Monthly Archives: March 2023

  • Happy 25th, curl!

    Version 8 of the curl command line too has been released, German It news website reports. This coincides with the software’s 25th birthday.

    The release of a new major version (8.0O of curl (Client for URLs) has been released just in time for the software’s 25th birthday. The data transfer command line tool has barely changed. The new release has far more to do with publicising the birthday of the software and its libcurl program library. This was explained by curl’s initiator and maintainer Daniel Stenberg when announcing the release. In moving to a version 8Stenberg also wanted to avoid ending up with a curl version seven with point releases running to three figures (

    Little has changed within curl itself with this release: 8.0 is just the first release of curl that no longer runs on systems without working 64-bit data types, as can be gathered from the release notes. Otherwise, the new version contains 130 bug fixes, including six vulnerabilities of which Stenberg classifies five as “low” and one as “medium“. Furthermore, there are rewards ranging from $480 to $2,400 for those who successfully squash curl’s bugs.

    To celebrate the release, some of the project’s figures have also been released. There have been 215 releases, whilst 41 contributors (of whom 23 were new) collaborated on version 8.0. A total of 2,841 persons have contributed to curl’s code; mostly only once, as Stenberg comments in his Youtube video.

    Curl itself is a very popular command line tool for sending and receiving data with URL syntax, whilst libcurl is a transfer program library which handles most internet protocols and is used in many third party applications.

  • Corsica: linguistic colonialism in action

    Flag of CorsicaOn Tuesday 9th March, the Administrative Court in Bastia overturned those articles of the rules of procedure of the Corsican Assembly and the Corsican Executive Council that provide for debates to be held in both Corsican and French, Corse Matin reports. The Court regards these provisions as infringing Article 2 of the French constitution, according to which “the language of the Republic is French“.

    Former prefect of Corsica Pascal Lelarge, had lodged an appeal in this matter, requesting withdrawal of the decisions adopting these two rules of procedure, in view of the fact that references to the notion of the Corsican people and the Corsican language as a possible working language for the Corsican assembly, undermine to the French constitution.

    “An unthinkable situation”
    Gilles Simeoni, President of the Corsican Executive Council, and Marie-Antoinette Maupertuis, President of the Corsican Assembly, issued the following statement:
    This decision is tantamount to depriving the elected representatives of Corsica of the right to speak their language during debates within the Assembly of Corsica, the Executive Council of Corsica and acts of public life. Accepting this situation is unthinkable for us.

    Even regardless of the appeal to be lodged against this judgement, this court decision and its reasoning only confirm the absolute necessity of a constitutional revision, in particular to guarantee the Corsican language the status of joint officiality, an essential condition for its survival and development.

    With the rules of procedure of the Corsican Assembly having been adopted unanimously, at the next session we will propose that all groups adopt a common position in the face of the legal and political situation created by the judgment of the Administrative Court in Bastia, which is subject to an appeal.
  • Barton Hill litter pick

    Saturday 18th March was a fine warm day and your ‘umble scribe had received an invitation from a friend Eric in the neighbouring district of Barton Hill to participate in the regular monthly community litter pick, which I’d committed to doing as I’d forgotten about the previous event due to strong drink having been taken the night before.

    At 10 am three of us – Eric, Shona and your correspondent – all equipped with gloves, litter pickers and bags all set off into the Urban Park, mainly to concentrate on clearing its fences, hedges and shrubbery of wind-blown litter – mostly plastic carrier bags and sweet and snack wrappers. – although we did encounter recyclable materials such as bottles and cans which were duly placed in separate bags. One worrying development was the large nitrous oxide catering cylinders (note to users: I have no personal beef with you wanting to have a pharmaceutically-induced giggle, but please dispose of the waste properly 😀 ).

    Group photo at the end of the litter pick
    Photo courtesy of Shona Jemphrey

    Anyway at the end of an hour that went very quickly, encouraged by smiles and kind words from passers-by, the flowers and blossom that were blooming, we’d collected 5 bags of grot for collection by Bristol Waste and retreated to the Wellspring Settlement for a cuppa before dispersing for the rest of the day.

    A final footnote. Whilst in the Urban Park it was good to note that repairs to the poor quality surface around the play equipment area were finally being carried out after at least 3 years’ lobbying by concerned local residents.

  • Czech government using open source web analytics

    Czechia coat of armsJoinup, the EU’s open source news site, reports that the Czech Republic is to begin using the Matomo open source web analytics tool on the Czech citizen portal and websites, where it will replace Google Analytics.

