Planet GNU

Aggregation of development blogs from the GNU Project

July 05, 2015

GNU Remotecontrol

Newsletter – July 2015


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.


  • 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

by gnuremotecontrol at July 05, 2015 09:56 PM

July 04, 2015

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.

by andreas at July 04, 2015 07:16 PM

July 03, 2015

coreutils @ Savannah

coreutils-8.24 released [stable]

by Pádraig Brady at July 03, 2015 10:13 PM

July 02, 2015

FSF Blogs

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: July 3

Join the FSF and friends Friday, July 3, from 2pm to 5pm EDT (18:00 to 21:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

Tens of thousands of people visit each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

If you are eager to help and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today!

July 02, 2015 08:52 PM

Teaching Email Self-Defense: Campaigns intern leads a workshop at PorcFest

The Web of trust

My workshop on Email Self-Defense took place at the 12th annual Porcupine Freedom Festival in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Around eight people attended, which was a few more than I expected. Christopher Waid and Bob Call of ThinkPenguin joined me in helping everyone who brought a laptop to set up GnuPG properly. Those who didn't bring a laptop participated by observing the process on the system most similar to their own and asking questions about particular steps, so as to enable them to achieve the same configuration when they returned home.

The workshop was part of the Alternatives Exposition, which brings together people with a broad range of interests with the intention of helping strengthen community and build alternative infrastructure. Free software supporter François-René Rideau also participated in the AltExpo, delivering an excellent talk titled Who Controls Your Computer? which swayed many attendees to investigate the benefits of free software. Thank you, François!

Although I attended PorcFest as an individual (as opposed to a representative of the FSF), I encouraged everyone I talked with to switch to free software. Without freedom, security and privacy are unrealistic goals.

I'm back at the Free Software Foundation now, and I'm processing my experiences. The workshop went well, and provided me with insights on how to better organize similar workshops in the future. Right now, I'm formalizing those insights into a Facilitating Email Self-Defense Workshops guide, to be published within the next two months.

In the meantime, I'd like to ask all of you: what unusual and extraordinary people do you know about who use GnuPG? I'm going to include a list of inspiring people who use GnuPG in my guide, and I'd love hear your suggestions! Send them to or, for encrypted messages, with the GnuPG key fingerprint 9D7E D11A F670 9719 F854 A307 198C 9A1E 9309 EF0C.

I'm a campaigns intern at the FSF -- learn more about our internships.

July 02, 2015 08:17 PM

July 01, 2015

guix @ Savannah

Reproducible and User-Controlled Software Environments in HPC with Guix

Our paper entitled Reproducible and User-Controlled Software Environments in HPC with Guix was accepted for RepPar, a workshop on reproducibility in parallel computing:

Support teams of high-performance computing (HPC) systems often find themselves between a rock and a hard place: on one hand, they understandably administrate these large systems in a conservative way, but on the other hand, they try to satisfy their users by deploying up-to-date tool chains as well as libraries and scientific software. HPC system users often have no guarantee that they will be able to reproduce results at a later point in time, even on the same system—software may have been upgraded, removed, or recompiled under their feet, and they have little hope of being able to reproduce the same software environment elsewhere. We present GNU Guix and the functional package management paradigm and show how it can improve reproducibility and sharing among researchers with representative use cases.

The paper can be thought of as a followup to the recent experience report by Ricardo Wurmus.

We believe package management and reproducibility are key topics for HPC research. We are glad to have this opportunity to discuss the subject with researchers of the field.

About GNU Guix

GNU Guix is a functional package manager for the GNU system. The Guix System Distribution or GuixSD is an advanced distribution of the GNU system that relies on GNU Guix and respects the user's freedom.

In addition to standard package management features, Guix supports transactional upgrades and roll-backs, unprivileged package management, per-user profiles, and garbage collection. Guix uses low-level mechanisms from the Nix package manager, except that packages are defined as native Guile modules, using extensions to the Scheme language. GuixSD offers a declarative approach to operating system configuration management, and is highly customizable and hackable.

