You Cannot Remove Google-Controlled Web Browsers From Debian

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, Google at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 5d236eb9e412b8c2cd
Debian Mandates Google
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: It’s virtually impossible to run a Debian desktop without either Firefox or Chromium/Chrome; this should be regarded and treated as a high-priority bug considering how bad Mozilla has become (Firefox is fast becoming little but spyware, guarded by truly untrustworthy people)

THE video above demonstrates a bizarre behaviour that we mentioned here months ago and was mentioned again two days ago in “Debian is basically useless unless you use Firefox or Chromium”.

We already worry about Debian’s CI outsourcing (Google, a security risk), SPI ‘donations’ (Google bribery), and GSoC ties to Google (which beget censorship by Google). Those aren’t even a secret. But who inside Debian has decided that you must have either Firefox or Chrom* installed (but not neither)? Ryan wrote about this in an blog post (back when he was testing Debian 11) and the mystery was discussed in IRC yesterday and today at around 9AM (logs due tomorrow; they’ll explain why this happens). Debian Developers oughtn’t consider this a harmless thing. They need to rectify this because Firefox — unlike some forks — does not respect users’ freedom. It’s not about trademarks anymore (IceWeasel). Mozilla is very dodgy and it is controlled mostly by Google. The urgency will grow over time. New experiments with ‘monetisations’ harm users.

“They need to rectify this because Firefox — unlike some forks — does not respect users’ freedom.”Regarding the video above, it shows this behaviour in Debian 10. I’ve tested the same in Ubuntu (Debian derivative) and it does not have this awkward behaviour.

An associate suggested and then added an additional sentence clarifying that at least one of those two browsers must now be present in Debian. “If they are hard dependencies for base packages,” he said, “then that should be mentioned too.”

“From what we can gather, this is limited to desktops (or laptops), so servers running Debian do not need any Web browser installed.”“Does that apply to just the desktop or does it affect Debian in other forms, server and embedded etc?”

From what we can gather, this is limited to desktops (or laptops), so servers running Debian do not need any Web browser installed. Heck, most lack a GUI.

“You could at least ask the user if they want to bring in “epiphany-browser”,” Ryan noted. “It’s part of the alternatives system. Like, if something calls a Web browser without looking to see what GNOME has as the default or what the default is with xdg-open. It’s this really stupid Debian thing.”


Assimilation to Ubuntu and Chrome OS is a Step Away From Software Freedom

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum a2345451b594442f092bdf3b48a76b63
Freedom or Firmware
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The emphasis on software freedom (or Software Freedom) inside Debian has been lessened a bit; while this can make Debian easier to install in the ‘Wi-Fi era’ this might signal the shift towards Ubuntu-like Debian, i.e. a distro without principles

THE recent vote on firmware in Debian has been mentioned here in many batches of Daily Links (since more than a month ago) and even in IRC. It’s a question of freedom versus convenience and vice versa.

“Debian is the “base” (like template) for most GNU/Linux distros, so the decision to include firmware blobs on the media is kind of a big deal.”The video above is spontaneous commentary on coverage we’ve found since the results were revealed this past weekend. In the video I discuss my experiences adding the firmware (usually required for networking) and why for most people who choose Debian it should not be too shocking having to add a file from USB (or similar media; I’ve done this for over a decade). The impact on software freedom is perhaps minimal as many people choose Debian derivatives (like Ubuntu), but it’s a matter of principles. With Debian quickly becoming widespread (not just on desktops but devices and servers) we can expect many compromises and promotion of convenience by people who simply don’t grasp software freedom and probably underestimate the threats posed to security, at hardware, hardware-software interfaces, and software. Sure, software freedom (or Software Freedom capitalised, as if to denote or coin a concept) is not enough. Even the FSF and its founder Richard Stallman admit that. In the case of firmware, no hardware modification is required, however, so why not insist on full disclosure and transparency?

Debian is the “base” (like template) for most GNU/Linux distros, so the decision to include firmware blobs on the media is kind of a big deal. Having said that, many of the derivatives already add those blobs regardless. So have we lost so much? Are we worse off to the point of desperation? I’m personally a lot more concerned about Debian’s bad treatment of some high-calibre volunteers and censorship of their blogs (IBM did the same). Freedom of speech is very important. Without it, software freedom will be harder to attain.

One associate of ours said that “more important even than the bad treatment of volunteers is the lack of commitment to freedom. If derivatives want to modify the base, including by adding proprietary crap, then that’s on them. the upstream should strive to stay clean. However, the bad treatment of the volunteers might demonstrate a pattern matching that lack of commitment to software freedom.”

A few minutes ago in IRC FigOSDev called it “debibm: the universal sellout”.

To quote what Richard Stallman told me in person: “If you want to reach a goal that requires a long journey the crucial point is to remember the goal. If you forget the goal, you won’t get there.”


The Inquisition of Norbert Preining is a Cautionary Tale About the Clique That’s Killing Debian From the Inside

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 7:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d532ecde5c79535bae77b762cab6a6ee
Passive Bullies Disguised as Victims
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: This morning Norbert Preining, a veteran GNU/Linux developer (maintaining key packages including KDE and widely-used LATEX stuff), indicated that he was still being harassed by the same people who had pushed him out of Debian, where his volunteering track record is decades long and highly productive

EARLIER this year we did a video about Norbert Preining and how he had been (mis)treated by a vocal, abusive minority inside Debian. Dr. Preining isn’t new to Debian or to GNU/Linux. The thought police probably deemed him a “high-profile” target and having been put in positions of unjust power (like the so-called ‘anti-harassment’ team) mischief was likely imminent, firing the first shot over the word “it”.

