Familar poetry

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 11/26/2008 - 14:02

I love it when a lack-of-humor and lack-of-appropriateness-originated flamewar causes somebody to point me towards a very nice display of intelligent humor. Specially when it is so close to me, to my roots, to my family and my personal history. FWIW, for several years, while I was a BBS user, I used WereWolf as my nickname. Great thanks to Frank Küster - and, of course, to Christian Morgenstern.

The Werewolf - English translation by Alexander Gross

A Werewolf, troubled by his name,
Left wife and brood one night and came
To a hidden graveyard to enlist
The aid of a long-dead philologist.

"Oh sage, wake up, please don't berate me,"
He howled sadly, "Just conjugate me."
The seer arose a bit unsteady
Yawned twice, wheezed once, and then was ready.

"Well, 'Werewolf' is your plural past,
While 'Waswolf' is singularly cast:
There's 'Amwolf' too, the present tense,
And 'Iswolf,' 'Arewolf' in this same sense."

"I know that--I'm no mental cripple--
The future form and participle
Are what I crave," the beast replied.
The scholar paused--again he tried:

"A 'Will-be-wolf?' It's just too long:
'Shall-be-wolf?' 'Has-been-wolf?' Utterly wrong!
Such words are wounds beyond all suture--
I'm sorry, but you have no future."

The Werewolf knew better--his sons still slept
At home, and homewards now he crept,
Happy, humble, without apology
For such folly of philology.

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It's just a different mindset. Not necessarily a _sane_ one, though...

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/24/2008 - 14:18

Wouter insists that Ruby Gems are enough of an argument to keep Rails at a distance. Even though I agree with the basic claim and think that Gems are basically insane and sick, this should be taken a bit more under perspective.
We are blessed. We are blessed to have Debian, such a rich OS with such a great package management system, and with superb integration between so many packages. Blessed are also the users of most Free Software based distributions, as they share the advantages of systems growing with full consciousness of their interaction's benefits. However, integration with the rest of the world is not seamless.
Most scripting languages have their own infrastructure for managing the modules/libraries/pacakges/whatevers dependencies. Perl has CPAN, PHP has PEAR, Ruby has Gems... I do see Gems as the most obnoxious of them all, but the basics are the same.
The Rails crowd started being Unix-centric, but the Windows (and MacOS - they are no better, believe me, at least in this regard) world has exerted its pressure. Gems caters very well to their needs, but we do suffer the integration at the distro side.
The only sane way the propietary-minded people have managed to stay clear of the well known "DLL hell" is to ship everything a given program requires bundled together - that's the main reason for the bloat of lots of applications, and for the sloppiness of security support. Every application packager is responsible for shipping updated versions to any library it bundles in, except for the very basic core that the OS itself provides. That seems so annoyingly backwards to us that... it is unbelievable.
So, yes, Rails application trees often include Rails itself. For $DEITY sake, even I have grown used to working that way, as things tend to break under your nose otherwise. My proposal (which we talked over at DebConf, but have not pushed so far) is to support simultaneous versions of Rails installed in a Debian system (of course, via different packages), more or less in the way that simultaneous versions of Ruby, PHP or Python (and, in some limited fashion, Perl - Although Perl does not suffer from this incompatible bumps. Yay for Perl!) can be installed.
...And, yes, together with the pkg-ruby-extras team, I have been trying to -slowly, yes- package whatever modules we often use so they don't have to be included in Rails applications.
So far, the best way (although by far not optimal) I have found to limit this explosion of trees is to include most libraries in my Rails application trees as git submodule trees - If they are not explicitly downloaded, the systemwide libraries will be used.
Yes, the "ship the whole thing as a bundle" approach is quite annoying. However, at least I must acknowledge that it works better than the approach I took with previous (mod_perl-based) webapps I wrote... As relatively few people grok mod_perl, I ended up with quite some apps which were not installed by anybody but me. Rails is obnoxious... but seems to be parsable by the humanity at large.

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You insensitive clods. s/lo/ol/

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/24/2008 - 08:12

It's sad that today in Planet Debian we have hit an Eurocentric geographically discriminating meme. Particularly, one I'd love to take part of. Well, at least I can assure you we have reached the usual low temperature of 2 Celsius in Mexico City... As always, people say it's so cold that this year we _will_ get snow. And as always, I'm sure it's just wishful thinking ;-)
So, even with Marcelo's frozen Zócalo live again for this winter, I can only reinforce our tropical paradise stereotypes by reminding you that this is less than 500Km away from home - All year 'round:

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Remember, remember, the 20th of November...

