Petter Reinholdtsen

My free software activity of late (2022)
20th June 2022

I guess it is time to bring some light on the various free software and open culture activities and projects I have worked on or been involved in the last year and a half.

First, lets mention the book releases I managed to publish. The Cory Doctorow book "Hvordan knuse overvåkningskapitalismen" argue that it is not the magic machine learning of the big technology companies that causes the surveillance capitalism to thrive, it is the lack of trust busting to enforce existing anti-monopoly laws. I also published a family of dictionaries for machinists, one sorted on the English words, one sorted on the Norwegian and the last sorted on the North Sámi words. A bit on the back burner but not forgotten is the Debian Administrators Handbook, where a new edition is being worked on. I have not spent as much time as I want to help bring it to completion, but hope I will get more spare time to look at it before the end of the year.

With my Debian had I have spent time on several projects, both updating existing packages, helping to bring in new packages and working with upstream projects to try to get them ready to go into Debian. The list is rather long, and I will only mention my own isenkram, openmotor, vlc bittorrent plugin, xprintidle, norwegian letter style for latex, bs1770gain, and recordmydesktop. In addition to these I have sponsored several packages into Debian, like audmes.

The last year I have looked at several infrastructure projects for collecting meter data and video surveillance recordings. This include several ONVIF related tools like onvifviewer and zoneminder as well as rtl-433, wmbusmeters and rtl-wmbus.

In parallel with this I have looked at fabrication related free software solutions like pycam and LinuxCNC. The latter recently gained improved translation support using po4a and weblate, which was a harder nut to crack that I had anticipated when I started.

Several hours have been spent translating free software to Norwegian Bokmål on the Weblate hosted service. Do not have a complete list, but you will find my contributions in at least gnucash, minetest and po4a.

I also spent quite some time on the Norwegian archiving specification Noark 5, and its companion project Nikita implementing the API specification for Noark 5.

Recently I have been looking into free software tools to do company accounting here in Norway., which present an interesting mix between law, rules, regulations, format specifications and API interfaces.

I guess I should also mention the Norwegian community driven government interfacing projects Mimes Brønn and Fiksgatami, which have ended up in a kind of limbo while the future of the projects is being worked out.

These are just a few of the projects I have been involved it, and would like to give more visibility. I'll stop here to avoid delaying this post.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: english.
LinuxCNC translators life just got a bit easier
3rd June 2022

Back in oktober last year, when I started looking at the LinuxCNC system, I proposed to change the documentation build system make life easier for translators. The original system consisted of independently written documentation files for each language, with no automated way to track changes done in other translations and no help for the translators to know how much was left to translated. By using the po4a system to generate POT and PO files from the English documentation, this can be improved. A small team of LinuxCNC contributors got together and today our labour finally payed off. Since a few hours ago, it is now possible to translate the LinuxCNC documentation on Weblate, alongside the program itself.

The effort to migrate the documentation to use po4a has been both slow and frustrating. I am very happy we finally made it.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: 3d-printer, debian, english, robot.
geteltorito make CD firmware upgrades a breeze
20th April 2022

Recently I wanted to upgrade the firmware of my thinkpad, and located the firmware download page from Lenovo (which annoyingly do not allow access via Tor, forcing me to hand them more personal information that I would like). The download from Lenovo is a bootable ISO image, which is a bit of a problem when all I got available is a USB memory stick. I tried booting the ISO as a USB stick, but this did not work. But genisoimage came to the rescue.

The geteltorito program in the genisoimage binary package is able to convert the bootable ISO image to a bootable USB stick using a simple command line recipe, which I then can write to the most recently inserted USB stick:

geteltorito -o usbstick.img lenovo-firmware.iso
sudo dd bs=10M if=usbstick.img of=$(ls -tr /dev/sd?|tail -1)

This USB stick booted the firmware upgrader just fine, and in a few minutes my machine had the latest and greatest BIOS firmware in place.

