Users in EU will have a choice

Google has just announced a change for users in Europe that will allow them to decide exactly how much data sharing is right for them. The new policy, which the company says is in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), allows users to opt out of data sharing for all, some or none of Google’s selected services. The services listed include YouTube, search, advertising services, Google Play, Chrome, Google Shopping and Google Maps. However, the policy is not airtight – Google will still share user information when necessary to perform a task (for example, when you pay for a purchase on Google Shopping using Google Pay), to comply with the law, to prevent fraud or to protect against abuse.

This is not the biggest change Google will have to make to comply with the DMA, which comes into effect on 6 March. The law also includes additional rules on interoperability and competition. For example, Google will no longer be able to treat its own search ranking services more favourably than those of other companies.

Not all Big Tech representatives agree with many of the changes introduced by the DMA. While Google has decided not to challenge its gatekeeper status, Apple, Meta and TikTok owner ByteDance are fighting in court.

The EU is not the only government to take issue with Google’s vast collection of user data. In the US, the Department of Justice has sued Google in what is believed to be the country’s biggest antitrust case since the government took on Microsoft in the 1990s. In one of its arguments, the Justice Department said that the sheer volume of user data that Google has collected over the years has led to the creation of a “data fortress” that helps the company remain the world’s leading search engine.

However, the new changes will result in compromises for some users. The company noted that if users unplug Search, YouTube and Chrome, personalised recommendations on YouTube will be disabled. If Search and Maps are unplugged, Google Maps will no longer be able to suggest locations (such as restaurants) based on previous activity. Google users will still have to choose between privacy and convenience, but at least in Europe they will be able to be more precise about where they draw the line.

Nextcloud wins the Acteurs du Libre European Award 2023

Nextcloud has won the European Award of the Acteurs du Libre contest! This is a huge recognition for the community, the Nextcloud team, and the visionary leaders behind the project.

What is the Acteurs du Libre contest?

The Acteurs du Libre contest is part of the Open Source Experience event, which celebrates the achievements of Free Software companies, entrepreneurs, projects and associations. The contest awards six prizes every year, each honoring a different aspect of FOSS development, management or implementation: the Committed Public Service Award, the European Award in collaboration with APELL, the Business Development Award, the Best Open Source Strategy Award, the Open and Ethical Digital Award, and the Jury’s Special Award.

Why did Nextcloud win the European Prize?

The European Prize, given in collaboration with APELL (European Free Software Professional Association), recognizes open source organizations based in Europe, but outside of France, that have successfully led the commercial development of an open source project. The evaluation of the proposals and the award ceremony is organized in collaboration with APELL. Nextcloud founder Frank Karlitschek was invited on stage to receive the prize and thank everyone who made this possible.

This is a fantastic achievement for the Nextcloud team and the community that supports Nextcloud.

Open Source Experience is a two-day event that brings together more than 6,000 open source enthusiasts, developers, decision-makers, and influencers from various sectors and industries. The event features an exhibition area where you can meet and interact with over 150 exhibitors. The event also offers a rich and diverse program of presentations, workshops, round tables, and keynotes covering a wide range of topics related to open source.

Source: https://nextcloud.com/blog/nextcloud-wins-the-acteurs-du-libre-european-award-2023/

Home Server

I recently wrote about proxmox. It’s a cool (and free) virtualization environment. But it still needs to be installed on something physical.

For me, until recently, the home server was a 2011 Apple Mac Mini. 2.3GHz i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD(!). But it was powerful enough to run a virtual machine with HAOS and another with ArchLinux.

Why did I do this? Because Arch was for my daily use (via remote desktop). And HAOS was my whole house, so it had to be stable. Hence this configuration and not another. Home Assistant was stable on a dedicated virtual machine, and I had my sandbox to play with.

But… we are finally in 2023. On the occasion of active Black Friday, I bought myself a new toy. What is it? Tiny (physically) but powerful and very cheap computer named TRIGKEY S5 mini PC based on Ryzen 7 5700U processor (8C/16T, 4.3GHz) 16G DDR4 500G NVMe SSD, 1Gb LAN

Why such a choice? Quite simple. I wanted minimal power consumption, and the TDP of this processor is 15W, and a physical Ethernet port.

What does it look like? It’s total madness. I didn’t expect it to be that small.

And at the same time we have sixteen threads here, sixteen gigabytes of memory, so you can go crazy. Of course, not everyone needs to put a home server on it. This hardware is perfect as a mini PC for the home or office. And if that’s too much or not enough, there are plenty of other minicomputers out there.