GuixSD can be used on an i686 or x86_64 machine. It is also possible to use Guix on top of an already installed GNU/Linux system, including on mips64el and armv7.

by Ludovic Courtès at July 01, 2015 10:05 AM

FSF Events

Richard Stallman to speak at SeaGL (Seattle, WA)

Richard Stallman will be delivering the keynote speech at this year's SeaGL, the 2015 Seattle GNU/Linux Conference. His speech will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic and start time to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Seattle.

July 01, 2015 06:30 AM

June 30, 2015

FSF Blogs

May 2015 - Brest, Athens, Heraklion, and Chania

RMS gave his speech "Logiciels Libres & Éducation" at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale's Guilcher amphitheatre in Brest, France, on May 12th, 2015, twenty years after his first visit to the city, to an audience of over five hundred people.

(Photos under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of Romain Heller.)

He was also in Greece later in May, to speak:

…at CommonsFest in Athens on May 16th,

(Photos under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of dkoukoul.)

…at the Lecture Hall of Natural History Museum of Crete, in Heraklion, on May 22nd,

(Photos under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of dkoukoul.)

…and at the Technical University of Crete (speech available in Ogg Vorbis and WebM formats), in Chania, on May 27th.

(Photos under CC BY-SA 3.0 and courtesy of the Technical University of Crete.)

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can inform you about future events in and around Brest, Athens, and Heraklion and Chania. Please see for a full list of all of RMS's confirmed engagements and contact if you'd like him to come speak.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this tour a success!

June 30, 2015 03:00 PM

June 28, 2015

screen @ Savannah

GNU Screen v.4.3.1

I'm announcing availability of GNU Screen v.4.3.1

This is a bug fix release.

Just one fixed bug:

  • Visible content get messed up after window resize

Release is available for download at:
or your closest mirror (may have some delay)

Please report any bugs or regressions.

by Amadeusz Sławiński at June 28, 2015 10:01 PM

GNUCash News

June 26, 2015

texinfo @ Savannah

texinfo 6.0 released

We have released version 6.0 of Texinfo, the GNU documentation format.

It's available via a mirror (xz is much smaller than gz,
but gz is available too just in case):

Please send any comments to

Full announcement:

by Gavin D. Smith at June 26, 2015 06:42 PM

June 25, 2015

FSF Events

Richard Stallman to speak at Fossetcon (Orlando, FL)

Richard Stallman will be speaking at Fossetcon. His speech will be nontechnical and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic and start time to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Orlando.

June 25, 2015 05:15 PM

Richard Stallman - «Por una sociedad digital libre» - Iquitos, Perú

Existen muchas amenazas a la libertad en la sociedad digital, tales como la vigilancia masiva, la censura, las esposas digitales, el software privativo que controla a los usuarios y la guerra contra la práctica de compartir. El uso de servicios web presenta otras más amenazas a la libertad de los usuarios. Por último, no contamos con ningún derecho concreto para hacer nada en Internet, todas nuestras actividades en línea son precarias y podremos continuar con ellas siempre y cuando las empresas deseen cooperar.

Esa charla de Richard Stallman no será técnica y será abierta al público; todos están invitados a asistir.

El lugar exacto y la hora de la charla serán determinados.

Favor de rellenar este formulario, para que podamos contactarle acerca de eventos futuros en la región de Iquitos.

June 25, 2015 12:35 PM

June 24, 2015

GNUnet News

Scheduled maintenance of may be temporarily offline between 3rd July 2015 15:00 CEST- 6th July 2015 09:00 CEST due to planned maintenance of the underlying infrastructure. This downtime implies that this website, subversion server, hostlist server, Mumble server, and your email (if you are using will all be unavailable during the maintenance period. Other services such as IRC (#gnunet) and mailing lists are not effected.

