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Seth Martin

Seth Martin
Jason RobinsonJason Robinson wrote the following post Mon, 17 Oct 2016 16:23:33 -0500
FOSDEM 2017 - Accepted developer rooms
I see there is a "Decentralized internet" room for the first time, great news! Anyone from #Diaspora, #Friendica, #Hubzilla, #GNUSocial, #Pumpio, #Mediagoblin or other #decentralized social network project peeps planning to submit talks? Doesn't look like the call for proposals is out yet for this room. Will be sure to spend some time in this room in any case.

@ (Christopher) - maybe a good chance to push out #ActivityPub if you're planning to attend this year, hmm?

FOSDEM 2017 - Accepted developer rooms


We are pleased to announce the developer rooms that will be organised at FOSDEM 2017. Developer rooms are assigned to self-organising groups to work together on open source projects, to discuss topics relevant to a broader subset of the community, etc. The individual developer room organisers will issue their calls for participation in the next few...

#FOSDEM #decentralize #internet #thefederation

#Decentralization @We Distribute @LibertyPod+ @Gadget Guru+
Seth Martin
  last edited: Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:47:29 -0500  
The #Hubzilla #CardDAV client has come a long way in practically no time at all. It's working great and I am now using it everyday. I'm using DAVdroid on my android device and it works perfectly for both calendars and contacts. Now if only I could get the GNOME clients to work with Hubzilla's cdav implementation...

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 25 Sep 2016 12:00:59 -0500  
I'm getting kind of anxious to find an option that works well on all the common operating systems that myself and acquaintances use.

So far I'm looking at:
  • Riot(formerly Vector)/ matrix - I read that e2e encryption, which is optional for matrix, will introduce some drawbacks compared to no-encryption, but there was no elaboration.
  • Ring (DHT)
  • Tox (DHT)
  • Wire - I read somewhere that the server is not open-source but haven't verified. There's also no native GNU/Linux desktop client yet.

I'm not sure that Ring and Tox reliance on DHT is such a good thing - wouldn't that be unreliable on mobile devices or consume too much data?

#Communications @Gadget Guru+

Seth Martin
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Mon, 16 May 2016 16:06:00 -0500

Despite New FCC Rules, Linksys, Asus Say They'll Still Support Third Party Router Firmware

The apocalypse for those who like to tinker with their router firmware may be postponed.

Last year we noted how the FCC updated router and RF device rules for safety reasons, stating that some illegally modified router radios operating in the unlicensed bands were interfering with terminal doppler weather radar (TDWR) at airports. The rule changes prohibited tinkering with the just the RF capabilities of devices. But some sloppy FCC language worried tinker advocates and custom-firmware developers, who feared that because many routers have systems-on-a-chip (SOC) where the radio isn't fully distinguishable from other hardware -- vendors would take the lazy route and block third-party firmware entirely.

And, at least with some companies, that's exactly what happened. TP-Link for example stated that it would be preventing custom router firmware installations with gear built after June 2016, blaming the FCC for the decision while giving a half-assed statement about respecting the hobbyist community's "creativity." Again: the rules don't mandate anything of the kind; TP-Link just decided to take the laziest, most economical route.

Fortunately, not all hardware vendors are following TP-Link's lead. Linksys has announced that while it will lock down modifications on some router models, the company will continue to let enthusiasts tinker with its WRT lineup of hardware, which has been a hobbyist favorite for years. From its comments the company is well aware that while custom firmware flashers may comprise a minority of overall customers, they're a vocal minority that companies really don't want to piss off. As such, a company spokesman was quick to breathlessly praise third party custom firmware options:
"The real benefit of open source is not breaking the rules and doing something with malicious intent, the value of open source is being able to customize your router, to be able to do privacy browsing through Tor, being able to build an OpenVPN client, being able to strip down the firmware to do super lean, low-latency gaming,” La Duca said. “It's not about ‘I'm going to go get OpenWrt to go and piss off the FCC.' It's about what you can do in expanding the capabilities of what we ship with."
While it would be nice to see more models supported, it's certainly a step in the right direction. It should be noted that (now Belkin-owned) Linksys said it wasn't a very big deal to lock down the radio specifically, contrary to what some vendors have claimed:
"The hardware design of the WRT platform allows us to isolate the RF parameter data and secure it outside of the host firmware separately," Linksys said in a written statement given to Ars. La Duca declined to get more specific about Linksys's exact method. Even though this is about enabling open source, Linksys’s method is proprietary and provides a competitive advantage over other router makers that aren’t supporting open source, La Duca said."
So while one vendor used the FCC rule change as an opportunity to be lazy and cheap, others are using the news as an opportunity to embrace an important part of their community. And from the looks of thinks Linksys won't be alone in the effort; representatives from Asus have been telling some hardware enthusiasts that they plan to continue supporting third-party open source firmware as a point of pride as well:
"As you may know, FCC requires all manufactures to prevent users from changing RF parameters. Not only manufactures' firmware but 3rd party firmware need to follow this instruction. Some manufactures' strategy is blocking all 3rd party firmware, and ASUS's idea is still following GNU, opening the source code, and welcome 3rd party firmware. ASUS are co-working with developers such as Merlin and DDWRT to make sure 3rd party firmware's power are the same as ASUS firmware and obey the regulations."
None of this is to say these companies can't go back on their word down the line (concerned users should keep the pressure up), but it's refreshing to see at least a few vendors actually standing behind their communities' right to tinker.


