Posts Tagged ‘rms’

Richard stallman (father of free software) interview – Stallman: Google+ and Facebook mistreat their users

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Reading Time: < 1minute


The father of free software, mr. Richard Stallman is notorious for his critical mind and software freedom activism quite well.

While checking some of his speaches and interviews, I came across another interesting, one here RMS critices and exposes the bad and evilness of fb and Google+.

Interview with Richard Stallman – Stallman: Facebook and Google+ Mistreat Their Users


People unaware of computer networks, programming, Unix and the deep computing so to say definitely didn't understand the profoundness of upcoming problems of so called "social networks". The Facebook and Google+ Mistreat Their Users video is also to be found in youtube under name Richard Stallman: Facebook IS Mass Surveillance .

Its a pity Stallman is mostly popular only among specific users like me which are already 'dubbed' into free software and have a belief that computer software should be free. Hopefully as time passes more and more people will be awakened to listen to his speeches and realize the severeness of problems, we face nowdays by simply accepting almost anything new without much privacy concerns …
If you're a free software enthusiast like me, please take the time to share the video and whistle-blow about the problem to as many non-tech pc users as possible 🙂

GNU and Free Software founder Richard Stallman tries to peacefully protest European software Patents – Is european Union really democratic?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Reading Time: 2minutes


Richard Stallman the main person thanks to whom the GNU (GNU is not UNIX) organization, free software as we know it and GNU / Linux free operating system exists has been notable for being a pain in the ass for politicians. RMS has dedicated his life for the only goal to propagate his ideas that all computer software should be free as in freedom. He is known to have engaged in various petitions and peaceful protest events as well doing his best to raise awareness in people that our Freedoms as we know it are large endangered due to a daily introduced laws throughout the world aiming to limit us and take away our constitutional (democratic) freedoms.

In his lectures RMS at many times puts his thoughts on the lack of real democratic decision taking in the European Union.

A good example on how un-democratic the EU is a Software Patent session being held in Brussels just a a year ago. The Software patent session is officially said to be opened, (so anyone from the public) can participate. What is really weird about the whole thing is that an European institution is trying to campaign a software patents to be legislated in Australia. Hmm isn't that weird, wasn't the European Union to be mainly engaged in minding for the European member countries and european economy or software situation. Why on earth they try to in-force software patents in Australia if Australia has nothing to do with the EU. Didn't the EU has enough problems already caused by patenting … The patent session held was completely "bribed" as Stallman points out, the people attending was "computer specialists" and patent experts who were all only  in favor of software patents and there was no practical representative of any tech-expert who was not in favour of software patents. Stallman tried to peacefully protest the unwalful meeting by just holding a big signature saying  "NO TO SOFTWARE PATENTS". He entered the hall and tried to stay in the back of the room with the NO SOFTWARE PATENTS slogan without even saying a word. A short after a policeman come and took him away for no apparent reason, obviously showing that peaceful protesting to any of what the EU is lobbying about is no longer possible. Now how this is a democracy and how comes the European Union is proclaiming being democratic if even a peaceful protesting of someone or bunch of people opposing an idea, agenda or meeting can't take place?


GNU founder tries to peacefully protest in European Patent session, being pushed away by police

Richard Stallman explaining Why IPads and Cell Phones are bad for freedom

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Reading Time: 3minutes

It is a public secret that Mobile Phones which does us very good and generally makes our daily lifes way easier are also a big enemy to our natural ihnibited freedom. Life has become such that it is almost inevitable to do any business or do a daily simple jobs without using Mobile Phone. There is almost none practically today that has wilfully rejected to use the mobile phone on any basis, almost anyone except some strangers like Richard Stallman and probably few others security freaks.

I've been shocked to find out the Father of Free Software (Richard Mathew Stallman), well known in the hacker dome as RMS does not own and didn't use any mobiles. The concerns he pointed are very much logical and rightful. Owning a mobile is a great security hole in personal privacy (mobile phones can be easily sniffed by Mobile Operators) as well as anyone wearing a mobile can be tracked up to 5 to 2 meters to the exact location where he is based on the mobile phone cells to which the mobile is connected.

Many people are not aware actually of the severeness of the issue of constant tracking of people everywhere through this call "goodies". Many mobile operators are already running a software which is building place behaviour patterns of every user of their mobile network. In other words, as we're used to bring and use the mobile everywhere in automated program is creating a map for each number assigned in some of the mobile operators. The gathered data about our location going habits can then be easily used as a indicator for predicting our future behaviour, bying habits (how many times we go to super-market), how many times we go to cinema, what kind of interests we hold etc. etc.
This combined with Google, account monitoring could possibly create a system similar to the old movies Big Brother, where all people goods and even attitudes or desires is monitored, influenced and controlled ….

The severeness of the future implications of this constant "personal surveillance and tracking device" as Stallman use to call it is very dangerous for our freedoms.

