Some technical advantages of the Hurd

→ An answer to just accept it, truth hurds, where Flameeyes told his reasons for not liking the Hurd and asked for technical advantages (and claimed, that the Hurd does not offer a concept which got incorporated into other free software, contributing to other projects). Note: These are the points I see. Very likely there are more technical advantages which I don’t see well enough to explain them.

The translator system in the Hurd is a simple concept which makes many tasks easy, which are complex with Linux (like init, network transparency, new filesystems, …). Additionally there are capabilities (give programs only the access they need - adjusted at runtime), subhurds and (academic) memory management.

Information for potential testers: The Hurd is already usable, but it is not yet in production state. It progressed a lot during the recent years, though. Have a look at the status report if you want to see if it’s already interesting for you. See running the Hurd for testing it yourself.

Table of Contents:

Influence on other systems: FUSE in Linux and limited translators in NetBSD

Firstoff: FUSE is essentially an implementation of parts of the translator system (which is the main building block of the Hurd) to Linux, and NetBSD recently got a port of the translators system of the Hurd. That’s the main contribution to other projects that I see.

translator-based filesystem

On the bare technical side, the translator-based filesystem stands out: The filesystem allows for making arbitrary programs responsible for displaying a given node (which can also be a directory tree) and to start these programs on demand. To make them persistent over reboots, you only need to add them to the filesystem node (for which you need the right to change that node). Also you can start translators on any node without having to change the node itself, but then they are not persistent and only affect your view of the filesystem without affecting other users. These translators are called active, and you don’t need write permissions on a node to add them.

Mercurial Workflow: Feature seperation via named branches

Also published on Mercurials Workflows wikipage. Originally written for PyHurd: Python bindings for the GNU Hurd.

For Whom?

If you

  1. want to develop features collaboratively and you want to be able to see later for which feature a given change was added or
  2. want to do changes concurrently which would likely affect each other negatively while they are not finished, but which need to be developed in a group with minimal overhead,

then this workflow might be right for you.

Note: If you have a huge number of small features (2000 and upwards), the number of persistent named branches can create some performance problems for listing the branches (only for the listing!) (as different example, pushing is unaffected: Linear history is just as fast as 2000 branches). For features which need no collaboration or need only a few commits, this workflow also has much unnecessary overhead. It is best used for features which will be developed side by side with default for some time (and many commits), so tracking the default branch against the feature is relevant. To mark single-commit features as belonging to a feature, just use the commit message.

Note: The difference between Mercurial named branches and git branches is that git branches don’t stay in history. They don’t allow you to find out later in which branch a certain commit was added. If you want git-style branching, just use bookmarks.

Note: If you avoid using stable as branch name, you can always upgrade this workflow to the complete branching model later on.

7,26€ through Flattr last month

Last month I earned 7,26€ through my Flattr account (Flattr is a voluntary payment service where people can make micropayments if they like something - after enjoying it). The flattrs came in through just 4 items:

Thank you very much for your flattrs, dear supporters1! Thanks to you I could pay most of my server cost this month via the money from flattr - and that’s great!2

  1. This month I was flattred by eileentso, esocom, Elleo and a user who wanted to stay anonymous. Thank you again! 

  2. And being able to pay the server might become much more important in the following months, as soon as my wife’s parental money runs out and I need to finance the family from a (50%) PhD-salary for a year… 

Filk the gist

A parody on March of Cambreadth (mp3) by Heather Alexander aka Alexander James Adams, the Fairy Tale Minstrel, written on the filk-de list to say “damn, we are filkers! We don’t quabble about politics — we sing about them!”

Filk the gist

Keyboards klick, Cellphones ring,
Shining laptop’s hackers sing,
Newsfeeds burn with polished prose,
Show us where we find our foes,
Midnight flame with congressmen,
Fight the trolls to keep us sane,
Sound the horn and call the cry,
How many of us can spot their lie?

Fuck the orders you get told,
Make their shallow hearts get cold,
Fight until you die or drop,
A force like ours is hard to stop,
Close your mind to stress and pain,
Write till you’re no longer sane,
Let not one wrong word pass by,
How many of us can spot their lie?

Infinite Hands draft with Bodhran and Flute

A rough draft of Infinite Hands with additional instruments.

The Flute and Bodhran tracks are improvised on the spot and recorded yesterday in one go, so they are a bit rough :)

Also the vocals are finally up to date with the text.

I hope you enjoy it!


For more Information on the song, see

A GNU Head, redrawn

For my new Neo-Keyboard I wanted the GNU head from GNU and the plussy from FSFE on the meta/super keys (those which often have a Fenster-Logo). Sadly the normal GNU head did not work very well with the Laser from Schubi, so I grabbed my tablet, fired up mypaint and created a new one, building on the old, but adding more contrast and stronger lines. I hope you like it!

