We started producing shows as Today with a Techie on 2005-09-19, 15 years, 7 months, 9 days ago. Our shows are produced by listeners like you and can be on any topic that "are of interest to hobbyists". If you listen to HPR then please consider contributing one show a year. If you record your show now it could be released in 18 days.
Part 1 of a miniseries on AI, ML, DL and other fun
Hosted by monochromec on 2021-04-22 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:Policitians, artificial intelligence, deep learning, convolutions.
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Series: Linux Inlaws | Comments (0)
In this episode, our two heroes explore the realm of artificial intelligence, paying special attention to deep learning (hoping that some
of the stuff may rub on them :-). In this first part of a three-part mini-series the chaps discuss the foundation including networks, neurons
and other topics of advanced black magic, carefully avoiding the temptations of introducing too much maths (we'll leave this to the Grumpy Old Coders :-).
If open source misses the point of free software philosophy, what point is free software missing?
Hosted by clacke on 2021-04-20 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-0 license. Tags:open source, free software, communal software, cooperative technology, politics, philosophy.
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Three good decades ago, Richard Stallman founded the free software movement and gave it a name.
Two good decades ago there was a fork and Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens and others founded the open
source software movement, and neglected to tell us who gave it a name.
(it was Christine Peterson)
Ever since then, the free software side of the two movements has been careful to guard the boundary
between the two, see Richard Stallman's essay "Open Source Misses the Point".
But lately a lot of people have increasingly been feeling that free software misses the point.
Ironically a lot of this has been coming from the open source side of things, as the official free
software philosophy has been firmly anchored with Stallman, and he hasn't been interested in moving
his philosophy in more inclusive directions.
For sure, there are a lot of people in free software who have been wanting to go in this direction
as well. I've been thinking of it as a "free software plus", as it builds on the free software
philosophy, but adds aspects of social responsibility. The fact that Stallman was forced to resign
from being Free Software Foundation president two years ago was a sign that people inside free
software cared about more than just the code and what freedoms it gives the recipient.
A month ago, if you are listening to this on April the 20th 2021,
a manifesto was published called "Towards A Communal Software Movement", and I'll get to
that in a minute. I mentioned the names of the drivers of the previous movements, but this author
has said "I intentionally left authors' names out of it", and I think that makes sense. Part of the
problems with previous movements has been this Great Man of History fallacy, which may have kept
them focused and on track, but it has also held them back.
The movement is young and has already changed names once as I was writing about it. The manifesto is
now "Towards A Cooperative Technology Movement", and I have updated the shownotes and my commentary
to reflect that.
I see the difference between free software and cooperative technology similarly as the difference
between open source and free software.
There are certainly people within open source and on the Open Source Initiative board that look
further than just the license, and treat open source like just another brand name for free software.
But at its core, the Open Source Definition is all about the licensing and that document is the
shared common ground for all open source. People write code for different reasons and there's a
license and contribution model that allow them to come together without those differences of purpose
getting too much in the way.
So if the software and the license is "what" we're building, the philosophical documents of free
software provide the guidance on "why" we are building it: We want to get away from proprietary
software, we want to control our own computing, we want the freedoms to use, learn, modify and
share, etc. Free software is about our freedoms.
So just like "free" is right there in the name, maybe the "community" in "communal software" or
the "cooperative" in "cooperative technology" is
all about the "who": Who gets the freedom, who has the influence, who is affected.
And again, lots of people in free software do care about community principles beyond code, care about
social responsibility, but the shared baseline is the care for formal, technical and individual user
freedom: If you receive the code, you are allowed the technical rights to update the code, the
code or license should not restrict your freedoms, you, the recipient of the software, the hacker,
the code contributor. It says nothing about practical user freedom and it says nothing about the
community beyond the immediate user.
That was my commentary. Now let's read the manifesto.
In response to the surprise, undemocratic reinstatement of Richard Stallman to the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation after his resignation in September 2019, the Free and Open Source Software movement is in the midst of a reckoning.
The authors of this document recognize and honor the contributions Richard Stallman has made to this movement while unequivocally condemning his harmful behavior which has pushed many capable, dedicated people away from the movement.
Regardless of what happens in the Free Software Foundation, we believe it is time to reflect on the shortcomings of our advocacy so we can grow into a more effective and inclusive movement for justice.
Towards this end, we believe the movement will benefit from new terminology to describe what we do and what we aim for.
Richard Stallman authored the free software definition in 1986.
This term has always created difficulties communicating the ideas behind it because of the different meanings of the word "free" in English.
Moreover, it is not the freedom of machines we are concerned with, but the freedom of humans.
In response to this and other issues, in 1998, the term open source was promoted using an adapted version of the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
The history of computing in the past 23 years have validated critiques that the term "open source" is insufficient for communicating the values behind it.
The term "open source" and the ecosystem of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is today used by powerful companies, governments, and other institutions to harm people on enormous scales through surveillance and violence.
These institutions use FOSS to minimize economic costs by benefitting from decades of work done by others, much of which was done by unpaid volunteers motivated by curiosity, passion, and the ideals of the FOSS movement.
We believe a significant reason for the failures of both "free software" and "open source" to prevent this cooptation is that the men who coined and initially promoted these terms did not and do not critique capitalism.
Richard Stallman has generally dodgedthequestion of whether free software is opposed to capitalism.
In the historical context of the United States in the 1980s, that may have been a wise decision.
But that was then, and now it is 2021.
The promoters of "open source" emphasize its compatibility with capitalism and go out of their way to distance "open source" from critiques of capitalism.
We believe we need to build on the FOSS movement with an explicitly anticapitalist political movement which proactively collaborates with other movements for justice.
We propose the term "cooperative technology" for this movement.
By "cooperative technology", we mean technology that is constructed by and for the people whose lives are affected by its use.
While this builds on the Free and Open Source Software movement, we aim to apply the same principles to hardware as well, although the criteria by which we evaluate hardware and software will of course not be identical.
