miércoles, 10 de abril de 2013

Your own Ubuntu / GNOME custom emblems

I love emblems. To me, they were a killer feature. Something that, when I started giving Ubuntu a try, led me to stick to it. Also something that made me prefer GNOME over KDE back in the day.

An often neglected features, the gnome environment was never a fan of motivating the user to use or even be aware of the feature. Things only got worse as Desktop Environments "evolved"s;. The GTK 3 generation - Unity, GNOME 3.0, Mint, etc, basically removed the feature of emblems. In reality, Nautilus still supports emblems as a tool for software to use them automatically (For example, Dropbox uses them so you can see if a file is updated, being updated or in conflict), but users cannot customize them anymore unless they mess with the command line or use third party tools. I recommend emblemize

Emblemize is great, but sometimes you might want to make your own custom emblems. Some icons that might be missing in the list of system icons. This command line tutorial should show how to add an icon that can be used as emblem and how to put it to a folder/file.

I suspect that this feature is nautilus-only. Nautilus forks probably have it too.

What I want to do

My home folder currently looks like this:

As you can see, almost everything has a descriptive icon with an emblem if needed. But the priv folder does not. The reason is that I am yet to find a good icon for it in Emblemize's list. I would like a lock icon.

How to do it

First of all, you need an icon to use as your emblem. You want a image format that supports transparency (png, SVG, gif), and an icon that has transparency. Optimally, the object in the image must touch the image's borders, else the emblem will look a bit small. I used google to find a "Tango lock icon". (Tango is the visual style most of the default icon themes in GNOME-based desktops are based on).Found a nice image, let us call it custom-emblem-lock.png. You can always make your icons yourself (I use inkscape), but generally google searches with the words Tango and icon give good results.

In order to add a custom emblem, we need two things:

We need to add the icon to the system. There are two methods, one involves editing the icon theme, but has the weakness that whenever you change your icon theme you might lose the emblem. The other is to add the icon to /usr/share/pixmaps. We will need the terminal for the second step, so we might as well use it for the first step. Open a terminal.

  • In the terminal, type this:
  • sudo cp /home/yourname/whatever/custom-emblem-lock.png /usr/share/pixmaps/

    Just make sure to replace "/home/yourname/whatever/custom-emblem-lock.png" with the complete path to the image icon. To make things simple, just save the image icon to your home folder. Then the complete path is just "/home/username/filename.png".

  • Open nautilus/your favorite file manager and head to /usr/share/pixmaps to verify that your icon is there.

If the extension of your icon image is png, it should now appear in Emblemize's window. But it might be hard to find it. I sometimes have to use files with different extensions. When you cannot find the image in Emblemize after placing it in /usr/share/pixmaps, you will need to continue to the next paragraph:

Now a bit of a harder part. The data that determines which file/folder has an emblem or not is saved in something called the metadata. We will use the gvfs-set-attribute command to set it manually, because Emblemize doesn't support you to input arbitrary strings as the name of the emblem (I wish it did). Go back to your terminal.

gvfs-set-attribute -t stringv "/home/vx/priv" metadata::emblems "custom-emblem-lock"

Of course, you should replace "/home/vx/priv" with the complete path to the file/folder you want to emblemize and "custom-emblem-lock" to the name of the image you moved to pixmaps. Note how this command does not include the file extension of the image. I put "custom-emblem-lock" instead of "custom-emblem-lock.png".

After running your command, nothing will happen. You need to refresh the nautilus window for the new emblem to show up.

I hope this was useful.

I fantasize of a program that allows you to create your own list of custom emblems, and then allows you to set them with just a popup menu in Nautilus.

It is difficult not to get overboard and enjoy emblems. This is a sample of my dev folder (Where I place all my programming projects).

