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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 3 hours 1 min ago

Microsoft is ‘Doing Kamikaze’ (神風) on Linux

6 hours 33 min ago

“Karate is a form of marital arts in which people who have had years and years of training can, using only their hands and feet, make some of the worst movies in the history of the world.”

–Dave Barry

Summary: An analogy for what the Linux (only in name!) Foundation and Microsoft mean to Linux — or by extension to GNU/Linux and Free software whose largest repository Microsoft took control of

THERE are many fitting analogies by which to describe Microsoft’s real relationship with Linux; “love” isn't even close to it. A famous and classic scenario is trying to drown oneself with somebody else, or driving a car off the cliff with someone else inside the car. In Japan, with its generally cruel history and nihilistic culture (whaling, babies on bayonets, massacres of Chinese, sexual enslavement of Koreans, Kamikaze flights and so on), several fitting analogies come to mind. Linux distrusts Microsoft for the same reason the Chinese don’t trust Japan (and probably never will). But Imperial Microsoft is in denial about its atrocities, so it’s characterising its victims (of abuse/crime/corruption/doxing) as intolerant haters who need to be shunned and/or disciplined further.

“…Imperial Microsoft is in denial about its atrocities, so it’s characterising its victims (of abuse/crime/corruption/doxing) as intolerant haters who need to be shunned and/or disciplined further.”Does anyone know how or why Jim Zemlin, the $10,000,000 man who never wrote code, understands Japanese? Darl McBride from SCO knows it because he promoted his cult in Japan (as a missionary), but we fail to see the connection in the Zemlins. Either way, Zemlin rules “Linux” (the brand) like a Japanese Emperor and he’s willing to totally destroy GNU/Linux on the desktop (or even just to suppress criticism of his Empire. This is perhaps the best analogy I can come up at this moment in time.

I’m generally against cancer analogies, but Microsoft is a company and not a person (and one cannot cause “offense” to a corporation). So to use an analogy, Microsoft is to Linux like an ovarian cancer. It’s big, you know it’s there, but it’s not simple to get it out once it settles there and expands, stifling distribution and eventually killing the ‘host’. What host? The Linux Foundation. It seems to be terminal.

The ‘New’ Sometimes Feels Like a Microsoft Promotion Site

7 hours 41 min ago

Recent: Azure Running GNU/Linux Isn’t About ‘Love’ But About Control

“It is not the lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

Summary: Anything that the ‘Linux’ Foundation touches seems to turn into its proprietors’ agenda; one of those proprietors is Microsoft, which has a "Jihad" against Linux

TRYING my very best to be polite, I rarely post here (as articles) my microblogging rants about the Linux Foundation. When I write articles I also try to omit names (sometimes going to the extremes of ‘censoring’ names in our sources’ messages on the subject). Some of these rants can offend some people even though they’re perfectly honest and sincere a bunch of rants. Some have become satirical and cynical; I resort to humour. The truth is, I am really not happy about the pivot of the Linux Foundation and I’ve noticed, based on responses, that many other GNU/Linux users aren’t happy either. They probably just don’t say much about it. People refrain from ‘disparaging’ the Linux Foundation mostly because it has the word “Linux” in its name (never mind if very little or what it does actually supports Linux and most staff aren’t Linux users).

“People refrain from ‘disparaging’ the Linux Foundation mostly because it has the word “Linux” in its name (never mind if very little or what it does actually supports Linux and most staff aren’t Linux users).”Earlier this year we took some gloves off, partly because my wife had gotten fed up and said I ought to break the silence. Why do these people get a free pass (avoidance of criticism)? She reads Linux news all day. She runs Tux Machines, which makes this required. The Linux Foundation is “trying to condition the minds of people,” she told me this morning, to suggest “that Microsoft is OK…”

And my wife argues this not as a Microsoft basher or hater. She hardly ever minded them (until recent years). Now she uses terms like “entryism” and “conditioning” (which she borrowed from politics). “That’s the term there…”

“…Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux (from the inside) have left us no choice… sadly, the Foundation that owns or at least monopolises/utilises Torvalds’ trademark now actively participates in Microsoft’s attacks.”“There’s no Linux news anymore, it’s all about Microsoft,” she retorted a couple of hours ago. I too read Linux news all day, every day. So I see the same thing. Some readers sent us E-mail saying the same thing. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes. Some people underestimate the work of Techrights, much of which isn’t about publishing articles but doing activism in support of GNU/Linux behind the scenes and coordinating actions, e.g. in IRC. We’re supporting GNU/Linux a lot better than most ‘foundations’. Articles are one component of several activities. Tux Machines, for example helps people find positive stories about GNU/Linux. The same cannot be said about ever since the Linux Foundation effectively shut it down (back in April). It fired all the editors and staff without even a “thank you” or an explanation. Remember that for a "thank you" from the Linux Foundation you need to open the wallet/purse and pay tens of thousands of dollars. Yes, “thank yous” are a service or a product from the Linux Foundation. This is how gross things have become. In our latest daily links we included this report from yesterday; it shows Microsoft giving more money to Jim Zemlin and his PAC/foundation. This does not amuse us. What also isn’t amusing is yesterday’s news pick from “swapnilbhartiya”, who was chosen by the Foundation, maybe based on track record of love for Linux-hostile firms (he uses a “Mac”-branded PC, just like Zemlin). Weeks ago he did puff pieces for GPL violator VMware on the Foundation's payroll and this week (the second week) he continues using the site to promote Microsoft stuff. Zemlin’s PAC has put just one single person in charge of news, posting maybe (at most) two paragraphs a day. There’s like 50 Linux stories per day (I know this because of my research for Tux Machines and Techrights daily links), so why does he post Microsoft ones?

About 2 years ago I said repeatedly (and it’s a matter of public record) that I do not want to cover anything Microsoft and instead focus on GNU/Linux and patent issues. But Microsoft’s attacks on GNU/Linux (from the inside) have left us no choice… sadly, the Foundation that owns or at least monopolises/utilises Torvalds’ trademark now actively participates in Microsoft’s attacks. It is a gradual handover, a passage of ownership, so to speak.

IBM is a Threat to the Internet, Not Just to Software Development (Due to Software Patents Aggression)

8 hours 17 min ago

“Backed by exhaustive research, Black’s case is simple and stunning: that IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of the Third Reich … Black’s evidence may be the most damning to appear yet against a purported corporate accomplice.”

–Michael Hirsh, Newsweek

Summary: IBM continues its aggression against technology — a fact that’s even more distressing now that IBM calls the shots at Red Hat

Because of Red Hat we are going to at least try to like IBM (it was a much more benign and FOSS-friendly company a decade ago! Its ODF work is one example among many), but each time IBM advocates and lobbies for software patents at the European Patent Office (EPO) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) we’ll call IBM out on it. So should Red Hat’s people, whose walkout can potentially sway policy a bit. IBM not only fires people (or sends their jobs to India) but it also lobbies for software patents in India. We wrote many articles about it over the past half decade. India has the most to lose because software is the gem of its economy.

Yesterday Mike Masnick wrote about IBM, opening with the following paragraph: “This perhaps isn’t a huge surprise, but IBM is being disdainful of the wider tech ecosystem, yet again. It has an incredibly long history of this kind of activity — mostly in the patent space, where it is the world’s foremost patent bully. The company gleefully announces each and every year that it gets the most patents of any company in the US. It has done this (no joke) for 26 straight years. Of course, given how many patents it gets, if patents actually were a marker for innovation, you’d think that IBM would still be putting out all sorts of innovative new products all the time. Right? Except, of course, it is not. Instead, it uses the patents to shake down companies who actually do innovate. The most famous of these stories is the one about IBM and Sun in its early days, in which IBM showed up at Sun’s offices with threats of patent infringement…”

“IBM not only fires people (or sends their jobs to India) but it also lobbies for software patents in India.”Masnick then cited a famous old article. This is the new boss of Red Hat, mind you, and what a malicious company it has become in recent years. Again, we must stress, it wasn’t like this a decade ago. The current CEO of IBM is a disaster. Masnick recalled that “[b]ack in 2013, when IBM first went after Twitter, I highlighted how it was an example of how older tech companies focus on litigation when they have no innovation left. In the comments, a few people challenged that claim, saying that IBM was innovative. “Just look at Watson,” the company’s big AI project, they all said.”

It’s disgusting marketing. IBM did more such marketing to hide reports about it racially profiling people for NYPD. IBM is still a highly problematic company and that hasn’t changed since the buyout of Red Hat was first announced. They simply refuse to change. They still push for software patents. They not only apply for these but also lobby/bully/bribe politicians to welcome such patents (in defiance of 35 U.S.C. § 101).

“IBM is still a highly problematic company and that hasn’t changed since the buyout of Red Hat was first announced. They simply refuse to change.”Masnick’s new article (less than a day old) is mostly a rant about IBM’s latest attack on the Net. “Of course,” he wrote, “IBM doesn’t give a shit about the open internet. To them, killing Section 230 opens up all sorts of neat possibilities. First off, IBM doesn’t host any significant online services that rely on Section 230 protections, so it doesn’t increase its own liability. Second, it handicaps the companies who actually have been innovating in AI technology, like Google and Microsoft. Third — and this is the key — you can bet that one way that many companies will try to prove “reasonable care” would be to purchase an expensive filtering technology. Perhaps one based on… Watson? IBM gets to salvage its junk technology and have the government create a market for it. Bonus. [...] IBM has long been a black hole for actual innovation. Now it wants to suck down the open internet with it. Don’t let it.”

We’re trying to be optimistic about Red Hat, but we aren’t able to see IBM changing, certainly not for the better. Over the past week we saw several reports about Fedora that made it seem like IBM already gave up on GNU/Linux (as a laptop/desktop platform). Then there’s the question of public advocacy; the bigger problem for (a Red Hat site) is that IBM might not spare it (layoffs) because many positions expressed there, e.g. on software patents and on patents in general, are not compatible with IBM’s patent blackmail agenda. IBM has been preparing some very big “parcels” of patents on blockchain while Zemlin’s PAC (the Linux Foundation) let IBM lead the HyperLedger push. Will IBM leverage that too as a patent trap? Time will tell, but let’s hope not…

Remember that Linux Foundation staff such as Zemlin does not oppose software patents. It has not even brought up this subject in nearly a decade! The same is true for OIN, but we’ll say more about that in our next post, which concerns the Zemlin-led group.

“We’ve long said that when it comes to software patents IBM is hardly more benign than Microsoft.”Yesterday the FFII’s President highlighted this new tweet that said: “In just 1 year the number of IBM blockchain patents has grown by 300%. When one of the largest companies in the world (366,000 employees) spends so much of their resources on developing a blockchain department, this tells a lot about the market potential…”

As we explained last week, we expect IBM to pressure Red Hat staff to apply for software patents; one worker who refused to do so at Red Hat (Oliva) quit his job about a month ago. What we have above isn’t innovation; it’s software with a database somewhere disguised as “AI” and “blockchain” (for lazy USPTO examiners to grant fake patents — patents which IBM then uses in bulk for blackmail). IBM is a real pest or parasite when it comes to patents. IBM makes billions of dollars per year this way. We’ve long said that when it comes to software patents IBM is hardly more benign than Microsoft.

EPO Looney Tunes – Part 1: Is D-Day Approaching for Battistelli’s “Difficult Legacy”?

8 hours 53 min ago

A four-part mini series about EBA referral G 2/19

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this. The exclusion of computer programs is a political question. [...] The core task of a computer is to process data. So at least the processing of data is not patentable.”

Ante Wessels, FFII

Summary: European patent justice isn’t working within the premises of EPOnia; a bunch of ‘show trials’ may in fact turn out to be just that — a show

THIS series about the European Patent Office (EPO) comes from someone who prefers to remain anonymous. It is a series by a guest author. This author has a lot of credibility based on a track record of high accuracy.

“EPO Looney Tunes,” the author explains, is “a four-part mini-series exploring Battistelli‘s “difficult legacy” and the Enlarged Board of Appeal referral case G 2/19 which is scheduled for a hearing in the main EPO Isar Building today (Tuesday, 16 July 2019).”

The Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) is very important (a decade ago it dealt with questions like software patentability in Europe and I sent it a letter about it). There are similar things in the United States (dealing with 35 U.S.C. § 101 at the Office) and elsewhere in Europe, e.g. in EUIPO (previous home of António Campinos). Yesterday the following comment was left in IP Kat: “I note that I am not permitted to post obscene or defamatory comments, or to post ad hominem (or, I presume, ad feminam) attacks on members of the blog team or other posters. Moreover, the IPKat team will moderate my comments before they are published. This seems perfectly reasonable to me. What I do not understand is that the USPTO should be less privileged in this respect than the IPKat. David T. Keeling (former EUIPO Board of Appeal member, rapporteur in the SCREW YOU case, not rapporteur in the FUCKING HELL case)…”

Assuming that’s really him, it’s funny that he takes note of IP Kat censorship — a subject we explored/revisited at least twice earlier this month. Notice how IP Kat quit covering the attacks on EBA a couple of years ago (after some people had left the blog and the EPO temporarily blocked the whole blog). EBA has since then complained, publicly even, about its lack of independence. Will any of that change any time soon (under Campinos)? Will the EPO change at all? Yesterday the EPO tweeted: “The EPO’s success is based on the expertise of its highly skilled staff.”

“The EPO already drove away all the best staff,” I responded. “So now it can grant loads of fake patents and underpay the staff.”

We also recently noted here that examiners are bound by the decisions (e.g. interpretations of the EPC) of the Boards of Appeal, including EBA. So it’s highly crucial that independence gets restored. Without it, quality of patents will continue to suffer if not fall even further. With that in mind, here comes part 1.

Back in March of this year, JUVE reported on a case which had been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal, the highest judicial instance at the EPO, in a move which was said to put Battistelli’s “difficult legacy” to the test.

The “difficult legacy” referred to here was the banishment of the Boards of Appeal to a new premises in Haar, an independent municipality on the outskirts of Munich.

The question as to whether oral proceedings could lawfully be held in Haar was raised by Aachen patent attorney Hans-Dieter Jostarndt, following objections raised by third parties during the granting procedure of EP 2 378 735.

The disputed patent relates to a technology for operating a mobile phone network and it belongs to IPCom, a well-known – some might say “notorious” – patent-holding company or “non-practicing entity”, which is a common euphemism for a patent troll.

One of the leading patent trolls in Germany, IPCom was established by the flamboyant Munich patent attorney, Bernhard Frohwitter, and it lays claim to a portfolio of over 1,200 patents, many of which were acquired from Bosch. It has been active in the business of trying to “shake-down” big telecom companies since 2008 or thereabouts.