I tried to live without a mobile phone, just like Stallman for about months, and to tell you the truth the world around seems completely different when you decide not to use 'em. The time I lived wihtout a mobile, clearly show me we have come to the point we cannot any more live without GSM. We fall the trap of dependanding the little "talk box" communication for absolutely everything, obviously sacrificing privacy and freedom for convenience.
Mobiles are just one side of the coin, as the non-free software which is ruling the software market and the use of computers puts another treat and takes away many foundamential freedoms we used to have in the less technological world.

Apple as a vendor of software and hardware also denies and breaks our freedom very badly, as the company tracks everyone who owns anything created by apple connected to the internet. Besides that non-free software producers, could change the user software with a press of a button giving them the opportunity to decide what is good and bad for us, leaving us at a state of a helpless dependable users.

The topic of technological little-by-little enslavement, we're going through nowdays and the denying freedoms, we experience while being convinced by companies that we became more free by each next mambo-jambo gadget or by owning the latest smart-phone is very huge and complex but unfortunately underseen in society. I don't understand why, is it due to the low technical skills of mass users is it due to a "not-care what will happen in future" attitude, but obviously people openly discussing or protesting the technologization taking away our freedom is almost zero ….

Here is the video I found in youtube in which Stallman is asked few, questions on Ipads (IBADS) and Mobile Phone use. I believe his short explanation synthesizes the problem quite well ;;;;

I just wonder after you check the video, Would you still accept an Ipad as a birthday gift ? 🙂
Do you still think cell-phones are "good" freedom safe and reliable ?

Upgrading Skype 2.0 to Skype 2.2 beta on Debian GNU / Linux – Skype Mic hell

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Reading Time: 6minutes

Making Skype work with Alsa on Debian GNU / Linux

Though, I'm GNU / Linux user for many years now. I have to say, everything is not so perfect as many people present it.
Configuring even simple things related to multimedia on Linux is often a complete nightmare.
An example, today I've decided to upgrade my 32 bit Skype version 2.0 beta for Linux to 64 bit Skype 2.2 beta .
The reason I was motivated to upgrade skype was basicly 2.

a) My Skype run through 32 bit binary emulation with /usr/bin/linux32

b) I had issues with my skype if someone give me a Skype Call, while I have a flash video or some other stream in Browser (let's say Youtube).
Actually being unable to receive a skype call or initiate one while I have some kind of music running in the background or just some kind of Youtube video paused was really annoying. Hence until now, everytime I wanted to speak over skype I had to close all Browser windows or tabs that are using my sound card and then restart my Skype program ….

Just imagine how ridiculous is that especially for a modern Multimedia supporting OS as Linux is. Of course the problems, I've experienced wasn't directly a problem of Linux. The problems are caused by the fact I have to use the not well working proprietary software version of Skype on my Debian GNU / Linux.
I would love to actually boycott Skype as RMS recommends, but unfortunately until now I can't, since many of my friends as well as employers use Skype to connect with me on daily basis.
So in a way I had to migrate to newer version of skype in order to make my Linux experience a bit more desktop like …

Back to the my skype 2.0 to 2.2. beta upgrade story, the overall Skype upgrade procedure was easy and went smootlhy, setting correct capturing later on however was a crazy task ….
Here is the step by step to follow to make my upgraded skype and internal notebook mic play nice together:

1. Download 64 bit Skype for Debian from

For the sake of preservation in case it disappears in future, I've made a mirror of skype for debian you can download here
My upgrade example below uses directly the 64 bit Skype 2.2beta binary mirror:

Here are the cmds once can issue if he has to upgrade to 2.2beta straight using my mirrored skype:

debian:~# wget

2. Remove the old version of skype

In my case I have made my previous skype installation using .tar.bz2 archive and not a debian package, however for some testing I also had a version of skype 2.0beta installed as a deb so for the sake of clarity I removed the existing skype deb install:

debian:~# dpkg -r skype

3. Install skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb downloaded deb

debian:~# dpkg -i skype-debian_2.2.0.35-1_amd64.deb

After installing skype, I installed pavucontrol A volume control for the PulseAudio sound server

4. Install pavucontrol

debian:~# apt-get install pavucontrol

PavUcontrol PulseAudio mixer screenshot

Pavucontrol has plenty of sound configurations and enables the user to change many additional settings which cannot be tuned in alsamixer

pavucontrol was necessery to play with until I managed to make my microphone able to record.

