03.09.22

The Internet is Breaking and We Need Contingencies

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Standard at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 6a84c3a45403cd4467e8f79cf7fb51ae
Internet is Under Attack, Governments Say They Protect You
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: A lot of the Internet (connectivity over UDP/TCP) and stuff built on top of it seems to be rotting and/or ebbing away, not just in Russia and China (among other Internet villains/scapegoats, notorious for extensive censorship/blocking); This scope of sabotage and obstruction goes further and further, extending far beyond the corporate Web, so that necessitates a rapid change in online behaviour (failing that, offline fallbacks)

THE national news sites have been warped into government propaganda sites, corporate media is selling war, and Twitter profits from conflict.

Where are we heading?

“Our self-hosted IRC network is a lot better anyway.”Well, surely enough alternatives will be sought. I quit social control media (all of it) 5 days ago and so far I’m loving it. Our self-hosted IRC network is a lot better anyway. It’s very diverse in all sorts of ways and it allows rapid response (native software has better interfaces than Web interfaces), it’s quicker to type in it, and there’s no time delays for responses (rather than wait for notifications people speak almost in real time).

The video explains rather bizarre things we’ve seen on the Internet lately, especially US-based ISPs (blocking things that they really ought not block), and then reminds people that we’ve invested a lot of time and effort improving the Gemini capsule. It’s not that it’s robust to censorship, not inherently anyway, but it’s ‘off the radar’ for the most part. Sanctions, for example, don’t impact Gemini capsules. The same is true when it comes to IRC, especially with many networks coming online all the time. Setting up an IRC network is vastly simpler than running and maintaining social control media platforms.

“Principles of the cornerstones of the Net aren’t being tolerated anymore.”With rotting economies (the full effect of soaring corporate and residential energy prices — with their knock-on effect on travel, food etc. — is yet to be seen) and an unstable world at risk of nuclear confrontation the governments will likely resort to unprecedented measures. Adapting when things already escalate is adapting too late.

Self-hosting has never seemed so attractive. Third parties cannot be relied upon as many shut down (due to government, corporate, or financial pressures), the censorious tendencies aside. 2022 is going to be a very interesting year for the Internet because we’re seeing it stress-tested on many levels. Principles of the cornerstones of the Net aren’t being tolerated anymore.

03.05.22

Alphabet/Gulag is Closing Down (Tightening the Screws in the Name of ‘Security’)

Posted in Deception, Google, Security, Standard at 5:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 822522f8c3b98654d0c836a81cfa2817
Free Software Users and App-Minded Gulag
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Gulag (or Google) does not care about the Internet; it just wants to extend and control it, but it frames that as a matter of “security”

THE video above is about the company “Alphabet” (calling Gulag “Alphabet” is like calling Facebook “Meta”, which is mostly a form of distraction from distasteful activities, just like GitHub pretends not to be Microsoft). Alphabet as a name came up and was advertised around the time many scandals had piled up. We’re meant to be thinking YouTube, for example, has nothing to do with Gulag (even though the login is the same!) and this thing called Alphabet is looking over everything. Don’t fall for it!

“We hope that one day the Web will be less than 10% of all Internet traffic and Gemini, which is bandwidth-conserving, will reach 1%.”“Less secure apps” is what Gulag now calls traditional software, not so-called “apps” — a misnomer that typically means proprietary software that spies heavily on the users. The page speaks of “your [sic] Google Account”, which will change at the end of May. Why the change? They pretend to value security, but given how they treat users’ privacy and given the back doors (there’s some history there; see the video) only a gullible reader would fall for it.

Thankfully, some alternatives are emerging and rising fast. Gemini, for instance, needs only 2 more capsules (visible to Lupa) to reach 2,200. To quote: “There are 2198 capsules. We successfully connected recently to 1777 of them.”

We hope that one day the Web will be less than 10% of all Internet traffic and Gemini, which is bandwidth-conserving, will reach 1%. If not Gemini, then something similar to it, which scales fine on residential connections and can thus be self-hosted from people’s homes.

A few days ago a longtime GMail used [sic] told us that “Google [is] effectively pulling the plug on Thunderbird,” but Mozilla says nothing about it. Thunderbird is how millions of people access GMail, so that’s a pretty big deal and Mozilla ought to be concerned. I told this used [sic] that I “saw that [news] and do not expect even the so-called ‘media’ to cover it or for Gulag Noise (Google News) to pick up a story about it…” (for reasons explained in this previous video)

“GMail is not E-mail but an attack on E-mail as a protocol and an attack on the distributed/decentralised nature of E-mail.”With a little effort one can find that about 7 years ago Madame Baker, not yet as CEO of Mozilla, wanted to kill Thunderbird, wrongly arguing that people were moving to “GMail” anyway (yes, she mentioned GMail specifically). At the time, she was already being paid a lot by Gulag (mostly the deal with placements for the address bar and search bar in Firefox). “Maybe she will move sideways over to Alphabet officially,” the used [sic] said (he had already move away from GMail, albeit not completely). “Like de Icaza has been…”

“An additional point is that aside from helping them complete the coup,” the used [sic] concluded, “she may have little to no value.”

