Moving to Xubuntu 16.04 for my personal items

Well my Home Theater PC is just about finished… I just installed samba, enabled openSSH via my SSH key, along with my other goodies. Just doing the final tweaks to smooth out video playback via xorg.conf hopefully all the settings will carry over perfectly as this the same exact GPU and such.
But my Nvidia driver is 361 instead of 358 which I was using when on 14.04.
I am just hoping I don’t have to recompile a kernel just for the “Intel Core 2 or Newer” CPU’s along with modifying the system timer from 250Hz to at least 300Hz to have a number more evenly divisible into 30FPS to equal US NTSC video vs European PAL at 25FPS, if that is the case I will bump it to a 1000Hz timer for faster responsiveness as it’s a desktop, as well as being divisible into 30 and 25 in case I take it over seas. If I have to recompile for the Home Theater I am merely going to recompile from the Ubuntu sources rather than directly from My laptop will be getting a custom kernel from though as it doesn’t have the proprietary GPU for smoother video playback

I opted for fresh reinstalls for my laptop and HTPC as I ran into issues with the upgrade and then merely reinstalled all my applications and such through my scripts, as I always keep my /home on a separate partition just in case I have to reinstall things.

I am working on upgrading my servers from 14.04LTS to 16.04LTS as well by Q2 of 2017 after lots of testing. Some servers will probably be rebuilt from scratch. However I am in no rush as we all have until 2019 for the end of life of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS to end.

Internet Naming System to be Privatized

This article was originally published on Being Libertarian reposted here with permission

The Internet… It’s amazing, isn’t it? How one small innovation from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which led to the Internet Protocol (IP) system we use today, was taken by the private sector and thrown in to warp drive, and brought us into a whole new cyber world. There is no denying that the Internet today as we know it, is almost entirely a product of private sector innovation, as they built about 99% on top of the underlying IP model.

So, how exactly does the Internet naming system work? When you enter in a browser, you get the Facebook homepage. In order for that to happen, the address has to be translated into a format that’s understood by the computers around the world which delivered our home page to you. This format is known as an IP address, and for, one of these addresses is This is essential for how the Internet operates, and also why one US agency or another has been in charge of the Internet naming system pretty much since its founding, with the role currently falling to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which is part of the Department of Commerce.

It is amazing how most of the Internet today is controlled by standards bodies such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), XMPP Standards Foundation (XSF), and others which are made up of engineers and companies all voluntarily working together to set forth new industry standards so everything is compatible with one another. Slowly, we have been seeing since the creation of the Internet – aside from some bonehead moves by the FCC – that the government is releasing control of the Internet to the private sector. Now the government has finally decided it is time for the Internet naming system to be free from all direct US government control, with all of the control being delegated to a non-profit entity known as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), based in California. The deal was finalized on August 16th by the NTIA. making its final steps to basically choose not to renew it’s contract with ICANN, which it has had since 1998 (the contract between the US government and ICANN was a zero-cost one).

This new era is set to officially begin on October 1st. The most important thing is the handover will not affect the estimated 3.5 billion Internet users. This is because the US role was mostly administrative, rather than hands on, leaving ICANN to do all the actual day-to-day work on behalf of the government. This has not come as a surprise to anyone, as the NTIA voluntarily triggered this course of events back in March of 2014. ICANN has since set up their own various bodies and committees to finalize the transition plan following 33,000 emails and 600 meetings.

This has become a very important post due to Edward Snowden’s revelation of the scope of the US government’s invasion of privacy; which notes concerns with the US government having control over key Internet infrastructures and calls for the Internet to be more globalized for the sake of freedom on the Internet. China and Russia have both called for the system to be overseen by an even bigger government body that might have been worse for us all, the United Nations International Telecommunications Union, which would not be afraid to curb the rights of some to acquiesce to the desires of a few countries with oppressive regimes; such as when they allowed Saudi Arabia, a country with many human rights violations, to head the UN Human Rights Panel.

ICANN being selected is a much better outcome for us all, as private organizations have consistently shown themselves to be more nimble and flexible than a government body with bureaucrats. Once the handover is completed, ICANN, a “multi-stakeholder” non-profit organization whose roster of members includes the likes of tech giant companies and individuals, governments, and other such people or organizations with an interest in controlling the Internet naming system, will take over the reins. The US government itself has even performed a study showing the chances of ICANN being steered by a government with its own agenda to be “extremely remote”.

In conclusion, the beginning of October is when the new era of more freedom on the Internet will be here. We can rest easier knowing the Internet naming system is out of the hands of a single government, or even worse, being at the hands of the highly politicized and polarized United Nations, but rather in the hands of the private sector.

Perspectives: DNC Email Leak

This article was originally published on Being Libertarian reposted here with permission

Being Libertarian Perspectives will serve as a weekly, multi-perspective opinion and analysis piece by members of Being Libertarian’s writing team. Every week the panel, comprised of randomly selected writers, will answer a question based on current events or libertarian philosophy. Managing Editor Dillon Eliassen will moderate and facilitate the discussion.

Perspectives 1

Dillon Eliassen: What do you think is the most shocking or profound tidbit found in the Democratic National Committee email leak?

Alon Ganon: Where to begin? I personally have about 90+ emails uncovered on my blog. We have DNC members shooting a horse for insurance, a lollipop reference as in Lollicon, racism, some homophobic comments, some anti-Semitism sprinkled in when mentioning Yom HaShoah to remember the Holocaust as they were annoyed. The collusion between the media… I could go on, there is just so much. So, what I would say is most shocking is size and scope of how bad it actually all is.

