No Food for Thought

Food is something you should provide to your brain long before coming to this blog. You will find no food recipes here, only raw, serious, non-fake news for mature minds.

FHoS - Ana Beatriz Guerrero Lopez: Discussion is not an option

admin Sunday February 28, 2016

In January, I announced my "resignation" from Debian's public relations. My last contribution to the team was a few fixes and other improvements to its wiki page. All of these changes were integrally reverted by an editor who used the helpful edit summary "remove changes from chealer".

Those who have worked with me know how I deal with troublemakers. I am as respectful to them as they are respectful to their colleagues. I reverted the editor with the equally helpful edit summary "uh... I guess "remove changes from x" shall be a good enough explanation". The editor then again integrally reverted my revision with an even worse edit summary: "hi chealer, please do not make edits in this page.".

At this point, you may think this is just another episode from an open wiki. And you would be right, except for the fact that the editor in question is no other than Ana Beatriz Guerrero Lopez, who has been a Debian member for a decade, and who is one of the 4 team members recently "appointed" by project leader Neil McGovern. I was already contributing to Debian KDE when Ana joined the team, so she knows very well who I am.

All of that explains why I went as far as creating a discussion page for the team's page before going further. But that still wasn't enough to get Ana to try justifying what she had done. She would still "[revert] unwelcome changes". Not only that, but by the same reversion, she removed the link to that discussion page. Appropriately in a sense, since she also deleted the discussion page.

Thankfully, that latest reversion was not integral. Apparently, she finally accepted most changes. Those she still rejected may be an indication of what really bothered her.

To be fair, I am not the only former member Ana removed. Her very next edit removed the current members and emeritus members sections, commenting that "there is not[sic] such thing as "emeritus" members and everybody belongs to the publicity team". I certainly agree with the former statement. Congratulations, Ana, for being the first to have the guts to make that statement. Unless you were simply the first one to need such an edit, to justify your previous edit. As for everybody belonging to the publicity team, if the delegation was not a coup, and if "The listing below includes regular contributors also.", it is strange that this listing only includes the so-called "DPL-delegated members". And if your co-delegate found it important to have all members listed on the page, is it consistent that all of those who added themselves at her request (Thomas Vincent and yours truly) have been removed by your edits, just a few months later?

In the end, the answer to those questions does not matter. That we have to speculate is enough to diagnose a communication problem. And since this is not the first time you have serious issues communicating, I have the dishonor of hereby enshrining you into the infamous FHoS.

Your last edit to the wiki page is surely just the tip of your contribution to Debian. I have not followed your activity closely, but I am convinced you are a useful contributor. But this is no excuse to undo other people's work and to be incapable of civil discussion after a decade of participation in a huge project like Debian, at the risk of demotivating your colleagues.

Do not despair. The FHoS is one very special hall, which you can (and are encouraged to) leave. This is no more a condemnation to permanent humiliation than a challenge for the continuation of your contribution. Demonstrate that you have understood the importance of communication and I will have the true honor of removing you from the FHoS. Have the Debian wiki become a real discussion platform, so that no one can do something quite as bad again. Show me you got it to run a discussion system a la Flow, and I will replace this post with one singing your praises.

Bad stealers and good stealers

admin Saturday February 27, 2016

I was in first grade the first time I had something stolen from me. In fact, the stealer took Micro Machines I had temporarily exchanged with my electronic helicopter, so the owner of the stolen Micro Machines did not give me back my helicopter, which produced sounds when its buttons were pushed. I remember the poor child I was regretting that loss years later.

Since then, the only things which were stolen from me are 2 winter bikes (i.e. cheap bikes), a seat-post and a wheel. And only one of these thefts involved breaking a security device. Eventually, I realized I have always been lucky, in particular on that front. In recent years, I realized how lucky in particular I was for having never lost a wallet.

