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Jon ‘maddog’ Hall

Linux Journal

  • IP Voice 2008 - Lisbon, Portugal - March 5th to 6th, 2008 -

    IP Voice 2008 ( will be held in Lisbon, Portugal on March 5th to 6th, 2008, and with the main audience of this conference being targeted to enterprise customers and communication carriers.

    There have been a number of Open Software Phone projects that have happened in the past year and which continue to move forward: more>>

  • Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit - Austin, Texas - April 8th to 10th, 2008 -

    Unlike a lot of the events that I discuss in my Blog, the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is a "by invitation only" event with a twist. Normally for "invitation only events", the potential attendee sits by the phone with their prom clothes on, waiting for the call that may or may not come. more>>

  • Campus Party, February 11-17, 2008, Sao Paulo, Brazil -

    After speaking at the Florida Linux Show on February 11th, I return ever-so-briefly to the New England area to re-pack my bags and head for Sao Paulo, Brazil to attend Campus Party (February 11th to 17th, 2008). more>>

  • LPI Community Corner

    Skip to maddog, Stallman, Amadeu, GNU, Debian

    Richard Stallman’s Blog

  • Greece defies banksters' threats! -

    Greece has defied the banksters' threats and voted no! By following this example of courage, the world can put an end to the banksters' rule.

  • PISSI dildo flag -

    A parody of the PISSI flag, using dildo shapes instead of Arabic letters, was carried in the London Gay Pride Parade.

    Now when some people see PISSI's real flag, they see it as dildos.

  • Urgent: The CFPB -

    US citizens: tell Congress not to undermine the CFPB.

  • Skip to maddog, Stallman, Amadeu, GNU, Debian

    Sérgio Amadeu


    Skip to maddog, Stallman, Amadeu, GNU, Debian

    GNU`s News

  • GNU Remotecontrol: Newsletter – July 2015 -


    • TRENDS
    • LASTLY
    TRENDSThe stuff going on in the big picture now

    United States Electricity Price per KWH
    Present and Past

    April May Trend % Change
    $0.137 $0.137 Same 0.00%
    Year May Trend % Change % Since Difference
    2005 $0.097 Same 0.00% 0.00% 0.00%
    2006 $0.110 Increase 13.40% 13.40% 13.40%
    2007 $0.115 Increase 4.55% 18.56% 5.15%
    2008 $0.120 Increase 4.35% 23.71% 5.15%
    2009 $0.126 Increase 5.00% 29.90% 6.19%
    2010 $0.127 Increase 0.79% 30.93% 1.03%
    2011 $0.129 Increase 1.57% 32.99% 2.06%
    2012 $0.129 Same 0.00% 32.99% 0.00%
    2013 $0.131 Increase 1.55% 35.05% 2.06%
    2014 $0.136 Increase 3.82% 40.21% 5.15%
    2015 $0.137 Increase 0.74% 41.24% 1.03%


    United Kingdom Utility Prices
    Present and Past


    London by night

    EYE CATCHINGThe stuff that has caught our eye

    Demand Response
    The clear message in play now, from many sources, is Demand Response has a money problem. The problem seems to be driven by not having a sound financial plan to replace thousands of miles of supply and distribution lines with new technologies called the Smart Grid. This problem is no surprise, as any sound strategy involves both supply and execution planning. A recent decision has approved substantial modifications to a capacity market framework, known as the Reliability Pricing Model (RPM). Many industry observers believe this decision will lead to substantial increases in capacity prices, spurring the development of Demand Response resources. Another article affirms Demand Response spending has officially stalled. “Leadership of the utility sector has really embraced energy efficiency as a core part of their business…” They now have to find the willingness to spend money. A consistent article holds the position Demand Response is key to utilities’ survival. This is a strong statement, but a well-supported argument justifies this position. GNU remotecontrol maintains our long held position, as stated in our 2014 FSF interview, the success of the Smart Grid, in the context of the network connected HVAC thermostat, requires a team of the financial officer, mechanical engineer, and information technology to find how to make the Smart Grid a sustainable reality.

    Smart Grid – Consumer
    An article reports the national electrical grid is getting smarter, but the average consumer customer is not realizing the benefits. This condition is due to the presence of electric meters speaking with the Smart Grid, though not too many appliances and devices in the customer residence. This condition is caused by a lack of clear interoperable standards enabling mass production and commoditization of appliances and devices. A short-term gain can be realized by helping customers see in their electric bill how lesser spending impacts their purchasing value. This gain is realized by improved customer relation management on the part of the electricity provider. This gain also positions the electricity provider to better respond when appliances and devices begin to become part of the Smart Grid. A related article finds Google Nest is providing more devices for sale, but not providing energy management applications, let alone application capabilities including security, convenience and connectivity. A relevant article finds the Apple Siri Smart Home has stumbled from their launch, from design failures causing tenuous reliability. This is a clear pattern money and size, alone or combined, do not necessarily deliver a viable network connected HVAC thermostat management strategy, let alone a software application.