Mozilla has itself become a data collection company; being subsidised by Gulag and run by former Facebook managers won't help. We expect the war on E-mail to progress. GMail is not E-mail but an attack on E-mail as a protocol and an attack on the distributed/decentralised nature of E-mail. Microsoft too contributes towards this agenda and it's in Mozilla's Board.

Google Built an Empire — Mostly a Proprietary Empire — on Top of Free Software, But Now It Helps Spread FUD Against Such Software While Mishandling the Web

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Standard at 4:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 430d51e9124c7c1ceff085d6e2420099
Noise Instead of News
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: In an act of unwarranted spontaneity many people respect anything that comes from Google (any service, software, site) just like that, primarily based on the glorified brand, irrespective of actual assessment of the quality of the “product”; in the case of Google News, many dangerous assumptions are made because the company has become a filter against information and amplifier of sheer noise/webspam

The most powerful Internet company (literally run by the people who made the Internet; it employs some of them!) is undoubtedly Google. It is a bad guardian of information and a bad guardian of the open Web, which it is closing while adding DRM on top (basically imposing proprietary software on Free software users). It does many other bad things, but let’s leave that aside for future videos.

Google is evil. It’s a Gulag. Look what it turned YouTube into. And it gets even worse given the roots of this company, showing a lack of gratitude and no reciprocity (Summer of Code is mostly a publicity stunt, a self-serving PR ploy, a corporate dodge/decoy).

“And it gets even worse given the roots of this company, showing a lack of gratitude and no reciprocity (Summer of Code is mostly a publicity stunt, a self-serving PR ploy).”Google (Gulag) came out of “Linux” (that’s very obvious to those who look at prototypes and screenshots of the original google.com, the search engine), but nowadays it exploits a lot of free labour (hence the name “Gulag”) to make proprietary software which violates people’s privacy. We have Android — by far the most widely used operating system — built with Linux, ChromeOS built based on/atop Gentoo, and Chrome itself being a mixture of many Free software projects (while Chrome itself is proprietary spyware).

How does Gulag Noise (Google News) treat Linux and Free software? Not well at all! It lists many Microsoft propaganda sites as “news” sites (aggregated in the Gulag Noise) while excluding hundreds of decent and reliable GNU/Linux-centric sites (which cover “Linux” news and stick to facts). The distortion of news (or Gulag Noise) is shown above not in the context of patents — a subject we shall cover tomorrow as usual — but also Free software.

“The problem is, Google News is a monopoly in that area (no other company has the resources to crawl millions of sites so fast for news updates) and with monopoly comes special responsibility.”“I wade through the crap written against Free software on a daily basis,” an associate told us. “I’m not sure I have a view more like a litany of complaints.”

As shown in the above video, a spontaneous (unplanned/unscripted/unedited) one as usual, Google treats Linux badly (amplifying anti-Linux sites), it is a terrible guardian of information (amplifying spam and misinformation), and the Web as a whole is getting worse because of Google. Many useful features have been removed (Google News used to be mostly news 10-15 years ago), RSS gets treated like second-class or non-citizen, and it’s only getting worse over time. Google News might have become noisy due to litigation (e.g. large-scale lawsuits against Fair Use) and utter neglect. The problem is, Google News is a monopoly in that area (no other company has the resources to crawl millions of sites so fast for news updates) and with monopoly comes special responsibility. Many competing search sites merely ‘borrow’ results from the monopoly, so the misinformation propagates far and wide.

02.26.22

Geminispace Syndication

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Site News, Standard at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum eac62cf8bfb27c2a06eda482277b64df
Syndicating Capsules
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Gemini space (or Geminispace) is growing fast and becoming rather big, with thousands of unique domains or capsules, so RSS-like tooling will become imperative to keep abreast of important ones

THE platform known as Geminispace is still expanding. “There are 2157 capsules. We successfully connected recently to 1760 of them,” according to Lupa’s latest statistics. It’s growing at a pace of about 5 per day with a net gain of 4 per day. So how do we keep track of many capsules of interest, given that it’s no longer a small clique or a niche with dozens of capsules? The answer is syndication, but there’s no single client and no such standards associated with Gemini Protocol (not for syndication anyway).