It is not sufficient to narrowly focus on the people who directly interact with computers.
Cooperative software which is run on a server should not be controlled solely by the administrator of the server, but also by the people who interact with the server over a network.
Similarly, the data generated by the technology and the data which it requires to function should be in the control of the people who are affected by the technology.
Cooperative software that uses cameras should not be controlled solely by the people who own the cameras, but also the people who are observed by the cameras.
Cooperative electronic medical record systems should not be designed for the interests of insurance companies or hospital administrators, but for the interests of patients and the clinicians who directly use it.
We aim for a world in which all technology is cooperative technology and recognize that any amount of proprietary technology is in conflict with this goal.
As an anticapitalist movement, we recognize that any institution which motivates people to put money, power, or self-interest above the welfare of humans is in conflict with our goals.
Corporations are beholden to their shareholders who can hold the corporation legally liable for spending money in a way that is not intended to further enrich the shareholders.
Other capitalist forms of enterprise have similar problems, incentivizing the profit of an elite few over the impact their activities have on others.
We are not opposed to exchanges of money being involved in the creation or distribution of software or hardware.
However, we should carefully consider the motivational structures of the institutions which fund technology development.
Who benefits from the technology and who determines the priorities of its development and design?
These are questions we ask about technology whether money is involved or not.
It is in our interest to use safeguards to ensure that technology always remains controlled by the community which develops and uses it.
Copyleft is one such safeguard, but it is insufficient on its own to prevent cooptation of our movement.
Any cooperative technology project that receives funding from a for-profit enterprise must institute governance structures which prioritize community interests over profit in case there is a conflict between the two.
We oppose business models which are in conflict with community interests such as "open core"/proprietary relicensing.
Similarly, we are opposed to authoritarian and hierarchical governance structures of technology projects such as "benevolent dictators for life".
Cooperative technology is developed democratically; no single individual should have ultimate authority in cooperative projects.
While we recognize the need for leadership and private communication, discussions regarding cooperative technology should take place in public unless there is a specific reason for communications to be private.
Organizations which advocate for cooperative technology should likewise operate democratically and transparently.
We recognize that creating high quality technology requires much more than engineering skills.
Cooperative technology is not only for people who have the skills of writing code (unless the software is for writing code such as a compiler) nor the skills to design hardware.
Cooperative technology strives to be easy to use, including for people with disabilities, and acknowledges that this is best accomplished by continual dialog between engineers and users.
Providing such feedback is a valuable way to contribute to the construction of cooperative technology without needing engineering skills.
Ideally, the engineers of the technology should also be using it themselves.
Moreover, there are many ways to contribute to cooperative technology without programming skills such as imagining ideas for new features, reporting bugs, writing documentation, graphic design, translation, promotion, and financial support.
The purpose of this document is not to proclaim a legalistic set of criteria for determining what technology is cooperative and what technology is not.
History has demonstrated that this is not an effective political tactic for the reasons explained above.
The free software definition and the open source definition are useful criteria for evaluating copyright licenses for code, but an effective political movement cannot be so narrowly focused on legalistic and binary judgements of copyright licenses to judge whether certain technology aligns with our goals.
We believe the focus of the cooperative technology movement should be on the practical impacts that the use of technology has on humans and the universe we inhabit.
The scope of this extends beyond humans and must consider the environment around us.
Moreover, we believe it is counterproductive to have a small self-appointed group of privileged men determine what our movement's terminology, goals, and tactics are.
We encourage anyone interested in building a better world through technology to engage in discussions with your own communities about what you want "cooperative technology" to mean.
While we agree with the Ethical Software Movement that we must resist when our efforts are coopted for unjust purposes, we reject putting restrictions on the ways people may use software through copyright licenses as a wise tactic for achieving our goals.
The history of the Free and Open Source Software movement has shown that the proliferation of incompatible copyright licenses which prohibit software from being legally combined creates more obstacles than opportunities for our movement.
Any new copyright licenses for use with cooperative software must be written with this consideration in mind to intentionally avoid fracturing the software ecosystem.
Adopting incompatible copyright licenses for different software would make it easy for our adversaries to divide and suppress the movement.
Language is constructed collectively and is always evolving.
It is counterproductive to our movement to refuse to collaborate with people because they use the words "open source" or "free software" to describe their work.
They may even disagree with the entire premise of this document.
That does not mean we should not work together towards shared goals, but we should be conscious that our goals may not perfectly align and this may cause tension in our communities from time to time.
We invite anyone to collaborate with us who is interested in building a better world and treats us and others in our communities with dignity and respect.
This document is licensed under the CC0 license. Contributions are welcome on Codeberg. If you disagree with parts of this, feel free to fork it and say what you want to say.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia In September 2019, Richard Stallman resigned as president of the FSF and left his “visiting scientist” role at MIT after making controversial comments about Marvin Minsky’s alleged role in the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. Stallman remained head of the GNU Project nevertheless and, in 2021, he returned to the FSF board of directors.
Since the show was submitted both the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and Richard Stallman have released statements on the matter.
The voting members of the Free Software Foundation, which include the board of directors, voted to appoint Richard Stallman to a board seat after several months of thorough discussion and thoughtful deliberation.
We decided to bring RMS back because we missed his wisdom. His historical, legal and technical acumen on free software is unrivaled. He has a deep sensitivity to the ways that technologies can contribute to both the enhancement and the diminution of basic human rights. His global network of connections is invaluable. He remains the most articulate philosopher and an unquestionably dedicated advocate of freedom in computing.
RMS acknowledges that he has made mistakes. He has sincere regrets, especially at how anger toward him personally has negatively impacted the reputation and mission of FSF. While his personal style remains troubling for some, a majority of the board feel his behavior has moderated and believe that his thinking strengthens the work of the FSF in pursuit of its mission.
We take full responsibility for how badly we handled the news of his election to a board seat. We had planned a flow of information that was not executed in a timely manner or delivered in the proper sequence.