On January 23rd, I went to the gym. I put all my stuff in a locker to go warm up swimming. After a shower, I arrived at the pool and noticed it was unavailable. I took a couple minutes to memorize the schedule, went back to the locker room, dried my hair and went back to my locker about 15 minutes after leaving it. I noticed half of my stuff was missing, and realized it was not my lucky day.

I wondered if the stealer would bring back some of the stolen stuff he could not make use of, but the middle-aged security agent who received my deposition said he had never heard of such luck. While I was waiting for footwear and clothes needed to go back home, I realized how much time (and money) it would take to recover and buy again the more than 20 items I had been stolen. I asked 2 or 3 times whether some of my stuff had been recovered, without success.

At least initially, I even felt that some of my trust in others had been stolen. I was not done dealing with that mess when, 23 days after the theft, I received a call from the gym asking me to come get my stuff, which they had picked from a locker in a different locker room than mine 2 weeks earlier. I was so shocked that I failed to realize that they did not realize what had happened. They had cut the lock because users are not allowed to permanently let their stuff in a locker, and they had been waiting for 2 weeks for the owner to come claim his belongings. They did not realize it was not the owner of those personal items who had let them in that locker, which is why they did not feel compelled to contact me earlier.

When I claimed my stuff, I confirmed the attendant was right. Everything I had been stolen was there, except for my lock. Either that lock was cut by the stealer, or—much more likely—I had forgotten to lock it and the stealer used it to lock my effects in the locker where he left them. Everything else was there, including payment cards, gift cards, 170 CAD (which is more than I estimated I had been stolen), 2 controlled keys, and various other personal items worth a few hundred dollars.

I wish I could confirm I had forgotten to lock my locker, and I wish I could understand why. But I am a lot more curious about the stealer's behavior. Did his relatives ask him to bring back my possessions? Did he realize who he had stolen and decide the victim did not deserve this? Or did he simply change his mind fearing the consequences of getting caught?

Recovering my effects is far from having compensated the trouble of canceling and obtaining new cards, buying replacements, dealing with the risk of having a stealer with the keys of several buildings and possibly my address, temporarily bringing down my website, and more, but a lot of that could be blamed on my gym. The stealer involuntarily taught me a few important things about security, as well as how one's vision of his fellow citizens can easily be influenced by anecdotal events of one's history. For these lessons, for my goods of course, but also for your restitution's large restoration of my trust in mankind and my desire to work for it, I thank you, mysterious stealer.

I should use this opportunity to thank Vincent Amyot, who caught me trying to steal a pog when I was in sixth grade, and rightly warned other kids at school to stay away from me because I stole pogs (one by one!). And thanks to Guillaume Talbot, who caught me stealing his Internet account (in the good old time of dialup) and The Palace account (although he then remained my best friend for years). And thanks to the RFID tag I could not see which prevented me from stealing a magazine about Microsoft Windows from my college's library, an attempted theft which the free software zealot I was at that time considered ethical. You all made me realize I was not good enough to be a robber, and made me a bit less uncomfortable for having the privilege of being the victim of such a good stealer.

Mourrons donc, non?

admin Saturday February 13, 2016

C'est bien connu que notre vie dépend de nos organes.
C'est aussi bien connu que nos organes sont moins nécessaires après la mort.

Pourtant, à chaque fois que je reçois une carte d'assurance maladie, on me dit de déclarer mon consentement au don d'organes. Cet effort serait si nécessaire qu'on tente de me persuader à coup de marketing. « Signez don », dit le pamphlet. Je suis bien prêt à faire un effort pour le don de mes organes, mais pourquoi devrais-je soit…

  • Apposer un autocollant sur chaque nouvelle carte et le signer, tout en avisant mes proches de mon consentement
  • ou envoyer, par la poste, un formulaire de consentement

Si les beaux chiffres (comme les 8 vies potentiellement sauvées) que le gouvernement avance pour inciter au consentement sont vrais, la présomption de consentement n'aurait-elle pas autant plus d'intérêt?

