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Archive for July, 2013

Richard Stallman on ECHELON, PRISM, and More

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (00:03:08, 10.5 MB)

Summary: Richard Stallman speaks to TechBytes about ECHELON, PRISM, and other issues that relate to privacy after the NSA leaks

Made entirely using Free/libre software, heavily compressed for performance on the Web at quality’s expense

UNIX/Linux: Suspend and Resume Process in Intervals

HAVING spent over an hour searching the Web and asking around the Web for a way of automating suspension and continuation (SIGCONT and SIGINT) of process execution in GNU/Linux, I finally found a script from Q. Boiler, which I have modified a bit to make it simpler to use.

Sometimes the scheduler used in GNU/Linux systems is so resources-greedy that it will let a process take up all the CPU/core cycles and in some cases, as in mine, lead to overheat and system shutdown (my ventilation seems to be flawed or maybe to blame is the unusual summer weather here in the UK because this only ever happens in summer). Anyway, having struggled to find a way to nice a process sufficiently or send the process a universal system signal to help reduce its load on the system, I finally found something which can automate what I have been doing manually (CTRL+Z and fg), especially when rendering some Blender3D clips for my own use. Here is the simple script to be run:

#    Based on a script from Q. Boiler (




while [ "$var0" -lt "$LIMIT" ]

kill -SIGSTOP $pid
echo "Suspending $pid"

sleep $SLEEP

kill -SIGCONT $pid
echo "continuing execution $pid"

sleep $RUN

echo "killing $pid"
kill -SIGINT $pid

The way to use this is to save the above as a script, say, give it running permissions, e.g. chmod 755, then call it with the process ID as the argument name, e.g. 46223. The intervals for running can be set within the script or with slight modifications be passed as arguments to the script (this is not crucial for my needs). In case someone else runs into the same problem I have decided to document this publicly.

OpenShot: Good for Novice Users


OpenShot is a fantastic video editor for those — who like myself — are not video editing experts and cannot afford to spend hours just learning how to use a video editing program. OpenShot has all the basic functionality and it is coupled with the power of Blender to help achieve rather pretty effects and transitions. Having tried numerous other video editors for GNU/Linux and wasted many hours just trying to learn them (or failing to find some missing functionality), I can warmly recommend OpenShot.

New Zealand institutions Work for the Empire

There are reports right now about New Zealand residents taking action (e.g. protests) against illegal actions by their secret agencies and government, which include — quite famously — the illegal raid of a mansion. Here is a good reports about it.

Here is Kim telling his side of the story in a challenging interview.

Richard Stallman on Firmware

Richard Stallman in nature

Direct download as Ogg (00:06:42, 3.5 MB)

Summary: Richard Stallman’s suggestion for people who want to compromise on the issue of firmware

THE latest Debian GNU/Linux, like the previous version (6.x), comes without notorious firmware by default, which causes inconvenience to some, yours truly included. I discussed this with Stallman and here are his views on the matter.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: gnu fsf richardstallman


Ogg Theora

TechBytes Episode 85: Richard Stallman Answers Questions From JoinDiaspora

Richard leans to laptop

Direct download as Ogg (00:18:09, 10.5 MB)

Summary: Various questions from different people answered by Richard Stallman

Having solicited some questions for this interview with Richard Stallman, we start with a question about FreedomBox. One person asks: “How about freedombox? For the uneducated, the progress seems to be horribly slow. Here is the chance of a lifetime to show how with free software we could revolutionize the people communicate in the internet but the progress is too slow to take advantage of it.”

To paraphrase what Alessandro asks, “what new project is the FSF going to or would want to sponsor in the near future? For example, as the FSF sponsored GNU Media Goblin to free us from YouTube, Flickr etc., will there be something to free us from other risks to our privacy, freedom, and control over data?”

Another reader asks: “What are your opinions about the companies that work with Free Software, notably Red Hat and Canonical, and are, every time, distancing themselves more and more from the ideals of Free Software and making small proprietary walled gardens in their so-called ‘ecosystems’ (which, of course, harm the whole GNU/Linux ‘ecosystem’ and community). Specifically, Canonical with its own graphical server, package format and init system and Red Hat with its own init system that’s breaking the *nix paradigm of KISS and shoving down the throats of the entire community something that the community does not want (Gentoo and Slack are opposing it, Debian is sitting in the fence).”

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows.

As embedded (HTML5):

Keywords: gnu fsf richardstallman


Ogg Theora

Moving Away From Civility

1st confederate flag

I COULD not help noticing that society is moving away from civility, attaining the exact opposite of progress because plutocrats took over the government and are now occupying entire nations.

We oughtn’t assume that society always moves forward. Just look at the Middle Ages, Islamisation, the rise of Nazism in Germany and so on. Civil rights are relative, but they are not very subjective. There is a yardstick for comparatively assessing human values.

The United States has been the world’s unchallenged empire for a few decades now (after parity with the Soviet empire) and it is conspiring with several other nations where degradation of human rights is closely correlated (the UK is no exception). Consider collaboration on surveillance by the NSA, drone strikes (the UK and Australia help with those), indefinite detention (with abductions outside the US), and even torture cells in several unmarked sites across Europe (for the CIA to aggressively “interrogate” people). These are just a few examples among many more. This post is not an exhaustive summary of what I have in mind.

In the age of Facebook as an online distraction (people posting photos of their family and friends, i.e. unwittingly act as informants) I remain quite pessimistic. Those of us who try to warn others about the loss of civility in the digitised and increasingly-automated world (where spying and assassination too are being automated) just perpetually remain a niche, so the forces of plutocracy carry on, largely unchallenged and scarcely feared by the public. The corporate media helps keep it that way and independent sites keep imploding in an age of austerity and other types of pressure against the population at large.

I realise that protests — while they’re in principle considered legal here — are practically impossible. For a protest to be effective it needs to be disruptive but authorities limit the effect by ensuring no protest disrupts anything (otherwise there are mass arrests to serve as intimidation measures). Online protests are being suppressed and journalism too (see Barrett Brown), so even those of us who engage in peaceful activism and no civil disobedience are coming under unprecedented pressure.

Defeatism would be premature because leaks such as the ones from Manning and Snowden show everyone that we, the people, still have ways to counter human suffering.

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