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Sven Hoexter: Cloudflare Bot Management, MITM Boxes and TLS 1.3

Mar, 08/09/2020 - 2:08md

This is just a "warn your brothers" post for those who use Cloudflare Bot Management, and have customers which use MITM boxes to break up TLS 1.3 connections.

Be aware that right now some heuristic rules in the Cloudflare Bot Management score TLS 1.3 requests made by some MITM boxes with 1 - which equals "we're 99.99% sure that this is none human browser traffic". While technically correct - the TLS connection hitting the Cloudflare Edge node is not established by a browser - that does not help your customer if you block those requests. If you do something like blocking requests with a BM score of 1 at the Cloudflare Edge, you might want to reconsider that at the moment and sent a captcha challenge instead. While that is not a lot nicer, and still pisses people off, you might find a balance there between protecting yourself and still having some customers.

I've a confirmation for this happening with Cisco WSA, but it's likely to be also the case with other vendors. Breaking up TLS 1.2 seems to be stealthy enough in those appliances that it's not detected, so this issue creeps in with more enterprises rolling out modern browser.

You can now enter youself here a rant about how bad the client-server internet of 2020 is, and how bad it is that some of us rely on Cloudflare, and that they have accumulated a way too big market share. But the world is as it is.

Arturo Borrero González: Debconf 2020 online, summary

Hën, 07/09/2020 - 10:00pd

Debconf2020 took place when I was on personal vacations time. But anyway I’m lucky enough that my company, the Wikimedia Foundation, paid the conference registration fee for me and allowed me to take the time (after my vacations) to watch recordings from the conference.

This is my first time attending (or watching) a full-online conference, and I was curious to see first hand how it would develop. I was greatly surprised to see it worked pretty nicely, so kudos to the organization, video team, volunteers, etc!

What follows is my summary of the conference, from the different sessions and talks I watched (again, none of them live but recordings).

The first thing I saw was the Welcome to Debconf 2020 opening session. It is obvious the video was made with lots of love, I found it entertaining and useful. I love it :-)

Then I watched the BoF Can Free Software improve social equality. It was introduced and moderated by Hong Phuc Dang. Several participants, about 10 people, shared their visions on the interaction between open source projects and communities. I’m pretty much aware of the interesting social advancement that FLOSS can enable in communities, but sometimes is not so easy, it may also present challenges and barriers. The BoF was joined by many people from the Asia Pacific region, and for me, it has been very interesting to take a step back from the usual western vision of this topic. Anyway, about the session itself, I have the feeling the participants may have spent too much time on presentations, sharing their local stories (which are interesting, don’t get me wrong), perhaps leaving little room for actual proposal discussions or the like.

Next I watched the Bits from the DPL talk. In the session, Jonathan Carter goes over several topics affecting the project, both internally and externally. It was interesting to know more about the status of the project from a high level perspective, as an organization, including subjects such as money, common project problems, future issues we are anticipating, the social aspect of the project, etc.

The Lightning Talks session grabbed my attention. It is usually very funny to watch and not as dense as other talks. I’m glad I watched this as it includes some interesting talks, ranging from HAM radios (I love them!), to personal projects to help in certain tasks, and even some general reflections about life.

Just when I’m writing this very sentence, the video for the Come and meet your Debian Publicity team! talk has been uploaded. This team does an incredible work in keeping project information flowing, and social networks up-to-date and alive. Mind that the work of this team is mostly non-engineering, but still, is a vital part of the project. The folks in session explain what the team does, and they also discuss how new people can contribute, the different challenges related to language barriers, etc.

I have to admit I also started watching a couple other sessions that turned out to don’t be interesting to me (and therefore I didn’t finish the video). Also, I tried to watch a couple more sessions that didn’t publish their video recording just yet, for example the When We Virtualize the Whole Internet talk by Sam Hartman. Will check again in a couple of days.