Ce que je serais prêt à faire, c'est de demander la présomption de consentement. Mais la pétition 411 est fermée depuis des années. Le gouvernement y a même répondu, rejetant en prétextant que le consentement présumé dans d'autres pays a donné «un résultat mitigé». La réponse mentionne « la possibilité d'effets pervers, comme une perte de confiance du public dans le système de prélèvements », prétendant même que le consentement présumé « pourrait, à la limite, aggraver la pénurie d'organes ». Mais quelle confiance du public dans le système de prélèvements? Et comment le consentement présumé pourrait-il diminuer une telle confiance?

Je suis désolé si mon boycott vous condamne à la mort, mais en réalité, ce meurtre aura été commis par le gouvernement du Québec. Certainement pas par moi, car je serai mort.

Vous pourrez au moins vous conforter en pensant que vous ne serez privé que d'une vie dans une société encourageant l'égoïsme, et avec plus de considération pour ses cadavres que pour ses membres. L'altruisme est généralement plus coûteux que l'égoïsme. Mais sommes-nous condamnés à ce que l'altruisme soit toujours plus coûteux?

Je ne ferai pas de déclaration officielle de consentement tant qu'il me faudra le faire plusieurs fois ou par la poste, mais j'autorise par le présent paragraphe que mes organes soient donnés à ceux qui boycottent le don d'organes à refus présumé, à ceux qui ont consenti au don d'organes et aux mineurs. Sauf pour mon cerveau (que je réserve à notre gouvernement brain-dead, qui en a tant besoin d'un nouveau, même si le mien peut sembler sans cœur).

En espérant que ma foie dans ce boycott ne sera pas vaine et qu'il me permettra de voir le consentement présumé (tel qu'il existe en France) au Québec de mon vivant. Et pourquoi pas avant la baisse anticipée des opportunités de dons d'organes?

Mise à jour 2017-05-14 : Ma carte expire à nouveau. Aucun changement de situation, et toujours aucune action de ma part pour devenir complice de cet ignoble massacre. Nouvelle insulte : le formulaire qu'il faudrait remplir réfère au site de Transplant Québec avec une mauvaise adresse. Gros progrès!

Common lies

admin Monday February 8, 2016

We frequently lie. Some lies are very common. Here are the 3 most common lies on the Internet:

L'Actualité, March 2016, page 24 wrote:

1. LOL
2. Like
3. I Have Read and Agreed to the Above Terms and Conditions (and obviously agree to give up my first born)

LOL. OK, sorry… ha-ha. But when you think about it, what is a LOLler's biggest lie? That he is laughing a lot? Or that his digital life is so funny that he needed to create an acronym to communicate laughter to his online buddies? rolleyes

The above is so true that I repeated lie 3 while redacting this post. OK… in fact, I was only going to my website to write this post when I did so. I wanted to say I was redacting, but that's a small lie.

Issues using GNU/Linux as a "desktop" (PC)

admin Saturday February 6, 2016

I hit numerous issues when I moved my desktop from Microsoft Windows to GNU/Linux. When this started to feel like too many, I remember starting a document listing the main issues. Eventually, I hit many more issues, became familiar enough with the system to report some of them, and started reporting bugs, a process I am still far from having completed more than a decade later (thanks to our ability to produce new bugs being much more developed than our ability to reproduce our existing bugs). Therefore, I lacked the time needed to work on that list, and at some point, probably after having realized how huge that list would have to become, I gave up and must have deleted it.

