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Kia announces 2022 EV6 pricing, starts at $33,400* in the US

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Kia America today announced pricing for its 2022 EV6 lineup, which is the brand’s first electric only model. Pricing starts at $33,400 (here’s that asterisk) after the $7,500 federal vehicle tax credit for the 2WD “Light” model.

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The post Kia announces 2022 EV6 pricing, starts at $33,400* in the US appeared first on Electrek.

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michelslm
9 days ago
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Lucid teams with Bank of America for online car buying and financing

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Continue reading Lucid teams with Bank of America for online car buying and financing

Lucid teams with Bank of America for online car buying and financing originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 7 Jun 2022 10:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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michelslm
16 days ago
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9 Theses on Putin's Fascism for 9 May

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How can Putin carry out obviously fascist policies, such as a genocidal war of destruction in Ukraine, while claiming the mantle of anti-fascism? As we saw again today in his Victory Day speech, Putin identifies Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War. The past becomes a way for the aggressor to claim victimhood, as well as the right to commit any crime. How does that work?

In a number of writings since 24 February 2022 (and indeed since 24 February 2014, the date of the prior Russian invasion), I have tried to explain how Putin’s interpretation of the Soviet inheritance tends toward fascism, and thus how he justifies (at least to himself) invading Ukraine by reference to the the Second World War. Putin’s celebration of Russia’s ostensible innocence today provides the occasion for a summary of these arguments.

  1. Soviet usage lacked a clear notion of what fascism is. In the 1930s, Stalinism went back and forth on whether or not fascism was a bad thing. As a result, fascism in Soviet usage never had any very clear content. This was especially apparent after 1939, when Soviet newspapers reprinted speeches by Nazi leaders. In 1939, Stalin sealed a de facto alliance with Hitler, which meant that fascism became praiseworthy in the official Soviet public sphere. This act of collaboration was the most important of the Second World War, since it allowed it to begin. (Speaking of any of this in Russia today is a criminal act.) In 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and so fascism became the enemy of the Soviet Union. But what was chiefly wrong with fascism was the invasion itself. Fascism was never really defined. It was simply the creed of the outsider.

  2. Another issue is the Soviet tradition of treating Russia as innocent and Ukrainians as guilty. Stalin, whose act of collaboration with Hitler was by far the most important of the war, claimed for himself the right to define collaboration. At the end of the Second World War, whole Soviet national minorities (such as the Crimean Tatars) were deported as collaborators, and Ukrainians were stigmatized. Stalin treated the Russians as the main victors. In fact, most of the territory of the Russian republic of the USSR was spared from war, and when they were occupied Russians were no less likely to collaborate with Nazis than anyone else. But Stalin and his then-favorite Zhdanov to present the Russians as the morally dominant nation. Other nations could be stigmatized as fascist when necessary.

  3. For decades under Stalin and his successors, the word “fascism” was deployed outward, and very flexibly. After the Second World War, a “fascist” was someone who had invaded the Soviet Union; or, by extension, threatened the Soviet Union; or, in practice, did something that the Soviet leadership did not like. As time passed, this became ever more vague. In the cold war, the Americans and the British could be assimilated to wartime Germans as “fascists.” In time, so could Israelis. “Fascist” just meant “enemy.”

  4. In the 1970s, Soviet suffering under German occupation became a political resource to legitimate the status quo. Under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, a generation or so after the end of the war, a cult was created around victory, with marches on 9 May. Brezhnev offered Soviet citizens nostalgia for the past rather than a vision of the future. The “fascist” became the generic enemy, without no fixed identity. Whoever challenges the Soviet legacy is the “fascist.”

    Victory Day commemorated in Moscow, 2021.

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  5. Such Soviet nostalgia was ideology, in the negative sense meant by Marx when he used the word. Actual Marxists would have remembered that Soviet victory of 1945 depended upon American economic power, for example in the form of lend-lease aid to the USSR. But Soviet leaders preferred to forget that. It goes unmentioned today in Russian history textbooks, and practically no one in Russia talks about it. And this of course is a great difference between the Second World War and the current Russian invasion: US economic power in 1942-1945 was very much on the Soviet side, but it is today arrayed (if on a smaller scale) against one post-Soviet state (Russia) on behalf of another post-Soviet state (Ukraine). Russian ideology today focuses entirely on the will of Russians as the source of Soviet victory in 1945, rather than on such structural factors. National will is of course the central category of fascism.

