Debian is back in the Mastodon/GNU Social fediverse, follow

The GNU Social instance where the @debian account was hosted ( shut down last May. Thanks to the admins for all this time!

Long overdue, I’ve setup the @debian account with the feed of in other place (I still cannot selfhost properly, due to time constraints mostly). This time I chose a Mastodon instance, Thanks to the Fosstodon admins for hosting, and Carl Chenet for feed2toot.

If you are in the GNU Social/Mastodon fediverse (or other network compatible with ActivityPub I guess), you can follow to get the news (the official source will always be, though).

I will try to follow back and answer mentions/replies as time allows. Ping (my contact info is in if something goes wrong (I’m learning this new platform) and I’ll do my best to get things back to normal.

Happy Solstice!

Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , ,

Handling an old Digital Photo Frame (AX203) with Debian (and gphoto2)

Some days ago I found an key chain at home that was a small digital photo frame, and it seems that was not used since 2009 (old times when I was not using Debian at home yet). The photo frame was still working (I connected it with an USB cable and after some seconds, it turned on), and showed 37 photos from 2009 indeed.

When I connected it with USB cable to the computer, it was asking “Connect USB? Yes/No” I pressed the button saying “yes” and nothing happened in the computer (I was expecting an USB drive to be shown in Dolphin, but no).

I looked at “dmesg” output and it was shown as a CDROM:

[ 1620.497536] usb 3-2: new full-speed USB device number 4 using xhci_hcd
[ 1620.639507] usb 3-2: New USB device found, idVendor=1908, idProduct=1320
[ 1620.639513] usb 3-2: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=0
[ 1620.639515] usb 3-2: Product: Photo Frame
[ 1620.639518] usb 3-2: Manufacturer: BUILDWIN
[ 1620.640549] usb-storage 3-2:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[ 1620.640770] usb-storage 3-2:1.0: Quirks match for vid 1908 pid 1320: 20000
[ 1620.640807] scsi host7: usb-storage 3-2:1.0
[ 1621.713594] scsi 7:0:0:0: CD-ROM buildwin Photo Frame 1.01 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
[ 1621.715400] sr 7:0:0:0: [sr1] scsi3-mmc drive: 40x/40x writer cd/rw xa/form2 cdda tray
[ 1621.715745] sr 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi CD-ROM sr1
[ 1621.715932] sr 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 5

But not automounted.
I mounted it and then looked at the files, but I couldn’t find photos there, only these files:

Autorun.inf FEnCodeUnicode.dll LanguageUnicode.ini
DPFMate.exe flashlib.dat StartInfoUnicode.ini

The Autorun.inf file was pointing to the DPFMate.exe file.

I connected the device to a Windows computer and then I could run the DPFMate.exe program, and it was a program to manage the photos in the device.

I was wondering if I could manage the device from Debian and then searched for «dpf “digital photo frame” linux dpfmate» and found this page:

Yes, that one was my key chain!

I looked for gphoto in Debian, going to and then learned that the program I need to install was gphoto2.
I installed it and then went to its Quick Start Guide to learn how to access the device, get the photos etc. In particular, I used these commands:

gphoto2 --auto-detect

Model Port 
AX203 USB picture frame firmware ver 3.4.x usbscsi:/dev/sg1

gphoto2 --get-all-files

(it copied all the pictures that were in the photo frame, to the current folder in my computer)

gphoto2 --upload-file=name_of_file

(to put some file in the photo frame)

gphoto2 --delete-file=1-38

(to delete the file 1 to 38 in the photo frame).

Posted in Tools | Tagged , ,

Debian and free software personal misc news

Many of them probably are worth a blog post each, but it seems I cannot find the time or motivation to craft nice blog posts for now, so here’s a quick update of some of the things that happened and happen in my digital life:

  • Debian Jessie became LTS and I still didn’t upgrade my home server to stable. Well, I could say myself that now I have 2 more years to try to find the time (thanks LTS team!) and that the machine just works (and that’s probably the reason for not finding the motivation to upgrade it or to put time on it (thanks Debian and the software projects of the services I run there!)) but I have to find the way to give some love to my home server during this summer, otherwise I won’t be able to do it probably until the next summer.


  • is down since several weeks, and I’m afraid it probably won’t come back. This means my personal account in GNU Social is not working, and the Debian one ( is not working either. I would like to find another good instance where to create both accounts (I would like to selfhost but it’s not realistic, e.g. see above point). Considering both GNU Social and Mastodon networks, but I still need to do some research on uptimes, number of users, workforce behind the instances, who’s there, etc. Meanwhile, my few social network updates are posted in as always, and for Debian news you can follow (it provides RSS feed), or When I resurrect @debian in the fediverse I’ll publicise it and I hope followers find us again.


  • We recently migrated the Debian website from CVS to git: I am very happy and thankful to all the people that helped to make it possible. I think that most of the contributors adapted well to the changes (also because keeping the used workflows was a priority), but if you feel lost or want to comment on anything, just tell. We don’t want to loose anybody, and we’re happy to welcome and help anybody who wants to get involved.


  • Alioth’s shutdown and the Debian website migration triggered a lot of reviews in the website content (updating links and paragraphs, updating translations…) and scripts. Please be patient and help if you can (e.g. contact your language team, or have a look at the list of bugs: tagged or the bulk list). I will try to do remote “DebCamp18” work and attack some of them, but I’m also considering organising or attending a BSP in September/October. We’ll see.


