How to make a million dollars in pay-what-you-want — thoughts on the Humble Indie Bundle

Some thoughts1 on how the humble Indie Bundle managed to get more than 1.25 Million Dollars2 in one and a half weeks — more than one quarter of that from GNU/Linux users.

  1. Originally written as comment to Why Games don't get ported to Linux...A game dev speaks

  2. Stats directly from the Website of the Humble Indie Bundle

Why EMI locks channels: It’s a battle about control

To Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I'm In by Peter Serafinowicz.

I think there’s a very simple reason why EMI remotely encumbers a channel: It’s a battle about control.

The battle about who will control where, when and how people can enjoy works of art.

That battle goes against the fans (who want to enjoy stuff and pay for it on their own terms) and the artists (who want people to enjoy their stuff and pay for it).

Killing the head of a terrorist organization doesn’t stop it

→ A comment to The Effectiveness of Political Assassinations.

Another answer why this doesn’t work is really simple: Consider that you were in a terrorist organization. You work with people in secrecy, but the ones you know are close to you, because they know your most intimate secrets.

Short: You fight alongside friends (though probably assholes by most ethical standards).

Now someone kills one of your friends.

Internet, community cloud foo and control of my own data


What I miss in the internet is the notion of being able to control what my apps access for data.

Why can’t a chat application just connect to a neighborhood- or community-server, and why can’t the activity-stream come from the people I know — and query only their systems, like jabber does?

Almost all geolocation services should be implementable over direct friend-to-friend connections like jabber, and I don’t really see why my local program can’t also get the news from my local jabber contacts.

Censorship in the Streets — it’s idiocy everywhere

A man in the streets faces a knife.
Two policemen are there it once. They raise a sign:

“Illegal Scene! Noone may watch this!”

The man gets robbed and stabbed and bleeds to death.
The police had to hold the sign.

Welcome to Europe, citizen. Censorship is beautiful.

→ Courtesy to Censilia, who wants censorship in the EU after it failed in Germany. You might also be interested in 11 more reasons why censorship is useless and harmful.

PS: This poem is free and permissively licensed: Please feel free to use it anyway you like, as long as you provide a backlink.

Ogg Theora and h.264 - which video codec as standard for internet-video?

- Video encoder comparison - a much more thorough comparision than mine

We had a kinda long discussion on about Ogg Theora and h.264, and since we lacked a simple comparision method, I hacked up a quick script to test them.

It uses frames from Big Buck Bunny and outputs the files bbb.ogg and bbb.264 (license: cc by).

deletion attempt against the dwm article on wikipedia (comment)

-> a comment to
Wikipedia, Notability, and Open Source Software by ubunTARD.

Update: I just got unblocked by henrik who also sent me an excuse for the way the whole process was handled: “…The block was partly an individual misjudgment, but also a result of the systemic culture and some poorly thought out policies. If you're interested, I'd be happy to discuss it in more detail…”. And that restores a lot of my faith in the wikipedia community — thank you very much for your excuse, henrik!
Also they are currently discussing on the incidents board how to avoid similarly overboarding blocking like that in the future.

Just as an inside notice from the discussion: I joined the first deletion discussion when I got note of it (I don't know anymore through which channel) and when it got closed, I joined the second one and got heavily frustrated when people tried to turn “he sent the developers a berliner bratwurst” into “the magazine which published his article is a first source” (which would mean it wouldn't count as source for “notability”).

Powers that be - money concentration vs. democracy

-> written in reply to Bogus Copyright Claim Silences Yet Another Larry Lessig YouTube Presentation on techdirt.

This shows painfully how power is shifting currently:

  • <5% of the people have >90% of the resources.
  • So the <5% have more influence on the media.
  • The media influences which people are elected into positions of power.
  • Then these elected pass laws which shift more resources and power towards the <5%.

A downside of networking and public reputation: No communication for the sake of communication (alone)

-> A comment on The Importance of Managing Your Online Reputation.

I read your article, and I found the points you make very interesting, though not only in a positive way.

You tackle the “we have a network others can see” from the active side: “How can I make sure my employer likes what he sees?”.

Defective by Design is doing something important - actions like theirs got me to GNU/Linux

-> A reply to bashing against Defective By Design.

I was a rabid MacUser 5 years ago.

Then I learned about DRM, TPM and privacy. And I left Apple because they put in TPM chips into developer machines.