5. Build and install latest Debian (Testing) distribution alsa driver

debian:~# aptitude install module-assistant
debian:~# m-a prepare
debian:~# aptitude -t testing install alsa-source
debian:~# m-a build alsa
debian:~# m-a install alsa
debian:~# rmmod snd_hda_intel snd_pcm snd_timer snd soundcore snd_page_alloc
debian:~# modprobe snd_hda_intel
debian:~# echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' >> /etc/modprobe.d/alsa-base.conf

In my case removing the sound drivers and loading them once again did not worked, so I had to reboot my system before the new compiled alsa sound modules gets loaded …
The last line echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … was necessery for my Thinkpard r61 Intel audio to work out. For some clarity my exact sb model is:

debian:~$ lspci |grep -i audio
00:1b.0 Audio device: Intel Corporation 82801H (ICH8 Family) HD Audio Controller (rev 03)

For other notebooks with different sound drivers echo 'options snd-hda-intel model=auto' … should be omitted.

6. Tune microphone and sound settings in alsamixer

debian:~$ alsamixer

Alsamixer Select Soundcard Debian Linux Screenshot
Right after launching alsamixer I had to press F6: Select Sound Card and choose my sound card (0 HDA Intel).

Following my choice I unmuted all the microphones and enabled Microphone Boost as well as did some adjustments to the MIC volume level.

Alsamixer My Intel SoundCard Debian Linux

Setting proper MIC Volume levels is absolutely necessery, otherwise there is a constant noise getting out of the speakers …

7. Use aumix to set some other sound settings

For some unclear reasons, besides alsamixer , I often had to fix stuff in aumix . Honestly I don't understand where exactly aumix fits in the picture with Alsa and my loaded alsa sound blaster module?? If someone can explain I'll be thankful.

Launch aumix to further adjust some sound settings …

debian:~$ aumix

Aumix Debian GNU Linux Squeeze Screenshot

In above screenshot you see, my current aumix settings which works okay with mic and audio output.

9. Test Microphone the mic is capturing sounds correctly

Set ~/.asoundrc configuration for Skype

Edit ~/.asoundrc and put in:

pcm.pulse {
type pulse
ctl.pulse {
type pulse
pcm.!default {
type pulse
ctl.!default {
type pulse
pcm.card0 {
type hw
card 0
ctl.card0 {
type hw
card 0
pcm.dsp0 { type plug slave.pcm "hw:0,0" }
pcm.dmixout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
} {
type asym
playback.pcm "skypeout"
capture.pcm "skypein"
pcm.skypein {
# Convert from 8-bit unsigned mono (default format set by aoss when
# /dev/dsp is opened) to 16-bit signed stereo (expected by dsnoop)
# We cannot just use a "plug" plugin because although the open will
# succeed, the buffer sizes will be wrong and we will hear no sound at
# all.
type route
slave {
pcm "skypedsnoop"
format S16_LE
ttable {
0 {0 0.5}
1 {0 0.5}
pcm.skypeout {
# Just pass this on to the system dmix
type plug
slave {
pcm "dmix"
pcm.skypedsnoop {
type dsnoop
ipc_key 1133
slave {
# "Magic" buffer values to get skype audio to work
# If these are not set, opening /dev/dsp succeeds but no sound
# will be heard. According to the ALSA developers this is due
# to skype abusing the OSS API.
pcm "hw:0,0"
period_size 256
periods 16
buffer_size 16384
bindings {
0 0
I'm not 100% percent if putting those .asoundrc configurations are necessery. I've seen them on archlinux's wiki as a perscribed fix to multiple issues with Skype sound in / out.

Onwardds, for the sake of test if my sound settings set in pavucontrol enables the internal mic to capture sound I used two programs:

1. gnome-sound-recorder
2. arecord

gnome-sound-recorder GNU / Linux Screenshot

gnome-sound-recorder is probably used by most GNOME users, though I'm sure Linux noviced did not play with it yet.

arecord is just a simple console based app to capture sound from the microphone. To test if the microphone works I captured a chunk of sounds with cmd:

debian:~$ arecord cow.wav
Recording WAVE 'cow.wav' : Unsigned 8 bit, Rate 8000 Hz, Mono

Later on I played the file with aplay (part of alsa-utils package in Debian), to check if I'll hear if mic succesfully captured my voice, e.g.:

debian:~$ play cow.wav
File Size: 22.0k Bit Rate: 64.1k
Encoding: Unsigned PCM
Channels: 1 @ 8-bit
Samplerate: 8000Hz
Replaygain: off
Duration: 00:00:02.75
In:100% 00:00:02.75 [00:00:00.00] Out:22.0k [-=====|=====-] Clip:0

By the way, the aplay ASCII text equailizer is really awesome 😉 aplay is also capable of playing (Ogg Vorbis .ogg) free sound format.

Further on, I launched the new installed version of skype and tested Skype Calls (Mic capturing), with Skype Echo / Sound Test Service
I'll be glad to hear if this small article, helped anybody to fix any skype Linux related issues ?. I would be happy to hear also from people who had similar issues with a different fixes for skype on Linux.
Its also interesting to hear from Ubuntu and other distributions users if following this tutorial had somehow helped in resolving issues with Skype mic.