Comparison of lightweight Linux distros

DietPi

I started to look for a replacement for my DietPi (I’m using it as my everyday OS). It’s installed as a VM on the Proxmox server. It’s fast, it’s nice, it reliable, but I want to change something 🙂

Also, one of the reasons why I selected DietPi was the Home Assistant core. Or I should say – the way it’s installed. And how most of the software is managed in DietPi. It uses DietPi-Software, which allows you to quickly and easily install popular software “ready to run” and this software is already optimized for your system. Only the software you need is installed.

What is DietPi? DietPi is an extremely lightweight Debian OS, highly optimized for minimal CPU and RAM resource usage, ensuring your SBC always runs at its maximum potential. It has a lots of different flavours, so you may install it on Raspberry Pi, Odroid, Pine64, Radxa, Allo, NanoPi, OrangePi, but also on standard PC and as a VM (I’m sure I didn’t mention all of them, but those I remember :P)

I was really happy with my DietPi setup, but in the last few days I broke it, and (my fault) the last backup was from the beginning of October. And because I made a lot of changes last month I had a lot of work to redo. So I decided I may start from scratch on a new OS.

Because I didn’t want to use too many resources from my proxmox server, I decided to check what other lightweight distros are on the market. I know most of them, but I was curious about what changed in the last few years.

Zorin OS Lite

I started with Zorin Lite. It’s ubuntu based distro which is using highly modified XFCE. System requirements are quite low, as you can see below:

Zorin OS Core and Education editions – Designed for modern computers.

  • CPU: 1 GHz Dual Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 10 GB (Core), 24 GB (Education), or 40 GB (Pro)
  • Display: 1024 × 768 resolution

Zorin OS Lite and Education Lite editions – Designed for old and low-spec computers.

  • CPU: 1 GHz Single Core – Intel/AMD 64-bit processor
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Storage: 10 GB (Lite), 24 GB (Education Lite), or 40 GB (Pro Lite)
  • Display: 800 × 600 resolution

It looks really good, but I gave my VM four i5 threads (2 cores) and 6GB RAM and it wasn’t as fast and responsive as I expected.

Lubuntu

Lubuntu – a project that is an official derivative of the Ubuntu operating system. Using the LXQT desktop environment is lighter, less resource-intensive, and more power-efficient. The LXQT desktop uses the Openbox window manager, has low hardware requirements, and is designed for netbooks, mobile devices, and older computers. Lubuntu is offered in many ISOs for several computers, like standard PC, laptops, Raspberry Pi, etc.

Lubuntu now ships the most advanced desktop interface, using Qt technologies for rendering the widgets and the entire ecosystem (from the installer to the smallest parts).

The winning combination of Arc theme and the Papirus icons makes the new Lubuntu desktop easier to read and less cluttered. The symbolic icons and glyphs, now easier to recognise, added to sharp edges and vibrant colours, add visual dynamics without overwhelming the overall design.

Combined with the new compositing effects, the apps, panels and widgets of your new desktop will look modern, while being fast, simple and affordable for almost every machine.

Lubuntu is compatible with the majority of existing file formats, such as images, songs, films, spreadsheets, text documents, internet radio stations, and much more.

Everything works out of the box. But if you need more (usually proprietary) codecs for exotic file formats, you can always install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package and enjoy all that content.

For the not-technical users, this will be a big plus. After installation, you have a fully functional system with all the needed software. I gave this VM the same resources as for Zorin and it’s much faster and more responsive. Maybe it’s not that pretty, but for me performance is more important than look.

I love systems based on deb files (like Debian or Ubuntu), but I don’t look for a complete solution. I wanted to have something simple, just a core system, where I could add what I needed.

Archbang

And at the end, I finished with the distro based on arch Linux, not on Debian 🙂 – Archbang.

ArchBang is a live distribution built on top of Arch Linux.
The system uses the lightweight Openbox window manager and is a rolling release distribution, just like its prototype. This means that it does not require reinstallation to a newer version – you just need to perform regular updates to all packages. ArchBang Live can be transferred to a computer’s hard drive or flash drive. It is available for 32- and 64-bit architectures.

Starting with the 20170917 version, ArchBang is based on Artix and uses OpenRC instead of Systemd.