I had to use this trick for three of these files. The folder that triggered this all was the xyedev foder, the one in which I develop (or used to develop) my free software game: Xye. I really wanted to see Xye's icon in it.

viernes, 29 de marzo de 2013

On RMS' support of sexism at conferences

Yesterday, Richard Stallman wrote something that I do not like at all in his political notes:

A man got fired for making jokes in Pycon that alluded to sex.

Making jokes referring sex, as such, is not wrong. Making a joke about "fork" or "dongle", as such, is not wrong. To criticize these things is prudery.

I don't know precisely what those people said; there might be more information in Richards' blog post, which I cannot access. Perhaps their words deserved criticism for some other reason I have not seen.

In the absence of that, they are the ones who were wronged. Pycon should not have criticized them for this (not even privately), they should not have apologized, and they certainly didn't deserve to be fired.

This appears to be an attempt to reimpose oppressive 1950s prudery. Richards and her supporters deserve to meet firm resistance. However, I would not have called for her to be fired for this, and sending her threats of violence was inexcusable.

Oh boy.

I have been following this debacle closely, really avoiding to make a blog post condemning the horrible sexism and misogyny in the Python community. Probably because I am a coward. But also because I am not really part of that community at all, and I doubt anyone would care. However, this post by RMS is a breaking point. It worries me because I call myself a supporter of Free Software. I even released free software code and a terrible game that no one plays at all. I promote Free Software operating systems and programming tools. This is why I cannot stand seeing someone in such a high position of influence in the Free Software world to do this.

Where do I begin?...

Conferences and codes of conduct

Fun thing about programming languages and tech conferences: They cannot really afford to deny entry to 50% of the potential population that could be interested in the topic. It is important to make sure that no one is uncomfortable at the conference. And it is also nice for the environment to be professional and have no sexual harassment. I think this is a good thing for everyone... men and women. It really pains me that it looks like the main reaction (similar to the main reaction when similar incidents happen in other communities that are mostly composed of 'geeks') is ... OPPOSITION TO OUR RIGHT TO MAKE JOKES!. People behave with such a sad and ridiculous entitlement about this. Do you mean, do you you REALLY mean that it is important for your comfort at a tech conference to withhold your right to make sexist jokes and innuendo and other things? Is it really that important? Is this really the sort of issue that requires your FREE SPEECH ACTIVIST tone?

I don't think so.

I wonder if part of the reason for Stallman's reaction is not being well-informed about the case. PyCon had an easily accessible code of conduct. It was against the code of conduct to make sexist jokes at that conference. And this has nothing to do with a conspiracy by Richards and her supporters to ruin conferences. This code of conduct existed well before the incident. Maybe the free speech activists should have reacted to it when it was first revealed, and not when a woman used the code of conduct to ask the conference organizers to do something - she was feeling uncomfortable because of the dongle and forking jokes (One of the guys has admitted that at least the dongle jokes were sexual in nature).

I am going to speculate, maybe the reason Richards and perhaps some other attendees to the conference decided to attend the conference was that the Code of conduct contained clear guidelines about these issues. I don't think there is anything wrong in expecting other attendees to follow the Code of conduct. I actually think that when the code of conduct is this well established, then those guys who really think their right to make sexist jokes is very important should avoid going to that conference. I think that for the most part this is true. The two guys who were making the jokes recognized that it was not good behavior and apologized.

In addition, Richards did not ask for anyone to get fired.


Contrary to how Stallman feels about this, those of us who would like there not to be sexist jokes at conferences are not killjoys. If anything, we would like conferences to be enjoyable for everyone. That is a bit of an issue though, because if we allow guys to freely make the conference an uncomfortable place for, for example, women, we would be failing our main objective. The entitled dudes with the jock mentality would be enjoying the conference, but ... no one else would.

Then Stallman talks about "oppressive prudery"... I really don't think this is a free speech issue. I think that guys are still pretty much able to make their own blogs where they can make compilations of all dongle jokes they can find. Of course, it could get you fired, specially if you do something like make the blog post in the your company's official blog. Or if you are found making the sexist jokes at a conference. A conference that explicitly bans those jokes. A conference that you are attending in representation of your employer.