It is a real pleasure the video recordings from the conference are made available online. One can join the conference anytime (like I’m doing!) and watch the sessions at any pace at any time. The video archive is big, I won’t be able to go over all of it. I won’t lie, I still have some pending videos to watch from last year Debconf2019 :-)

Enrico Zini: Learning resources links

Hën, 07/09/2020 - 12:00pd

Cognitive bias cheat sheet has another elegant infographic summarising cognitive biases. On this subject, you might want to also check out 15 Insane Things That Correlate With Each Other.

Get started | Learning Music (Beta) has a nice interactive introduction to music making.

If you leave in a block of flats and decide to learn music making, please use headphones when experimenting. Our neighbour, sadly, didn't.

You can also learn photography with Photography for Beginners (The Ultimate Guide in 2020) and somewhat related, Understanding Aspect Ratios: A Comprehensive Guide

Jonathan Carter: DebConf 20 Online

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 9:50md

This week, last week, Last month, I attended DebConf 20 Online. It was the first DebConf to be held entirely online, but it’s the 7th DebConf I’ve attended from home.

My first one was DebConf7. Initially I mostly started watching the videos because I wanted to learn more about packaging. I had just figured out how to create binary packages by hand, and have read through the new maintainers guide, but a lot of it was still a mystery. By the end of DebConf7 my grasp of source packages was still a bit thin, but other than that, I ended up learning a lot more about Debian during DebConf7 than I had hoped for, and over the years, the quality of online participation for each DebConf has varied a lot.

I think having a completely online DebConf, where everyone was remote, helped raise awareness about how important it is to make the remote experience work well, and I hope that it will make people who run sessions at physical events in the future consider those who are following remotely a bit more.

During some BoF sessions, it was clear that some teams haven’t talked to each other face to face in a while, and I heard at least 3 teams who said “This was nice, we should do more regular video calls!”. Our usual communication methods of e-mail lists and IRC serve us quite well, for the most part, but sometimes having an actual conversation with the whole team present at the same time can do wonders for dealing with many kind of issues that is just always hard to deal with in text based mediums.

There were three main languages used in this DebConf. We’ve had more than one language at a DebConf before, but as far as I know it’s the first time that we had multiple talks over 3 languages (English, Malayalam and Spanish).

It was also impressive how the DebConf team managed to send out DebConf t-shirts all around the world and in time before the conference! To my knowledge only 2 people didn’t get theirs in time due to customs.

I already posted about the new loop that we worked on for this DebConf. It was an unintended effect that we ended up having lots of shout-outs which ended up giving this online DebConf a much more warmer, personal feel to it than if we didn’t have it. I’m definitely planning to keep on improving on that for the future, for online and in-person events. There were also some other new stuff from the video team during this DebConf, we’ll try to co-ordinate a blog post about that once the dust settled.

Thanks to everyone for making this DebConf special, even though it was virtual!

Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in August 2020

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 6:38md

FTP master

This month I accepted 159 packages and rejected 16. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 172.

Debian LTS

This was my seventy-fourth month that I did some work for the Debian LTS initiative, started by Raphael Hertzog at Freexian.

This month my all in all workload has been 21.75h. During that time I did LTS uploads of:

  • [DLA 2336-1] firejail security update for two CVEs
  • [DLA 2337-1] python2.7 security update for nine CVEs
  • [DLA 2353-1] bacula security update for one CVE
  • [DLA 2354-1] ndpi security update for one CVE
  • [DLA 2355-1] bind9 security update for two CVEs
  • [DLA 2359-1] xorg-server security update for five CVEs

I also started to work on curl but did not upload a fixed version yet. As usual, testing the package takes up some time.

Last but not least I did some days of frontdesk duties.

Debian ELTS

This month was the twenty sixth ELTS month.

During my allocated time I uploaded:

  • ELA-265-1 for python2.7
  • ELA-270-1 for bind9
  • ELA-272-1 for xorg-server

Like in LTS, I also started to work on curl and encountered the same problems as in LTS above.

Last but not least I did some days of frontdesk duties.

Other stuff

This month I found again some time for other Debian work and uploaded packages to fix bugs, mainly around gcc10:

I also uploaded new upstream versions of:

All package called *osmo* are developed by the Osmocom project, that is about Open Source MObile COMmunication. They are really doing a great job and I apologize that my uploads of new versions are mostly far behind their development.