  6. This Soviet heritage is a starting point for current Russian leaders. Putin inherited certain ideas from the 1970s, when he was a young man: Russia is always the victor; the enemy was always the fascists; power is to be legitimated by a nostalgia about primacy and innocence. In power, Putin has appropriated these ideas for Russia and pushed them to the extreme. That it was the USSR (and not Russia) that won the war is forgotten. That Hitler’s chief war aim was the colonization of Ukraine is unsayable. That the war was fought largely for and in Ukraine goes unmentioned. That Ukrainian civilians suffered more than Russian civilians, or that Ukrainian soldiers fought alongside Russian ones, becomes unthinkable. This recalls another important difference between the Second World War and the current Russian invasion: Ukrainians and Russians are not on same side. Interestingly, in Ukraine itself the memory of the Second World War has not taken the same turn as in Russia. It remains a powerful touchstone of memory, but is not attached to a cult of a leader or a cult of the dead. In Ukrainian political thought today, the future is more important than the past.

  7. Within the late Soviet cult of victory lay the potential for fascist interpretation. Although nostalgia for victory and worship of military power had their source in the Soviet Union, such ideas could very easily be steered to the extreme right, as they have been in Putin’s Russia. A notion of politics as military victory can be fascist (think of “Sieg Heil”); the belief that politics begins from choosing an enemy is certainly fascist (this follows the Nazi thinker Carl Schmitt and Putin’s fascist teacher Ivan Ilyin); a notion of a golden age of innocence to be restored by healing violence lies squarely in fascist traditions. In today’s Russia, 1945 has become such a moment. Blood must be shed in the name of a sort of time travel back to Stalinist Eden, when Russians were innocent and all was right with the world.

  8. All of this means that Russian fascism will claim to be anti-fascist. Russia can be a fascist regime even if its leader speaks of opposing “fascism” or “Nazism.” Indeed, the deep self-absorption and grotesque contradiction of Putin’s position confirm that what we have before us is precisely Russian fascism. Fascists celebrate national willfulness and oppose logic. As Ilyin put it, “fascism is a redemptive excess of patriotic arbitrariness.” Arbitrariness is the essential element of Russia’s war. A fascist who calls someone else a “fascist” is no less of a fascist for doing so. He is more of a fascist. He is pursuing fascism’s priority of will over reason to its extreme.

  9. The automatically self-exonerating character of the words “fascism” and “Nazism” enable aggressive war and crimes against humanity. Under Putin, the word “fascist” (or “Nazi”) just means “my chosen enemy, who is to be eliminated.” These terms in official Russian usage today are simply hate speech enabling war crimes. We know this from the speech acts of Russian soldiers in Ukraine, who legitimate the murder and rape of civilians by reference to “Nazis.” As the Kremlin has made clear, “denazification” means “deukrainization,” which is nothing other than the aspiration to genocide.

Russian propaganda about 1945 and 2022 is summarized in the popular slogan: “We can repeat!” But history, of course, does not repeat. And we cannot make it do so. The whole idea of repetition involves choosing a particular point in the past, idealizing it, ignoring all the context and everything that followed, and then imagining that it can be relived. Whoever performs this exercise eliminates any sense of responsibility: we were right back then, therefore we are right now, and we will always be right — no matter what we do. And so fascism’s “redemptive excess” of “patriotic arbitrariness” is attained.

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michelslm
27 days ago
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Announcing the PyOxy Python Runner

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I'm pleased to announce the initial release of PyOxy. Binaries are available on GitHub.

(Yes, I used my pure Rust Apple code signing implementation to remotely sign the macOS binaries from GitHub Actions using a YubiKey plugged into my Windows desktop: that experience still feels magical to me.)

PyOxy is all of the following:

  • An executable program used for running Python interpreters.
  • A single file and highly portable (C)Python distribution.
  • An alternative python driver providing more control over the interpreter than what python itself provides.
  • A way to make some of PyOxidizer's technology more broadly available without using PyOxidizer.

Read the following sections for more details.

pyoxy Acts Like python

The pyoxy executable has a run-python sub-command that will essentially do what python would do:

$ pyoxy run-python
Python 3.9.12 (main, May  3 2022, 03:29:54)
[Clang 14.0.3 ] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>

A Python REPL. That's familiar!

You can even pass python arguments to it:

$ pyoxy run-python -- -c 'print("hello, world")'
hello, world

When a pyoxy executable is renamed to any filename beginning with python, it implicitly behaves like pyoxy run-python --.