In the course of the proceedings in the case of EP 2378 735, Jostarndt requested that an oral hearing scheduled for 25 January should be moved to the seat of the EPO in Munich because “Haar is obviously not intended in the EPC as a place for acts and negotiations.”

The Technical Board of Appeal dealing with the case decided to refer the matter to the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

Oral proceedings are scheduled to be held in the main EPO Isar building on Tuesday, 16 July 2019.

The hearing will be public so anybody who is interested can attend.

One of the questions on the agenda is whether an EPO Appeals Board can lawfully hold oral proceedings in Haar “if the appellant objects to this site as not being in conformity with the EPC and requests that the oral proceedings be held in Munich instead?”

Despite the excitement which the case has generated inside the EPO, observers are cautioning that it may all turn out to be a bit of an anti-climax because the question about Haar’s conformity with the EPC is preceded by two other questions which concern the admissibility of the legal action itself.

Should the Enlarged Board decide that the appeal is inadmissible, then it will not need to consider the “Haar question”.

In that case, the issue of Haar’s conformity with the EPC would remain unresolved and would be likely to fester on in the background until it resurfaces in a future proceedings.

While we are waiting for the Enlarged Board to make up its mind on referral G 2/19, it seems like a good time to take a peek behind the scenes and have a closer look at the background and some of the personalities involved in the case.

The next installment will follow shortly…

Links 16/7/2019: LXD 3.15, Q4OS 3.8 and D9VK 0.13f

Tuesday 16th of July 2019 06:19:39 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Lenovo Chromebook C330 2-in-1

      Today we are looking at the Lenovo Chromebook C330 (81HY0000US), it is a 2-1 device, a notebook but it can also be converted into a tablet.

      It comes with a fanless quad-core MediaTek MT8173C CPU, an 11.6 inch, 1366×768, IPS display, and touch screen. It has 4gb of RAM and 64GB eMMC SSD.

    • Desktop
      • Best Linux Distro for Windows 7 Refugees: Manjaro KDE

        Manjaro is based off of Arch Linux, but I like to describe it to people as the “Ubuntu of Arch” for its user-friendly design choices and its particular attention to helping new Linux users to learn what they are doing. Another great perk of the Arch foundation underneath Manjaro is the use of the Arch Linux Wiki.

        The Arch wiki is easily one of the largest resources of help, information, and know-how for all Linux users— regardless of distribution, many of the articles found can be applied.

        Back in the spring of 2017 I wrote a series of articles discussing various Desktop Environments for Linux systems, such as Cinnamon and KDE just to name a couple, and overall for Windows users who have decided to take the plunge, I’m recommending KDE.

        Regardless of distribution, KDE is filled with eye candy, is highly-customizable, one of the most powerful file-browsers available (Dolphin), and is deeply documented with a long-standing history (KDE was created in 1996).

      • If You Are a Linux User, Make Your Next PC Powered By AMD

        While I was searching for a new on-budget laptop to buy, especially after my Lenovo Thinkpad x260 almost died, I did a lot of research specifically about what CPU & GPU vendors to choose, mainly because I use Linux only and I was worried about some rumors of compatibility and other issues.

        At the end I chose AMD, and I bought a laptop powered by AMD. My experience with it on Linux has been wonderful so far. This is my story, and why I think that you should go with AMD for your next PC too.

      • What Is AppImage in Linux?

        On a Linux distro, you should always install new software with the aid of your package manager when possible. It keeps things clean, and all files are tracked by the manager and can be easily removed later. This also helps avoid potential trouble when you later upgrade your distribution. But since your distribution might not have the software you need, or some might be too old, you sometimes have to resort to alternatives. Out of all these alternatives, though, only choose to download third party “.deb” or “.rpm” files as a last resort.

        What Is AppImage?

        On Windows, you can download a ZIP archive, extract the contents to a directory, and run the application within, without having to install it. This is called a portable app because you can copy it to a USB stick and then run it on any computer that uses the Windows operating system.

        An AppImage, though technically constructed in a different way, works the same from the user’s perspective. You download one file and run the program on your Linux operating system without having to install anything. Furthermore, you can also copy this on a USB stick, and it will run on Debian, Ubuntu, Arch Linux, openSUSE, Fedora, or any other Linux distribution.

      • Tizonia – powerful open source cloud music player for the Linux terminal

        The Linux platform has matured into an excellent way of listening to streaming music services. There are clients available for most of the popular music streaming services. But what if you want a single app that covers the very popular ones without straying away from the Linux terminal. Step forward Tizonia.

        Tizonia offers access to some excellent streaming music services — all from the command line. The software supports popular services such as YouTube, Spotify, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Chromecast, and more.

        Tizonia is innovative software. It doesn’t use FFmpeg, libav, gstreamer or libvlc for playback. Instead, the software’s multimedia framework is based on OpenMAX IL 1.2. OpenMAX (Open Media Acceleration) is a non-proprietary and royalty-free cross-platform set of C-language programming interfaces. It provides abstractions for routines that are especially useful for processing of audio, video, and still images.

        Tizonia is C/C++ software which integrates online services with Python connectors/proxies. This means it should be fairly easy to integrate new services, assuming a Python-based API is accessible.

    • Server
      • LXD 3.15 has been released

        The LXD team is very excited to announce the release of LXD 3.15!

        This release both includes a number of major new features as well as some significant internal rework of various parts of LXD.

        One big highlight is the transition to the dqlite 1.0 branch which will bring us more performance and reliability, both for our cluster users and for standalone installations. This rework moves a lot of the low-level database/replication logic to dedicated C libraries and significantly reduces the amount of back and forth going on between C and Go.

        On the networking front, this release features a lot of improvements, adding support for IPv4/IPv6 filtering on bridges, MAC and VLAN filtering on SR-IOV devices and much improved DHCP server management.

        We’re also debuting a new version of our resources API which will now provide details on network devices and storage disks on top of extending our existing CPU, memory and GPU reporting.

        And that’s all before looking into the many other performance improvements, smaller features and bugfixes that went into this release.

      • IBM
        • IBM Takes A Hands Off Approach With Red Hat

          IBM has been around long enough in the IT racket that it doesn’t have any trouble maintaining distinct portfolios of products that have overlapping and often incompatible functions. The System/3, which debuted in 1969, is only five years older than the System/360, which laid the foundation and set the pace for corporate computing when it launched in 1964. Both styles of machines continue to exist today as the IBM i on Power Systems platform and the System z.

          With the $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat, which closed last week, neither of those two legacy products are under threat and IBM does not seem to be inclined whatsoever in ceasing development of the legacy operating system and middleware stacks embodied in the IBM i and System z lines.

          As Arvind Krishna, senior vice president in charge of IBM’s cloud and cognitive software products, put it bluntly in a call after the deal closed, IBM’s customers expect for Big Blue to maintain its own operating systems, middleware, storage, databases, and security software in the IBM i, AIX, and System z lines, and that is precisely what Big Blue is going to do. Krisha estimated that there is only about 5 percent overlap in products between Big Blue and Red Hat – something we talked about at length when the deal was announced last October – and added that in many enterprise accounts that use both Red Hat and IBM platforms, companies invest in both sets of software for different purposes – perhaps using JBoss in one case and WebSphere in another, for instance.

        • Tech cos go for Edtech tie-ups to get that ready workforce

          Companies like Wipro, Accenture, IBM and others are tying up with edtech partners like upGrad, Simplilearn and Udacity to have a ready-trained workforce they can deploy on projects. Additional benefits include minimal training cost incurred post recruitment and a lesser churn as learners develop more ownership in their roles.

          The edtech firms provide campus recruits the required platform, content, assignments and project work in their last semester of college to ensure they are prepared with programming skills and emerging digital skills before they join.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 improves performance for modern workloads

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 can provide significant performance improvements over RHEL 7 across a range of modern workloads. To put this in context, we used RHEL 7.6 to execute multiple benchmarks with Intel’s 2nd generation of Intel Xeon Scalable processors, and our hardware partners set 35 new world record performance results using the same OS version. This post will highlight RHEL 8 performance gains over RHEL 7.

          How did we get here? The performance engineering team at Red Hat collaborates with software partners and hardware OEMs to measure and optimize performance across workloads that range from high-end databases, NoSQL databases packaged in RHEL, Java applications, and third party databases and applications from Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, SAS, and SAP HANA ERP applications.

          We run multiple benchmarks and measure the performance of CPU, memory, disk I/O and networking. Testing includes the filesystems we ship with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, such as XFS, Ext4, GFS2, Gluster and Ceph.

        • Federation V2 is now KubeFed

          Some time ago we talked about how Federation V2 on Red Hat OpenShift 3.11 enables users to spread their applications and services across multiple locales or clusters. As a fast moving project, lots of changes happened since our last blog post. Among those changes, Federation V2 has been renamed to KubeFed and we have released OpenShift 4.

          In today’s blog post we are going to look at KubeFed from an OpenShift 4 perspective, as well as show you a stateful demo application deployed across multiple clusters connected with KubeFed.

          There are still some unknowns around KubeFed; specifically in storage and networking. We are evaluating different solutions because we want to we deliver a top-notch product to manage your clusters across multiple regions/clouds in a clear and user-friendly way. Stay tuned for more information to come!

    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 154 – Chat with the authors of the book “The Fifth Domain”

        Josh and Kurt talk to the authors of a new book The Fifth Domain. Dick Clarke and Rob Knake join us to discuss the book, cybersecurity, US policy, how we got where we are today and what the future holds for cybersecurity.

      • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Weekly News #139
      • Episode 74 | This Week in Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, AMD releases BIOS fix for the Linux booting issue, IBM closes on the landmark acquisition of Red Hat, and Ubuntu announces that Ubuntu LTS users will be getting the latest nvidia drivers much more easily. In App News, Mozilla releases Firefox 68 and Mozilla responds to some weird news around an organization calling them an “Internet Villain”. Also in App News, we’ll take a look at some news regarding GNOME Software possibly dropping support for Snaps, and new releases from Syncthing (Dropbox replacement) & Kdenlive (video editor). Later in the show we’ll check out some Hardware News for the new Pi-top 4 and do some follow ups on topics we discussed in previous episodes including one topic where I need to make a correction to a mistake I made regarding IDE in the 5.2 Linux kernel. Then we’ll round out the show with some Linux Gaming news! All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space
      • Various Chrome OS Hardware Support Improvements Make It Into Linux 5.3 Mainline

        Various Chrome OS hardware platform support improvements have made it into the Linux 5.3 kernel for those after running other Linux distributions on Chromebooks and the like as well as reducing Google’s maintenance burden with traditionally carrying so much material out-of-tree.

      • The Massive DRM Pull Request With AMDGPU Navi Support Sent In For Linux 5.3

        At 479,818 lines of new code and just 36,145 lines of code removed while touching nearly two thousand files, the Direct Rendering Manger (DRM) driver updates for Linux 5.3 are huge. But a big portion of that line count is the addition of AMD Radeon RX 5000 “Navi” support and a good portion of that in turn being auto-generated header files. Navi support is ready for the mainline Linux kernel!

      • Char/Misc Has A Bit Of Changes All Over For Linux 5.3

        The char/misc changes with each succeeding kernel release seem to have less changes to the character device subsystem itself and more just a random collection of changes not fitting in other subsystems / pull requests. With Linux 5.3 comes another smothering of different changes.

      • Linux 5.3′s ASUS WMI Driver Add ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop Support & More

        The x86 platform driver updates were sent in and already merged for the ongoing Linux 5.3 kernel. It’s the x86 platform driver updates that bring the recently mentioned Intel Speed Select Technology for Linux driver but there is also more.

        Beyond the interesting Intel Speed Select support, the ASUS WMI driver has gone through a refactoring in order to support ASUS’ TUF Gaming laptops. In the process, there’s even been a regression fix for once popular Eee PC laptop models where their backlight were stuck permanently off.

      • Intel Speed Select Technology Comes To Linux With The 5.3 Kernel

        With the in-development Linux 5.3 kernel is now support for Intel Speed Select Technology (SST) that was introduced as part of Cascade Lake processors. Speed Select Technology allows optimizing the system with per-core performance configurations to prioritize certain workloads while lowering the performance envelope for other cores.

        With the Linux 5.3 kernel there is now an Intel Speed Select Technology driver with these granular power/performance controls. With Cascade Lake and newer, these power and performance profiles can be configured from the OS and done dynamically based upon the real-time needs.

      • Linux kernel announces a patch to allow as a valid address range

        Last month, the team behind Linux kernel announced a patch that allows as a valid address range. This patch allows for these 16m new IPv4 addresses to appear within a box or on the wire. The aim is to use this 0/8 as a global unicast as this address was never used except the

        In a post written by Dave Taht, Director of the Make-Wifi-Fast, and committed by David Stephen Miller, an American software developer working on the Linux kernel mentions that the use of has been prohibited since the early internet due to two issues.

      • Linux Foundation
      • Graphics Stack
        • AMD resolves Destiny 2, Linux crashes via AGESA update

          AMD has confirmed that a bug causing Destiny 2 and selected Linux distributions to fail to run on its latest Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 series processors will need a microcode update to resolve – but claims it has distributed the necessary code to its motherboard partners already.

          AMD’s third-generation Ryzen processors, based on the company’s Zen 2 microarchitecture, are undeniably impressive – but users of some software packages have been reporting incompatibility issues. For gamers, the headline was Destiny 2 refusing to run when running on any system with a Ryzen 3000 series processor installed; for Linux users, an incompatibility between the chips and selected versions of the systemd init system and related software suite. In both cases, the issue was the same: a complete inability to use the software without reverting to older hardware.

        • AMD Sends Out Linux Graphics Driver Patches For “Arcturus” As New Vega Derived GPU

          Remember last September when that AMD Arcturus codename dropped in our forums for what at first appeared to be a successor to Navi but later clarified to be used as a Linux driver enablement codename? Well, the Linux kernel driver patches for this “Arcturus” GPU have just been posted.

          This Radeon Arcturus support comes just a few weeks after the Radeon RX 5000 “Navi” Linux driver support was posted. But indeed this “Arcturus” part isn’t based on Navi but rather a new swing on Vega based on Vega 20 in part. And we haven’t heard of “Arcturus” at any recent AMD events nor from leaks on the more Windows focused sites.

    • Benchmarks
      • Spectre Mitigation Performance Impact Benchmarks On AMD Ryzen 3700X / 3900X Against Intel

        AMD Zen 2 processors feature hardware-based mitigations for Spectre V2 and Spectre V4 SSBD while remaining immune to the likes of Meltdown and Zombieload. Here are some benchmarks looking at toggling the CPU speculative execution mitigations across various Intel and AMD processors.

