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Thursday·02·March·2006

Orpheus on Woody //at 02:26 //by abe

from the low-resource dept.

Nobse’s blog posting about his ITP the text mode menu- and window-driven front-end to mpg123, mpg321 and ogg123 orpheus made me curious since I was also unsatisfied with the audio players I used so far and mostly ended up in using mpg123 -Z *.mp3, because it works fine and is not as resource-hungry as XMMS. And for CDs I usually used a self-written perl wrapper around the command line tools of cdtools (mostly cdir and cdplay).

I first installed orpheus from sources on my SuSE box at work today while waiting for a windows box to upgrade to some service pack. At home I took nobse’s debian packages sources and recompiled the package on my Woody running desktop. After installing the required build dependecy dpatch from backports.org, the package compiled through without any problems and I now have a very useful and slim text mode audio player.

orpheus and aumix in transparent aterms

And orpheus and aumix look fine together inside transparent aterms.

Now playing in orpheus of course: Jean Michel Jarre — Je Me Souviens

Linuxland is slow //at 02:26 //by abe

from the not-only-debian-has-slow-release-cycles dept.

Linuxland is slow. I just got a newsletter e-mail from them with subject Debian 3.1 r1 ist da!” (engl.: Debian 3.1 r1 is here!”) announcing the availability of 3.1.r1 in their shop. My first thought was: “Oh, I thought it would take a few days more.” Then I noticed that they talk about 3.1r1 which was released on 18th of December last year and not the upcoming and already announced 3.1r2 which should be released at the end of February or at the beginning of March.

Supporting Free Software via vendors //at 02:25 //by abe

from the cash-flow dept.

Steve wrote in his blog:

I’ve seen this argument before “Buy distribution of GNU/Linux and support free software programmers”. The only problem I have with it is that it is incorrect. Buying GNU/Linux distributions helps the vendors who created it, certainly, and may indirectly help pay for some free software in the sense that the vendors might ship free software they wrote (e.g. SuSEs Yast{2]). However plonking down real cash-money for a boxed set of SuSE gives no money to the people who created MySQL, no money to the people who created Firefox, no money to the people who created Emacs, Vim, Bash, and Catan/Pioneers, etc.

I think, in general you’re right. And if you — as you did :-) — take SuSE, it usually works. And you’re probably also right for most people who just know the big, commercial distributions. But what if you take a free distribution like Debian or some of the BSDs, e.g. OpenBSD? How much truth is in there then?

Especially in the case of OpenBSD your view doesn’t seem work, because if you buy an (official) OpenBSD box, you pay the developers — or at least a few of them — of the operating system core and some mission-critical applications.

But what if you take community based distributions like Debian? You distinguished between distributor and authors of free software. In my eyes especially Debian, but also some other community based distributions are both at same time. So IMHO you can put them on the author side of your view.

And since many Debian vendors (at least those I saw) donate a part of the profit they make from selling Debian CDs or DVD to the Debian Project. Or they offer additional shopping cart items “Donation to Debian” if you order a Debian item. (Example: LinISO.de)

Another question in this context would be, how the FOSS world would look like if there are or were no commercial distributors. It probably would be much smaller because some marketing and some lobbying would be missing. Although that’s the only implication which comes to my mind, I’m sure, there are many more possible views on this subject.

But as I said, IMHO you’re right for most cases.

Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt //at 02:24 //by abe

from the quark-assurance dept.

After having a nice DVD evening on Friday with a friend (X-Men 2 and Dogma) in Darmstadt, I attended the Debian QA Meeting in Darmstadt for the rest of the weekend. Although I not really that deep in QA, there were interesting talks, discussions and people. Looking though the list of the oldest Debian packages with RC bugs, I even found a package (elvis-tiny, which I have installed on some boxes) with an RC bug and some more bugs I could fix during the QA meeting.

Debian’s newest developer and AM, Myon, NMU’ed the package for me and so elvis-tiny 1.4-18.1 is the first package I build to enter Debian. The package was btw initially built on my Unstable box at home, which is an about 10 years old Pentium 1 with 133 MHz and 64 MB of RAM called m35. I was working there via ssh and screen using my ThinkPad bijou — which is also an Pentium 1 with 133 MHz and therefore in the same performance class as m35.

