schoen is currently certified at Master level.

Name: Seth Schoen
Member since: 2000-03-31 03:12:50
Last Login: N/A

FOAF RDF Share This



I moved my personal diary to at the end of March 2001.

I'm Staff Technologist of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

I wouldn't mind consulting work.

I live in San Francisco and it seems that a lot of my life at the moment is centered around free software: I met many or most of my friends, got my old job, and got my old and new apartments through Linux user groups and Linux user group connections.

Most of my participation has been as an activist or evangelist. Although I've submitted bug reports and patches to various projects, I have not written or maintained any widely used free software. But I still do a fair amount of LUG stuff (mailing lists, meetings, installfests, presentations, protests...).

I was one of the main developers of the Linuxcare Bootable Business Card, which some of you may have in your wallets; recently I've also created a new BBC project.

I've become a sort of amateur intellectual property and license geek, including hanging out on a bunch of lists concerned with legal issues. I've been involved indirectly in DeCSS-related things, and I've been involved with looking at and discussing free software licenses.

My interests outside of free software are various and include recreational mathematics, book collecting, and other activist sorts of things. You can find out more from my web page. itself is the web site for Californians for Academic Freedom, a hypothetical group of California loyalty oath opponents. But I haven't fixed that site in quite some time.


Articles Posted by schoen

Recent blog entries by schoen

Syndication: RSS 2.0
dmarti suggested that people come to my trusted computing talk at SDForum tomorrow, but that talk's been cancelled, so you'd be better off not showing up for it.

We haven't posted an official release announcement, but we did release LNX-BBC 2.1 (get a torrent, or do lame old direct download). They're going to be sold through the EFF store and the FSF membership program, and of course you can sell your own if you like. Business-card CD-R blanks have prices comparable to those of regular CD-R blanks a couple of years ago.


I've had this silly momentary obsession with hacking our releases so that their MD5 checksums start with "bbcbbc", or perhaps so that both their MD5 and SHA1 checksums start with "bbc". I've been experimenting with some Python code which appends bytes to a given document in order to cause it to have a hash with chosen properties. Fortunately, you can't choose more than a few bytes of the hash, as a practical matter, but my success in this makes me want to encourage people to actually read the whole PGP key fingerprint when you're signing a key. Some people sort of doze off in the middle of verifying a fingerprint.

To make a checksum start with "bbc", you only have to examine about 4096 possibilities, and to make it start with "bbcbbc" (or "bbc210") it would be about 16777216 possibilities. Soon after that, we start to run into trouble.

Zack suggested the right approach: you don't hash the whole file every time, you hash the original file, save the current state of the digest, and then see what the output of the digest would be if you updated it with any of some thousands or millions or more of alternatives. In my code this is done with a loop containing a digest.copy(), digest.update(), and digest.hexdigest(), which work properly with Python's md5 and sha modules. It takes only a few seconds to run for a short string.


Bram is famous; Jack Valenti sent personal letters to each of the five Commissioners of the FCC, mentioning BitTorrent downloads of TV shows as an argument for expanding technology regulation. The letters are signed "Warmly, Jack" -- by hand.

I know of two useful BitTorrent patches floating around; I wrote one (to make --responsefile and --url basically optional) and Aaron Swartz wrote another (a command-line downloader with a single status line, like wget).


I'm pretty busy with EFF stuff and still keeping my diary over here.


I got a lot of attention not long ago for my diary entry with notes from our meeting with the Microsoft Palladium developers. That was a surprise; I didn't know that so many people were reading my new diary. I guess even more are reading it now.

The meeting was about four hours at the EFF office in San Francisco, and some of the people who are in charge of Palladium answered our technical questions, with no NDA. So that was interesting, and I see I'm not the only one curious about the results.


We aren't going to have a new version of LNX-BBC ready for LinuxWorld. We'd been hoping to, but we got caught up in the strange world of pivot_root. I did manage to rewrite "rdev" in one line of Perl, even though I'm not a Perl programmer. :-)

We also had a hard time getting in-person meetings together, and our volunteer usability tester got pregnant! At present, we have a rough outline for a revamped boot sequence using linuxrc. The old version simply used an initrd and never changed the root filesystem to be anywhere other than the RAM disk, but now we're getting more ambitious, and we're using an incredible mix of filesystem types. We have found possible uses for tmpfs, FAT, ext2fs, iso9660, cramfs, romfs, and the cloop compressed block device driver all within the same project. So we are becoming true boot sequence geeks.

