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Luke-Jr's public apology for poor Gentoo packaging default

Posted by
Luke Dashjr - Bitcoin Expert
5 years ago

Luke-Jr's public apology for poor Gentoo packaging default

Deploying the 'ljr' USE flag to Gentoo as a default quietly was wrong, and has been disabled, as well as splitting the spam filtering off to an independent 'ljr-antispam' USE flag so the rest of my patch is not tied to it. Currently, these changes are only available in the “bitcoin” overlay, but should make it to the main Portage tree within a few days.

When I deployed the patch as part of the 0.9.3 ebuild for Gentoo, it did not occur to me at the time that the spam filter was even included, much less that it would be controversial. For some reason, I assumed everyone already knew what was included in my patch (ironic, considering I obviously forgot that part myself) and would see the new USE flag when upgrading. When it was pointed out, I should have just taken the more conservative approach and flipped it off by default. I should have known better (I did make the patch after all), and so I apologise for my lack of prudence.

While I still believe the full patch is the best solution for users today (I have been using it for years myself), I recognise that it should not be enabled without ensuring everyone receiving it is well-aware. What I should have done, in hindsight, was at the very least have a pre-installation notice informing users of the patch and a link to more details on what exactly is included in it and what those changes mean. I will put more effort into ensuring future patches are clearly disclosed upfront.

Over the long term, my hope is to see a BITCOIN_NODE_POLICY variable that can be specified as “ljr”, “vanilla”, or hopefully many other policies to match people’s many different preference in how their own system’s resources are used.

If there are any further concerns or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact me.


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level 1
80 points · 5 years ago

thanks for addressing this, but

it did not occur to me at the time that the spam filter was even included

cmon man don't feign ignorance. the bitcointalk thread, the mastercoin github issue thread, and the gentoo release build thread has you ARGUING with people about your spam filter

level 2
2 points · 5 years ago

Lying is pretty lame, he was winning back my respect until then

level 2
-2 points · 5 years ago

Agreed he does, but he did a good thing say sorry and has now done the right thing, looking forward to the next fix to look into this issue x

level 1
61 points · 5 years ago

I'm skeptical of this turn-around given that up until like an hour previously you were so ardently defending everything you did. But assuming this isn't a troll or something, I'm glad to know you understand why everybody was upset. It IS a useful patch for those who wish to use it, and bitcoin definitely needs more variations on its implementations.

level 2
20 points · 5 years ago · edited 5 years ago

The distinction to make there is supporting the patch as a stop gap measure and a choice (which he still does in the post), vs it ending up as a more-or-less invisble default. (Which could be overridden, though that doesn't matter if you don't know about it).

Luke-jr can be annoying pedantic at times, I've never known him to be two-faced or anything but sincere (perhaps too sincere for comfort!)

level 1
81 points · 5 years ago

Glad to see this change. Luke-jr dug in a bit after the first contact on IRC was really over the top rude (and from someone who'd been kickbanned a number of times in the past for bad behavior). Never a good way to sort out a technical decision.

OTOH, while I strongly disagreed with the 'anti-spam' approach (and had long been nagging luke to do more pure behavioral matching on the abusive transaction behavior (censor-magnet, and UTXO bloating)), I am a little sad to see many people criticising a different distribution of Bitcoin Core not just for its own policy decisions but for being different at all.

There is no mandatory official Bitcoin, and when it comes to node policy-- (not consensus rules, of course)-- diversity is valuable, and people should have the ability to control what their computers are doing, how their resources are being spent, etc. But control means actually realizing something was there. Which likely wasn't the case here, so I'm happy to see the above.

level 2
30 points · 5 years ago

Personally, my problem is the disregard for community processes. Consensus building. Do things the right way and make sure people trust you.

I think the actual content of the patch is not the important part, just that we can all work together and when there is a conflict of interest (like a core-dev doing distro-packaging) be extra responsible and don't do anything unexpected.

Everything in OpenSource is in the open, this is a great way to keep everyone honest. And this apology goes a long way into making sure we do all keep honest.

level 2
4 points · 5 years ago

"Censor-magnet"? Sounds interesting, but a quick search isn't clarifying what sort of policy/technique that refers to...

level 2
6 points · 5 years ago

As I understood the situation (from brief reading) Luke had taken a (the "official") bitcoin package 'bitcoin core' and slipped it into the Gentoo package repository with his own patch silently enabled, which is very deceptive...

Had he chosen to call the package "Bitcoin Core Luke-JR edition" or similar, or else had the flags off by default, then none of this would have been an issue.

But I have not had a good read on what actually happened and do not use Gentoo, so must disclaim that I might very well be wrong here.

level 1
19 points · 5 years ago

Let's list your previous posts too, you oopsie liar.

Luke-Jr 2014-10-05 15:46:57 UTC PEBKAC, no sign anything is actually broken here. Looks like just a troll.