  • In the Spanish translation team, I am very happy that we have several regular contributors, translating and/or reviewing. In the last months I did less translation work than what I would like, but I try not to loose pace and I hope to put more time on translations and reviews during this summer, at least in the website and in package descriptions.


  • One more year, I’m not coming to DebConf. This year my schedule/situation was clear from long ago, so it’s been easier to just accept that I cannot go, and continue being involved somehow. It’s sad not being able to celebrate the migration with web team mates, but I hope they celebrate anyway! I am a bit behind with DebConf publicity work but I will try to catch up soon, and for DebConf itself I will try to do the microblogging coverage as former years, and also participate in the IRC and watching the streaming, thanks timezones and siesta, I guess 😉


  • Since January I am enjoying my new phone (the Galaxy S III broke, and I bought a BQ Aquaris U+) with Lineage OS 14.x and F-Droid. I keep on having a look each several days to the F-Droid tab that shows the news and updated apps and it’s amazing the activity and life of the projects. A non exhaustive list of the free software apps that I use: AdAway, Number Guesser (I play with my son to this), Conversations, Daily Dozen, DavDroid, F-Droid, Fennec F-Droid, Hacker’s Keyboard, K-9 Mail, KDE Connect, Kontalk, LabCoat, Document Reader, LibreOffice Viewer (old but it works), Memetastic, NewPipe, OSMAnd~, PassAndroid, Periodical, Puma, Quasseldroid, QuickDic, RadioDroid, Reader for Pepper and Carrot, Red Moon, RedReader, Ring, Slight Backup, Termux. Some other apps that I don’t use them all the time but I find it’s nice to have them are AFWall+, Atomic (for when my Quassel server is down), Call Recorder, Pain Diary, Yalp Store. My son decided not to play games in phones/tablets so we removed Anuto TD, Apple Finger, Seafood Berserker, Shattered Pixel Dungeon and Turo (I appreciate the games but I only play some times, if another person plays too, just to share the game). My only non-free apps: the one that gives me the time I need to wait at the bus stop, Wallapop (second hand, person to person buy/sell app), and Whatsapp. I have no Google services in the phone and no Location services available for those apps, but I give the bus stop number or the Postal code number by hand, and they work.


  • I am very very happy with my Lenovo X230 laptop, its keyboard and everything. It runs Debian stable for now, and Plasma Desktop. I only have 2 issues with it: (1) hibernation, and (2) smart card reader. About the hibernation: sometimes, when on battery, I close the lid and it seems it does not hibernate well because when I open the lid again it does not come back, the power button blinks slowly, and pressing it, typing something or moving the touchpad, have no effect. The only ‘solution’ is to long-press the power button so it abruptly shuts down (or take the battery off, with the same effect). After that, I turn on again and the filesystem complains about the unexpected shut down but it boots correctly. About the smart card reader: I have a C3PO LTC31 smart card reader and when I connect it via USB to use my GPG smart card, I need to restart pcsc service manually to be able to use it. If I don’t do that, the smart card is not recognised (Thunderbird or whatever program asks me repeatedly to insert the card). I’m not sure why is that, and if it’s related to my setup, or to this particular reader. I have another reader (other model) at work, but always forget to switch them to make tests. Anyway I can live with it until I find time to research more.

There are probably more things that I forget, but this post became too long already. Bye!


Posted in My experiences and opinion, Tools | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Kubb 2018 season has just begun

Since last year I play kubb with my son. It’s a sport/game of marksmanship and patience. It’s a quite inclusive game and it’s played outside, in a grass or sand field.

It happens that the Spanish association of Kubb is in the town where I live (even, in my neighbourhood!) so several family gatherings with tournaments happen in the parks near my house. Last year we attended for first time and learned how to play, and since then, we participated in 2 or 3 events more.

As kubb is played in open air, season starts in March/April, when the weather is good enough to have a nice morning in the park. I got surprised that being a so minority game, about 50-100 people gather in each local tournament, grouped in teams of any kind: individuals, couples or up to 6 persons-teams, mothers and daughters, only kids-teams, teams formed by people of 3 different generations… as strenght or speed (or even experience) are not relevant to win this game, almost anybody can play with anybody.


Enjoying playing kubb makes me also think about how communities around a non-mainstream topic are formed and maintained, and how to foster diversity and good relationships among participants. I’ve noted down some ideas that I think the kubb association does well:

  •  No matter how big or small you are, always take into account the possible newcomers: setting a slot at the start of the event to welcome them and explain “how the day will work” makes those newcomers feel less stressed.
  • Designing events where the whole family can participate (or at least “be together”, not only “events with childcare”) but it’s not mandatory that all of them participate, helps people to get involved more long-term.
  • The format of the event has to be kept simple to avoid organisers to get burned out. If the organisers are so overwhelmed taking care of things that they cannot taste the result of their work, that means that the organisation team should grow and balance the load.
  • Having a “break” during the year so everybody can rest and do other things also helps people get more motivated when the next season/event starts.

Thinking about kubb, particularly together/versus with the other sport that my kid plays (football), I find similarities and contrasts with another “couple” of activities that we also experience in our family: the “free software way of life” versus the “mainstream use” of computers/devices nowadays. It’s good to know both (not to be “apart of the world in our warm bubble”), and it’s good to have the humble, but creative and more human-focused and good-values-loaded one as big reference for the type of future that we want to live and we build everyday with our small actions.


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Posted in Events, My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , ,

Wordpress for Android and short blog posts

I use for my social network interactions and from time to time I post short thoughts there.