#Asus #Linksys #FCC @Gadget Guru+
Seth Martin
Mike MacgirvinMike Macgirvin wrote the following post Wed, 20 Jan 2016 17:52:01 -0600
The next time you find yourself using Microsoft or Facebook or Apple (...) products, ask yourself if there isn't an open source alternative - and if there is, go check it out. Most commercial software has readily available alternatives that were developed in the open source community.

If you talk to somebody about using open source products, they'll usually start talking about the different meanings of the word 'free'; e.g. free as in beer, free as in freedom, etc. At the same time, many will try to push products on you with licenses written by lawyers which dictate exactly what you can and cannot do with your 'free as in freedom' software. [I always found this amusing.]

But I think they are all missing the point. I develop and use open source software - and my reasons for using it have very little to do with 'free'; and have everything to do with the fact that open source is developed by definition in an environment that is open and transparent. I know a bit about software, and I also know that you can bury manipulative and deceptive algorithms inside software in order to control and influence the software "users". During my years of employment in the industry, I've been asked to create software with manipulative and deceptive intentions, and I've also been affected by manipulative and deceptive algorithms which were created by other companies to stifle competition by the very companies I worked for. You don't see these algorithms because they are tucked away behind a curtain and a veil of secrecy. But let's summarise: software tends to embody within itself the values and motives of the organisations who create it, both good and bad.

So I use open source software because ultimately it is an ethical and "trust" decision. I tend to put more trust into things which are open and transparent and developed by people and organisations who embody those values than things which are closed and manipulative and developed by people and organisations that embody those values.

Thank you for your time. Have a nice day.

#FOSS #FLOSS #Open-Source Software @Gadget Guru+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Wed, 14 Oct 2015 11:20:14 -0500  
Ars TechnicaArs Technica wrote the following post Wed, 14 Oct 2015 09:44:24 -0500
Chrome finally kills off the HTTP-HTTPS “mixed content” warning


In the new version of Chrome, which should be rolling out to everyone today, the "mixed content" warning—that mysterious little yellow "caution triangle" in the address bar—will finally be removed. Instead, sites with a mix of HTTP and HTTPS content will show a normal, grey piece of paper, as if it's a regular HTTP-only website.

According to Google, this change is intended to "encourage site operators to switch to HTTPS sooner rather than later." The problem is, it's almost impossible to switch completely from HTTP to HTTPS in one fell swoop—there are just too many factors that need to be tested and debugged. At the same time, webmasters weren't keen to begin the migration process to HTTPS because of that pesky mixed content warning, which had a tendency to spook less-experienced users of the Information Superhighway. This was far from an optimal solution, according to Google: "During this [migration] process the site may not be fully secured, but it will usually not be less secure than before."

As a result, in Chrome 46 (on desktop PCs, at least), there will be just three security states: a green padlock (full HTTPS), a red padlock (broken HTTPS), and a grey piece of paper (HTTP). "We’ve come to understand that our yellow “caution triangle” badge can be confusing when compared to the HTTP page icon, and we believe that it is better not to emphasize the difference in security between these two states to most users," says a Google blog post.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs
Seth Martin
I understand that tag spamming is a problem with diaspora* but I'm a bit surprised at how hostile a few of the devs are being in regards to #multi word hashtags .

There are legitimate uses for multi word hashtags with whitespace, so it makes absolutely no sense to me why anyone would want to block another dev from adding functionality just because they don't want it. :facepalm

Improving and expanding hashtags usability.