        For this round of testing are some mitigation comparison tests on the Core i7 8700K, Core i9 9900K, Core i9 7960X, Ryzen 7 2700X, Ryzen 9 2950X, Ryzen 9 2990WX, Ryzen 7 3700X, and Ryzen 9 3900X. On each processor, the tests were done when booting the Linux 5.2 kernel with the default/out-of-the-box mitigations for Spectre/Meltdown/Foreshadow/Zombieload (all CPU speculative execution mitigations to date) and then again when making use of the “mitigations=off” kernel parameter for disabling these run-time-toggleable mitigations. Basically the tests are the equivalent of mitigations=off vs. mitigations=auto (default) comparison.

    • Applications
      • 5 Business Tools for Start-ups Running on Linux in 2019

        There is no denying that Linux offers more flexibility and security than Microsoft Windows. However, if you use a Linux system for your business, then there is no need to compromise on productivity. The following are some of the most amazing business tools for Linux OS that you can use to enhance business operations and reduce costs:

      • Foliate Ebook Reader Picks Up Mobi & Amazon Kindle Support

        The Foliate ebook reader app for Linux has added support for additional ebook formats, including those used by the Amazon Kindle.

        Now, I’m conscious that I’ve mentioned Foliate a lot recently. I generally don’t like to do that — anyone remember the omg! docky! days? — but some developers are so dang prolific, able to knock out notable update after notable update at a regular clip, that I have no choice!

        Foliate’s developer, John Factotum, is one such dev — nice work!

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Wine or Emulation
      • D9VK for translating D3D9 to Vulkan for Wine has another new version out, 0.13f – “Hypnofrog”

        Developer Joshua Ashton is certainly keeping busy, with another brand new release of D9VK now available.

        As a reminder: D9VK is based on DXVK. While DXVK focuses on translating D3D11 and D3D10 into Vulkan for use in Wine, D9VK focuses on D3D9. Eventually, they should hopefully merge into one awesome project.

        Version 0.13f – “Hypnofrog” is coming in less than a week after the last release, yet still manages to sound interesting given that’s not a lot of time. There’s some “New General API Stuff”, “New Fixed Function Support”, “New Shader Support” and bug fixes for “D3D9″ and “DXSO (Shader Fixes)”.

        Most of the changelog is highly technical language for those of you who understand graphics APIs. The main takeaway, as always, is that each new release should bring more compatibility with Windows games in Wine that use DirectX 9. Since D9VK uses Vulkan, it should perform better than vanilla Wine.

      • D9VK 0.13f Brings Extra Features For Direct3D 9 Over Vulkan

        It was just earlier this month that D9VK 0.13 was released with new features while now a “0.13f” Hypnofrog release is available in pre-release form.

    • Games
      • Kubernetes: The Video Game

        Grant Shipley was recently in China for KubeCon, where he gave a keynote talk explaining the Kubernetes ecosystem within the context of Video Games. It’s a fun way to examine the entire world of Kubernetes, from end to end, while also enabling Grant to make Mavis Beacon and Commodore 64 references. Take a gander!

      • Please, a tense ten-minute experience has a Linux build available

        Got a few minutes to burn? Why not try out the short experimental experience that Please offers. Developed by somewhat, it delivers something quite surreal and freaky.

      • Achievement Unlocked: RetroArch is Coming to Steam

        Fans of retro (and not so retro) gaming will be pleased to hear that RetroArch is coming to Steam.

        Not familiar with RetroArch? It’s a user-friendly GUI that makes use of the libretro API. That API allows developers to create, among other things, modular ‘libretro’ cores that act as game emulators for systems like the SNES, Mega Drive and Game Boy.

        The famed front-end for the popular Libretro API will be available to install on Steam for Windows from July 30. Linux and macOS versions will follow.

        The libretro cores that power RetroArch can be used with other compatible frontends (like GNOME Games app) but RetroArch is arguably the best one.

      • Epic Games’ Tim Sweeney talks Linux and gaming some more, says Linux is “great”

        Tim Sweeney, the Founder and CEO of Epic Games took to Twitter again recently to answer some questions about Linux and gaming.

        Why? Well, it seems the previously incorrect reports about Easy Anti-Cheat dropping Linux support like to reappear and people end up spreading it around. Even though it has since been clarified, people still end up spreading it.

      • Real-time strategy game “Taste of Power” leaving Early Access next month with Linux support

        Taste of Power, a real-time strategy game from developer OneOcean is gearing up for a full release on August 27th. It’s been in Early Access now for around seven months, so hopefully they’ve managed to polish it up.

      • RetroArch, the front-end app for emulators and more is heading to Steam

        RetroArch, a popular front-end application for running emulators, game engines and much more is now officially coming to Steam.

        This FOSS application is pretty popular, along with the Libretro API enabling you to get a rather pretty-looking PS3-styled interface to deal with all sorts, although as I understand most just use it for emulators.

      • The Linux version of “Space Rabbits in Space” now appears to be live

        Space Rabbits in Space, a 2d parkour skill-based platformer has now officially released for Linux on Steam. Developed by Ventilator Shark, a small independent game studio based in Zagreb, Croatia.

        A game I mentioned back in February, after speaking to the developer they did confirm it was coming they just didn’t know exactly when. With no announcement I can find, the Linux version went live a few days ago!

      • CoreCtrl, a new FOSS Linux tool to help you control your PC with application profiles

        Quite an interesting one this, CoreCtrl from developer Juan Palacios aims to be a “game changer” in letting you setup your hardware to do things automatically when a program is launched and more. The developer tagged us on Twitter about it and it does seem pretty sweet.

      • NOTES, a small puzzle game based on connecting musical notes

        Here’s a sweet recent release for fans of small puzzle games. Miro Jankura recently released NOTES on Steam and looks like a nice relaxing puzzler.

        It released only recently, on July 11th with same-day Linux support. While it’s based on musical notes, the developer does say no musical knowledge is required.

      • The developer of Streets of Rogue recently commented about supporting Linux

        With Streets of Rogue having left Early Access recently, I’m sure plenty were wondering how it’s done on Linux. Turns out the developer, Matt Dabrowski, actually made some interesting comments about it.

        Curiously, the comment from Dabrowski turned up at a place I didn’t quite expect. A dubious website offering free download links to various games, where it seems Dabrowski turned up to warn people away from it and instead try the older version on to get a feel for it.

      • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Meg Ray

        This week we welcome Meg Ray (@teach_python) as our PyDev of the Week! Meg teaches programming to other teachers and has developed Python-related curriculum. Meg is also the author of Code This Game, a book which will be coming out in August 2019. Let’s take some time to get to know her better!

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 Systems To Get BIOS Update To Fix Linux And Destiny 2 Issues

        Linux users did find a workaround by either taking the systemd component to an older version or running a newer patched edition. Windows gamers complained that Destiney 2 wouldn’t launch on systems with AMD Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs.
        AMD has confirmed to Phoronix in a statement hat a BIOS fix has been implemented for the cause of these issues and that it has been distributed to motherboard manufacturers. “AMD has identified the root cause and implemented a BIOS fix for an issue impacting the ability to run certain Linux distributions and Destiny 2 on Ryzen 3000 processors,” it said.

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 causes boot problems for a few Linux Distros, and issues with Destiny 2

        Some users did manage to get around this glitch either by taking the systemd component back to an old version or a newer patched edition. However, now there are complaints being raised by gamers on Windows since they are having issues with Destiny 2 on the new CPUs. As reported to Bungie, over the last couple of days, some users complained that the game refuses to launch when used on PCs with the new chips.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Q4OS 3.8 Centaurus, stable

          We are proud to announce the immediate availability of the brand new stable Q4OS 3.8 version, codenamed ‘Centaurus’. This is a long-term support LTS release, to be supported for at least five years with security patches and software updates.

          The primary Q4OS aim is stability. As we want to provide as stable as possible operating system for companies as well as for individuals, once installed and configured, Q4OS will work reliably in a long standing way, getting security fixes and updates. Adopting a new feature into the core system could be committed in a highly exceptional cases only. We treat such possible cases as best as possible, doing testing and investigating consequences carefully before such a change.

          Q4OS Centaurus is based on Debian Buster 10 and Plasma 5.14, optionally Trinity 14.0.6, desktop environment, and it’s available for 64bit and 32bit/i686pae computers, as well as for older i386 systems without PAE extension. We are working hard to bring it for ARM devices too.

        • Q4OS 3.8 Released As A Traditional Desktop Linux Distribution Built Atop Debian 10.0
        • Q4OS 3.8 Stable Released, Kernel 5.2.1 Is Out, Cloudera Announces New Open-Source Licensing Model, Microsoft’s Quantum Development Kit Now Available as an Open-Source Project on GitHub and Alan Turing to Be Featured on New Note in the UK

          Q4OS 3.8 stable was released today. This is a long-term support (LTS) release based on Debian Buster 10 with Plasma 5.14 and optionally Trinity 14.0.6 for desktop environments. Its primary aim is stability, and it’s code-named Centaurus. It’s available for 64bit and 32bit/i686pae computers, and also for older i386 systems without PAE extension. Support for ARM devices is in the works. Go here to download.

        • Plasma sprint, 2019 edition; personal updates

          In June, I had a great time at a series of KDE events held in the offices of Slimbook, makers of fantastic Neon-powered laptops, at the outskirts of Valencia, Spain. Following on from a two-day KDE e.V. board of directors meeting, the main event was the 2019 edition of the Plasma development sprint. The location proved to be quite ideal for everything. Slimbook graciously provided us with two lovely adjacent meeting rooms for Plasma and the co-located KDE Usability & Productivity sprint, allowing the groups to mix and seperate as our topics demanded – a well-conceived spatial analog for the tight relationship and overlap between the two.


          In KDE e.V. news, briefly we stole one of the sprint rooms for a convenient gathering of most of our Financial Working Group, reviewing the implementation of the annual budget plan of the organization. We also had a chance to work with the Usability goal crew (have you heard about KDE goals yet?) on a plan for the use of their remaining budget — it’s going to be exciting.

          As a closing note, it was fantastic to see many new faces at this year’s sprint. It’s hard to believe for how many attendees it was their first KDE sprint ever, as it couldn’t have been more comfortable to have them on board. It’s great to see our team grow.

        • KDE Applications 19.08 branches created

          Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the KDE Applications 19.08 release to them

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Gaurav Agrawal: GSOC Progress by Mid July

          July Marked the beginning of II GSOC coding month. This month our goal is to make the diff bar model as accurate and intuitive as possible.

          One of the biggest thing which I learnt so far is how to contribute on upstream repositories on which our project depends.

          In our case this was with Libgit2, we discovered a bug in Libgit2 while doing our project, and Albfan made this a perfect example to show me how to contribute on upstream, how to raise bugs and how to do discussions for getting it solved.

        • Jean-François Fortin Tam: Available for hire, 2019 edition

          Sometime after the end of my second term on the GNOME Foundation, I was contacted by a mysterious computer vendor that ships a vanilla GNOME on their laptops, Purism.

    • Distributions
      • Screenshots/Screencasts
        • Feren OS 19.07

          Today we are looking at Feren OS 19.07. It is based on Linux Mint 19.1, so indirectly Ubuntu 18.04, which is supported until April 2023. It comes with Cinnamon and Nemo 4.0 and Linux Kernel 4.15. It uses about 1GB of ram when idling.

          Feren Os is a highly customized version of Linux Mint, which is semi-rolling, it is as rolling as a Ubuntu LTS distro can be, yet it is a very stable and reliable, as well as beautiful and by each release just getting better and better.

        • Feren OS 19.07 Run Through

          In this video, we look at Feren OS 19.07

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family
        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Aiming To PGO More Packages, Use IWD For WiFi Connections

          While OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 was just released last month, we are already looking forward to OpenMandriva 4.1 for a number of improvements and some new features.

          OpenMandriva’s developer board provides an interesting look at what’s ahead for OpenMandriva Lx 4.1. Already completed for this next milestone include migrating to LLVM Clang 9, and using LD.lld and BFD as the default linkers.

      • Fedora Family
        • Duplicity 0.8.01

          Duplicity 0.8.01 is now in rawhide. The big change here is that it now uses Python 3. I’ve tested it in my own environment, both on it’s own and with deja-dup, and both work.

          Please test and file bugs. I expect there will be more, but with Python 2 reaching EOL soon, it’s important to move everything we can to Python 3.

      • Debian Family
        • Installing Debian 10

          Debian 10 Buster was released recently. It is the newest version on Debian operating system. Debian 10 comes with Linux Kernel 4.19. It also comes with latest Linux graphical desktop environment such as GNOME 3.30, KDE Plasma 5.14, Cinnamon 3.8, LXDE 0.99.2, LxQt 0.14, MATE 1.20, Xfce 4.12 and many more. Debian 10 also comes with awesome new artworks.
          In this article, I am going to show you how to install Debian 10 Buster on your computer.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO Testing On Ubuntu 18.04 Linux

          For those in the market for an AMD X570 high-end motherboard for use with the new Zen 2 processors, the ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO was one of the boards sent out as part of the reviewer’s kit and it’s been working out quite well.

          The ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO is quite feature packed with dual M.2 drives, USB 3.2 Gen2, active chipset heatsink, 2.5 Gbps Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet (requires kernel patches for the 2.5G controller), and plenty of other connectivity. This motherboard does cost a pretty penny though at around $380 USD.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 587
        • Latest Gnu Octave Available to Install via Snap in Ubuntu

          Gnu Octave finally offers official Snap package for Linux desktops, so far in beta, which means you can now easily install the latest Octave via Ubuntu Software and always keep updated.

          Octave snap is a containerized software package comes with run-time libraries bundled and auto-updates itself once a new version package is published.

        • Octave turns to snaps to reduce dependency on Linux distribution maintainers

          Octave is a numerical computing environment largely compatible with MATLAB. As free software, Octave runs on GNU/Linux, macOS, BSD, and Windows. At the 2019 Snapcraft Summit, Mike Miller and Jordi Gutiérrez Hermoso of the Octave team worked on creating an Octave snap in stable and beta versions for the Snap Store.

          As Mike and Jordi explained, “Octave is currently packaged for most of the major distributions, but sometimes it’s older than we would like.” The goal of the Octave snap was to allow users to easily access the current stable release of the software, independently of Linux distribution release cycles. A snap would also let them release Octave on distributions not covered so far.

          Before starting with snaps, Octave depended on distribution maintainers, including those of CentOS, Debian, Fedora, and Ubuntu, for its binary packaging. With snaps, the situation has improved. The Octave team can now push out a release as soon as it ready for users eager to get it now, while other more conservative users wait for more traditional packages from their distribution. Mike and Jordi envisioned this to be the biggest benefit of coming to the Summit and creating an Octave snap.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Thierry Carrez: Open source in 2019, Part 3/3

        As mentioned in part 2, since open source was coined in 1998, software companies have evolved ways to retain control while producing open source software, and in that process stripped users of some of the traditional benefits associated with F/OSS. But those companies were still abiding to the terms of the open source licenses, giving users a clear base set of freedoms and rights.
        Over the past year, a number of those companies have decided that they wanted even more control, in particular control of any revenue associated with the open source software. They proposed new licenses, removing established freedoms and rights in order to be able to assert that level of control. The open source definition defines those minimal freedoms and rights that any open source software should have, so the Open Source Initiative (OSI), as steadfast guardians of that definition, rightfully resisted those attempts.
        Those companies quickly switched to attacking OSI’s legitimacy, pitching “Open Source” more as a broad category than a clear set of freedoms and rights. And they created new licenses, with deceptive naming (“community”, “commons”, “public”…) in an effort to blur the lines and retain some of the open source definition aura for their now-proprietary software.
        The solution is not in redefining open source, or claiming it’s no longer relevant. Open source is not a business model, or a constantly evolving way to produce software. It is a base set of user freedoms and rights expressed in the license the software is published under. Like all standards, its value resides in its permanence.

      • Juniper Networks Extends Commitment to Open Source Software and Communities through Open Source Initiative Sponsorship.

        The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the founding organization of the Open Source Software movement and steward of the Open Source Definition, announced today corporate sponsorship by Juniper Networks, the longstanding proponent of open source software and open standards, and industry leader in automated, scalable, and secure networks. Juniper Networks firmly believes open source and open standards foster greater innovation, and for years has actively participated in a variety of open source communities and key standards bodies, including FreeBSD Foundation, Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Computing Foundation, and OpenStack Foundation. In addition to their support of open source foundations, the networking company has released or contributed to many free and open source projects such as OpenStack, Ansible, Salt, PyEZ, wistar, OpenNTI, Tungsten Fabric, along with dozens of others.

      • Epic Games Awards Open Source 3D Creation Tool Blender With $1.2 Million

        While Epic Games has been in a number of articles and video regarding their practices in the gaming space, it’s nice to see a positive spin for the company. Today, Epic Games has announced that they have donated $1.2 million in cash towards the Blender Project. A free and open source creation tool that is used by a number of developers, which allows them to create 3D graphics animation and even entire games.

        This award is part of the Epic MegaGrants Initiative which Epic Games has committed $100 million. This program was created to help game developers, students, professionals, and creators. By providing funding, the Epic MegaGrants goal is to help foster a positive gaming and creative landscape.

      • Events
        • Real Python at PyCon US 2019
        • Quansight presence at SciPy’19

          Yesterday the SciPy’19 conference ended. It was a lot of fun, and very productive. You can really feel that there’s a lot of energy in the community, and that it’s growing and maturing. This post is just a quick update to summarize Quansight’s presence and contributions, as well as some of the more interesting things I noticed.

        • ASG! 2019 CfP Re-Opened!

          Due to popular request we have re-opened the Call for Participation (CFP) for All Systems Go! 2019 for one day. It will close again TODAY, on 15 of July 2019, midnight Central European Summit Time! If you missed the deadline so far, we’d like to invite you to submit your proposals for consideration to the CFP submission site quickly! (And yes, this is the last extension, there’s not going to be any more extensions.)

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • 100,985,047 have been invited to the Evite data breach “party”

            Did you get an invitation to the latest data breach? Over the weekend it was disclosed that Evite, the online invitation platform that has sent more than a few birthday and pizza party invitations over the years, suffered a data breach that included over 100 million accounts.

          • The Gecko Hacker’s Guide to Taskcluster

            I spent a good chunk of this year fiddling with taskcluster configurations in order to get various bits of continuous integration stood up for WebRender. Taskcluster configuration is very flexible and powerful, but can also be daunting at first. This guide is intended to give you a mental model of how it works, and how to add new jobs and modify existing ones. I’ll try and cover things in detail where I believe the detail would be helpful, but in the interest of brevity I’ll skip over things that should be mostly obvious by inspection or experimentation if you actually start digging around in the configurations. I also try and walk through examples and provide links to code as much as possible.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice development

          Throughout the second half of 2018, the developer community worked on a new major release: LibreOffice 6.2. Details about the end-user-facing new features are provided on this page, and in the following video – so in the rest of this blog post, we’ll focus on developer-related changes.

        • What is POSIX? Richard Stallman explains

          What is POSIX, and why does it matter? It’s a term you’ve likely seen in technical writing, but it often gets lost in a sea of techno-initialisms and jargon-that-ends-in-X. I emailed Dr. Richard Stallman (better known in hacker circles as RMS) to find out more about the term’s origin and the concept behind it.

          Richard Stallman says “open” and “closed” are the wrong way to classify software. Stallman classifies programs as freedom-respecting (“free” or “libre”) and freedom-trampling (“non-free” or “proprietary”). Open source discourse typically encourages certain practices for the sake of practical advantages, not as a moral imperative.

          The free software movement, which Stallman launched in 1984, says more than advantages are at stake. Users of computers deserve control of their computing, so programs denying users control are an injustice to be rejected and eliminated. For users to have control, the program must give them the four essential freedoms…

      • Programming/Development
        • shuffle lines via bash
        • Find the RPM of the gear from the gear chain group with Python

          Given a list of gear in term of the gear teeth number, find the rpm of the last cog, the driven gear will rotate at 1 rpm in the clockwise direction.

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week #6 | Guillotina PubSub
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week #7 | Guillotina PubSub
        • Generators in Python | How to use Python Generators

          Generating iterables or objects that allow stepping over them is considered to be a burdensome task. But, in Python, the implementation of this painful task just gets really smooth. So let’s go ahead and take a closer look at Generators in Python.

        • 9 Data Visualization Techniques You Should Learn in Python

          With ever increasing volume of data, it is impossible to tell stories without visualizations. Data visualization is an art of how to turn numbers into useful knowledge. Using Python we can learn how to create data visualizations and present data in Python using the Seaborn package.

        • Understanding software design patterns

          If you are a programmer or a student pursuing computer science or a similar discipline, sooner or later, you will encounter the term “software design pattern.” According to Wikipedia, “a software design pattern is a general, reusable solution to a commonly occurring problem within a given context in software design.” Here is my take on the definition: When you have been working on a coding project for a while, you often begin to think, “Huh, this seems redundant. I wonder if I can change the code to be more flexible and accepting of changes?” So, you begin to think about how to separate what stays the same from what needs to change often.

        • How to integrate jenkins with webhook
        • Serving Gifs With Discord Bot – Reading Time: 12 Mins
        • Python Snippet 1: More Uses For Else
        • Python Celery Guide
        • Python String Find()
        • Array copying and extending in GLib 2.61.2

          A slightly more in-depth post in the mini-series this time, about various new functions which Emmanuel Fleury has landed in GLib 2.61.2 (which is due to be released soon), based on some old but not-quite-finished patches from others.

        • PyCharm 2019.2 Beta #2

          It hasn’t been long since we published PyCharm 2019.2 Beta, and now we’re ready to share with you the second Beta build! The final release date is getting closer and closer, and while you wait, give PyCharm 2019.2 Beta #2 a go! Get the PyCharm 2019.2 Beta build from our website and try all the latest functionality.

        • Vimrc Tutorial

          In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the vimrc file of Vim. Once you’re inside the vimscript, it’s easy to mess things up. That’s why this rule of thumb will always be helpful in your journey with Vim. Don’t put any line in vimrc that you don’t understand.

        • CPU atomics and orderings explained

          Sometimes the question comes up about how CPU memory orderings work, and what they do. I hope this post explains it in a really accessible way.

        • You can’t say Go without Google – specifically, our little logo, Chocolate Factory insists

          Back in 2009, Google chose to name its latest programming language Go, a decision that is still giving it a migraine

          It could have called it “Google Go” to avoid confusion with Frank McCabe’s Go! programming language. Despite criticism, it didn’t do so. After almost a year of online grumbling, Google software engineer Russ Cox, in 2010, closed GitHub Issue #9, dismissing the complaints as “unfortunate.”

          And the headaches over the thing’s name still won’t go away (no pun intended.) Last week, Google rebuffed a request to remove its logo from the Go website,, a change supported by some developers who feel Google takes Go developers for granted.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Computer Science Legend Alan Turing to Appear on New £50 Note in UK

        The Bank of England has announced that legendary British mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing will appear on the new £50 note in the UK. Turing was chosen from thousands of names that were submitted by the public for possible inclusion on the British currency.

        “Why Turing? Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose works had an enormous impact on how we live today,” the Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney said at the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester this morning. “As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, Alan Turing’s contributions were far-ranging and path-breaking.”

    • Security
      • Security updates for Monday

        Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox), Debian (libspring-java, ruby-mini-magick, and thunderbird), Fedora (fossil, python-django, snapd-glib, and thunderbird), openSUSE (helm and monitoring-plugins), Red Hat (cyrus-imapd, thunderbird, and vim), Scientific Linux (vim), Slackware (bzip2), SUSE (bubblewrap, bzip2, expat, glib2, kernel, php7, python3, and tomcat), and Ubuntu (exiv2, firefox, and flightcrew).

      • WhatsApp, Telegram Vulnerable To ‘Media File Jacking’: Change Your Settings Now!

        Instant messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram keep your messages encrypted in transit, but once a media file reaches your phone, the same cannot be guaranteed.

        Researchers from Symantec have demonstrated how a vulnerability in WhatsApp and Telegram can be exploited by hackers to hijack the media files that are sent through these services.

      • Windows 7 & security-only telemetry – What gives?

        Sometimes, it is hard to separate fact from emotion when it comes to technology. This does not help the end user, because when people come searching for solutions to genuine concerns like this, they first have to filter through outbursts of pent-up frustration as a result of many years of salesy bullshit.

        From the technological point of view, there’s nothing new here. However, the fact you now get non-security nonsense with security means you can’t really trust updates from Microsoft anymore. So if anything, this will majestically backfire. People don’t like being pushed, and I’m amazed with the repeated attempts to do so, again and again.

      • Fernando Corbató, Early Operating System Pioneer And Password Inventor, Dies At 93

        Corbató and his fellow researchers at MIT made possible much of what we now think of as computing.

      • Professor Emeritus Fernando Corbató, MIT computing pioneer, dies at 93

        Longtime MIT professor developed early “time-sharing” operating systems and is widely credited as the creator of the world’s first computer password.

    • Environment
      • Climate Litigation Has Become a Global Trend, New Report Shows

        Climate change-related lawsuits, once mostly limited to the U.S., have now been filed in nearly 30 countries, targeting governments and corporate polluters, according to the latest analysis of the trend.

        A new report was published this month by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. It tracks the progress of the suits — filed since 1990 — as they have expanded beyond the U.S., and predicts the trend will continue.

      • Energy
        • Environmental Journalism Can Help Protect Citizens in Emerging Democracies

          What happens when an illegally logged tree falls or poachers kill endangered brown bears in the forest, but there’s no journalist to report it?

          That’s the situation in the Republic of Georgia, which faces challenges that include poaching, deteriorating air quality, habitat disruption from new hydropower dams, illegal logging and climate change. The effects cross national borders and affect economic and political relationships in the Caucasus and beyond.

          I researched environmental journalism in the Republic of Georgia as a Fulbright Scholar there in the fall of 2018. I chose Georgia because many of its environmental and media problems are similar to those confronting other post-Soviet countries nearly 30 years after independence. As I have found in my research on mass media in other post-Soviet nations, journalists risk provoking powerful public and corporate interests when they investigate sensitive environmental issues.

          But when the media don’t cover these problems, Georgians go uninformed about issues relevant to their daily lives. Eco-violators operate with impunity, and the government and Georgia’s influential private sector remain opaque to the public. At a time when government hostility to journalists is rising in many countries, Georgia illustrates how environmental damage, pollution and ill health can spread, and go unpunished, when powerful interests are unaccountable to the public.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • IBM’s Ridiculous Opportunism: Sells Out Section 230 To Sell More Filters

        This perhaps isn’t a huge surprise, but IBM is being disdainful of the wider tech ecosystem, yet again. It has an incredibly long history of this kind of activity — mostly in the patent space, where it is the world’s foremost patent bully. The company gleefully announces each and every year that it gets the most patents of any company in the US. It has done this (no joke) for 26 straight years. Of course, given how many patents it gets, if patents actually were a marker for innovation, you’d think that IBM would still be putting out all sorts of innovative new products all the time. Right? Except, of course, it is not. Instead, it uses the patents to shake down companies who actually do innovate.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Knowing the “Value” of Our Data Won’t Fix Our Privacy Problems

        Some lawmakers, seeking to hold companies accountable for the way they collect and profit from our personal information, are pushing a new idea: requiring companies to report a dollar value for the data they collect from us.

        Some frame this reporting as a first step towards requiring companies to share with consumers the wealth our personal information generates for these companies. Yet knowing how much your personal information is worth to a company doesn’t actually protect your privacy—and the “pay for privacy” schemes that would probably follow from valuation reporting would actually harm it. What we need instead are strong laws to safeguard our privacy and prevent the reckless collection, use, and disclosure of our information.

        Proposals to place a concrete dollar value on data and, by extension, on our privacy, have popped up across the country this year. Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) last month introduced the “Designing Accounting Safeguards to Help Broaden Oversight and Regulations on Data,” or DASHBOARD Act. It would require larger companies to report the value of customer data. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) recently proposed a bill to recognize consumer data as property. Companies pushed a bill with a similar concept in Oregon, which the ACLU of Oregon and EFF opposed, to directly pay people for the “value” of their health data as calculated by companies.

      • US AI Commission Continues Secret Meetings

        Representatives of large tech firms, including Google and Microsoft, dominate the Commission.

      • To Attack Julian Assange, CNN Twists Embassy Surveillance Records That Were First Covered By Spanish Newspaper

        Spanish newspaper EL PAÍS reported on July 9 that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was spied on by a Spanish private defense and security firm called Undercover Global S.L., when he lived in the Ecuador embassy in the United Kingdom.

        The report was based on “documents, video, and audio material” that was “used in an extortion attempt against Assange by several individuals.” In May, Spanish police arrested journalist José Martín Santos, who had a record of fraud, and a computer programmer for their alleged involvement in an “attempt to make €3 million from the sale of private material.”

        Reporters for EL PAÍS found the spying on Assange’s legal defense meetings to be most significant. They were stunned by the fact that Assange felt he had to hold meetings in the women’s bathroom if he wanted to ensure privacy. And they took note of U.C. Global’s “feverish, obsessive vigilance” toward “the guest,” which became more intense after Lenin Moreno was elected president of Ecuador in May 2017.

        That is not how CNN viewed the same cache of information compiled by the private security company and eventually used to allegedly extort Assange.

        Although EL PAÍS makes no mention of meddling in the 2016 presidential election in its coverage, CNN approached the material like analysts at the CIA. They voraciously consumed logs hoping the documents would confirm Assange collaborated with Russian intelligence assets to release emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.

      • BREAKING – EPIC Seeks Public Release of FTC Settlement with Facebook

        Today EPIC filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act request with the Federal Trade Commission, seeking the public release of the proposed settlement with Facebook. Last week the Wall Street Journal first reported that the FTC approved a $5 billion settlement with Facebook for violating a 2011 consent order that EPIC helped obtain.

      • EFF Posts New White Paper On Stingray Device Capabilities

        The EFF has published a primer on IMSI catchers. Harris Corporation’s success in this market has led to near-genericide, as almost every one of these cell tower spoofers is usually referred to as a “stingray.”

        The white paper [PDF], titled “Gotta Catch ‘Em All,” runs down what’s known about cell-site simulators used by a number of government agencies. Most of this has been gleaned from secondhand info — the stuff that leaks out during prosecutions or as the result of FOIA requests.

        The technical capabilities of CSSs have been kept under wraps for years. The reasoning behind this opacity is that if criminals know how these devices work, they’ll be able to avoid being tracked by them. There may be a few technical details that might prove useful in this fashion, but what is known about Stingray devices is that the best way to avoid being tracked by them is to simply not use a cellphone. But who doesn’t use a cellphone?

        The report is definitely worth reading, even if you’ve stayed on top of these developments over the past several years. It breaks down the technical subject matter in a way that makes clear what CSSs can and can’t do — and how they’re capable of disrupting cellphone networks while in use.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • No Shirt, No Shoes, No Facescan, No Service: Welcome To 21st Century Convenience Store Shopping

        Developers of facial recognition software and their customers are finding new and uninventive ways to use unproven tech to keep people out of places. Law enforcement just wants to watch everyone who’s out in the open and strays too close to the right cameras. Security agencies just want to watch everyone leaving or entering the country.

        Private businesses, on the other hand, want to limit their interactions with certain people. Landlords are replacing keys/locks with cameras and phone apps. Retailers are implementing facial recognition tech to create digital barriers to entry. Given the tech’s error rate, the chance of misidentifying someone as a shoplifter is omnipresent, leaving would-be shoppers in the awkward position of attempting to prove a negative just for the opportunity to give a retailer money.

    • Monopolies
      • ESA Steps In With Amicus Brief In Support Of Activision Versus Humvee

        A short while ago, we discussed a rather concerning lawsuit brought by AM General LLC, the company that makes Humvees, against Activision, the game publisher that occasionally publishes Call of Duty games that include depictions of Humvees. AM General’s claims are pretty silly, suggesting that players of the games will think that those games were somehow created by or endorsed by AM General. I can’t imagine that’s the case; instead, most people are likely to think that Activision is attempting realism in their warfare game, since you basically cannot make an American warfare game accurately without including Humvees. Activision’s response was on First Amendment grounds, arguing that its games are partly an historically accurate work of art, for which including Humvees is accurate and fair use.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • The serve and volley of tennis innovation

          The commercialization of carbon fibre materials in the 1970s heralded a new era of tennis racket design. Modern tennis rackets are formed of a composite material of carbon fibres in an epoxy resin matrix. Early examples of composite rackets include the Dunlop Max200G (GB2015886), which was the first composite racket to be produce with injection moulding. The Max200G was favoured by both John McEnroe and Steffi Graf. Composite materials have a high strength to weight ratio and can be used to produce rackets that are considerably lighter than their wooden forbears. Modern composite rackets are about 250g in weight (less the half the weight of the old wooden rackets). The lighter weight of composite rackets allowed the production of rackets with larger heads. A dramatic increase in racket head size lead the International Tennis Federation to introduce a limit of 29 × 12.5 inches on racket head size.

          The decreased weight and increased size of the tennis rackets changed the game from one primarily focused on technique to one dominated by power. Lighter rackets can be swung with greater speed, leading to a more powerful impact with the ball. It is also easier to generate top-spin with modern day composite rackets. The larger head size of composite rackets also increases the sweet spot size, making it easier for a player to control the ball, so that even a beginner can hope to hit the ball in the right direction. Composite rackets also retain their stiffness for longer than do metal rackets and have a higher dampening effect, lowering the risk of tennis elbow.

Links 15/7/2019: Vulkan 1.1.115 and Facebook Openwashing

Monday 15th of July 2019 08:37:25 AM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • A Modern Open Source Project Management Platform

        Project management is a discipline that has been through many incarnations, spawning an entire industry of businesses and tools. The challenge is to build a platform that is sufficiently powerful and adaptable to fit the workflow of your teams, while remaining opinionated enough to be useful. It also helps to have an open and extensible platform that can be customized as needed. In this episode Pablo Ruiz Múzquiz explains the motivation for creating the open source tool Taiga, how it compares to the other options in the market, and how you can use it for your own projects. He also discusses the challenges inherent to project management tools, his philosophies on what makes a project successful, and how to manage your team workflows to be most effective. It was helpful learning from Pablo’s long experience in the software industry and managing teams of various sizes.

      • GNU World Order 13×29
    • Kernel Space
      • Linux 5.1.18
      • Linux 4.19.59
      • Linux 5.2 rolls out with Sound Open Firmware and Comet Lake support

        Kernel Kitten here, defender of the Linux kernel, commander of the Kitten Army, sworn to protect Commander Torvalds’ intellectual property, and look dead cute while we do it.

        We cats aren’t designed for summer. All we want to do is try and hide from the sun as much as possible. It starts with leaving the back door open to give us options, but will they? Oh no. Typical.

        Anyway, I’ve stepped away from the battalion in order to give you details of the latest updates, so hopefully, in line with my new calm, empathetic, zen persona, I’ll be able to keep my temper and get on with telling you what you need to know for once.

      • Linux 5.2 releases with inclusion of Sound Open Firmware project, new mount API, improved pressure stall information and more

        Two days ago, Linus Torvalds, the principal developer of the Linux kernel announced the release of Linux 5.2 in his usual humorous way, describing it as a ‘Bobtail Squid’. The release has new additions like the inclusion of the Sound Open Firmware (SOF) project, improved pressure stall information, new mount API, significant performance improvements in the BFQ I/O scheduler, new GPU drivers, optional support for case-insensitive names in ext4 and more. The earlier version, Linux 5.1 was released exactly two months ago.

        Torvalds says, “there really doesn’t seem to be any reason for another rc, since it’s been very quiet. Yes, I had a few pull requests since rc7, but they were all small, and I had many more that are for the upcoming merge window. So despite a fairly late core revert, I don’t see any real reason for another week of rc, and so we have a v5.2 with the normal release timing.”

        Linux 5.2 also kicks off the Linux 5.3 merge window.

      • Linux’s UBIFS File-System Picks Up Support For Zstd Compression

        The UBIFS file-system for usage on un-managed flash memory devices now has support for Zstd compression.

        Zstd file-system compression was added to UBIFS as providing a means of being faster than the existing LZO compression, including for embedded Arm hardware, while still offering a good compression rate. This new UBIFS Zstd compression can be enabled via the UBIFS_FS_ZSTD Kconfig switch for building the UBIFS module with this Zstd support.

      • Linux Foundation
        • EdgeX Foundry’s Edinburgh release provides framework for IoT

          The internet of things gets a lot of flak for its fragmentation, but attempts are being made to rectify the situation. Case in point: The EdgeX Foundry on Thursday announced the availability of its Edinburgh release, created for IoT use cases across vertical markets.

          It’s not going to completely eliminate fragmentation—that would be an impractical challenge to mount. But whereas a few years ago everybody was trying to do edge and IoT implementations in a proprietary manner, “I would say open source is ready for prime time from an edge perspective,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT with the Linux Foundation, in an interview.

      • Graphics Stack
    • Applications
      • Top 10 Best Typing Tutor Software for Linux to Increase Your Typing Skill

        Most of us know how to type using a keyboard still, don’t have satisfied typing skill. Actually, it is not that much easier to control the movement of all the 10 fingers at the same time even without looking at the keyboard. Only practice can help you in this case. And you must have the idea about how much fast and accurate typing is essential in this technology-based era. However, I am here to help you increase your typing skill by recommending some useful typing tutor software for the Linux platform. Hopefully, these applications will help you to be a pro typist.

      • Proprietary
    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • RetroArch Emulation Platform Is Coming To Steam On July 30

        There will be no difference in the functionality of the RetroArch when it launches on Steam in two weeks from now. The Steam version will not have Steamworks SDK functionality or additional Steam features at the time of the launch.

        After the launch, the company will explore options to incorporate Steam’s functionality into the emulator platform.

        Moreover, the open source company has said that it will initially launch the Windows version. macOS and Linux versions will be released later.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • Kate LSP Client Continued

          The new LSP client by Mark Nauwelaerts made nice progress since the LSP client restart post last week.


          Both are aimed to improve the support of the Rust LSP server. As you can see, they got already reviewed and merged.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Pitivi Video Editor Gets Better Thanks to Google Summer of Code

          The Pitivi video editor is getting some (arguably overdue) love and attention as part of this year’s Google Summer of Code (GSoC).

          New features, interface adjustments, and improved clip editing are among the changes the open-source non-linear video editing app is in line to pick up.

          Two recent updates from GSoC 2019 students reveal a bit more about the enhancements that are underway.

          Millan Castro reports on his ‘first month working in Pitivi‘. His goal: ‘implement an interval time system”.

    • Distributions
      • New Releases
        • Linux Weekly Roundup #34

          Hello and welcome to this week’s Linux Roundup. Thank you so much for your time.

          We had another good week of Linux Releases.

          Sparky Linux 4.11, Linux Mint 19.2 Beta (well kind of, please read below how their release process works), Feren OS 19.07 and Feren OS Next Beta has been released.

          Other distros I have been looking at this week is Clear Linux with Gnome 3.32 and Artix Linux 20190609.

          About the Linux Mint release method, when all the development is done, the ISO is being tested by a Linux Mint team and Clem, the main guy of Linux Mint will approve all the ISOs when he feels they are ready, when all of the ISOs are approved, the ISOs are being pushed into all the Linux Mint Download Mirrors, after all the mirrors are being updated, Linux Mint writes their release notes.
          We are currently at the point where all the ISOs has been approved and already being pushed into the Download Mirrors.

      • Fedora Family
        • Porfirio A. Páiz – porfiriopaiz: repos

          Rawhide is the name given to the current development version of Fedora. It consists of a package repository called “rawhide” and contains the latest build of all Fedora packages updated on a daily basis. Each day, an attempt is made to create a full set of ‘deliverables’ (installation images and so on), and all that compose successfully are included in the Rawhide tree for that day.

          It is possible to install its repository files and just temporarily enable it for just a single transaction, let us say, to simple install or upgrade a single package and its dependencies, maybe, to give a try to its new version that is not currently available on any of the stable and maintained versions of Fedora.

          This is useful when a bug was fixed on Rawhide but it has not landed yet on the stable branch of Fedora and the urge for it cannot wait.

      • Debian Family
        • Review: Debian 10 “Buster”

          Debian is one of the world’s oldest Linux distributions and, in terms of the number of developers involved, also one of the largest. Around 1,300 contributors worked on Debian 10, which was released on July 6th.

          Debian 10 offers package upgrades across the entire operating system, but the main changes for this release include enabling AppArmor by default and running GNOME Shell on Wayland. (GNOME running on X.Org is available as an alternative desktop session.) The project’s release announcement also mentions nftables can be used to manage the operating system’s firewall and Secure Boot is enabled for some architectures. This version of Debian will receive a total of five years of support, thanks to the project’s long-term support team.

          The new version of Debian, codenamed “Buster”, runs on over half a dozen CPU architectures and is available in net-install, full DVD install, and seven live desktop editions. This gives users many install options and avenues for trying the distribution. Though not mentioned in the distribution’s release announcement Debian’s media does not include non-free firmware which is often required to connect with wireless networks. People who need wireless networking have the option of downloading unofficial live images with non-free firmware.

          Some more experimental users may be interested in knowing that Debian not only has a Linux flavour, but also offers builds with alternative kernels. The Debian GNU/Hurd team published new install media alongside the main Linux editions.

          I ended up downloading the DVD install media, which is 3.6GB in size. I also downloaded the official live GNOME edition which is 2.3GB. My observations in this review come from installing and running Debian based on the install DVD media, unless otherwise specified.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • CBA discloses NetBank’s open source components

        One update explained that NetBank had started to make use of Google Safetynet, a service billed as “a set of services and APIs that help protect your app against security threats, including device tampering, bad URLs, potentially harmful apps, and fake users.”

        “The Google Safetynet feature does not involve CommBank sharing data with Google, but rather, the Android device shares some data with Google in order to provide an assessment of the device security, which we then use to detect certain types of fraud and cybercrime,” a CBA spokesperson told iTnews.

        The second update to NetBank added open source licences, which the bank’s spokesperson said was “a decision to acknowledge the use of third party components within our apps, where appropriate”.

        The spokesperson added that “this transparency, if anything, benefits security.”

        “We take security seriously,” the spokesperson added.

        “Every version of the CommBank app, including the open source components, is rigorously scrutinised and scanned by our engineering and cyber security teams for any potential vulnerabilities, and to ensure it is safe to use.”

      • InAccel releases open-source Logistic Regression IP core for FPGAs

        Machine learning algorithms are extremely computationally intensive and time consuming when they must be trained on large amounts of data. Typical processors are not optimized for machine learning applications and therefore offer limited performance. Therefore, both academia an industry is focused on the development of specialized architectures for the efficient acceleration of machine learning applications.

      • Eradani Bridges The Gap Between Legacy And Open Source

        In this publication, legacy is not a dirty word or even remotely pejorative. Rather, “legacy” is just a shorthand way of delineating between applications that encapsulate decades of the evolution of a business and the transactions it processes, and all of the other new stuff that this business is also doing and perhaps coding with newer tools and programming languages.

        A new company, called Eradani, has been founded by some experts in both the IBM i world and the open source world with the express purpose of building a technical bridge so these two different cultures can see a unified, hybrid system without knowing all of the details of both sides of that system. This is a lot easier than having heated arguments about how things should be done or whose software stack is better or worse.

        Eradani, which is named after the sun around which the planet Vulcan orbits in the Star Trek science fiction series and which is actually a constellation in the southern hemisphere with several stars bearing that name (but spelled Eridani), was founded by Dan Magid, who was most recently in charge of the modernization labs and sales specialists teams at Rocket Software. Magid came to Rocket Software back in 2011, when that software conglomerate acquired software change management tool maker Aldon Software, where Magid was its long-time chief executive officer. Aldon was co-founded by Albert Magid, his father, and Don Parr back in 1979 in the wake of the System/38 launch, so the Magid family has deep, deep roots in the IBM i world. (Aldon had previously sold itself to private equity firm in 2007.)

      • Open source plays leading role in getting driverless cars on the road

        pen source is playing an increasingly important role in the race to develop fully-functional, totally driverless cars capable of handling all traffic conditions – and investors are lining up to support these efforts.

        Last week, Japan-based open source company Tier IV announced it had raised a further $100 million to facilitate commercialisation of self-driving technology for what it called `private, depopulated and urban’ areas. This brings the amount of money investors have pumped into the company to around $230million.

        However, Tier IV, which was spun out of Japan’s Nagoya University by Shinpei Kato and which counts Yamaha Motor Corporation among its backers, is not the only open source company in the self-driving vehicle starting line-up.

      • AV Mapping Startup Carmera Joins Baidu’s Open-Source Apollo Platform

        The company also maintains Baidu Apollo, an open-source software platform launched in 2017 that allows software developers, researchers, and the company’s 130 enterprise partners, including Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Ford (NYSE: F), Velodyne Lidar, and Toyota (NYSE: TM), to build their own AV systems. The Apollo technology stack has more than 12,000 GitHub developers, and earlier this month, Baidu released Apollo 5.0, the latest version. Other mobility players maintain open-source development platforms—Nvidia, for example—but they aren’t as comprehensive as Apollo.

      • NEC Embraces Open Source Frameworks for SX-Aurora Vector Computing

        In this video from ISC 2019, Dr. Erich Focht from NEC Deutschland GmbH describes how the company is embracing open source frameworks for the SX-Aurora TSUBASA Vector Supercomputer.

        NEC recently opened the Vector Engine Data Acceleration Center (VEDAC) at its Silicon Valley facility. VEDAC is focused on fostering big data innovations using NEC’s emerging technologies while tapping into Silicon Valley’s rich ecosystem.

      • Four misconceptions about open source technology – Acquia

        Despite widespread adoption around the globe, open source technology continues to generate questions about its security and performance.

        Detractors question whether it’s a suitable basis for enterprise projects and platforms; their scepticism due, in no small part, to a series of myths and misconceptions which surround the technology.

        In an era in which cyber-crime and hacking attacks are so frequent, they’ve ceased to be newsworthy, some of these concerns spring from a genuine fear that open source means open to all comers.

        Others have their roots in inertia and the deep comfort of the familiar. Many IT managers would prefer to stick with the tried and true – proprietary technologies whose performance is known and for which they’re happy to be accountable, rather than the unknown quantity which is open source.

      • Google Releases Open Source Cryptographic Tool

        Google has made available an open-source cryptographic tool called Private Join and Compute. The tool uses secure multi-party computation (MPC) to augment the core PSI protocol.

        The product combines two cryptographic techniques – private set intersection and homomorphic encryption. Private set intersection is a technique that finds common identifiers in two sets of data without either data owner needing to show the other owner the underlying data. Google uses an oblivious variant which only marks encrypted identifiers without learning any of the identifiers.

      • Haiku monthly activity report – 06/2019

        We are now in beta phase, and besides the usual bugfixes, it’s time to start investigating performance bottlenecks in Haiku. Waddlesplash has been hard at work in that area this month, starting with tuning of the newly integrated rpmalloc allocator.

        He also started benchmarking the uses of the allocator and found various opportunities to save memory, and use dedicated object caches instead of the generic malloc allocator, helping reduce memory fragmentation. The first patches have just started to land (in packagefs), there will likely be more. Ideally beta2 will be able to boot and install with 256MB of RAM or maybe even less thanks to this work.

        Meanwhile, waddlesplash is also auditing the code and starting to work towards making APIs more restricted (allowing some things only for the root user, for example), in order to provide some more privilege separation. Haiku has so far been largely a single user system, and did not worry too much about the usual attack vectors for an UNIX system. But modern computers are often online and we should try to keep our user’s data reasonably safe. We have a long way to go, but we have to start with something.

      • Maintaining Independent Infrastructure

        One thing I end up embarassing myself about sometimes in the Ubuntu Podcast telegram chatter is that I end up buying and selling tiny amounts of shares on the US stock markets. All I can say is that I got spooked by the 35 day “government shutdown” at the start of the calendar year when I was stuck working without pay as a federal civil servant. Granted I did get back pay but the Human Capital Office at work is still fiddling with things even now in terms of getting payroll records and other matters fixed. I generally buy shares in companies that pay dividends and then I take the dividends as cash. At work we refer to that as “unearned income” especially as it is taxed at a rate different from the one applied to my wages.

        My portfolio is somewhat weird. I am rather heavily invested in shipping whether it happens to be oil tankers or dry bulk cargo ships. In contrast I have almost nothing invested in technology companies. There aren’t many “open source” companies available on the open stock market and the ones out there either I can’t afford to buy a single share of or they violate my portfolio rule that stocks held must pay a divided of some sort. Too many companies in the computer tech world appear to make money but don’t send any profits back to shareholders as their dividends are stuck at USD$0.00.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • Best free email program for Windows, Mac and Linux

            You’ve got mail! Who doesn’t these days? With the number of business and consumer emails sent and received every day expected to exceed 293 billion this year, according to the Radicati Group, it seems everyone’s got mail.

            One downside to such a volume of email is that most inboxes are cluttered and unmanageable. While many email users opt for utilizing multiple services such as Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo to tame the mess and keep personal emails from getting mixed up with work emails, it is still a challenge.

            One method for reigning in emails and keeping your accounts separate without the hassles many email clients come with is using a free email program that Kim recommends, Mozilla Thunderbird. This handy tool works across all platforms, including Windows, Mac, Linux systems, and Android and Apple devices.

          • Mozilla figures out how users can avoid online ads and sites can still make money

            I’ve written for websites that depended on every single impression and click generated by viewers. Some viewers complained about ads and some stayed silent. However, the owner of the site knew that without those advertisements the site would go dark.

            And so, I go about my daily life without the help of ad blockers—assuming that, at some point in time, someone would come up with a way to make both sides of the coin happy.

            That time has finally come. And it should be of no surprise that those behind the solution are from within the open source community—specifically, Mozilla (which may or may not be in conjunction with a new venture, namely Scroll).

            How are they solving this little conundrum (that has perplexed the masses for years)? With a new service they’re calling Ad-free Internet. Just what is this new service? It’s as equally brilliant as it is simple (and surprising that no one else has realized this solution already).

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra
        • LibreOffice Appliances project (GSoC 2019)

          What happened lately: the lid hinges of my laptop broke for the second time, so I decided to buy a new (used) laptop. As always I didn’t back up my files properly (installed new OS on same disk), so had some transition issues.

          Apparently I hadn’t saved my username+password for the Wekan board, so I’ve created a new one…

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • Blockchain
        • Open-Source Platform Lets Users Build Their Own Blockchain in Under 10 Min

          An out-of-the-box solution says it enables anyone, even with no experience, to build their own blockchain in under 10 minutes.
          According to Nuls, businesses are going through a similar evolution as they did with the early internet, when every company wanted their own website: They now want their own blockchain. And although these firms may not fully understand how to deploy blockchain technology, they are aware of how their business may benefit from it.
          Nuls aims is to “dismantle some of the biggest barriers” that are stopping individuals and companies of all sizes from creating their own blockchains. Hurdles for adoption include the need to ensure that networks are fully secure and the sheer cost of bringing them to fruition. On top of this, it can be an incredibly time-consuming process — not least because there aren’t enough skilled developers to keep on top of demand.

        • Open-Source Tool Lets Anyone Experiment With Cryptocurrency Blockchains

          Blockchain technology records information to a ledger shared between thousands of nodes. In the technology’s purest form, those nodes are not controlled by any central authority, and information cannot be changed once written to the ledger. Because of the security and autonomy this technology offers (in theory at least), blockchains now underpin many popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

          But as Kazuyuki Shudo, an associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, points out, “It has been nearly impossible to test improvements on real-world blockchain networks, because that would mean having to update the software of all the thousands of nodes on a network.”

        • Blockchain founders raised $822m by Q2 – with enterprises focused on open source

          According to the latest State of Blockchains report from Outlier Ventures, blockchain startups raised $822 million by Q2 – but the ecosystem continues to lag behind the 2017 and early 2018 peak.

          $822m was raised across 279 deals over the second quarter of 2019, with more than half of them being seed stage deals indicating continued fresh talent into the space.

          Yet while the numbers may be lower, the scope is much more advanced – particularly with how enterprises are associating with the technology.

          The report explores case studies which will be familiar to readers of this publication. Last month The Block reported that retailer Target had posted a job advert for a blockchain engineer, with the right candidate being able to contribute to ConsenSource, a certificate registry blockchain application based on Hyperledger Sawtooth. The company’s interest in blockchain has been noted, working with agribusiness provider Cargill on a Hyperledger-built project around the supply chain.


          The Block spoke with Burke at the Blockchain Expo Global event in London around the data and platform monopolies which exist today.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • Online Data Science Learning with Tech’s Biggest Names Through edX

            The main advantage of attending a prestigious name-brand data science certification program is the reputation of that esteemed organization that it carries with it. Other than providing tech students and rookies with better opportunities to find an entry-level job at that company (such as Microsoft), it’s a great badge for the more experienced professionals as well.

            However, there are several high-level courses available, such as the ones through edX at IBM, Microsoft, MIT, UC San Diego and Harvard. Each one is different, and tailored to fit the needs of a variety of different professionals at many levels. In this article, we will take a look at these different programs, summarize their most important characteristics, the skills you’re going to acquire (as well as those you need before taking the course), and why you should choose one of them over another.

        • Open Hardware/Modding
          • CHIPS Alliance Brings Powerful Players into Open Source Hardware Collaboration

            Will open source hardware become as ubiquitous as open-source software, such as Linux and Android?
            Linux changed the world with its open approach to operating systems. The Linux Foundation has now partnered with a new initiative, CHIPS Alliance, to bring the same open source ethos to hardware design.

            All About Circuits had a chance to speak to Ted Marena, Interim Director of CHIPS Alliance, about CHIPS Alliance, its mission, and its inaugural event this June, which was hosted by Linux, itself.

      • Programming/Development
        • Introducing Photon Micro GUI: An open-source, lightweight UI framework with reusable declarative C++ code

          Photon Micro is an open-source, lightweight and modular GUI, which comprises of fine-grained and flyweight ‘elements’. It uses a declarative C++ code with a heavy emphasis on reuse, to form deep element hierarchies.

          Photon has its own HTML5 inspired canvas drawing engine and uses Cairo as a 2D graphics library. Cairo supports the X Window System, Quartz, Win32, image buffers, PostScript, PDF, and SVG file output.

          Joel de Guzman, the creator of Photon Micro GUI, and the main author of the Boost.Spirit Parser library, the Boost.Fusion library and the Boost.Phoenix library says, “One of the main projects I got involved with when I was working in Japan in the 90s, was a lightweight GUI library named Pica. So I went ahead, dusted off the old code and rewrote it from the ground up using modern C++.”

        • Initializing all local variables with Clang-Tidy

          A common source of all kinds of bugs is using variables without properly initializing them. Out of all security problems this one is the simplest to fix, just convert all declarations of type int x; to int x=0;. The main reason for not doing that is laziness, manually going through existing code bases and adding initialization statements is boring and nobody wants to do that.

          Fortunately nowadays we don’t have to. Clang-tidy provides a nice toolkit for writing source code refactoring tools for C and C++. As an exercise I wrote a checker to do this. It is submitted upstream and is undergoing code review. Implementing it was fairly straightforward. There were only two major problems. The first one was that existing documentation consists mostly of reference manuals. There is no easy to follow tutorials, only Doxygen pages. But if you dig around on the net and work on it a bit, you can get it working.

          The second, and bigger, obstacle is that doing anything in the LLVM code base is sloooow. Everything in LLVM and Clang is linked to single, huge, monolithic libraries which take forever to link. Because of reasons I started doing this work on my secondary machine, which is a 4 core i5 with 16 gigs of RAM. I had to limit simultaneous linker jobs to 2 because otherwise it would just crash spectacularly to an out of memory error. Presumably it is impossible to compile the code base on a machine that has only 8 gigs of RAM. It seems that if you want to do any real development on LLVM you need a spare data center to run the compilations, which is unfortunate.

        • Weekly Check-In #6
        • Weekly Check In
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: weeklyCheckIn[7]
        • Weekly check-in #6 (week 7): 08/07 to 14/07
        • Coding Period: Week 7
        • A quarter in review – Halfway to 2020

          My work with Rustup continues, though in the past month or so I’ve been pretty lax because I’ve had to travel a lot for work. I continue to be as heavily involved in Rust as I can be — I’ve stepped up to the plate to lead the Rustup team, and that puts me into the Rust developer tools team proper. I attended a conference, in part to represent the Rust developer community, and I have some followup work on that which I still need to complete.

          I still hang around on the #wg-rustup Discord channel and other channels on that server, helping where I can, and I’ve been trying to teach my colleagues about Rust so that they might also contribute to the community.

          Previously I gave myself an ‘A’ but thought I could manage an ‘A+’ if I tried harder. Since I’ve been a little lax recently I’m dropping myself to an ‘A-’.

        • DocKnot 3.01

          The last release of DocKnot failed a whole bunch of CPAN tests that didn’t fail locally or on Travis-CI, so this release cleans that up and adds a few minor things to the dist command (following my conventions to run cppcheck and Valgrind tests). The test failures are moderately interesting corners of Perl module development that I hadn’t thought about, so seem worth blogging about.

          First, the more prosaic one: as part of the tests of docknot dist, the test suite creates a new Git repository because the release process involves git archive and needs a repository to work from. I forgot to use git config to set and, so that broke on systems without Git global configuration. (This would have been caught by the Debian package testing, but sadly I forgot to add git to the build dependencies, so that test was being skipped.) I always get bitten by this each time I write a test suite that uses Git; someday I’ll remember the first time.

  • Leftovers
    • Security
      • EAP-pwd security issues – SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals) WPA3-Personal – potential full password recovery with weak passwords – CVE-2019-9495, CVE-2019-9497, CVE-2019-9498, CVE-2019-9499

        it might sound strange… and even if it sucks, but if you are concerned about security, call me paranoid but:

        your company’s critical infrastructure SHALL NOT BE REACHABLE BY WIFI! (especially not if you are running a nuclear power plant, just saying… nobody wants meltdown vulnerability of CPUs to actually be able to cause a meltdown)

      • RIP Fernando “Corby” Corbató, inventor of the password (1926-2019)

        Last Friday, legendary MIT computer scientist Fernando “Corby” Corbató passed away at his home in Newton, Massachusetts. He was 93.

        The Oakland-born researcher was responsible for several pivotal advances in the computer science space, most notably the password, which he invented during his pioneering work in computer time sharing.

      • GE Aviation Passwords, Source Code Exposed in Open Jenkins Server [Ed: 'Windows shop' GE needs to hire actual FOSS and GNU/Linux people who know how to properly set up and maintain things. This one is a shot in one's foot.]

        A DNS misconfiguration resulted in an open Jenkins server being available to all.

        A public Jenkins server owned by GE Aviation has exposed source code, plaintext passwords, global system configuration details and private keys from the company’s internal commercial infrastructure.

        GE Aviation, a subsidiary of General Electrics, is among the top commercial aircraft engine suppliers, and offers various airplane components. The server also contained a ReadMe file, outlining all the files it contained and their sensitivity.

      • Open Source Genomic Analysis Software Flaw Patched

        A cybersecurity vulnerability discovered in open source software used by organizations conducting genomic analysis could potentially have enabled hackers to affect the accuracy of patient treatment decisions. But the vulnerability was patched before hackers took advantage of it, researchers believe.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • The slow-motion crucifixion of Julian Assange

        What is happening to Julian Assange is nothing short of torture and a denial of his human rights, says Dr John Jiggens.

        FOR THE PAST five years I’ve been reporting on what Catholic Worker and Assange supporter Ciaron O’Reilly refers to as the ‘slow-motion crucifixion of Julian Assange’.

        My first interview in 2014 was with Assange’s father, John Shipton, on the second anniversary of his flight to the Ecuadorian Embassy. Julian’s birthday was approaching and Shipton was organising a care package for his son. The package included a cat, to give Julian companionship in the isolation of his closely-guarded diplomatic sanctuary.

      • WATCH THE REPLAY: Nils Melzer, Aaron Mate’, Mike Gravel on CN Live! Premiere

        On the premiere episode of CN Live!, Nils Melzer, the United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, joined us from Geneva to discuss his work on the condition of imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange. Journalist Aaron Maté spoke to us from New York about his latest article, “CrowdStrikeOut: Mueller’s Own Report Undercuts Its Core Russia-Meddling Claims“. Former U.S. Senator and Democratic primary contender Mike Gravel, and Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild, joined the program from California to discuss the race to the White House.

        Francis Boyle, international law professor at the University of Illinois, picked apart the intelligence and political machinations behind the arrest of financier Jeffery Epstein on sex trafficking charges; and author and scholar George Szamuely joined hosts Joe Lauria and Elizabeth Vos from Budapest to dissect the latest news on Assange and WikiLeaks.

      • The Media Is Complicit in Julian Assange’s Torture

        A United Nations expert finds the WikiLeaks founder has been subjected to psychological torture, and media around the globe played a part.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • India’s first dynamic injunction issued to block access to ‘rogue websites’

        Online piracy continues to be a menace which a very difficult for the courts to tackle. There are several reasons for this, the most important being the difficulty in removing pirated content available online. Court orders are difficult and time consuming to obtain. Further, blocking websites often becomes useless as new websites with the same content pop up instantly. Due to all this, online piracy continues to be an ever-evasive problem with few practical solutions. However, the Delhi High Court, in UTV Software Communication Ltd v 1337X.TO and Ors recently made a significant advancement in protecting such rights, particularly in the case of blocking entire websites or mirror websites.

        UTV Software Communications Ltd., the plaintiffs in the present case, filed eight suits primarily seeking an injunction restraining infringing activities of the defendants. The plaintiffs are engaged in the business of creating content, producing and distributing cinematographic films around the world, including in India. The defendants were classified into four broad categories – certain identifiable websites, John Doe defendants, ISPs, and government departments (Department of Telecommunication and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology). The defendant websites did not respond to any of the summons, presumably because they were based outside India. However, the Court deemed the issue of general public importance and issued the relevant injunction even in such absence.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • The Toxic Potential of YouTube’s Feedback Loop

        Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first scandal to strike YouTube in recent years. The platform has promoted terrorist content, foreign state-sponsored propaganda, extreme hatred, softcore zoophilia, inappropriate kids content, and innumerable conspiracy theories.

        Having worked on recommendation engines, I could have predicted that the AI would deliberately promote the harmful videos behind each of these scandals. How? By looking at the engagement metrics.

        Using recommendation algorithms, YouTube’s AI is designed to increase the time that people spend online. Those algorithms track and measure the previous viewing habits of the user—and users like them—to find and recommend other videos that they will engage with.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Use of Glasgow Airport in CIA rendition of man to Egypt revealed

        The use of Glasgow Airport in the rendition of a man whose torture in Egypt led to the false information which provided part of the case for the Iraq War has been revealed in a new report on the CIA’s network of black sites around the world.

        A new report presents, for the first time, a comprehensive overview of the CIA’s black site network, drawing on new data derived from an analysis of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 2014 study of CIA detention.

      • Expansion of Secrecy Law for Intelligence Operatives Alarms Free Press Advocates

        The C.I.A. is quietly pushing Congress to significantly expand the scope of a law that makes it a crime to disclose the identities of undercover intelligence agents, raising alarms among advocates of press freedoms.

        The agency has proposed extending a 1982 law, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which makes it a crime to identify covert officers who have served abroad in the past five years. Under the C.I.A.’s plan, the law would instead apply perpetually to people whose relationships with the intelligence community are classified — even if they live and operate exclusively on domestic soil.

        Lawmakers have attached the C.I.A.’s proposed language to defense and intelligence bills moving through Congress. The provisions have sparked objections among press freedom and government transparency advocates. Potential amendments to the House intelligence bill must be submitted by Thursday to be considered when it comes to the House floor.

      • Not in My Name: Academics Publicly Attack Torture Rapporteur [Ed: Weaponising "women's rights" to justify torture of journalists]

        I am a survivor of rape, gang rape and the abusive police process I was subjected to when I reported it and I am fed up with watching sexual violence being used as a cover for political attacks on Julian Assange, his colleagues and his supporters.

        I am not alone. Numerous other survivors have reached out to me tonight expressing the same sentiment and we deserve to be heard.

        Today, members of what is supposedly a women’s advocacy group published an open letter addressed to UN top brass, from the Secretary-General on down, complaining about an article written by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer and attempting to call into question his suitability for his role.

      • Human-Rights Lawyers React to a UN Official’s Definition of Rape [{Ed: What you get for defending journalists who expose war crimes and other high crimes of people in high positions (in military, politics, corporations)]

        A group of several hundred international human-rights lawyers reacted to a first-person opinion piece published by the United Nations expert on torture that “had a problematic definition of rape,” according to the lawyers’ open letter, published on July 1, expressing their legal views.

        The exchange between the human-rights experts and proponents and the UN specialist, Nils Melzer, played out on the blogging site Medium and on Twitter most of last week, where PassBlue discovered the exchange.

      • UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer replies to feminist legal critics on Assange

        UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer has issued an open letter, refuting accusations that his defence of Julian Assange against state-orchestrated rape allegations has cast “serious doubt as to his ability and willingness to deal with gender-based crimes.”

        A group of feminist academics and human rights experts published an open letter against Melzer on July 1.
        Framed as a response to his June 26 opinion piece, “Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange,” the open letter was a barely concealed threat made against Melzer’s job as UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It was addressed to the UN high commissioner for human rights, its deputy high commissioner and the Coordination Committee of UN Special Procedures.

        The open letter’s signatories described themselves as “practitioners and scholars in international law and human rights” who are “deeply disturbed by the way [Melzer] approaches the allegations of sexual assault” in the Swedish case against Assange.

      • WikiLeaks Chief Editor Says Assange Might Eventually Turn To European Human Rights Court

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, imprisoned in Belmarsh in London, may turn to the European Court of Human Rights over the psychological torture that he has been exposed to, after having exhausted all legal ways in the United Kingdom, WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Kristinn Hrafnsson told Sputnik.

        In late May, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer stated after visiting Assange in prison together with two medical experts that the WikiLeaks founder had been exposed to a long-time psychological torture.

        “I don’t know if it is possible to do that on that basis. You have to exhaust the legal remedies in the courts in your country before you actually do it, but I could expect to see that happen in the end, after the United Kingdom takes it through all courts. But I am not too optimistic that he will be allowed free. So that means incarceration for years and years,” Hrafnsson said in an interview, asked if Assange should apply to the European Court on Human Rights over the matter.

      • UN Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer exposes propaganda and censorship in Assange reporting

        When Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, issued a May 31 statement demanding an immediate end to the “collective persecution” of Julian Assange it made headlines all over the world.

        Assange, Melzer wrote, “has been deliberately exposed, for a period of several years, to progressively severe forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the cumulative effects of which can only be described as psychological torture.”

        “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution, I have never seen a group of democratic states ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” he added.

      • UN Expert Says Western Media Hush Up Assange Case While Russian Outlets Stand for Golunov

        UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer voiced his concern over the fact that while some of the Russian media outlets joined their efforts to draw public attention to the controversial arrest of investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, Western media failed to report impartially on the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      • Citizens to the UN: Investigate Our “Torture Chambers in the Sky”

        Our submission calls their attention to unaddressed human rights violations – abduction and enforced disappearance in particular — committed by North Carolina, its political subdivisions, and a private company called Aero Contractors in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition and torture program.

        Our communication reached U.N. experts on the eve of June 26, the U.N’.s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, proclaimed in 1997 when the Convention Against Torture went into effect. The U.N. calls June 26 an opportunity for member states, civil society and individuals to “unite in support of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.”

      • Guantánamo Case to Test Whether Torture Can Be Put on the Docket
    • Monopolies
      • Should you boycott Amazon Prime Day?

        Amazon is now powerful enough to push its own holiday onto the calendar. Starting Monday, Prime Day will kick off with an avalanche of deep discounts — and Amazon is doing everything it can to make sure it feels festive. In fact, the company is doing so much, it might make you uncomfortable.


        Crucially (and perhaps surprisingly), none of the striking workers have called on shoppers to boycott Prime Day sales. There’s no official guidance on how shoppers should support the strike, and many of the striking workers who talked to The Verge were ambivalent on the question. In some sense, it’s beside the point. The strike is meant to show that the success of Prime Day depends on warehouse workers — but that message is more about fulfillment queues than sales numbers. Solidarity is always welcome in a strike, but it’s hard to draw a clear, straight line from the workers’ demands to the Buy button.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • Athena Diagnostics v. Mayo Collaborative Services — The Concurrences

          In Part II of his opinion, Judge Dyk defends the need for Alice/Mayo framework, contending that “[d]espite assertions to the contrary, the doctrines of novelty under § 102, obviousness under § 103, and enablement and written description under § 112 cannot adequately guard against the dangers of overclaiming.” Judge Dyk also notes that these provisions do not “typically allow early stage resolution of the ‘threshold’ issue of patent eligibility . . . necessary to avoid the costs of lengthy litigation,” and therefore concludes that the patent eligibility analysis of “§ 101 serves an important purpose not served by these other provisions in the Patent Act.” Offering an example of the alleged inadequacy of the other provisions to guard against overclaiming, Judge Dyk suggests that “[i]f the first person to identify the relationship between a genetic abnormality and a disease had sought a broad patent on a method of searching for genetic abnormalities and determining their relationship to disease, the claims would have been neither anticipated nor obvious.”

          For Judge Dyk, “[t]he problem with § 101 arises not in implementing the abstract idea approach of Alice, but rather in implementing the natural law approach of Mayo,” explaining in Part III of his opinion that “[a]lthough Mayo’s framework is sound overall, I share the concerns expressed by my dissenting colleagues that the Mayo test for patent eligibility should leave room for sufficiently specific diagnostic patents.” However, as Judge Hughes indicated in his concurrence, Judge Dyk states that “it is the Supreme Court, not this court, that must reconsider the breadth of Mayo.”


          Judge Chen begins his concurrence by noting that the Supreme Court in Diehr “adopted a relatively narrow and more administrable version of the judicial exceptions to the statutory text of 35 U.S.C. § 101 compared to what the Court articulated three years earlier in Parker v. Flook, 437 U.S. 584 (1978).” He also suggests that “[u]nder Diehr’s ‘claim as a whole’ principle, which does not divide the claim into new versus old elements, Athena’s claims, particularly claims 7 and 9, likely would have been found to be directed to a patent-eligible process.” However, he acknowledges that in Mayo, the Supreme Court “set forth an inventive concept/point of novelty framework, which is a more far-reaching, aggressive version of the judicial exceptions to the statute and is largely incompatible with Diehr’s core rationale,” even though “nothing in Mayo suggests that it sought to repudiate Diehr’s analysis.”

          Judge Chen provides a detailed analysis of Diehr, Flook, Mayo, and Alice, before turning to Athena’s claims. With respect to Diehr and Flook, Judge Chen contends that “[g]iven Diehr’s evident disagreement with Flook’s analysis, Diehr, as the later opinion, was widely understood to be the guiding, settled precedent on § 101 for three decades,” with Diehr “reject[ing] the point of novelty/inventive concept approach to patent eligibility.” According to Judge Chen, “Mayo provided a framework for the judicial exceptions that strongly tracked the reasoning of Flook and the Diehr dissent.” Thus, Judge Chen argues that “Mayo is in considerable tension with Diehr’s instruction to consider claims ‘as a whole’ and Diehr’s disapproval of dissecting claims into elements and ignoring non-novel elements in the § 101 analysis.”


          In the last part of his opinion, Judge Chen examines the claims at issue in Athena. While conceding that “the Supreme Court has made clear that detecting a law of nature (without more than conventional steps for accessing the law of nature) does not qualify as a patent-eligible application of a law of nature,” Judge Chen notes that “given that the dual ‘invention or discovery’ structure consistently has been part of every Patent Act since 1790, this statutory provision suggests that at least some discoveries, including Athena’s ‘discovery’ of how to diagnose myasthenia gravis, have always been contemplated as patentable subject matter.” Thus, while Judge Chen “do[es] not think the claims here can withstand Mayo’s scrutiny,” he argues that “perhaps when read ‘as a whole’ under Diehr, claims such as claims 7 and 9 in this case could be viewed as methods of testing for a specific medical condition, employing a sequence of steps that physically transform materials,” adding that “this sounds like a contribution to the ‘useful arts’ stated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution.”

