Debian, the next Firefox?

Debian, the next Firefox?

I have recently read news about the Debian project, one of the largest and most important distribution projects of the GNU system with the Linux kernel, and in the case of Debian specifically with other kernels, being one of the “original” distributions and father of all the debian offspring and its powerful APT package system.

For a long time Debian GNU/Linux could boast of being a completely free system, which by maintaining a non-free repository earned it not to obtain the recommendation of the FSF. However as long as only the main repository was used, then you could have a free system, now with this change, Debian will start including proprietary firmware within its installation disks and will use that firmware at will.

Similarly, projects like Fredoombox, based mainly on Debian, will now include the non-free repository enabled by default.

This shows that over time the principles that are not pursued end up yielding, Debian despite being a massive institution in the development and distribution of free software and one of the largest variants of the GNU system with Linux/Hurd/etc. in the world, still maintaining a high standard of ethics and social commitment to its users, is losing traction on the principles that once put it above the vast majority of distributions ethically and technologically.

I wonder if this is the first step in a spiral that is forcing decisions related to the path Debian will take, just as Firefox has fallen by integrating more and more anti-features, gradually diluting the last drops of “Free Software” and falling completely into the rhetoric of Open Source seeking to retain a share of users compared to other browsers.

It seems to me that Canonical could bear a bit of responsibility for this change, since Debian is used as the seedbed for Ubuntu distributions, and having developers vote on Debian development is a good thing for Canonical, I could be wrong, or maybe not.

Regardless of the above, I believe that this is a clear indicator of the continuous ethical and social erosion in the face of technology, of the culture of consumerism as well as of the “success at all costs” promoted around the world, where the interests of a few can overcome the well-being of the many, in the same way the lack of recognition of the truly important things in the world.

A quick exercise, in the following situation,

If you were granted access to an all you can eat buffet, hypothetically with all the healthiest salads in the world, the best vegetables, as well as the best cuts of most succulently prepared meats from the world’s most exotic regions, all kinds of fruit waters, soft drinks/sodas and alcoholic beverages as well from anywhere in the world unlimited.

The questions that this situation generates could be,

  • Would that be a nourishing experience for your body? Or would we end up hurting one self?
  • would we have touched the salad table?
  • come on, would we get out walking?
  • conscious?

I don’t buy the lies that any negative result is “human nature”, that’s complacency and mediocrity speaking.

Deep down, when everything stops, we know what is best for us, what suits us as the complex organism that we are, and although we can make mistakes, it is important to see the long term and teach us to make the best decisions for us, as individuals and eventually as a collective.

The principles and ethical discussion that the Free Software movement promotes could be far ahead of the social reality in our regions, cities, prefectures, states, departments, even countries, but if it is in your hands, talk about Free Software, put the weight of freedom over functionality, since the latter can eventually be resolved as long as the former is present,

Choose more lettuce over meat, take care of yourself and others in the process.

I could not condemn the Debian project for these changes, it seems sad to me that this happens and I hope that better times will come for the project, where they can recover the shine of the principles that they defended for many years.

I would like to conclude by citing the campaign Be Free! of the FSFLA that I consider is very ad hoc,

The more people resist,
the more people will be Free, and
the more people will be free to be Free.

For your own good, and
in solidarity to all,
choose freedom.

Be Free!

Happy 39 Birthday GNU

Happy 39 Birthday GNU

A little late, but I would like to join in the celebration of the 39th anniversary of the GNU project which officially kicks off the Free Software movement.

Beginning with the publication of The GNU Manifesto on September 27, 1985, by the Richard Matthew Stallman founder of the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation (FSF).

As a celebration, here is one of the most distributed RMS talks,

Introduction to Free Software and the Liberation of Cyberspace – Spanish subtitles.

Our best wishes and for another 39 years.

Let us have the fortune to be here for another year and celebrate 40 years in a big way.

Happy birthday!