I usually reserve my blog for longer posts including links etc.

That means that it’s harder for me to publish in my blog.

OTOH my daily commute time may be enough to craft short posts. I bring my laptop with me but it’s common that I
open kate, begin to write, and arrive my destination with my post almost finished but unpublished. Or, second variant, I cannot sit so I cannot type in the metro and pass the time reading or thinking.

I’ve just installed WordPress for Android and hopefully that helps me to write short posts in my commute time and publish quicker. Let’s try and see what happens 🙂


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Posted in My experiences and opinion, Tools | Tagged , ,

It’s 2018, where’s my traditional New Year Plans post?

I closed my eyes, opened them again, a new year began, and we’re even almost finishing January. Time flies.

In this article I’ll post some updates about my life with computer, software and free software communities. It’s more a “what I’ve been doing” than a “new year plans” post… it seems that I’m learning to not to make so much plans (life comes to break them anyways!).

At home

My home server is still running Debian Jessie. I’m happy that it just works and my services are up, but I’m sad that I couldn’t find time for an upgrade to Debian stable (which is now Debian 9 Stretch) and maybe reinstall it with another config. I have lots of photos and videos to upload in my GNU MediaGoblin instances, but also couldn’t find time to do it (nor to print some of them, which was a plan for 2017, and the files still sleep in external harddrives or DVDs). So, this is a TODO item that crossed the year (yay! now I have almost 12 months ahead to try to complete it!). I’ll try to get this done before summer. I am considering installing my own instance but I’m not sure it’s good to place it in the same machine as the other services. We’ll see.

I bought a new laptop (well, second hand, but in a very good condition), a Lenovo X230, and this is now my main computer. It’s an i5 with 8 GB RAM. Wow, modern computer at home!
I’m very very happy with it, with its screen, keyboard, and everything. It’s running a clean install of Debian 9 stable with KDE Plasma Desktop and works great. It is not heavy at all so I carry it to work and use it in the public transport (when I can sit) for my contributions to free software.

My phone (Galaxy S III with Lineage OS 14 which is Android 7) fell down and the touchscreen broke (I can see the image but it is unresponsive to touch). When normal boot, the phone is recognized by the PC as storage, and thus I could recover most of the data on it, but it’s not recognized by adb (as when USB debugging is disabled). It is recognized by adb when booted into Recovery (TWRP), though. I tried to enable USB debugging in several ways from adb while in Recovery, but couldn’t. I could switch off the wifi, though, so when I booted the phone it does not receive new messages, etc. I bought an OTG cable but I have no wireless mouse at home and couldn’t make it work with a normal USB mouse. I’ve given up for now until I find a wireless mouse or I have more time, and temporarily returned to use my old Galaxy Ace (with CyanogenMod 7 which is Android 2.3.7). I’ve looked at new phones but I don’t like that all of them have integrated battery, the screens are too big, all of them are very expensive (I know they are hi-tech machines, but don’t want to carry so valuable stuff all the time in my pocket) and other things. I still need to find time to go shopping with the list of phones where I can install Lineage OS (I already visited some stores but didn’t get convinced by the price, or they had no suitable models).

My glasses broke (in a different incident than the phone) and I used old ones for two weeks, because in the middle of the new ones preparation I had some family issues to care about. So putting time in reading or writing in front of the computer has been a bit uncomfortable and I tried to avoid it in the last weeks. Now I have new glasses and I can see very well 🙂 so I’m returning to my computer TODO.

I’ve given up the battle against iThings at home (I lost). I don’t touch them but other members of the family use them. I’m considering contributing to Debian info about testing things or maintaining some wiki pages about accessing iThings from Debian etc, but will leave that for summer, maybe later. Now I just try not to get depressed about this.

At work

We still have servers running Debian Wheezy which is in LTS support until May. I’m confident that we’ll upgrade before Wheezy reaches end of life, but frankly looking at my work plan, I’m not sure when. Every month seems packed with other stuff. I’ve taken some weeks leave to attend my family and I have no clear mind about when and how do things. We’ll see.

I gave a course about free software (in Spanish) for University staff last October. It was 20 hours, and 20 attendants, mostly administrative staff, librarians, and some IT assistants. It went pretty well, we talked about the definition of free software, history, free culture, licenses, free software tools for the office, for Android, and free software as a service (“cloud” stuff). They liked it very much. Many of them didn’t know that our Uni uses free software for our webmail (RoundCube), Cloud services (OwnCloud), and other important areas. I requested promotional material from the FSFE and I gave away many stickers. I also gave away all the Debian stickers that I had, and some other free software stickers. I’m not sure when and how I will get new Debian stickers, not sure if somebody from Madrid is going to FOSDEM. I’m considering printing them myself but I don’t know a good printer (for stickers) here. I’ll ask and try with a small investment, and see how it works out.


I think I have too many things in my plate and would like to close some stuff and focus on other, or maybe do other things.

I feel comfortable doing publicity work, but I would be happier if the team gets bigger and we have more contributors. I’m happy that we managed to publish a Debian Project News issue in DebConf17, a new one in September, and a new one in November, but since then I couldn’t find time to put on it. I’ll try to make a new issue happen before February ends, though. Meanwhile, the team has managed to handle the different announcements (release points and others) and we try to keep the community informed via micronews (mostly) and the blog

I’m keeping an eye on DebConf18 organization and I hope I can engage with publicity work about it, but I feel that we will need a local team member that leads the what-to-publish/when-to-publish and probably translations too.