To make matters worse, the same incompetent fools are still chasing and mobbing him. They want nothing short of destruction/end to his career. Maybe they derive pleasure from causing the downfall of very productive developers. Maybe this is a mental sickness akin to the Zemlins'. Who knows…

Dr. Preining has already attempted to just go along, sucking up to the mob that ousted/demoted him from the “DD” status. It didn’t work; nothing would ever please them, so he just left Debian completely, but they still chase him, just like FSFE autocrats chased Daniel Pocock after he had exposed to FSFE members (who elected him!) some of the dirty laundry from inside the FSFE.

I end the video above by commenting on Debian selling out to a Microsoft front not too long after Microsoft had paid DebConf. There’s a whole bunch of stuff happening inside Debian that causes my wife and I to reassess our choice of Debian (for 4 of our computers, which still run Debian for the time being).


Debian to Send Search Queries of Debian Users Worldwide to Microsoft Servers in Order to Get Brainwashed/Manipulated by Microsoft Bing (While Being Spied on by Microsoft and US Intelligence Agencies)

Posted in Debian, Deception, Microsoft, Search at 4:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For those who are still not aware, DuckDuckGo is a Microsoft front

Debian and DuckDuckGo
So Microsoft gets to decide which pages GNU/Linux users see in their browsers?

Debian and DuckDuckGo
‘Sticking it’ to Google by promoting Microsoft?

Summary: The above looks particularly bad in light of the recent Debian "gift" from Microsoft. The culprits’ names are visible here and here. But adopting a presumption of innocent principle, maybe they’re just not aware of what’s going on or maybe, like Tor and EFF, they receive Microsoft bribes via its proxy (a Microsoft front hiding behind a Microsoft NDA).


Censorship Online Does Not Work Against Everybody

Posted in Debian, Deception at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 858837215b4b60e7ee24b03e512c8d1a
Battling Hydras Online
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Daniel Pocock lost one Debian domain, but he has registered two since then (even 3 or 4 if one counts non-Debian domains); it shows that such DNS-level battlegrounds aren't quite as simple as one might assume and they’re very costly, especially for censorious plaintiffs with a very thin skin and strong corporate connections

THE “terrain” online is multi-faceted. There’s the cable network, the phone network, the Internet… then there’s DNS, the Web, P2P and so on. Policing people on the Internet isn’t easy. Creative types can also shift between modalities to express themselves so long as the general population is connected by digital and analogue means. When the state fails to provide any, technical types can compensate with radio and transmission equipment, even modified wireless routers that make up a mesh.

About half a decade ago it was shown, based on hard evidence, that the overzealous and oversensitive (incapable of introspection) US officials deemed Wikileaks — and Julian Assange in particular — a “sophisticated” target from a technical and legal standpoint. It was a precarious situation. At the time, Wikileaks had already gotten some very powerful lawyers and journalists on its side. Even politicians were willing to help. So any attempts to silence Wikileaks were risky and in 2017 the CIA plotted to just torture and assassinate Assange, based on leaked material (the CIA did not even deny this, it just got angry about this information coming out to the press).

“…any attempts to silence Wikileaks were risky and in 2017 the CIA plotted to just torture and assassinate Assange, based on leaked material…”We’re by no means comparing one Melbourne student (Assange) to another (Pocock), but it’s interesting to see how WIPO (also headed by a Melbourne graduate, Gurry, for many years in fact) after repeated failed attempts to silence Pocock. The video above explains why this is relevant to us. Along the way or between the lines it also mentions software patents in relation to Tillis (still trying and failing, fronting for patent and copyright maximalists) and the potential of a copyright troll connected to EPO management having a go at SLAPP over our EPO reporting. It's just that based on the track record of EPO censorship, it cannot be ruled out completely. We’re currently trying to get the EFF involved; as a supposed (maybe former) champion of free speech, it has more than one reason (patents too) to speak out on these issues. This has a lot to do with European software patents, based on recently-leaked documents.

The conclusion of the matter is, if you’re going to try to silence and/or discredit someone online, be sure to foresee what happens next. Resourceful and determined people typically find a way to regain their voice no matter what. Debian chose an utterly poor approach — so tasteless that it ruins the brand more than any Web site possibly could. Will Devuan pick up the mantle? Maybe [1, 2, 3].


Debian Cannot Keep Burying the Inconvenient Facts

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 321f1215dd9fce8174cc950efb5aea0c
Debian Has Inconvenient Voices
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: In spite of relentless censorship attempts, Debian wrestles with the Streisand Effect as more people find themselves needing to confront uncomfortable communications

THE video above concerns a bunch of recent articles [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] about Debian suicides.

Some readers can recall that many EPO workers committed suicide under Benoît Battistelli; turns out that a corrupt regime leads to that. In the case of Debian, a strong case could be made to show that overworking and unpaid volunteers — sometimes for the enrichment of multi-millionaires and companies valued at around a trillion dollars! — led to their death. “who pays compensation?” So asks one of the articles above. The subject isn’t an easy one, so it’s simpler to tackle in the form of a video.


PeppermintOS Without Systemd More Popular Than the ‘Standard’ Edition?

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux at 1:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Days ago: As Lennart Moves to His ‘Mother Ship’ (Microsoft), Will Devuan Become the ‘New Debian’?

The linuxtracker homepage
Screenshot from linuxtracker.org (front page, more here)

Summary: PeppermintOS without systemd has more seeders than the “default” or the standard edition of the GNU/Linux distro; maybe they should consider making Devuan the default base system


As Lennart Moves to His ‘Mother Ship’ (Microsoft), Will Devuan Become the ‘New Debian’?

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Devuan in Peppermint

Devuan in Peppermint (itsfoss)

Devuan Twitter
From Alessandro Ebersol’s article

So now we know who benefits from systemd

Summary: There are signs that more developers are fatigued or fed up with systemd; we too have begun moving our sites away from systemd

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