In these regards, Free Speech is not really a right not to be criticized. I think that as entitled as people are to make sexist jokes, other people are also entitled to criticize that action. Publicly, even.

This brings the side issue of "public shaming". Stallman did not mention it, so I will be brief about this. If you do things in public, you should consider the possibility to be called out in public about them. If these jokes are really a source of shame for you - To the point you would consider getting called out on them "Public shaming" then I have a good solution for you: Do not perform shameful acts in public. A frankly ridiculous defense is that the jokes were "private" jokes. No, the guys were standing in a conference room surrounded by people. So no.

Those who really deserve firm resistance

It challenges my suspension of disbelief to read Stallman saying that Adria Richards and her supporters "deserve" firm resistance. Altogether ignoring the outburst of awful sexism and misogyny in the community after the event.

  • Sexism: If you are confused or undecided about whether or not the reaction included a whole bunch of sexism. Detecting sexism is easy, it takes the guise of a double standard. Look up to those reactions that make a pretty big deal about a father of three getting fired and actively ignore the probable repercussions Richard's life is going to have for getting fired herself.
  • Misogyny: Much worse and obvious than the sexism, but for some reason there are people that deny it even when it is flaunting. If a person's main reaction to a woman complaining is to call her a B word. If the reaction includes projecting negative views about other women on her or if the reaction includes the words rape or ugly in any form or any other form of violence. That is how a misogynist comment looks like.

The thing is that after the ridiculous explosion of sexism and misogyny anyone would worry about Richards herself. Or spend anytime criticizing her actions. Whereas there is clearly a much bigger issue at hand. While Richards may be a threat to your freedom to make dongle jokes; The sexism and the misogyny are a threat to women in the Python community and as such a threat to the community itself. How do you intend there to be any progress. To make more techs to join. And to make the conventions seem safe and comfortable. When these people seem to have the louder voices? Asking people to oppose firmly to Richards after this incident is a serious mistake. There are certainly much greater threats to the community that were made evident after the incident.

Side notes

If you really think that making a public tweet was a big sin, you are probably unaware of reality. Asking nicely is not a reliable solution.

Plenty of commenters have fallen victim to the fallacy of the middle. Yadda yadda yadda, "making sexist jokes in the wrong place and in a conference that explicitly forbids it is wrong an unprofessional BUT it is also wrong to tweet pictures of it " yadda. I strongly disagree. Richards acted within the code of conduct. PyCon later updated the code of conduct to forbid public shaming, which is a frankly terrible move.

To sum up

I find Richard Stallman to be disturbingly wrong in this topic. A bad sign that the free software movement is hostile to the idea of making conferences a safe and comfortable place to everyone. As a free software fan, I feel forced to state strong disagreement.

Richard Stallman is in Bolivia right now and I was going to attend one of his conferences next Monday. I decided not to do it. Just a quite meaningless action and I really doubt there will be an empty seat or that anyone will actually care, but still.

Unfortunately, this is not a first time either. In June last year he showed concern against the notion that maybe guys shouldn't make sex propositions during conferences. Oh well.

sábado, 23 de marzo de 2013

RSS readers and self-congratulation

RSS were a great idea. An open standard based off XML so that web sites can easily share latest updates.

What they did great was allow you or a program or other web site to quickly list the updates and provide links/summaries/copy pastes of them.

Less trivial was the management of many multiple RSS feeds a user may have in order to keep track of her favorite web sites. When you have many feeds, you wonder which you have already read. When websites provide only the 10 or so latest updates in their RSS feeds, there is also the risk of missing some updates if updates are not done regularly/automatically. The RSS software client was born.

A small problem with the RSS clients is that users are consistently less and less likely to use the same computer device all the time. Devices now come in all sizes , shapes and purposes. Each with the ability to browse the web. A less common issue is that some people actually use multiple different operating systems in the same device, which unfortunately tend to work the same as if they were different devices.