Therefore, I was amused when I stumbled upon another list created by someone with the same objective last week. After going through that list, I guess I was right to give up on my list - it is a huge list of problems (and although I learned of that list because it received a 2016 update, it remains a huge list, despite the decade of progress since I started mine). In fact, I already knew there were millions of bugs and such a list could be as long and anecdotal as I wanted it to be, but overall, I find that Artem's long list does a good balance between listing overly specific issues and failing to list serious issues. Artem's list is highly imperfect - it is sometimes repetitive, at times unsubstantiated, and as he acknowledges himself, some issues are more disadvantages of GNU/Linux in comparison to other OS-en (in other words, it is a lot more than a list of bugs). There are many issues listed which I did not experience myself or even read about, and I am far from agreeing with every claim on that page. Some points just seem severe. Many issues affect software which is not used by most GNU/Linux users. That being said, I think that overall, that document gives someone considering to move their PC to GNU/Linux a good idea of what this involves.

One of the reasons why I gave up on my list is that determining whether an issue should make the list was hard. It depended not only on the issue's importance, but on the affected software's popularity. In any OS, virtually no software is used by everyone. But with GNU/Linux, that problem is made a lot worse by high fragmentation. And indeed, the very issue of fragmentation is part of the 9 general issues Artem listed is his summary. While some could point out that this is not an issue per se, it could instead be called a meta-issue, since fragmentation means extra complexity, more difficulty obtaining support for any specific GNU/Linux install and less developers available to work on each piece of software which has alternatives. Even though Artem's list has been updated, it is unfortunately hard to use it to estimate how fast issues are solved (which was probably my main goal), but it could be much faster without such fragmentation.

I have never suggested anyone to switch a PC to GNU/Linux. At best, I might have significantly influenced 4 people to make the switch. All of these are bachelors in computer science or computer engineering. At least 3 of these no longer use GNU/Linux as their primary OS. I do not regret having put my efforts into improving GNU/Linux rather than into directly recruiting new users. In fact, when reading Artem's list, it seems unreasonable for a system administrator to familiarize with GNU/Linux for the sole purpose of switching its own PC to GNU/Linux, unless that administrator intends to improve GNU/Linux... although as soon as I go back to Microsoft Windows for a day, I'm reminded that GNU/Linux is far from having a monopoly on problems.

While most of my contribution to Artem's list is probably the absence of even more items, I have contributed to some of the pages the list links to. But these contributions are a bit ironic:

  • One page is a KDE bug report which was closed by a KDE developer because it does not affect Wayland. My contribution there was to point out that the fact that KDE could be used without that bug did not mean that the bug was solved, since X.Org is still affected. The faulty developer did not reopen, and the ticket remains closed.
  • Image The other page linked I significantly contributed to is Wikipedia's article on Heartbleed, which I expanded, fully reviewed and maintained until it was assessed as a "good article". The very first Wikipedia article dedicated to an open source software bug. In a sense, Heartbleed was a great bug, as it highlighted how vulnerable free software can be, and was the trigger needed for the Core Infrastructure Initiative, the "new initiative" Artem mentions in his section "On a positive note". I like to think that the "Root causes, possible lessons, and reactions" section I created helped Jim Zemlin convince organizations to join the CII.

    I believe free software's success in the last decade has made its weaknesses obvious. Technically, free software is neither more or less secure than proprietary software. Each piece of software has its own security. But when I joined the free software movement, many claimed a piece of free software was generally more secure than a proprietary equivalent - for example, a GNU/Linux distribution would be safer than Microsoft Windows. Since then, history has disproved that myth, and Artem's article reflects that very well. Free software projects themselves did not necessarily improve. A decade after I filed Debian's ticket #339837, Debian has made some progress. http://security.debian.org no longer claims that Debian's average response time to security issues is under 48 hours, but still claims that "Debian takes security very seriously.", now without any supporting statistical claim. But as I write these lines, Debian's security bug tracker lists over 10 high-impact vulnerabilities (in the current Debian version) acknowledged by Debian itself, along tens of vulnerabilities still unrated.

    Some projects have performed more serious changes to actually improve their security. Following Heartbleed, OpenSSL has adopted a roadmap and a security policy. It created a blog, added members to its team, improved its performance reacting to reports of security issues, performed code cleanup, started a code audit, adopted a code review system and a code review policy.

