Nonprofit Random Ramblings

4th January marks 3 years!

Wow has it really been that long? I started experimenting with WordPress back in June 2008 with the intention of setting up a site for the company I was working for so that it was the were to get information within the company (intranet) However, as most things tended to never happen there it was never implemented so not long before I was made redundant I was given the server that hosts this blog (and other services) so I put it to use here at home!

So lets look back at the versions of WordPress, Now as I said I started tinkering in June of 2008 so that would have been version 2.5.1 (yes I cheated, see release history here) Now I won’t give a breakdown of each release as you can read that from the link above! But WordPress has come a long way from my early days, there’s a lot more automated items now where traditionally you would have had to ftp your updates or themes and the like.

Also within the 3 year period my server has changed a lot as well (software) as when I originally started it was using Debian Etch. Although my preferred Linux distribution at the time was Ubuntu 8.04, However for some reason the live CD of either the Desktop or install media for Ubuntu Server wouldn’t recognise the RAID card! So that made for a rather short-lived prospect for running Ubuntu. It wasn’t until Ubuntu 8.10 that I was able to install, as for whatever was the issue on the 8.04 LTS had been either addressed or the necessary module was now included by default. I was also wanting to host my Email server and there was some simple setup prerequisites that Ubuntu Server 8.10 introduced that made setting up Postfix with all the bells and whistles of using AmavisSpamAssassin & ClamAV to give you a bit of mail cleansing! So Ubuntu remained as the servers OS untill September this year when trying to update to 11.10 when horribly wrong! and I was left with a non working system, Yes I certainly did do a system backup of all the data that I considered important, but this didn’t include a full drive clone though (something I considered but didn’t do!)

I’d become a little displeased with the direction Ubuntu was going anyway (I’d stopped using Ubuntu on my desktop not long after the release of 9.10) and the usage of Plymouth cause me some headaches as the video chip wasn’t up to spec for displaying the intended splash screen associated with Plymouth (even my desktop PC didn’t play nice with Plymouth!) It is my opinion that a server should only show verbose output while booting so you can see if there are any issues, by hiding that (verbose output) behind a splash screen as default was a bad move! So after some thought it was clear to me that my server needed to return to Debian (stable release) so that happened on the 9th of September and hasn’t missed a beat for me.

Now I have to admit that the majority of the content on this blog is really of no significance (to any one else!) but over the time of it’s existence I’ve learnt how to set up a Web server, Email server and a few other monitoring solutions. This blog (well the server really) is purely for my self education and none of this would be possible without Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and the developers that dedicate their time etc…

So will this last another 3 years? … Lets hope so! 😉

Android Me TV Nonprofit Politics Random Ramblings Weather

Images in posts?

I’ve just noticed that most of the images that should be visible within posts appear as broken links!  All the images are on the server, there seems to be something wrong within WordPress, or mySQL.

At first I thought no problem, that’s an easy fix…  No its not! as this will require me to edit every post and relink the files. Now having just on two and s half years of blog posts, that would be rather time consuming!

So for the moment, broken image links it is until I either find a semi/fully automated way of fixing the problem it’s going to remain.  😐

Posted from WordPress for Android

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Server Rebuild Complete

The previous post that I mentioned that I was about to rebuild this server was not backed up so its lost in the either! However I’ve removed Ubuntu Server Edition and now the server is using Debian (stable)

During this process I’ve opted not to restore some of the items that I was using previously (mailman, Hylafax, apt-cacher-ng & torrentflux to name a few)

I’ve already noticed a huge improvement (less CPU load) by keeping the server as minimalistic as possible!  😉


Posted from WordPress for Android

Me TV Random Ramblings

Me TV 1.3.1 Now in Debian unstable

I’ve just had my second update for Me TV accepted into Debian unstable (Sid)  😀

So I have also filed a bug report to sync this new release into Ubuntu Maverick and also uploaded to the Me TV development ppa on LaunchPad. This is to be the last package I do for Ubuntu Karmic, as this release although still supported for security updates has been superseded by Ubuntu Lucid.