$ mv pyoxy python3.9
$ ls -al python3.9
-rwxrwxr-x  1 gps gps 120868856 May 10  2022 python3.9

$ ./python3.9
Python 3.9.12 (main, May  3 2022, 03:29:54)
[Clang 14.0.3 ] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>>

Single File Python Distributions

The official pyoxy executables are built with PyOxidizer and leverage the Python distributions provided by my python-build-standalone project. On Linux and macOS, a fully featured Python interpreter and its library dependencies are statically linked into pyoxy. The pyoxy executable also embeds a copy of the Python standard library and imports it from memory using the oxidized_importer Python extension module.

What this all means is that the official pyoxy executables can function as single file CPython distributions! Just download a pyoxy executable, rename it to python, python3, python3.9, etc and it should behave just like a normal python would!

Your Python installation has never been so simple. And fast: pyoxy should be a few milliseconds faster to initialize a Python interpreter mostly because of oxidized_importer and it avoiding filesystem overhead to look for and load .py[c] files.

Low-Level Control Over the Python Interpreter with YAML

The pyoxy run-yaml command is takes the path to a YAML file defining the embedded Python interpreter configuration and then launches that Python interpreter in-process:

$ cat > hello_world.yaml <<EOF
---
allocator_debug: true
interpreter_config:
  run_command: 'print("hello, world")'
...
EOF

$ pyoxy run-yaml hello_world.yaml
hello, world

Under the hood, PyOxy uses the pyembed Rust crate to manage embedded Python interpreters. The YAML document that PyOxy uses is simply deserialized into a pyembed::OxidizedPythonInterpreterConfig Rust struct, which pyembed uses to spawn a Python interpreter. This Rust struct offers near complete control over how the embedded Python interpreter behaves: it even allows you to tweak settings that are impossible to change from environment variables or python command arguments! (Beware: this power means you can easily cause the interpreter to crash if you feed it a bad configuration!)

YAML Based Python Applications

pyoxy run-yaml ignores all file content before the YAML --- start document delimiter. This means that on UNIX-like platforms you can create executable YAML files defining your Python application. e.g.

$ mkdir -p myapp
$ cat > myapp/__main__.py << EOF
print("hello from myapp")
EOF

$ cat > say_hello <<"EOF"
#!/bin/sh
"exec" "`dirname $0`/pyoxy" run-yaml "$0" -- "$@"
---
interpreter_config:
  run_module: 'myapp'
  module_search_paths: ["$ORIGIN"]
...
EOF

$ chmod +x say_hello

$ ./say_hello
hello from myapp

This means that to distribute a Python application, you can drop a copy of pyoxy in a directory then define an executable YAML file masquerading as a shell script and you can run Python code with as little as two files!

The Future of PyOxy

PyOxy is very young. I hacked it together on a weekend in September 2021. I wanted to shore up some functionality before releasing it then. But I got perpetually sidetracked and never did the work. I figured it would be better to make a smaller splash with a lesser-baked product now than wait even longer. Anyway...

As part of building PyOxidizer I've built some peripheral technology:

  • Standalone and highly distributable Python builds via the python-build-standalone project.
  • The pyembed Rust crate for managing an embedded Python interpreter.
  • The oxidized_importer Python package/extension for importing modules from memory, among other things.
  • The Python packed resources data format for representing a collection of Python modules and resource files for efficient loading (by oxidized_importer).

I conceived PyOxy as a vehicle to enable people to leverage PyOxidizer's technology without imposing PyOxidizer onto them. I feel that PyOxidizer's broader technology is generally useful and too valuable to be gated behind using PyOxidizer.

PyOxy is only officially released for Linux and macOS for the moment. It definitely builds on Windows. However, I want to improve the single file executable experience before officially releasing PyOxy on Windows. This requires an extensive overhaul to oxidized_importer and the way it serializes Python resources to be loaded from memory.

I'd like to add a sub-command to produce a Python packed resources payload. With this, you could bundle/distribute a Python application as pyoxy plus a file containing your application's packed resources alongside YAML configuring the Python interpreter. Think of this as a more modern and faster version of the venerable zipapp approach. This would enable PyOxy to satisfy packaging scenarios provided by tools like Shiv, PEX, and XAR. However, unlike Shiv and PEX, pyoxy also provides an embedded Python interpreter, so applications are much more portable since there isn't reliance on the host machine having a Python interpreter installed.