I do hope that the new LNX-BBC version will be out before people have forgotten about our project. It's gotten some nice reviews in the past, and thousands of people are still carrying them in their wallets, but as the old discs crack, memories will fade, too. We've got a big CVS tree using GAR, Nick Moffitt's cool build system (which is the basis for the much-more-famous GARNOME, even though GAR was actually designed for the LNX-BBC project).

Our GAR tree now builds about 90% of the binaries which we shipped on the previous version -- in a repeatable, reliable way, from upstream sources. As Nick says, it's like an equivalent of BSD ports, but for gmake on Linux.


I'm hoping to be at DEF CON, USENIX Security, and LinuxWorld in the next three weeks. After that, I don't have any concrete plans, but I'm sure I'll be back at CPTWG before long. We need more free software people at standards meetings and consortium meetings where DRM work is being done. A lot of the people who are doing DRM standards have never heard of free software before. (Some of them are actively hostile to it, but not all.)

In other news

You can find out lots of other news by reading Vitanuova. Of some free software interest: we are continuing to fight the "broadcast flag" mandate and other parts of Hollywood's legislative agenda. This also is something I wish more free software people would get involved in. The problem is that, when I describe how the broadcast flag works, people break out laughing. They apparently don't believe that something so silly could become Federal law. But I tell you that it's by narrow escapes and hard work that it isn't Federal law today.

The Palladium people are going to come back during USENIX Security to meet with us again and share more details, which I expect I'll write about in my web diary. I've also put in an inquiry with TCPA to ask the TCPA committee to visit EFF and give us their own overview. (Contrary to what some people believe, Palladium and TCPA are distinct and have different technical characteristics.)

That riddles archive is a lot of fun. I have found a horribly inefficient solution to the "100 prisoners and the light bulb" problem.

Development of the new LNX-BBC is going pretty well, thanks mainly to Nick Moffitt's cool GAR system (an integrated build environment implemented in gmake). I think there will be a new release early this summer. It's been almost a year since the previous release (1.618).

I got a nice new computer at work; our sysadmin put Red Hat 7.3 on it and I realized that it's been a long time since I had a Linux desktop with current software on it. There are unfortunately plenty of things I don't recognize, and features which come as a surprise to me, like large file support.

I'm spending most of my time working on EFF court cases and understanding and fighting Hollywood's legislative agenda. It's extremely worth reading this MPAA document, called "Content Protection Status Report", which sets out quite lucidly what America's most powerful copyright companies want and expect to accomplish in Congress in the near future. Among other things, they'd like to see a watermark detector legally required in every analog-to-digital convertor, in order to deal with the "analog hole" (the fact that you can avoid DRM restrictions by starting with analog media).

I'm calling it "Hollywood's new science-fiction and horror summer blockbuster".

EFF and others are having a party to celebrate Dmitry Sklyarov's return home. The party is in San Francisco on Wednesday evening. Or gurer be or fdhner.

246 older entries...


schoen certified others as follows:

  • schoen certified davidw as Journeyer
  • schoen certified Ryan as Master
  • schoen certified zab as Master
  • schoen certified crackmonkey as Journeyer
  • schoen certified jwz as Master
  • schoen certified joey as Master
  • schoen certified uzi as Journeyer
  • schoen certified yosh as Master
  • schoen certified jes as Master
  • schoen certified chrisd as Journeyer
  • schoen certified phil as Master
  • schoen certified dria as Master
  • schoen certified rasmus as Master
  • schoen certified inf as Journeyer
  • schoen certified wichert as Master
  • schoen certified alecm as Master
  • schoen certified riel as Master
  • schoen certified daw as Journeyer
  • schoen certified alan as Master
  • schoen certified dsifry as Journeyer
  • schoen certified jimd as Journeyer
  • schoen certified chip as Master
  • schoen certified lilo as Master
  • schoen certified scandal as Master
  • schoen certified bneely as Apprentice
  • schoen certified ben as Master
  • schoen certified digdude as Journeyer
  • schoen certified dhd as Journeyer
  • schoen certified mbp as Journeyer
  • schoen certified hpa as Master
  • schoen certified grog as Master
  • schoen certified elise as Journeyer
  • schoen certified starshine as Journeyer
  • schoen certified esr as Master
  • schoen certified davem as Master
  • schoen certified dmarti as Journeyer
  • schoen certified shaleh as Journeyer
  • schoen certified nelsonrn as Master
  • schoen certified bodo as Journeyer
  • schoen certified jpick as Journeyer
  • schoen certified ping as Journeyer
  • schoen certified samth as Journeyer
  • schoen certified ncm as Journeyer
  • schoen certified mpav as Journeyer
  • schoen certified brg as Journeyer
  • schoen certified andreas as Journeyer
  • schoen certified bwtaylor as Apprentice
  • schoen certified wseltzer as Journeyer
  • schoen certified mskala as Journeyer
  • schoen certified agntdrake as Journeyer
  • schoen certified gtaylor as Journeyer
  • schoen certified dwmw2 as Master
  • schoen certified hacker as Journeyer
  • schoen certified schoen as Journeyer
  • schoen certified dwiner as Apprentice
  • schoen certified Dunc as Journeyer
  • schoen certified mperry as Journeyer