There is a slight possibility that the downtime is going to be longer than expected. If that happens to be the case, it will be informed via mailing list.

by Sree Harsha Totakura at June 24, 2015 08:36 AM

June 23, 2015

FSF Blogs

The many-headed monster of international trade agreements: TPP, TTIP, TISA, and CETA

We've been warning against the threat presented by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, particularly over the past few months, given that time is running out to stop it. For the uninitiated, TPP is a secret treaty that would trap participating countries into laws that lock users down with DRM, software patents, and perpetual copyright restrictions. TPP will also give corporations the power to interfere with local policy decisions by suing governments if they try to pass any laws or regulations that protect users. The danger is particularly imminent in the U.S., where Congress is readying to grant the Obama administration Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), meaning that they would be giving up their right and duty to review and amend the worst parts of the eventual treaty before the terms of the deal have even been publicly released. The final vote in the Senate is set for tomorrow, June 24th, so today may be the last chance to stop TPA. That is why we've been pushing users here in the States so hard to fight back now. But the harm caused by granting TPA unfortunately isn't limited to what is hidden within the pages of TPP. Once granted, TPA lasts for years and would enable the same abrogation of duty when it comes to two other secret, international negotiations: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trade In Services Agreement (TISA).

TTIP is in many respects similar to TPP, and covers much of the same ground. But, whereas TPP covers agreements between the U.S. and many Asian countries, TTIP address similar issues between the U.S. and the European Union. Some documents have been made public for these negotiations, though the actual negotiation texts for the copyright and patents chapter is notably still secret. Despite that, we can still draw some disturbing conclusions. Like TPP, TTIP would grant proprietary developers supra-national power to interfere with local laws and policies in the form of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). TTIP also has provisions about software patents that could lock the U.S. and EU into their current terrible situation. Trying to end software patents locally is difficult enough already, but if TTIP passes, for signatory countries there may not be any way out. Ever fond of secrecy, the negotiators for TTIP are pushing a possible expansion of penalties relating to trade secrets.

TISA has the potential for the most widespread impact, with Europe, the U.S., and many more countries negotiating in secret. A recent leak included a particularly nefarious term: a prohibition on governmental mandates for free software. Article 6 states that "No Party may require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition of providing services related to such software in its territory." Governments around the world have come to understand the importance of free software to ensuring a free society. Many governments have chosen to mandate the use of free software in their offices and in their software service contracts. Ensuring that government-used and -purchased software is free for anyone to review, share, and modify promotes the safety and security of the people. TISA would stop governments all around the world from putting into action their dedication to the principles of free software.

Even if Article 6 were modified or interpreted more narrowly to allow free software mandates, it would still be extremely problematic. Even if the section is simply meant to prevent governments from demanding source from proprietary developers as part of their contracts, it would still leave the same holes in security that only access to source can provide. Even if a government isn't able to use free software in a particular instance, it should still be able to demand that source code be given to the government to ensure that the code has no back doors or vulnerabilities. Furthermore, the government should still be able to review source to handle bug fixes or make the software compatible with other systems; governments shouldn't be beholden to a single company for support and customization of the software they pay for with tax dollars.

TPP, TTIP, and TISA all include the U.S. as a bargaining nation, meaning that the deal on Trade Promotion Authority being negotiated in the Senate right now could fast track all of them this week. But there are other agreements that are as nefarious and must be stopped with the same urgency. Case in point: the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU. Like the other agreements, CETA has terrible provisions, including a copyright extension and anti-circumvention provisions for Canada. While the text is now public, that publication came only after negotiations were complete.

While each of these agreements varies the trouble they would implement slightly, they are all being negotiated in secret, and for good reason: if people knew what was in them, they would fight back. And that's exactly what we must do. These agreements are being put together with tons of input from corporations and trade groups who seek to benefit from the restrictions these treaties will implement. The people they will control are not welcome at the table, but we still have a voice. Now is the time to speak up and let the leaders in every country subject to these negotiations know that these bargains made in the shadows must be brought into the light to die.