It was a horribly set up network. It appears to be all Windows based using Microsoft Exchange, which Snowden had revealed Microsoft sits on the exploits of and hands on a a silver platter to the NSA, leaving millions vulnerable. So Big Government in a way had a hand in this leak. If they had been using a proper UNIX/UNIX-like system like the majority of the IT world does for network connected services, this could have been avoided. It’s why all of our servers set up by me use GNU/Linux. For example, Windows uses password authentication most often. We use RSA keys that would take the NSA even a little time to crack our server key for administrative access unless they have physical access to my laptop or the encrypted backup. The funny part is both Clinton and the DNC used Microsoft Exchange and that was the Achilles heel in both attacks.

However, I found the most interesting thing about #DNCLeak was actually the after effect. See, they immediately point the finger at the Russians. I have asked dozens of friends of mine in the IT world across the political spectrum, and no one is convinced the Russian government is behind it. However, it’s interesting to note that Clinton is going after Russia saying they are working with Trump when we have confirmation she has received money in exchange for some deals with them. I would also like to note the FBI was so sure of themselves when Sony was breached that it was North Korea. However, it was revealed later may not have been the case at all as it appeared to be an inside job. So how do we not know if maybe it was a disgruntled intern or someone?

Dillon: I also think it was a disgruntled employee. And again, they are shooting themselves in the foot by blaming Russia, because it gives credence to the assertion that Russia went after Hillary’s private server.

Alon: Apparently the only “evidence” they have of it being Russia, to my knowledge, is an IP address which we should note the Supreme Court says is not enough for a warrant, and some metadata in a document in Russian. That’s hardly a smoking gun.

If anything this situation has revealed the IT department of the Democrats to be as incompetent as their politicians they support.

If I were to sum up this whole situation in one single word as an IT person, it would be “incompetence.”

Dillon: I enjoy the emails sent to Chuck Todd to get him to intercede on behalf of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Hillary Clinton and the DNC to get MSNBC Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski to stop criticizing them for being unfair to Bernie Sanders. I don’t believe Todd actually confirmed to someone in the Hillary campaign that he reached out to Brzezinski, so he might be in the clear as far as journalistic ethics go. And I don’t think it’s that terrible that DWS and her minions approached Todd to act on their behalf. What I wonder is why wouldn’t they ask to respond to Brzezinski’s allegations themselves by appearing on Morning Joe, or going on Meet The Press? Also, I think it’s foolish and risky on the campaign/DWS’s part, because what if Brzezinski got all bent out of shape and did a segment on Morning Joe saying she was approached by DWS and Hillary to not be so critical of them? Journalists hate being told what they can and can’t say, and they have a platform to antagonize their antagonizers. It would be like kicking a hornet’s nest!

Brandon Kirby: I was concerned about the philosophical implications to the way people think; the media’s involvement with the Democratic Party was alarming. I’ve seen stories on the media of situations I was close to that were false narratives that perpetuating biases rather than reality. I watched a 6 minute story that did this, then I multiplied that by 10 to imagine (I’ll admit my thought-experiment was imagination rich and empirical data poor) how much false narratives were being consumed by the viewer in an hour program, and then again by 365 and it’s a horrifying prospect to think of people walking around in society guided by these falsehoods. It’s similar to Plato’s cave where they’re seeing a shadowing blur of reality constructed by a bias. As horrifying as that was, it became more horrifying knowing the politicians are the ones creating the narrative. It’s nothing short of an Orwellian nightmare.

John Engle: I think the main revelation will be to wake progressives up to the bad faith in which the DNC operates. It’s a process that has been starting, and the hard core of the Sandinista movement seems to have seen it pretty clearly at the convention. The news media, film, TV, etc. all contribute to the notion that the Right operates in bad faith, more interested in the dollars from rich corporate interests than in actually serving the people. They portray the Democrats and the Left, on the other hand, as being good faith actors. When something goes wrong policy-wise, it is chocked up to unintended consequences rather than malice. What these emails reveal clearly is what anyone who follows politics understands: Both sides are entrenched interests that are largely interested in perpetuating themselves and their privileges. The act of public service is the secondary value at best.

Ni Ma: Charles Krauthammer suggested that Trump’s statement asking Russia to find Hillary’s emails may have been a trap, since Clinton claims those were all private. So there would be no implication to national security if they were all private. Yet Democrats complain about Trump jeopardizing national security. Not sure if there’s validity to it, but I found it to be an interesting hypothesis.

John: I’ve seen that as well. Even if he didn’t plan it that way, it will have that impact for him. Can’t be a better result from Trump’s perspective, because he will be able to turn it on them so easily. She freaks out over his one off the cuff remark and thinks we plebs should shut up about the hundreds of deleted emails.

Alon: I will say this, as an IT person. This has been the best comedy show for me. I have actually been using the DNC Leak as an example for my clients on the weaknesses of Microsoft software. Unfortunately as it was pointed out to me, the US Government seems to have a crony deal with Microsoft that they require Microsoft software on their computers and contractors computers. To me this is a blatant example of how Crony capitalism damages everyone.

I would like to see the US government actually read Eric S. Raymond’s, Cathedral and the Bazaar. Because they need to implement it properly. Because relying on a corporation with a dedicated team of a few hundred to fix all issues is clearly showing its strain. Linus’ law named after Linus Torvalds the founder of the Linux kernel, states “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”; or more formally: “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix will be obvious to someone.” Per Wikipedia but is a well cited law in the tech community to the flaw of Microsoft software or really any proprietary softwares
I cite it further as an example of cronyism damaging Government via proprietary contracts for public non defensive systems. The reason being that defense software is protected via “protection from obscurity.” However public services, are usually a common platform. Therefore a voluntarist structure is more beneficial as we can see in real world practices on Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) E.g. GNU/Linux, Firefox, Bitcoin, WordPress, email, and most fundamental services we rely on but don’t think about in our day to day cyber lives'