    Unfortunately, others thought securing OpenSSL required forking. Therefore, in the wake of Heartbleed, a major fork appeared: LibreSSL (not to mention BoringSSL). As if OpenSSL and GnuTLS were not enough, we now have 3 equivalent libraries, and many lesser-known forks and equivalents. The very meta-issue Artem's Summary denounces in its fourth point.
    So while Heartbleed's long-term effect was great in a sense, in another sense, if lack of resources was the root cause of Heartbleed, it is not clear that a reaction which worsens fragmentation will be helpful. I will not claim that OpenSSL is not more secure than it was before Heartbleed, but in the long term, I doubt the reaction is very helpful for TLS library users.

A lot of my work on GNU/Linux was focused on the desktop. I am proud of the difference I made. Yet, I am not so proud of the result at this point. A lot has changed since I started working on GNU/Linux, and yet, much remains the same. Thankfully, one thing also remains unchanged: users of fully free software GNU/Linux distributions do not need to worry about vendor lock-in from their operating system.

The cost of quality / La prise de qualité

admin Sunday January 10, 2016

Francophones are used to poor translations. In the end, quality is costly.

But crappy can be equally costly:

Allergan's coupon - Original version
Allergan's coupon - Original version
Back of Allergan's coupon - An apparently generous translation to French
Back of Allergan's coupon - An apparently generous translation to French

Careful observers will note that while the English version is a coupon, the French version is not. Attentive merchants can actually point out that the French version is a mail-in rebate and refuse to pay more than 2.50$.

Rant: Seatpost-mounted rear mudguards (Polisport CROSS COUNTRY )

admin Saturday January 9, 2016

Winter is a hard time for utilitarian bikers in Quebec. And due to the usage of rock salt for de-icing, it is even a lethal time for bikes. I always use a different bicycle for winters, because each bicycle used in winter is sacrificed. Except for those able to arse themselves enough to perform sufficient maintenance, a bicycle not designed for winter is usually pretty much unusable after a single season.

Therefore, I have been buying one bicycle per winter for more than a decade. Winter biking has lots of downsides, but since I started working in an office, the need to keep my clothing acceptably clean has created a new problem - equipping each new winter bike with efficient mudguards. This simple requirement has turned out to be nearly as problematic as obtaining the bike itself.

It may be a surprise to those who haven't tried winter biking in snowy countries, but fenders are not only useful on winter bikes, but more useful than during summer. Of course, there is no water during the coldest part of winter. But the winter bike is needed from the moment de-icing starts to the moment where streets are cleaned. This comprises an initial period of several weeks where streets are very frequently wet due to melting, as well as another such period at the end. Snow melting is not the only reason why fenders are required for winter. Again, it's rock salt which makes matters worse, by keeping streets wet even under 0 °C, and most importantly, by turning white snow and clear water into dirty brown slush and liquid. It is one thing to come to the office with a dirty and rusty ugly bike. It is another one to also go with a coat and/or backpack covered by dirt.

One would think you could reuse the previous winter bike's mudguards. But since each bike is different, I often have to buy a different model. Or, there is just so much rust that the previous mudguard cannot be removed. Since each installation is different, I have spent hours furiously installing mudguards (sometimes with poor instructions) on sometimes hardly compatible bikes. Therefore, a few years ago, I started asking whichever store sells the bike to sell me compatible mudguards and to install them (I officially gave up in 2012, swearing to myself never to install mudguards by myself again).

Just buying mudguards and getting them installed is sometimes nearly as costly and/or time-consuming as buying a used bike. But the most frustrating part is when the installation is deficient. The front mudguard is usually a lesser problem, although I have had several break. The rear mudguard is often worst because some models have no good support to attach classic mudguards (for example, on bikes with rear shock absorbers).

