Monthly Archives: May 2020

Petition for the re-election of the openSUSE Board

Back in March, openSUSE member Pierre Böckmann wrote to the project mailing list calling for a non-confidence vote following recent events . Technically that means he was calling for a re-election of the current elected board.

The board election rules state:

If 20 per cent or more of the openSUSE members require a new board, an election will be held for the complete elected Board seats.

The openSUSE Election Committee was tasked to find our whether 20% of the community are actually calling for the re-election.

We have at our disposal the Helios voting platform which we can use to register an "answer" from community members. Instead of running a vote with several answer options, we consulted among Election Officials, and agreed that there will be only one answer to select, which will represent a virtual signature, similar to like signing an electronic petition. That will allow us to effectively measure whether 20% of the community are petitioning for a re-election of the openSUSE Board.

I sent an email to the project mailing list, on behalf on the Election Committee, explaining this process and called for comments by community members. If you are reading this post and would like to share your views about the procedure, then the deadline for comments submission is 20 May 2020 23h59 CET.

Why the COVID-19 Bill is nothing new?

Just my 2 cents as regards the new COVID-19 Bill. To me, when you compare it to the complexity of the Biometric Identity Case [1] back in 2014, it is a futile battle. Ish Sookun was among the few Mauritians who fought the battle, sacrificed part of his career, and even went to jail for poking his nose in matters that I think should not be opened. If you remember his ordeal [2], you'd probably understand why the COVID-19 Bill is totally pointless and how you're being hypocrites [3]. Thanks to Sanjeev Teeluckdharry the case went to the Privy Council but unfortunately, the State won the case and now everyone is forced to give their biometric information.

It was only a very few who were concerned at that time. Later, the government spent around Rs 19 billion on the Safe City Project which breaches basic human privacy but no one came forward to contest the project. Did we?

Hidden Agendas

It was the same Roshi Badhain [4] who was the advocate of PKJ. The one who stood for the Government at that time. Today, he's on the side of the table questioning the integrity of the Government. I'll let you take our your own conclusions. Hidden Agenda? Roshi Badhain was the Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation at the same time when Ish Sookun was arrested. Roshi Badhain was totally in favour of the MNIC case which gives power to the government to handle your biometric information and today, he's saying that the government is giving more power to the Police Force. Which is which here? Contradiction.

Everyone have their (hidden) agenda. As soon as it does NOT concern you, you won't do anything. Bunch of hypocrites, that's who you all are.

Don't call me anti-patriotic because I'm not part of the battle, I'm just fed up being part of the same people working and voicing out again and again, while the people who should be concerned are the majority of our population. I was part of bigger battles, but when you look back at the end of the day, there's nobody to support you, why should I do something now?

Now it's definitely out of the question to give police more power. I totally object to this. The MPF is a fully funded institution using taxpayers' money. They are recruited under the Commission on Public Service. Do whatever you want it isn't going to change. The day the MPF becomes an independent institution, that's the day you'll see the country change.

FOIA

Why isn't anyone concerned about the Freedom of the Information Act which was promised by the same Government back in 2014. The FOIA was on the agenda/manifesto but never put at work. It's already been 1980 days since we're waiting for that. Oh, it does not concern you or your work, that's why.

https://www.lexpress.mu/politique

Source: https://www.lexpress.mu/politique

There is a proverb which says:

It takes a strong fish to swim against the current. Only the dead ones go with the flow.

[1] Madhewoo (Appellant) v The State of Mauritius
and another (Respondents) (Mauritius)
https://www.jcpc.uk/cases/docs/jcpc-2016-0006-judgment.pdf

[2] https://www.lexpress.mu/article/275151/ish-sookun-je-mets-police-au-defi-publier-preuves

[3] https://www.lexpress.mu/article/275408/accuse-sous-pota-ish-sookun-confie-apres-sa-liberation

[4] https://business.mega.mu/2014/04/22/biometric-id-card-mr-bhadain-roshi-law-allows-police-access-database/

Running Puddletag on Linux distributions with limited Python 2 support

I am a big fan of Puddletag, an audio tag editor for Linux similar to the Mp3tag Windows program. As seen above, Puddletag uses a spreadsheet-like layout which makes it quite unique in the Linux world and matches 100% with how I like tagging to be. Puddletag and I are on the same wavelength and I have been using it for some years now to curate my extensive music collection.