Meanwhile, Me TV version 1.3.0 has merged into Debian Testing (Squeeze) and will be replaced with 1.3.1 in 10 days. Whilst version 0.5.33 is in Stable (Lenny)

Random Ramblings

Sometimes it just easier!

Some time back when I built my current PC I didn’t bother with getting an optical drive (initially) but as time went on and finances allowed, I go myself a Pioneer DVR-218L

description: DVD-RAM writer
product: DVD-RW  DVR-218L
vendor: PIONEER
physical id: 0.0.0
bus info: scsi@2:0.0.0
logical name: /dev/cdrom
logical name: /dev/cdrw
logical name: /dev/dvd
logical name: /dev/dvdrw
logical name: /dev/scd0
logical name: /dev/sr0
version: 1.01
capabilities: removable audio cd-r cd-rw dvd dvd-r dvd-ram
configuration: ansiversion=5 status=nodisc

Now I have a small issue with this drive, when I attempt to rip music CD’s for local use (either as MP3’s OGG FLAC the format is irrelevant) RhythmBox segfaults  🙁  This is due to an issue between RhythmBox attempting to acquire the Album/Song titles. This is a real PITA !! it’s of course an easy issue to overcome…

Forget the pretty GUI application of RhythmBox, and go for a CLI one called RipIt, this is quite a powerful application (see man page for full detail) giving you many options on how to control the whole process! So now I simply use Ripit and then burn the disc via brasero or cdrecord and I’m done! It would be nice if this issue didn’t exist, but then wouldn’t it be nice if no issues ever existed!  😉

So sometimes its just easier to use the command line!

Me TV Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Now a Debian maintainer for Me TV

As of last night I’m now the Debian maintainer for Me TV 😀

The first email that confirmed this was…

me-tv_1.3.0-1_amd64.changes uploaded successfully to localhost
along with the files:


Your Debian queue daemon (running on host

Then not long after that I got this…

Dear Scott Evans,

Version 1.3.0-1 of your package ‘me-tv’ has just
been uploaded to Debian. We assume that a sponsor uploaded the
package for you.

Since your package is sponsored successfully it is no longer
needed here and has been removed from

This mail was sent automatically by
In case you have any questions please just reply to this email.

I must say a big thank you to Julian (aka JAK) for assisting me with some minor issues in the packaging that I hadn’t dealt with prior, with his help this has helped me gain the confidence in being fully capable of future updates. This makes updates into Ubuntu much easier! as now all I need to do is a sync request and it will just happen  😉

My Q&A page is located here

Nonprofit Random Ramblings

Ubuntu and the need for power! (individual)

This topic seems to be rearing its ugly head within the recently disapproved ubuntu-au loco team. Although there has been some healthy discussion within the community from getting the bad news, there is still a lot of work to do before things will be back on the right track to getting the loco re-approved. Below is an article that was recently published on and I thought that it was worth reposting …

Ubuntu: meritocracy not democracy

Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon explains

By Jono Bacon

Jono Bacon is a musician, writer and software developer. He’s also the Ubuntu Community Manager, though the opinions expressed here are entirely his own

Ubuntu has many recognisable traits, but one of the best is its reputation for working with its community.

Since Mark Shuttleworth forged the original team in 2004, the Ubuntu community has exploded in size, spawning a diverse range of teams across the globe.

Underlining this sense of community was Mark’s eagerness to embrace transparency, putting in place open governance and tools, a code of conduct and an invitation for volunteers to join the ranks of the project.

Recently, however, there was some controversy surrounding this community ethos. It kicked off when Canonical, Ubuntu’s primary sponsor, announced a refreshed brand for the project. A new lick of paint was applied to the logo, wallpaper and more, and new colour schemes, textures, photographic treatments and other artistic flourishes were shared with the wider community.

As part of the brand development, key members of the community were flown to London to work with the design team, and senior community governance boards were told about the brand before it was publicly announced.

The announcement that I drafted included two screenshots showing the new light and a dark themes. Although seemingly innocuous to the casual observer, within the screenshots was a detail that got a few people a little worked up: the window close/maximise/minimise buttons had moved from the right to the left.

Community controversy

A bug was filed regarding the change, and everyone and their dog weighed in to share their opinions. Some offered genuinely thoughtful usability critiques, but many spewed forth disjointed, rambling opinions.

