Planet Fellowship (en)

Friday, 24 October 2014

Positive results from Outreach Program for Women

DanielPocock.com - fsfe | 23:53, Friday, 24 October 2014

In 2013, Debian participated in both rounds of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW). The first round was run in conjunction with GSoC and the second round was a standalone program.

The publicity around these programs and the strength of the Google and Debian brands attracted a range of female candidates, many of whom were shortlisted by mentors after passing their coding tests and satisfying us that they had the capability to complete a project successfully. As there are only a limited number of places for GSoC and limited funding for OPW, only a subset of these capable candidates were actually selected. The second round of OPW, for example, was only able to select two women.

Google to the rescue

Many of the women applying for the second round of OPW in 2013 were also students eligible for GSoC 2014. Debian was lucky to have over twenty places funded for GSoC 2014 and those women who had started preparing project plans for OPW and getting to know the Debian community were in a strong position to be considered for GSoC.

Chandrika Parimoo, who applied to Debian for the first round of OPW in 2013, was selected by the Ganglia project for one of five GSoC slots. Chandrika made contributions to PyNag and the ganglia-nagios-bridge.

Juliana Louback, who applied to Debian during the second round of OPW in 2013, was selected for one of Debian's GSoC 2014 slots working on the Debian WebRTC portal. The portal is built using JSCommunicator, a generic HTML5 softphone designed to be integrated in other web sites, portal frameworks and CMS systems.

Juliana has been particularly enthusiastic with her work and after completing the core requirements of her project, I suggested she explore just what is involved in embedding JSCommunicator into another open source application. By co-incidence, the xTuple development team had decided to dedicate the month of August to open source engagement, running a program called haxTuple. Juliana had originally applied to OPW with an interest in financial software and so this appeared to be a great opportunity for her to broaden her experience and engagement with the open source community.

Despite having no prior experience with ERP/CRM software, Juliana set about developing a plugin/extension for the new xTuple web frontend. She has published the extension in Github and written a detailed blog about her experience with the xTuple extension API.

Participation in DebConf14

Juliana attended DebConf14 in Portland and gave a presentation of her work on the Debian RTC portal. Many more people were able to try the portal for the first time thanks to her participation in DebConf. The video of the GSoC students at DebConf14 is available here.

Continuing with open source beyond GSoC

Although GSoC finished in August, xTuple invited Juliana and I to attend their annual xTupleCon in Norfolk, Virginia. Google went the extra mile and helped Juliana to get there and she gave a live demonstration of the xTuple extension she had created. This effort has simultaneously raised the profile of Debian, open source and open standards (SIP and WebRTC) in front of a wider audience of professional developers and business users.

Juliana describes her work at xTupleCon, Norfolk, 15 October 2014

It started with OPW

The key point to emphasize is that Juliana's work in GSoC was actually made possible by Debian's decision to participate in and promote Outreach Program for Women in 2013.

I've previously attended DebConf myself to help more developers become familiar with free and open RTC technology. I wasn't able to get there this year but thanks to the way GSoC and OPW are expanding our community, Juliana was there to help out.

My internship at FSFE

Max's weblog » English | 10:39, Friday, 24 October 2014

I recently saw that the Free Software Foundation Europe is offering a new and very interesting internship position. That’s a great opportunity for every student interested in Free Software and political activism — and for me to write about my internship I completed from October 2013 until end of March 2014. Here’s a report I wrote some time ago:

Starting from October 2013 I was able to work 6 months as an intern for the Free Software Foundation Europe in Berlin. This was an internship required by my bachelor degree course at the University of Konstanz (Germany) where I study Politics and Public Administration. Some years before my internship I already was an FSFE Fellow and then decided to apply there.

My daily tasks contained monitoring and moderation of the various mailing lists and social network accounts. There were also various technical jobs to do: Updating and creating single websites, sending out newsletters, fixing smaller bugs on our pages and so on.

The bigger part in my internship was political work. In Germany, various ISPs want to hinder end consumers to freely choose a router because they only want officially supported ones. Such policy comes with serious consequences for security, free competition, trust in technology, and compatibility. My tasks contained analysing regulation drafts, writing statements for public hearings and coordination with other activists. We summarized the issue and our work on https://fsfe.org/activities/routers

After the parliamentary elections in Germany 2013 I analysed the Grand Coalition’s agreement to identify possible positive and negative effects on Free Software. I also was able to visit several politicians in the German Bundestag to talk with them about Free Software and upcoming important tasks we wanted to work on.