Unfortunately, Puddletag was written in Python 2 and relies on a number of Python 2 libraries. When I upgraded to Fedora Linux 32 a few days ago, I lost a number of those libraries as well as Puddletag (as Python 2 reached its end of life (EOL) on 1st January 2020).

Fortunately, the Linux community came to the rescue and created a corresponding AppImage which works on all new Linux distributions like Fedora 32 or Ubuntu 20.04. Get the AppImage here courtesy of Patsim and have fun!

I’ve tested it in Fedora Linux 32 and it works great!

Libreoffice with Flatpak: Adding dictionaries for other languages

I generally write in either English, French or Mauritian Kreol.

I also use Libreoffice when I need a word processor or a spreadsheet (or, even, sometimes, a drawing software). Lately, I have discovered Flatpak (“The Future of Apps on Linux”) and Flathub (“An App Store for Linux”) and I am sold. Installing the latest version of Libreoffice from Flathub using Flatpak is a simple:

$ flatpak install flathub org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

I have noticed though that this command tends to only install the English dictionaries for spellchecking. I didn’t know how to install more dictionaries to Libreoffice so I asked on the official Flathub forum. And, fortunately, someone from the community pointed me towards the solution. The idea is to get some information about the Libreoffice installation:

$ flatpak info org.libreoffice.LibreOffice

LibreOffice - The LibreOffice productivity suite

ID: org.libreoffice.LibreOffice
Ref: app/org.libreoffice.LibreOffice/x86_64/stable
Arch: x86_64
Branch: stable
Version: 6.4.3.2
License: MPL-2.0
Origin: flathub
Collection: org.flathub.Stable
Installation: system
Installed: 686.0MB
Runtime: org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/19.08
Sdk: org.freedesktop.Sdk/x86_64/19.08

Commit: ddcb114395acb30f633a06fd065598ace0fbe4330c49a784a50911b0222f5f95
Parent: fa891c405f685f7859e2bb623b29db5cdb3e9e1d80d8c31f30a5d21edcc9a3eb
Subject: Update to libreoffice-6.4.3.2 (5a34256e) Date: 2020-04-16 18:32:28 +0000

Notice that the runtime is org.freedesktop.Platform/x86_64/19.08 which implies that org.freedesktop.Platform.Locale/x86_64/19.08 contains all the dictionaries. But, as pointed out by stbergmann in the forum,

The *.Locale extensions are special, in that flatpak by default only downloads that part of such an extension that matches the users current system locale, while the –reinstall hack unconditionally downloads all of it. There obviously needs to be usability improvements here, as this appears to be a common issue for users.

And this is the –reinstall hack he is talking about:

$ flatpak install --reinstall flathub org.freedesktop.Platform.Locale/x86_64/19.08

and, after a few seconds, the dictionary issue is cured. Now, in addition to English, you have French plus all the other languages. Enjoy :-)

२० मिनट में एक Ktor बैकएंड विकसित करें।

पिछले हफ्ते कोलकोटा कोटलिन यूजर ग्रुप ने एक ऑनलाइन मीटअप का आयोजन किया था जिसमें साथी डेवलपर एनरिक लोपेज़ मानास ने Ktor वेब फ्रेमवर्क का त्वरित अवलोकन किया।

मीटअप को meetup.com पर प्रकाशित किया गया था और उपस्थित लोग YouTube पर प्रस्तुति को लाइव देख सकते थे। उपस्थित लोग YouTube लाइव प्रस्तुति पर भी टिप्पणी कर सकते हैं और उन टिप्पणियों को मॉडरेटर्स रिवू और अत्री, एनरिक को सूचित कर रहे थे। रिवू और अत्री कोलकाता कोटलिन यूजर ग्रुप के मीटअप आयोजक हैं।

गलत स्क्रीन डिस्प्ले की तकनीकी त्रुटि के कारण, पहले अट्ठाईस मिनट के प्रस्तुतीकरण का पालन करना आसान नहीं होगा। इसलिए, मेरा सुझाव है कि आप वीडियो को अट्ठाईसवें मिनट से देखना शुरू करें। प्रस्तुति के अंतिम दस मिनटों में एनरिक ने Ktor वेब फ्रेमवर्क की मूल बातें कही।

Managing the Linux /home directory is about to change

systemd 245 came out on the 6th of March 2020.