#Diaspora #Drama
Seth Martin
  last edited: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:58:23 -0500  
Free Speech Gets Tricky When ISIS Shows Up


Social networks struggle with open access as terrorists’ account proliferate

It looks like Adam Rawnsley didn't notice the #IS accounts on #diaspora before he finished the article.

#Friendica #RedMatrix #FreeSpeech #Freedom #Liberty #Social Networking #FOSS #FLOSS #Twitter #Social Media #ISIS #Terrorism @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
Mint 17 is the perfect place for Linux-ers to wait out Ubuntu uncertainty


Review: Long-term support and stability plus tweaks for desktop? Delicious!
The team behind Linux Mint unveiled its latest update this week—Mint 17 using kernel 3.13.0-24, nicknamed "Qiana." The new release indicates a major change in direction for what has quickly become one of the most popular Linux distros available today. Mint 17 is based on Ubuntu 14.04, and this decision appears to have one major driver. Consistency.

#Linux #Mint #LinuxMint #Ubuntu
Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 25 May 2014 11:54:50 -0500  
Yet another reason to completely switch to open-source, decentralized and distributed communications and content management methods such as the red#, Friendica and XMPP/Jabber.

#^FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now - CNET


CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.

#CALEA #Wiretapping #Social Networking #Communications #Privacy #FCC #FBI #Surveillance #Security #Backdoors #Snooping #RedMatrix #Friendica #XMPP @LibertyPod+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 03 Jul 2016 12:23:43 -0500  
The days of thriving Facebook pages are coming to an end quickly. If you run your own Facebook page you’ve already experienced this problem of reaching your own fans. These people who opted in and want to receive your updates won't ever see them now unless you pay money.

These two videos reveal the shadiness of what’s happening on Facebook right now. The videos explain why we often don't see each other’s posts, why all of our pages are filled with fake users, and how Facebook makes more money because of it.

Facebook Fraud
by Veritasium on YouTube

The Problem With Facebook
by 2veritasium on YouTube

The solution is of course to abandon the decrepit, privacy abusing, centralized walled gardens like Facebook. The free and open internet now has all of the social networking features of Facebook available without the problems and limits.

The most feature-rich option is the RedMatrix:

The RedMatrix is a decentralized network where the people using it are in charge and the size of your server farm and wealth do not offer any comparable advantage. Anybody may participate on a level playing field. Cloud storage, file sharing, communications, content creation and management belong to everybody and can be shared with anybody (or somebody, or nobody). This is only a representative sample of the services that the RedMatrix plans to offer. In an internet where creativity is allowed to flourish and corporate overlords have no power, the door is open to entirely new forms of expression and applications. The RedMatrix software is free and open source; created by volunteers and distributed under the MIT license.

And the RedMatrix has Got Zot.

So what the heck is Zot? I'm glad you asked...

Your identity is your own. One identity across the network.
Zot is a revolutionary protocol which provides decentralized communications and identity management across the matrix. The resulting platform can provide web services comparable to those offered by large corporate providers, but without the large corporate provider and their associated privacy issues. Communications and social networking are an integral part of the matrix. Any channel (and any services provided by that channel) can make full use of feature-rich social communications on a global scale.

We use the full power of the matrix to offer friend suggestions and directory services. You can also perform other things which would typically only be possibly on a centralized provider - such as "wall to wall" posts and private/multiple profiles and web content which can be tailored to the viewer. You won't find these features at all on other decentralized communication services. The difference is that Zot also provides decentralized identity services. This is what separates the men from the boys, and what makes life in the matrix so awesome.

Zot's identity layer is unique. It's like OpenID on steroids. It provides invisible single sign-on across all sites in the matrix; as well as nomadic identity so that your communications with friends, family, and business partners won't be affected by the loss of your primary communication node - either temporarily or permanently. The important bits of your identity and relationships can be backed up to a thumb drive and may appear at any node in the matrix at any time - with all your friends and preferences intact. These nomadic instances are kept in sync so any instance can take over if another one is compromised or damaged. This protects you against not only major system failure, but also temporary site overloads and governmental manipulation. You cannot be silenced. You cannot be removed from the matrix.

As you browse the matrix viewing channels and their unique content, you are seamlessly authenticated as you go, even across completely different server hubs. No password dialogues. Nothing to type. You're just greeted by name on every new site you visit. How does Zot do that? We call it "magic-auth" because it really is technology that is so advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic. You login only once on your home hub (or any nomadic backup hub you have chosen). This allows you to access any authenticated services provided anywhere in the matrix - such as shopping and access to private information. This is just like the services offered by large corporate providers with huge user databases; however you can be a member of this community and a server on this network using a "plug computer" like a Rasberry Pi. Your password isn't stored on a thousand different sites where it can be stolen and used to clean out your bank accounts.