The 2000s were a fun time for everyone. And when I was testing my first Red Hat and Ubuntu versions alternating with windows and cyber cafe computers, I eventually gave up on the RSS Bandits, the Lifereas and the Kaggregators. I learned about a great little service called Bloglines. It did everything those RSS readers did, but it was a website. Think about it. I could use it in any computer/OS that had a web connection, it was practical.

History is full of disappointment though. The RSS reading business is apparently difficult to profit from. A web service whose main utility is to direct users to updates in other sites? Bloglines eventually broke, was sold to a company whose main objective was apparently to completely ruin it with awful interface changes. I had to be directed to google reader. And for a couple of months it was great. Actually even better than bloglines because you could create your own RSS feed with things you would share from other feeds (and add comments even). Too bad google decided to kill this too. By first ruining it with awful interface changes of its own, and crippling google reader by replacing the sharing feature with google+ trash. This was a great way to scare away users, which then allowed them to announce that they are shutting it down because of lack of users...

Life goes on, and there are google reader alternatives. It seems most people are jumping ship to feedly, which means that feedly is next in the line to be ruined absurdly by a sale, or company decision.

You all might be wondering what Linux.com has to say about this... Goodbye Google Reader, Linux Has Its Own RSS Aggregators... I got a bit of a problem with this. I think Linux evangelism is great. But not when it provides non-solutions to people. The kind of people that are going to miss google reader most likely have already heard of local software RSS clients and they did not find them to be a complete solution to the RSS aggregation problem. A google reader alternative has to be online or be at least barely on-line based, using a server's database to keep track of whatever you already read. I just think that this sort of forced evangelism ultimately does not really help improve the image of Linux or open source.

sábado, 16 de marzo de 2013

There are alternatives to google reader - Still bad news

I wrote this as a response to : http://standardsandfreedom.net/index.php/2013/03/16/opml/


Let us ignore the minor issue that the alternatives are not very good and that self-hosting is not a realistic solution for two thirds of the internet users…

The issue is google’s choice. Ever since google reader was feature-crippled a couple of years ago. It seemed that goog want us to move to their walled garden with no anonymity of g+. At this time it seems that they are getting rid of RSS precisely because it is an open standard. Since that date there were other anti-RSS moves from big G, like the removal of ad sense for feeds. The objective with these shut downs does not seem to be to cut costs. There are currently services at google that have less impressive usage numbers than google reader.

While the effect on the people that do not want to lose RSS feeds will be minor – we will move on to an alternative – . This will still motivate more people to give them up for walled gardens, because when they hear “just use an alternative”, they also consider twitter, facebook and G+ an alternative. The real issue is the signal google is sending. That they do not care about open standards and that they are not above getting rid of them.

Is feedburner next?

domingo, 16 de diciembre de 2012

RMS calls ubuntu spyware. Ubuntu fails at damage control

Many shall wonder what use is there for this blog. The story goes as follows: This year I upgraded my old ubuntu 10.10 to 12.04, and after going through various shocks, I actually got used to it. And the unity desktop. This upgrade made me interested once again in sharing bits of knowledge about ubuntu, and opining about foss.

Little did I know that after I finally decided to start the blog. I learned that ubuntu was going to include ads later. That is such a turn off. All my motivation was killed. Really. What will I do now? Continue promoting ubuntu and just tell people to uninstall the adware? Look for a fork? Like I mentioned, I liked unity and I wanted to promote it. But now what? So that explains the lack of content from this blog.

Today I have to say more things about Ubuntu's Amazon adware

RMS does not like it

Anyone not shocked about Richard Stallman calling it adware and generally not being happy at all about ubuntu's new "feature" Probably did not know Stallman or the new Ubuntu feature too well.

fsf.org - Ubuntu Spyware: What to do?

