05.06.22

Gemini Community is Growing, Geminispace is Expanding, and We Try to Make it Simpler to Keep Abreast of New/Active Capsules and Gemlogs

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 0b017584d1b9b9bc4955d94a0b895198
Tracking Geminispace Throughout the Day
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Gemlogs, or the Gemini equivalent of Web logs (“blogs” for short), sometimes have RSS/XML/atom feeds, which thankfully enable a sort of ‘alta vista’ (view from above) across the growing space

THE gemlogs in Geminispace are already hundreds in number, but not all of them have daily updates. Moreover, traditional RSS readers do not (yet) support Gemini Protocol — perhaps a potential Free software project for someone to start (or an area where existing RSS readers can be extended/improved).

This morning we decided to make a combined page for all known capsules (which we can syndicate), with new posts shown for today and yesterday. As expected, it took a longer than initially expected, mostly because I added more things that I had intended at first. The new pages (or improved pages), as shown in the video above, are:

We’ve meanwhile learned some good things (likely news) about Gemini and GNU/Linux. An associate said that “amfora and elpa-elpher are both in Debian now!!”

“That’s based on Devuan 5 (daedalus) [...] it’s based on Bookworm (Debian 12).”

Devuan and Debian impact many other distros, operating systems other than themselves. “elpa-elpher is in Raspberry Pi OS so far,” the associate noted. Yes, Debian 11 has it now. Debian 10 does not have Gemini clients in the official repositories, but then again it was released when Gemini was very young, barely even a baby.

05.04.22

Educational Malware App “Along”

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original from the FSF or GNU

The nonfree “education” app Along, developed by a company controlled by Zuckerberg, encourages students to use it for private conversations with their teachers. Some of the personal data it collects is very sensitive. The company grants itself the power to sell “anonymized” data from which, in spite of “anonymization,” it will be possible to identify many of the students, perhaps most. In fact, research shows that in most cases anonymization can be easily undone and data tracked back to identify individuals uniquely.

“Computer scientists have recently undermined our faith in the privacyprotecting power of anonymization, the name for techniques that protect the privacy of individuals in large databases by deleting information like names and social security numbers. These scientists have demonstrated that they can often ‘reidentify’ or ‘deanonymize’ individuals hidden in anonymized data with astonishing ease.” —From Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, by Prof. Paul Ohm. UCLA Law Review, 2010. 57, 1701-1777.

Ohm’s paper provides examples of how computer scientists were able toidentify people from supposedly anonymized databases, while suggestingthat the existing privacy legislation is unsuitable to properly protect collected data. We hold that data should not be collected in the first place and, above all, education should not marketized.

The Along app invites teachers to record personal questions on video and ask the student to respond with an audio or video recording. Through this process, the app systematically guides teachers to ask students about matters of interest for Facebook and other profilers that would be willing to buy the resulting data.

Leading students to “open up” to teachers about things unrelated to school activities may mean putting them in danger, because parents and school administrators also are allowed to see students’ replies, as well as teachers themselves. This becomes more ominous in the light of repressive laws in some US states. If a student in Texas tells the school, “I am taking a puberty blocker” or “I’m so glad mom gave me money to travel to New Mexico for an abortion,” an administrator or a teacher who hears this could sue the parents or try to get the state to take their children away. They may even be legally required to do so.

The risk also exists that some students will be punished by their parents for things they revealed during the interview.

To learn more:


Copyright © 2022 Free Software Foundation, Inc.

This page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

05.02.22

A Look From the Inside: Open Source Initiative’s Voting Process is a Sham, Large Corporations Are in Charge

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, IBM, Microsoft, OSI, Red Hat at 3:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum a054cb54824c30e259b1ff0412d9ee8b
OSI Controlled by Billionaires
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is dominated by openwashing, self-serving giant corporations that are neither Open Source nor tolerant of the Free/Open Source community (they mostly try to dominate or overthrow the community, using money and smear campaigns)

“STEP ASIDE, Richard Stallman, we’ll take it from here!”

“Move over, Bruce Perens, we’ll do a much better job! Everything is now Open Source!”

“Go away, ESR, we know better what we’re doing. Leave it to the professionals, the rich adults in the room!”

That’s the sort of attitude we nowadays see in the OSI, which wasn’t always this bad. According to part one of this very long write-up, the voting process too is a sham, and not purely due to technical reasons — a subject we’ve covered here many times before.

In the eye of an ‘insider’, Willis: “So it’s a troubling ballot to look at. There’s an ostensibly non-profit organization that’s an official OSI affiliate trying to run its CEO as an individual candidate while also running a second member (a board director) on the appropriate, affiliate ballot in the same election. There’s also two financial sponsors running candidates on the individual ballot, one of them (Red Hat) running two candidates at the same time for the two open seats.”