Today I'm a happy GNU/Linux user and I contribute from time to time to Gentoo, KDE and Mercurial.

(my way from Apple to GNU/Linux:
- (Broken Apple Heart in German)
- (in english) ) Group: Out of Group (!oog)

What !oog is

The Out of Group group is a way to request leading an overboarding discussion out of group (so you don't spam all the people who are in the group where the discussion started, but who simply want news).


Please discuss out of group. You can wrap up the discussion afterwards (link to the context) and add a group tag then.

How To

free software, unfree software, ethics and social behaviour

Some of my answers to basic questions

Written in a survey about attitudes towards free software.

Is proprietary (=unfree) software immoral or unethical?

it isn't immoral (moral = what's the current stance of mainstream society), but it is unethical.

In a society where people are used to being forbidden to give bread to a starving child, giving bread you'd otherwise throw away to that child instead could well be immoral.

Automatic updates in Gentoo GNU/Linux

Update 2016: I nowadays just use emerge --sync; emerge @security

To keep my Gentoo up to date, I use daily and weekly update scripts which also always run revdep-rebuild after the saturday night update :)

My daily update is via pkgcore to pull in all important security updates:

pmerge @glsa

That pulls in the Gentoo Linux Security Advisories - important updates with mostly short compile time. (You need pkgcore for that: "emerge pkgcore")

Also I use two cron scripts.

"Creative Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future"

-> sent to, in reply to "Creative Content in a European Digital Single Market: Challenges for the Future" as published by the european commission.

Thanks to Glynmoody for getting the word out!

Dear European Commission,

Summary: The goal of copyright is to get more money to more authors and more cultural works to more citizens.

The truth is in there - Maxwell gives us the speed of light

- a Filk on "X as in Fox" by Cecilia Eng -

Once we believed in the speed of the light,
and experiments show that what we thought is right,
But we search our math for another sight,

'Cause we hope that the truth is in there.

When we measure the speed of something somehow,
we can only check against the distance, but now
we'll show that we get it from Maxwell', and wow!

We will know that the truth is in there!

First we take a sheet of charge at hand,

using drupal for documenting software -> blogging with a structure

-> an answer to Blog posts are no replacement for documentation by flameeyes.

Hi flameeyes,

I kinda know your problem: It's far easier to write a number of Blog posts than to write a structured book up front - and I think two major parts of that are, that a weblog provides many more "Yes, I've done it!" moments than a book and that a blog has a much lower barrier to entry.

Drowsy Pagan (and his stew) - a Filk on Dawson's Christian

To the melody of Dawson's Christian from Duane Elms.


div style="float: right; text-align: center; border: solid thin gray; padding-left: 1em; padding-right: 1em; padding-top: 1em; margin-left: 1em">

- PDF -


Your browser history can be sniffed with just 64 lines of Python (tested with Firefox 3.5.3)

Update: The basic bug shown here is now fixed in Firefox. Read on to see whether the fix works for you. Keep in mind that there are much stronger attacks than the one shown here. Use private mode to reduce the amount of data your Browser keeps. What’s not there cannot be claimed.

After the example of making-the-web, I was quite intrigued by the ease of sniffing the history via simple CSS tricks.

- Firefox Bug report - finally resolved fixed.
- Start Panic! - a site dedicated to spreading the news about the vulnerability.

So I decided to test, how small I get a Python program which can sniff the history via CSS - without requiring any scripting ability on the browser-side.

I first produced fully commented code (see and then stripped it down to just 64 lines (, to make it really crystal clear, that making your browser vulnerable to this exploit is a damn bad idea. I hope this will help get Firefox fixed quickly.

For me, Gentoo is about *convenient* choice

It's often said, that Gentoo is all about choice, but that doesn't quite fit what it is for me.

After all, the highest ability to choose is Linux from scratch and I can have any amount of choice in every distribution by just going deep enough (and investing enough time).

What really distinguishes Gentoo for me is that it makes it convenient to choose.

Since we all have a limited time budget, many of us only have real freedom to choose, because we use Gentoo which makes it possible to choose with the distribution-tools.

For religious spammers: Shut up and help save our *planet*

-> the_gdf just got spam from a raving christian. Since I am a moderator there, I got that spam and rejected it. But because I was in a good mood, I felt compelled to answer :)

- insert random ravin' lunatic the-world-is-going-to-end talk -


Have fun!