    This change will ensure that the data by the sites collected will stay within the EU and, as the Czech administration will be using its own instance of Matomo, it will retain full control of the records.

    The change was triggered by an open letter sent by the Czech the digital freedom watchdog luridicum Remedium after it noticed the Czech state vaccination system website was using Google Analytics during the COVID-19 crisis. The Czech Data Protection Authority and public sector strategic partner NAKIT then pursued the matter and replaced Google Analytics with Matomo on Czechia’s Ministry of Health website. This move later led to further action and the country will continue following this trend on public sector websites.

    Previously named Piwik, Matomo has been in development since 2007 and is presently deployed on 1.4 million websites, including those of NASA, the European Commission, the United Nations and Amnesty International.

    The Czech decision to choose Matomo follows those of other European countries seeking to keep control of their citizens’ data. Last year the French and Austrian data protection authorities determined that Google Analytics was not compliant with EU data privacy standards, in particular because Google’s data transfers to the United States are contrary to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  • LibreOffice Base Guide – now in Czech

    The blog of The Document Foundation, the organisation behind the free and open source LibreOffice productivity suite, reports that the user guide for Base, the suite’s database development and administration tool for relational database management systems has now been translated into Czech.

    Czech LibreOffice community member Zdeněk Crhonek (aka “raal”) writes as follows:

    The Czech team translated the LibreOffice Base Guide 7.3 – and it’s now available on the documentation page. Our team consists of three translators: Petr Kuběj, Radomír Strnad and Zdeněk Crhonek, along with localized screenshot maker Roman Toman, and Miloš Šrámek, who prepared machine translations.

    Cover of Czech Base guide

    Learn more about or join the LibreOffice Documentation project.

  • A bridge too far

    The M4 motorway is the main road connection across the Severn estuary between England and South Wales.

    Originally it crossed the river at Aust via the Severn Bridge/Pont Hafren, replacing an old ferry service .

    After the completion of the Second Severn Crossing, the section of the M4 from Olveston in England to Magor/Magwyr in Wales was re-designated as the M48.

    In an act of Whitehall arrogance, the Second Severn Crossing was later renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge with no public consultation, almost as if to prove that Wales is still England’s oldest colony.

    Repairs are due to be carried out to potholes on the new bridge and this was duly reported on the Bristol (Evening) Post/Bristol Live website, as is also shown by the following screenshot.

    Headline reads M4 disruption for over 5 hours due to repair potholes [sic]

    A small problem occurs here. Knowledgeable readers will at once discern that the bridge used to illustrate the link from the site’s home page to the article is actually the 1960s Severn Bridge, not the Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor Bridge. Has Reach plc also dispensed with picture editors as well as sub-editors in a dual bid to reduce both costs and the quality of its so-called ‘journalism‘,

    Finally it is worth noting that this story does not appear on the Post’s Reach stable companion for South Wales, the Western Mail/Wales Online website (affectionately known as Tales Online. Ed.).

  • Sheffield’s unique celebration of Dewi Sant

    the first of March is Saint David’s Day and Sheffield City Council decided to mark the Welsh patron saint’s day in its own inimitable way, as reported by Nation Cymru, by flying the wrong flag from the Town Hall.

    Tweet reads Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus - Happy St. David's Day!
From [Sheffield City Council]

    Instead of Y Ddraig Goch, Sheffield City Council ran Saint Andrew’s Cross – the flag of Scotland – up the corporation flagpole.

    However, by early afternoon the Scottish Saltire had been replaced above the Town Hall with the flag of St David – a yellow cross on a black background.

    The council also put out a statement declaring: “We are really sorry that the incorrect flag was flown above the Town Hall today. As soon as we knew, we rectified this immediately. We want to wish all who celebrate a Happy St David’s Day.”

    Nevertheless, this is not the first time this particular local authority has been guilty of seeing all Celts as alike. In 2019, the Council celebrated St Patrick’s Day by flying Y Ddraig Goch from the Town Hall, as the BBC reported at the time, as well as being posted on social media

    Tweet reads Er, is there a particular reason the WELSH flag is flying
above #Sheffield Town Hall on #StPatricksDay?

    Your ‘umble scribe is reminded at this point of the remark of Lady Bracknell regarding carelessness in Oscar Wilde’s play, The Importance of Being Earnest.