Some of the uploads are related to new packages:

Dirk Eddelbuettel: inline 0.3.16: Now with system2()

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 5:46md

A new minor release of the inline package just arrived on CRAN. inline facilitates writing code in-line in simple string expressions or short files. The package is mature and stable, and can be considered to be in maintenance mode: Rcpp used it extensively in the vrey early days before Rcpp Attributes provided an even better alternative. Seveal other package still rely on inline.

One of these package is rstan, and Ben Goodrich updated our use of system() to system2() allowing for better error diagnostics. We also did a bit of standard maintenance to Travis CI and the README.md file.

See below for a detailed list of changes extracted from the NEWS file.

Changes in inline version 0.3.16 (2020-09-06)
  • Maintenance updates to README.md standardizing badges (Dirk).

  • Maintenance update to Travis CI setup (Dirk).

  • Switch to using system2() for better error diagnostics (Ben Goodrich in #12).

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a comparison to the previous release.

If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Molly de Blanc: NYU VPN

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 3:45md

I needed to setup a VPN in order to access my readings for class. The instructions for Linux are located: https://nyu.service-now.com/sp?id=kb_article_view&sysparm_article=KB0014932

After you download the VPN client of your choice (they recommend Cisco AnyConnect), connect to: vpn.nyu.edu.

It will ask for two passwords: your NYU username and password and a multi-factor authentication (MFA) code from Duo. Use the Duo. See below for stuff on Duo.

Hit connect and viola, you can connect to the VPN.

Duo Authentication Setup

Go to: https://start.nyu.edu and follow the instructions for MFA. They’ll tell you that a smart phone is the most secure method of setting up. I am skeptical.

Install the Duo Authentication App on your phone, enter your phone number into the NYU web page (off of ) and it will send a thing to your phone to connect it.

Commentary

Okay, I have to complain at least a little bit about this. I had to guess what the VPN address was because the instructions are for NYU Shanghai. I also had to install the VPN client using the terminal. These sorts of things make it harder for people to use Linux. Boo.

Ben Armstrong: Dronefly relicensed under copyleft licenses

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 2:37md

To ensure Dronefly always remains free, the Dronefly project has been relicensed under two copyleft licenses. Read the license change and learn more about copyleft at these links.

I was prompted to make this change after a recent incident in the Red DiscordBot development community that made me reconsider my prior position that the liberal MIT license was best for our project. While on the face of it, making your license as liberal as possible might seem like the most generous and hassle-free way to license any project, I was shocked into the realization that its liberality was also its fatal flaw: all is well and good so long as everyone is being cooperative, but it does not afford any protection to developers or users should things suddenly go sideways in how a project is run. A copyleft license is the best way to avoid such issues.

In this incident – a sad story of conflict between developers I respect on both sides of the rift, and owe a debt to for what they’ve taught me – three cogs we had come to depend on suddenly stopped being viable for us to use due to changes to the license & the code. Effectively, those cogs became unsupported and unsupportable. To avoid any such future disaster with the Dronefly project, I started shopping for a new license that would protect developers and users alike from similarly losing support, or losing control of their contributions. I owe thanks to Dale Floer, a team member who early on advised me the AGPL might be a better fit, and later was helpful in selecting the doc license and encouraging me to follow through. We ran the new licenses by each contributor and arrived at this consensus: the AGPL is best suited for our server-based code, and CC-BY-SA is best suited for our documentation. The relicensing was made official this morning.

On Discord platform alternatives

You might well question what I, a Debian developer steeped in free software culture and otherwise in agreement with its principles, am doing encouraging a community to grow on the proprietary Discord platform! I have no satisfying answer to that. I explained when I introduced my project here some of the backstory, but that’s more of an account of its beginnings than justification for it to continue on this platform. Honestly, all I can offer is a rather dissatisfying it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

Time will tell whether we could successfully move off of it to a freedom-respecting and privacy-respecting alternative chat platform that is both socially and technically viable to migrate to. That platform would ideally:

  • not be under the control of a single, central commercial entity running proprietary code, so their privacy is safeguarded, and they are protected from disaster, should it become unattractive to remain on the platform;
  • have a vibrant and supportive open source third party extension development community;
  • support our image-rich content and effortless sharing of URLs with previews automatically provided from the page’s content (e.g. via OpenGraph tags);
  • be effortless to join regardless of what platform/device each user uses;
  • keep a history of messages so that future members joining the community can benefit from past conversations, and existing members can catch up on conversations they missed;
  • but above all else: be acceptable and compelling to the existing community to move over onto it.