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 11/20/2008 - 22:35

This might be a good message to write in Spanish... But then again, a long time ago I decided this is an English-posting site. So be it, I'll only have to give more background information.
This day marks the date when, 98 years ago, Francisco I. Madero started the Mexican Revolution - About a decade of unrest, civil war and ideologies. The revolution is what created the violent, uncivil image of the Mexican, which accompanied us for long years in many foreigners' minds. The revolution brought to an end 30 years of a single-man rule, the Porfiriato. But that's only the major symptom - The Revolution had many, many other consequences. About one million (out of a 10 million population) people died. There was a very significative rearrangement of the society, a rearrangement that took about half a century to settle. But I won't write more background - You can always ask the wikipedia about our Revolution.
The reason I am posting this is that, as it usually happens in this time of year, several so-called analysts in the media have started asking, was the Revolution really worth it? Did it change anything at all? Did the Revolution in the end win, or was it defeated from within? Should we still celebrate it?
And there are, yes, reasons to doubt it. Renato Leduc, at the same time a great journalist and a delicious poet, says it as many - while at the same time, as nobody else: Tiempos en que era Dios omnipotente / y el señor Don Porfirio presidente / Tiempos, ¡ay! tan iguales al presente, or ya se están muriendo todos / ¡Jesús qué desilusión...! / se está volviendo gobierno / ¡Ay dios...! La revolución.
Anyway... Our media overlords insist on us forgetting the struggles and the real changes that came from them, on rewriting the history... Probably they will push us later on to have the cristeros as the real fathers of the Nation?
Even if so many bits of reality didn't change after Porfirio Diaz's regime fell in 1910, I find it insulting to think that even 70 years of PRI -with very sharp differences between periods, with huge differences between the PRI-born governments- are comparable to 30 years of a one-man rule; even with brutal repressions such as the dirty war against so many subversive movements in the 50s-80s (as officially There Was No Armed Struggle Anymore, just some pesky communist subversives), it cannot be compared to the Porfirian Peace (ask Cananea and Río Blanco). Today we might have a shameful concentration of money and power in very few hands (including the world's richest man), but it certainly does not reach the point of 1910 where most of the Mexican soil was owned by less than 30 families, with latifundios as big as many states...
Anyway - So far, nothing new - just bits I heard here and there, and my reactions to them. But this morning, around 8:25, I tuned in to Noticias IMER, the news program of one of the few public, non-gubernamental, independent radio stations. An interview was under way, but I could not get the interviewed person's name (I guess, a historian - will write to ask for his data). His comments were very interesting, and very worth echoing. I'll try not to distort him.
The Revolution started off very organized, and with a very simple goal: Get Porfirio Diaz out, and call for real federal elections. Sufragio efectivo, no reelección. Of course, the fight was very short, and Madero became the president, with an overwhelming majority. Of course, also, the reactionary sectors set up a coup and killed Madero. Victoriano Huerta seized the power - and that's where the real revolution really began. Groups all over the country (some of which were at unrest since Madero, as they were not seeing the changes they needed - changes that would bring an end to the huge class differences and disrespect to the native Mexican population) rose in arms, and forced Huerta into exile. Then, they battled each other for many more years. It became known as la bola - When somebody joined the revolutionary forces, people said he went to fight with the crowd. But, inside the crowd, there were very different points of view. No, Carranza, Villa and Zapata (the foremost leaders in the hardest part of the fight) were not power-hungry barbarians - much to the contrary. They had very full, very complex views of the problem and possible solutions. I won't delve much into them, also, as I'm not an expert...
Villa and Zapata had the most compatible approaches, seeking an aggresive land redistribution, a communal property system (closest to most of the indigenous population's roots, what we would now call usos y costumbres). For the government, both favored going towards a Europe-like parliamentary system, where the parliament were the real force, and the president (or prime minister or whatever) would only be the designated person to implement the parliament's decision. Both Villa and Zapata feared the evil stemming from the unlimited power that the Presidential Chair symbolized (Fui soldado de Francisco Villa / de aquel hombre de fama mundial, / que aunque estuvo sentado en la silla / no envidiaba la presidencial). They met at the Aguascalientes convention, and were quite close to each other - but were defeated by the superior Venustiano Carranza (Constitucionalista) army.
Carranza, although vilified for his corruption (nowadays, carrancear is still a synonim for stealing), had an opposite view - also originating from a very deep analysis. Carranza saw that what brought down Madero was, in the end, the lack of power of the President to rule the country without support from the legislative power. So, he pushed a political program making the President the strongest man in Mexico. He and his people wrote and passed the 1917 Constitution, valid today. This constitution goes to great lengths pushing revolutionary ideals - Land and wealth redistribution, universal and free education, keeps a complete separation between state and church, ensures state control over strategic areas... The 1917 constitution is one of our history's greatest achievements.
But, of course, it is not perfect - it paved the way for a hegemonic party controlling the real power behind it all. PRI started as a very heterogeneous mixture of the whole revolutionary family, but slowly became a bureaucratic, stagnated monolith.
And in a somehow ironic twist of destiny, the forces that today push for deepest changes, and precisely in the same direction that Villa and Zapata wished, are... Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) and Frente Popular Francisco Villa (FPFV). EZLN is far more successful and advanced in its social experiment. Again, I won't comment further in what I don't really understand.
As a last point, the commenter I'm quoting (and whose name I must get, to update this post!), said that practically in every country that has transited from any sort of dictatorship towards a more-or-less believable democracy (say, everywhere in South America, or Spain, or Eastern Europe, or...), one of the first steps has been to update or replace the constitution with a new one, preventing the mistakes overlooked by the previous one from being reinstated. In our country, we have long heard about the "Reforma del Estado", a very nice-sounding-term which nobody believes in. After the 2006 electoral mess (no matter who won in the end, everybody will agree it was a mess that should be prevented from happening again, we had high hopes of real changes being introduced. A parliamentary, or at least semi-presidentialist regime was strongly suggested as a way forward. Changing the electoral system towards having second-rounds if needed. _anything!_ But no, we were stuck with... The same as always.
So, did the Revolution win or lose? It is clear to me. It won, and it really shaped -for better- what would happen in the next 100 years. However, in a century, we have been able to twist the law to make it turn against itself. I have to agree with my EZLN-minded friends (I sympathize with EZLN's general goals, but don't think its way forward is the right way to go): Pushing the change from within the government is just wishful thinking, but a strong delusion. However, is there a way to push our country forward without repeating a violent cycle? I really hope so. Our current situation is simply pathetic.
I lack a good closing for this post... So I'll let good old Jefe Pluma Blanca, Renato Leduc, do it for me.
Tiempos de Pancho Villa
y de la guerra de mentadas y tiros en la sierra.
Tiempos de fe
no en Dios sino en la tierra

