We’re now well into February 2021 and I didn’t even do a proper recap of 2020. Needless to say I’ve been quite a bit neglecting this space… at the same time I’ve been reading quite a lot (as usual) and I have been posting said articles on the Fediverse (with a bot cross-posting to Twitter as well). Very often I posted just the title and they’d happen in batches which was probably annoying.

That’s why for 2021 I think it’s time for a new experiment in this space. I’ll try to post a weekly web review here. Obviously topics of choice will be Free Software but I might cover other areas which might be a bit more surprising (management, business, sociology… you name it). Hopefully that will make it more interesting than if I stay too focused.

Without further ado… let’s go for my first web review!

FOSDEM 2021 - Open Source is More Than Just a License

Tags: tech, free-software, criticism, ethics

Very interesting FOSDEM talk which I see as part of the debate about “Open Source as just licenses”/“Post Open Source”. This shows very well how the OSD is very narrow and that their should be a better alignment between what is labelled FOSS and the actual customs. This is something which licenses alone can’t capture.

Acceptance of Pattern Matching PEPs 634, 635, 636, Rejection of PEPs 640 and 642 - python-committers -

Tags: python

Looking forward to Python 3.10 in October which will finally get pattern matching!

C++ | unique_ptr, shared_ptr, weak_ptr, or reference_wrapper for class relationships - nextptr

Tags: c++

Interesting use of reference_wrapper… I wonder why it didn’t occur to me earlier as a good use to deal with ownership like that.

Au-delà des licences libres ? · Bastien Guerry - Informatique et liberté

Tags: tech, free-software, criticism, ethics, economics

This is a bit of a less rigorous counterpoint of the paper from Nathan Schneider “the tyranny of openness”. I think it’s interesting to see that despite a few strawmen it reaches a somewhat similar conclusion: it’s not just about licenses, it’s also about customs”.

The Clubhouse App and the Rise of Oral Psychodynamics - Insight

Tags: tech, culture, literacy

Interesting account on orality vs literacy. Never occurred to me before this article that orality could be written (somewhat Twitter) and that literacy could be spoken (for example news anchors). This is why you sometimes end up with a) people talking like a book or b) people writing like they talk.

Reclaim Your Face - Reclaim Your Face

Tags: tech

Petition for a new low to regulate facial recognition

You are invited to contribute to the future « Contributing to Free-Libre Open Source Software » MOOC by Télécom Paris and Framasoft – Framablog

Tags: tech, free-software, mooc, framasoft

You know a thing or two about contributing for FOSS? You’d like that knowledge to be passed on? Here is your chance with that MOOC in development.

Tags: tech, surveillance, capitalism, ring, amazon

Some more example of surveillance capitalism as a mean to social control. Are we surprised? Not really… still they all need to be documented and known to the public.

The Tyranny of Openness: What Happened to Peer Production?

Tags: tech, free-software, criticism, feminism, ethics, economics

This is a great paper. Truly mind bending in my opinion. In my case it helped me pinpoint things in the FOSS movement which I felt were there while being unable to clearly explain them. This is a clear enabler and explains why we need to move beyond the “licensing and only licensing” position the FOSS movement is in, it’s the only chance to finally encompass ethics and economics which are both very much needed. It’s the only chance to converge toward proper commons without the faked meritocracy distortion.

I could go on much longer… but it’s not the point here. Go read it!

And if you’re still wondering “why not more women in the FOSS movement?” or “why are women mostly in community stewardship roles?”, well there are answers for that too.

I’ll close with two quotes which I found really important in that paper:

“Ehmke stresses that information ethics and social ethics need not be mutually exclusive but that they should coexist. She frequently celebrates what Open Source has achieved through information freedoms and hopes for more through the addition of social ethics. […] Yet this evolution means being open in new ways and more closed in others.”

”“The frame of social provisioning reveals how the unrest in Open Source emerges from a cluster of basic concerns that peer production communities have taught themselves to treat as invisible or inadmissible. It remains to be seen whether Open Source can stretch to incorporate more of its participants’ humanity.”