Talks of Trisquel and FS

Talks of Trisquel and FS

I continue to collaborate in the development and maintenance of Trisquel GNU/Linux, one of the most popular completely free distributions with a long history.

Trisquel GNU/Linux, trisquel for short, is based on the popular Ubuntu distribution, developed by Canonical and which in turn is based on Debian GNU/Linux, currently trisquel is only following the LTS versions also known as extended support.

Trisquel GNU/Linux Installer 10.0

With more than 12 years as a trisquel user, I have come to appreciate the work that the developers began in 2007, and now that I am collaborating on a more regular basis, I have had the opportunity to understand the challenges and objectives pursued in development, from the release of Etiona (9.0) I began to get involved little by little from the point of view that a developer has and this involvement has grown in the last versions, 10.0 and now version 11.0.

With the movement of the project development meetings from Friday to Wednesday and in order to take up a little more activism that a few years ago was something more normal in this blog (or its previous version), I am thinking of taking advantage of the time used in development meetings to open a space for trisquel users and free software users in general who would like to resolve any doubts, find out about news related to trisquel or have a pleasant talk related to free software.

These meetings will take place in my Jitsi Meet instance, which for complete transparency is sponsored by my IT business, where it will only be necessary to have a microphone since they will be mainly conversations, video is not required.



12:00 hrs – UTC -5 (Mexico City) with an approximate duration of 1 hour from its start.


While it would be great to make this a global space, I am restricted to my imperfect English and Spanish.

In the spirit of making these conversations enjoyable and productive, it is appreciated to follow the netiquette in these meetings.

We hear us there!

Trisquel 11.0, eppur si muove

Trisquel 11.0, eppur si muove

We continue with the development of Trisquel 11.0, codenamed Aramo, as I mentioned there are many new challenges with Aramo which makes Trisquel a more design independent distribution from its upstream, Ubuntu.

Aramo is an ambitious release as it makes a number of key changes,

  • Keep Abrowser web browser as DEB package
  • Restore installation via netinstaller based on debian-installer, deprecated as of Ubuntu 22.04
  • Add support for arm64 and ppc64el
  • It is planned to bring back support for i386 (32 bits)
  • among the most important

It seems incredible to me everything that has been achieved since the official announcement of the start of development in February,

The infrastructure has been redesigned and expanded with support from the FSF as far as ppc64el is concerned, while the continuous integration (CI) system through Jenkins makes better use of resources through package build nodes and this has speeded up and facilitated the work to a great extent.

From my personal perspective, I consider that the first phase of building “conventional” repositories and packages is virtually ready, which allows to start with alpha tests of updates¹ from nabia to aramo on amd64, known bugs that generate a minimum lack of packages can be consulted in the issues section: package-helpers issues.

The testing stage will identify the aesthetic changes, functionality and possible errors between the different versions of the different desktop environments available for Trisquel GNU/Linux, which refers to a second phase of testing the repository and packages..

Detailed reports of errors or incidents are invited in advance, and thanks to all users who have already done so, through the system Trisquel Gitlab.

¹Warning: Aramo, at the time of writing this post , should not be used on production computers, due to its early development stage.

I believe that the next stage will focus on restoring the installation system through netinstaller, and the restoration of the udeb packages necessary for this process, which will allow having a light and practical installation medium for automated installations.

Fortunately, we can rely on the development that the great Debian community carries out, where many of its original packages will be essential to achieve this goal.

If all the above points were resolved, it would be virtually possible that we would have a release very similar to Nabia, but as I mentioned Aramo intends / plans to bring back support for 32 bits (i386), which from the first weeks of development remains Of course it will be “an uphill battle”.

There are still many development and planning decisions pending on i386, so this should be taken with reservation and not ahead of the eve.

So even though it might seem static, like Galileo Galilei, I can say, Trisquel GNU/Linux 11.0, Aramo, “eppur si muove” (and yet it moves .).