Besides I helped a lot organising our various campaigns like “Document Freedom Day” and “I love Free Software”. For many of these political tasks and campaigns I wrote press releases and public statements.

During my internship I learned a lot about the structure and work in a multinational organisation and how to collaborate and talk with different people around the world. Another plus is the know-how I aquired by helping planning the various campaigns and analyses. When I was in Brussels and Chemnitz to help at FSFE’s booths during conferences I also learned very much about how to talk with people of all kinds and how to carry ideas and convictions to others.

I will never regret applying for and completing the internship at FSFE. There were so many theoretical and practical things no study course can teach. Being able to work at the interface between communities, companies and politics is something every interested student should be granted.

I want to thank everybody who enabled the FSFE to offer these internships. Organisations like the Free Software Foundation Europe are important to bring equality and freedom to our society and these internships allow students to get an insight into this very interesting area of activity.

This internship was a very general one so I was able to work in many different areas of FSFE’s activity. The offered internship is mostly about Document Freedom Day, FSFE’s largest campaign in which I also invested a lot of time. I’m quite sure that this position is also very interesting — and very important as well! So if you want to take responsibility and want to learn much about collaboration, worldwide activism and public relations, go ahead and apply for this internship!

If you are interested in this internship but you have some questions left, please feel free to ask me anything.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Three Autumn events 2014

FSFE Fellowship Vienna » English | 12:08, Thursday, 23 October 2014




Unfortunately (or luckily?) the Fellowship group was this Autumn so very busy we couldn’t keep up with writing reports. Our work included a traditional Software Freedom Day booth on 20th of September, three and a half days booth and a workshop for Free Software especially for activists on the biggest German speaking animal rights conference, which took place from 9th to 12th October – and at the same time a hugely impressive three days booth marathon with the local business spielend programmieren at the Game City fair in the mayors house from 10th to 12th October. 69,000 people visited the Game City fair and about 4,000 specifically designed leaflets about free games where spread there, not counting our other information material.

The Software Freedom Day booth was very similar to the other booths we did in the DFD and SFD events before. We where happy to note we are increasingly encountering more and more people already familiar with free software. Many did not only hear of it but deliberately are using it. We get the impression being present in public places over and over again slowly makes a difference. Therefore we had many constructive discussions – even if this time not so many people floated our usual spot at the shopping street. Probably because of a huge building place along the shopping street less people where present.

About 450 people visited the animal rights conference. Since most of them are somewhat used to critical thinking and to deviate from the common path this audience is remarkably receptive to the idea of free software. Because of that the workshop on free software for activists was very well received. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough information material since the people visiting the workshop afterwards unexpectedly stormed the information desk and wanted to take more than was available due to the fact that most material was at the much larger Game City fair at this time. I urgently need to restock my business cards to give people at least any contact they could turn to if they have any questions.
An other important contribution was the catalogue for the art exhibition which was part of the conference. It has German and English text, was done with free software only and was the best selling item at the conference book desk. The last page on the inside is dedicated to free software, therefore remembering everyone not only to respect life, but as well to care about software freedom.

Our volunteers at the Game City fair had great creative ideas as well: Since the small no budget booth on free software had to compete with the expensive shiny presentation booths of the biggest corporations in the gaming business we decided to avoid competing concerning high end graphics or polished full featured game experiences. We decided it would be best as well for pointing out the most important virtues of free games to concentrate on independence, adaptability and the possibility to game on older hardware. These proofed to be the right concept since most free software projects never reach enough funding to invest in high end graphics anyway. Our team even came up with ideas to turn our disadvantages to advantages. We didn’t had enough time upfront to thoroughly proofread our new leaflet. Therefore we asked the visitors of our booth to read through it and gave them rewards in form of small chocolate treats for finding any error. This not only was a good test by lots of eyes, but as well gave them a good reason to really read our information texts. Luckily we didn’t miss many typos anyway. An other great idea was to invite people to take photographs in front of our banners and/or with our information material. Photo models got a treat as well. Beside that Horst had an other good idea to promote net neutrality by giving visitors the choice between holding up three different signs with statements on the subject when they got photographed. Only one decided to take a stand against net neutrality. Countless visitors most likely had their first encounter with this subject and made their first ever public display of an opinion.