This year, my winter bike has rear suspension. I was very skeptical when the store recommended a seatpost-mounted mudguard. But since the seller assured me the fender would stay adjusted and efficient, and since there were no other options, I did go with a seatpost-mounted mudguard - specifically a Polisport CROSS COUNTRY mudguard (aka SPLASH QUICK GUARD), supposedly designed for mountain bikes. The product requires no tools and very little time to install… according to the manufacturer anyway. Indeed, the initial installation required no tools and 2 minutes.

Polisport's CROSS COUNTRY bike mudguard
Polisport's CROSS COUNTRY bike mudguard

It only took a couple kilometers to notice that due to the shock absorber, the mudguard would often collide with the tire. So I had to re-install the mudguard higher. Next, it only took a few rides to notice that as with other seatpost-mounted mudguards, its angle would vary, losing its alignment with the tire and causing crappy efficiency. I then removed the bottle cage to allow more room for my hands, so that I could tighten the attachment as much as possible (because it's not just that the installation requires no tools - you cannot use tools to maximize the grip, unless you're willing to risk breaking the plastic). Again, it was just a matter of a couple of rides to notice that even if the CROSS COUNTRY mudguard stays in the optimal position, it does not stop all water. Frankly, this is not a surprise when you look at its width and how badly it fits with my wheel (to be fair, the efficiency is probably lowered because my shock absorber forced me to keep extra distance between the mudguard and the tire).

So last weekend, I gave up, somewhat broke my commitment to myself and resorted to patching the CROSS COUNTRY with thick cardboard cut from a jumbo cereal box. I taped the piece face down (so that the part stopping the water is the most water-proof) on top of the mudguard. Bending thick cardboard in 2 directions simultaneously is non-trivial. In total, I suppose I spent nearly an hour {re,}installing that mudguard so far. Since that patch is installed, I didn't notice any leakage. The result is however esthetically imperfect:

Chealer's bio-enhanced Polisport-based rear mudguard - aerial perspective
Chealer's bio-enhanced Polisport-based rear mudguard - aerial perspective
Side view of my patched mudguard
Side view of my patched mudguard

The positioning also remains imperfect - I felt another collision between the mudguard and the tire today. But I was satisfied enough to refrain myself from this rant until an anecdote 2 days ago. My bike was next to another one in a rack designed for 4 bikes. This is uncommon during winter here, so I couldn't help but to look at the other bike. I then couldn't help but to notice the bike's rear mudguard, since that was the exact same model as mine (still in unpatched form). And I obviously couldn't miss the fact that as a true Polisport CROSS COUNTRY mudguard, it deviated from the wheel by about 1°, meaning it was surely letting half of the water go through, towards its poor owner.

I will not claim that seatpost-mounted mudguards should not exist. But Polisport's CROSS COUNTRY mudguard is not wide enough to do a good job on mountain bikes. And it is way too unstable. Do not buy it.

Update: a month after writing this, I passed an adult winter biker who was walking next to his bicycle, on which a not-so-young child was sitting. I was considering asking them why they were traveling that way when I was passed by a teenage winter biker. I realized his bike had a misaligned seatpost-mounted rear mudguard. When I caught up with him, I confirmed it was Polisport's CROSS COUNTRY.

Optimizing the optimization - Performant Incremental Updates for Packages files

admin Wednesday January 6, 2016

In 2006, Michael Vogt implemented support for PDiff (differential Packages) files in APT to optimize the process of updating Packages. At the time, the Packages file, which was already several MB-s compressed, needed to be downloaded entirely to update package indices. Joerg Jaspert and probably other members of the archive maintenance team implemented support for generating PDiff files on the archive side.

Unfortunately, APT's performance when applying (several) PDiff files was quite poor, sometimes worst than the performance for a non-incremental update, as reported (at least) in ticket 372712 and ticket 376158, which was particularly problematic for testing users - until APT 1.1.7, a nice X-mas present from Julian Andres Klode, who identified the bottleneck and optimized the process.

I haven't had the time to test testing since Jessie's release, but I'm starting to miss it smile
I wish to thank Michael, Anthony Towns, Andreas Barth, Joerg and others who contributed to the initial implementation, as well as jak, who's finalizing this work a decade later with an optimization job even more thankless than the initial implementation.
The next step? Differential updating of packages, with a lowercase "p"... which promises to be even harder to get right.

Finally, I'm using this opportunity to thank APT contributors - particularly its current maintainers mvo and jak - for all of their work. Progress has been slow over the last decade, but the direction is right, and each step is appreciated.

Electoral reform coming to Canada?

admin Tuesday January 5, 2016

After the last election, I wrote about the federal electoral reform promised. Nothing has really changed since then, which is why I am writing a new post.

Since the election, I have seen electoral reform discussed several times on the CBC's At Issue panel, by several commentators. Just yesterday, Tasha Kheiriddin mentioned reform on another CBC panel. Since the election, I am not sure any minister received more media attention than Maryam Monsef.

10 weeks after the election, the media still hasn't forgotten the Liberal Party's promise of electoral reform. It really seems like the government will propose electoral reform. What will happen - what system will be proposed, whether a referendum will be held, and the result of such a referendum - is still unknown, although the Liberal Party ruled out a referendum just last week. But clearly, the next months of Canadian politics will be exciting to watch. The system proposed will certainly be extremely suboptimal. But any change will probably be the greatest advancement in governance at the federal level since women's suffrage, a century ago. Canadian citizens could realize in 2019 that they have (slightly) more political power than checking a box every 4 years. The next generation may realize that democracy is not merely FPTP, except if we want it to be kept in its infancy.

On the other hand, if loyalist Canadians fear taking the lead on the UK for once and reject reform by referendum, governance reform could become a topic as taboo as constitutional changes and could be set back by decades.

Finally, while achieving proportional representation is just one governance improvement for me, I would like to congratulate Fair Vote Canada for all they have done during the campaign and after. FVC probably did not influence the results of the last election in the end, but your continual activity may still prove useful in the upcoming debate. Thank you, Anita Nickerson, Kelly Carmichael and all others for all the energy you invest in our goal. Keep up the good work.

2017 update: No

Civilization: Beyond Earth on Debian GNU/Linux? Good luck

admin Saturday December 26, 2015

Ever since I moved to GNU/Linux, the video game I missed the most was Sid Meier's Civilization. The only version ported to GNU/Linux was Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, probably my favorite version. But that port seemed to be an afterthought. One needed to look for the special installer, which was buggy.

With the release of CivBE, I was under the impression that Firaxis was finally truly making GNU/Linux a supported platform for Civilization. The GNU/Linux version was released less than 2 months after the Microsoft Windows version. Mac/Linux was even the fourth item in the game's official FAQ. For the first time in many years, I put a video game on my wish list. To my surprise, my mother offered it to me this week (I suppose she did not realize it was the same series I spent so many hundreds of hours playing over nearly 2 decades razz).

I was also happy to see the game's box didn't have the huge Games for Windows banner anymore. Unfortunately, system requirements claimed Windows was necessary. But I thought that was just randomly written system requirements, as usual (how credible are requirements asking for "Windows Vista SP2/ Windows 7" for a Q4 2014 game anyway?). I was less impressed when I inserted the DVD and realized there was absolutely no material for GNU/Linux, nor any documentation explaining where to go. And now, I cannot even find instructions on the Internet. The FAQ item mentioned above still discusses a Linux version as something future (although Wikipedia says it was released 2014-12-18). And I cannot even find installations instructions when searching on Google.

Is Civilization: Beyond Earth beyond Windows? I am far from being convinced at this point.

Hopefully, at least the game will be stable - without serious bugs as those which I experienced playing the original versions of Civilization III and V (let alone serious networking issues with Civilization IV).

Fully Free

Kune ni povos is seriously freethough not completely humor-free:

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