Por el cerro de la Pila
fueron entrando a Torreón
mi general Pancho Villa
y atrás la revolución...
¡Ay jijos...! ya se nos hizo
cuánto diablo bigotón...

Ya viene Toribio Ortega
subiendo y bajando cerros
y no te enredes ni engañes
que ahí anda Pablito Seáñez
haciendo ladrar los perros.

¡Cuánto usurero barbón...!
¡Ay jijos... cómo les vuela
de la levita el faldón...!
¡Ay jijos... ya se nos hizo:
triunfó la revolución...!

Tenemos camino andado...
No hay que juntarse con rotos
siempre te juegan traición
ya Madero está vengado
ya murió la usurpación.

En su caballo retinto
llegó Emiliano Zapata
bonita su silla charra
y sus botones de plata
pero mucho más bonito
su famoso Plan de Ayala...

Este gallo es de navaja
y no es gallo de espolón
si quieres tierra trabaja
trabaja no seas huevón...

Ya llegó don Venustiano
con sus anteojos oscuros
y Villa y Zapata gritan:
No sé que tengo en los ojos...
porque ya en Pablo González
se vislumbra la traición
¡Ay reata no te revientes
que es el último jalón...!

ya se están muriendo todos
¡Jesús qué desilusión...!
se está volviendo gobierno
¡Ay dios...! La revolución.

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4ª Rodada Nacional Tri-Estatal México-Pachuca

Submitted by gwolf on Mon, 11/10/2008 - 12:48
4ª Rodada Nacional Tri-Estatal México-Pachuca