Basic Intro to Elliptic Curve Cryptography - Qvault

Tags: tech, cryptography, security

Nice and very approachable introduction to the use of elliptic curves for cryptography. I think I finally understood properly how those work. :-)

CSS transitions and hover animations, an interactive guide

Tags: tech, css, animation, design

Very nice introduction to animations with CSS. Per usual for me coming from a QML background it often sounds more involved than it should be but overall nice facilities are now provided straight from the browser.

Ekylibre convertit les agriculteurs au logiciel libre | Les Echos

Tags: free-software, agriculture

Article in French

Very nice to see some initiative toward providing Free Software for agriculture use. I have some concerns regarding the type of agriculture which will use this though.

Critical Thinking isn’t Just a Process - Insight

Tags: politics, epistemology, science, lies, authoritarianism

As usual with Zeynep Tufekci a mind bending article about the heuristics one might use at times when official institutions are simply trying to lie to your face and when they switch to authoritarian mode. This is indeed times when it becomes very hard to trust information and make sense of the world… how to overcome that? Well there are a few examples in that article.

Ces pays sont toujours officiellement en guerre, et ils l’ont oublié |

Tags: history, surprising, war

Article in French

Surprising history little article about how even on something as important as declaring a war as over, sometimes simply… we forget.

Is Westernisation fact or fiction? The case of Japan and the US | Aeon Essays

Tags: history, japan, culture

Fascinating piece on how Japan dealt with the arrival of westerners. But also how the westerners did (and still) perceive the relationship with a lot of delusion due to arrogance and racism biases. It is a good example on how the winners tend to attempt to rewrite history.

It also shows how Japan somewhat turned into an inspiration for other Asian countries. I learned a lot.

Le gouvernement va créer une mission logiciels libres et communs numériques - ZDNet

Tags: tech, politics, free-software

Article in French

For once a step in the right direction the creation of this mission. It goes in the right direction indeed but let’s hope it’ll be respected.

Droit à la réparation : les fermiers obligés de pirater le firmware de leurs propres tracteurs en raison de l’enfermement propriétaire des constructeurs, l’UE et les USA œuvrent à changer la donne

Tags: tech, repair, vendor-lockin, embedded

Article in French

One more article on the preposterous vendor lock-in we experience with some devices (and yes, nowadays a tractor is yet another device with embedded code). Or why right to repair becomes an important freedom to defend.

Uncovering a 24-year-old bug in the Linux Kernel – Skroutz Engineering

Tags: tech, linux, tcp, bug

Interesting exploration for a low level bug in the TCP stack. A proof that it’s not always the network being at fault. ;-)

Dependency Confusion: How I Hacked Into Apple, Microsoft and Dozens of Other Companies | by Alex Birsan | Feb, 2021 | Medium

Tags: tech, security, supply-chain

Very interesting new supply chain attack. Shows one of the big downsides of the very convenient packaging tools everyone uses lately. Interestingly in that particular case it seems less risky only with the publicly available components, it’s in the context of private repositories that the risk arises. Root cause seems to be the lack of control on how those tools resolve between private and public repositories.

Developers mentoring other developers: practices I’ve seen work well - The Pragmatic Engineer

Tags: tech, mentoring

Lots of good advice on how mentoring can be done. There are enough of them that you can pick and choose what makes sense for your own context. I like this kind of toolbox approaches.

Technical Mentorship Reimagined: Time-bound and No Awkward Asks Necessary — Culture

Tags: tech, mentoring

Interesting ideas on how mentorship can be organized in a company. This is obviously examples coming from a specific context but still, the whole time bound and matchmaking approach is a good food for thought. It sounds a bit too mechanical and systematic for my taste but I guess it makes sense in their context. A few good extra resources provided as well.

Hope this will be useful to someone. Depending how this goes in the coming weeks I might adjust the frequency, we’ll see. Bye for now!