The debate raged on before Mark threw his two cents into the well: “We all make Ubuntu, but we do not all make all of it. In other words, we delegate well. We have a kernel team, and they make kernel decisions. You don’t get to make kernel decisions unless you’re in that kernel team. You can file bugs and comment and engage, but you don’t get to second-guess their decisions. … We have processes to help make sure we’re doing a good job of delegation, but being an open community is not the same as saying everybody has a say in everything.”

At the heart of Shuttleworth’s response was a clarification that decisions at Ubuntu are not made by consensus but by recognised and informed decision makers. He concluded his post in response to a previous comment, affirming this position of Ubuntu:

“This is not a democracy. Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions.” Within seconds of his comment on the bug being posted, Linux and open source newswires were ablaze with stories that Ubuntu was not a democracy, with some mis-reporting that there had been a fundamental change in how we build Ubuntu. My inbox filled up.

When the story broke, it reminded me of a conversation I had with Mark three years ago at an Ubuntu Developer Summit in California. It was my first UDS and I was still learning the ropes. At the time, I was putting together a community-led governance board for the Ubuntu Forums.

We’d codified the expectations of the council, fleshed out term lengths, decided on governance infrastructure and identified what the council would focus on. All we needed to do was decide who was going to serve on the council.

As we discussed different approaches, I recommended that we could hold a vote, to which Mark responded: “No, this is not a democracy.” At first, my reaction was pretty much the same rabbit-caught-in-headlights response that some people experienced recently. Democracy felt like a culturally familiar, comfortable and fair approach to community, so the idea it was not our culture came as a bit of a bolt out of the blue. Mark continued to explain the position:

“In Ubuntu, decisions are not driven by a popularity contest, but instead by informed decision-makers with firm experience of the problem and making solutions.” After he’d clarified what Ubuntu was not, he followed up with what it was: “Ubuntu is a meritocracy.”

Merit-based change

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a meritocracy doesn’t assume that everyone has a right to a vote, but instead that leadership and direction is driven by those who’ve developed a reputation based on merit and good work.

In a meritocracy, you don’t climb the community hierarchy by driving a nicer car, having finer clothes or other such material attributes. Progress is made through great work that’s identified and respected, and grounded in experience and informed judgment.

Meritocratic communities are at the heart of how people share and collaborate in an idealised manner. As kids, we’re warned of the temptation of bending the rules, or using status or a materialistic veneer as a fast-track to getting on in the world. From our earliest memories we’re taught that good deeds are rewarded with good deeds.

Communities such as Ubuntu work in this very manner. Fundamentally, communities are economies, but instead of growing financial capital, we develop our reserves of social capital. We build this by giving gifts to the community (such as patches, documentation, bug reports or other contributions), and when others see our gifts and respect our work, we grow in their minds as good citizens; citizens who have experience and who we typically trust to lead.

These attributes are by no means specific to Ubuntu; the majority of open source communities are also meritocratic and leaders are identified through good work, recognised contributions and trust generated by the community.

I’m hugely proud of the incredible work the global Ubuntu community has achieved in the last six years, and meritocracy has helped bring viability, respect and acknowledgement to their work.

We still have work to do and problems to solve, but opportunity is lighting the path forward and I, for one, am ready to roll.


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Random Ramblings

Time to review and rebuild

In my last blog, I reported that the Ubuntu-AU LoCo had sadly lost its Ubuntu-recognized LoCo Teams status. Well there has been much discussion both in the IRC channels (#ubuntu-au #ubuntu-au-chat) and the mailing list. SO to attempt to get the ball rolling, I decided to call an IRC meeting for Monday the 17th May 2010 at 21:00 EST / 11:00 UTC you can see (and add to) the agenda here

Some of the points I raise are to test the water (so to say) as some will disagree with my thoughts/ideas (that’s fine !) this is the purpose to this meeting! So if you truly care about the future of Ubuntu-AU then please make an effort to contribute. The objective of this meeting is not to make any decisions (on the night)  but to get ideas and topics for debate, so I suppose you could call it a “Brainstorming Exercise

See you there…  😀