We can honestly claim this was the most active and successful Autumn for our local Fellowship group ever. This was only possible thanks to our dedicated volunteers. Especially the great booth at the Game City fair was only available because of Horst from spielend programmieren. He has built up a business by educating children how to program. Since he is an advocate for software freedom he does this with free software only. His concept of doing this by using free games has proven to be very intuitive and fun. He took our group under his wing by letting us use his expensive booth for free in the last years at the Game City fair. Following up on his initiative this time we reached a new level of professionalism and target group optimised presence because of our leaflet on free games. Horst as well wrote a long report (German) with many pictures on the event. He as well put the folder on free games on Git hub. (You can find a link to the source files in the referenced article.)

The photo collage (the third picture on the right) was taken from Horsts great report on the Game City event.

phpList wants to learn more about their users

bb's blog | 10:31, Thursday, 23 October 2014

phpList has teamed up with User Prompt to learn more about you – the phpList users. The first step is to ask you to participate in a small (5 minute) survey.

How could KTracks look like?

bb's blog | 10:31, Thursday, 23 October 2014

In a series of articles we illustrate the user centered design process from scratch, based on a still missing application in the KDE world: KTracks, an endurance activity tracker. In part #3 we present mockups of the application.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Announcing the LibreOffice Conference for 2015 in Aarhus, Denmark

agger's Free Software blog | 10:22, Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The LibreOffice Conference for 2015 will take place in Aarhus, Denmark, as a collaboration between the Document Foundation, the Danish LibreOffice community, the FSFE local group and the municipality of Aarhus. Also involved are the local hacker space and (hopefully) other local free software groups. I will personally  be involved as a community contact, i.e. as the person with feet on the ground in Aarhus, responsible for the contact to local NGOs. The event will be hosted by the municipality.

As the Document Foundation writes on its blog:

Aarhus Waterfront

The Document Foundation (TDF) announces that the LibreOffice Conference 2015 will be jointly organized by the Danish LibreOffice community in collaboration with local F/OSS groups and the Aarhus municipality, and hosted at the brand new Urban Media Space, from September 23 to September 25, 2015.

In addition, on September 22 the LibreOffice community will gather for several face-to-face meetings: Board of Directors, Advisory Board, Engineering Steering Committee, and Certification Committee.

Aarhus is a city of education, knowledge and research. Its university is internationally recognized for its contributions within, among other fields, social sciences, technology and science. Aarhus is known to attract talented students from around the world which also provides the city with a great diversity.

“Hosting the LibreOffice Conference will be an exciting opportunity for the entire Danish free software community”, says Leif Lodahl, a long time leader of the Danish LibreOffice community, a founder of The Document Foundation, and the architect of several large migration projects to LibreOffice. “We are looking forward to welcoming LibreOffice volunteers and advocates from every corner of the world”.

As the day comes nearer, I may well want to reach out to the wider FSFE community to ask for assistance and support. I’m certainly excited to see how it will  work out.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

New defensive publication from ownCloud: file syncing encryption

Hugo - FSFE planet | 15:18, Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Last month, I worked with Björn Schießle on ownCloud’s first defensive publication. This one covers ownCloud’s encryption system.

The challenge is that ownCloud is a free software server for file syncing and file sharing, and you can connect it to different storage backends. However, you don’t necessarily want these storage providers to access data unencrypted.

Thus, being able to use encryption to protect user data is paramount, but not trivial. Users of local encryption tools such as GnuPG will know that.

Fortunately, ownCloud has offered an encryption system for more than a year.

The source of their defensive publication is available on Linux Defenders’ repositories. In order to make it, I started working from Björn’s blog post. It turns out that Björn already had documents describing their encryption system which were used for internal purposes. They were very useful to make figures and illustrate the publication. The point is that making a defensive publication is not very difficult, most of the time, pieces are already available and you just need to put them together and to submit them to Linux Defenders.

Encryption for file syncing servers is an important feature worth protecting from further patents, and that a lot of patents get applied for about all sorts of “cloud” systems. Just publishing this as a defensive publication does not cost anything, but its benefits are great: a defensive publication is a statement of prior art that prevents everyone from being able to exclude anyone to implement what the publication specifies. By submitting it to the IP.com database, Linux Defenders make sure that the free software community’s innovations are accessible to patent office examiners who are responsible for reviewing and granting claims to patent applications.