FSF staff should have been informed and consulted first. The announcement by RMS at LibrePlanet was a complete surprise to staff, all those who worked so hard to organize a great event, to LibrePlanet speakers and to the exhibitors. We had hoped for a more inclusive and thoughtful process and we apologize that this did not occur.
In his position on the board, RMS has the same responsibilities as other members. He is an unpaid volunteer and subject to the organization’s policies, including prohibitions against conflicts of interest and sexual harassment and those outlining whistleblower processes and fiduciary duties. The responsibilities of the board are described at https://www.fsf.org/about/the-role-of-the-fsfs-board-of-directors.
We believe his views will be critical to the FSF as we advance the mission and confront the challenges that software freedom faces.
In recent weeks, the board has committed to a series of changes related to organizational governance, including plans to adopt a transparent, formal process for identifying appropriate candidates to become new board members, future changes to the organization’s bylaws, and the addition of a staff representative to the board of directors.
Selected by FSF’s unionized staff, senior systems administrator Ian Kelling was elected to a newly created staff seat on the board of directors as a voting member on March 28.
The FSF board will continue to pursue additional ideas and actions designed to improve transparency and accountability.
There is still considerable work to be done. We recognize the need to attract a new generation of activists for software freedom and to grow the movement. We will report our discussions and activities to the community as we move forward.
As we work on these issues, let’s not forget the purpose of our movement, or the great work of our staff and all the good people of the free software community who are dedicated to users’ freedom.
Ever since my teenage years, I felt as if there were a filmy curtain separating me from other people my age. I understood the words of their conversations, but I could not grasp why they said what they did. Much later I realized that I didn’t understand the subtle cues that other people were responding to.
Later in life, I discovered that some people had negative reactions to my behavior, which I did not even know about. Tending to be direct and honest with my thoughts, I sometimes made others uncomfortable or even offended them – especially women. This was not a choice: I didn’t understand the problem enough to know which choices there were.
Sometimes I lost my temper because I didn’t have the social skills to avoid it. Some people could cope with this; others were hurt. I apologize to each of them. Please direct your criticism at me, not at the Free Software Foundation.
Occasionally I learned something about relationships and social skills, so over the years I’ve found ways to get better at these situations. When people help me understand an aspect of what went wrong, and that shows me a way of treating people better, I teach myself to recognize when I should act that way. I keep making this effort, and over time, I improve.
Some have described me as being “tone-deaf,” and that is fair. With my difficulty in understanding social cues, that tends to happen. For instance, I defended Professor Minsky on an M.I.T. mailing list after someone leaped to the conclusion that he was just guilty as Jeffrey Epstein. To my surprise, some thought my message defended Epstein. As I had stated previously, Epstein is a serial rapist, and rapists should be punished. I wish for his victims and those harmed by him to receive justice.
False accusations – real or imaginary, against me or against others – especially anger me. I knew Minsky only distantly, but seeing him unjustly accused made me spring to his defense. I would have done it for anyone. Police brutality makes me angry, but when the cops lie about their victims afterwards, that false accusation is the ultimate outrage for me. I condemn racism and sexism, including their systemic forms, so when people say I don’t, that hurts too.
It was right for me to talk about the injustice to Minsky, but it was tone-deaf that I didn’t acknowledge as context the injustice that Epstein did to women or the pain that caused.
I’ve learned something from this about how to be kind to people who have been hurt. In the future, that will help me be kind to people in other situations, which is what I hope to do.
The FSF board believes it is its responsibility – to free software community members, donors, movement organizations, and the general public – to be a model of good governance.
Good governance starts with the board of directors, which oversees the organization and is ultimately responsible for its success. The board’s role (and legal obligation) is to oversee the management of the organization and ensure that the organization fulfills its mission.
The board enables good management by overseeing the President and executive director, who in turn manages staff. The board’s oversight role includes decision-making, monitoring and leadership.
In its decision-making capacity, the board:
determines the mission and purposes of the FSF;
drives the FSF’s long-term strategy and goals;
formulates and regularly reviews significant corporate policies;
selects and evaluates the President, executive director and other officers, including determining compensation based on relevant data for the paid positions; and
creates and maintains effective succession plans for the FSF’s leadership positions.
In its monitoring capacity, the board:
evaluates how well the FSF is fulfilling its mission, values, goals, and vision, including evaluating relevant risks;
monitors the FSF’s financial performance and use of assets, including approving the annual budget;
conducts regular reviews of the FSF’s internal controls and financial reporting;
oversees compliance with legal obligations and organizational policies, such as those against conflicts of interest; and
discusses its own performance as the leading governing body.
In its leadership capacity, the board:
maintains the legal and ethical integrity of the organization;
enhances and protects the FSF’s public image;
advises and provides guidance to the President, executive director, and other officers, drawing on relevant board member expertise;
participates in fundraising to develop resources for a robust and strong organization;
recruits and orients new board members; and
works with the President and executive director to help communicate the FSF’s direction and activities to the public.
FSF board members are not compensated for their board service, and are not permitted to receive any personal financial benefit from FSF funds or other assets. Board members may be reimbursed for reasonable and appropriate expenses incurred in connection with their board service.
On Wednesday, the FSF board of directors committed to a series of changes related to organizational governance and the appointment of members to its board of directors:
We will adopt a transparent, formal process for identifying candidates and appointing new board members who are wise, capable, and committed to the FSF’s mission. We will establish ways for our supporters to contribute to the discussion.
We will require all existing board members to go through this process as soon as possible, in stages, to decide which of them remain on the board.
We will add a staff representative to the board of directors. The FSF staff will elect that person.
The directors will consult with legal counsel about changes to the organization’s by-laws to implement these changes. We have set ourselves a deadline of thirty days for making these changes.
The board will meet again Thursday, March 25, to consider further decisions.
Summary of actions from the board and voting member meetings of Thursday, March 25, 2021:
The voting members unanimously agreed to elect a union staff member, selected by the FSF union staff, to be a full voting member and director. The first such representative will be elected as soon as the staff chooses one. The FSF will adopt by-law changes to implement this as a requirement going forward.