Tags: debian, english.
Playing and encoding AV1 in Debian Bullseye
16th April 2022

Inspired by the recent news of AV1 hardware encoding support from Intel, I decided to look into the state of AV1 on Linux today. AV1 is a free and open standard as defined by Digistan without any royalty payment requirement, unlike its much used competitor encoding H.264. While looking, I came across an 5 year old question on which in turn inspired me to check out how things are in Debian Stable regarding AV1. The test file listed in the question (askubuntu_test_aom.mp4) did not exist any more, so I tracked down a different set of test files on to test them with the various video tools I had installed on my machine. I was happy to discover that AV1 decoding and playback worked with almost every tool I tested:

mediainfo ok
dragonplayer ok
ffmpeg / ffplay ok
gnome-mplayer fail
mplayer ok
mpv ok
parole ok
vlc ok
firefox ok
chromium ok

AV1 encoding is available in Debian Stable from the aom-tools version 1.0.0.errata1-3 package, using the aomenc tool. The encoding using the package in Debian Stable is quite slow, with the frame rate for my 10 second test video at around 0.25 fps. My 10 second video test took 16 minutes and 11 seconds on my test machine.

I tested by first running ffmpeg and then aomenc using the recipe provided by the askubuntu recipe above. I had to remove the '--row-mt=1' option, as it was not supported in my 1.0.0 version. The encoding only used a single thread, according to top.

ffmpeg -i some-old-video.ogv -t 10 -pix_fmt yuv420p video.y4m
aomenc --fps=24/1 -u 0 --codec=av1 --target-bitrate=1000 \
  --lag-in-frames=25 --auto-alt-ref=1 -t 24 --cpu-used=8 \
  --tile-columns=2 --tile-rows=2 -o output.webm video.y4m

As version 1.0.0 currently have several unsolved security issues in Debian Stable, and to see if the recent backport provided in Debian is any quicker, I ran apt -t bullseye-backports install aom-tools to fetch the backported version and re-encoded the video using the latest version. This time the '--row-mt=1' option worked, and the encoding was done in 46 seconds with a frame rate of around 5.22 fps. This time it seem to be using all my four cores to encode. Encoding speed is still too low for streaming and real time, which would require frame rates above 25 fps, but might be good enough for offline encoding.

I am very happy to see AV1 playback working so well with the default tools in Debian Stable. I hope the encoding situation improve too, allowing even a slow old computer like my 10 year old laptop to be used for encoding.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: english, standard, video.
Få en slutt på Digitale utslipp
14th March 2022

På onsdag sendte jeg følgende epost til Utdanningsetaten i Oslo kommune (UDE). Fikk beskjed om at min henvendelse har saksnummer 22/7559-1 i den offentlige postjournalen til UDE. Jeg er spent på hva slags respons jeg får. Mistenker jo de fleste som sprer sine nettsideleseres personopplysninger til utlandet ikke har tenkt så nøye igjennom hva de gjør, og at det er håp om at de tenker seg litt nøyere om hvis de blir klar over problemstillingen. Vet du noen som burde få tilsvarede beskjed og spørsmål? Kanskje du kan sende dem en epost. Hvis alle bidrar blir det kanskje litt bedre.

To: postmottak (at)
Subject: Digitale utslipp fra osloskolens nettsider


Jeg ser at osloskolens nettsider har digitale utslipp av personopplysninger til Google, Facebook og andre, blant annet omtalt på <URL: >.

<URL: > kan være et nyttig verktøy for å holde øye med utslippsomfanget på ulike sider.

Kanskje det er en ide å gjøre noe med det, jamfør <URL: >?

Et alternativ til Google Analytics kan være en lokalt installert utgave av <URL: >. Den og flere andre alternativer kan finnes via <URL: > på bakgrunn av at svenske myndigheter har innsett at dagens praksis nok er både lite lur og ulovlig. Der henger Norge litt etter, men osloskolen har her mulighet til å være litt i forkant. :)

Fint om dere kan gi beskjed hvilket saksnummer denne henvendelsen får i offentlig postjournal når den er mottatt.

Flere og flere innser at slik spredning av personopplysninger er ugreit. Det har pågått i mange år. Ser jeg blogget første gang om Google Analytics i 2013 og analyserte omfanget i 2015, men det er et langt lerret å bleke.

Som vanlig, hvis du bruker Bitcoin og ønsker å vise din støtte til det jeg driver med, setter jeg pris på om du sender Bitcoin-donasjoner til min adresse 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b. Merk, betaling med bitcoin er ikke anonymt. :)

Tags: norsk, personvern, surveillance.
Publish Hargassner wood chip boiler state to MQTT
12th March 2022

Recently I had a look at a Hargassner wood chip boiler, and what kind of free software can be used to monitor and control it. The boiler can be connected to some cloud service via what the producer call an Internet Gateway, which seem to be a computer connecting to the boiler and passing the information gathered to the cloud. I discovered the boiler controller got an IP address on the local network and listen on TCP port 23 to provide status information as a text line of numbers. It also provide a HTTP server listening on port 80, but I have not yet figured out what it can do beside return an error code.

