I'm working on a small project on the history of built-in "app stores". My hypothesis is that this idea actually originates from #GNULinux distros like #Debian. That was my personal experience of it. I started using computers in 1981 and have used DOS, Apple ][, C64, OS/2, GEM, Windows, MacOS, NeXTSTEP, MacOSX, Solaris, AIX, IRIX, OpenBSD, FreeBSD, and many distros starting with Slackware. I know the history of Debian, iOS, and Android well. Anyone have any other examples I might have missed?
Anyone procuring #Chromebook hardware with public funding, like for schools, should be aware that the expiration date on that hardware is artificially created by #Google since they maintain their firmware as incompatible with other standards. Given a properly structured firmware, any old #Chrome device would run #Debian or other #GNULinux just fine. The #Chromium team operates in public and has done a good job of releasing their source, but the bad structure remains.
@elly and @domi outline how #Google has structured their firmware to make it incompatible with the standard methods of booting an OS. So even though it is open source and #Google upstreams their #Linux changes, lots of key functionality like audio, USB ports, etc does not work when booting any other OS (e.g. GNU/Linux or even Windows). This serves to lock the hardware to #Chrome, and thereby generate lots of e-waste when Google drops support for hardware which #Debian supports.
I'm happy to see more attention given to freeing #Chromebook hardware. They already are built on free software, so with some focused attention on supporting them well with #FreeSoftware distros like #Debian, the number of good GNU/Linux laptops can be greatly expanded. #Depthcharge should be as well understood as other BIOS things. Thanks to @elly and @domi for your #37c3 talk: https://media.ccc.de/v/37c3-11929-turning_chromebooks_into_regular_laptops
When organizations that use #Debian maintain the packages they use in Debian, the whole ecosystem gains. The more organizations that do that, the more efficient the whole ecosystem becomes for all users. Here's a recent example from #FDroid:
I'm a Debian Developer, I'm happy to help get organizations working in this way. Reach out if you're interested!
* Build the tool with itself
* Circular dependencies: Gradle needs #Kotlin to build which needs Gradle to build...
* Depend on snapshots to build releases, but then they don't keep a way to reproduce the snapshot releases https://github.com/gradle/gradle/issues/26516
* Java-style bundling of all dependencies
* Hidden proprietary depends https://github.com/gradle/gradle/issues/16439
thanks ebourg for keeping on!
The #WebP #security vulnerability CVE-2023-4863 demonstrates a huge advantage of the "distro" approach of shipping software, like #Debian pushes so hard to deliver. We see a mad scramble for many software vendors to ship with the patched version of #libwebp. In the distro model, the patch is shipped in the single lib package, then all of the software automatically uses the safe version. This leads to shorter times to get fixes to users with much less work overall.
So I just worked through trying to make #Debian bookworm do hibernation with encrypted swap and #SecureBoot. Looks like #Linux is fine with using a swap file from an encrypted partition, but now the requirement is apparently that the swap is signed to prevent modification. I stuck what I know here https://wiki.debian.org/Hibernation#UEFI_.2F_Secure_Boot
I'd like to have something that automatically convert links to the #privacy preserving version in the browser. Like play #youtube links in #invidious, etc. There seems to be things like #UntrackMe but for me the question is which one to trust, is maintained, works well enough, etc. Once I find a tool that I think it generally applicable, then I work to get it into #Debian so its easy for others to make this decision. Is there a browser extension for this that is worth getting into Debian?
After using #NeXTSTEP/#macOS from 1994-2012, I reached the same conclusion as Ken Thompson: "I've become more and more depressed, and what #Apple is doing to something that should allow you to work is just atrocious... And I have come, within the last month or two, to say, even though I've invested, you know, a zillion years in Apple — I'm throwing it away. And I'm going to Linux. To #Raspbian in particular." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaandEt_pKw&t=3473s
#FreeSoftware was almost mentioned at #DMAWorkshop: one key point was that mobile operating systems in 2008 were in a race to get developers. #iOS and #Android were tiny newcomers with no developers. The idea from app stores came from free software and hackers. #Debian APT started in the 90s, #Cydia was on iOS when #Apple was still saying web apps were the only way. And of course, #Android used #OpenSource as a key strategy to get #developers interested in their platform.
#Debian and #FDroid require signature verification, and #FDroid is built on top of #Android's APK signing. This improves things a lot but does not mean they are immune. Debian and F-Droid repos can still override packages lower priority repos. It could make sense to have a "no overrides allowed" setting, but that would restrict useful features. Maybe F-Droid could implement "no new signing keys when overriding" rule by default, I wonder how much that would break what people are doing now? 2/2
I'm sad to say that my new #laptop still needs non-free firmware blobs for working WiFi, Bluetooth, audio, and power management. Now #Debian will include those in the installer. Are we losing this #FreeSoftware fight? At least the graphics driver is #free and included in upstream Linux, that is progress. I specifically avoided #nvidia for that purpose.
How are others feeling on the firmware blob fight?