The board of directors is soliciting proposals from qualified consultants to assist in creating a transparent, formal process for identifying candidates and appointing board members who are wise, capable, and committed to the FSF’s mission. The FSF intends to rewrite the by-laws in a way that binds the organization to transparency in its choice of directors. This process will establish ways for FSF associate members and supporters to meaningfully contribute to the discussion. The board is looking for proposals to be received by Friday, April 2, 2021. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Director Transparency Engagement” for details.
FSF president Geoffrey Knauth announced, “I commit myself to resign as an FSF officer, director, and voting member as soon as there is a clear path for new leadership assuring continuity of the FSF’s mission and compliance with fiduciary requirements.”
The board of directors will continue this work at its next meeting, scheduled for Sunday, March 28.
As the next step to implement the plan outlined in the board’s announcements last Wednesday and Friday to improve governance at the FSF, at today’s meeting we officially elected the staff’s selection for their newly created seats on the board of directors and voting members.
Union staff selected senior systems administrator Ian Kelling to be the first in this role. At the end of today’s board meeting, we officially welcomed Ian to both bodies. The board and voting members look forward to having the participation of the staff via this designated seat in our future deliberations. This is an important step in the FSF’s effort to recognize and support new leadership, to connect that leadership to the community, to improve transparency and accountability, and to build trust. There is still considerable work to be done, and that work will continue.
I have always known that the FSF has good and hard-working staff, but with the success of LibrePlanet 2021, and in talking with staff during the controversy that unfolded immediately afterward, I have no doubt it is essential to involve staff much more in decision-making and strategy discussions. The advice they have offered in the last week alone has been invaluable. I sincerely believe this step in improving FSF governance will lead to better outcomes going forward. In all my interactions with Ian so far, he has demonstrated abundant wisdom and intelligence.
Kat Walsh announced her resignation from the board of directors last week and it became effective at the end of our board meeting on Sunday, March 28, 2021. Kat has been a great help in discussing difficult issues over the years. We appreciate the expert knowledge and service she gave us and offer Kat our best wishes and sincere thanks.
The FSF board will meet again on Monday, March 29, 2021.
Hosted by Ken Fallon on 2021-04-16 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:Tesseract, OCR, optical character recognition.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tesseract is an optical character recognition engine for various operating systems. It is free software, released under the Apache License. Originally developed by Hewlett-Packard as proprietary software in the 1980s, it was released as open source in 2005 and development has been sponsored by Google since 2006.
In 2006, Tesseract was considered one of the most accurate open-source OCR engines then available.
$ tesseract -l eng english-page.jpg english
$ tesseract -l nld dutch-page.jpg dutch
My first HPR episode, introducing myself and sharing a bit about me
Hosted by Trey on 2021-04-15 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:Introduction.
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Inoffensive in every region of the world. Meeting me is a completely different story.
Name is Trey. I have been listening to HPR for about a year and after hearing repeated pleas for episodes, I thought I would record some of my own.
I cannot guarantee quality of production nor content, but I hope you find them entertaining.
This episode is simply an introduction with a little bit of information about me
My love of computers began 40 years ago when my parents scrimped and saved to purchase a Texas Instruments TI-99/4a computer. I began programming in BASIC, saving programs to audio cassette tapes. I remember buying magazines to get new programs to enter, save, edit, and turn into something different.
Soon I expanded the computer to include 32K of RAM and an RS232 card which allowed me to connect a 300 BAUD modem and connect to bulletin board systems (BBS). BBS became my connection to the world.
I later upgraded to a Commodore 64, which gave me a floppy disk. Much faster than saving to tape. I studied electronics & computers in college, then went to work for a large computer vendor, traveling all over fixing computers, networks, and peripherals.
After about a decade, I joined a different company where I worked in systems administration and engineering, with a focus on information security. I have worked as security analyst, incident responder, security engineer, and security architect, then built out and managed the SOC for a large organization.
Today, I am still focused on information security and I also dabble in clock repair, Ham radio, electronics, and photography. I may record some episodes on some of these topics in the future.
Thank you for listening to me prattle on about myself, and have an awesome day.
Hosted by ToeJet on 2021-04-14 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:zoom update,sysadmin automation.
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Series: Social Media | Comments (0)
Zoom does not provide a standard Fedora repo for updating. To get around that, this script will check the zoom fedora download link. If an update is found, it will download the new version, stop the current version from running, then install the updated package. All versions are downloaded to the same folder as the script. Filename is changed to match datestamp.
I leave my linux machine always running. I schedule this to run just after midnight. If no update, nothing happens. If zoom is not running when I unlock, I launch zoom as normal.
We had some issues with getting Mumble to work, for reasons we couldn’t quite fathom. Both ends needed to be restarted several times until all worked properly.
We recorded this on Sunday March 7th 2021. The last time we set up a chat like this was back in August 2020, surprisingly!
Note on the title: the term the doldrums refers to a belt around the equator where sailing ships used to be becalmed due to the lack of wind. It also means a state of inactivity or stagnation, or a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.
Planning for pandemics
Years ago parents used to let children catch chickenpox when it was known somebody had it (pox party).
Cooked a fancy vegetarian meal twice! On Boxing Day and New Years Day. Second time was a joint effort. Getting everything coordinated is easier when there are several contributors!
Had long break because like many I hadn’t taken many holidays
Spent first part of holiday upgrading devices around the house
I had a nice relaxing break and spent Christmas with my mother, she lives on her own.
Visit to the dentist was interesting, wondering how they were going to cope with aerosol spray from the drill. The answer was they didn’t. Rough edge smoothed, they told me they will contact me when things settle down and said I was right to get it checked. If any pain or further break then will be moved into a different category where they do use drill with full PPE.
Probably getting second in late April or early May; not heard yet
Still avoiding going out for the moment
The deleterious effects of the lock down; trying to walk on a regular basis to counteract these and get exercise
Meeting up with the rest of the family several times per week for dinner, etc.