I'm really keen to see how others want to use pyoxy.

The YAML based control over the Python interpreter could be super useful for testing, benchmarking, and general Python interpreter configuration experimentation. It essentially opens the door to things previously only possible if you wrote code interfacing with Python's C APIs.

I can also envision tools that hide the existence of Python wanting to leverage the single file Python distribution property of pyoxy. For example, tools like Ansible could copy pyoxy to a remote machine to provide a well-defined Python execution environment without having to rely on what packages are installed. Or pyoxy could be copied into a container or other sandboxed/minimal environment to provide a Python interpreter.

And that's PyOxy. I hope you find it useful. Please file any bug reports or feature requests in PyOxidizer's issue tracker.

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michelslm
30 days ago
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May 13, 2022

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Today was White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s last day at the White House after 15 months. She set out to restore truth, transparency, and accountability of the administration to the press, and to that end she has held 224 press briefings—together, all of former president Trump’s press secretaries combined held only 205 in his four years in office. Psaki gave her first press conference on January 20, 2021, the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, telling the press, “I have deep respect for the role of a free and independent press in our democracy and for the role all of you play,” before answering questions.

Psaki’s tenure has been notable for her ability to parry loaded questions, turning them into opportunities to provide facts and information. Her quick answers to leading questions have been labeled “Psaki bombs,” and they have enabled her to redirect the conversation without engaging in the hostility that former press secretaries sometimes fell into. Her conduct and evident respect for reporters has been an important corrective to the disrespect with which the press has often been treated by lawmakers in the recent past.

When she finished today’s briefing, she thanked members of the press. “You have challenged me, you have pushed me, you have debated me, and at times we have disagreed. That is democracy in action. That is it working.” She continued: “Thank you for what you do. Thank you for making me better. And most importantly, thank you for the work every day you do to make this country stronger.”

Karine Jean-Pierre will take Psaki’s spot as the White House press secretary. The first Black woman and openly LBGTQ person to serve as press secretary, Jean-Pierre has a background as a political analyst and worked as chief of staff for Vice President Kamala Harris during the 2020 presidential campaign.

Biden has focused on strengthening ties to Asia, and has just held the nation’s first summit in the U.S. with leaders from the 10 nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, known as ASEAN. Those nations include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. Myanmar is also a member, but its leaders were not invited because of that nation’s recent coup.

The meeting was designed to emphasize U.S. ties to the region after the previous administration pulled out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact in 2017 and then didn’t nominate an ambassador to ASEAN. Biden is trying to lay the groundwork for future cooperation on the coronavirus, with regard to China, and against Russia; right now, he is hoping to get the ASEAN nations to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, despite the region’s ties to Moscow. The president told the leaders that the Indo-Pacific and ASEAN region are vital to the United States of America. “[A] great deal of [the] history of our world in the next 50 years is going to be written [in] the ASEAN countries and our relationship with you is the future in the coming… decades.”

In his first trip to Asia as president, Biden will travel next week to South Korea and Japan. While there, he will meet with leaders from the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, a strategic alliance organized in 2007 and made up of Australia, India, Japan, and the U.S.

Meanwhile, there were signs today that the split in the Republican Party is cracking further open. Former vice president Mike Pence has announced he will be campaigning for Georgia governor Brian Kemp as he tries to keep the Republican nomination away from former senator David Perdue, who is backed by former president Trump. Pence’s former chief of staff, Marc Short, is working for Kemp’s reelection. Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie and former president George W. Bush are also backing Kemp.

Greg Bluestein of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the Georgia battle “a growing proxy fight…between establishment forces backing Kemp and the Trump loyalists who want to remake the state Republican Party in the former president’s mold.”

And yet, Kemp is still an extremist who toes the party line, including in his work to suppress the vote in Georgia. As Pence said of him: “He built a safer and stronger Georgia by cutting taxes, empowering parents and investing in teachers, funding law enforcement, and standing strong for the right to life.”

That embrace of that same Republican ideology in Texas has the state’s electrical grid back in the news, as the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has asked consumers to scale back energy use to make up for six power-generation facilities that failed just before a hot weekend.