Ultimately, RMS is right, you know. It is spying all your desktop searches. It is spying your desktop searches to provide a feature that is not really that useful - To fill your desktop searches with amazon adware.

The highlight of the whole text is this:

If a sufficient part of our community's opinion leaders view this issue in personal terms only, if they switch the surveillance off for themselves and continue to promote Ubuntu, Canonical might get away with it. That would be a great loss to the free software community.

That is that continuing to promote Ubuntu because "you can just remove it". Is a very selfish way to do these things. Because not every user out there will be proficient enough to know that it can be removed.

What RMS does not know, is that despite the opposition to this feature. Despite that the new common new user reaction to ubuntu is "How do I remove the annoying Amazon ads?". Canonical want more of this. New ubuntu versions are likely to become worse before improving.

Damage control: Childish

Of course, when the starter of the whole free software thing. The thing that is still ubuntu's main selling point among passionate fans, says that ubuntu has spyware and that we should stop promoting it. It causes a disturbance in the plans of those who intended this feature to just slip away. It was time for damage control.

My first experience with damage control was actually quite poor. This ubuntu forums thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2092359 . In which someone calls Stallman's article FUD and leads us to the Ubuntu privacy another post leading us to Mark Shuttleworth's old blog post about the feature.

The privacy policy is not that much comfort because it mentions nothing about the desktop searches that are being sent to Canonical's server even though Mark Shuttleworth says that they are sent to Canonical's servers. Does this mean that the searches are sent to Amazon and the blog post was wrong? Does this mean that the privacy policy does not protect our desktop searches? I do not know!

The blog post is not comforting either, it is just some of the common defenses of the amazon adware feature. (These defenses miss the point.

Let us call RMS' article FUD. That makes sense does not it? Except RMS' post contains no Uncertainty or Doubt. What is left is Fear. It is unfortunately, founded fear, because ubuntu is sending your desktop searches to canonical by default. And that was confirmed by Shuttleworth himself.

I thought. Ok, those are not official Canonical stances about RMS' post. Let us wait to see what happens. I did. And I was not impressed

"As a response to RMS speaking out against Ubuntu about its privacy-violating integrated Amazon search results, which he considers to be spyware, Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has addressed RMS's statements. In his reply, Jono claims that Stallman's views on privacy do not align with Canonical's, that some of his statements are worded in order to 'generate fear, uncertainty, and doubt about Ubuntu' and that 'it just seems a bit childish to me.' The comments on the post itself are well worth a read."

The good thing about Jono is that he later apologized for the childish remark.

Honestly, if the best defense that Ubuntu supporters can come up about this is that "Privacy is a very personal thing" and that "Freedom is a very personal thing". And to say that it is just FUD. Then I am not very happy about this.

Point of the matter is that Ubuntu still sends your desktop searches through the net by default. Even if Canonical was the most reliable corporation ever, what about hackers? I mean, really. At least corporations should find ubuntu unsuitable at the moment. Because anybody in between the pipeline can learn at least the file names you are using.

What no one seems to like to admit , is that desktop searches can be very profitable information. They would just need some data mining. And since the ubuntu privacy policy makes no mention about how these searches are going to be used. The question is still out there... answer-less. Can we please have better damage control?

If you want some real FUD

We know that Canonical claim that your desktop searches are not sent directly to Amazon. But we also know that there is at least some Amazon traffic when you search from unity. I suspect that the images are downloaded from amazon.com. If that is the case, would not it be possible for Amazon to still track what sort of things you search in your desktop?

miércoles, 24 de octubre de 2012

Not your usual "Banned from Diablo 3 for using LINUX" post

(Update) November 15-th / 2012

Received a phone call from Blizzard entertainment to clarify me that the mistaken ban had nothing to do with Linux and was due to an issue with their tools.

I perceived the phone call as a request for me to stop annoying Blizzard by posting about this, so I will stop now (sort of good mooded at the moment for the refund and free license, you know).