Horizon things we now know about COVID
Don’t know how long the vaccine protects against virus spreading but likely to protect against serious illness for a good long time.
12 weeks between jabs: 2nd jab does not provoke a stronger response; it’s that the 1st jab produces good responses and poor responses but by waiting 12 weeks for the 2nd jab it only provokes the good responses.
Think the UK has among the worst death rate in Europe
Like Dave continuing to avoid the virus as before.
Seems to be getting more difficult coping with lock down
Haven’t been into work since last November, working from home
Home working, clutter, stress, not taking enough breaks
Glad I didn’t need to drive during all the bad weather
Think I heard on a podcast recently that Linux use had dropped by 50%, could this be linked to people working from home. I would say this is true for myself
Except for me all immediate family have been vaccinated
Way to stay positive tip from something Mrs X read
Three things at the end of each day that were a highlight or something that we are grateful for.
This may say something about my personality but for me the highlights often relate to food.
Can’t go outside our own region.
Weather in & around Edinburgh:
Some snow in the past few months. More than Edinburgh tends to have.
Methods of clearing snow on driveways. Snow shovels - mainly plastic unfortunately.
Thoughts about making a home-made shovel out of metal for durability.
This text to speech article requires listener discretion.
Hosted by Anonymous Host on 2021-04-12 is flagged as Explicit and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:Bradley M. Kuhn, Richard M. Stallman, RMS, FSF, Free Software Foundation.
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Warning This show contains information that may not be suitable for all. Listener discretion is advised.
Recently Richard M. Stallman, announced that he has rejoined the Free Software Foundation’s board of directors. An open letter on github called for him to be removed again, and for the FSF’s entire board to resign.
When he resigned in 2019, Bradley M. Kuhn (from the Free as in Freedom podcast) wrote an article titled "On Recent Controversial Events" about the issue. I am submitting that article here under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. The post contains many links and is available in the shownotes for this show. Some examples are included at the end of the blog post, and listener discretion is advised.
The last 33 days have been unprecedentedly difficult for the software freedom community and for me personally. Folks have been emailing, phoning, texting, tagging me on social media (— the last of which has been funny, because all my social media accounts are placeholder accounts). But, just about everyone has urged me to comment on the serious issues that the software freedom community now faces. Until now, I have stayed silent regarding all these current topics: from Richard M. Stallman (RMS)’s public statements, to his resignation from the Free Software Foundation (FSF), to the Epstein scandal and its connection to MIT. I’ve also avoided generally commenting on software freedom organizational governance during this period. I did this for good reason, which is explained below. However, in this blog post, I now share my primary comments on the matters that seem to currently be of the utmost attention of the Open Source and Free Software communities.
I have been silent the last month because, until two days ago, I was an at-large member of FSF’s Board of Directors, and a Voting Member of the FSF. As a member of FSF’s two leadership bodies, I was abiding by a reasonable request from the FSF management and my duty to the organization. Specifically, the FSF asked that all communication during the crisis comedirectly from FSF officers and not from at-large directors and/or Voting Members. Furthermore, the FSF management asked all Directors and Voting Members to remain silent on this entire matter — even on issues only tangentially related to the current situation, and even when speaking in our own capacity (e.g., on our own blogs like this one). The FSF is an important organization, and I take any request from the FSF seriously — so I abided fully with their request.
The situation was further complicated because folks at my employer, Software Freedom Conservancy (where I also serve on the Board of Directors) had strong opinions about this matter as well. Fortunately, the FSF and Conservancy both had already created clear protocols for what I should do if ever there was a disagreement or divergence of views between Conservancy and FSF. I therefore was recused fully from the planning, drafting, and timing of Conservancy’s statement on this matter. I thank my colleagues at the Conservancy for working so carefully to keep me entirely outside the loop on their statement and to diligently assure that it was straight-forward for me to manage any potential organizational disagreements. I also thank those at the FSF who outlined clear protocols (ahead of time, back in March 2019) in case a situation like this ever came up. I also know my colleagues at Conservancy care deeply, as I do, about the health and welfare of the FSF and its mission of fighting for universal software freedom for all. None of us want, nor have, any substantive disagreement over software freedom issues.
I take very seriously my duty to the various organizations where I have (or have had) affiliations. More generally, I champion non-profit organizational transparency. Unfortunately, the current crisis left me in a quandary between the overarching goal of community transparency and abiding by FSF management’s directives. Now that I’ve left the FSF Board of Directors, FSF’s Voting Membership, and all my FSF volunteer roles (which ends my 22-year uninterrupted affiliation with the FSF), I can now comment on the substantive issues that face not just the FSF, but the Free Software community as a whole, while continuing to adhere to my past duty of acting in FSF’s best interest. In other words, my affiliation with the FSF has come to an end for many good and useful reasons. The end to this affiliation allows me to speak directly about the core issues at the heart of the community’s current crisis.
Firstly, all these events — from RMS’ public comments on the MIT mailing list, to RMS’ resignation from the FSF to RMS’ discussions about the next steps for the GNU project — seem to many to have happened ridiculously quickly. But it wasn’t actually fast at all. In fact, these events were culmination of issues that were slowly growing in concern to many people, including me.
For the last two years, I had been a loud internal voice in the FSF leadership regarding RMS’ Free-Software-unrelated public statements; I felt strongly that it was in the best interest of the FSF to actively seek to limit such statements, and that it was my duty to FSF to speak out about this within the organization. Those who only learned of this story in the last month (understandably) believed Selam G.’s Medium post raised an entirely new issue. Infact, RMS’viewsandstatementspostedonstallman.orgaboutsexualmoralityescalatedfortheworseoverthelastfewyears. When the escalation started, I still considered RMS both a friend and colleague, and I attempted to argue with him at length to convince him that some of his positions were harmful to sexual assault survivors and those who are sex-trafficked, and to the people who devote their lives in service to such individuals. More importantly to the FSF, I attempted to persuade RMS that launching a controversial campaign on sexual behavior and morality was counter to his and FSF’s mission to advance software freedom, and told RMS that my duty as an FSF Director was to assure the best outcome for the FSF, which IMO didn’t include having a leader who made such statements. Not only is human sexual behavior not a topic on which RMS has adequate academic expertise, but also his positions appear to ignore significant research and widely available information on the subject. Many of his comments, while occasionally politically intriguing, lack empathy for people who experienced trauma.