Most of Texas is on its own power grid, a decision made in the 1930s to keep it clear of federal regulation. This isolation means both that it avoids federal regulation and that it cannot import more electricity during periods of high demand. To keep electricity prices low, ERCOT did not prepare its equipment for freezing weather, and in February 2021 the Texas electric grid failed during a cold wave, leaving more than 3 million people without electricity or heat. Two hundred and forty-six people died, while El Paso, which is not part of ERCOT and is instead linked to a larger grid that includes other states and thus is regulated, had weatherized its equipment and its customers lost power only briefly.

The problem didn’t stop there. The then–chief executive officer of ERCOT recently testified that Texas governor Greg Abbott told ERCOT to keep the wholesale price of electricity at an astonishing $9000 per megawatt-hour (one study said this was $6,578 too high) for about three days longer than needed, thus overcharging customers by about $26.3 billion.

That money did not appear to fix the system. In June 2021, mechanical failures during a heat wave pushed the state to the verge of blackouts and prompted ERCOT to ask people to turn their AC to higher temperatures, turn off their lights, and avoid using appliances that take a lot of electricity. Now, less than a year later, the system is in trouble again.

News of the issue dropped after 5:00 this evening, prompting Democratic candidate for Texas governor Beto O’Rourke to accuse Abbott of trying to bury the story that he cannot keep the Texas power grid running. O’Rourke tweeted: “When I’m governor, we’ll fix the grid, lower energy bills and put people over profits.” Hours later, he tweeted simply: “I will fix the grid.”

Yesterday, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and threats against other countries, leaders of Finland urged their nation to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) immediately. NATO was formed in 1949 to resist the expansion of the Soviet Union and now stands against Russia. Finland, which shares 830 miles of border with Russia, would bring to the alliance significant power. Sweden, which borders Finland on the other side, is contemplating the same bid and is expected to announce a similar stance soon.

NATO member Turkey expressed concern about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, which might well be Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s way of putting pressure on Congress to approve of arms sales to the nation, proposed by the administration but not yet in place.

The House has, though, passed a $40 billion aid package to Ukraine. In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-KY) stopped its fast passage, delaying the vote at least a week.

With a giant aid package for Ukraine on the way and what looks to be the expansion of NATO, today for the first time since February 18, six days before Russia invaded Ukraine, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was able to make contact with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. They spoke for an hour. Of the subject of their conversation, the defense department readout said simply: “Secretary Austin urged an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication.”

Notes:

https://www.businessinsider.com/jen-psaki-more-white-house-briefings-trump-predecessors-combined-2022-5

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/13/media/jen-psaki-press-secretary/index.html

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/05/president-biden-announces-karine-jean-pierre-as-white-house-press-secretary/

https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/13/politics/mike-pence-brian-kemp-georgia/index.html

https://www.ajc.com/politics/politics-blog/pence-to-headline-georgia-rally-for-kemp-in-new-break-with-trump/47JEMDJHFJC5LLPL7ZS7OAOSUU/

https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-legislature-bills-state-elections-voting-rights-b2b014cc81894a50fc513168a5f1d0b8

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-business/trump-pulls-u-s-out-of-pacific-trade-deal-loosening-asia-ties-idUSKBN1571FD

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/05/13/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-u-s-asean-special-summit/

https://www.kut.org/energy-environment/2022-05-13/ercot-electric-grid-heat-energy

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/peteraldhous/texas-winter-storm-death-toll

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertbryce/2022/02/24/former-ercot-ceo-texas-gov-greg-abbott-pressed-grid-operator-to-keep-prices-at-9000-per-megawatt-hour-during-crisis/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/12/finland-nato-membership-russia-ukraine/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/05/13/russia-ukraine-war-news-putin-live-updates/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/biden-administration-asks-congress-to-approve-new-weapons-deal-with-turkey-11652262674

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2022/05/13/ukraine-russia-austin-shoigu/

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/12/world/europe/rand-paul-ukraine-aid.html

https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3030852/us-thai-defense-leaders-look-to-future-in-indo-pacific/

https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3030753/readout-of-secretary-of-defense-lloyd-j-austin-iiis-call-with-russian-minister/

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michelslm
40 days ago
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Texas electricity grid is in meltdown... again
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New package: distrobox Version: 1.2.15-2 by Michel Alexandre Salim ... http://deb.li/EJZF

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New package: distrobox Version: 1.2.15-2 by Michel Alexandre Salim ... deb.li/EJZF

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michelslm
42 days ago
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I didn't follow the Upload feed in time, but this is my first #Debian package to make it in! #SponsoredMaintainer
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