open-source

libsigrokdecode 0.1.1 released, more protocol decoders supported

sigrok logo

Just a quick announce: We released libsigrokdecode 0.1.1 today, a new version of one of the shared libraries part of the open-source sigrok project (for signal acquisition/analysis of various test&measurement gear, like logic analyzers, scopes, multimeters, etc). I will update the Debian package soonish.

As you probably know, in addition to the infrastructure for protocol decoding, this library also ships with a bunch of protocol decoders written in Python. Currently we support 29 different ones (in various states of "completeness", improvements are ongoing).

This release adds support for the following new protocol decoders:
CAN probing

Please check the announce on the sigrok blog and/or the NEWS file for the full list of changes and improvements.

Happy hacking and decoding!

Teeworlds - a fun, fast-paced, open-source, online multiplayer shooter

Teeworlds CTF screenshot

I have no idea how such a great open-source game as Teeworlds has been able to exist without me hearing about it until recently.

Teeworlds is a fast-paced realtime multiplayer shooter. You control a small "Tee" which can hold various weapons (hammer, gun, shotgun, laser-rifle, rocket launcher, ninja-sword) while running and jumping around frantically on the map, trying to frag as many other Tees as you can before you're killed by some other guy. Easy, eh?

Teeworlds server list screenshot

There's are many game servers to choose from, as well as various game modes (death match, team death match, capfure the flag and some unofficial "mods"). You can join servers on the Internet, or create your own server, be it a public one or a LAN server.

Installation

Usually I would suggest apt-get install teeworlds, but for now the packages in unstable are an older 0.4.x version, whereas upstream released a much-improved 0.5.1 version. I have already filed a bug and I'm optimistic there'll be a new version in unstable soon.

In the mean-time however, you can manually build the game from source via:

 $ apt-get install zlib-dev libsdl1.2-dev
   (maybe also libgl, libglu, and python, if not already installed)
 $ wget 'http://teeworlds.com/trac/bam/browser/releases/bam-0.2.0.zip?format=raw' -O bam-0.2.0.zip
 $ wget http://teeworlds.com/files/teeworlds-0.5.1-src.zip
 $ unzip bam-0.2.0.zip
 $ unzip teeworlds-0.5.1-src.zip
 $ cd bam-0.2.0
 $ ./make_unix.sh
 $ cd ../teeworlds-0.5.1-src
 $ ../bam-0.2.0/src/bam release

Teeworlds stats screenshot

Running the game

 $ ./teeworlds

You'll obviously need a working OpenGL/DRI setup (check if "glxinfo | grep direct" says "Yes"), otherwise the game will be way too slow. In case you experience graphics glitches and distortions, first exit the game, then:

 $ vi ~/.teeworlds/settings.cfg

Change the "gfx_noclip 0" option there to "gfx_noclip 1" and restart the game.

Teeworlds DM screenshot

Firewalls

If you use a local firewall as I do, you need to open at least ports 8300-8303 (UDP), even better 8300-8310 for more choice in game servers:

 $ iptables -A OUTPUT -m state --state NEW -p udp --dport 8300:8310 -j ACCEPT

Further resources

Have fun!

Google Tech Talks: coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS): The Free/Open-Source x86 Firmware

coreboot Google Tech Talk 2

Here's a nice opportunity for everyone to learn more about coreboot, a Free Software / Open Source firmware/BIOS for x86 PCs.

Ron Minnich, founder of the LinuxBIOS (now called coreboot) project, Peter Stuge of Stuge Konsult, and Stefan Reinauer of coresystems GmbH have given a presentation for the Google Tech Talks series recently. The topic was (of course) coreboot, its history, goals, features and technical details, surrounding tools and libraries such as flashrom and libpayload, as well as an automated test system for running a hardware test-suite upon every checkin in the coreboot repository.

coreboot Google Tech Talk 1

A video of the talk, aptly named coreboot (aka LinuxBIOS): The Free/Open-Source x86 Firmware (134 MB), is available from Youtube, get it for instance via:

  $ apt-get install youtube-dl
  $ youtube-dl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X72LgcMpM9k

The talk includes various demos of coreboot and various payloads you can use with coreboot. One nice example is the TINT payload, a Tetris-like game for Linux (apt-get install tint for the curious), which has been reworked to be usable as a coreboot payload.

coreboot Google Tech Talk 3

So, yes, you can now put Tetris in your BIOS ROM chip and play it from there (no hard drive required).

Other demos included some cluster nodes with coreboot, and a "normal" x86 desktop board booting coreboot + Linux in a very few seconds (much room left for optimizing there though, if you really want to get into fast booting).

Check out the full talk for more infos, and if you're willing to give it a try (see the list of currently supported boards), contact us on the mailing list or join the #coreboot IRC channel on Freenode.