If you’re also interested in making a defensive publication, we’re about to publish our tutorial. This will guide you through the steps and the parts that can make a good defensive publication. Your feedback is welcome!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

WHAT DO YOU REQUIRE FROM KTRACKS?

bb's blog | 10:31, Thursday, 23 October 2014

In a series of articles we illustrate the user centered design process from scratch, based on a still missing application in the KDE world: KTracks, an endurance activity tracker. In part #2 we talk about requirements. Enjoy reading!

What is KTracks?

bb's blog | 10:31, Thursday, 23 October 2014

In a series of articles we illustrate the user centered design process from scratch, based on a still missing application in the KDE world: KTracks, an endurance activity tracker. Read on…

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Testing a NetworkManager VPN plugin password dialog

Colors of Noise - Entries tagged planetfsfe | 11:55, Sunday, 12 October 2014

Testing the password dialog of a NetworkManager VPN plugin is as simple as:

echo -e 'DATA_KEY=foo\nDATA_VAL=bar\nDONE\nQUIT\n' | ./auth-dialog/nm-iodine-auth-dialog -n test -u $(uuid) -i

The above is for the iodine plugin when run from the built source tree. This allows one to test these dialogs although one didn't see them since ages since GNOME shell uses the external UI mode to query for the password.

This blog is flattr enabled.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Brown Dogs and Barbers – Available to buy!

Computer Floss | 13:21, Saturday, 11 October 2014

Brown Dogs and Barbers, the computer science book for everyone, is now available to buy online. There’s even a new landing page where you can find free excerpts and links to online shops: browndogsandbarbers.com.

Right now you can get it from several distribution channels, including Amazon (find it your nearest Amazon outlet, like the US, Canada, UK or Germany) and Smashwords. Other retailers, like iTunes, are also currently preparing it for sale in their webstores. More news on those as I receive word.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hi Planet FSFE!

bb's blog | 10:31, Thursday, 23 October 2014

As this is my first post on the planet, I wanted to quickly say: ‘Hi!’. I am a passionate advocate for Usability and User Experience in Free Software. In this blog I will mainly point to articles we originally publish on our User Prompt company website – of course only those that are related to Free [...]

Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Free Software in Education News – September

Being Fellow #952 of FSFE » English | 09:44, Wednesday, 08 October 2014

Here’s what we collected in September. If you come accross anything that might be worth mentioning in this series, please drop me a note, dump it in this pad or send it on the edu-eu mailinglist!

FSFE Edu-Team activities

Community

Government

Edu software

“The Soft Robotics Toolkit is a collection of shared resources to support the design, fabrication, modeling, characterization, and control of soft robotic devices. The toolkit was developed as part of educational research being undertaken in the Harvard Biodesign Lab. The ultimate aim of the toolkit is to advance the field of soft robotics by allowing designers and researchers to build upon each other’s work. The toolkit includes an open source fluidic control board, detailed design documentation describing a wide range of soft robotic components (including actuators and sensors), and related files that can be downloaded and used in the design, manufacture, and operation of soft robots.”

Pretty cool stuff…

Other news

  • Kano Ships Its First 18,000 Learn-To-Code Computer Kits, Fueled By $1.5M Kickstarter
  • I saw at least seven Free Software projects listed on the Top 100 edu tools from an annual online survey: WordPress, Moodle, Wikipedia, Audacity, Mahara, OpenOffice and Firefox. I have to say that I don’t know most of the other items on the list and didn’t bother to check which of them might be Free Software as well.

Future events

flattr this!

Saturday, 04 October 2014

My very first commit to KDE

Hook’s Humble Homepage | 11:20, Saturday, 04 October 2014

Hello world Planet!

My name is Matija Šuklje 1, but geeks call me Hook 2. I have been lurking around KDE and using it since its 2.x (or 1.x) times and in the many years mostly contributed by submitting nasty bug reports 3, suggesting crazy ideas and here and there helping translate KDE software into my mother tongue – Slovenian.

As a (very soon to be) lawyer with very limited coding skills, that is as much as I could have done for the community so far.

But in the past years, I got lucky and got employed by the FSFE to lead the FSFE Legal team. Since the FLA that KDE e.V. uses was made in tight cooperation with FSFE, I finally had an excuse to go to Akademy found a way to help out the KDE community with my skills and hold a lightning talk on how the FLA works and why KDE gearheads should sign it (video).

My very first commit to KDE

After helping with a recent local KDE translation sprint, Andrej Mernik suggested that I should ask for direct commit access to the KDE localisations SVN, so I do not bug him or Andrej Vernekar to commit translations for me.