“So how do we keep track of many capsules of interest, given that it’s no longer a small clique or a niche with dozens of capsules?”In the video above I try to give a quick outline with practical examples. We start with this list of known feeds in Gemini space (Geminispace) and then show how different popular (both command line- and GUI-based) Gemini clients handle them. Later I show how we do this in Techrights and explain work we’re doing at the moment behind the scenes. There are several ways to syndicate “content” in Geminispace and no unified or standardised way (yet) for accomplishing it.

02.09.22

Response to Gemini Misconceptions and Mythology (It’s Not Ugly or Just for Geeks)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Protocol, Standard at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 420621d8ea77533494fdde5e187ca23a
Gemini Misconceptions
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Another gemini:// FUD response; this time we deal with this new article, a polite article, which nevertheless makes Gemini as a whole seem crude and ugly; in reality, depending how it’s presented, Gemini can be beautiful, expressive, and feature-rich (depending on the creativity of pertinent capsules)

THE RISE of Gemini isn’t a subjective thing. It is measurable. It’s objective.

1700 Gemini capsules approachedAs shown in the image to the right, Gemini is growing fast. On January 16th we wrote about 1,600 active capsule and now we’re flirting with 1,700. Almost 100 active capsules in net gain in 3.5 weeks is nothing to sneeze at (not the same as 100 new capsules as it’s possible that 10 of the existing ones shut down while 110 new ones emerged).

“Almost 100 active capsules in net gain in 3.5 weeks is nothing to sneeze at (not the same as 100 new capsules as it’s possible that 10 of the existing ones shut down while 110 new ones emerged).”Over the past few months I’ve seen a number of Gemini-bashing posts that were mostly based on misunderstandings. Sometimes there’s almost outdated information or misinformation. “I had a discussion with someone about Gemini,” one person told me this morning, “a couple of years ago.” That’s like the time Gemini was only months old. A lot has changed since then. The number of capsules grew from a couple hundred to over 2,000, with probably around a million pages in them (Lupa alone has retrieved and analysed almost half a million pages).

That same person then asked me and another Gemini proponent: “What are the advantages you two see in Gemini?”

“The number of capsules grew from a couple hundred to over 2,000, with probably around a million pages in them (Lupa alone has retrieved and analysed almost half a million pages).”“Speaking for myself,” I replied, “self-hosting is one. The Web became far too bloated, so it’s difficult to host from one’s residential perimeter, hence people move to centralised platforms and datacentres.”

“But people’s connections have gotten faster, it’s just the Web that changed. Why can’t people take back control of the Internet? In his talks about Freedombox, Eben Moglen raised this point.”

The person then asked: “Does Gemini use HTML? Could we post the same pages HTML pages we have now on a gemini server, or would they need to be modified and adapted?”

Some people wrongly believe that Gemini Protocol is only for transmission or only for ‘markup’. It’s actually both. HTML is very complicated for a lot of people. Setting up a Web server is also hard compared to Gemini. So lesser technical people cannot easily participate, unless they create some accounts in Blogspot (Gulag) or Facebook…

“There are already dozens of Gemini clients (like Web browsers) and over a dozen Gemini server implementations.”Gemini uses GemText, which is simple enough to teach to 6 year olds. It’s also a lot simpler to program with, owing to this simplicity.

There are many good HTML→GemText (and vice verse) converters. Anyone with basic coding skills can write one in a few hours, as many people have. “XSLT might also be an option for HTML→GemText,” an associate of ours notes.

There are already dozens of Gemini clients (like Web browsers) and over a dozen Gemini server implementations.

Our hope is that better understanding of Gemini, owing to media coverage (the mainstream media is paid to push ads and lies, so it won’t help Gemini grow), can help without it resembling “advocacy”/”evangelism” (religious term) or “marketing”. As it turns out, some mainstream media already embraces Gemini and it has become big enough for Microsoft to attempt to hijack/undermine it.

01.29.22

Fallacy About Privacy in Geminispace

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Security, Standard at 1:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum c58217da5962643b47fbfc156ab92c65
Gemini is Not for Privacy
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: gemini:// offers as much privacy as https://, but it’s widely known that because of how the Web technically works the latter does not ensure IP addresses do not leak to all sorts of sites (or data brokers); while moving away from http:// did in fact limit the visibility/exposure to one’s ISP/s (unless they buy data ‘downstream’) the lingering issue is that unless one uses anonymity-preserving software (such as Tor) one’s movements in cyberspace are still clear for many parties to see; Gemini resolves or tries to tackle only the problem of cross-site linking/embedding/scripting

TO avoid busting any bubbles in the future, based on a false expectation or baseless hopes, Gemini is in general not a privacy tool. It does address a plethora of issues plaguing the World Wide Web, but neither the Web nor Gemini should be treated as privacy protection tools. Even if you outsource to the Linux Foundation (Let’s Encrypt), in which case privacy is eroded even further.