Later in the afternoon, djpig filed another RC bug against that package because the above mentioned list of old RC bugs hasn’t been updated yet, so this package probably won’t get into testing that fast. On the other hand: The package is really old and seems unmaintained, because the three bugs weren’t that hard to fix. So it’s probably not so bad that this bug report was filed. And as HE wrote in his blog today, it probably saved him work, because he planned to find all such packages and file the appropriate bugs against them…

While doing some keysigning with the people who were sitting beside me (Amaya and h01ger) I also learned how to use caff and directly found a bug and filed it, while Myon just had uploaded a new version shortly before. But late in the night, he seemed to upload the next version where the bug is already fixed… And thanks to Emme installed the missing dependency for using gnupg-agent on the console (pinentry-curses) on Saturday, I’ve now no more excuses for not yet having signed all the keys from the Key Signing Party at Linuxtag in Karlsruhe.

When most of the meeting was over, I drove Ganneff and HE to the train station and — although they seemed skeptical regarding the idea of being driven in a 2CV — they had obviously fun with it and asked a lot of questions while mostly being amused or surprised by my answers. (Yet another reason to drive a 2CV… ;-)

Wikipedia at your fingertips //at 02:07 //by abe

from the shell-script dept.

Via nion’s blog I got notice of two other blog entries of two people of whom each wrote a shell script to display Wikipedia articles as plain text in a pager.

While the first one called wiki2 queries Google and fetches then the first Wikipedia hit there, the second one (funnily just called wiki) queries Wikipedia directly, supports different Wikipedia languages and has a lot of other nice features.

Since the idea and especially the second script definitely belongs to the group of programs you never thought about, but, when you found it, you knew, you missed it until now, I decided to use it as the first program, I want to package for the Debian project to be included in the next release which will be called Etch.

Because of “wiki” being a quite ambigous name, I plan to name the package wikipedia2text.

German voting statistics viewed from a Debian System //at 01:54 //by abe

from the screenshot dept.

The last years I always sticked to the voting statistics of the ARD Tagesschau, since the only acceptable other news source in German television, ZDF heute corporated with MSNBC.

But this year, also the Tagesschau showed the Microsoft logo in some statistic on TV, which the German Linux association LIVE tried to get removed by stating that this an illegal advertisment in a political TV show.

Well, they weren’t successful, but at least the statistics on the web don’t show an M$ logo. But they have another problem:

My desktop system, a Pentium II with 400 MHz and 578 MB of RAM, is still running Woody, because I yet can’t live without Galeon 1.2.x, which was replaced on Sarge by Galeon 1.3.x — a complete rewrite which lacks most features I liked in Galeon 1.2.x. Galeon 1.2.x doesn’t show the above mentioned website that good, so I tried some browsers from Sarge. But none of them showed that page correctly:

galeon-woody.thumb.jpg
Galeon 1.2.5 based on Mozilla 1.4.2 from Debian 3.0 Woody

Firefox 1.0.4 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Konqueror 3.3.2 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

Dillo 0.8.3 from Debian 3.1 Sarge

So interestingly, the page is best readable in Konqueror and Dillo while only Firefox doesn’t show all of the main content of the page.

Somehow I fear, the pages have been “optimised” for MSIE, while the ZDF voting statistics page just don’t work at all: It needs JavaShit and Flash. *plonk*

Regarding the published extrapolations: I’m at least happy that CDU (black, right conservative) and FDP (yellow, business liberal / free market) probably won’t have a majority. But what this will result in is still unknown. There are too many options open for our politicians to do any prediction. I would probably prefer Red-Red-Green or Red-Green as we have it at them moment. Worst case for me would be Black-Yellow.

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Hackergotchi of Axel Beckert

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Debian GNU/Linux is my favourite Linux distribution, being stable, flexible, consistent and having a great community. Although I'm not the biggest bug report writer, I try to contribute by staffing the Debian booth at events, carrying the necessary hardware there or even organising the whole booth.


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  • Bastian Sick: Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod (Teile 1-3)
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