IMO, this is not and has never been a Free Speech issue. I do believe freedom of speech links directly to software freedom: indeed, I see the freedom to publish software under Free licenses as almost a corollary to the freedom of speech. However, we do not need to follow leadership from those whose views we fundamentally disagree. Moreover, organizations need not and should not elevate spokespeople and leaders who speak regularly on unrelated issues that organizations find do not advance their mission, and/or that alienate important constituents. I, like many other software freedom leaders, curtail my public comments on issues not related to FOSS. (Indeed, I would not even be commenting on this issue if it had not become a central issue of concern to the software freedom community.) Leaders have power, and they must exercise the power of their words with restraint, not with impunity.
RMS has consistently argued that there was a campaign of "prudish intimidation" — seeking to keep him quiet about his views on sexuality. After years of conversing with RMS about how his non-software-freedom views were a distraction, an indulgence, and downright problematic, his general response was to make even more public comments of this nature. The issue is not about RMS’ right to say what he believes, nor is it even about whether or not you agree or disagree with RMS’ statements. The question is whether an organization should have a designated leader who is on a sustained, public campaign advocating about an unrelated issue that many consider controversial. It really doesn’t matter what your view about the controversial issue is; a leader who refuses to stop talking loudly about unrelated issues eventually creates an untenable distraction from the radical activism you’re actively trying to advance. The message of universal software freedom is a radical cause; it’s basically impossible for one individual to effectively push forward two unrelated controversial agendas at once. In short, the radical message of software freedom became overshadowed by RMS’ radical views about sexual morality.
And here is where I say the thing that may infuriate many but it’s what I believe: I think RMS took a useful step by resigning some of his leadership roles at the FSF. I thank RMS for taking that step, and I wish the FSF Directors well in their efforts to assure that the FSF becomes a welcoming organization to all who care about universal software freedom. The FSF’s mission is essential to our technological future, and we should all support that mission. I care deeply about that mission myself and have worked and will continue to work in our community in the best interest of the mission.
I want the FSF to succeed in its mission and enter a new era of accomplishments. I’ve spent the last 22 years, without a break, dedicating substantial time, effort, care and loyalty to the various FSF roles that I’ve had: including employee, volunteer, at-large Director, and Voting Member. Even though my duties to the FSF are done, and my relationship with the FSF is no longer formal, I still think the FSF is a valuable institution worth helping and saving, specifically because the FSF was founded for a mission that I deeply support. And we should also realize that RMS — a human being (who is flawed like the rest of us) — invented that mission.
As culture change becomes more rapid, I hope we can find reasonable nuance and moderation on our complex analysis about people and their disparate views, while we also hold individuals fully accountable for their actions. That’s the difficulty we face in the post-post-modern culture of the early twenty-first century. Most importantly, I believe we must find a way to stand firm for software freedom while also making a safe environment for victims of sexual assault, sexual abuse, gaslighting, and other deplorable actions.
Posted on Tuesday 15 October 2019 at 09:11 by Bradley M. Kuhn.
The following posts are authored by Richard M. Stallman and are taken from his personal site stallman.org. They were linked to in the piece you have just heard.
stallman.org 31 October 2016 (Down’s syndrome) A new noninvasive test for Down’s syndrome will eliminate the small risk of the current test. This might lead more women to get tested, and abort fetuses that have Down’s syndrome. Let’s hope so! If you’d like to love and care for a pet that doesn’t have normal human mental capacity, don’t create a handicapped human being to be your pet. Get a dog or a parrot. It will appreciate your love, and it will never feel bad for being less capable than normal humans.
stallman.org 14 December 2016 (Campaign of bull-headed prudery) A national campaign seeks to make all US states prohibit sex between humans and nonhuman animals. This campaign seems to be sheer bull-headed prudery, using the perverse assumption that sex between a human and an animal hurts the animal. That’s true for some ways of having sex, and false for others. For instance, I’ve heard that some women get dogs to lick them off. That doesn’t hurt the dog at all. Why should it be prohibited? When male dolphins have sex with people, that doesn’t hurt the dolphins. Quite the contrary, they like it very much. Why should it be prohibited? I’ve also read that female gorillas sometimes express desire for sex with men. If they both like it, who is harmed? Why should this be prohibited? The proponents of this law claim that any kind of sex between humans and other species implies that the human is a "predator" that we need to lock up. That’s clearly false, for the cases listed above. Making a prohibition based on prejudice, writing it in an overbroad way, is what prissy governments tend to do where sex is concerned. The next step is to interpret it too strongly with "zero tolerance". Will people convicted of having dogs lick them off be required to live at least 1000 feet from any dogs? This law should be changed to prohibit only acts in which the animal is physically forced to have sex, or physically injured.
stallman.org 23 February 2017 (A "violent sex offender") The teenager who will have to register as a "violent sex offender" had a sexual meeting with a younger teenager. Why do people think there is something wrong with a sexual relationship between people of ages 13 and 18? The principal activity of human adolescents is sex.
stallman.org 26 May 2017 (Prudish ignorantism) A British woman is on trial for going to a park and inviting teenage boys to have sex with her there. Her husband acted as a lookout in case someone else passed by. One teenager allegedly visited her at her house repeatedly to have sex with her. None of these acts would be wrong in any sense, provided they took precautions against spreading infections. The idea that adolescents (of whatever sex) need to be "protected" from sexual experience they wish to have is prudish ignorantism, and making that experience a crime is perverse.