If I am to believe various free software implementations talking to such boiler, the interpretation of the line of numbers differ between type of boiler and software version on the boiler. By comparing the list of numbers on the front panel of the boiler with the numbers returned via TCP, I have been able to figure out several of the numbers, but there are a lot left to understand. I've located several temperature measurements and hours running values, as well as oxygen measurements and counters.

I decided to write a simple parser in Python for the values I figured out so far, and a simple MQTT injector publishing both the interpreted and the unknown values on a MQTT bus to make collecting and graphing simpler. The end result is available from the hargassner2mqtt project page on gitlab. I very much welcome patches extending the parser to understand more values, boiler types and software versions. I do not really expect very few free software developers got their hands on such unit to experiment, but it would be fun if others too find this project useful.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: english.
Run your industrial metal working machine using Debian?
2nd March 2022

After many months of hard work by the good people involved in LinuxCNC, the system was accepted Sunday into Debian. Once it was available from Debian, I was surprised to discover from its popularity-contest numbers that people have been reporting its use since 2012. Its project site might be a good place to check out, but sadly is not working when visiting via Tor.

But what is LinuxCNC, you are probably wondering? Perhaps a Wikipedia quote is in place?

"LinuxCNC is a software system for numerical control of machines such as milling machines, lathes, plasma cutters, routers, cutting machines, robots and hexapods. It can control up to 9 axes or joints of a CNC machine using G-code (RS-274NGC) as input. It has several GUIs suited to specific kinds of usage (touch screen, interactive development)."

It can even control 3D printers. And even though the Wikipedia page indicate that it can only work with hard real time kernel features, it can also work with the user space soft real time features provided by the Debian kernel. The source code is available from Github. The last few months I've been involved in the translation setup for the program and documentation. Translators are most welcome to join the effort using Weblate.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: 3d-printer, debian, english, robot.
Updated vlc bittorrent plugin in Debian (version 2.14)
14th February 2022

I am very happy to report that a new version of the VLC bittorrent plugin was just uploaded into debian. The changes since last time is mostly code clean in the download code. The package is currently in Debian unstable, but should be available in Debian testing son. To test it, simply install it like this:

apt install vlc-plugin-bittorrent

After it is installed, you can try to use it to play a file downloaded live via bittorrent like this:


It can also use magnet links and local .torrent files like the ones provided by the Internet Archive. Another example is the Love Nest Buster Keaton movie, where one can click on the 'Torrent' link to get going.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: english, verkidetfri, video.
A Brazilian Portuguese translation of the book Made with Creative Commons
3rd December 2021

A few days ago, a productive translator started working on a new translation of the Made with Creative Commons book for Brazilian Portuguese. The translation take place on the Weblate web based translation system. Once the translation is complete and proof read, we can publish it on paper as well as in PDF, ePub and HTML format. The translation is already 16% complete, and if more people get involved I am conviced it can very quickly reach 100%. If you are interested in helping out with this or other translations of the Made with Creative Commons book, start translating on Weblate. There are partial translations available in Azerbaijani, Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Polish, Simplified Chinese, Swedish, Thai and Ukrainian.

The git repository for the book contain all source files needed to build the book for yourself. HTML editions to help with proof reading is also available.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: docbook, english, madewithcc.
Debian still an excellent choice for Lego builders
24th October 2021

The Debian Lego team saw a lot of activity the last few weeks. All the packages under the team umbrella has been updated to fix packaging, lintian issues and BTS reports. In addition, a new and inspiring team member appeared on both the debian-lego-team Team mailing list and IRC channel #debian-lego. If you are interested in Lego CAD design and LEGO Mindstorms programming, check out the team wiki page to see what Debian can offer the Lego enthusiast.

Patches has been sent upstream, causing new upstream releases, one even the first one in more than ten years, and old upstreams was released with new ones. There are still a lot of work left, and the team welcome more members to help us make sure Debian is the Linux distribution of choice for Lego builders. If you want to contribute, join us in the IRC channel and become part of the team on Salsa.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Tags: debian, english, lego, robot.

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