Configure Firefox/Iceweasel 3 to be more secure / usable / bearable

Today seems to be Firefox/Iceweasel 3 Bashing Day on Planet Debian, so let me join the fun :)

I agree with most other people that the default Firefox/Iceweasel 3 config is not ideal, so here's what I did to fix it. Some of these items improve performance, some remove annoyances, some remove privacy issues, some remove security issues. Not everything here may be desirable for people other than me.

General

  • Disable the bookmarks toolbar via "View / Toolbars / Bookmarks Toolbar", nobody needs that and we save some screen space. Remove all pre-defined bookmarks while we're at it.
  • Select "View / Toolbars / Customize".
    • Add the "New Tab" button/icon right after the "Home" button. This is probably the most-used button (for me at least) and it's not available per default...
    • Click "Use Small Icons", there's no reason to waste screen space.
    • Remove the Google search bar (useless).
    • Now move all icons and the URL bar into the menu bar (I'm not kidding). After that you can disable the nagivation toolbar via "View / Toolbars / Navigation Toolbar" and save even more screen space.

Preferences

Select "Edit / Preferences".

Main:

  • Select "When Iceweasel starts: Show a blank page".
  • Set "Home Page" to whatever you see fit.

Tabs:

  • Enable "Always show the tab bar".

Content:

  • At the right-hand side of "Enable JavaScript" click "Advanced" and uncheck all checkboxes. JavaScript stuff shouldn't need to do any of those operations.
  • Uncheck "Enable Java". Nobody needs this crap and it's a huge security risk.

Privacy:

  • Disable "Keep my history for xyz days" completely. Huge privacy risks.
  • Disable "Remember what I enter in forms and the search bar". Huge security and privacy risks, almost no gain.
  • Disable "Remember what I've downloaded". Huge privacy risks.
  • Uncheck "Accept third-party cookies".
  • Choose "Keep until: I close Iceweasel".
  • Click "Show Cookies" and remove all of them.
  • Enable "Always clear my private data when I close Iceweasel". Click "Settings" and check all items. You want to purge everything when closing Iceweasel.

Security:

  • On the right-hand side of "Warn me when sites try to install add-ons" click "Exceptions" and remove all exceptions.
  • Disable "Tell me if the site I'm visiting is a suspected attack site". Useless crap, possibly a privacy issue.
  • Disable "Tell me if the site I'm visiting is a suspected forgery". Useless crap, possibly a privacy issue.
  • Disable "Remember passwords for sites". This is a huge security risk, never ever enable it!

Advanced:

  • "General" tab:

    • Enable "Warn me when web sites try to redirect or reload the page".
    • Disable "Check my spelling as I type". Useless, annoying crap, which probably even impacts performance.
  • "Update" tab:

    • Disable "Automatically check for updates to: Installed Add-ons".
    • Disable "Automatically check for updates to: Search Engines".
    • Select "When updates to Iceweasel are found: Ask me what I want to do".
    • about:config

      Firefox/Iceweasel 3 screenshot

      Open a new tab, enter "about:config" as URL and hit ENTER. Click the annoying "I'll be careful, I promise!" button. Uncheck "Show this warning next time" while we're at it.

      • Set browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped = true to disable the new, annoying "AwesomeBar" URL bar feature (which is also a huge privacy risk).
      • Browser tabs are way too huge for my taste (thus only very few fit on the screen). Fix it with browser.tabs.tabMinWidth = 60 and browser.tabs.tabMaxWidth = 60 (needs a browser restart). You can even use less than 60 if you don't need any text and an icon per tab is enough for you.
      • Disable the annoying, flashing auto-search stuff when you select "Tools / Add-ons / Get Add-ons": Set extentions.getAddons.showPane = false.
      • Set bidi.support = 0. You'll probably never need it, so reduce the number of potential bugs and security issues by disabling it.
      • Self-signed certificate handling is annoying, so fix it with: browser.ssl_override_behavior = 2 and browser.xul.error_pages.expert_bad_cert = true (thanks Pierre Habouzit).
      • Set browser.tabs.closeButtons = 3 in order to prevent accidental closing of tabs (no more Close buttons on each tab, only one global Close button on the right). Yes, CTRL+Shift+T helps in case it still happens.
      • Set network.prefetch-next = false to prevent random prefetching of webpages which means wasting CPU cycles and bandwidth, as well as subtle privacy and security issues.

      Plugins

      None. Don't even think about installing crap like the closed-source Flash player if stability or security are important to you. If you absolutely must watch YouTube videos, I recommend youtube-dl.

      Extensions

      Use as few as possible. Every extention may have security problems or bugs, and can negatively affect performance etc.

      Pretty much the only one I use is NoScript to selectively enable JavaScript for some trusted websites (and disable it for all other sites).

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