DebConf13 arrival

DebConf13 is about to get under way at Vaumarcus, Switzerland.

Bus stop

Swiss PostBus drops delegates at the entrance to Le Camp.

The ascent

Delegates get a feel for the Swiss landscape.

GSoC students progress

I've been lucky enough to be involved in a team mentoring two students contributing to Debian under the Google Summer of Code program this year. Both students have demonstrated a lot of enthusiasm and talent and have just passed their mid-term evaluations.

DebConf next week, free real-time communications session

DebConf13 is just about to get under way. While last year's event involved an exciting visit to Nicaragua, this year it is right here in Switzerland making it very convenient for many of those in the very populous community of free software enthusiasts across western Europe.

Switzerland's scariest railway (video)

Although promoted as a funicular railway, the Gelmerbahn funicular has the appearance of a giant roller coaster and all of the fun too.

Building existing autotools C/C++ projects on Android

I recently came across a requirement to build a project involving C++ code on Android. I've done this before with small C projects, for example, patching the JNI code in Lumicall.

Google supplies a toolchain dubbed the Native Development Kit (NDK) for Android. Using the NDK typically involves using it's custom build system, usually duplicating all Makefile content into a file called Android.mk in each subdirectory.

Practical VPNs with strongSwan, Shorewall, Linux firewalls and OpenWRT routers

There is intense interest in communications privacy at the moment thanks to the Snowden scandal. Open source software has offered credible solutions for privacy and encryption for many years. Sadly, making these solutions work together is not always plug-and-play.

Using debcheckout to build strongSwan 5.0 on Debian wheezy

Normally most people try to use packages from a stable Linux distribution because of their convenience and security support. Sometimes it's necessary to use a newer version, I recently had to do this with strongSwan and I'm sharing the procedure for other people to try.

Enabling Elliptic Curve Cryptography in OpenWRT and strongSwan VPNs

OpenWRT currently ships an OpenSSL package with Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) disabled. This is very inconvenient as ECC is now standard in other distributions like Debian and Ubuntu and it is necessary to solve certain problems such as making IPsec VPNs work reliably

Using ECC in OpenSSL and strongSwan on Fedora

Red Hat is currently not supplying Elliptic Curve Crytography (ECC) in binary packages due to concerns about patents. There are various opinions about this subject and other Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu have included ECC.

Melbourne and Detroit emergency call centers simultaneously fail

A co-incidence that caught my eye this week was the failure of emergency call centers in Melbourne, Australia and Detroit, USA.