About Spanish translations, I’m very happy that the translations for the Debian website have new contributors and reviewers that are making a really good work. In the last months I’m a bit behind, just trying to review and keep my files up to date, but I hope I can setup a routine in the following weeks to get more involved again, and also try to translate new files too.

Since some time, the Debian website work is the one that keeps my motivation in Debian up. It’s like a paradox because the Debian website is too big, complicated, old in some sense, and we have so much stuff that needs to be done, and so many people complaining or giving ideas (without patches) that one would get overwhelmed, depressed and sometimes would like just to resign from this team. But after all these years, it is now when I feel comfortable with the codebase and experienced enough to try things, review bugs, and try to help with the things needed. So I’m happy to put time in the website team, updating or improving the website, even when I do mistakes, or triage bugs. Also, working in the website is very rewarding because there is always some small thing that I can do to fix something, and thus, “get something done” even when my time is limited. The bad news is that there are also some big tasks that require a lot of time and motivation, and I get them postponed and postponed… 😦 At least, I try to file bugs for all the stuff that I would like to put time on, and maybe slowly, but thanks to all the team members and other contributors, we are advancing: we have a more updated /partners section (still needs work), a new /derivatives section, and we are working on the migration from CVS to Git, the reorganization of the download pages, and other stuff.

Some times I’d like to do other/new things in Debian. Learn to package (and thus, package spigot and gnusrss, used in Publicity, or weewx, that we use it at work, and also help maintaining or adopting some small things), or join the Documentation Team, or put more work in the Outreach Team (relaunch the Welcome Team), or put more work in Internationalization Team. Or maybe other stuff. But before that, I feel that I would need to finish some pending tasks in my current teams, and also find more people for them, too.

Other free software communities

I am still active in the community, although I don’t post very often in my social network account. I’ll try to open Dianara more often, and use Puma in my new phone (maybe I should adopt/fork Puma…). I am present in the IRC channel ( in Freenode) and try to organize and attend the meetings. I have a big TODO which is advance our application to join Software Freedom Conservancy (another item that crossed the TODO from 2017 to 2018) but I’ll really try to get this done before January ends.

I keep on testing F-Droid and free software apps for Android (now again in Android 2.x, I get F-Droid crashes all the time “OutofMemory” :D). I keep on reading the IRC channels and mailing list (also the mailing list for Replicant. If I get the broken phone to work with the OTG I will install Replicant on it and will keep it for tests). I keep on translating Android apps when I have some time to kill.

I have no idea who is going to FOSDEM and if I should talk to them prior to their travel (e.g. ask to bring Debian stickers for me if somebody from Madrid goes, or promote if there is any F-Droid or or GNU MediaGoblin IRC meeting or talk or whatever) but I really got busy in December-January with life and family stuff, so I just left FOSDEM apart in my mind and will try to join and see the streaming the weekend that the conference is happening, or maybe later.

I think that’s all, or at least this blogpost became very long and I don’t find anything else to write, for now, to make it longer. In any case, it’s hard for me these days to make plans more than one-two weeks ahead. Hopefully I’ll write in my blog more often during this year.


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Posted in My experiences and opinion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Instalación de DNI electrónico (DNIe) en Debian 9 Stretch

Realicé una instalación desde cero de Debian 9 Stretch en uno de mis portátiles y aún no había instalado el DNI (Documento nacional de Identidad) electrónico para hacer gestiones con las administraciones públicas españolas, así que me he puesto hoy a ello.
Ha sido relativamente sencillo.

1.- Paquetes necesarios para el lector y gestión de la entrada del PIN

sudo apt-get install pcscd pcsc-tools pinentry-qt pinentry-qt4 opensc opensc-pkcs11

Nota: hay varios paquetes pinentry disponibles para los distintos escritorios/gestores de ventana, yo como uso Plasma de KDE, pues uso los basados en Qt.

2.- Comprobar que el lector funciona: pinchar el lector USB con el DNI metido, y escribir


Esta es la salida que me proporciona:

$ pcsc_scan
PC/SC device scanner
V 1.4.27 (c) 2001-2011, Ludovic Rousseau 
Compiled with PC/SC lite version: 1.8.17
Using reader plug'n play mechanism                                                           
Scanning present readers...                                                                  
0: C3PO LTC31 v2 00 00                                                                       
Thu May 11 19:04:04 2017                                                                     
Reader 0: C3PO LTC31 v2 00 00                                                                
  Card state: Card inserted,                                                                 
  ATR: 3B 7F 38 00 00 00 6A 44 4E 49 65 20 02 4C 34 01 13 03 90 00                           
ATR: 3B 7F 38 00 00 00 6A 44 4E 49 65 20 02 4C 34 01 13 03 90 00                             
+ TS = 3B --> Direct Convention                                                              
+ T0 = 7F, Y(1): 0111, K: 15 (historical bytes)                                              
  TA(1) = 38 --> Fi=744, Di=12, 62 cycles/ETU                                                
    64516 bits/s at 4 MHz, fMax for Fi = 8 MHz => 129032 bits/s                              
  TB(1) = 00 --> VPP is not electrically connected                                           
  TC(1) = 00 --> Extra guard time: 0                                                         
+ Historical bytes: 00 6A 44 4E 49 65 20 02 4C 34 01 13 03 90 00                             
  Category indicator byte: 00 (compact TLV data object)                                      
    Tag: 6, len: A (pre-issuing data)
      Data: 44 4E 49 65 20 02 4C 34 01 13
    Mandatory status indicator (3 last bytes)
      LCS (life card cycle): 03 (Initialisation state)
      SW: 9000 (Normal processing.)