(Update) November 14-th / 2012

I actually got unbanned. As you can see in this post, after my first support ticket was denied I didn't really insist on the topic and made a new purchase. So two weeks later I receive the surprise that they found evidence that the ban was a mistake and that they were going to refund the second purchase (they did).

I guess the Diablo gods blessed me. I think that what helped me was that I found the specific warden/WINE bug that affected me and I knew the actual date in which I fixed it. So I mentioned it in the ticket. Even though the ticket was dismissed quickly, I guess they paid a bit more attention later.

Original Post

I have something to confess. This month I went to the US. And taking advantage of the possibility to finally buy original games at the fairish markup of 60.00 USD, I took two copies of Diablo 3 (one for me and one for my brother). We have already played the Starter edition (more game companies please do this: offer a limited, but not time-limited version of your game for free). so I knew it was likely I was going to enjoy it.

I also knew about the fuss there was in July about WINE (LINUX) users getting banned from Diablo 3. But I researched. For starters, Blizzard public face Bashiok said that you won't get banned for using Linux and that only cheaters were getting banned. Then I tried to find if after these July reports more people were getting banned. Some Linux users even in July were reporting that they were not getting banned. It seemed to be worth the try. I really dislike having to reboot windows just to play a game.

Ever since playing the Starter Edition, I had some glitches when playing in WINE. From a sporadic login issue (freeze). Logging out taking very long time. And "partial" disconnects. Although you are able to play the game, using interface elements outside the game would crash in some 150 seconds. It was annoying, but I could still play.

Last week, patch 1.05 of Diablo 3 was released and suddenly, I was not having those issues. I was able to use all features normally. Able to log out or close the game in an instant. Able to leave the gold auction house open for a while and monitor my sales of mediocre items for a couple of thousands of gold. It was wonderful. I was very happy that they made BNET more stable and that it improved WINE compatibility!.

Not really. Because some 24 hours after, I started to get the issues again. Until Sunday 21-th when I was really tired (after seeing how the game is supposed to work, you no longer can stand the partially working solution). And put on my WINE bug investigator hat. I decided to try to google for the sympthons individually. Sometimes I would get a freeze at a stage of the logging in process. So I found a WINE bug report. Diablo 3: Hangs on "Authenticating Credentials". It was... clarifying. The people in the comments were able to confirm that there were issues with Warden's connection getting lost because of some memory management issues when WINE is run in some 64 bits versions of Linux/GNU distributions that have more than 2GB. I happen to be running exactly that, ubuntu 12.04 64 bits with 4 GB of RAM. This Warden issue would then cause many symptons that were exactly like what I was experiencing. The handy WINE experts even came up with a solution : "setarch i386 -3 path to diablo 3.exe". I tried this solution and voila! Issues gone!

I had fixed my issues... but then terror had invaded my heart in a way much worse than any of the silly (and kind of comical) story of Diablo 3 could... That day I learned that all this time I was managing to play Diablo 3 without Warden's approval. Warden being the infamous automated cheater detection software that bans people automatically was quite a concern. This explains why it all was working for a while after 1.05 - Warden happened to have been just disabled for a while after the release.

If I was smarter than I am. I would have given all my gold and better items to my windows-using brother and wait for my ban. For some reason I kind of harbored the hope that Blizzard would figure out that warden stopped crashing when I was playing and that they would leave it all behind. That was foolish. As I was banned yesterday.

Appealing the ban is completely ineffective

This part of the story is quite common. I received an email that I have read in the past. It is the exact same email everyone banned because of warden's "findings" find. "Account action needed .... Blah blah blah.... Reason : Unauthorized third party apps" blah blah blah."

Blizzard includes an appeal process for the account ban. But I could not feel hopeful about it. Because I have already read exactly the same response I had. "An additional review" was done and they "confirmed their initial findings". Funny though. Because I sent my support ticket late in the night when Tech support is not at work and I received my reply 15 minutes after the tech support starting work hour. It is hard to believe that they really analyzed all the details I sent them. Including my findings about the WINE-Warden bug that caused me to unknowingly play diablo 3 without warden. The bug report thread and how I fixed it by Sunday.