Others have certified schoen as follows:

  • crackmonkey certified schoen as Master
  • dhd certified schoen as Journeyer
  • joey certified schoen as Journeyer
  • davidw certified schoen as Journeyer
  • pedro certified schoen as Journeyer
  • yosh certified schoen as Journeyer
  • inf certified schoen as Journeyer
  • dsifry certified schoen as Master
  • jimd certified schoen as Journeyer
  • bneely certified schoen as Journeyer
  • jwalther certified schoen as Journeyer
  • digdude certified schoen as Journeyer
  • exvita certified schoen as Master
  • no certified schoen as Journeyer
  • rasmus certified schoen as Journeyer
  • camber certified schoen as Journeyer
  • sethcohn certified schoen as Journeyer
  • anewsome certified schoen as Journeyer
  • elise certified schoen as Journeyer
  • starshine certified schoen as Journeyer
  • JB318 certified schoen as Journeyer
  • mdillon certified schoen as Journeyer
  • dmarti certified schoen as Journeyer
  • claw certified schoen as Journeyer
  • dyork certified schoen as Journeyer
  • shaleh certified schoen as Journeyer
  • nelsonrn certified schoen as Journeyer
  • bodo certified schoen as Journeyer
  • samth certified schoen as Journeyer
  • jcheek certified schoen as Journeyer
  • plundis certified schoen as Journeyer
  • higb certified schoen as Journeyer
  • nixnut certified schoen as Journeyer
  • bwtaylor certified schoen as Journeyer
  • djs certified schoen as Journeyer
  • wseltzer certified schoen as Journeyer
  • Mulad certified schoen as Journeyer
  • brg certified schoen as Journeyer
  • stevegt certified schoen as Journeyer
  • manu certified schoen as Journeyer
  • TheCorruptor certified schoen as Journeyer
  • jbowman certified schoen as Journeyer
  • harrisj certified schoen as Master
  • lerdsuwa certified schoen as Journeyer
  • Waldo certified schoen as Master
  • wardv certified schoen as Journeyer
  • agntdrake certified schoen as Journeyer
  • thom certified schoen as Master
  • entropy certified schoen as Journeyer
  • kahlage certified schoen as Master
  • xtifr certified schoen as Journeyer
  • schoen certified schoen as Journeyer
  • dneighbors certified schoen as Journeyer
  • orlando certified schoen as Journeyer
  • hacker certified schoen as Journeyer
  • jLoki certified schoen as Master
  • decklin certified schoen as Journeyer
  • walken certified schoen as Journeyer
  • suso certified schoen as Journeyer
  • alexr certified schoen as Master
  • gsutter certified schoen as Journeyer
  • MisterBad certified schoen as Master
  • chrisd certified schoen as Master
  • aaronsw certified schoen as Master
  • fxn certified schoen as Master
  • mpawlo certified schoen as Journeyer
  • monk certified schoen as Journeyer
  • rupert certified schoen as Master
  • mulix certified schoen as Master
  • mperry certified schoen as Master
  • dido certified schoen as Master
  • pawal certified schoen as Journeyer
  • chip certified schoen as Journeyer
  • rjp certified schoen as Journeyer
  • roundeye certified schoen as Journeyer
  • garym certified schoen as Journeyer
  • Grit certified schoen as Journeyer
  • aftyde certified schoen as Master
  • modus certified schoen as Master
  • mako certified schoen as Master
  • SIrabbi certified schoen as Journeyer
  • mishan certified schoen as Master
  • burkele certified schoen as Master
  • nutella certified schoen as Master
  • stevetaylor certified schoen as Master
  • martinez certified schoen as Master
  • midal certified schoen as Master
  • aicra certified schoen as Master

[ Certification disabled because you're not logged in. ]

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!

Share this page