A GNU head, redrawn

A GNU head, redrawn

A roleplaying easter holiday 2011

We played Exalted sunday morning, slaying a second circle demon before nightfall, and Dresden Files (FATE) till 2 o'clock in the night.

Why free speech does not equal to the right of being heard

→ written in a discussion with Sascha1 in Freenet using Sone.

If free speech included being allowed to force all people to listen, then it would also include my right to force you to listen to everything I say.

Think this on the scale of 6 billion people all using freenet. Every one of them could force you to listen to him/her/it. Whom would you ignore?

Learning Mercurial in Workflows

The official workflow guide for Mercurial, mirrored from License: GPLv2 or later.

It delves into nonlinear history and merging right from the beginning and uses only features you get without activating extensions. Due to this it offers efficient and safe workflows without danger of losing already committed work.

Infocalypse - Make your code survive the information apocalypse

Anonymous DVCS in the Darknet.

This is a mirror of the documentation of the infocalypse extension for Mercurial written by djk - published here with his permission. It is licensed solely under the GPLv2 or later. The text is long. For concise information, use the second Link above (Freenet Development over Freenet).


The Infocalypse 2.0 hg extension is an extension for Mercurial that allows you to create, publish and maintain incrementally updateable repositories in Freenet.

Your code is then hosted decentrally and anonymously, making it just as censorship-resistant as all other content in Freenet.

It works better than the other DVCS currently available for Freenet.

Most of the information you will find in this document can also be found in the extension's online help. i.e.:

hg help infocalypse

fonättikl inglisch

The slaves we freed,

This is what I read,

And yesterday I read,

That they all fled.

PS: The title is “phonetical english”, written in a way, that germans can just read it aloud to speak it correctly.

Simple Emacs DarkRoom

I just realized that I let myself be distracted by all kinds of not-so-useful stuff instead of finally getting to type the text I already wanted to transcribe from stenografic at the beginning of … last week.


Let’s take a break for a screenshot of the final version, because that’s what we really want to gain from this article: a distraction-free screenshot as distraction from the text :)

Emacs darkroom, screenshot

As you can see, the distractions are removed — the screenshot is completely full screen and only the text is left. If you switch to the minibuffer (i.e. via M-x), the status bar (modeline) is shown.

A vision for a social Freenet with WoT, FreeTalk and Sone

I let my thought wander a bit around the question how a social Freenet (2.0 ;) ) could look from the view of a newcomer.

I imagine myself installing freenet. The first thing to come up after starting it is the node page. (italic Text in brackets is a comment. The links need a Freenet running on to work)

“Welcome to Freenet, where no one can tell you’re reading”

“Freenet tries hard to project your privacy. Therefore we created a pseudonymous ID for you. Its name is Gandi Schmidt.


There’s music in their stamping,
in their shouting to above,

There’s rhythm in their live,
in fight and death and love,

(There's rhythm in their stance,
in strike and blow and bluff,)

Where nobler people seek the truth
and never find their hearts,

A Volkoi’s always on his toes,
when the music starts.

— Eschrandar, Nayan War Engine, Mechanical Dreams (sadly only the store is left of this great game…)

Freenet: WoT, database error, recovery patch

I just had a database error in WoT (the Freenet generic Web of Trust plugin) and couldn’t access one of my identities anymore (plus I didn’t have a backup of its private keys though it told me to keep backups – talk about carelessness :) ).

I asked p0s on IRC and he helped me patch together a WoT which doesn’t access the context for editing the ID (and in turn misses some functionality). This allowed me to regain my IDs private key and with that redownload my ID from freenet.

turn files with wikipedia syntax to html (simple python script using mediawiki api)

I needed to convert a huge batch of mediawiki-files to html (had a 2010-03 copy of the now dead limewire wiki lying around). With a tip from RoanKattouw in I created a simple python script to convert arbitrary files from mediawiki syntax to html.


  • Download the script and install the dependencies (yaml and python 3).

Track your scientific scripts with Mercurial

If you want to publish your scientific scripts, as Nick Barnes advises in Nature, you can very easily do so with Mercurial.

All my stuff (not just code), excempting only huge datasets, is in a Mercurial source repository.1

Whenever I change something and it does anything new, I commit the files with a simple commit (even if it’s only “it compiles!”).

  1. Mercurial is free software for versiontracking: 

I hope French Filesharers turn to Freenet

→ Comment to France Starts Reporting ‘Millions’ of File-Sharers by Torrent Freak.

I hope they all turn to freenet. There’s scance chance of getting many user-addresses there, and it can provide a service similar to torrents and decentral tracker in one, but anonymously and safe from censorship.