“The OSI is willing to berate and banish even its own founders. Criticism isn’t permitted.”LWN has already mentioned this, but there are no comments at this time. “Nathan Willis,” LWN says, “took a long look at the Open Source Initiative’s 2022 board election and wasn’t entirely pleased with what he saw.”

If Willis said this about the Linux Foundation, there would be disciplinary action. As we noted recently, the Code of Conduct (CoC) Committee received “2 reports of concern that several CNCF ambassadors were airing grievances about not having talks accepted at the event, which belittled the work of the program committee”.

So merely questioning a process is a CoC violation?

Anyway, this is where we stand now. The OSI is willing to berate and banish even its own founders. Criticism isn’t permitted.

“They know who bosses them. The oligarchs bought and paid for both of those institutions, in effect rendering them lobbying apparatuses for the billionaires, who use the Code of Conduct to ban people who criticise them.”The OSI is already sold (to Microsoft mostly, as that’s where most of the OSI’s budget goes). Like the so-called “Linux” (only in name) Foundation, community is now something to be marginalised and “disciplined”. The corporations are concern-trolling us. They wait for a reaction and then they attack the community.

The OSI and the so-called “Linux” (only in name) Foundation are broken beyond redemption. They cannot be redeemed anymore because everything in them is controlled by corporate money. Their chiefs are a mix of corporate employees and people hired using corporate money. They know who bosses them. The oligarchs bought and paid for both of those institutions, in effect rendering them lobbying apparatuses for the billionaires, who use the Code of Conduct to ban people who criticise them. Openwashing is being force-fed now. Polluters are "green", proprietary spyware is “open”, and racist corporations working for the Pentagon are all about inclusion and diversity (they claim).

LWN says Nathan Willis “wasn’t entirely pleased with what he saw.” What an understatement! We’ve not even seen part 2 yet. I express my views on the matter in the video above.

05.01.22

GitHub Isn’t Git But an Attack on Git (Just Like WSL is an Attack on GNU/Linux)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embracing and “extending” for proprietary vendor lock-in isn’t a novel strategy. The fortresses and kingdoms they’re trying to ‘herd’ people into have abusive monarchs. Nothing is free (gratis), so pursue Software Freedom instead.

Upgrade, Upgrade, FUCK GO BACK: Why GitHub? Because it's an attack on Git, promoting proprietary Microsoft
I’ve used them all since the CVS days; Git is OK, but some companies try to build proprietary palaces on top of it (GitLab included)

Summary: Reminder that any time you tell developers and projects to delete GitHub (and use something free, instead) you are helping Software Freedom, even if users and development groups are hesistant and apprehensive, unwilling to leave, certainly at first (Stockholm Syndrome)

04.25.22

Google’s YouTube is Not Free Video Hosting

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Google at 9:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 91f3e446ddefb89d8d9f7f44a40e6ad0
The Free Video Hosting Delusion is Over
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The ‘free’ GulagTube (free labour camp) or gratis hosting bubble is bursting with the likes of Viemo shutting down or shaking down “creators” (for money); we’ve long warned about it and recommended alternatives [1, 2]; the remaining "creators" (survivors) are selling out instead of seeking real alternatives — a long-overdue move as Google tightens the screws and throws “creators” under the bus

THE subject of YouTube or GulagTube was covered here a lot this year. There are a number of ongoing controversies (some are named in the videos below) and since I’ve not been active in YouTube for years I needed to listen and learn a little.

Things have gotten so bad that YouTube is now ‘spamming’ everything with ads. Google wants to make money out of videos without paying even a penny to the people who made these videos. Maybe it’s time to accept that the “honeymoon period” is over and it’s time to move on. Push YouTube aside and look for a healthier relationship — one which does not resemble sharecropping.

Videos that inspired this one (in Odysee):

  1. YouTube Hates Small Creators – This Warning Message Proves It
  2. A suggestion to YouTube on not demoralizing longtime creators
  3. YOUTUBE NOT PAYING CREATORS
  4. YouTube Cheats Its Creators- and I Can Prove It.

Please consider self-hosting your videos, as I explain in my own (spontaneous) video. The underlying tasks aren’t hard. There are tools that help with these and they’re Free software, e.g. GNU MediaGoblin and PeerTube. The former is self-hosted and decentralised, the latter is also P2P, tackling bandwidth/throughput constraints. Our own code for video management is in Git.