Firefox and Ubuntu 22.04

Firefox and Ubuntu 22.04

Wow, the situation has become complicated with Ubuntu 22.04

Since February, the development of Trisquel 11.0, code name Aramo, began officially, and to tell the truth, since we were developing version 10.0, we were already beginning to see the future challenges that Jammy would bring.

In the case of Firefox, Canonical, the company behind the commercial development of Ubuntu, is betting more and more on the use of its snap packages, in the same way I assume that Mozilla is trying to unify the distribution of its browser: Firefox due to the great loss of market share, and I assume they’d rather save themselves the trouble of maintaining debian binary compatibility in all versions of Ubuntu and derivatives, so when hunger meets the urge to eat, well this happens, we lose support for debian binaries from Firefox on Ubuntu 22.04

And well, the release of Ubuntu 22.04 made the threat valid, now in 22.04 we only have support for the snap version.

Despite several advantages that a unified package system can have, snap is a system that gives little control over the sources and packages that are distributed, this makes autonomous community development difficult, to say the least, I think Flatpak has a better future in this type of categories, however returning to the subject.

I have currently started working on compiling Firefox ESR on Ubuntu as a base for our Abrowser, however boy has this gotten messy. Debian and Trisquel have a second-degree relationship, which even though they are very similar, both the versions and the structure of some packages change evidently.

This has been a bit of a headache, as it would be the first time that I take the development of a helper from scratch from a package of this size, just to put in context Firefox ESR weighs around 450MB and its compilation can take several hours using multiple cores before crashing and finding the bug where it might be crashing.

After a couple of weeks, this project has helped me to learn little by little the different factors that come into play in the compilation of this browser and why not, meet the developers behind Firefox in Debian and some alternative projects such as LibreWolf is, for which I have learned a couple of things in those projects.

And despite all the headaches that Firefox has given me these weeks, as well as the understanding that I need a more powerful machine to compile large packages, it is not time to give up since there are other more interesting challenges to solve with all the changes Ubuntu has made to Jammy, such as the development of the debian installer for Trisquel.

There is a long and challenging stage of development ahead on the way to Trisquel 11.0, Aramo.

By the way, the ISOs of the first maintenance revision of Trisquel 10 will be published soon, version: 10.0.1 Impatient? Before reaching the official repositories, it can be downloaded here:


0ad A25, released!

0ad A25, released!

We are back once again, to comment on the release of 0ad A25.

From a gamer’s point of view, this is a much more stylized version of the past A24, it improves its playability and its visual art in a big way.

From a better order in the movement of large groups of units, to the implementation of new functions such as the launch of “flares”, which reminds us a lot of AoE.

0ad is a visual delight because of its landscapes, detail of objects and units, which is very gratifying to see that level of detail in a creative project of free software and open source.

I do not want to extend myself in praise and compliments, since the game does it very well by itself, from a technical point of view in its installation I have not found many changes on the part of the developers.

The official PPA repository of 0ad still shows no signs of wanting to update the game and even when A24 was kind of a calibration release, so it could be understood that it was not updated to that version, A25 should not be the case in its update process.

However, here are the instructions to compile A25 from Ubuntu 20.04 / Trisquel 10.0

As in the previous version we will rely on the PPA repository of 0ad, to obtain the dependencies for the construction of the binaries,

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver --recv-keys E4FA953A
echo "#0ad PPA repository
deb bionic main
deb-src bionic main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list
sudo apt-get update

We install dependencies,

sudo apt-get -y build-dep 0ad
sudo apt-get -y install rustc cmake libfmt-dev

We download the code

git clone --depth 1 --branch A25

We start the compilation using all available threads,

cd 0ad/build/workspaces
./ -j"$(nproc --all)"
cd gcc
make -j"$(nproc --all)"

If everything goes well, we continue with the test,

cd ../../..

As in previous versions, if you get output like this,

Running cxxtest tests (381 tests).............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................OK!

Ready!, to conquer the ancient world


0ad A25, play it with friends for better results =)