The goal of ArchBang is to provide a simple, Arch-based Linux distribution with a pre-configured Openbox desktop package that follows Arch principles. ArchBang has also been recommended as a quick installation method for people who have experience installing Arch Linux but want to avoid the more demanding default Arch Linux installation when reinstalling on another computer.

Is this the end?

To be honoest? I’m not sure. I still want to check how EndeavourOS is looking right now (it’s another arch based distro). But most probably I will stay with Archbang, as I know this system, and I like it.

Right now I’m thinking, if I want to install anything natively in OS, or maybe I will use only apps from snap or flatpack?

Bulk project category change in Jira

How to change project categories in bulk in Jira?

This is possible, but you need to have a Scriptrunner. And it’s really simple, you just need to go to the Script Console, and paste this code:

import com.atlassian.jira.component.ComponentAccessor
import com.onresolve.scriptrunner.parameters.annotation.ShortTextInput

@ShortTextInput(description = "List of project Keys separated by commas", label = "Project Key List")
String projectListString

@ShortTextInput(description = '', label = "New Category")
String categoryName

def projectManager = ComponentAccessor.projectManager
def projectList = projectListString.tokenize(' ,').findResults { pkey ->
   projectManager.getProjectByCurrentKey(pkey)
}
def newCat = projectManager.getProjectCategoryObjectByName(categoryName)
if (!newCat) {
   return "There is no category by the name $categoryName. Manually assign that category to one project from the project settings first, then come back here to bulk-update more projects."
}
projectList.each {
   projectManager.setProjectCategory(it, newCat)
}

It will gives you a simple tool, where you can paste list of projects and new category for those projects.

And that’s all 🙂 Really easy copy-paste and it’s done.

Patch your confluence if it’s not done yet

https://www.rapid7.com/blog/post/2023/10/04/etr-cve-2023-22515-zero-day-privilege-escalation-in-confluence-server-and-data-center/

Atlassian has been made aware of an issue reported by a handful of customers where external attackers may have exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in publicly accessible Confluence Data Center and Server instances to create unauthorized Confluence administrator accounts and access Confluence instances.

The Vulnerability has been marked with a maximum CVSS value (10/10) and allows you to create a Confluence administrator account from the Internet.

Doorbell

I have few blink cameras at home. And, to be honest, I’m really happy how they are working. So when I was looking for a doorbell, a one from blink was the obvious choice for me.

Company which I already know, application which I already have, integrated into my home assistant instance. Should be perfect.

Should be. After less than a month I’m sending it back. Blink is using a pair of lithium batteries. In all other cameras they are working few months. In the doorbell max is a week. It’s not a joke – one week. And this is when I set up a maximum energy saving options. No movement detection. No recording when system is armed. Nothing. Only recording when someone press the button.

I already have an alternative. Ring doorbell (2nd generation). It’s more expensive, but it’s working.

Ok. I had to install the application to set it up first time. And to integrate it with my Amazon account. But then I may not use it anymore. Not, if I want to use it as a doorbell only. And, to be honest, ring has a better integration with Alexa.

So at the end, I have few blink outdoor cameras, but ring doorbell 😂

Whiteboard from Atlassian

Atlassian will release their own whiteboard. It will be a part of the confluence. So you will not have to use miro or mural (or similar online services). You will not need apps like Microsoft whiteboard or Apple freeform. Confluence will be everything what you need.

You want to more know? Or maybe even join the beta tests? Check https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/whiteboards

What Agile really means

It’s simply a way of thinking a little outside the box and often not very functional. Agile is about one thing: doing your job wisely, in the shortest possible time. There is no room for performing meaningless tasks and repeating beaten patterns over and over again. It’s worth remembering that agile is not something that can be started by a single person in a team. It is absolutely necessary that the whole team works in the same way.

Agile thinking is based primarily on setting healthy and appropriate priorities and managing human resources wisely.

According to Dave Thomas, it is enough to follow four very simple steps when working on a project. These are presented as follows:

Find out where you are currently

Take a small step forward toward your goal

Assess what has happened

Repeat all the steps

Agile is not a methodology or a process – it’s a way of thinking based on common sense and not doing things that don’t make sense. There’s still a long way to go to a methodology; usually the intermediate step is a framework, or a framework for doing things, such as Scrum.

So what is agile really? It’s a way of thinking, natural to people, transferred to business. That’s all it is, and that’s all it is.

Unfortunately, the term Agile has become popular, so many people have decided to become Scrum Master shares even Agile Coach. And instead of letting people think, they teach them rigid rules, that is, they completely contradict the idea of agile.