stallman.org 10 October 2017 (Laws against having sex with an animal) European countries are passing laws against having sex with an animal. (We are talking about sex practices that don’t physically hurt the animal.) These laws have no rational basis. We know that some animals enjoy sex with humans. Others don’t. But really, if you smear something on your genitals that tastes good to dogs, and have a dog lick you off, it harms no one. Why should this be illegal except mindless religion?
stallman.org 27 November 2017 (Roy Moore’s relationships) Senate candidate Roy Moore tried to start dating/sexual relationships with teenagers some decades ago. He tried to lead Ms Corfman step by step into sex, but he always respected "no" from her and his other dates. Thus, Moore does not deserve the exaggerated condemnation that he is receiving for this. As an example of exaggeration: one mailing referred to these teenagers as "children", even the one that was 18 years old. Many teenagers are minors, but none of them are children. The condemnation is surely sparked by the political motive of wanting to defeat Moore in the coming election, but it draws fuel from ageism and the fashion for overprotectiveness of "children". I completely agree with the wish to defeat Moore. Political Christianists such as Moore hold views that conflict essentially with human rights, just as political Islamists do. If Moore, with his extremist policies, gains public office again, he will harm millions of American women, and secondarily society as a whole. Ms Corfman says she was hurt afterward, and attributes this to feelings of guilt based on the belief that she had done something wrong (which, of course, she had not). Is this is another sign of Christianity at work? I sent a check to Doug Jones US Senate a few weeks ago. Please support his campaign too. You can mail a check here: (Address available at original link)
stallman.org 29 October 2017 (Pestering women) A famous theater director had a habit of pestering women, asking them for sex. As far as I can tell from this article, he didn’t try to force women into sex. When women persistently said no, he does not seem to have tried to punish them. The most he did was ask. He was a pest, but nothing worse than that.
stallman.org 30 April 2018 (UN peacekeepers in South Sudan) It sounds horrible: "UN peacekeepers accused of child rape in South Sudan." But the article makes it pretty clear that the "children" involved were not children. They were teenagers. What about "rape"? Was this really rape? Or did they have sex willingly, and prudes want to call it "rape" to make it sound like an injustice? We can’t tell from the article which one it is. Rape means coercing someone to have sex. Precisely because that is a grave and clear wrong, using the same name for something much less grave is a distortion.
stallman.org 17 July 2018 (The bullshitter’s flirting) We are now invited to despise the bullshitter for telling a 17-year-old woman at a party that he found her attractive. We can hardly assume that the bullshitter’s boasts were true. Even men who are usually honest on other topics have been known to lie about their sexual achievements. However, I wouldn’t assume they were false, or that he did an injustice to anyone at these parties. In a group of 50 models, there could well be some that would eagerly go to bed with a rich man, either to boost their careers or for a lark. If you condemn men for finding teenage female models attractive, you might as well condemn men for being heterosexual. The bully may be predatory, but it appears he didn’t display this overtly at those parties. There are indications that he arbitrarily chose the winners of the Miss USA beauty contest while he owned it. That would be a real wrong, since it would have made the contest dishonest. I understand the desire to condemn the bullshitter on every aspect of his life, but it is no excuse for ageism. If you can understand that we shouldn’t dictate people’s gender preferences, you should understand that we shouldn’t dictate their age preferences either. There are plenty of tremendously important reasons to condemn the bully. He is attacking workers’ rights, abortion rights, non-rich people’s pensions and medical care, the environment, human rights, and democracy, even the idea of truth. Let’s focus on those real reasons.
stallman.org 21 August 2018 (Age and attraction) Research found that men generally find females of age 18 the most attractive. This accords with the view that Stendhal reported in France in the 1800s, that a woman’s most beautiful years were from 16 to 20. Although this attitude on men’s part is normal, the author still wants to present it as wrong or perverted, and implicitly demands men somehow control their attraction to direct it elsewhere. Which is as absurd, and as potentially oppressive, as claiming that homosexuals should control their attraction and direct it towards to the other sex. Will men be pressured to undergo "age conversion therapy" intended to brainwash them to feel attracted mainly to women of their own age?
stallman.org Anti-Glossary Sexual assault: this term is so broad that using it is misleading. The term includes rape, groping, sexual harassment, and other acts. These acts are not merely different in degree. They are different in kind. Rape is a grave crime. Being groped is unpleasant but not as grave as robbery. Sexual harassment is a not an action at all, but rather a pattern of actions that constitutes economic unfairness. How can it make sense to group these behaviors things together? It never makes sense. News articles, studies, and laws should avoid that term.
stallman.org 23 September 2018 (Cody Wilson) Cody Wilson has been charged with hiring a "child" sex worker. Her age has not been announced, but I think she must surely be a teenager, not a child. Calling teenagers "children" in this context is a way of smearing people with normal sexual proclivities as "perverts". They have accused him of "sexual assault", a term so vague that it should never be used at all. With no details, we can’t tell whether the alleged actions deserve that term. What we do know is that the term is often used for a legal lie. She may have had — I expect, did have — entirely willing sex with him, and they would still call it "assault". I do not like the idea of 3D-printed guns, but that issue is entirely unrelated to this.
stallman.org 6 November 2018 (Sex according to porn) The unrealistic picture of sex presented in most porn harms men as well as women in their sex lives (though in different ways). Their sexual miseducation starts in adolescence, but many never learn better. Our society’s taboo cuts adolescents off from any way to learn about sexual relationships and lovemaking other than from porn and from other confused adolescents. Everyone learns the hard way, often slowly, and in many cases learns bad lessons. The more effective the taboo, the deeper the ignorance. In 18th century France, teenage girls of good family emerged totally sexually innocent from education in a convent. Totally innocent and totally exploitable (see Dangerous Liaisons). Contrast this with Marquesan society, where adolescents are not kept ignorant by a taboo on sex. They have various relationships with lovers of their choice, so they have many opportunities to see what pleases and what doesn’t. Any one lover can please them more, or please them less, but can’t mislead them — they have standards for comparison. In that society, even adolescents understand lovemaking better than a lot of American adults. Inevitably, everyone starts out ignorant; the question is, how can society offer people a path which leads them to learn to do things well, rather than learning painfully to do them badly.