You control your data. RedMatrix enforces your permissions.
Zot's identity layer allows you to provide fine-grained permissions to any content you wish to publish - and these permissions extend across the RedMatrix. This is like having one super huge website made up of an army of small individual websites - and where each channel in the matrix can completely control their privacy and sharing preferences for any web resources they create.

Example: you want a photo to be visible to your family and three select friends, but not your work colleagues. In the matrix this is easy. Even if your family members, work colleagues, and friends all have accounts on different hubs.

Currently the matrix supports communications, photo albums, events, files, chat rooms, content management services (web pages) and WebDAV cloud storage facilities. Every object and how it is shared and with whom is completely under your control.

Again, this type of control is available on large corporate providers, because they own the user database. Within the matrix, there is no need for a huge user database on your machine - because the matrix is your user database and for all intents and purposes has infinite capacity and is spread amongst hundreds, and potentially millions of computers. Access can be granted or denied for any resource, to any channel or any group of channels; anywhere within the matrix. They do not need to have an account on your hub.

Reclaim your privacy. RedMatrix is built for you, not governments and corporations.
Your communications may be public or private - and we allow your private communications to be as private as you wish them to be. Private communications comprise not only fully encrypted transport, but also encrypted storage to help protect against accidental snooping and disclosure by rogue system administrators and internet service providers.

Want more? You can fully encrypt your messages "end to end" using your choice of encryption ciphers and using a passphrase that only you and the recipient(s) know - in addition to our standard multi-layer encryption.

Want more? Our end to end encryption is pluggable. You can define your own chain of multiple encryption steps with multiple keys, and include algorithms known only to you and the recipient. At some point even the US National Security Agency will have to throw up their hands. There won't be enough computational power available in the universe to decode your private message.

We also provide optional message expiration as a standard feature. When the expiration date/time passes, your message is removed from the network.

Another great decentralized option is a social network called Friendica, which was created by the same developers prior to the RedMatrix but has less features and is often used because people are familiar with the simple social network permissions. Friendica also federates with other decentralized social networks like diaspora*.

#Facebook #Fraud #Social Networking #Decentralization #Open-Source #Communication #Friendica #RedMatrix #CMS #WebDAV #Zot #GotZot? #GetZot @LibertyPod+  @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+

Seth Martin
  last edited: Sun, 06 Apr 2014 16:02:43 -0500  
Announcement from diaspora* podmin:

Please copy all of your data off the server, and close your accounts. This is not a drill.

Closing up shop
Due to unforeseen circumstances, and disagreements with the developers of Diaspora, it is with a heavy heart that I have decided to leave the Diaspora community.

After the fiasco surrounding the D*ViewSkew pod, and unresolved issues with the internal code of Diaspora; coupled with the lack of direction of the project; the attitude of a handful of developers; the complete lack of basic functionality and a general disappointment with how the project is progressing; not to mention the grossly neglected documentation, It is time to give up my attempts to help the project along.

I have more to worry about than spending my every waking moment worried if the server will fall over again with the same problems that have persisted for over a year now.

My family and work are my primary concerns. To be honest, I'm just sick of the bullshit.

What happened?
After a short conversation, it came to my attention that certain developers are no longer interested in supporting the pods; and cannot understand the frustrations felt by podmins who are attempting to run their code.

It seems they have forgotten the relationship that exists between a developer; an administrator and a user. You cannot have one without the others.

Without a developer, there is no platform.

Without an Administrator, there is no server.

Without the user, there is no funding.

If an Administrator cannot run the code that is created by the developer because it is not complete or is buggy, then we cant get users. If we cant get users, then we cant get funding.

In the end, it came down to the same tired excuses, and the high and mighty attitudes of certain "higher ups" in the community.

Do you have any pointers for the Community?
Diaspora is lacking direction and leadership. Being a community run and funded project, does not mean that it shouldn't have a leader with a clear vision.

Diaspora could be great. It was once. With clear goals and agreed deadlines.

Now, it has become lost in the mire of leaderless politics. There have been no major changes to D* for almost 2 years.

If you look at a snapshot of D* over a year ago, its almost identical in appearance and function to now.

Everyone has been focused on bugs and fixes, infighting and arguing. I think the biggest failure to date, has been relying on to make decisions.

People vote, have their say, and then nothing gets done. Its like politics in the real world! Look at that.