    Smart Grid – Producer
    A recent study found consumers are not unjustified to waive weatherization subsidies, to achieve energy efficiency. This finding is determined as the return on the investment is not enough to justify the investment expense. Again, strong evidence the consumer is mindful of the cost to achieve efficiency and is pursuing more viable options. A related article found little to no economic value gained by in-home displays for implementing time-of-use electricity pricing plans. People are not willing to stand and wait for a message to purchase electricity at a lower rate. Another delivery mechanism must be found to offer the lower purchase rate. A recent report provides recommendations of how to effectively achieve time-of-use electricity pricing plans. Again, the source of the problem to find energy efficiency is a financial problem, due to not offering what people want to purchase in the manner they want to purchase. This is more than a marketing or technology problem.


    Status of our 2015 Plan


    • We are in development stage.
    • We are approximately 80% finished with development.
    • We have simplified index.php to have lesser fields for displaying thermostat profiles, through the usage of supporting web forms.
    • These additional web forms accommodate handling more information and separating information changing on a less frequent basis from the view of index.php page.
    • We have separated sensor calibration from the index.php page, to avoid any risk of inadvertently altering calibration settings.
    • We have achieved selecting thermostats by group functionality.
    • The outcome is only viewing what is necessary for changing HVAC control settings.
    • We are prepared to immediately enter structured system testing, upon completion of development.
    • We maintain our position to release a subsequent version, 2.1, within six months of releasing v2.0, as we do not want to delay MVC from being available to the general public.

    Translation Subsystem

    • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

    ANSI C

    • More work on the items addressed in the April 2015 newsletter.

    Talk to us with your comments and suggestions on our plan for the next year.


    Our efforts to read from and write to the network connected HVAC thermostat, in combination with gathering data from weather stations, has resulted in identifying usage patterns we did not expect. Visualization has helped us identity these patterns. Specifically, the ability to know with a considerable amount of accuracy how much energy it will take to either heat or cool a facility, based upon historical run time of the equipment. A pertinent article addressed the benefits of visualization. We have rendered the data we have collected in various graphs and charts. An excellent example of successfully combining data and visualization is the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System. We see no reason not to include visualization in GNU remotecontrol. We have decided to include this visualization functionality in a future release. We estimate this functionality will be developed and released in either version 2.2 or 3.0, depending upon user feedback.

    Please contact us, if you would like to participate in the completion of version 2.0.

    Many people have asked us about adding other types of thermostats to GNU remotecontrol. There are three questions that need to be answered before we can offer GNU remotecontrol support for any IP thermostat. These questions are:

    • How to CONNECT to it (NETWORK).
    • How to READ from it (CODE).
    • How to WRITE to it (CODE).

    It is our hope to have dozens and dozens of thermostat types that work with GNU remotecontrol. Let us know if you designed or manufactured a device and you would like to test it with GNU remotecontrol.

    EXISTING CODEThe stuff you may want to consider

    We have 0 new bugs and 0 fixed bugs since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

    We have 0 new tasks and 0 completed tasks since our last Blog posting. Please review these changes and apply to your GNU remotecontrol installation, as appropriate.

    SECURITYThe stuff you REALLY want to consider

    A common security threat is one computer posing as another computer. This is also true at the device level. We identify the need to mature the firmware running on all known network connected HVAC thermostats, to have improved security capabilities. We are discussing this need now, both internally and externally, to determine how we can better assist with providing security measures to prevent against any form of thermostat hijacking. We first discussed this concept in our February 2013 edition. The risk of convenience through remote access is too great of risk to bear, given the impact of nefarious activity with your HVAC system.

    GNU remotecontrol relies on OS file access restrictions, Apache authentication, MySQL authentication, and SSL encryption to secure your data. Talk to us you want to find out how you can further strengthen the security of your system, or you have suggestions for improving the security of our current system architecture.


    Whatever you do…..don’t get beat up over your Energy Management strategy. GNU remotecontrol is here to help simplify your life, not make it more complicated. Talk to us if you are stuck or cannot figure out the best option for your GNU remotecontrol framework. The chances are the answer you need is something we have already worked through. We would be happy to help you by discussing your situation with you.


    Why the Affero GPL?