Possibly identified card (using /usr/share/pcsc/smartcard_list.txt):
3B 7F 38 00 00 00 6A 44 4E 49 65 20 02 4C 34 01 13 03 90 00
3B 7F 38 00 00 00 6A 44 4E 49 65 [1,2]0 02 4C 34 01 13 03 90 00
        DNI electronico (Spanish electronic ID card)

Salgo con Ctrl+C y desconecto el lector de DNI.

3.- Instalar los paquetes de DNI electrónico, para Debian: vamos a usar los de Debian Jessie, porque aún no hay paquetes para Stretch disponibles.


$ sudo dpkg -i ./Debian_\ 8\ Jessie_libpkcs11-dnie_1.4.0_amd64.deb 

Se abre Firefox y hay que seguir las instrucciones de la página web que aparece, para cargar el módulo de seguridad de DNIe, y la autoridad de certificación FNMT.

Una vez hecho esto, cierro firefox. En el terminal indica que la instalación del paquete terminó con errores pero no tiene importancia. Vuelvo a conectar el lector del DNI con el DNI metido. Abro Firefox y compruebo que funciona.

Posted in Tools | Tagged , , ,

Underestimating Debian

I had two issues in the last days that lead me a bit into panic until they got solved. In both cases the issue was external to Debian but I first thought that the problem was in Debian. I’m not sure why I had those thoughts, I should be more confident in myself, this awesome operating system, and the community around it! The good thing is that I’ll be more confident from now on, and I’ve learned that hurry is not a good friend, and I should face my computer “problems” (and everything in life, probably) with a bit more patience (and backups).

Issue 1: Corrupt ext partition in a laptop

I have a laptop at home with dual boot Windows 7 + Debian 9 (Stretch). I rarely boot the Windows partition. When I do, I do whatever I need to do/test there, then install updates, and then shutdown the laptop or reboot in Debian to feel happy again when using computers.

Some months ago I noticed that booting in Debian was not possible and I was left in an initramfs console that was suggesting to e2fsck /dev/sda6 (my Debian partition). Then I ran e2fsck, say “a” to fix all the issues found, and the system was booting properly. This issue was a bit scary-looking because of the e2fsck output making screen show random numbers and scrolling quickly for 1 or 2 minutes, until all the inodes or blocks or whatever were fixed.

I thought about the disk being faulty, and ran badblocks, but faced the former boot issue again some time after, and then decided to change the disk (then I took the opportunity to make backups, and install a fresh Debian 9 Stretch in the laptop, instead of the Debian 8 stable that was running).

The experience with Stretch has been great since then, but some days ago I faced the boot issue again. Then I realised that maybe the issue was appearing when I booted Debian right after using Windows (and this was why it was appearing not very often in my timeline 😉 ). Then I payed more attention to the message that I was receiving in the console

Superblock checksum does not match superblock while trying to open /dev/sda6
 The superblock could not be read or does not describe a valid ext2/ext3/ext4
 filesystem. If the device is valid and it really contains an ext2/ext3/ext4
 filesystem (and not swap or ufs or something else), then the superblock
 is corrupt, and you might try running e2fsck with an alternate superblock:
 e2fsck -b 8193
 e2fsck -b 32768

and searched about it, and also asked about it to my friends in the redeslibres XMPP chat room 🙂

I found this question in the AskUbuntu forum that was exactly my issue (I had ext2fsd installed in Windows). My friends in the XMPP room friendly yelled “booo!” at me for letting Windows touch my ext partitions (I apologised, it will never happen again!). I now consistently could reproduce the issue (boot Windows, then boot Debian, bang!: initramfs console, e2fsck, reboot Debian, no problem, boot Windows, boot Debian, again the problem, etc). I uninstalled the ext2fsd program and tried to reproduce the issue, and I couldn’t reproduce it. So happy end.

Issue 2: Accessing Android internal memory to backup files

The other issue was with my tablet running Android 4.0.4. It was facing a charge issue, and I wanted to backup the files there before sending it to repair. I connected the tablet with USB to my laptop, and enabled USB debugging. The laptop recognized a MZ604 ‘camera’ connected, but Dolphin (the file browser of my KDE Plasma desktop) could not show the files.

I looked at the settings in the tablet to try to find the setting that allowed me to switch between camera/MTP when connecting with USB, but couldn’t find it. I guessed that the tablet was correctly configured because I recall having made a backup some months ago, with no hassle… (in Debian 8). I checked that my Debian (9) had installed the needed packages:

 ii kio-mtp 0.75+git20140304-2 amd64 access to MTP devices for applications using the KDE Platform
 ii libmtp-common 1.1.12-1 all Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) common files
 ii libmtp-runtime 1.1.12-1+b1 amd64 Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) runtime tools
 ii libmtp9:amd64 1.1.12-1+b1 amd64 Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) library

So I had no idea about what was going on. Then I suspected some problem in my Debian (maybe I was needing some driver for the Motorola tablet?) and booted Windows 7 to see what happened there.

Windows detected a MZ604 device too, but couldn’t access the files either (when clicking in the device, no folders were shown). I began to search the internet to see if there were some Motorola drivers out there, and then found the clue to enable the correct settings in the Android device: you need to go to Settings > Storage, and then press the 3-dots button that makes the “Menu” function, and then appears “USB computer connection” and there, you can enable Camera or MTP. Very hidden setting! I enabled MTP, and then I could see the folders and files in my Windows system (without need of installing any additional driver), and make my backup. And of course after rebooting and trying in Debian, it worked too.