In this release, among many changes brought, a notable one is that regarding how we see and think of the Linux /home directory. A new service systemd-homed.service has been added, whose role is to manage home directories.

Traditionally, user information on Linux systems have recorded in the /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow files. The former contains details about the user name, id, group id, shell, home directory, among other details, while the latter contains the user password information.

On the other hand systemd-homed.service stores user information in a ~/.identity file in JSON format. The choice of JSON was mainly due to its popularity and easiness to process with the majority of programming languages.

Thus, every directory managed by systemd-homed.service contains both the user information and the user data.

To create, remove or change home directories one would use the homectl command.

$ sudo homectl create john --real-name="John Doe" -G wheel --disk-size=500M

What if you could carry your home directory in a pendrive and work from any (Linux) machine as if you are "home" ?

$ sudo homectl create john --real-name="John Doe" --image-path=/dev/disk/by-id/usb-SanDisk_Ultra_Fit_476fff954b2b5c44-0:0 --tasks-max=500

The above command creates the user john in a pendrive and assigns a maximum of 500 concurrent task to him.

systemd-homed.service also allows you to have an encrypted home directory, but that, I will write about on another day. 😉


Twitter/Facebook card image source: auroria.io

MicroOS – The OS that does “just one job”

The openSUSE Summit 2020 kicked off yesterday. Like many others this summit was a virtual one too. It ran on a platform managed by openSUSE fan and user P. Fitzgerald.

I was busy with work stuff and couldn't watch the presentations live. I hopped on and off on the platform. I didn't want to miss Richard's presentation about MicroOS but yet I missed it. Luckily he was quick to record his session and upload it on YouTube. I got a chance to watch it afterwards. Surely, all other presentations will be available on openSUSE TV soon and I'll be able to catch-up.

If you didn't rush to watch Richard's presentation on YouTube right-away, here are a few hints that may encourage you to watch it.

openSUSE container registry

I'm not going to tell you what MicroOS is, you got to watch the video to learn about that, but did you know that the openSUSE project had a containers registry available publicly at https://registry.opensuse.org ? You can add it to the /etc/containers/registries.conf file and Podman can now search & pull containers from it.

Tiny openSUSE containers

When deploying your application in a container you always look for the fattest container, right? Of course, no!

ish@coffee-bar:~$ podman pull registry.opensuse.org/opensuse/busybox
Trying to pull registry.opensuse.org/opensuse/busybox...
Getting image source signatures
Checking if image destination supports signatures
Copying blob b6fc9a391c78 [====>---------------------------------] 515.9KiB / 3.8MiB
ish@coffee-bar:~$ podman images
REPOSITORY                               TAG      IMAGE ID       CREATED        SIZE
registry.opensuse.org/opensuse/busybox   latest   c19f82628d9f   44 hours ago   9.4 MB

openSUSE offers a small (Tumbleweed) busybox container that is just under 10 MB. Mini but mighty! 💪

How to keep a system patched & running?

If it's running you don't want to touch it, but, systems need security updates. Someone has to do the dirty-job. Who? Can a system update itself without breaking the applications that are running?

I had to screencap this :)

Health checks during boot-up

Have you ever had a system that fails to boot after an update? I had. MicroOS checks for errors during the boot phase and if a snapshot is faulty the system then boots up with the last known working snapshot. MicroOS does so without any manual intervention, so, automatic reboots are safe.  😀 🎉 🎊

Debugging your MicroOS container host

MicroOS is a lightweight system that doesn't come bundle with debugging tools (for obvious reasons). Once in a while though you need to troubleshoot things like network issues. There you go, you can spin a toolbox container and inspect the network interface on the host. 🛠️

I hope these are enough to convince you to watch the presentation and that openSUSE MicroOS becomes part of your servers infrastructure. 🐧