In Debian many things are moving in the last couple of years. After the Big Debate on systemd yes/systemd no, it is time for the battle about libav/FFmpeg.
Not so much of debate in this case anyway. It seems that consensus over the transition back to FFmpeg was easy to achieve. Many arguments in favour of FFmpeg have been pointed out  but the biggest concern is about security. The bug handling and fixing in FFmpeg is just much better than in libav  and this is of course very important for a distribution very stability-oriented like Debian.
The new library will be available in the stable branch starting with the next release, Debian 9 "Stretch", that is now under development.The decision has already been officialized  after a rather smooth discussion that can be found on the Debian mailing list .
My country (Italy) is a country full of problems, many are very old and never solved. But sometimes things move in the right direction. And when it happens I feel I should give credit to it. The Agency for Digital Italy published a set of rules on how to compare proprietary and open source software. Several agencies reported the news: the Open source observatory here, the Free Software Foundation Europe here and OpenSource.com. This rules are supposed to be used when the public administration needs to choose a software to adopt. The aim is to favour open source to reduce costs of the public administration and create more competition. The guideline requires the public administrations to look for Free Software alternatives to proprietary solutions. An enforcement mechanism should make sure the the guideline is followed. Carlo Piana for the FSFE and Stefano Zacchiroli, former Debian leader, partecipated in writing the document. I know my country and before being excited for the change I want to be sure that there is actually one. We are renowned for our ability in circumventing rules and usually there is a lot of inertia that hampers fast changes. But there is the will to do something and this is already good. In the words of Carlo Piana:
Now Free Software and re-use are the norm, proprietary software the exception. This is the most advanced affirmative action in Europe so far. I'm so proud that Italy leads the way, for once.
A last update to the website before 2013 ends and a new year will start.
This time I decided to publish some notes I collected from several sources about void pointers in the C and C++ languages. You can find it here. As usual fell free to contact me for any criticism, suggestion, improvement, etc.
I also updated few old articles with some addition and correction. Here the howtos in the updated version:
Explain Shell is a web site made to explain complex bash instructions by breaking down the line in each single command and option.
When a complex Bash line is inserted it is analysed in each single part. The elements of the line are explained by using the relative part of the command manpage. To do so the website has indexed Ubuntu manpages from section 1 and 8 using a Python script. The source code of the script is available on the web site.
While this is not a Bash course and cannot replace it, it's a good way for non experts to disasseble quickly a line.
New update for the bitmap library NeroBmp. The current version is the 0.4. which adds many functionalities like add/remove the alpha channel and mirroring operations. Part of the main code has been rewritten for better efficiency and several bug has been fixed.