I’ve been running it for years now, and it got better and more secure every year.

The Four Freedoms of Free Culture: Avoid Cultural Slavery

→ comment to The Four Freedoms of Free Culture on

Thank you for spreading the thought of freedom in culture!

I currently don’t use creativecommons licenses on my site, because they have no source protection (you can’t exercise your right of modifying, if the work is hidden inside some non-source container, like autoscrolling flash).

Instead I use the GPLv3, for my site (draketo.delicensing) as well as for a free roleplaying book I write ( — german).

My reason for using free licenses in all my hobby work is simple: When a cultural work becomes part of my life, any restriction on using that work takes away a part of my personal freedom.

That’s why freedom is essential for all cultural works that matter.

Screencast: Tabbing of everything in KDE

I just discovered tabbing of everything in KDE:


Created with recordmydesktop, cut with kdenlive, encoded to ogg theora with ffmpeg2theora (encoding command).

Music: Beat into Submission on [Public Domain](

Style over Substance

Stories of Weaklings, who win every fight
against bigger foes with their voices might,

Stories of Anarchists, who do nothing more,
than talk and talk, and still win the war.

Stories of Mages, who mumble and roar,
for a fizzling spell, which still makes them sore.

Stories of Dreamers, who sing in the night,
and weave our future, shining so bright.

All this you can find here, come out of the dark,
set Style over Substance, for that is our mark.


When free speech dies, we need a place to organize.

Freenet is a censorship resistant, distributed p2p-publishing platform.

*Too technical? Let’s improve that: Freenet is the internet's last, best hope for Freedom.

writing together – collaborative editing is easy

→ comment to The next wave in scholarly word processors?

What I’d like to see is more people using version tracking systems.

With these you have a discussion which can be merged easily when it gets branched. I use it for anything I do, and I could use it together with an only-windows-and-GUI user with ease, installing TortoiseHG for both and Lyx for him (LaTeX made easy – you don’t have to see the sources).

Simple positive trust scheme with threshholds

Update: I nowadays think that voting down is useful, but only for protection against spam and intentional disruption of communication. Essentially a distributed function to report spam.

I don’t see a reason for negative reputation schemes — voting down is in my view a flawed concept.

The rest of this article is written for freetalk inside freenet, and also posted there with my nonanonymous ID.

That just allows for community censorship, which I see as incompatible with the goals of freenet.

The scientific method in a dent/tweet (140 characters)

science in a dent:

(1) Form a theory. (2) design an experiment to test the theory. (3) do it. (4) Adjust the theory, if needed → (2)

→ written in GNU social.

Please feel free to use it!

If that’s to brief:

the scientific method, explained very basically and simply.


*That’s not faith. It’s theory.

Weltenwald-theme under AGPL (Drupal)

After the last round of polishing, I decided to publish my theme under AGPLv3. Reason: If you use AGPL code and people access it over a network, you have to offer them the code. Which I hereby do ;)
That’s the only way to make sure that website code stays free.

It’s still for Drupal 5, because I didn’t get around to port it, and it has some ugly hacks, but it should be fully functional.

Just untar it in any Drupal 5 install.

pyRad - a wheel type command interface for KDE

Arrrrrr! Ye be replacin' th' walk th' plank alt-tab wi' th' keelhaulin' pirate wheel, matey! — Lacrocivious

pyRad is a wheel type command interface for KDE1, designed to appear below your mouse pointer at a gesture.

install | setup | usage and screenshots | download and sources

pyRad command wheel

  1. powered by KDE 

No, it ain’t “forever” (GNU Hurd code_swarm from 1991 to 2010)

If the video doesn’t show, you can also download it as Ogg Theora & Vorbis “.ogv” or find it on youtube.

pkgcore vs. eix → pix (find packages in Gentoo)

For a long time it bugged me, that eix uses a seperate database which I need to keep up to date. But no longer: With pkgcore as fast as it is today, I set up pquery to replace eix.

The result is pix:

alias pix='pquery --raw -nv --attr=keywords'

(put the above in your ~/.bashrc)

The output looks like this:

$ pix pkgcore
 * sys-apps/pkgcore
    repo: gentoo
    description: pkgcore package manager
    keywords: ~alpha ~amd64 ~arm ~hppa ~ia64 ~ppc ~ppc64 ~s390 ~sh ~sparc ~x86

A song from the icy lands

A song about sharing and free software and changing the world. Originally written to recreate the vision of the Polar Skulk in art.

Criticism and praise would be a great gift to the pup writing this song.

A song from the icy lands

Freedom for Music, for Movies and for every word,
Fighting is not quite absurd,
and we are peaceful, good and kind,
and fight for freedom of the mind.

Inhalt abgleichen
Willkommen im Weltenwald!

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