Cosmos Hub and Reproducible Builds

Open source software allows us to build trust in a distributed, collaborative software development process, to know that the software behaves as expected and is reasonably secure. But the benefits of open source are strongest for those who directly interact with the source code. These people can use a computer which they trust to compile the source code into an operational version for themselves. Distributing binaries of open source software breaks this trust model, and reproducible builds restores it.

Tendermint Inc is taking the first steps towards a trustworthy binary distribution process. Our investment in reproducible builds makes doing binary distributions of the gaia software a possibility. We envision that the Cosmos Hub community will be our partners in building trust in this process. The governance features of the Cosmos Hub will enable a novel collaboration between Tendermint and that validator community to release only binaries that can be trusted by anyone.

Here is our game plan.

The release of the cosmoshub-3 will support our new reproducible build process. Tendermint developers will make a governance proposal with the hashes of all supported binaries. We will ask ATOM holders to reproduce the builds on computers they control and vote YES if the hashes match.

If the proposal passes, we will make the binaries available here via Github.

The benefits of reproducible builds

Gaia reproducible binaries then bring many significant advantages to developers and end users:

  • Build sanity — the guarantee that the gaia suite can always be built from sources.
  • Enable third-parties to independently verify executables to ensure that no vulnerabilities were introduced at build time.
  • Large body of independent builders can eventually come to consensus on the correct reproducible binary output and protect themselves from targeted attacks.

How to verify that gaia binaries correspond to a repository snapshot

The gaia repository comes with the required tooling to build both server and client applications deterministically. First you need to clone https://github.com/cosmos/gaia and checkout the release branch or the commit you want to produce the binaries from. For instance, if you intend to build and sign reproducible binaries for all supported platforms of gaia’s master branch, you may want to do the following:

git clone https://github.com/cosmos/gaia && cd gaia
chmod +x contrib/gitian-build.sh
./contrib/gitian-build.sh -s email@example.com all

Append the -c flag to the above command if you want to upload your signature to the http://github.com/gaia/gaia.sigs repository as well.

If you want to build the binaries only without signing the build result, just type:

./contrib/gitian-build.sh all

Further information can be found here: github.com/cosmos/gaia/…/docs/reproducible-builds.md

References

Credits

Co-authored with Zaki Manian

MeteoSurf: a free App for the Mediterranean Sea

meteosurf

MeteoSurf is a free multi-source weather forecasting App designed to provide wind and wave conditions of the Mediterranean Sea. It is an application for smartphones and tablets, built as a Progressive Web App able to supply detailed and updated maps and data showing heights of sea waves (and other information) in the Central Mediterranean. It is mainly targeted for surfers and wind-surfers but anyone who needs to know the sea conditions will take advantage from this app.

Data can be displayed as animated graphical maps, or as detailed table data. The maps refer to the whole Mediterranean Sea, while the table data is able to provide specific information for any of the major surf spots in the Med.

As of current version, MeteoSurf shows data collecting them from 3 different forecasting systems…

Read More… [by Fabio Marzocca]

Digital Ipseity: Which Identity?

 

Within the next three years, more than seven billion people and businesses will be connected to the Internet. During this time of dramatic increases in access to the Internet, networks have seen an interesting proliferation of systems for digital identity management (i.e. our SPID in Italy). But what is really meant by “digital identity“? All these systems are implemented in order to have the utmost certainty that the data entered by the subscriber (address, name, birth, telephone, email, etc.) is directly coincident with that of the physical person. In other words, data are certified to be “identical” to those of the user; there is a perfect overlap between the digital page and the authentic user certificate: an “idem“, that is, an identity.

This identity is our personal records reflected on the net, nothing more than that. Obviously, this data needs to be appropriately protected from malicious attacks by means of strict privacy rules, as it contains so-called “sensitive” information, but this data itself is not sufficiently interesting for the commercial market, except for statistical purposes on homogeneous population groups. What may be a real goldmine for the “web company” is another type of information: user’s ipseity. It is important to immediately remove the strong semantic ambiguity that weighs on the notion of identity. There are two distinct meanings…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Creativity Draws on the Deep Well of the Past

 

Octagonal Well in the Cloister of Giuliano da Sangallo, Faculty of Engineering,
Via Eudossiana, Rome

In the tetralogy “Joseph and His Brothers“, Thomas Mann states, “Deep is the well of the past...”. Sometimes this well is bottomless and it may appear far away and passed, yet all of our actions and everyday decisions come to life by its contents. It is the fundamental substrate, the raw material from which to draw the basic connections of our creativity.

The image of the well, used by Thomas Mann, is very significant. In symbolism, the well is the place where you take contact with the deep self and where to get water that gives life. The ancient times remind us of the socializing role of the well, invested with an aura of sacredness, where sharing with others took place. It was…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

The new professionals of the interconnected world

interdisciplinary-learningThere is an empty chair at the conference table of business professionals, a not assigned place that increasingly demands for the presence of a new type of integration manager. The demands for an ever-increasing specialization, imposed by the modern world, are bringing out with great emphasis the need for an interdisciplinary professional who understands the demands of specialists and who is able to coordinate and to link actions and decisions. This need, often still ignored, is a direct result of the growing complexity of the modern world and the fast communications inside the network.