So I did, and Andrej Vernekar later supported my application and shortly thereafter Víctor Blázquez welcomed me with a nice new developer package. It is great to see the KDE community so welcoming to newcomers! ☺

Excited by my new powers, as soon as time let me, I fired up the trusty 4 Lokalize and started translating some of the packages that have been in my ToDo list for a long time now.

Just a few hiccups with my OpenPGP card setup, and the first ever commit to KDE repositories, signed with my name, was on-line. Ah, what a thrill!

Sign(ed) the FLA

Haha!

you might think,

Now we have you! Have you signed the FLA that you tell us all is such a great idea?

… and you would have all the reasons to ask.

And the answer is: Yes, of course, I contacted KDE e.V., where Albert Astals Cid answered me, I printed the copies, signed and sent them just a week after my first commit!

While I was filling it out, I did realise that the document needs to be a bit easier to read and understand. So I took notes of that and in the relatively near future am going to try to come up with a few suggestions how to make the FLA even better 5. This also means, I would very much welcome any feedback from the wider community on the text.

hook out → I wish I had time to go to Akademy 2014 as well …see you next year!


  1. I know it not easy to pronounce. Matija is the Slovenian equivalent of Matthias (and is pronounced the same, just drop the S). As for Šuklje, it sounds a bit like “shoe kle” in “shoe kleptomaniac”, but has nothing to do with it. 

  2. On FreeNode I go under the nickname silver_hook and for other ways to get in touch, feel free to check my contacts page

  3. I have a knack for finding bugs – in digital as well as real life. One of the funnier occasions was at Akademy 2013, where I managed to find and coherently replicate a bug in one of the elevators in the place where most of participants were staying. Together with David E. “DMaggot” Narváez we also found a workaround and submitted the bug to the local person in charge. 

  4. Lokalize might slowly be in need of a few visual improvements and better documentation, but it still is an awesome tool for localisation. 

  5. Full disclaimer: The FLA is part of my work for FSFE as well as the topic of my LLM thesis. 

My ZSH theme ported to Oh My ZSH!

Hook’s Humble Homepage | 10:15, Saturday, 04 October 2014

Back in 2010 I created my very own theme for Z-Shell and a a few months later I started publishing my dotfiles on Gitorious instead of just this blog.

Around that time someone already asked why I do not use Oh My ZSH! and include my theme there. At that time that project was still relatively young1 and I did not see much benefit to start using its whole package. In addition to that I was still in early stages of getting to know Z-Shell and wanted to play around by myself for a bit.

In the meantime Oh My ZSH! has matured and gained in popularity to the extent that they currently do not accept new themes. If I could turn back time, I think I would rather try to get involved with that project sooner2.

For the moment I will continue to maintain my own Z-Shell settings in a separate repository, but base them on Oh My ZSH! as a git submodule. I also plan to upstream as much as possible.

hook out → just got back from (long overdue short) vacation and preparing for the last two exams before my LLM


  1. First commits are from August 2009. 

  2. Not just to get my theme in there, but to learn and contribute easier to the general community. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bullet points in PDF slideshows

the_unconventional's blog » English | 08:00, Tuesday, 30 September 2014

As many of you will know, using PDF instead of ODF and OOXML is usually the only way to achieve an acceptable level of interoperability, and most often guarantees that your documents look identical on every device you want to … Continue reading

Monday, 29 September 2014

How to advocate for Free Software in local politics

Being Fellow #952 of FSFE » English | 15:23, Monday, 29 September 2014

During the meeting in Essen, we had one work shop in which we discussed best practices for doing advocacy work on a local level. As local politics usually have different competences and regulations and vary a lot throughout Europe (they vary a lot inside Germany alone). It is impossible for FSFE staff to cover all this. A lot of work could be done by local groups like us though. The question we asked ourselves was: What do we need to help people getting active and promote Free Software in their neighborhood?

The condensed results of this workshop went into a wiki page where the thoughts and best practices will be available for everybody to learn and share their own experiences.

It includes topics like

  • How to establish the first contact with politicians
  • Who to contact first
  • staying in touch
  • What else you can do even if you are “in the middle of nowhere”
  • And a few more topics of interest for the local activist

So, please have a look, use, share and improve the page! (Non-Fellows may simply request write access to the wiki here or send me an email with the proposed changes).

flattr this!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Setting Openstreetmap as default in Thunderbird’s contacts

Max's weblog » English | 10:40, Sunday, 28 September 2014

Thunderbird contact map buttonIf you use Thunderbird and its contact functionality, you might already have stumbled over the “show on map” feature. If you add addresses to your contacts (no matter if directly in Thunderbird or via CalDAV) there appears a button which enabled you to open a map with the contact’s location.