stallman.org 14 February 2019 (Respecting people’s right to say no) Writer Yann Moix said that he cannot be attracted to women in their 50s, and people are condemning him, claiming he has an obligation to be attracted to them. You might as well demand that a homosexual be attracted to people not of the same sex. Or that a heterosexual be attracted to people that are of the same sex. There is no arguing about tastes. If we respect people’s right to say no, we should not rebuke them when they do. Of course, many people (especially men, but not only) despise those they find unattractive. That is a mean way to treat people who haven’t done anything wrong. But being unattracted by someone is not the same as despising per. Yann Moix understands this.
stallman.org 12 June 2019 (Declining sex rates) Many demographic categories report having sex less now than in the past. It might be due to the general stress and anxiety of life in the advanced countries. I suspect it is also due to the lack of any generally accepted way for men to express romantic or sexual interest in women. By "generally accepted", I mean that he can count on a woman who declines his interest not to revile him for expressing it that way.
stallman.org 30 July 2019 (Al Franken) Al Franken now regrets resigning from the Senate. Some senators that pushed him to resign now regret that too. The first (main) article does not state clearly whether Franken touched Tweeden in the process of making the photo, but it seems he did not. If that is correct, it was not a sexual act at all. It was self-mocking humor. The photograph depicted a fictional sexual act without her fictional consent, but making the photo wasn’t a sexual act. If it is true that he persistently pressured her to kiss him, on stage and off, if he stuck his tongue into her mouth despite her objections, that could well be sexual harassment. He should have accepted no for an answer the first time she said it. However, calling a kiss "sexual assault" is an exaggeration, an attempt to equate it to much graver acts, that are crimes. The term "sexual assault" encourages that injustice, and I believe it has been popularized specifically with that intention. That is why I reject that term. Meanwhile, Franken says he did not do those things, and the other actors he previously did the same USO skit with said it was not harassment, just acting. Tweeden’s store is clearly false in many details. Should we assume Tweeden was honest? With so many demonstrated falsehoods in her accusations, and given that she planned them with other right-wing activists, and that all of them follow a leader who lies as a tactic every day, I have to suspect that she decided to falsify accusations through exaggeration so as to kick a strong Democrat out of the Senate. I have no proof of that suspicion. It is possible that she made the accusations honestly. Also, in a hypothetical world, someone might really have done them. Supposing for the moment that those accusations were true, should Franken have resigned over them? I don’t think so. They are misjudgments, not crimes. Franken deserved the chance to learn from the criticism that surprised him. Zero tolerance is a very bad way to judge people. However, the most important point is to reject the position that if B feels hurt by what A said or did, then automatically A is wrong. People judged Franken that way, and he judged himself that way. But that way degrades the concept of "wrong" into a mere expression of subjective disapproval. What can legitimately be asserted subjectively can legitimately be ignored subjectively too. To judge A that way is to set B up as a tyrant. If B’s feelings were hurt, that’s unfortunate – but is that A’s fault? If so, was it culpable, or just a mistake? That is what we have to judge, and if we want others to think our judgments worth following, they must be based on objective facts and objective standards, including objective standards for what words and gestures objectively mean. Traister is wrestling with a solvable problem. She says, "When you change rules, you end up penalizing people who were caught behaving according to the old rules." Maybe people do, but that is a sign of carelessness. It isn’t really hard to change the rules and then judge old actions by the old rules. We just have to remember to do so.
stallman.org 27 August 2019 (Me-too frenzy) In "me-too" frenzy, crossed signals about sex can easily be inflated into "rape". If people rush to judgment, in an informal way, that can destroy a man’s career without any trial in which to clear his name.
stallman.org 21 September 2019 (Sex workers) Today’s Sex Workers, Like Their Victorian Sisters, Don’t Want "saving". Feminism today is drifting off the track into a campaign of prudery that harms everyone, except those who are asexual.
We begin our look at a key tool in GIMP, Layer Masks
Hosted by Ahuka on 2021-04-09 is flagged as Clean and released under a CC-BY-SA license. Tags:GIMP, Layers, Layer Masks.
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One of the key tools in GIMP is Layer Masks, which allow you to make selected parts of a layer transparent, so that lower layers can come through. This is a way to get the same kinds of effects you would get with physical transparency sheets or animation gels.
Released: 2021-04-08. Duration: 00:56:57. Flag: Explicit. Series:Linux Inlaws. Tags:Probabilistic data structures,PDS.
The two chaps discuss uncertainties and beyond in this episode on probabilistic data structure
Released: 2021-03-25. Duration: 00:49:45. Flag: Explicit. Series:Linux Inlaws. Tags:Linux Security Modules, DAC, MAC, AppArmor, SELinux, Plan 9.
Ever wanted to know about AppArmor and SELinux? Then this is your show!
Released: 2021-03-11. Duration: 00:32:13. Flag: Explicit. Tags:NextCloud, Raspbian, Apache, mariadb, PHP, myphpadmin, wireguard, DNS Rebind, magicmirror2.
A private NextCloud instance on a Pi 4x8, with lets encrypt and wireguard vpn access
Released: 2021-03-10. Duration: 01:00:28. Flag: Explicit. Series:Linux Inlaws. Tags:OAPs, old coders, senior citizens, Bitterfeld, communism.
Our heroes host an episode with an eclectic duo (not Waldorf or Statler)
Released: 2021-02-26. Duration: 00:17:06. Flag: Clean. Series:Social Media. Tags:social media, alternative, Fediverse, ActivityPub.
This keynote address looks at where federated social media can go if we make it work.
Released: 2021-02-25. Duration: 00:54:12. Flag: Explicit. Series:Linux Inlaws. Tags:Programming languages, Legacy, old stuff, new stuff, hipster languages, coffee.
The two chaps discuss why history keeps repeating itself in programming languages and beyond