Complexity” is undoubtedly the most suitable paradigm to characterize the historical and social model of today’s world, in which the interactions and connections between the various areas now form an inextricable network of relations. Since the ’60s and’ 70s a large group of scholars – including the chemist Ilya Prigogine and the physicist Murray Gell-Mann – began to study what would become a true Science of Complexity.

Yet this is not an entirely new concept: the term means “composed of several parts connected to each other and dependent on each other“, exactly as reality, nature, society, and the environment around us. A “complex” mode of thought integrates and considers all contexts, interconnections, interrelationships between the different realities as part of the vision.

What is professionalism? And who are professionals? What can define a professional? <…>

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

The logical contradictions of the Universe

Ouroboros

Ouroboros

Is Erwin Schrödinger’s wave function – which did in the atomic and subatomic world an operation altogether similar to the one performed by Newton in the macroscopic world – an objective reality or just a subjective knowledge? Physicists, philosophers and epistemologist have debated at length on this matter. In 1960, theoretical physicist Eugene Wigner has proposed that the observer’s consciousness is the dividing line that triggers the collapse of the wave function[1], and this theory was later taken up and developed in recent years. “The rules of quantum mechanics are correct but there is only one system which may be treated with quantum mechanics, namely the entire material world. There exist external observers which cannot be treated within quantum mechanics, namely human (and perhaps animal) minds, which perform measurements on the brain causing wave function collapse[2].

The English mathematical physicist and philosopher of science Roger Penrose developed the hypothesis called Orch-OR (Orchestrated objective reduction) according to which consciousness originates from processes within neurons, rather than from the connections between neurons (the conventional view). The mechanism is believed to be a quantum physical process called objective reduction which is orchestrated by the molecular structures of the microtubules of brain cells (which constitute the cytoskeleton of the cells themselves). Together with the physician Stuart Hameroff, Penrose has suggested a direct relationship between the quantum vibrations of microtubules and the formation of consciousness.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Emptiness and Form

 

Being_ParmenidesIn the perennial search of the meaning of life and the fundamental laws that govern nature, man was always faced – for millennia – with the mysterious concept of emptiness. What is emptiness? Does it really exist in nature? Is emptiness the non-being, as theorized by Parmenides?

Until the early years of the last century, technology had not yet been able to equip scientists with the necessary tools to investigate the innermost structure of matter, so the concept of emptiness was always faced with insights and metaphors that led, over the centuries, to a broad philosophical debate.

For the ancient atomist Greek philosophers, the existence of emptiness was not only possible but had become a necessity, becoming the ontological principle for the existence of being: for them, actually, the emptiness that permeates the atoms is what allows movement.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

The Breath of Time

 

For centuries man has hunted, he brought the animals to pasture, cultivated fields and sailed the seas without any kind of tool to measure time. Back then, the time was not measured, but only estimated with vague approximation and its pace was enough to dictate the steps of the day and the life of man. Subsequently, for many centuries, hourglasses accompanied the civilization with the slow flow of their sand grains. About hourglasses, Ernst Junger writes in “Das Sanduhrbuch – 1954” (no English translation): “This small mountain, formed by all the moments lost that fell on each other, it could be understood as a comforting sign that the time disappears but does not fade. It grows in depth”.

For the philosophers of ancient Greece, the time was just a way to measure how things move in everyday life and in any case there was a clear distinction between “quantitative” time (Kronos) and “qualitative” time (Kairòs). According to Parmenides, time is guise, because its existence…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

A – not exactly United – Kingdom

 

Island of Ventotene – Roman harbour

There once was a Kingdom strongly United, built on the honours of the people of Wessex, of Mercia, Northumbria and East Anglia who knew how to deal with the invasion of the Vikings from the east and of Normans from the south, to come to unify the territory under an umbrella of common intents. Today, however, 48% of them, while keeping solid traditions, still know how to look forward to the future, joining horizons and commercial developments along with the rest of Europe. The remaining 52%, however, look back and can not see anything in front of them if not a desire of isolation, breaking the European dream born on the shores of Ventotene island in 1944 by Altiero Spinelli, Ernesto Rossi and Ursula Hirschmann through the “Manifesto for a free and united Europe“. An incurable fracture in the country was born in a referendum on 23 June, in which just over half of the population asked to terminate his marriage to the great European family, bringing the UK back by 43 years of history.

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>

Why children can use their imagination better than we do?

 

Children can use their imagination better than us because they are (still) immediately in contact with the Whole and they represent the most pristine prototype of the human being. From birth and for the first years of life, the child is the mirror of our species, who carries in himself the primary elements and the roots of evolution, without conditions or interference.

When then education begins, especially school, his imagination is restrained and limited, everything is being done to concentrate his interests only for what is ‘real’ and to let him leave the world of fantasy. In the first drawing exercises to which the children are subjected at school, their imagination or the appearance of how they perceive some elements of nature are discarded; the drawing that best fit to a photographic vision of reality is rewarded, inhibiting their own imaginative potential from the very beginning, in favour of a more reassuring homologation…

<Read More…[by Fabio Marzocca]>