The default search provider is Google Maps. If you don’t like this service and prefer free and open systems like me, you can also add openstreetmap.org as your default map service. You only have to change a value in the advanced configuration.

Open the Settings menu, select the Advanced panel, select the General tab, and click Config Editor. Now copy in the search field: mail.addr_book.mapit_url.format and double click on the string to edit it.

You should now see the default value. It’s nothing more than an URL with variables defined by the street, the country or the postal code of the respective contact. If you want to use Openstreetmap, fill in this value:

https://www.openstreetmap.org/search?query=@A1+@A2+@CI+@ST+@ZI+@CO

Restart Thunderbird and test again with an existing contact. By clicking on the button you should now see OSM instead of Google Maps where you can select one of the results in the left sidebar. Congratulations!

Further reading:
For more information about Thunderbird’s config editor, see the official knowledgebase entry
If you want to set other variables in the map query, there’re some hints on Mozilla’s Hidden prefs guide

Friday, 26 September 2014

Getting Aqualung on Debian again

the_unconventional's blog » English | 17:00, Friday, 26 September 2014

I’ve been using Aqualung to play back my music ever since I can remember. While it’s not the prettiest, most user friendly music player, it far surpasses any other player I’ve ever come across until this very day. The gapless … Continue reading

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ownCloud and free software in the cloud: Meet Frank Karlitschek in Open Space Aarhus

agger's Free Software blog | 15:50, Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I’m co-organizing this event, involving our hackerspace and the FSFE local group in Aarhus:

Frank Karlitschek, creator of ownCloud, will give a talk centering on ownCloud, free software in the enterprise and data protection in a post-Snowden world.

The talk will be followed by a discussion with the audience and a discussion panel consisting of:

  • Frank Karlitschek, Debian developer and creator of ownCloud
  • Christian Orellana, CEO of Cabo, a company that build enterprise clouds from free software
  • Carsten Agger, local group coordinator in Free Software Foundation Europe and software developer in Magenta, a company that specializes in free software mainly for the Danish public sector.

The event will take place in Open Space Aarhus on

Wednesday, October 1 at 18:00 hours

Do bring  a friend, this is going to be interesting!

 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Downloading e-books with Free Software

André on Free Software » English | 18:51, Monday, 22 September 2014

Today NRC brought the news: Bol.com and CPNB are coming with an e-book reader for everyone. Anyone who registers for a LeesID-account can read and administer books from several webshops in a digital bookcase.

LeesID also has it’s disadvantages:

  • LeesID is administering your books on it’s own computers;
  • LeesID knows what you are reading;
  • You have to log-in first;
  • No support for free operating systems.

Free Software offers you e-book readers such as Calibre and FBReader.

  • You administer your e-books yourself;
  • The developers do not know what you are reading;
  • You do not need to log-in;
  • Support for free operating systems;
  • A collection of DRM-free e-books.

The choice is up to you.

A guide to modern WordPress deployment (part 1)

Seravo | 12:00, Monday, 22 September 2014

Screen-Shot-2014-08-29-at-09.47.20

Seravo & WordPress

As a Linux and open source specialist company, Seravo provides services to many companies that run Linux in a web server. Not surprisingly, in many of these cases, the top-level software running on the server is of course, the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress. We love it!

In the process of administering and developing a number of WordPress sites for quite some time now, we’ve discovered an arsenal of useful ways to optimise and automate WordPress, some of which we’ve published right here on our blog:

Throughout 2014, we’ve expanded our WordPress expertise and in the process, combined our practices into a full WordPress deployment platform. We’re confident our solution is the next step forward from traditional WordPress hosting services.

In the spirit of openness in the WordPress community, we’re happy to present the details of our deployment platform and which technologies lie under it in this series of blog posts.

1. LXC – A full OS for every WordPress installation

As one of the starting points to our platform, we wanted every individual WordPress installation to have its own full Linux environment. Instead of going the traditional route to virtualisation with VMs seen in most generic hosting solutions, we chose a more recent technology called Linux containers or LXC for short.

Each WordPress instance resides within its own, robust Linux container which provides a lightweight, flexible way to sandbox applications. By using LXC as a means of virtualisation, we’ve greatly reduced the overhead required for hosting websites in a clustered environment, thus increasing overall server performance.