Yesterday I took part of the fourth inter-state bike ride, requesting the construction of proper and safe cycling ways. Tens of Mexican bike-rider organizations were part of the organization, althought the effort is basically grouped under the Ciclopistas y Ciclovías Interestatales project - For further details on the route we took, you can look at the México-Pachuca road map, although it was not followed literally.
I am very happy I decided to take part of this - I went with Adrián, but after the first rest/grouping we lost track of each other, and decided the best would be for each to go at his own pace. He managed to do the 95Km ride, I decided to stop at about 85 (I set my target to the first houses of Pachuca, so I could say I arrived ;-) ) and took a ride from the barredoras that were trailing us. Still, 85Km in about six hours (including the two rests) are well over what I expected to endure. And although the conditions were not ideal (i.e. there was some re-pavement jobs in a large portion between Tizayuca and Pachuca, which led to poor road conditions in some areas, and the dry, horrid smell of tar in others; we cycled along the vehicles in the very busy highway, so we didn't exactly get a dose of clean air), it was great. And I thought each of my muscles would hurt like hell today, but no, they are just feeling lazy ;-)
The GPS tracking on Nokia SportsTracker, The GPS tracking on OpenStreetMap

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How (and how not) to create cyclist awareness

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 10/31/2008 - 17:46

Michael blogs about Critical Mass.
What is Critical Mass in case you are too lazy to go to Michael's or to the Wikipedia? A cyclist-awareness movement, showing how bikers are safer (i.e. more visible) when there are more of them. The (dis)organizational nature of this movement (at least according to Wikipedia's information) seems quite fun and interesting.
However, I have to oppose what Michael says is a strong point of CM in Austria - At least, given my country's culture.
People who don't bike often say we have the least bike-aware culture, and that this city must be like hell to cyclists. It is not - Mexicans tend to believe this is the worst place possible on many accounts, and I'm happy to prove the contrary. I do feel that bringing people out to the streets, as our local government's Muévete en bici program pushes, is completely right: It shows people how fast they can move in real streets in the city, taking away the fear of being run over by a bus, and people will gradually understand we can all excercise the right to use the streets without polluting, and gives us a better idea on how to behave with traffic (even if the traffic is made of fellow bikers) around us. I know this program works - At least, because it worked on me. Whenever possible, I go everywhere in this (not small or friendly by any measure) city by bike.
Anyway - What criticism do I have for Michael's post? That he states they:

Bicycling ludicrously slowly for a good hour, we managed to claim some fairly busy streets while many people tried to get home by car.

IMHO, what we should be doing is to demand the drivers to respect us, not to make them want to run us over. They should not be driven into hating bikers because of the chaos they generate - It is terrible to sit in a car for two hours when you usually take 30 minutes. There is simply no justification for that.
When I took part of the World Naked Bike Ride, some people wanted to take all four lanes of Reforma. Fortunately, reason prevailed, and we took only the lane we were assigned. And we should keep that in mind! Whenever possible, we should protest and make ourselves heard, but without interfering, without damaging, other people's lives!
Oh, by the way: If anybody in Mexico wants to have some nice hours of healthy fun: I am still pondering whether to join, as it is a huge effort, but I am very inclined to do so. Next week, November 9, we will go by bike from Mexico City's Zócalo to Pachuca. We face 95Km and close to four hours. The road to Pachuca is basically flat, and going in a large group is a great experience. Hope to see you there!

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SSH visual host keys

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 10/30/2008 - 18:14

Via Kees Cook (and sorry for the reiteration for people following along Planet Debian, thanks to Caspar Clemens: Recent (>= 5.1) versions of OpenSSH (found at least in Debian Lenny and Ubuntu Intrepid), have the VisualHostKey option. What does it do?

$ ssh -o VisualHostKey=yes
Host key fingerprint is db:7a:d8:a8:2e:41:a2:e5:51:e1:7f:d0:73:bd:85:bf
+--[ RSA 2048]----+
|    ..           |
|   ..  .   . .   |
|   .. . o . o .  |
|  + .. . o   +   |
| + +  . S   . .  |
|. . .  . o     . |
|     .  .+.   E  |
|    .   o.o      |
|     oo...       |

Linux respaldos.local.iiec 2.6.26-1-vserver-amd64 #1 SMP Wed Oct 1 13:08:10 UTC 2008 x86_64

What does this mean? This ASCII-art graph represents your host's public key, which uniquely identifies (or at least, it better damn should uniquely identify!) it. This representation was added mainly because it is way easier to be able to visually record the shape of your most frequently used hosts' IDs than their fingerprint. If you connect from a foreign or untrusted machine (i.e. one that does not yet know your host's identity), make sure to run with this switch - it will protect you from somebody supplanting your server's identity.
Besides, it adds to the general kewlness factor, doesn't it? ;-)
To enable this behaviour by default, add the following to your /etc/ssh/ssh_config (or to your personal .ssh/config):

Host * 
  VisualHostKey yes

Now... What about publishing the list of the 32767 known-bad SSH keys? That'd make for a nice ASCII-art exhibit :-}