Centralised platforms like YouTube are Social Control Media (with gamification and provocation designed to increase addiction). Don’t worry about departure from the “crowds” — the mythical masses that platform owners increasingly herd towards few accounts of “influencers” like celebrities, politicians, and of course sponsors. Build your own thing. Stop renting.

For over 15 years we’ve kept all essential multimedia files right here (self-hosted); it’s a bit expensive in the storage sense, but at least we aren’t losing data due to service/account shutdowns.

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04.19.22

Tidelift is Connected to Microsoft and It Does Not Spread a Positive Message for the Free/Open Source Community

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, OSI at 5:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum d65736bde549989cc250fa75d1e66e47
Lifting the Veil of Tidelift
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Tidelift seems to be concern-trolling the Free/Open Source community; looking at who’s actually behind Tidelift, this is hardly surprising

WHO or what exactly is Tidelift? Well, we’re not asking here what Tidelift once was — and the same is true for the so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation and OSI, which incidentally overlaps with Tidelift to some degree. They aren’t what they used to be; over time they started to align more and more with proprietary software companies’ agenda — more so after they had taken money from them.

As I explain in the video above, which is based on some research we did earlier today, Tidelift is promoting Microsoft talking points (links omitted by intention), badmouthing Free software, and hiring people it probably ought not hire.

“On the thin surface, this organisation seems like another OSI if not worse; mind the name, which says nothing about source or freedom or sharing or even “open”!”As of this moment, Tidelift’s “Our story” says in big letters: “Here’s what we know. Open source software is incredible, but it’s got some issues.”

Sounds or smells like concern-trolling, right?

This is the approach of Black Duck and sites that enthusiastically amplify it. They don’t want Free software to succeed but to surrender or to fall into the hands of its adversaries.

On the thin surface, this organisation seems like another OSI if not worse; mind the name, which says nothing about source or freedom or sharing or even “open”!

“See some of the people who blog on behalf of Tidelift (Simmons for instance); one has to wonder if they’re only pretending to speak ‘for’ us whilst in fact speaking for the likes of Microsoft (Simmons boasted that half of the OSI’s budget goes towards boosting Microsoft GitHub).”Looking thinly and superficially beneath the shallow surface, we’ve found out they’re bankrolled by ‘curious’ entities. TideLift is partly funded by ‘former’ Microsoft as the General Manager of General Catalyst (Quentin Clark). He is a longtime Microsoft booster, in effect trying to reform the image of a company that commits crimes and attacks Free software. Now it is joining the Microsoft-led FUD campaign (sleight of hand), only to be cited by openwashing fronts (i.e. proponents of proprietary stuff in “open” clothing). Clark worked for 20 years at Microsoft, now he’s behind funding for Tidelift. Not too long ago he was in an interview entitled “Lessons From Working with Bill Gates”. See some of the people who blog on behalf of Tidelift (Simmons for instance); one has to wonder if they’re only pretending to speak ‘for’ us whilst in fact speaking for the likes of Microsoft (Simmons boasted that half of the OSI's budget goes towards boosting Microsoft GitHub).

“Black Duck and Snyk and other fake fronts” are a big problem, an associate told us. “I have met people fooled by Black Duck [and] most people don’t know where to turn for information so they believe the marketing lies spread by the two…”

Add Tidelift to that same bucket.

04.17.22

How and Why David Revoy Moved to Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: This talk was uploaded a long time ago. “FSF staff welcomed the talented illustrator and artist David Revoy, who created the beautiful designs commemorating our “coral anniversary.” We discussed David’s path to becoming a free software designer and the the tools he uses, including his preference for Krita as a free software design program. He also gave us a behind the scenes look at his design process.”

Licence: CC BY SA 4.0

04.16.22

You Probably Don’t Want ‘Modern’ Cars

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum ed82e3c1a3e5eee859f92bf66da076ce
When Smart People Avoid Modern Stuff
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Today’s cars aren’t made to last long or respect the will of drivers/owners/buyers; this is a very big deal!

THIS past Christmas we did a series about computerised cars. They’re a menace to drivers’ freedom and they present or pose all sorts of other threats/issues. They’re expensive to maintain, they give away far too much control… or hand over control over drivers (the buyer hardly gets to control the “product”), and more people nowadays ‘hunt’ for older cars.

“Gone are the days when you can use and maintain a car for up to 30 years.”A few weeks ago Ryan got a used car and he’s starting to find out what even cars made nearly 15 years ago sadly lead to [1, 2, 3]. They’re ‘too modern’ already and we’ve heard other (very similar) stories of borderline remorse. Gone are the days when you can use and maintain a car for up to 30 years.

The quality of the sound (in the video above) is poor, but we’ve sorted out the microphone’s quality since then (applicable starting tomorrow).

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