I now feel fairly certain that the reply about the "additional review" is completely automated. I really doubt Blizzard tech support really have time to deal with all the ban appeals. Or that they really care. (What is the economic incentive? Banned players have already paid for their accounts, and if they have to buy a new one due to being banned, it is more profit).

It is not really Blizzard's fault... At least not 100%

This is the part that you will find unusual about this post. Since I know the exact cause of the ban, I cannot really blame Blizzard or feel ultra offended for losing 60 bucks.

The issue that caused Warden to fail is a combination of random factors. Using a 64 bit Linux OS, having more than 3GB of RAM. I bet things like WINE version and connection speed may have an effect too. Linux is not a supported OS. Which means that Blizzard do not have any duty to fix any Warden bug in these settings.

Also consider some perspective. If Warden stopped working then Blizzard have record that you (intentionally or not) bypassed their cheater protection. How exactly can they know if it was intentional? What if I am really a cheater that is just taking advantage of the Linux / WINE issues to bypass protection? The terms of service which I signed entitle Blizzard to be as paranoid as they want and to ban whoever they want.

I cannot really blame blizzard. They have to rely on Warden blindly. Else they would be admitting their security measure blows and is full of false positives and negatives. Without their automated Warden, Blizzard would really have no defense against hordes of cheating apps.

Not WINE's fault either.

The problem with software like Warden is that it is very secretive. And probably have to rely on very specific operating system tidbits. It is by definition something that WINE developers cannot even test. If it relies in obscure windows functions, then it is more likely than not that WINE will not work the way Blizzard expect windows to work.

In this regards, I find it impressive and very nice that previous games that used Warden have not come up with similar issues. Warcraft III, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft are some of the best games you can run almost flawlessly in WINE. It is too bad that Diablo 3's warden is potentially more drastic (and bugged) and thus has had these issues.

It is really my fault

Let us see. I knew there was a big risk of getting banned. I knew that Blizzard relies on a terrible automated cheater detection software which who knows if WINE can really support. I also did not bother to fix issues that I could have fixed the first day. The setarch workaround was available long before I started playing the Starter edition version.

What I lost

I do not really make a big deal out of the 60 dollars I spent. I take these 60 USD as not wasted but spent in at least making WINE better and hopefully my info can prevent others from getting banned too. I am gonna get a new account and play from windows because Diablo 3 turned out to be very fun. Specially playing it with my brother.

What I really lost today is simply put, the ability to run the game from Linux. Dual booting is really an annoyance. I have not booted my windows copy in years, and since diablo 3 is only I will have to make sure windows is clean of anything that would clog my connection. I will also really miss the ability to run diablo 3 in a window while I browse the Internet or use my favorite Linux apps.

I even think that since I was able to run D3 is a very minimal desktop environment with no other apps and just a terminal window, I might get worse performance in windows.

To be honest, I think two ways of freely playing a good and fun game (This is the best work Blizzard have done in years), at the comfort of my Linux setup. I think it was worth the 60 bucks.

My conclusion

If you are planning to play a video game that is always or mostly on-line. And the video game has a draconian automated cheater detection program that is known for making false positive and is trigger-happy about permanent bans. Do not play it in WINE. Your odds are really against you. If the makers of that video game decide to ban you. There is really nothing you can do. The current terms of service give players zero to no rights. I suggest you to get games that have real Linux/GNU clients. People say Valve is going to be releasing some.

If you do not want to get banned, do not play Diablo 3 in Linux. It would be nice if this was not true, but it is.

(Update) But really...

Blizzard need to be more honest about their true stance regarding WINE and Linux. If I was not encouraged by Bashiok's claim that only cheaters were getting banned, I could have avoided this.