Do you have any pointers for the prospective podmins?
  • Expect no help
  • Do it yourself
  • You will never get any financial support
  • You will never have enough time
  • You will cop attitude from all sides, both Dev and User
  • According to both, any problems are your fault
  • Expect no thanks
  • Never approach a dev and expect a direct answer
  • Rely on the other podmins, they are the only help you'll get
  • Brush up on your Google Fu
  • If it ain't broke, don't upgrade
  • Grow VERY thick skin
  • Kiss your family and working hours goodbye

Financial reasons
In the entire time I ran a pod, I only ever received one donation of 0.01 bitcoin. I never complained, and I never asked or begged for more. But this too is a deciding factor.

I put my own hard earned money into the project; into the pods, and my time into the work/effort.

It's gotten to the point where I feel I have wasted my money and time, with practically no thanks.

To this end, it's time to leave.

Will you still be around?
No. I've decided to quit D* indefinitely.

If I feel the need, I may start a Friendica instance, or maybe something like Red Matrix.

Unless D* changes dramatically, I will never be back here.

If you want to catch me, you can still find me on XMPP/Jabber :

I don't know how long that will last though.

Final Shutdown
Will occur on Sunday 6th at 23:59 NZST.

Final Words
Goodbye, and good luck.

If only I had noticed his D* post about the problems he was unable to resolve, I could have told him how to solve the problem by simply compiling curl from source to use c-ares. There's no other solution for Debian Wheezy.
He was probably gonna shut it down anyway at this point.

#Diaspora #Decentralization #Open-Source Software

Seth Martin
  last edited: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:58:57 -0500  
Go here NOW and applaud the RedMatrix:
The Red Matrix
Spread the word.


This is how the internet should have worked from the beginning.

#RedMatrix #Internet #Decentralization #Knight Foundation

Seth Martin
  last edited: Thu, 06 Mar 2014 13:32:37 -0600  

Mozilla wants to know why Dell is charging around $30 to install Firefox on new computers, contradicting its status as free software.

It’s not clear how widespread the charge is. The Next Web captured the screenshot pictured above with a £16.25 (approx US$30) charge for one model on Dell’s UK site, though at the time of writing the charge was no longer showing up for that particular model.

The issue was first raised by the Register following a complaint by a reader. Mozilla initially issued a holding statement but later told the BBC that it had no deal with Dell and that “Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report.”

Mozilla’s legal terms state anyone using the Mozilla trademarks for Firefox cannot charge for the software. In fact you can’t even give it away free if you ask a customer to hand over personal details in return.

Dell claims it’s doing nothing wrong and that technically it’s not breaking Mozilla’s rules because it isn’t charging for the software itself.

“In this particular situation, the customer would not be charged for the Mozilla Firefox software download, rather the fee would cover the time and labour involved for factory personnel to load a different image than is provided on the system’s standard configuration.”

It’s questionable whether that argument is correct as the Mozilla rules refer to a ban on fees for “distribution (whether by download or other media)” which would appear to cover bundling it on a new computer.

Even if Dell isn’t technically breaking any rules, it’s a pretty cheeky practice. The Register notes that, given the time involved in installing Firefox, the charge is equivalent to around US$160 an hour.

While you can argue people have the choice of whether or not to use the “service” it’s so outlandish a charge that it does come across as taking advantage of people.

#Dell #Mozilla #Firefox #Open-Source Software @Laissez-Faire Capitalism @LibertyPod

Seth Martin
Mozilla appears bent on forcing me to recommend browsers other than Firefox. I have enjoyed this browser for many years but too many things are going wrong. Accepting self-signed certificates is an incredibly annoying process. Blocking secure content and making users hunt for a way to enable this content is a problem. Firefox is not decentralization friendly. So very sad.

Mozilla Pretends New Firefox Ads Aren't Ads, Will Somehow Revolutionize Browsing | Techdirt


Mozilla has angered a significant chunk of the non-profit's userbase by announcing that they'll be implementing ads. More specifically, Mozilla says that the non-profit is developing something they're calling "Directory Tiles," which will present new Firefox users with sponsored thumbnails (aka ads) alongside of recommended or frequently-visited websites in the new tabs page of the browser.

#Mozilla #Firefox #Advertising

Seth Martin
  last edited: Mon, 10 Feb 2014 03:45:09 -0600  
Ballmer: “Linux is a cancer”

Contaminates all other software with Hippie GPL rubbish

#Linux #GNU #GPL #Freedom #Open-Source #Software #License