As each WordPress container is also a completely standalone system in itself, it has been extremely easy to clone and transfer instances between hosts and even other WordPress platforms.

2. Nginx, HHVM and MariaDB for amazing performance

Instead of a more traditional LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) environment. We utilised the newest in technologies for running WordPress.

  • Nginx, the fastest and most flexible HTTP server available
  • HHVM, a new and improved PHP engine developed and used by Facebook
  • MariaDB, a faster drop-in-replacement for MySQL server

The combination of these technologies enable us to offer WordPress performance unheard of when compared to LAMP environments. Additionally, all of these components are extremely configurable so that fine-tuning their performance could be a blog post all on its own.

3. Secure administration with TLS on SPDY/3.0

The drawbacks of building a HTTPS secured WordPress site have always been the inconvenience of acquiring an SSL certificate for each domain used and the increased server load from the additional computation required for secure protocols.

We didn’t want our users to throw away security for convenience, so we went in search for a solution.

First, we enabled the use of an open networking protocol called SPDY, which is the basis for the upcoming HTTP/2 protocol. SPDY/3 is already supported by all major browsers and offers a significant increase in server side performance in comparison to standard HTTPS. This allows us to effortlessly serve large amounts of secure HTTPS traffic with almost no performance penalty.

To avoid having to acquire separate SSL certificates for all our separate WordPress installations, we developed HTTPS Domain Alias – a WordPress plugin that allows the use of a separate domain name for wp-admin. All our clients now get their own subdomain for WordPress administration at *.seravo.fi, which can be securely accessed over HTTPS for a secure WordPress admin panel.

Stay tuned

We’ll be releasing part 2 of this series in the coming days, in which we discuss the management aspects of multiple WordPress installations and useful tools for general WordPress development and security.

More information for Finnish-speaking readers available at wordpress-palvelu.fi.

Friday, 19 September 2014

It’s a cold, cold day in hell…

the_unconventional's blog » English | 18:00, Friday, 19 September 2014

After many years of being as anti-GNU/Linux as humanly possible, Netflix - whose CEO is on the Microsoft board - finally seems to care about us. “Native” Netflix support is coming to GNU/Linux, after the community had pretty much given … Continue reading

Switching to true coreboot on the C720

the_unconventional's blog » English | 12:00, Friday, 19 September 2014

A lot of people seem to like my post about getting Debian to run on the Acer C720 Chromebook. I’m still using my C720 as a daily driver next to my PC, but I wanted to get rid of the … Continue reading

reSIProcate migration from SVN to Git completed

DanielPocock.com - fsfe | 06:47, Friday, 19 September 2014

This week, the reSIProcate project completed the move from SVN to Git.

With many people using the SIP stack in both open source and commercial projects, the migration was carefully planned and tested over an extended period of time. Hopefully some of the experience from this migration can help other projects too.

Previous SVN committers were tracked down using my script for matching emails to Github accounts. This also allowed us to see their recent commits on other projects and see how they want their name and email address represented when their previous commits in SVN were mapped to Git commits.

For about a year, the sync2git script had been run hourly from cron to maintain an official mirror of the project in Github. This allowed people to test it and it also allowed us to start using some Github features like travis-CI.org before officially moving to Git.

At the cut-over, the SVN directories were made read-only, sync2git was run one last time and then people were advised they could commit in Git.

Documentation has also been created to help people get started quickly sharing patches as Github pull requests if they haven't used this facility before.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Report from last FSFE meeting in Aschaffenburg, Germany

Being Fellow #952 of FSFE » English | 09:18, Thursday, 18 September 2014

This is going to be a condensed version of the German posting about the last Fellowship meeting in the Rhine/Main area. For the second time, we met in Aschaffenburg and we talked about the following topics:

Next time we’ll meet on Oct 1st in Frankfurt. See you there!

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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Birthday Calendar with ownCloud via CalDAV

Max's weblog » English | 22:56, Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Thunderbird Lightning

Not a big issue in this blog post but an important one. Maybe I can save you some valuable time if you ever look for such a function.

As you know I’m a heavy user of ownCloud and you also might know that synchronisation is a big topic for me. And the third thing you should know that forgetting a good friend’s birthday really su… well, it’s no good style. This almost happened to me some days ago because I couldn’t check it on my Notebook with Thunderbird. My setup looks like this: All contacts (with birthday tags) in ownCloud, and these CardDAV address books are synced with my Android phone and Thunderbird/SOGo-Connector on my notebook, as well as the CalDAV calendars with Lightning.