Luke-Jr 2014-10-06 04:02:05 UTC All entries on the blacklist are known DDoS attacks against the Bitcoin network, not political. The vanilla code already attempts to ignore (and thereby mitigate) these kind of attacks[1]. The blacklist feature is just an admittedly ugly hack to improve the reliability of the detection based on known factors - it is unsuitable for the reference code because it is ugly, but until a better solution is implemented, it is safe and appropriate for production use. A perfect long-term solution to these attacks is impractical (similar to other malware filtering) since it is an "arms race", and this interim solution works reliably for now without affecting Bitcoin users negatively (which is a risk for more complex solutions, that they could trigger false positives on legitimate traffic). It certainly does not harm the Bitcoin consensus system in any way, as the patchset is carefully maintained to not affect that code at all.

The "address reuse" patch Sarah makes reference could be one of two things, neither of which are included in my patchset due to minor technical issues during testing. In any case, the change is in fact quite UNcontroversial (I believe there is unanimous agreement among Bitcoin experts that it is a good idea), and is likely to make its way into the vanilla codebase.

Finally, please note that the quotes xiando posted to "support" his position are taken out of context. Those interested in reading the (rather long) full conversation can get channel logs from

[1] The vanilla code to handle such attacks is spread out, but mostly branches off

Luke-Jr 2014-10-06 05:56:22 UTC Sarah, I really wish you would stop misrepresenting things. Lots of (more) popular services and merchants use Bitcoin just fine without creating a DDoS attack on the network. Their business model is also equally possible (and in fact easier to implement) without creating such an attack. You can argue intentions all you like, but the fact is that objectively, that is what they are doing.

If you disagree, or want to help them attack the network, you are free to turn off the USE flag. You can also remove the vanilla filtering by dropping a patch in /etc/portage/patches.

Luke-Jr 2014-10-06 18:42:30 UTC To ensure users are aware of the USE flag, how about adding something like this?

einfo Two flavours of Bitcoin Core are available in Gentoo, depending on the 'ljr' USE flag. einfo With USE=ljr (default), you will get a number of improvements by Luke Dashjr. This includes (among many other things) a blacklist-based spam filter which extends the vanilla spam filtering to explicitly match for known attacks on the Bitcoin network. einfo If you build with USE=-ljr, you will get the vanilla code as released upstream. This is not as effective in filtering spam, and is not appropriate for mining, but has had more review and testing.

Luke-Jr 2014-10-07 00:14:03 UTC (In reply to xiando from comment #23)

I guess the Gentoo policy will be that it is alright for a payment network to accept a transaction fee for a service without delivering said service because someone decided to blacklisting them for using this service. :)

Total non-argument. Nodes which do not relay or mine transactions do not collect the fee offered for them. More notably, nodes which do relay them still do not collect the fee for them. Finally, nodes which are burdened by them, do not collect the fee for them. The fee is only collected by the miner who puts them in a block, by his free market choice to do so. Fees exist to discourage spam, not to compensate for the costs of the transaction.

  1. My practice of creating transactions add cruft to the blackchain and affects the future efficiency of all bitcoin nodes because this transaction is then stored in the blockchain (which is how Bitcoin works).

Also a non-argument. The blockchain was created for financial transactions. That doesn't mean it's acceptable or equivalent to use it for other purposes such as spammy messaging, especially when such abuses make legitimate use more difficult and/or costly. Basically you're saying that a personal email from Joe to his friend is the same as a recurring unsolicited bulk advertisement from a botnet to everyone in the world.

Luke-Jr 2014-10-08 19:02:38 UTC (In reply to Pacho Ramos from comment #31)

Have you think in renaming the flag to "vanilla"? That way, most people would still get the patches applies by default (as currently) but, as "vanilla" is more widely used and more "self-explanatory", people would more likely know that they are not running the "upstream" version :/

The reason I opted to use "ljr" instead of "vanilla" was the hope that someday there will be multiple patchsets to choose from.

level 1
43 points · 5 years ago

lukeJRTrusted = false;

Saying "oopsie, I goofed" doesn't get you off the hook, it just puts every single thing he's done under the same light of suspicion.

level 2
5 points · 5 years ago

As an outsider to this situation with no bias, I say give him a second chance. He seems needed at this time. Seems to have transparency. I like it. Better than anyone else. Is this guy the President or something? What is going on?

level 2
2 points · 5 years ago

Perish_In_a_Fire: Luke-jr hates me and what I do. You hate me and what I do. I thought you two would be buds? :)

level 1
15 points · 5 years ago

Heres the first "apology"

Luke-Jr 2014-10-05 15:46:57 UTC

PEBKAC, no sign anything is actually broken here. Looks like just a troll. Status: INVALID or WORKSFORME?

level 1
33 points · 5 years ago

You are one of the scariest parts of Bitcoin to me.

level 2
11 points · 5 years ago

This guy has done more for bitcoin than 98% of others in this thread. Who cares if he has substantially different beliefs than you? The bitcoin network doesn't care.

level 1
13 points · 5 years ago

Better. Good on you for backing it out and apologizing.

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Created Sep 9, 2010
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