The time to fight back is now. Here is how you can help:

  • If you only have a moment to help, please spread the word by sharing this article with your friends, or microblogging the following:

I oppose secret international trade agreements in all forms. Protect free software by stopping #TTP #TTIP and #TISA (shortened link to article)

Note that if you use Twitter for microblogging, you can do so in a way that avoids using proprietary software.

  • If you are in the US, join EFF's action and write to your representatives telling them not to grant Trade Promotion Authority, and that you oppose these secret negotiations. EFF's action uses the free software tool Phantom of the Capitol. Today may be your last chance to stop TPA.

  • If you live in Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, or Vietnam, contact your local representative and let them know you oppose TPP.

  • If you live in the European Union, contact your local representative and let them know you oppose TTIP, TISA, and CETA.

  • If you live in Australia, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, Uruguay, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Turkey, Pakistan, or Paraguay contact your local representative and let them know you oppose TISA.

  • Canadian users should likewise contact their representatives to demand an out from CETA.

  • Support our work representing you in this area by becoming an FSF member or making a donation.

June 23, 2015 07:31 PM

June 22, 2015

FSF Blogs

Introducing Adam Leibson: summer Campaigns intern

Adam Leibson

Last summer, I worked for ThinkPenguin, where I gained a much greater appreciation for the history of free software. I'm currently studying Free and Secure Computing at Hampshire College, where I also lead LibreHamp (the free software student group) and write for a free speech publication called The Omen.

Every day it seems, I find a new place where digital technology exists that it didn't before. As this influx of the digital realm into our physical world continues, I find it increasingly worrisome that many people don't know – or even care to know – who actually controls the technology they regularly interact with. The FSF informs users about the importance of free software better than any other organization I am aware of, and for that reason, I feel very honored to have been chosen as a summer intern. I'm particularly excited to working on the Email Self-Defense project, which will give me the opportunity to promote free software and computer security awareness together.

If you would like to contact me, you can find me on freenode IRC as jupelluri. Of course, my preferred method of communication is encrypted email. The aforementioned guide is a great place to start if you're new to GnuPG. If you would like to send me some encrypted love mail, my email is, and my fingerprint is 9D7E D11A F670 9719 F854 A307 198C 9A1E 9309 EF0C.

June 22, 2015 07:55 PM

parallel @ Savannah

GNU Parallel 20150622 ('Løkke') released

GNU Parallel 20150622 ('Løkke') has been released. It is available for download at:

A performance chart has been made to compare the performance of different versions: The recent jump is due to every job being wrapped in a Perl-script doing setpgrp.

Haiku of the month:

Programs very slow.
Multiple can run at once.
Use GNU Parallel.
-- Ole Tange

New in this release:

  • --halt has been rewritten completely. You can now combine percentages with success or fail. See the man page.
  • Exit values 102..254 have been removed. 101 means more than 100 jobs failed.
  • Killing through --timeout, --memfree, or --halt is now done as a process group (whence the setpgrp wrapper).
  • --termseq determines which signals are sent when a job is killed.
  • An empty argument would previously cause no string to be inserted. This is now changed to '' being inserted, thus prepending a space to the output of: parallel echo {} b ::: ''
  • $PARALLEL_ENV can now be set to an environment prepending the command. Used in env_parallel as mentioned in the manpage.
  • --retry-failed will retry all failed jobs in a joblog. It will ignore any command given.
  • --ssh and $PARALLEL_SSH can be used to set the command used for ssh. The command is assumed to behave the same way as ssh.
  • --fifo now works in csh, too.
  • Q(...) can be used in {= =} to shell quote a string.
  • GNU Parallel was cited in: DockBench: An Integrated Informatic Platform Bridging the Gap between the Robust Validation of Docking Protocols and Virtual Screening Simulations
  • Bug fixes and man page updates.

GNU Parallel - For people who live life in the parallel lane.

About GNU Parallel

GNU Parallel is a shell tool for executing jobs in parallel using one or more computers. A job is can be a single command or a small script that has to be run for each of the lines in the input. The typical input is a list of files, a list of hosts, a list of users, a list of URLs, or a list of tables. A job can also be a command that reads from a pipe. GNU Parallel can then split the input and pipe it into commands in parallel.

If you use xargs and tee today you will find GNU Parallel very easy to use as GNU Parallel is written to have the same options as xargs. If you write loops in shell, you will find GNU Parallel may be able to replace most of the loops and make them run faster by running several jobs in parallel. GNU Parallel can even replace nested loops.

GNU Parallel makes sure output from the commands is the same output as you would get had you run the commands sequentially. This makes it possible to use output from GNU Parallel as input for other programs.

You can find more about GNU Parallel at:

You can install GNU Parallel in just 10 seconds with: (wget -O - || curl | bash

Watch the intro video on

Walk through the tutorial (man parallel_tutorial). Your commandline will love you for it.

When using programs that use GNU Parallel to process data for publication please cite:

O. Tange (2011): GNU Parallel - The Command-Line Power Tool, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, February 2011:42-47.

If you like GNU Parallel:

  • Give a demo at your local user group/team/colleagues
  • Post the intro videos on Reddit/Diaspora*/forums/blogs/ lists
  • Get the merchandise
  • Request or write a review for your favourite blog or magazine
  • Request or build a package for your favourite distribution (if it is not already there)
  • Invite me for your next conference

If you use GNU Parallel for research:

  • Please cite GNU Parallel in you publications (use --bibtex)

If GNU Parallel saves you money:


GNU sql aims to give a simple, unified interface for accessing databases through all the different databases' command line clients. So far the focus has been on giving a common way to specify login information (protocol, username, password, hostname, and port number), size (database and table size), and running queries.

The database is addressed using a DBURL. If commands are left out you will get that database's interactive shell.

When using GNU SQL for a publication please cite:

O. Tange (2011): GNU SQL - A Command Line Tool for Accessing Different Databases Using DBURLs, ;login: The USENIX Magazine, April 2011:29-32.

About GNU Niceload

GNU niceload slows down a program when the computer load average (or other system activity) is above a certain limit. When the limit is reached the program will be suspended for some time. If the limit is a soft limit the program will be allowed to run for short amounts of time before being suspended again. If the limit is a hard limit the program will only be allowed to run when the system is below the limit.

by Ole Tange at June 22, 2015 07:28 PM

Nick Clifton

June 2015 GNU Toolchain Update

Hi Guys,

  In this month's news we have:

  * GCC now supports a noplt function attribute.  This specifies that the annotated function should not be called via the PLT mechanism.

  * GCC now supports a target (<option>) function attribute to enable target specific options on individual functions.  The ARM port now uses this mechanism to allow programmers to individually specify whether a function should use ARM or THUMB instructions.  For example:

    int foo __attribute__((target("thumb")));

    Any functions inlined into the attributed function will inherit that function's attributes.

  * GCC now supports attributes on enums values, although only one such attribute is currently available:

      enum E
        oldval __attribute__((deprecated)),

    The deprecated attribute results in a warning if the enumerator value is used anywhere in the source file.  This is useful when identifying enumerators that are expected to be removed in a future version of a program.

  * GCC now supports a new warning option: -Wlto-type-mismatch

    During the link-time optimization the compiler will issue warnings about type mismatches between duplicate global declarations found in different compilation units.  This option is enabled by default when LTO optimization is being performed.

  * The ARM port of GCC now recognises the ARMv8,1 architecture extensions including the Large System Extension instructions, Privileged Access Never, Limited Ordering Regions and Advanced SIMD instructions.

  * In GDB support for process record-replay and reverse debugging on AArch64 targets has been added.

  * Also in GDB support for Sun's version of the "stabs" debug file format has been removed.

  * The linker has a new command line option: -print-memory-usage

    This makes the linker print out the used size and total size of each memory region specified by the link script and used by the executable, which can be helpful to programmers trying to squeeze every last byte out of a particularly small region.  The output has a fixed format which is human readable and machine parsable.  For example:
     Memory region   Used Size  Region Size  %age Used
             ROM:        256 KB         1 MB     25.00%
             RAM:          32 B           2 GB        0.00%

  * The assembler and linker now support the compact exception handler sections as used by MIPS toolchains.  The new gas pseudo ops:
     .cfi_personality_id  <id>
      .cfi_fde_data        [<opcode1> ,...]
      .cfi_inline_lsda     [<align>]

    Are provided to help specify the contents of this new type of section.

  * The assembler has a new option to enable section name substitution: --sectname-subst 

    If enabled then section names may include the %S sequence which will be substituted for the name of the current section.  For example:
     .macro gen_exceptions   
      .section %S.exception

      .section .init

    This will create four sections: .text, .text.exception, .init and .init.exception.  In the future other substitution sequences in addition to %S may be provided.

  * Support for the ARMv8.1 architecture has been added to the AArch64 and ARM ports.  This includes support for the Adv.SIMD, LOR and PAN architecture extensions.


June 22, 2015 09:23 AM

June 20, 2015

pspp @ Savannah

PSPP 0.8.5 has been released

I'm very pleased to announce the release of a new version of GNU PSPP.
PSPP is a program for statistical analysis of sampled data. It is a
free replacement for the proprietary program SPSS.

Changes from 0.8.4 to 0.8.5:

  • The FREQUENCIES and CROSSTABS commands can now generate barcharts.
  • The FACTOR command can now perform PROMAX rotations.
  • SPSS/PC+ system files are now supported on GET and other commands that read SPSS system files. The pspp-convert program can now read SPSS/PC+ system files. Writing the obsolete SPSS/PC+ system file format is not supported.
  • SYSFILE INFO can now read SPSS/PC+ system files and SPSS portable files.
  • FREQUENCIES: A bug was fixed where an assertion failure occured when an empty dataset was presented.
  • The GRAPH command is now available. Initially it supports scatterplots and histograms.
  • The RND operator in expressions now supports additional operands for rounding to values other than integers and to indicate a level of rounding fuzz. The default rounding fuzz may now be controlled and displayed with SET FUZZBITS and SHOW FUZZBITS, respectively.

by Ben Pfaff at June 20, 2015 04:41 PM

June 19, 2015

FSF Events

Richard Stallman - "A Free Digital Society" (Karlsruhe, Germany)

There are many threats to freedom in the digital society. They include massive surveillance, censorship, digital handcuffs, nonfree software that controls users, and the War on Sharing. Other threats come from use of web services. Finally, we have no positive right to do anything in the Internet; every activity is precarious, and can continue only as long as companies are willing to cooperate with it.

This speech by Richard Stallman will be part of the AKK (Arbeitskreis Kultur und Kommunikation) Sommerfest. It will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Karlsruhe.

June 19, 2015 12:10 PM

June 18, 2015

FSF Blogs

Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: June 19th

Join the FSF and friends on Friday, June 19th, from 2pm to 5pm EDT (19:00 to 22:00 UTC) to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones. We will be on IRC in the #fsf channel on freenode.

Tens of thousands of people visit each month to discover free software. Each entry in the Directory contains a wealth of useful information, from basic category and descriptions, to providing detailed info about version control, IRC channels, documentation, and licensing info that has been carefully checked by FSF staff and trained volunteers.

While the Free Software Directory has been and continues to be a great resource to the world over the past decade, it has the potential of being a resource of even greater value. But it needs your help!

If you are eager to help and you can't wait or are simply unable to make it onto IRC on Friday, our participation guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started on helping the Directory today!

June 18, 2015 04:29 PM

June 17, 2015

librejs @ Savannah

GNU LibreJS 6.0.9 released

There's a new version of LibreJS - version 6.0.9.

LibreJS is a Mozilla add-on that prevents nonfree JavaScript programs from running in your web browser.

Here's the changes since 6.0.8:
* Add the WTFPL license to the list of accepted licenses.
Thanks to CY for pointing out that it was missing.

* The LibreJS version number is now displayed in the main
LibreJS panel.

* Fixed a mangled Unicode character problem in
process_response.js. Thanks to Jookia for the patch.

* onDetermineCharset now only checks for valid charsets.
Thanks to Ruben Rodriguez for the patch.

* Removed the draggable complain banner functionality. This
functionality prevented LibreJS from getting approved on
Mozilla's Add-on network, and it wasn't essential, so I've
removed it.

* Add JsChecker.isFreeLicensed method from Ruben Rodriguez. We're
hoping this will lead to improved speed and memory usage in

This project's website is here:

The source files are here: (912k)

And here's the xpi package you can install in your browser: (430k)

by Nik Nyby at June 17, 2015 02:11 AM

June 16, 2015

FSF News

The FSF is hiring: Seeking a full-time outreach and communication coordinator

The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Boston-based 501(c)(3) charity with a world wide mission to protect freedoms critical to the computer-using public, seeks a motivated and organized tech-friendly Boston-based individual to be its full-time outreach and communication coordinator.

This position, reporting to the executive director, works closely with our campaigns, licensing, and technical staff, as well as our board of directors, to edit, publish, and promote high-quality, effective materials both digital and printed.

These materials are a critical part of advancing the FSF's work to support the GNU Project, free software adoption, free media formats, and freedom on the Internet; and to oppose DRM, software patents, and proprietary software.

Some of the position's more important responsibilities include:

  • stewarding the online publication and editing process for all outreach staff; including copyediting, formatting, posting, and maintaining material on our Web sites; and sending out e-mail messages to our lists;

  • producing and improving our monthly e-mail newsletter the Free Software Supporter;

  • improving the effectiveness of our audio and video materials use;

  • editing and building our biannual printed Bulletin;

  • promoting our work and the work of others in the area of computing freedom on social networking sites;

  • helping to produce fundraising materials and assisting with our fundraising drives;

  • cultivating the community around the LibrePlanet wiki and network, including the annual conference;

  • working with and encouraging volunteers; and

  • being an approachable, humble, and friendly representative of the FSF to our worldwide community of existing supporters and the broader public, both in person and online.

A successful candidate will have strong editing skills, especially in the area of copyediting, and will take pride in working with a team to create consistently polished and effective materials.

While this is a job for a person who is passionate about technology and its social impact, it is not primarily a technical position. The main technical requirement is a willingness to learn to use many new and possibly unfamiliar pieces of software, with a positive attitude. That being said, experience with CiviCRM and GNU/Linux will be considered a big plus, and experience with any of the following technologies should be mentioned: Plone, Drupal, Ikiwiki, Subversion, Git, CVS, Ssh, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Emacs, LaTeX, Inkscape, GIMP, Markdown, or MediaWiki.

Because the FSF works globally and seeks to have our materials distributed in as many languages as possible, multilingual candidates will be noticed. English, German, French, Spanish, Mandarin, Malagasy, and a smattering of Japanese are represented among current FSF staff.

With our small staff of twelve, each person makes a clear contribution. We work hard, but offer a humane and fun work environment.

Benefits and salary

The job must be worked on-site at the FSF's office in downtown Boston.

This is a union position. The salary is fixed at $51,646.40 and is non-negotiable. Other benefits include:

  • full family health coverage through Blue Cross/Blue Shield's HMO Blue program,
  • subsidized dental plan,
  • four weeks of paid vacation annually,
  • seventeen paid holidays annually,
  • public transit commuting cost reimbursement,
  • 403(b) program through TIAA-CREF,
  • yearly cost-of-living pay increases, and
  • potential for an annual performance bonus.

