FreedomBox, liberty inside the cloud – Ruben Lubbes

Ruben is not a coder.

FreedomBox was inspired by the 2011 speech @FOSDEM by Eben Moglen about why political freedom depends on software freedom. It allows people to take their freedom in their own hands. It’s a small box that you can buy at a reasonable price (based on BBB or Olimex boards) that runs a pure Debian distro. Next step is to add new tools from Debian in the freedombox-setup UI.

freedombox-setup is included in stretch, but there are still improvements needed. There are still situations where you need to use the command line. Many tools should still be added. It also still doesn’t have an e-mail server and Ruben doubts if we really want it, because e-mail is and should be dying.

If you want to add software that is not packaged for Debian yet, you can add a module to the plinth web interface. Or you can make a derived distro.

Ruben invites people to come to the SHA2017 hacker summercamp in The Netherlands.

Do You Want to Retry? Handling and Testing Network Failures – Anton Marchukov

[slides are online]

Anton is part of the CI team of Red Hat’s oVirt Community Infra team. The talk reports an actual story that is not finished yet. The CI team uses a lot of network services, thousands of jobs, so sometimes it fails. Eventually the job will run again so not such a big problem, but it’s annoying to have false failures. So a simple retry could be added, but does that solve the problem? The primary goal of this project is to make things reproducible.

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RISC-V: Open Hardware for Your Open Source Software – Arun Thomas

This talk is a tour of the RISC-V ISA and ecosystem. The goal is to grow the community. There is RISC-V silicon now.

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How to break the OpenStreetMap – Ilya Zverev

OpenStreetMap gives many reason not to like it.

When you edit OSM, changes appear immediately, there is no moderation. People like to break things, so there are edits that are bad. But there are people watching and they’ll revert bad edits. The key to breaking things is try to not break it.

Ilya works at, an OSM viewer to which an extremely simple editor was recently added. This added thousands of new contributors per month, with more than a million edits made already.

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The Making of a Secure Open Source Password Keeper – Mathieu Stephan

Mathieu is founder of Mooltipass, an open source hardware store for passwords that acts as a keyboard. It was kickstarted with $290K.

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How I survived to a SoC with a terrible Linux BSP – Luca Ceresoli

Luca talks about his own experience with an embedded Linux system based on the very cheap Nuvoton N32926 (ARM926EJ-S@240MHz + H.264 + 64MB DDR2 on-package). It comes with a Linux BSP, but it sucks.

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Making the GAFAs obsolete – Tristan Nitot is a French start-up doing personal cloud solutions.

There are currently two important trends in ICT: smartphones and SaaS. Both enable massive data collection: smartphones for data and sync, SaaS to centralize processing and for ads. However, there is no cloud, it’s just someone else’s computer. SaaS centralizes data without freedom for user and without free software (because the user has no control over it, it’s not free). Data centralisation makes mass surveillance economically possible.

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LoRaWAN for exploring the Internet of Things – Benedict Gaster (cuberoo_)

IoT means a different thing to different people, but it’s about connecting devices. Benedict is a bit doubtful about the current IoT devices, e.g. the Amazon device where you press a button to restock your washing powder. IoT really should change our lives. For example, devices that you parachute into a collapsed building to find where it is safe. Or keeping track of pollution in a city. But for those devices, it has to be easy to get online – connecting to Wifi isn’t easy enough. It really should be: turn it on and it is connected. For that, you need a long-range network.

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Switchdev: the Linux switching framework – Bert Vermeulen

An Ethernet switch forwards Ethernet frames. It uses a forwarding database (FDB) to decide to which port(s) a frame has to be sent, based on the MAC address. There are timers to make sure the FDB stays up to date. Then came VLANs to isolate virtual networks from each other, and to assign priorities.

The kernel has been able to emulate a switch for a long time with a bridge. But everything is done by the CPU, so it’s not very efficient. Hardware switches have specialised memory for fast FDB lookup and high-bandwidth forwarding paths.

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What motivates the open source community? – Rina Jensen

This talk is the result of research done by Mozilla on what motivates contributors.

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