Me, instead, I'll rather go with the 6th world of the inkas - they were there earlier than your book.

The alternative is to just believe in science:

The effect of the optional restrictions of the GPLv3

I just thought a bit about the restrictions the GPLv3 allows, and I think I just understood their purpose and effect for the first time (correct me, if I'm wrong :) ).

What are the restrictions?

The GPLv3 allows developers (=copyright holders) to add selected restrictions, like forbidding the use of a certain brand name or similar.

The catch with them is, that any subsequent developer who adds anything is free to simply strip off the restrictions.

What is their effect?

The internet means unlimited copying. What we make of it depends on us

Comment to is the web too good for us on a BBC blog:

But the web was not really free in the beginning. While its structure was open for everyone and websites bloomed and blossomed by copying code and design from others, the content of sites stayed closed by copyright.

There were many thoughts of freedom in the original web, but the structure gave more freedom than the law, and the easy copying inside the new medium still didn't reach the slow legal body of our offline communities.

When you're happy with a free project, write a thank you!

From the Gentoo Forums:

I agree that spreading a positive 
message is good, but I've always 
been nervous to send thank you 
notes out to people I've never 
Worse, I don't want to potentially 
overload an inbox with a mes-
sage that isn't going to help all 
that much. Hopefully it would be 
received in a positve way. 

I try to remember to send "thank you"s from time to time.

A short introduction to Mercurial with TortoiseHG (GNU/Linux and Windows)

Note: This tutorial is for the old TortoiseHG (with gtk interface). The new one works a bit differently (and uses Qt). See the official quick start guide. The right-click menus should still work similar to the ones described here, though.

Downloading the Repository

After installing TortoiseHG, you can download a repository to your computer by right-clicking in a folder and selecting the menu "TortoiseHG" and then "Clone" in there (currently you still need Windows for that - all other dialogs can be evoked in GNU/Linux on the commandline via "hgtk").

Right-Click menu, Windows:


workflow concept: automatic trusted group of committers


A workflow where the repository gets updated only from repositories whose heads got signed by at least a certain percentage or a certain number of trusted committers.


Mercurial, two hooks for checking and three special files in the repo.

The hooks do all the work - apart from them, the repo is just a normal Mercurial repository. After cloning it, you only need to setup the hooks to activate the workflow.

Extensions: gpg

Hooks: prechangegroup and pretxnchangegroup

Dragon Cycle 6: Bard's Fair

Dragon and human they fly on the winds,
their bodies floating ever higher.
Their bond of purity and of loving,
and something deep within their souls.

||: And they always remember the voice of war,
"We will not fight, not anymore!" :||

Dragon Cycle 5: Death and waking

Fire sweeping over the land,
destruction and death,
the dragons are free.
Hate and fury in the village,
wings bring storm
and burning hail.
The fire burns the woman,
burns the man,
the dragon nears the child.
Eyes of fury meet the fear,
nostrils taste
the anguish of the child.
Fire builds deep in the guts,
leaps from teeth,
and stops down dead.
A cry meets dragons fury
"Leave my sister!"
The dragon stops.
From rags beneath the window board
a child rises
and stares the dragon down.
Fingers grow to dragon claws,

Dragon Cycle 4: Flight and Slaughter

    e              C      D
The dragons in all glory ceased to fight,
        e          D          e
    as wizards power scorched their wings.

As human armies marched along, in greatest size,
    With wizards in their leading ranks.
The dragons left the battleground without a single strike
    left inhabited lands.

Dragon Cycle 3: Capture

Puny Human, what have you Done?!
You call powers, which aren't yours to control,
which will sweep all away, when used in war.

The bonds on this, my body, will not hold forever,
and when they perish, so will You!

Back off in fear, that I might use what you did,
which neither Dragon nor Human should ever touch.

Why don't you leave wizard?

Show me that, which you clutch in your robes,
black as they are to block my view.

No! You know not, what you do!
I call on all you learned through your study of magic,
don't soil your soul any more
by forcing what is immortal

Dragon Cycle 2: Step into their Land

I come to you for my child has cried,
      and my mate is dead.
I know, you're shivering now in dread,
      but don't you fear for your hide.
No dragon will burn your cities down,
      when you give what we demand.
The bodies of those, who took her life,
      shall Die from human hand.
      They shall die from Human Hand.
For dragon's Law and Custom, now,
      I'll fold my wings till sundown,
      To see what you decide.

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