Some outcomes/conclusions

  • I have a spare hard disk for backups, tests, whatever.
  • I should make backups more often (and organize my files too). Then I wouldn’t be so nervous when facing connection or harddrive issues.
  • I won’t let my Windows touch my Debian partitions. I don’t say ext2fsd is bad, but I installed it “just in case” and in practice I never felt the need to use it. So no need to risk (again) a corrupt ext partition.
  • Having a Windows system at hand is useful some times to demonstrate myself (and maybe others) that the problems aren’t usually related to Debian or other GNU/Linux.
  • Having some more patient is useful too to demonstrate myself (and maybe others) that the problems aren’t usually related to Debian or other GNU/Linux.
  • Maybe I should put aside some money in my budget for collateral damages of my computer tinkering, or renew hardware at some time (before it definitely breaks, and not after). For example if I had renewed this tablet (it’s a good one, but from 2011, Android 4, and the screen is broken, and it was not charging since one year, we were using it only plugged to AC), then my family wouldn’t care if I “break the old tablet” trying to unlock its bootloader or install Debian on it or whatever. The same for my husband’s laptop (the one with the dual boot), it’s an old machine already, but it’s his only computer. I already felt risky installing Debian testing on it! (I installed it in end-january, right before the full-freeze).
  • OTOH, even thinking about renewing hardware made me headache. My family show advertisements from the shopping mall and I don’t know if I can install Debian without nonfree blobs, or Replicant or LineageOS on those devices. I don’t know the max volume that the ringtone reaches, and the max volume of the laptop speakers, or the lower possible brightness of the screens. I’m picky about laptop keyboards. I don’t like to spend much money in hardware that can be destroyed easily because it falls down from my hand to the floor, or I accidentally throw coffee on it. So I end enlarging the life of my current hardware, even if I don’t like it much, either…


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Rankings, Condorcet and free software: Calculating the results for the Stretch Artwork Survey

We had 12 candidates for the Debian Stretch Artwork and a survey was set up for allowing people to vote which one they prefer.

The survey was run in my LimeSurvey instance, LimeSurvey  its a nice free software with a lot of features. It provides a “Ranking” question type, and it was very easy for allowing people to “vote” in the Debian style (Debian uses the Condorcet method in its elections).

However, although LimeSurvey offers statistics and even graphics to show the results of many type of questions, its output for the Ranking type is not useful, so I had to export the data and use another tool to find the winner.

Export the data from LimeSurvey

I’ve created a read-only user to visit the survey site. With this visitor you can explore the survey questionnaire, its results, and export the data.
Username: stretch
Password: artwork

First attempt, the quick and easy (and nonfree, I guess)

There is an online tool to calculate the Condorcet winner, 
The steps I followed to feed the tool with the data from LimeSurvey were these:
1.- Went to admin interface of lime survey, selected the stretch artwork survey, responses and statistics, export results to application
2.- Selected “Completed responses only”, “Question codes”, “Answer codes”, and exported to CSV. (results_stretch1.csv)
3.- Opened the CSV with LibreOffice Calc, and removed these columns:
id    submitdate    lastpage    startlanguage
4.- Remove the first row containing the headers and saved the result (results_stretch2.csv)
5.- In commandline:
sort results_stretch2.csv | uniq -c > results_stretch3.csv
6.- Opened results_stretch3.csv with LibreOffice Calc and “merge delimitors” when importing.
7.- Removed the first column (blank) and added a column between the numbers and the first ranked option, and fulfilled that column with “:” value. Saved (results_stretch4.csv)
8.- Opened results_stretch4.csv with my preferred editor and search and replace “,:,” for “:” and after that, search and replace “,” for “>”. Save the result (results_stretch5.csv)
9.- Went to, selected Condorcet basic, “tell me some things”, and pasted the contents of results_stretch5.csv there.
The results are in results_stretch1.html

But where is the source code of this Condorcet tool?

I couldn’t find the source code (nor license) of the solver by Eric Gorr.
The tool is mentioned in where other tools are listed and when the tool is libre software, is noted so. But not in this case.
There, I found another tool, VoteEngine, which is open source, so I tried with that.

Second attempt: VoteEngine, a Free Open Source Software tool made with Python

I used a modification of voteengine-0.99 (the original zip is available in and a diff with the changes I made (basically, Numeric -> numpy and Int -> int, inorder that works in Debian stable), here.
Steps 1 to 4 are the same as in the first attempt.
5.- Sorted alphabetically the different 12 options to vote, and
assigned a letter to each one (saved the assignments in a file called 
6.- Opened results_stretch2.csv with my favorite editor, and search
and replace the name of the different options, for their corresponding
letter in stretch_key.txt file.
Searched and replaced “,” for ” ” (space). Then, saved the results into
7.- Copied the input.txt file from voteengine-0.99 into stretch.txt and edited the options
to our needs. Pasted the contents of results_stretch3_voteengine.cvs
at the end of stretch.txt
8.-In the commandline
./ <stretch.txt  > winner.txt
(winner.txt contains the results for the Condorcet method).
9.- I edited again stretch.txt to change the method to shulze and
calculated the results, and again with the smith method. The winner in
the 3 methods is the same. I pasted the summary of these 3 methods
(shulze and smith provide a ranked list) in stretch_results.txt

If it can be done, it can be done with R…

I found the algstat R package:
which includes a “condorcet” function but I couldn’t make it work with the data.
I’m not sure how the data needs to be shaped. I’m sure that this can be done in R and the problem is me, in this case. Comments are welcome, and I’ll try to ask to a friend whose R skills are better than mine!

