Category Archives: Editorial

Link: Systemd Dev Slams FOSS Culture

The open source community is “quite a sick place to be in,” Red Hat engineer and Systemd developer Lennart Poettering said Monday in a post on Google+.

“The open source community is full of [assh*les], and I probably more than most others am one of their most favorite targets,” Poettering added. “I get hate mail for hacking on open source. People have started multiple ‘petitions’ …. asking me to stop working. Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!).”

Full article here:
Systemd Dev Slams FOSS Culture (LinuxInsider.com)

We are just happy to see that someone is finally shedding some light on the very pervasive problem of online bullies that hang out in Linux and open source software communities. And they don’t just attack developers, they also go after inexperienced users that ask simple questions about how to do something. Not all forums allow this sort of behavior, but enough do that it has caused many people to want nothing to do with Linux, or with a particular piece of software.

There’s also a lot of passive-aggressive behavior in such forums – for example, a user asks how to perform some task and is told to go read a man page or to f*cking Google it. People who respond in that way are no less bullies than the sort that outright attack other participants, and should have sledge hammers applied to their keyboards! These people are a scourge on the open source and Linux communities, and are probably the major reason that Linux is not as popular as Windows or OS X. No new user wants to be talked down to, or treated in a condescending manner by some asshole who thinks he is superior to everyone else in a group.

I do realize that this is not a problem in Linux and open source communities alone; I’ve seen similar behavior on other forums that have nothing to do with those. But for some odd reason, communities based around Linux and open source software seem to attract a higher percentage of these types. Here’s a hint: If someone asks a question and you don’t feel like actually helping them, then DON’T TYPE ANYTHING! Move on to the next thread, or go do something more productive, or watch TV for a while, or do ANYTHING else, but KEEP YOUR DAMN FINGERS OFF THE KEYBOARD!

If you have a daughter, niece, or granddaughter in school, please read this: To my daughter’s high school programming teacher

If you have ever wondered why there are so few females in computer-related fields, it’s probably because of experiences such as the one that this woman’s daughter went through. What makes it worse is some of the idiotic comments posted under the article. Some of those comments really make us wonder about the future of humanity. Fortunately, there are many other comments that indicate that people do understand that this is a real problem. We just wish there were more of them!

To my daughter’s high school programming teacher (Usenix)

Oh, and for those that focused on the comments about Visual Basic, that is not what the article is about. If that’s all you got out of it, you might want to read it again!

I no longer recommend using Asterisk’s Google Voice support — try these methods instead!

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.

EDIT (May, 2018): FreePBX and Asterisk users that wish to continue using Google Voice after Google drops XMPP support should go here: How to use Google Voice with FreePBX and Asterisk without using XMPP or buying new hardware.

This article was originally written in January of 2012, and has been heavily edited in an attempt to update it a bit.

Not that anyone probably cares what I think, but anyone who regularly reads this blog (or any of the other VoIP-related blog that cover Asterisk) may have noticed that prior to the release of Asterisk 11, Asterisk’s support for Google Voice had become less and less reliable over time, particularly for incoming calls. You have to do all sorts of “tricks” to make it work, and these usually involve adding delays that don’t always fix the problem, inconvenience your callers, and possibly cause more hangups as people get tired of waiting for you to answer the phone.

Therefore, I suggest that if you are using a version of Asterisk earlier than Asterisk 11, you stop using Asterisk’s Google Voice support completely. Assuming that you feel you must keep using an older version of Asterisk, I suggest trying one or more of the following:

  1. Use YATE as a gateway between Asterisk and Google Voice. See Using YATE to overcome Google Voice issues in FreeSWITCH and Asterisk, this article and this forum thread on YATE in a Flash, and this thread on YATE Tips & Tricks). YATE is what powers Bill Simon’s gateway (mentioned below). See comments by Bill and pianoquintet under this article.
  2. Use Bill Simon’s Google Voice-SIP gateway to handle your Google Voice calls. Some people may not want to rely on an external service for this, while others may very much appreciate having the option. I mention it for those in the latter group. For more information see Bill Simon’s Free SIP-to-XMPP Gateway Easily Puts Google Voice on Your VoIP Phone (Voxilla). While the linked articles talk about using the gateway with a SIP device, it can be used as an Asterisk trunk.  EDIT: As of April 7, 2015 the Google Voice Gateway has been relaunched and there is now a one-time fee to sign up.
  3. If your only issue is with incoming calls, you could use a DID to bring the calls into your system.  But keep in mind that Google Voice does not like it when calls are answered the moment they connect, so in your FreePBX Inbound Route be sure to set the “Pause Before Answer” option to at least 1.  I have found that a 1 second pause is sufficient, but I’m not saying that is the correct value for everyone, or even that everyone will need to include such a pause (some DID providers may delay the call sufficiently before connecting through to your system that the pause isn’t needed).

At this point, any of those would likely produce better results than using the Google Voice support in any version of Asterisk prior to Asterisk 11.

EVERYTHING in this article is my personal opinion.  Nothing here should be taken as a statement of fact.

EDIT:  Ward Mundy reports that he just may have found a workaround for the incoming calls issue — see this thread in the PBX in a Flash forum.

Link and comment: Slate Reprints Blue-Box Article That Inspired Jobs

 

Important
This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.
Blue Box at the Computer History Museum

Image via Wikipedia

From a post on Slashdot, posted by timothy on Monday October 10, @05:09AM:

Slate has reprinted the piece that Ron Rosenbaum wrote for Esquire in 1971, explaining to the world that there was an underground movement of people hacking the phone system. (Rosenbaum is now a columnist for Slate.) According to the article’s new introduction and followup piece by Rosenbaum reflecting on its impact — and to the New York Times obituary for Steve Jobs — this article inspired Jobs and Wozniak to start building blue boxes themselves, an effort that made them several thousand dollars.

It has been reported (though I can’t recall the source at the moment) that this is the article that caused AT&T to turn its employees into common thieves.  The idea that people might have access to this information frightened them so much that they literally sent their people out to steal the copies of this issue of Esquire from every public library in the country (of course they missed a few).  Although this was long before the days of the Internet and the “Streisand effect“, it did have the result that those who had access to the article had a tendency to photocopy it and pass it around, so AT&T’s ham-fisted attempt at censorship probably gave the article far more exposure than it ever would have had in the first place.

I would daresay that one article probably had a significant effect on our modern way of life.  For one thing, it taught us that “security through obscurity” doesn’t work, and for another it forced AT&T and other phone companies to modernize their phone networks (probably much earlier than they would have otherwise intended) to prevent the type of “toll fraud” made possible by the blue box, and that made it much easier for alternative long distance carriers to offer their services.

Although I never had the technical skills to build a blue box, I definitely wanted to know how they worked.  The copy of Esquire at my local library had already gone missing but I discovered they still had a copy at the Grand Rapids public library.  Apparently the librarians there had apparently been tipped off about AT&T’s attempts to make that issue disappear, so they were keeping it behind the desk and you had to request it from a librarian.  Which I did, and then promptly asked where the photocopy machine was.  The librarian looked me over and said, “You’re not going to copy that article, are you?” and I said, “Oh, yes I am!”  She clearly disapproved, but still pointed me in the direction of the copier (the alternative would have been to attempt to forcibly pry the magazine back out of my hands!).  That copy of the article went back home with me and got shared with a few interested friends, and at least two of them later got jobs in the telecommunications field.

Of course, nowadays it would be a simple task for any modern computer to generate the same multifrequency tomes that blue boxes generated, but the last telephone company in the country to actually use that signaling method dropped it on June 15, 2006.  And now we have computers and the Internet and VoIP, but I have a feeling that much of that might still not be in existence had it not been for that one article, which literally gave birth to an entire community of hackers, many of whom later went on to do great things and to build the networks we have today.  It’s funny how one thing that seems so small at the time — in this case, one magazine article — can create such ripples throughout society.