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Free Software and the Democratic Construction of the Society

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 10/24/2008 - 23:52

Last Wednesday I went for the first time in many years to FES Iztacala, the UNAM faculty where I worked for four years (1999-2003) and where I have most learnt and advanced in my career so far. I have a very special spot in my heart for Iztacala :-)
But it was not just a nostalgy drive - In no small part, I had not visited Iztacala -despite several invitations- because... It is really far away, in Tlalnepantla, Northern Mexico City (while I live in the South, just by UNAM). It takes me approximately 1.5 hours to get there via public transportation, and I would not venture less than 1 hour travel time by car. So... Having nothing to lose, I decided to go by bike - you can look at my route to get there (OpenStreetMap, SportsTracker) and safely back home (OpenStreetMap, SportsTracker). Some people I have talked with think it was a crazy thing to do - No, I don't feel that, by a long shot. A 26Km ride in slightly under two hours, and back. People insist on thinking that biking in such a large and chaotic city as Mexico is unsafe, dangerous, suicidal... I deeply disagree. Cycling is fun and got me to my destination in almost the same time I would have made by bus. And no, I would not buy four liters of gasoline just to cross my city.
Anyway, I am also happy about the reason that actually got me to go to Iztacala - I submitted a talk+paper I prepared together with Alejandro Miranda to Congreso Internacional Software Libre y Democratización del Conocimiento organized by Universidad Politécnica Salesiana in Quito, Ecuador. This conference is quite different to those I am used to, as it is quite more formal and academic; it is mainly targetted at social scientists working on understanding our movement. We prepared a talk called Software Libre y la Construcción Democrática de la Sociedad - which was accepted, to my amazement.
Neither Alejandro nor I were unable to travel to Ecuador to give the talk, so we arranged to present it via a videoconference call - Which was based on Iztacala. A nice session, although quite different to what I am used to. Our presentation was on a panel setting, under the global Ethical and political dimensions in the Free Software culture, with 20 minutes to present the topic (I am used to preparing one- or two-hour talks), and it was frankly rushed... We "met" with some friends (or were able at least to greet them shortly after the talk) who attended live to the conference, and... Well, all in all, it was one of those good, interesting experiences I would surely repeat. And besides, I have several things pending to show off about my current work to my Iztacalan fellows ;-)

Acer Aspire One fan control

Submitted by gwolf on Sat, 10/04/2008 - 12:57

Almost a month ago, Mauro pointed towards acerfand, a daemon to keep the Acer Aspire One's fan quiet while not needed. Thanks, Mauro, you made my life more pleasant ;-)
Today I had some free time in my hands (of course, putting aside everything else I should be doing), so I decided to un-uglify my machine. I hate having random stuff in /usr/local! So I packaged Rachel Greenham's acerfand for Debian. It should hit unstable soon.
Of course, it will not make it to Lenny - which is a shame, giving how nicely Lenny recognizes everything in this sweet machine. So, I have set up a repository for it - Once the package is formally accepted in Debian, and once lenny-backports comes to life there, I will move it to backports.org. Anyway, you can add this to your /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://www.iiec.unam.mx/apt/ lenny acer
deb-src http://www.iiec.unam.mx/apt/ lenny acer

Note that in the future, this package might provide some more niceties... I decided to -at least for now- stash away acer_ec in /usr/share/acerfand, but it does open a nice window to the AAO's EC(?) registers... And could be useful for many other things.
[Update]: Following Matthew's comments, both on this blog post and on the ITP bug, I am not uploading acerfand to Debian. Still, I'm using the program and find it working fine, and quite useful. You can use it from my personal repository, as written above.

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Doublespeak, prior judgement and Soviet tactics: IMPI (Instituto Mexicano de Propiedad Intelectual)

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 10/01/2008 - 00:54

I just sent a letter to the very well-known national newspaper El Universal. At least I think I did, as their contact form is a sad excuse of unusability.
The reason I contacted them is the publication, over a week ago, of a note where they invite children to take part in a contest by IMPI towards fighting piracy. But not only they engage in doublespeak and prior judgement by further pushing the term piracy for an action that has nothing to do with it, they also expect children to denounce their parents and teachers if they engage in such a destructive activity. Think Josef Stalin for a while, and you will get the picture.
Anyway - This will not be the first letter sent on this topic, and I know most of my readers know and share my arguments. I am not translating it into English. But if you are a Spanish-speaker (or a Spanish-reader), you might find it interesting.
Please read my open letter to El Universal and to Jorge Amigo Castañeda, Director General del Instituto Mexicano de Propiedad Intelectual, and help me get it through to as much media as possible.
What is a pirate? Tired of being treated as a criminal for sharing music online? Digital Freedom

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Meme picture...