Application instructions

Applications must be submitted via email to The email must contain the subject line, "Outreach and Communications Coordinator". A complete application should include:

  • resume,
  • cover letter,
  • writing sample (1000 words or less),
  • links to published work online, and
  • three or more edits you would suggest to this job posting.

All materials must be in a free format (such as plain text, PDF, or OpenDocument, and not Microsoft Word). Email submissions that do not follow these instructions will probably be overlooked. No phone calls, please.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. To ensure consideration, apply before 10:00am EST on Wednesday, July 1st.

The FSF is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or application for employment on the basis of race, color, marital status, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, handicap, or any other legally protected status recognized by federal, state or local law. We value diversity in our workplace.

June 16, 2015 06:25 PM


GnuTLS 3.4.2

Released GnuTLS 3.4.2 which adds new features and fixes bugs in next stable branch.

by Nikos Mavrogiannopoulos ( at June 16, 2015 12:00 AM

June 13, 2015

Greg Casamento

Swift 2.0 Going Open Source.... great news!

As announced on their blog and on WWDC, Swift 2.0 will be going open source:

GNUstep will fully support bindings to Swift.  We will start on support for this as soon as the source code is released by Apple.  I couldn't be happier about being proven wrong by Apple.  Thank you for restoring my faith in this regard.

by GregC ( at June 13, 2015 09:17 PM

screen @ Savannah

GNU Screen v.4.3.0

I'm announcing availability of GNU Screen v.4.3.0

So more than a year after previous release there is new one, hopefully
even better. As for things that changed:

  • Introduce Xx string escape showing the executed command of a window
  • Implement dead/zombie window polling, allowing for auto reconnecting
  • New commands:

- 'sort' command sorting windows by title
- 'bumpleft', 'bumpright' - manually move windows on window list
- 'collapse' removing numbering 'gaps' between windows, by

  • 'windows' command now accepts arguments for use with querying
  • Allow setting hardstatus on first line
  • Bug fixes

Also special thanks to Alexander Naumov who provided patches and pushed
me to make new release.

Release is available for download at:

Please report any bugs or regressions.

by Amadeusz Sławiński at June 13, 2015 05:36 PM

June 09, 2015

FSF Events

Richard Stallman to speak in Turin, Italy

This speech by Richard Stallman will be nontechnical, admission is gratis, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic, start time, and exact location to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around Turin.

June 09, 2015 12:45 PM

Richard Stallman to speak in London, United Kingdom

Richard Stallman will be speaking at the CIJ Summer Conference. His speech will be nontechnical, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Speech topic to be determined.

Please fill out our contact form, so that we can contact you about future events in and around London.

June 09, 2015 07:55 AM

Alfred M. Szmidt

GNU inetutils 1.9.4

The GNU inetutils team is proud to present version 1.9.4 of the GNU networking utilities. The GNU Networking Utilities are the common networking utilities, clients and servers of the GNU Operating System.

The following is new in this release:

This is a minor bug release that fixes a regression in ‘ifconfig’. The issue was reported by Juergen Daubert in

by ams at June 09, 2015 12:00 AM

June 08, 2015

FSF Blogs

Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer added to license list

We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Historical Permission Notice and Disclaimer(HPND). The HPND is a simple permissive license, compatible with all versions of the GPL. The HPND is actually more of a template, allowing developers to select a few options, such as whether to include a disclaimer. Variations on this license had actually been approved previously (such as the old license of Python), but it never had its own entry in the list. While at this point HPND is largely deprecated in favor of more modern lax licenses, you can still find it on some current projects, and kicking around inside some long-running projects that include code created back when it was more prevalent. As such, we wanted to include it on the list explicitly, to help clear up any confusion regarding whether this simple license was free software.

June 08, 2015 07:16 PM