05.15.21

Over a Thousand Videos (or Audio Files) and More Protocols Supported

Posted in Site News at 4:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: From just a Web site (ordinary HTTP/S protocol) we’ve expanded to alternative channels of communication; this is a quick roundup, with focus on last night’s development work (already pushed into our self-hosted Git repository)

SEVEN years ago we started writing more and more about the EPO and a year later the EPO threatened us several times, so we focused even more on the EPO, mostly at the expense of Software Freedom matters/perils.

“It’s self-hosted in the sense or to the effect that we needn’t worry about censorship for the contents of (e.g. what’s said in) the videos, so the language is unrestricted.”It was only last year that the site expanded from IRC and HTML to several other protocols, with Gemini as a medium, IPFS as a medium, more videos, and even text-only bulletins. We’re glad to say adoption of these is increasing. Our home (seed) node of IPFS does about 2.5GB per day, Gemini requests in the Techrights capsule are set to be around 65k for the first half of May, compared to ~105k for the whole of April and 74k for March. Gemini space is growing. Gemini protocol is being appreciated by more and more people. We’ve also added many more videos so far this month (and editing is done automatically from the command line with scripts, even uploads are scripted as of this month). It’s self-hosted in the sense or to the effect that we needn’t worry about censorship for the contents of (e.g. what’s said in) the videos, so the language is unrestricted. That doesn’t mean cursing and shouting is recommended, it’s just that we need not worry about faceless monopolies retaliating against us for it. That’s increasingly happening to a lot of people. Their work and their audience got ‘captured’ by corporations that abuse control over them (both those who do all the work and the audiences, which get manipulated for no reason other than profit and political gain).

On airThe video above covers a range of topics, mostly site news and FSF news. “An open letter in support of Richard Matthew Stallman being reinstated by the Free Software Foundation” will soon have 6,700 signatures, whereupon we’ll replot the graph. Might we get there by Monday? I take note of some of the latest changes in stallmansupport.org (“Debunking False Accusation Against Richard Stallman”). The people who run that site support our site, which attempts to do as it preaches, including self-hosting whenever possible. Last night we started working on a full(er) video archive page for the site, which is still work in progress. Many of the videos on the site aren’t properly indexed anywhere, except in the Wiki or some old blog posts. In the site’s WordPress side (or section) we now have 30,414 posts, totalling 1.2 GB of compressed WordPress database (tar/gz). The total number of files in the Techrights Web site is 176283 and total site size (disk space) is 85GB, with just about half of that being videos. The site currently has 497 ogv files, 139 ogg files, 385 webm files, 113 mp3 files, and 53 mp4 files. It would be useful, we think, to have them all listed properly in one place. That’s over 1,000 multimedia files.

05.13.21

The Need for Reliable Governance at Freenode

Posted in Site News at 9:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Why the current and high-profile (albeit somewhat covert) owner of the network, who seems to care about Free software (it has made him very wealthy), should put the whole thing in reliable hands and not attempt to ‘monetise’ it in any way

EARLIER this month we wrote about issues at Freenode. This was about censorship and conflict of interest, not so much about privacy (as one might expect from a communication channel). See, Freenode is owned by a firm that we have no reason to believe dislikes privacy, but as we noted this morning, there are other reasons for fracturing. Some people resign and set up alternatives.

“Expect many more articles to come about Freenode and IRC, mostly due to a state of flux.”Freenode was never “one happy family” (there are bound to be disagreements), but things deteriorated further lately. We have overwhelming evidence of that. In the video above I explain why the conclusion I’ve reached, based on a lot of reading (hours long), is that Mr. Andrew Lee needs to help set up a governance structure that facilitates free speech and isn’t beholden/indebted to the legal owner of Freenode (i.e. to him or Ted Kim, CEO of its parent company, London Trust Media, Inc.).

Freenode should not be run like a business. This neutrality of Freenode is the reason the network flourished for a very long time, especially among Free software development communities, sometimes users as well. I’ve used many means of communication over the year (I was an early IRC adopter), but I always come back to things like Freenode because it feels welcoming and the amount of abuse there is relatively low.