    GNU Affero General Public License LOGO

    GNU remotecontrol LOGO

  • Andreas Enge: Kernel recompilation on Novena -

    For Guix to work, the Novena board needs a kernel option that is disabled by default. So before installing Guix, one needs to rebuild a kernel, which is amazingly easy using a check-out of the official Novena Linux kernel sources and a script also provided by the project.

    On the Novena machine, clone the Novena Linux kernel repository:

    git clone

    and change into the newly created directory:

    cd novena-linux

    The default branch is the older v3.17-rc5-novena; check out the newest one:

    git checkout origin/v3.19-novena

    Copy the configuration of the currently running kernel:

    zcat /proc/config.gz > .config

    Open .config in an editor, look for the line


    and replace it by


    The Novena Wiki contains a script to build a Debian package of the kernel; I slightly modified it as follows and stored it under the name in the novena-linux directory:

    make -j${threads} \\
            LD=gold \\
            KBUILD_DEBARCH=armhf \\
            KBUILD_IMAGE=zImage \\
            KBUILD_DTB=imx6q-novena.dtb \\
            KBUILD_DESTDIR=usr/share/linux-novena-custom \\
            KDEB_PKGVERSION=${version} \\
            EMAIL="" \\
            NAME="Andreas Enge" \\
            dtbs || exit 1
    make -j${threads} \\
            LD=gold \\
            KBUILD_DEBARCH=armhf \\
            KBUILD_IMAGE=zImage \\
            KBUILD_DTB=imx6q-novena.dtb \\
            KBUILD_DESTDIR=usr/share/linux-novena-custom \\
            KDEB_PKGVERSION=${version} \\
            EMAIL="" \\
            NAME="Andreas Enge" \\

    I switched to four threads instead of the suggested two, since after all we have four cores, and changed the name and e-mail addresses (which modifies the maintainer field of the final package). I also modified KBUILD_DESTDIR, where the resulting kernel image will be installed, from usr/share/linux-novena to a custom location; this turned out to be an unnecessary precaution, as the file names contain sufficient information on the kernel versions to avoid conflicts. The version number in the script is that of the Debian package and of minor importance; it can be increased if one compiles a newer kernel later on.

    Make the script executable:

    chmod u+x

    execute it:


    and wait for a few hours while the kernel compiles.

    The output is (in my case one directory up, do a cd .., or maybe cd $HOME) given by five files:


    Only the third one is really needed. Install it with

    dpkg -i linux-image-3.19.0-00273-ge3b61d5_1.4_armhf.deb

    This installs the kernel modules into /lib/modules/3.19.0-00273-ge3b61d5/ and a number of files in /usr/share/linux-novena-custom/ (the KBUILD_DESTDIR of the script above):


    The first one is a copy of the .config created in the beginning. By the post-install scripts of the Debian package, the last two files are copied to /boot, under the names of zImage and novena.dtb, respectively.

    Reboot, and the new kernel is active.

    Thanks to Ludovic Courtès and Mark Weaver for their advice on obtaining the correct configuration.

  • coreutils @ Savannah: coreutils-8.24 released [stable] -
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    Debian Project News

  • Souvenirs from Jessie's release parties from all over the world - To celebrate Jessie's release, many parties were organised all over the world. Here is a collection of links to photos and reports of the various events, in Évry (France), Perth (Australia), San Francisco (USA), and several places in India, from where we received group pictures and Jessie cake photos. Thanks for sharing these moments with the community!
  • Reports - The Ruby team posted a report on their recent meet at IRILL in Paris from April 8 to 10 for the 2015 Debian Ruby Sprint. Pre-Jessie a large part of the results were sent to experimental; post-release the changes are being sent to unstable. The team triaged and/or fixed almost all of the important bugs in Ruby library packages, and while doing so discovered that the popular text-with-markup parsers bluecloth and redcloth were unmaintained upstream; the team would like to encourage anyone to work on these projects upstream. Obsolete packages were identified and requests for removal filed and/or prepared. The obsolete githubredir service has been removed, and a long-standing issue with the handling of the /var/lib/gems/$VERSION paths resolved: for Stretch and beyond, they will be shipped with the interpreter itself. The team also worked on improving the support for Reproducible builds, porting work for Ruby 2.2, whitelisting Ruby Packages in Debian CI, and packaging improvements.
  • The newsletter for the Debian community - Niels Thykier updated the status of experimental ddeb support which aims to automatically produce debugging symbols for everything in the archive, without developers needing to add -dbg packages. Currently a consensus has been reached on using the ".deb" extension for ddebs for Automatic Debug Packages. Debhelper has the necessary patches to produce compliant ddebs with the .deb extension. Work is ongoing on support in dak, as well as progress in debhelper toward removing and reverting patches. Niels kindly included an FAQ and outlined the most recent changes.