In the video above I show Billsmugs’ capsule, which boasts an extensive photography collection, albeit also tracks access with caveats stated clearly upfront. To quote:

This Gemini capsule does not log IP addresses or use any fingerprinting techniques to identify users across visits. When you connect to the server for the first time, your IP address will be mapped to a sequential ID (in memory). This mapping will be forgotten one hour after the last request from the IP is received. If, during this hour, you request the standard robots.txt file, your session will be marked as a bot – this is just to give a (very very rough) method of tracking human vs robot visitors, all requests will be treated the same.

In other words, a “session” in the list below represents a single IP address making requests with less than one hour between them.

If the server process is stopped or restarted unexpectedly (or is under very high load), some stats may be delayed or lost.

“Bad requests” are any requests that result in a 59 status code being returned. These are things like malformed URLs, attempted directory traversal attacks, misguided http requests etc. These indicate either a bug (in the server or the client) or malicious traffic. If I receive an exceptionally large number of these (and they aren’t caused by bugs in the server code) then I may decide to start logging the source IPs specifically for these requests (with a view to blocking or rate-limiting repeat offenders). Hopefully that won’t be necessary!

In our case, logs are only used for DDOS protection and mitigation (some days we get over 30,000 requests, most of them from bots). The code we developed for it is Free software and AGPLv3-licensed (in our Git repository).

Aral Balkan: Web3 is Bullshit

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Standard at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “In January’s Small Is Beautiful, we extend a friendly middle finger to web3 with the web0 manifesto, talk about Laura’s presentation for Ikea on ethical design, and introduce you to NodeKit, the successor of Site.js.”

01.08.22

Gopher and Gemini Can Co-exist, They’re Not the Same

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Protocol, Site News, Standard at 2:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 605608feb13aaba90bda86094d6fcd6c
Gemini and Gopher Compared
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: There are some misconceptions about what Gemini is compared to Gopher; the video above demonstrates the difference by browsing/navigating through some Gopher pages

Little less than a year ago people expressed scepticism and also ridiculed us for embracing Gemini and adding presence in Geminispace. Some people who had relied on hearsay decided to dismissively say that Gemini Protocol is little but a “love letter to Gopher” (as if it’s just another Gopher). Since then adoption of the protocol — in terms of the number of capsules — has more than trebled. Yes, in less than a year!

Castor with geminiSoftware with support for Gemini is increasing in terms of size and in terms of number (e.g. number of Gemini clients and scripts/converters for GemText). There are already several search engines for Geminispace (Totally Legit Gemini Search (TLGS) continues to grow) and Gemini’s founder came back from a long hiatus just over two months ago. In his own words: “Despite my total lack of involvement for several months and the lack of any progress on the spec, Geminispace *itself*, which is our real goal, has neither stagnated nor shrunk. It has only gotten better. Awesome things like smol.pub have turned up. All the time there are more and more people setting up little digital homes in Geminispace, who accept and embrace Gemini as it is right now, and many of them are very happy with the status quo. They are writing truly wonderful content, and I have not come across a single thing written there yet which made me think “right now this is merely good, but it could be excellent if only Gemini supported X, Y or Z”. And all of this is hosted on diverse servers and compatible with diverse clients, including clients which have not been updated in months. All of this says we have gotten the most important things right or close enough to right already, and there is no risk of catastrophically messing anything up if we simply resolve outstanding technical issues with the minimum possible change.”

I'm NOT Gemini (meme)Any further changes to the protocol (GemText in particular) would likely entail a massive overhaul in capsules, e.g. regenerating all pertinent pages, which is time-consuming and risky (cannot test things exhaustively to assure sanity in our case because we have close to 40,000 pages in Gemini).

On a separate note, it may help to think of Gemini as a modernised Gopher rather than profoundly more advanced (read: complicated) variant of Gopher. As Gopher is mostly an historical thing from another era we can leave it aside and focus on Gemini instead. No need for Gopher to go away, it can co-exist with a sort of ‘successor’, made to adopt encryption and broader character sets.

An associate reminds us that “in Gemini, TLS is obligatory. Also it has links and some limited structural elements.”

Contrariwise, “Gopher is just a plain file + a directory structure, without encryption. The main downside to Gemini is the bug where it does not send the size of the file in advance.”

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts