Walking Like the Talking, Acting Like One’s Preaching

Posted in GPL, Microsoft, Site News at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4c64f42ccf69df3647297de8bf1c9bbf
The Second Half
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: It has now been about 2 years since lock-downs in the world’s Western nations were first loosened or lifted; we’ve thankfully taken advantage of all that commotion (persistent flux; we’ve not solved the underlying issues) to expand beyond and Web and become self-hosted wherever possible

JULY 4th is fast approaching and we’ve already finished the first day of the second half of the year. Time flies and a lot of the world is on fire (war, famine, disease, and inflation; somtimes literally fire). We’ve had a relatively calm year and have in fact become more active since the lock-downs. We expanded to IPFS in 2020, Gemini in early 2021, and we finally moved to a self-hosted IRC network a little more than a year ago.

“We’re more censorship-resistant than ever before and we welcome whistleblowers…”The self-hosted IRC network is very important when dealing with whistleblowers. We moreover have a network for E2EE chats, not just textual but voice too. This equips us with what we need to break high-profile stories, including the current series about Microsoft, GitHub, and Copilot.

As someone put it moments ago in Geminispace*: “GitHub is enabling copyleft violation ✨at scale✨ with Copilot. GitHub Copilot encourages people to make derivative works of source code without complying with the original code’s license. This facilitates the creation of permissively-licensed [**] or proprietary derivatives of copyleft code. [...] Unfortunately, challenging Microsoft (GitHub’s parent company) in court is a bad idea: their legal budget probably ensures their victory, and they likely already have a comprehensive defense planned. How can we determine Copilot’s legality on a level playing field? We can create legal precedent that they haven’t had a chance to study yet!”

We’re more censorship-resistant than ever before and we welcome whistleblowers to tell us about stuff the media refuses to cover, including EPO corruption.
* This almost-real-time RSS syndication page shows the latest posts in Geminispace and it updates itself every 60 minutes. It’s quite busy because there are thousands of capsules (that number continues to grow) and many pages are dynamic, e.g. local weather for UK geographies.
** The term “permissively-licensed” is misleading and it’s often used by proprietary software companies looking to close/lock things down. They strive to hoard all the software. By using the positive connotation (akin to permission granted, suggestive of generosity) they want to encourage the practice and turn coders into unpaid volunteers, later to be pushed aside by those who exploit the work. The latter’s preferred name is “non-reciprocal“, e.g. they don’t bind/compel a company like Apple to give back to those it took from. Copyleft a la *GPL is reciprocal licence/licensing (facilitating an exchange and sharing of code in perpetuity), whereas the other licences typically get chosen to enable proprietary appropriation, “open” core etc. For obvious reasons, Microsoft is weaponising GitHub against reciprocal licensing and it’s trying to make GPL compliance very difficult (same for GPL enforcement), as we’ve noted in this ongoing series.


Sitting Down Less

Posted in Site News at 10:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 6fffaec6071679dac44c49991e435b3a
Moving While Working
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Avoiding long periods of sitting down is important for one’s health, especially in sedentary lifestyles or jobs

THE notion of a standing desk is not new as it predates computing; moreover, as Wikipedia puts it: There is a significantly higher mortality rate among people who regularly sit for prolonged periods, and the risk is not negated by regular exercise, though it is lowered.”

“In addition, I’ve set things up so that the headphones and external speakers play music at the same time (this means that if I move around I can still hear the music).”I recently started working while standing at least some of the time; sometimes I also exercise while reading. I recently shuffled around my work layout a bit (removed one laptop as well) and reconfigured things for more mobility and movement. In addition, I’ve set things up so that the headphones and external speakers play music at the same time (this means that if I move around I can still hear the music). This is my personal story, I’ve heard many other stories, and maybe it can inspire other people to sit less while still working on the computer/s. The video above is neither planned nor scripted. It’s not edited either and it’s raw footage from a portable, wired webcam. So pardon the low quality.

Standing desk
Photo (illustrative image) in the public domain


Gemini Graduating to First-Class Citizen

Posted in Protocol, Site News, Standard at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spacewalk is one hub of many in the fast-growing Geminispace, which is estimated to have over 2,500 capsules and many daily updates

Summary: Gemini links have become abundant enough that they justify having their own section in Daily Links instead of scattered around and blended with World Wide Web links

THE coming week will be mostly devoted to EPO news because EPO affairs are very important and it’s a critical time (hopefully António Campinos will be tentatively ousted).

But that does not mean we slow down with Daily Links and site improvement. This past week we made slight improvements to the Gemini capsule as well. The next batch of Daily Links has a whole section partitioned aside and reserved for Gopher/Gemini links. The template associated with the change has just been pushed to Git and will likely be subjected to further tweaks over the next few days.

“Gemini is nowhere near perfect; but it does just about enough for most use cases.”The Web is quickly moving in a direction we do not like. There’s not much journalism left in it, it’s overrun by spam, it’s far too bloated, and few companies control or spy on the lion’s share of Web activity.

We’re not leaving the Web, but we’re setting one foot in the smaller lifeboat just in case the Web goes under. One day it will. Nothing lasts forever. The Web is no longer a platform or a protocol for Web pages but for programs or “webapps”. We don’t want that. We don’t need that. We already got rid of Adobe Trash (Flash), but Google et al recreate it algorithmically — mostly in Chromium — and then “standardise” what they implemented (rammed down our throats through W3C). Shades of Microsoft OOXML and ISO… sans the bribes and overt corruption.

Suffice to say, this has severe ramifications for security, the environment (many facets to how it ruins the planet, ranging from new device production/manufacturing to usage, delivery, and computation), and fairness/neutrality. The Web fosters monopolies; it has become increasingly centralised, as some documentaries warned over a decade ago. We too have cautioned about it and in 2020 we took action.

Gemini is nowhere near perfect; but it does just about enough for most use cases.


Gemini Turning Three and Why It’ll Probably Reach and Exceed Ten (Decade)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Site News at 7:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum c872cfa21b1ca9bd5b4af2afe15401f2
Gemini Turning 3
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: With the World Wide Web going in the wrong direction we need an alternative that focuses on actual pages; Gemini is, at the moment, probably the most viable alternative to the World Wide Web

THIS past day (24 hours) was special for Gemini. Constellations aside, as well as the longest day today in the northern hemisphere, Gemini entered its fourth year. Using some metrics, Gemini doubled this past year (one year alone) and it fills a real gap. The more bloated the World Wide Web becomes, the more necessary Gemini will be.

The video above explains that we’re deeply committed to Gemini and can easily envision Techrights using Gemini Protocol (with GemText) for at least five more years. The Web isn’t going to improve (it’s a complicated monoculture whose proprietary nature will exacerbate if or when Firefox dies). All we can do is replace the Web with another protocol — one that focuses on actual pages unlike the Web, which gradually became more like a “Webapps” canvas or the ‘new Flash’.


Polling for New Material in Geminispace Every Hour (for ‘Gemini Notifications’)

Posted in Site News at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 763c7f341aaa936b62326811fe421eaf
Notification of New Posts or Pages in Gemini
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: In order to detect which capsules and which pages have new material in them we’ve been experimenting a lot in Geminispace (gemini:// protocol) and today I show a prototype of a notifier of sorts

THE Geminispace expands (see charts and raw numbers), so it’s not just some single capsule with a lot of users or a set of 50 known capsules (like it was a few years ago). There are now thousands of capsules and some of them send out a signal when new material is available in them (GemLog, page, page update etc.), so we could really use something that notifies of changes, not in a centralised fashion of course (that would defeat the purpose and repeat the mistakes of the World Wide Web).

“Capsules need to become more interconnected for Geminispace to thrive and for new capsules to remain online. Traffic is their lifeline.”So on Sunday I had a go at it and made this prototype. Every 60 minutes it checks a number of aggregators and compares their contents to previous snapshots, in turn unfurling a bunch of new URIs. It’s a bit like a notification system.

Our own capsule, which served over 28,000 pages on Sunday, is one of very many. Capsules need to become more interconnected for Geminispace to thrive and for new capsules to remain online. Traffic is their lifeline.

The video above demonstrates the prototype, informally…

Maybe at some stage we’ll pipe this output into some program, but at the moment it’s not reliable enough, as shown towards the end of the video (need some input sanitisation).


Techrights Became (Quite Probably) the Most Active Capsule in Geminispace and Maybe the Largest

Posted in Site News at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gemini stats
Lupa, the best known Gemini crawler, stops indexing at 10,000, but we have over 41,000 pages

Summary: As Gemini space (or Geminispace) continues to expand our focus on it increases; today we take a quick look/stock of the scale of our capsule and how fast it grows

Every single day we write a lot of posts and also make public a bulletin along with IRC logs. There are a bunch of other pages, some of which are indexed partially e.g. by Lupa. Those other pages are statistics and planet archives, to name daily ones (there are also new pages for months and years as they commce). That makes up about 20 new pages per day or about 600 per month. The latest statistics suggest that some time later this summer we’ll have over 42,000 Gemini pages and the index shows the past 3 days’ worth:

Techrights gemini index
We’re trying to post quickly and frequently about subjects of interest (which we also understand reasonably well)

Whether we’re most active or have the most pages does not matter so much; it’s also hard to measure until one surveys other capsules by asking them. The more important thing is that hundreds of unique people/address read us over Gemini directly and over the Web gateway is is thousands per day. This means that time we’ve invested in Gemini certainly paid off. It also makes us more invulnerable to the demise of the Web or the open Web. We always invite others to join us. The Internet is not going away, but the open Web has already gone away.


Today in Techrights (But Over Gemini Protocol)

Posted in Site News at 5:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 8f29d72ab2be5ee3ffc0422d65bfe2c6
Articles of the Day and Memes
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: What it’s like to read Techrights without the images and without any of the HTML; we take a look at today’s publications (so far 13 posts in total)

THIS is the first video that I do which goes through the day’s posts one at a time. I chose to do this in Geminispace and it’s shown in Lagrange (one of many clients/browsers for Gemini; I have nearly 10 different ones installed on this PC).

Geminispace is very big and it grows steadily. We alone have 41,000+ pages in Geminispace and it’s reasonable to estimate that there are millions of unique pages out there.

“Internet Explorer is unofficially ‘gone’, Firefox is on the way out (Google will clip the umbilical cord), and the open Web is silently dying.”As one might expect, a lot of the video goes through EPO posts, but I also mention the OSI bagging bribes from Microsoft. Today we learned that GNOME did the same.

Finally, a chunk of the video discusses Gemini’s growth and why we need alternatives to the World Wide Web. Internet Explorer is unofficially 'gone', Firefox is on the way out (Google will clip the umbilical cord), and the open Web is silently dying. It rapidly becomes just an execution sandbox for a single family of Web browsers. That’s neither safe nor technically desirable.


Daily Links: Crossing a Barrier, Achievement Unlocked With RSS Feeds

Posted in Deception, Google, Site News at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4b0a6dc15ac76d7b2c47331617a5d38c
Daily Links All-Time Record
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Google News (whether as RSS feeds or a Web interface) is a source of misinformation/disinformation; we’re glad to have dumped it and we’re already seeing significant gains in our efficiency or productivity levels

“Daily Links” or “News Roundups” have been an essential part of the site since 2008 or thereabouts (we didn’t start this until a couple of years down the line). But a lot of tooling was required to do a batch rapidly and frequently, so traditionally we have had one or at most two batches per day. Everything is curated manually.

Recently we took things to the next level by adding a lot more RSS feeds and dumping Google (as in Google News). We’re better off, having just dumped Google completely.

“Now we’re fully liberated from the whole lot and the net result will be more posts per day.”The number of batches isn’t some objective yardstick; they’re not all of equal length, but posting them within short intervals means putting out there the latest news before it ages a bit (every hour matters). So if we can post more “News Roundups” per day, the site will be quicker to mention some breaking news (relatively recent announcements).

As noted in the video above, one major benefit of abandoning Google News (as RSS feeds) is that anti-information (or misinformation) becomes a lot less visible, e.g. anti-Linux FUD from Microsoft-connected publishers and a lot of time is spared by not paying attention to misinformation/disinformation. A few years ago we stopped following “Open Source” over Google News (after 15 years!) because it had become an ocean of marketing spam and openwashing. Now we’re fully liberated from the whole lot and the net result will be more posts per day.

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