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 09/25/2008 - 10:38
Meme picture...

1. Take a picture of yourself right now.
2. Don't change your clothes, don't fix your hair...just take a picture
3. Post that picture with NO editing.
4. Post these instructions with your picture.

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FISOL, Tapachula / OpenStreetMap

Submitted by gwolf on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 12:49

I was invited to participate at Festival Internacional de Software Libre (FISOL), in Tapchula, Chiapas. The other invited speakers were Sandino Flores (tigrux), Alexandro Colorado (jza), Eric Herrera (crac), John Hall (maddog) and Fernando Romo (pop), all well-known due to very different contributions to the Free Software movement in Mexico and abroad. Several other people also presented tutorials, but I was not involved in that part, and mentioning one while not the rest would be unfair.
The conference was quite massive - Tapachula is a medium-sized city (~200,000 people) in Mexico's Southernmost point - Sadly, due to its geographical location, it is mainly famous for being the region where illegal immigrants from Central America enter Mexico towards the USA, and it is a known spot for all kind of abuses, both from the authorities and from gangs of thieves.
This is the third time I come to this conference. The first two years (2005, 2006) it was organized by the local CUCS university and it was reasonably large, but this year it counted also with many other universities in the region. Attendance was... HUGE. We were told around 1600 students were registered to participate, and I expect at least 1000 to have actually been there. Very amazing and encouraging!
It is, by far, a base-level conference - Most attendees had had no previous contact with Free Software at all, or had at most toyed around with a distro for some hours. Some people, of course, _are_ already working and involved, on various different degrees. All in all, quite encouraging.
But not only I had fun (and got extremely tired!) at the conference, or at the beer sessions afterwards. I also got to push some more publicity (and work, of course!) towards my new favorite pet project: OpenStreetMap.
As many other Debianers, I joined the fever last August, during Debconf. So far, I have been quite busy tracing and mapping; I am quite fortunate to get the OSM addiction while living on the edge of the well-mapped area of Mexico City. So far, I have mostly worked on the Ciudad Universitaria and Coyoacán areas, where some sensible improvement can be felt. Lots yet to do, for sure, but I'm making progress.
Still, mapping Coyoacán sometimes feels a bit futile. Why? Because all of my cycling/tracing/mapping sessions look almost like a little blip on the overall state of my city, which is way better than what I expected - Most of the central city is done (although lots of work is still pending on the very large outskirts - but getting there can be a trip just by itself!)...
But this time, I had the opportunity to do something new, something better and sensible. And, yes, it feels very good. How does the map of Tapachula look for just a weekend of mapping activity? And, yes, I only went out once (morning running) expressely to get some new traces, the rest of it was while being transported by car to the conference-related activities. And I didn't even have to say once "lets go by a different route"! ;-)
Just for comparison: Last week, Tapachula's state was quite similar to what they have today on Google Maps - Just the major highways in the area. Besides, if you look at the satellite map for Tapachula, I estimate I managed to map around between a fifth and a tenth of the city's surface.
So, have you got a GPS? Do you enjoy going out on the street, be it walking, running, cycling on driving? Or even if you don't enjoy it, are you sometimes forced into it? Start contributing to OpenStreetMap now!

Almost 0.5Mbugs

Submitted by gwolf on Thu, 09/18/2008 - 10:07

I was already used to regularly receiving Bubulle's bug 500000 contest reports. Lately, he has been busy pushing translators to get d-i in shape - But expect notices from him soon! Right now, we sit at 499416 bug reports so far registered in the Debian BTS. We are really close to the half megabug mark!

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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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Long time without biting... But the name is:

Submitted by gwolf on Fri, 09/12/2008 - 11:35

I stopped playing so-called memetic games a long time ago. But I liked this one - Thanks to Nicolás Valcarcel.
So, what are the current names?

aikoa (temporary name, /methinks)
Work desktop
Home server
cajita (yes, not very imaginative - it's a Mac Mini)
Main work server
Virtualization host
Work firewall

Other current machines have much less exciting names. Some of the older machines I have named (and with which I worked enough time to remember them) include shmate, lactop, conetontli, tepancuate, tlamantli... And many other long forgotten.
Oh, and... About a pattern? No, don't try to find it. Of course, if you do find it, I'd be delighted to know! :)

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