I’m intrigued by Matrix and wonder if it provides some or all of the above in its current form. Are you a developer writing bots for this platform? If so, I especially want to hear from you in the comments about your experience. Or in any case, if you’ve been there before – if you’ve faced the same issue with your community and have a success story to share, I would love to hear from you.

Junichi Uekawa: Trying to boot Debian on Chromebook Kevin.

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 11:26pd
Trying to boot Debian on Chromebook Kevin. But I haven't yet found how to get the USB serial console device to work, and display is black. So I can't see anything.

Russ Allbery: September haul

Dje, 06/09/2020 - 7:08pd

So many good books, so little reading time.

Jairus Banaji — A Brief History of Commercial Capitalism (nonfiction)
Steven Brust — The Baron of Magister Valley (sff)
Micaiah Johnson — The Space Between Worlds (sff)
Ian McDonald — Luna: New Moon (sff)
Elizabeth Moon — Trading in Danger (sff)
Tamsyn Muir — Harrow the Ninth (sff)
Suzanne Palmer — Finder (sff)
Kit Rocha — Beyond Shame (sff)
Kit Rocha — Beyond Control (sff)
Kit Rocha — Beyond Pain (sff)
Arundhati Roy — Azadi (nonfiction)
Jeff VanderMeer — Authority (sff)
Jeff VanderMeer — Acceptance (sff)
K.B. Wagers — Behind the Throne (sff)
Jarrett Walker — Human Transit (nonfiction)

I took advantage of a few sales to get books I know I'm going to want to read eventually for a buck or two.

Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (August 2020)

Sht, 05/09/2020 - 11:12md

In August 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 16 hours (of 8 hours planned, plus another 8 hours that I carried over from July).

For ELTS, I have worked for another 8 hours (of 8 hours planned).

LTS Work
  • LTS frontdesk: triage wireshark, yubico-piv-tool, trousers, software-properties, qt4-x11, qtbase-opensource-src, openexr, netty and netty-3.9
  • upload to stretch-security: libvncserver 0.9.11+dfsg-1.3~deb9u5 (fixing 9 CVEs, DLA-2347-1 [1])
  • upload to stretch-security: php-horde-core 2.27.6+debian1-2+deb9u1 (1 CVE, DLA-2348 [2])
  • upload to stretch-security: php-horde 5.2.13+debian0-1+deb9u3 (fixing 1 CVE, DLA-2349-1 [3])
  • upload to stretch-security: php-horde-kronolith 4.2.19-1+deb9u1 (fixing 1 CVE, DLA-2350-1 [4])
  • upload to stretch-security: php-horde-kronolith 4.2.19-1+deb9u2 (fixing 1 more CVE, DLA-2351-1 [5])
  • upload to stretch-security: php-horde-gollem 3.0.10-1+deb9u2 (fixing 1 CVE, DLA-2352-1 [6])
  • upload to stretch-security: freerdp 1.1.0~git20140921.1.440916e+dfsg1-13+deb9u4 (fixing 14 CVEs, DLA-2356-1 [7])
  • prepare salsa MRs for gnome-shell (for gnome-shell in stretch [8] and buster [9])
ELTS Work
  • Look into open CVEs for Samba in Debian jessie ELTS. Revisit issues affecting the Samba AD code that have previously been considered as issues.
Other security related work for Debian
  • upload to buster (SRU): libvncserver 0.9.11+dfsg-1.3+deb10u4 (fixing 9 CVEs) [10]
References

Elana Hashman: Three talks at DebConf 2020

Sht, 05/09/2020 - 6:00pd

This year has been a really unusual one for in-person events like conferences. I had already planned to take this year off from travel for the most part, attending just a handful of domestic conferences. But the pandemic has thrown those plans into chaos; I do not plan to attend large-scale in-person events until July 2021 at the earliest, per my employer's guidance.