Techrights needs a fair and just Freenode in order to remain in Freenode (we considered self-hosting IRC several times over the years, but downsides were foreseen). We’ve never had any major issues with Freenode (in over 13 years!) and we hope it will stay that way. We’ll observe very closely the developments to come (there’s assurance some big things will happen, like legal disputes and even lawsuits). Expect many more articles to come about Freenode and IRC, mostly due to a state of flux.

Free IRC
Free. Keep it free. As in free speech, too.

05.10.21

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 09, 2021

Posted in Site News at 2:00 am by Needs Sunlight

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now


IPFS Mirrors

CID Description Object type
 QmerjT8Jqy2KgSZgBbsH4fDLQsz5Gs5EtDYqWQrwNN3PDt IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmRKsxqrqnWc3QTGW5uBmBDcUWdbwUTfxjDUCdRa5Sp6hc IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 Qmc5vM9cP2PSkF1SLTzVtM2pF1qarAdVQC8ufRy68KroAP IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmVgfXwH6nmMPed1SbrG91ogPgqdeVHytVRZc6HgoZA8mr IRC log for #boycottnovell-social
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 QmfZapP3idq584sbEUpzGkK8v8xg9ycD2JMtB1cAHkCmNh IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmeRMfXiSWVNZCYLkg3y3vDEhdFLaW5FyduL3BcpvtcGD2 IRC log for #techbytes
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
 Qmdsej7y1Y7D5mdGucmVczuHxLzXNMXANotKFzbB8UGgpQ IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
 QmbSW7yBBM1aF6rtL9B1Gh7jBnSLU4rDmzG1ccBB3aFLFC IRC log for #techrights
(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs

IPFS logo

Bulletin for Yesterday

Local copy | CID (IPFS): Qme2zET7nsqftCZUhomdrJ2TcwdGxMXqHcFY9wq5d5xR6R

05.09.21

How We Process and Upload Videos Hosted in Techrights

Posted in Site News, Videos at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: With ffmpeg as the Swiss army knife (and various other utilities/programs ‘in between’) it’s possible to automate much of the pipeline associated with video production and self-hosting

THE past few weeks were spent working on self-hosting our videos and producing new videos in a way that’s both fast and easy to navigate (e.g. monthly archives with animated previews). Some weeks we produce 20 or more videos (compared to just one audio episode, at most, per week), so automation — where practical and doable — is a priority. Those videos are also presented (or listed) over Gemini protocol — something that cannot be done so easily with centralised disservices such as YouTube (Google already dominates the Web; it doesn’t want substitutes to it, e.g. gemini://).

“Let’s face it, the Web is quickly becoming more censorious and at the same time more centralised, which is a toxic combination.”Some of the tools we use and the way they’re assembled were explained here before, but the video above shows how they’re glued together in a simple script which takes as input the video slug/title, then does the rest, including editing, watermarking, merging, upload, HTML, and checksums. This is still work in progress. For more details and for commands worth replicating see:

Nothing is infeasible. Almost.

Eventually, if all goes according to plan, we’ll be able to package it all up rather nicely for use by other people who aren’t familiar with internals of ffmpeg. We want to see more and more people self-hosting their videos, ensuring they’re robust or resistant to censorship (or find a way deter self-censorship, i.e. people gradually feeling more comfortable to express their opinions openly if not bluntly).

Let’s face it, the Web is quickly becoming more censorious and at the same time more centralised, which is a toxic combination. It gives very few companies infinite powers over the speech of billions (they also control what people can see) and their standard of what constitutes “acceptable” speech varies over time. The only long-term solution to all this is de-centralisation, at least to the degree affordable.

Gemini and Techrights: Still Growing in Gemini Space and Always Supporting/Loving the Protocol

Posted in Site News at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: As we continue to expand in Gemini space (where our very large site became a very large and likely the largest capsule) it’s worth explaining some of the overlooked merits of the protocol; unlike the World Wide Web (WWW) it does not impose things on the user/visitor, who is more or less in charge

THE value of stories isn’t in images or in number of “hits”; what counts the most is accuracy and exclusivity, e.g. our EPO exclusives and ‘explosive’ exposé (in the journalism sense). Just merely repeating what some other sites say (like re-announcing some distro release) isn’t of much value; over time the interest in such stories will decline rapidly. How many people will bother reading a release announcement or article about Firefox 10 and Ubuntu 12.04 (in 2021)? Almost nobody. Not to mention sites that lie and promote rubbish… that sort of stuff does not age well as it rapidly slips into irrelevance.