And another SaaS

I found and its source code. It would be interesting to deploy a local instance to drive future surveys, but for this time I didn’t want to fight with PHP in order to use only the “solver” part, nor install another SaaS in my home server just to find that I need some other dependency or whatever.
I’ll keep an eye on this, though, because it looks like a modern and active project.

Finally, devotee

Well and which software Debian uses for its elections? 
There is a git repository with devotee, you can clone it:
I found that although the tool is quite modular, it’s written specifically for the Debian case (votes received by mail, GPG signed, there is a quorum, and other particularities) and I was not sure if I could use it with my data. It is written in Perl and then I understood it worse than the Python from VoteEngine.
Maybe I’ll return to it, though, when I have more time, to try to put our data in the shape of a typicall tally.txt file and then see if the module solving the condorcet winner can work for me.
That’s all, folks! (for now…)


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New phone: Samsung Galaxy S III phone with Replicant

Thanks to the Bazaar effort of The Guardian Project, I’ve been offered a phone to test F-Droid and other free software apps for Android. I accepted the offer, and chose a Samsung Galaxy S III phone with Replicant 4.2.2,  installed and shipped by Tehnoetic.
I’m using it now as my main phone, and since it uses Android 4.x I’m able to install more modern apps than in my old Galaxy Ace (which remains usable with CyanongenMod 7.2 (Android 2.3.7)).
My plans with this new phone are:
  • Test Replicant and free software for Android on it
  • Get more involved in translations of Android apps
  • Get more involved in the F-Droid community
  • Keep an eye on Android tools in Debian
  • Post here in my blog articles about what I’ve been doing (and of course report issues and contributions upstream)

Migration to the new phone

I’ve migrated my stuff from the old phone to this one. Some notes:
  • Wrote down my list of apps
  • Used Slight Backup for contacts, call logs and messages
  • Periodical has its own backup tool
  • Whatsapp has its own backup tool
  • Exported settings in K-9 Mail
  • Exported Kontalk GPG key
  • Simply Do has its own backup tool
  • I don’t use calendars in the phone so I didn’t migrate any events (I have Offline Calendar to ad temporary notes/reminders, but that’s all)
I moved the SIM card and the SD Card to the new phone and tried the restore tool for each app.
I found out that several apps could not find the backups because they were not looking at the SD Card for the files (seems that they were using internal memory locations). So for recovering my backups, I made new backups in the new phone with the empty apps, then found out where those backups were created (in the internal memory, /storage/emulated/0), and then copied the authentic backup files there (overwriting teh dummy ones), and then used the app to restore the backup.
For some apps (K-9) I had to set again the folder for attachments, since the SD was not anymore in /media/sdcard, now it was in /storage/sdcard1.
Apart from that, everything went well.
I was a bit upset that I could not migrate Kontalk conversations (there is no backup/export tool, and I am not sure where are the files/database stored).
I noticed that although Kontalk is ‘registered’ using the phone number, and it uses the phone numbers for contacts, it kept working in the old phone (Whatsapp detects when you change to a new phone and kind of ‘deactivates’ itself in the old one, but that’s not the case for Kontalk: it works as any XMPP client (if it’s open, it can send/receive messages)).

Replicant 4.2 in a Galaxy S III (i9300)