A more realistic and more accurate stance would be:

Linux is not supported. Although we will not ban anyone specifically for the reason of using Linux; Please note that due to compatibility issues we cannot always predict, your setup could cause false positives in our cheater detection software. We may not always be able to confirm that those are false positives and thus your account might be suspended permanently.

Things like Warden bugs that are only triggered by WINE in few OS configurations are really an issue that Blizzard have to acknowledge before saying that they only ban cheaters. I take the fall (bought a new account) for taking this risk, but the risk should be stated.

lunes, 24 de septiembre de 2012

(Corrected) Unbelievable: launchpad removes bug report #1054776 suggesting to fix AdWare feature.

Update: Seems this thread was a too quick reaction to the bug thread disappearing. The thread is back and further verification indicates that a user without affiliation to Canonical or any project hid the bug thread until someone with higher rank restored it.

Bug #1054776, the one suggesting simply not to do remote searches on the home lens has been removed. It reached a high heat value (and thus there was a lot of interest) and plenty of support. But is now gone.



This is probably not the most open move. But it gives us a clear message. The shopping lens and its invasion of the home lens will stay in 12.10.

Thankfully, we can trust in google cache to at least preserve some of the discussion. Some highlights of what was removed:

The bug is a proposal for a specific technical change (to have shopping-lens not included in the home lens in 12.10). I suppose it's an opinion whether that change is an improvement over the current plan, but there are certainly many facts that support the proposal:

1) It's a contentious feature, evidenced by this bug.
2) It's proposed for a default-on state in a widely used component (home lens).
3) It has privacy implications when compared to the previous state of home lens in 12.04. Home lens in 12.04 doesn't send queries to remote servers, shopping-lens does.
4) Those privacy implications aren't addressed by the privacy policy: Bug #1054741
5) And the privacy implications aren't disclosed upon use of home lens: Bug #1054782
6) Also the feature itself results in a lousy user experience due to poor results (Bug #1053678) and inappropriate adult results that aren't tied to any age assertation (Bug #1054282)
7) Despite all of the above, the feature was introduced ***post-freeze*** with little community review: Bug 1053470
8) It appears that it was fast-tracked through freeze exception in spite of all the above issues because of executive support at Canonical: http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/1182, which creates the appearance that community input isn't valued and that the privacy objections aren't respected.

There are just too many concerns in relation to this bug. I still think the sanest approach would be to at least postpone it to 13.04.

In addition to the privacy concerns stated above, I'd just like to add that this causes a *huge* hit to usability. There is already a lot of information presented in the dash home, and adding a stream of information that is probably totally irrelevant to a given search goes against the whole point of having the dash - namely to find stuff more easily.

Example: I keep a journal on my computer. It is a file named journal.odt. If I type in journal, I just want to see that journal (and maybe some relevant programs, like Gnome Activity Journal). I don't want to see icons for: "Hand - Deadroom Journal [2008] $7.77"; "Taylor Dupree - Journal [2011] $2.79"; "Bridge 61 - Journal [2006] $8.99"; "Jully - Journal Intime [2008] $9.99"; "Arabica - Journal [2010] $9.99"; "Dday One - Journal [2011] $2.79... and that's just one line.

That this turns every desktop search in to an advertisement threatens to make Ubuntu seem like adware itself, as vexorian mentions above, but even if one finds these options useful, the amount of clutter added to the dash home is a problem.

Making this a separate lens would solve both these issues to an extent, since if the user went specifically to the shopping lens there would at least be the assumption that the user wants to actually buy something. Integrating it with the home lens makes no sense since the vast, vast majority of times a user types something into the dash they don't want to buy something new, but rather want find something that is already on their computer.

This, coupled with the privacy concerns mentioned above (which are really, really serious), ultimately means that even a separate lens should be an *opt-in* feature - especially considering the vast majority of users will have no clue how to disable it.

Update: False alarm. It was hid by a contributor and then brought back by another contributor.