For Android there are several free software apps which enable the inclusion of birthdays from your contacts into any calendar app. Some calendar apps even can do it theirselves. But for Thunderbird there are only some outdated add-ons. All of them don’t work with TB31 anymore and if you modify the install.rdf-file to make them run anyhow, they’re very buggy or just nonfunctional. And if you look in your ownCloud instance (where contacts’ birthdays are visible in the calendar tab) for a downloadable/syncable calendar you’ll reach the same conclusion like me: There is none.

But there is!
And I only detected it while digging in some github issue threads. This post contains the rescuing link to a CalDAV/ICS calendar in any ownCloud version (I tested it in 7.0.2). Just modify and use following address in any application which supports CalDAV sync:

http(s)://YOUR-OC-URL/remote.php/caldav/calendars/YOUR-USER/contact_birthdays

And you know what? It works like a charm! No need for external add-ons or apps, no need for manual creation of birthday reminders, no need for apologising for (almost) missed birthdays. I just wonder why ownCloud hasn’t included this in either the webpanel or the documentation. It’s a well-working feature since at least one year, so why not including it officially? And if it’s a calendar technically, then it should also be possible to disable displaying the contacts’ birthdays in the webpanel calendar app – a still non-existent “feature”.

So next time you have no excuse for forgetting a birthday – except for your ownCloud server’s outage ;)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Flowhub Kickstarter delivery

Henri Bergius | 00:00, Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It is now a year since our NoFlo Development Environment Kickstarter got funded. Since then our team together with several open source contributors has been busy building the best possible user interface for Flow-Based Programming.

When we set out on this crazy adventure, we still mostly had only NoFlo and JavaScript in mind. But there is nothing inherently language-specific in FBP or our UI, and so when people started making other runtimes compatible with the protocol we embraced the idea of full-stack flow-based programming.

Here is how the runtime registration screen looks with the latest release:

Flowhub Runtime Registration

This hopefully highlights a bit of the possibilities of what can be done with Flowhub right now. I know there are several other runtimes that are not yet listed there. We should have something interesting to announce in that space soon!

Live mode

The Flowhub release made today includes several interesting features apart from giving private repository access to our Kickstarter backers. One I'm especially happy about is what we call live mode.

The live mode, initially built by Lionel Landwerlin, enables Flowhub to discover and connect to running pieces of Flow-Based software running in different environments. With it you can monitor, debug, and modify applications without having to restart them!

We made a short demo video of this in action with Flowhub, Raspberry Pi and an NFC tag.

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/EdgeSDFd9p0" width="560"></iframe>

Getting started

Our backers should receive an email today with instructions on how to activate their Flowhub plans. For those who missed the Kickstarter, there should be another batch of Flowhub pre-orders available soon.

Just like with Travis and GitHub, Flowhub is free for open source development. So, everybody should be able to start using it immediately even without a plan.

If you have any questions about Flow-Based Programming or how to use Flowhub, please check out the various ways to get in touch on the NoFlo support page.

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Saturday, 13 September 2014

Photo of the Month — 2014-09

emergency exit | 15:07, Saturday, 13 September 2014

With a minor delay, here is the photo of the month for September. It was taken this February in Zermatt, Switzerland.

It is a Panorama consisting of eight individual Portrait-orientated shots, stitched together with Hugin. Unfortunately (again) the size limitations of this blog prevent me from giving you a better resolution / quality. The original is 8512×4634 and roughly 200MB big.

Developing and editing was tricky on this one, and used the opportunity to learn about regional masks in Darktable. Before all editing, the stitch looked like this:

After the usual corrections (basecurve, lighting, local contrast), the picture looked like this:

As you can see, the snow on the Matterhorn itself was a little darker/greyer then the other snow which results in poor contrast with the surroundings, likely a result of different contrast in the original individual pictures. By creating a manually drawn mask around the Matterhorn and applying another brightness increase of about 0,10 EV just to the region the final photo is attained.
I love darktable, have I mentioned that?

Fixing mixed-layout OOXML files with LibreOffice

the_unconventional's blog » English | 14:00, Saturday, 13 September 2014

Yesterday, I wrote about how my friend received an unworkable macro-enabled OOXML file that failed to render accurately in LibreOffice. After a further analysis of the docm file, I was actually pleasantly surprised by the fact that LibreOffice’s rendering really … Continue reading

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