A lot of what we publish is almost timeless and it recently formed the basis for this new wiki page about the GNOME Foundation.

“How many people will bother reading a release announcement or article about Firefox 10 and Ubuntu 12.04 (in 2021)? Almost nobody.”Readers of Techrights increase in number, IRC participants grew in numbers for a number of years, WWW traffic remains high, and we’ve been seeing in Gemini about 30,000 requests in the first week of this month (or 35,000 for the first 8 days). We saw just over 4,000 hits on the audio files of TechBytes this past week, and some more things are planned for the site (I spoke a lot with our sysadmin this morning). The site has just turned 14.5 years old, as noted earlier today (almost 30,400 blog posts so far).

In the video above I start with some mental notes (sporadic thoughts and scattered ‘mindfarts’) before getting to the main point, which is why Gemini excites us. It helps readers focus on what’s actually important, it takes the attention off superficial things such as images, it improves accessibility, and tackles clutter. Everything it serialised. That’s a design principle, an artificial and intentional limitation.

The Web kept growing for a number of decades and it ushered in unnecessary bloat, piggybacking the growing capacity of Internet networks. But we need to step back and think if we really need all that…

Roy in BerlinThat’s me in Berlin 2.5 years ago when we moved between servers. It was a stressful period in my life because the previous webhost was shutting down (there was a deadline) after almost a decade. So I spent a lot of Christmas that year just worrying about what to migrate, how to migrate, what needs testing and so on. A lot remains to be done, still. The upgrades are very slow and they include not only sites but also git repositories and various services. Collaboration depends on those. The latest change was code that helps limit the size of the video gallery to just one-month portions (e.g. for the current month alone). Programming reference pages/manuals have meanwhile been converted to Gemini protocol and format. Moreover, as per the mailing list, some Git stuff can be done over Gemini instead of the Web. That’s what happens when so many geeks embrace something and extend it to suit their needs, without extending the underlying protocol.

Over the coming weeks or maybe months we’ll try to release some of the code by branching or setting apart things that are ready (safe) for public access and things that for the time being need further preparatory work. Some of the code is Gemini stuff, programmed specifically to convert Techrights and accommodate the capsule (35,495 pages at the time of writing).

Gemini will probably never replace WWW, but it works well in tandem and it reduces the load/strain. Otherwise it’s difficult and potentially expensive to operate a very large site. There are other benefits, enjoyed by those who are easy to forget. To quote a new article entitled “What I Learned by Relearning HTML”: “Accessibility was also something I had never considered in depth. I knew that images should have alt descriptions, and that was about it. One of the course’s key points is that using the appropriate semantic elements is important to making a site more accessible.”

We urge readers to not only get a Gemini client but also to create their own capsules. It’s not hard. It can also be very cheap because provisioning typically involves one’s home computer (or single-board computer).

By the way, the wife’s Viber call went off towards the end of the video. Thankfully it was the end of the video anyway.

Schloss Charlottenburg Berlin
Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin

05.08.21

Web Sites or News Sites Perish When Their Arguments Are Weak and/or Invalid

Posted in Site News at 10:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday: Bashing Free Software and GNU/Linux is a Terrible Business Model for Publishers

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin
Check the facts, tell the truth

Summary: “Just be honest!” is a simple motto for any site; but some sites sell out in pursuit of money or grandiosity, unlike us (we turned 14.5 years old on Friday)

37.5 years ago a guy from MIT wrote about a “new Unix implementation”. Aged 30 back then, he argued that “GNU will be a kernel plus all the utilities needed to write and run C programs: editor, shell, C compiler, linker, assembler, and a few other things. After this we will add a text formatter, a YACC, an Empire game, a spreadsheet, and hundreds of other things. We hope to supply, eventually, everything useful that normally comes with a Unix system, and anything else useful, including on-line and hardcopy documentation.”