I've been really sad to have turned down multiple speaking invitations this year. To try to set expectations, I added a note to my Talks page that indicates I will not be writing any new talks for 2020, but am happy to join panels or reprise old talks.

And somehow, with all that background, I still ended up giving three talks at DebConf 2020 this year. In part, I think it's because this is the first DebConf I've been able to attend since 2017, and I was so happy to have the opportunity! I took time off work to give myself enough space to focus on the conference. International travel is very difficult for me, so DebConf is generally challenging if not impossible for me to attend.

A panel a day keeps the FTP Team away?

On Thursday, August 27th, I spoke on the Leadership in Debian panel, where I discussed some of the challenges leadership in the project must face, including an appropriate response to the BLM movement and sustainability for volunteer positions that require unsustainable hours (such as DPL).

Your browser does not support the video tag.

On Friday, August 28th, I hosted the Debian Clojure BoF, attended by members of the Clojure and Puppet teams. The Puppet team is working to package the latest versions of Puppet Server/DB, which involve significant Clojure components, and I am doing my best to help.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

On Saturday, August 29th, I spoke on the Meet the Technical Committee panel. The Committee presented a number of proposals for improving how we work within the project. I was responsible for presenting our first proposal on allowing folks to engage the committee privately.

Your browser does not support the video tag.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: nanotime 0.3.2: Tweaks

Pre, 04/09/2020 - 11:28md

Another (minor) nanotime release, now at version 0.3.2. This release brings an endianness correction which was kindly contributed in a PR, switches to using the API header exported by RcppCCTZ, and tweaks test coverage a little with respect to r-devel.

nanotime relies on the RcppCCTZ package for (efficient) high(er) resolution time parsing and formatting up to nanosecond resolution, and the bit64 package for the actual integer64 arithmetic. Initially implemented using the S3 system, it has benefitted greatly from work by co-author Leonardo who not only rejigged nanotime internals in S4 but also added new S4 types for periods, intervals and durations.

The NEWS snippet adds full details.

Changes in version 0.3.2 (2020-09-03)
  • Correct for big endian (Elliott Sales de Andrade in #81).

  • Use the RcppCCTZ_API.h header (Dirk in #82).

  • Conditionally reduce test coverage (Dirk in #83).

Thanks to CRANberries there is also a diff to the previous version. More details and examples are at the nanotime page; code, issue tickets etc at the GitHub repository.

If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Reproducible Builds (diffoscope): diffoscope 159 released

Pre, 04/09/2020 - 2:00pd

The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 159. This version includes the following changes:

[ Chris Lamb ] * Show "ordering differences only" in strings(1) output. (Closes: reproducible-builds/diffoscope#216) * Don't alias output from "os.path.splitext" to variables that we do not end up using. * Don't raise exceptions when cleaning up after a guestfs cleanup failure. [ Jean-Romain Garnier ] * Make "Command" subclass a new generic Operation class.

You find out more by visiting the project homepage.

Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.9.900.3.0

Pre, 04/09/2020 - 12:34pd

Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 769 other packages on CRAN.

A few days ago, Conrad released a new minor version 9.900.3 of Armadillo which we packaged and tested as usual. Given the incremental release character, we only tested the release and not candidate release. No regressions were found, and, as usual, logs from reverse-depends runs are in the rcpp-logs repo.

All changes in the new release are noted below.

Changes in RcppArmadillo version 0.9.900.3.0 (2020-09-02)
  • Upgraded to Armadillo release 9.900.3 (Nocturnal Misbehaviour)

    • More efficient code for initialising matrices with fill::zeros

    • Fixes for various error messages

Courtesy of CRANberries, there is a diffstat report relative to previous release. More detailed information is on the RcppArmadillo page. Questions, comments etc should go to the rcpp-devel mailing list off the R-Forge page.

If you like this or other open-source work I do, you can now sponsor me at GitHub. For the first year, GitHub will match your contributions.

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.