user base. But by having one package per (server,init-scheme) pair, any maintainer can come up with the needed initialization.
Of course, this degrades quickly. First of all, as a user: if mydaemon is not correctly starting up, I will probably file bugs at mydaemon, not at mydaemon-initscheme. If mydaemon changes its parameters, we will witness transition of mydaemon-*.
Further, remember this is Debian, and volunteer-work has its downsides. If the mydaemon maintainer is a primadonna (or just does not give a flying crap about the runit init scheme), he will just trash reports regarding a nonimportant init scheme. Bad. And, as Erich points out, we have ~1000 packages including /etc/init.d/something - It will mean 3000 or so packages for a decent (not complete!) coverage of the different schemes. And, of course, a very uncoordinated way of working. But back to my line of thought: If I'm promoting an init scheme, I cannot just push it down each maintainer's throat. I must include at least the most important init scripts somewhere. Maybe we could just group daemons by task, and then have -say- a webservers-runit package providing the init scripts for each webserver for runit? This could cut down from 3000 to some 100 packages, most probably team-maintained... But it still faces many scalability problems, and the bug-filled-somewhere-else problem seems unavoidable.
I think something interesting could come off Sven's idea of providing several independent scripts instead of today's complete init scripts - This would make it easier to adapt startup/shutdown and similar events to different world views, and if not specifically needed, most init scripts could even be autogenerated calling the right bits here and there. That would rock - except in the corner cases (I predict no less than 10% of the packages will become corner cases ;-) ) where it will crumble apart. But maybe if a package declares it should be autostarted and provides the separate bits, the sysv-rc, upstart or runit helper can come up with an autobuilt initscript (or equivalent) - And if it does not work, it can always be overriden by a maintainer- (or user-) supplied, explicitly built script. Humh...
The topic surely calls for a Debcamp session, as Joachim says in comments in two of our posts and Erich acknowledges. Erich, as the main instigator of this blog series, I hope you can at least join via Ekiga or such, as it can be quite interesting - But, yes, none of the people involved so far participates in any of the inits' maintenance... Anyway, please keep the ideas flowing. I want to sketch something up, as I feel this can be useful - and not only for initscripts, but for many of the areas where Debian provides several ways to do the same thing. And, once again, that's one of the best points of Debian for me.

Version 3.14 of the CoPL released

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 04/07/2007 - 09:39
As I've posted before, I recently read Lawrence Rosen's Open Source Licensing Software Freedom and Intellectual Property Law. And I'm sure many of you will recognize the enormous constructive value of early-morning cavilations. Well, today I woke up thinking about strengths and weaknesses in th different Free Software licenses, and I decided to add my grain to the world of license proliferation. So, here goes version 3.14 of the CoPL. I wonder how long will it take before it reaches /usr/share/common-licenses on Debian systems ;-)

This is version 3.14 of the Confusing Public License (referred to from
now on as "CoPL"). Copyright (c) 2007 Transnational
Republic. Additional copies of this license can be purchased at no
cost from any Transnational Republic citizen at any of its recognized
outposts, or freely copied. 

Any legal claims regarding Original works or any of their Standard
versions licensed under the CoPL Should not abide by and be carried
out according to the current law of the Transnational Republic. The
Original author to pay for any attorney and other legal fees of any
dispute regarding said Original author.

This license text is designed to protect all the Technology covered
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2007 DPL vote

Submitted by gwolf on Tue, 03/27/2007 - 17:17
As I have stated here long ago, I do not really believe in the Debian Project Leader. Yes, it has an importance. Yes, it's not merely a decoration figure. But I do doubt it can really make much of a difference. I don't hold exactly the point of view I held back then, but it's still quite close ;-) Anyway...
[ 1 ] Choice 1: Wouter Verhelst
[ 7 ] Choice 2: Aigars Mahinovs
[ 3 ] Choice 3: Gustavo Franco
[ 2 ] Choice 4: Sam Hocevar
[ 4 ] Choice 5: Steve McIntyre
[ 4 ] Choice 6: Raphaël Hertzog
[ 5 ] Choice 7: Anthony Towns
[ 3 ] Choice 8: Simon Richter
[ 6 ] Choice 9: None Of The Above
As it's not a post I strongly believe in, with that many proposals in play, I cannot say I thoroughly reviewed each of the platforms/rebuttals/debate (I did follow them all, of course). I agree with most of what most of them propose (Sorry, Aigars, but I don't agree with you a bit ;-) ). One thing is, yes, worth noting: During the dunc-tank brouhaha, I spoke very little, but was mostly supportive of AJ's pushing a real new proposal. Why am I ranking lowish AJ, Raphaël and Steve (who were, after all, in there)? Because I did really appreciate AJ having the guts of pushing, of being brave enough to go into uncalm territories trying to change Debian. Is that the change I want? No, I don't really think so, so I'm not voting him (or Steve, as the 2IC, or Raphaël, as one of the board members) very high. And yes, one of the reasons I'm ranking Wouter first is his tendency not to be too passionate in flamefests. And, of course, not having much of a platform - Having an overly ambitious platform which would change the conception of Debian both towards the inside and towards the outside is completely unrealistic. And that's one of Aigars' cardinal sins :)
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Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 02/26/2007 - 20:39
It is no news that Richard Stallman spent some days recently in Cuba, and not precisely on vacation - He was quite active. But no, not only on politics: Also artistically. Yes, I do think he has to work a bit on his voice, but... Guantanamero surely deserves being listened to. Good Cuban musicians and all. Oh, and of course: The credits. Thanks to Maykel Moya for the links.
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