Here I write some particularities that I found in the phone, mostly bugs or problems. But don’t get me wrong: overall I’m very happy with it!
I experienced a problem when using the phone to make/receive calls, it seemed that the proximity sensor was not working well. I thought it was a Replicant issue, but later I realized that there was a Tehnoetic sticker that was partially covering the sensor. I removed the sticker and everything worked well.
The phone came with F-Droid installed which is nice. I upgraded to the latest alpha and I’m testing the alpha releases since then 🙂
I found that I cannot choose “where” to install apps nor move apps from internal memory to the SD Card: there is no such option in Settings > Apps > Manage Apps (there is such setting in my CyanogenMod 7.2 phone, though). Since my phone is rooted and I have full access to both internal memory and SDCard, and I have plenty of room in the internal memory, I didn’t bother too much. I’m not sure if this is a bug, a feature, something related to Android 4 or specific to Replicant, o specific to this phone model. Pending to investigate, but low priority.
Replicant is almost fully translated to Spanish, yay!. I only found one untranslated string: You go to Settings > Wireless > Cell Broadcasts, and in the settings page, “Cell Broadcasts” is untranslated (but the settings themselves are). I still need to find where/how to send a patch for this (not sure if it comes from Android, CyanogenMod, or it’s something specific for Replicant. Also, being Android 4.x, I’m not sure about the usefulness of reporting such a minimal and unimportant patch upstream…).
When I turn on the phone, I get the Samsung S III splash screen, later the Replicant Splash screen, later the numeric pad to unlock the SIM card. After that, I see the screen lock but when I press the lock to enter the pattern, the screen turns off and on, screen lock appearing again (and I have to press the lock again to enter the pattern). If after unlocking the SIM card I wait a bit, I see the screen lock and again black screen and screen lock, so it’s not my tap causing it. Doing like this (waiting a bit for the phone to show the screen lock for 2nd time) is less annoying, but I wonder why this happen and I cannot unlock the screen directly in the first attempt. This is also pending for research, but low priority.
When the phone boots, I find the splash screens too bright (the “Samsung Galaxy S III” splash, and later the red Replicant one). I don’t know if I can change that. I know that other people have created different ‘Replicant’ splash screens, so maybe I can create one almost black and only the “Replicant” text in very dark grey. But this is obviously a workaround, not a fix. OTOH, it’s an annoying thing just some seconds: when the unlock screen is shown, the phone shows the brightness level that I’ve set (usually, the lowest one).
From time to time, I suffer soft reboots:
  1. the phone hangs for 2-3 seconds
  2. then the red “Replicant” splash screen is shown (the phone is not totally rebooted, because I don’t see the “Samsung Galaxy S III” splash screen and and the SIM card unlock PIN is not requested)
  3. after unlocking the screen, I see a normal ‘desktop’ (similar to what I see after rebooting the phone: no apps running, and no “last used apps” history. Time and date are ok, wireless or 3G starts correctly etc).
I’ve tried to track the causes of these soft reboots, but I couldn’t find anything specific. They are not frequent at all, and when I decide to launch CatLog to try to catch any hint, the phone works perfectly for hours or days :s
Replicant is currently using the fallback Android EGL implementation, which is incomplete. The missing features of this implementation cause multiple issues, which are described in #705. These are the ones that I experience (or I miss):
  • The phone comes with a video editor preinstalled: Movie Studio. I got excited about it, because I was jealous of the small built-in video editor that comes with Whatsapp, but I became sad because Movie Studio does not work 😦
  • The camera does not record video.
  • When I long-press the central button of my phone to see the list of recent apps, I don’t see their thumbnails (only the name, and their icons). This is quite unimportant for me, names and icons are enough.
  • The stock Gallery app does not work well: I cannot see thumbnails of the albums. This is not very important, because I installed Gallery.
  • I cannot use Firefox, Orfox and other derivative web browsers (I usually use the stock browser, and I installed Lightning too).
  • I cannot use barcode or QR scanners.
  • My son cannot play Shattered Pixel Dungeon (nor Pixel Dungeon). Fortunately he uses now my old Android 2.x devide for that.
I installed the non-free firmware to be able to use Wifi and tethering, GPS and some other things. This does not fix the graphics problems listed above.

New apps, and translations

Note: when I write about Android apps, I usually link to their pages in the F-Droid website. Here I talk about translations (contributions), so I’ll link to their original website or souce code repos. But you can find all those apps in F-Droid too.
As I told before, I installed another gallery app called Gallery and submitted an update to it Spanish translation.
I installed Red Moon to reduce (even more) the screen brightness. At night it’s a relieve. Maybe the brightness of the splash screen is not so much, and I perceive them annoying because I got accostumed to Red Moon! I contributed some strings to the Spanish translation.
I liked RadioDroid very much, and I translated the app to Spanish.
I translated Wifi Privacy Police, and I used for some time, but I became tired that it keeps asking all the time that I walk across my workplace (multiple buildings within the same Wifi network, but quite a lot access points…).
I keep on contributing to K-9 Mail to make it 100% translated to Spanish. Now with a modern Android I can move to the development branch (5.1xx releases), and just did it.
I submitted a Spanish translation to DAVDroid, although I’m not using it yet (I have to see if my University’s Owncloud instance allows to sync contacts and calendar).
I updated the Spanish translation of PassAndroid, although I don’t use it yet (I tend to print my train/airplane tickets…). I keep it installed in my phone, just in case.

Other apps that I use

I’m testing OwnCloudNextCloud and NexCloud Beta clients with my University’s Owncloud and with Davros in my Sandstorm box (with Davros, I could only make it work installing an old version of Owncloud/Nexcloud client, and then upgrading. See #65).
I didn’t get accostumed to Conversations. Not sure why, though. Maybe it’s just that I got accostumed to Xabber-Classic, so I upgraded to Xabber. It works like a charm, dark theme, and I can close it easily when I don’t want to chat.
I got in love with KDE Connect. Later I realized that I could have been using it in my Android 2.x phone since long…
Sometimes I have fun activating Voice Notification and entering the redeslibres XMPP multi user chat at, for example while I’m cooking in the kitchen (in that room people talk in Spanish and make many wordplays, mixing Spanish and English, and use tech slang, etc so it’s really fun to hear the Spanish-TTS deal with the conversation there!).

More to come

As I told at the beginning of this long post, my plan is to keep on tinkering with the phone, testing and translating apps, and becoming more involved. So expect some more posts about Android in this blog, in the future.
For now, some big things in my TODO:
  • Watching again some videos: DebConf16 videos about Android tools in Debian, FOSDEM talks about Replicant, and some other talks about free software in Android.
  • I track the #fdroid and #fdroid-dev channels in IRC, but I’m not very talkative there. I guess I could do more user support.
  • Participate more in the F-Droid (client, server, data) issue trackers (I send reports when the alpha version crashes, and comment on few issues, but I don’t triage the issue tracker to find issues that I could reproduce or help to diagnose or contribute to fix).
  • Long time ago I learned to setup an Android development environment and build apps. I would like to re-learn and maybe do some small fixes in unmaintained or near unmaintained apps, and maybe adopt them or join their development teams (I’m thinking, for example, in Puma, an Android client for network, the MediaGoblin app, or the DebianDroid app). And ship new versions of unmaintained apss, including Spanish translations.
We’ll see how far I can go!


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