“Too many so-called ‘news’ sites have been reduced to lying/selling.”This kind of very simple history isn’t suiting the agenda of the deception (marketing) agency known as ‘Linux’ Foundation, so they’ll be lying a lot more later this year. They even hired a man from Microsoft to take the lead in this campaign (as chief communicator). EPO examiners certainly value the concept of prior art and scientific history (objective reality), so maybe they can relate to this too. See, the technology giants basically bribe a lot of the press (they pass money as part of “sponsored content” or “advertising contracts”), so they basically shape or distort the narrative. Right about now António Campinos — just like Benoît Battistelli before him — wastes tens of millions of euros bombarding the media with EPO puff pieces. We can barely keep count/stock of it all (some isn’t in English, either) and it serves to show what a lot of the media became. Those with the money control and own the ‘story’. But we deserve better than this and we ought not expect the media to play along.

Radioactive cowsIn any event, here in Techrights we’ll soon publish our 30,400th post and our audiocast resumed last week (it started 11 years ago). Since then the MP3 and Ogg versions have been accessed nearly 3,700 times (in less than a week), so it’s fair to say people do care and we still have momentum/inertia. “Just be honest!”

Too many so-called 'news' sites have been reduced to lying/selling. Some perish shortly after that. It puts people off. Rightly so!

As per lookup.icann.org, our site exceeded 14.5 years in age (last Friday):

Created: 2006-11-07 14:21:12 UTC

Curiously enough, even though we started by focusing on software patents and patent issues (later European software patents as well), nowadays we cover a much broader range of topics. The important thing is, we aren’t trying to sell anything. We’re just being brutally honest and people evidently appreciate that. It also makes us an attractive target for corporate discretisation campaigns.

05.02.21

Why TechBytes Was on a Break and What Will be Covered Now That It’s Back

Posted in Site News, TechBytes at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: Today, May 2nd, TechBytes comes back after 6 years

THIS morning we’re reassembling everything for recording, with ever-so-optimistic hopes of more regular releases of episodes. The show will cover topics quite different from what my personal videos cover.

“How frequently episodes are to be released depends on availability of several people, so it’s a bit unpredictable.”TechBytes covers legal issues and general tech affairs, including Microsoft’s demise, the gaming scene, and intersections between law and tech. Tim is more specialised than myself, so the breadth of scope is widened a lot. It’s not likely to cover EPO affairs for instance.

Sound SystemThe production will be self-hosted over encrypted (end-to-end encryption) connection and all the software will be Free-as-in-freedom software. How frequently episodes are to be released depends on availability of several people, so it’s a bit unpredictable.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows.

Recording Studio

05.01.21

TechBytes Coming Back Shortly

Posted in Site News, TechBytes at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: It may have been a very long time since we last recorded an episode of TechBytes, but we’re about to resume very soon

OVER the past few weeks we’ve reposted a number of old TechBytes videos (and sometimes audio too). Most were Richard Stallman interviews, a part of the TechBytes audiocast (we don’t say podcast) and videocast.

“On issues associated with outsourcing and centralisation stay tuned for future episodes of TechBytes.”I’ve just caught up with Tim, after many years of absence due to personal commitments and health reasons. We spoke for about 1.5 hours about topics we intend to cover and we’ll hopefully have the first episode in years ready for publication some time tomorrow. We’ll hopefully have more guests too (some time in the future). TechBytes never ended; it was just ‘on hold’ and the plan was to get back to it at some stage.

In unrelated news, my personal Twitter account, which was banned for my views on patents (it’s shocking, isn’t it?) was reinstated 24 hours ago after a scholar who focuses on patents wrote to Twitter’s CEO. It took only minutes since the message was sent and the account was magically reinstated. We’re glad to be backed by people who value our position on these matters. I didn’t even ask for this, as the reach-out to Twitter’s CEO was of their own volition. It worked. I don’t directly participate in Twitter; in fact I pretty much quit it a year ago, but it’s still OK to have copies of stuff appearing there for broader reach/audience. Some people refuse to read things outside of Social Control Media and the Free Software Foundation participates there also. Techrights itself doesn’t do Social Control Media and TechBytes has no presence there. On issues associated with outsourcing and centralisation stay tuned for future episodes of TechBytes. Tim has a lot of knowledge when it come to the law, so he’ll have many stories to tell.

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