      • Copyrights
        • Fake MPAA Asks Google to Remove Thousands of URLs, Including

          This week we spotted an odd takedown request. None other than Hollywood’s MPAA asked Google to remove from its search results. This wasn’t the real MPAA though, but an imposter that has sent tens of thousands of takedown demands, mostly targeted at pirate streaming sites.

        • Crowdfunding campaign launched to stop EU’s new copyright regulations

          Anyone in the open source community who thought they had won the war on censorship when the European Union backed down on a key aspect of its Copyright Directive earlier this year, is `making a mistake of the highest order’.

          That’s the view of open source and Internet advocate, activist and author Glyn Moody – whose 2001 book `Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution’ provides an early, authoritative history of the open source movement.

          The global open source community was able to breathe a small sigh of relief when last-minute amendments were made to the European Union’s (EU’s) Copyright Directive, resulting in open source software development being left relatively, but not wholly, unscathed.

Microsoft Office 360 Banned

Monday 15th of July 2019 07:16:52 AM

“Microsoft implemented ODF with all the grace of a 6 year old asked to tidy up their room”

–Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010

Summary: OpenDocument Format (ODF, a real standard everyone can implement) and Free/libre software should be taught in schools; it’s not supposed to be just a matter of privacy

Days ago we included in our daily links some early reports about Microsoft Office 360 getting banned in German schools. CBS (ZDNet) is helping Microsoft spin all this with a bunch of lies [1], but this development must worry Microsoft as it can inspire other countries and even non-schools to do the same. We’ve meanwhile noticed (hours ago) that some “Linux sites” promote proprietary software with “ribbons” and OOXML [2] (because there are binaries for Ubuntu). Why not Free/libre software? Are bloggers really this clueless? What does one gain by swapping one piece of proprietary software with another? Or one surveillance form (Microsoft) with another (Google)?

Software Freedom needs to be stressed more and more for such poor advocacy to be discouraged. Choosing something like Google or Apple instead of Microsoft isn’t swapping digital slavery with freedom but instead just swapping ‘masters’.

Update: For the second time in just hours [3] that same “Linux site” promotes yet another piece of proprietary software as a “replacement” for Microsoft Office.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft Office 365: Banned in German schools over privacy fears
  2. FreeOffice July Update Adds MS Office 2019 Support, Classic Interface Option

    A major update to FreeOffice by SoftMaker, a gratis set of productivity apps modelled after Microsoft Office, is now available to download.

    Dubbed the “anniversary update”, the latest version of this office suite intros compatibility with the latest Microsoft Office file formats.

    All three apps in the family, TextMaker, PlanMaker and Presentations, are said to be fully compatible with the latest Microsoft Office file formats, allowing users to open, edit and save in native Office formats like .docx.

    The suite now lets users choose an interface layout, with the standard “Ribbon” interface mode and a more traditional menu-based UI available.

  3. Microsoft Office Clone ‘SoftMaker Office 2018’ Sees Summer Update

    Do keep in mind that SoftMaker Office 2018 is not free software so you will need to buy a subscription or make a one-off purchase to use it longterm.

Microsoft, in Its Own Words…

Sunday 14th of July 2019 06:04:19 PM

The 'Microsoft Commandments'

Summary: Sociopathy, incompetence and intolerance of the rule of law, as demonstrated by Microsoft’s top managers

“This is by-design behavior, not a security vulnerability.”

–Scott Culp, Microsoft’s security program manager

“We really haven’t done everything we could to protect our customers. Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

–Brian Valentine, Microsoft

“We haven’t figured out how to be lower priced than Linux.”

–Steve Ballmer

“Linux is not in the public domain. Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

–Steve Ballmer

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger.”

–Jim Allchin

“Like a lot of products that are free, you get a loyal following even though it’s small. I’ve never had a customer mention Linux to me.”

–Bill Gates

“I don’t know what a monopoly is until someone tells me.”

–Steve Ballmer

“There are fewer communists in the world today than there were. There are some new modern day sort of communists who want to get rid of the incentive for musicians and moviemakers and software makers under various guises.”

–Bill Gates

“Fuck! It took you a year to figure that out!”

Bill Gates

“The new TV infrastructure will be about very targeted advertising.”

–Bill Gates

“That’s the dumbest fucking idea I’ve heard since I’ve been at Microsoft.”

Bill Gates

“The last thing this company needs is another fucking [computer] language.”

–Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

Microsoft’s WSL is Designed to Weaken GNU/Linux (on the Desktop/Laptop) and Strengthen Vista 10

Sunday 14th of July 2019 05:37:17 PM

“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”

–Ben Slivka, Microsoft

Summary: What Microsoft does to GNU/Linux on the desktop (and/or laptop) bears much resemblance to what Microsoft did to Java a couple of decades ago

Windows Vista 10 is a terrible operating system, both technically and commercially. Its track record in the market has been appalling and not even sick deviants like Microsoft Peter could spin that (they tried a lot, every day/week). Microsoft, fearing a growing adoption of Chromebooks and various forms of more Freedom-respecting distros (than Chrome OS), is trying to chew the competition and hijack the brand, then distort it. It’s an old strategy, so many analogies exist.

“The person in charge of GitHub (Microsoft put him in charge!) has a history of attacks on Java.”Java is a powerful toolset and language (it became a lot more than just syntax). It’s still very widely used, though not everyone is a fan. “If Java had true garbage collection,” ‬Robert Sewell jokingly said,‭” ‬most programs would delete themselves upon execution.‭” Some would say similar things about Python and other high-level languages. Similarly, many people mock low-level languages because they involve more complicated things such as pointers and may be prone to buffer overflows, especially when used by inexperienced programmers with little or no testing. I haven’t touched Java in years, but many moons ago I used it for its cross-platform nature. That’s one of its major selling points; not many frameworks are as portable and cross-platform, so it’s hardly surprising Google adopted the APIs.

“With Java, Microsoft gave out a broken, non-standard, Windows-only variant in violation of their contract with Sun AND nonetheless persisted in trying to call it Java. I see that as what Microsoft is doing to GNU/Linux via WSL,” one reader told us this afternoon.

“They attempted, relentlessly, to infect GNU/Linux with this patent trap; thankfully they failed. People pushed back.”The person in charge of GitHub (Microsoft put him in charge!) has a history of attacks on Java [1, 2]. It’s hardly surprising that his Xamarin sidekick Miguel de Icaza has a history of FUD and bashing of Java, e.g. after the Oracle lawsuit against Google/Android. They have been pushing .NET for ages, in the form of Mono. They attempted, relentlessly, to infect GNU/Linux with this patent trap; thankfully they failed. People pushed back. We won one battle, but not yet the war. Microsoft keeps fighting Bill Gates' "Jihad".

Our reader believes that what Microsoft plans to do with WSL is somewhat similar to what it did to Java, not just to Netscape. “It is unlikely that Microsoft is in violation of the GPL in this specific case,” he added. “However, it is certain that what we see is a port to Windows and probably increasingly incompatible over time.”

“Our reader believes that what Microsoft plans to do with WSL is somewhat similar to what it did to Java, not just to Netscape.”They already did this numerous times before, e.g. with curl (there was a controversy a couple of years back). By deviating from known and accepted standards they can make stuff constructed or coded on Windows incapable of running in its original, native environment. “Some research again on Java can help come up with similarly alarming analogies,” I replied, knowing some of the things that Microsoft said internally while sabotaging Java. We have quite a repository of old articles on this topic, including antitrust material.

The fact that Linux Foundation staff keeps celebrating WSL and even the takeover of GitHub serves to show whose side the Foundation is on. Let that sink in for a while…

Christine Hall from the OSI’s Board told me a few days ago that “considering the name, the Linux Foundation is no friend to Linux or the spirit behind open source.”

“Many of us (GNU/Linux users) feel so technically-orphaned or homeless when it comes to representation of GNU/Linux, especially on the desktop.”“Jim Zemlin never met a dollar he didn’t like,” she told me separately (and publicly) about Jim Zemlin. “He has nothing but disdain for desktop Linux,” she continued. “He wishes we would just go away.”

Many of us (GNU/Linux users) feel so technically-orphaned or homeless when it comes to representation of GNU/Linux, especially on the desktop. We don’t suppose IBM will take leadership; earlier today Phoronix reported that platform support is being narrowed in Fedora (less than a week after the IBM deal was closed!). Fedora/Red Hat/IBM staff is meanwhile starting unnecessary disputes with Canonical/Ubuntu over Snaps in GNOME.

Links 14/7/2019: Linux 5.2.1, Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview, Linux Mint 19.2 Beta

Sunday 14th of July 2019 04:08:09 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Server
    • Audiocasts/Shows
      • Tim Falls on Developer Relations, Open Source, Free Education and Ethics

        In this podcast, Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Tim Falls of Digital Ocean about developer relations, the importance of embracing and providing open-source software, the need to offer free education in software development and the importance of ethics in education.

      • Linux Action News 114

        Another project breach raises significant questions, Fedora considers dropping Snaps in Gnome Software, and has the ISPA let Mozilla off the hook?

        Plus Microsoft makes it into linux-distros, the Raspberry Pi 4 charger issue, and more.

    • Kernel Space
      • What’s New in Linux 5.2?

        Linux 5.2 has been released. This release includes Sound Open Firmware, a project that brings open source firmware to DSP audio devices; open firmware for many Intel products is also included. This release also improves the Pressure Stall Information resource monitoring to make it usable by Android; the mount API has been redesigned with new syscalls; the BFQ I/O scheduler has gained some performance improvements; a new CLONE_PIDFD flag lets clone(2) return pidfs usable by pidfd_send_signal(2); Ext4 has gained support for case-insensitive name lookups; there is also a new device mapper target that simulates a device that has failing sectors and/or read failures; open source drivers for the ARM Mali t4xx and newer 6xx/7xx have been added. Many other new drivers, features and changes can be found in the changelog.

      • XFS Gets Cleaned Up In Linux 5.3 Kernel Development Activity

        While not too eventful on the end-user feature front, the XFS file-system has seen another round of clean-ups with the ongoing Linux 5.3 merge window.

        XFS maintainer Darrick Wong characterized the feature work for XFS in Linux 5.3 as “significant amounts of consolidations and cleanups in the log code; restructuring of the log to issue struct bios directly; new bulkstat ioctls to return v5 fs inode information (and fix all the padding problems of the old ioctl); the beginnings of multithreaded inode walks (e.g. quotacheck); and a reduction in memory usage in the online scrub code leading to reduced runtimes.”

      • Networking Changes For Linux 5.3 Bring New Google Driver But No WireGuard

        The networking subsystem updates were sent out on Wednesday for the Linux 5.3 kernel and include a bunch of improvements to many different drivers.

        The networking changes are heavy as usual and include improvements to pretty much all of the common networking drivers.

      • NVIDIA’s Graphics Driver Will Run Into Problems With Linux 5.3 On IBM POWER

        For those using the NVIDIA proprietary graphics driver on an IBM POWER system, it could be a while before seeing Linux 5.3+ kernel support. Upstream has removed code depended upon by the NVIDIA binary driver for supporting the POWER architecture and as is the case they don’t care that it will break NVIDIA driver support since it’s binary/out-of-tree.

        The POWER changes for Linux 5.3 remove NPU DMA code. In the pull request they do acknowledge this DMA code is “used by the out-of-tree Nvidia driver, as well as some other functions only used by drivers that haven’t (yet?) made it upstream.”

      • The Input Driver Updates For Linux 5.3 Bring New Hardware Support

        The input and HID subsystem updates were sent in this week with various hardware support additions and improvements.

      • Linux 5.3 Picking Up IPMB Driver For Intelligent Platform Management Bus

        Contributed by Mellanox to the Linux 5.3 kernel is an IPMB driver for the Intelligent Platform Management Bus.

        IPMB initially didn’t ring a bell but after checking out the new driver and its associated documentation, it sounds quite interesting for supported server platforms.

      • Linux 5.2.1 I'm announcing the release of the 5.2.1 kernel. All users of the 5.2 kernel series must upgrade. The updated 5.2.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.2.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:;a=summary thanks, greg k-h
      • Linux 5.2.1 Released For Riding The Latest Stable Kernel

        For those that generally wait for the first point release before upgrading to a new kernel series, Greg Kroah-Hartman released Linux 5.2.1 this Sunday morning.

        One week after the debut of Linux 5.2, the first point release is now available with addressing various bugs/regressions. There are some fixes in Linux 5.2.1 from the initial fallout from upgrading to 5.2, but fortunately nothing too serious. Linux 5.2.1 brings a number of perf fixes, reducing the stack usage for the RTL8712 driver, fscrypt will no longer set policy for dead directories, and there is also a new documentation section detailing CPU vulnerabilities for Spectre.

      • Graphics Stack
        • Valve’s Latest Linux Gaming Work Is Boosting AMD Vulkan Performance By Up To 44 Percent

          Phoronix has also shown both framerate improvements, reduced loading times and reduced stutter in a heaping helping of benchmarks, but Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais recently emailed me a fascinating result that originated from DXVK developer Philip Rebohle. And it’s definitely a mic drop moment.

          It centers around the game NieR: Automata, which works well under Linux via Steam Play using Valve’s Proton. The three images below depict the game running at 1440p with maximum quality settings, on a Ryzen 7 2700X and Radeon RX 480 system. In the tests, Valve compared the framerates in the same scene using Windows (DirectX 11), RADV + LLVM, and RADV + ACO.

        • Weston 7.0 release schedule Hi all, Here is the release schedule for Weston 7.0, the next major version: - Alpha: July 19th, in one week - Beta: August 2nd - RC1: August 16th - First possible release: August 23th Package maintainers are encouraged to pick up the pre-releases to make sure packaging can be tested (and fixed) before the stable release. This will be the first release to drop completely autotools support, replacing it with Meson. A Wayland release hasn't been planned yet. Weston and Wayland releases are not combined anymore. Please let me know if you have any objections. Thanks,
        • Wayland’s Weston 7.0 Compositor Aiming To Release Next Month

          Simon Ser who has been serving as the Wayland/Weston release manager has laid out a schedule for getting out the next major release of Wayland’s reference compositor.

          Simon’s planned release schedule involves the Weston 7.0 Alpha release next week, a beta in early August, the release candidate around mid-August, and the possible release around the end of August barring any major issues. Such timing would ideally get the updated Weston 7.0 compositor within autumn 2019 Linux distribution releases.

    • Benchmarks
      • FreeBSD 12 Runs Refreshingly Easy On AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – Benchmarks Against Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

        While newer Linux distributions have run into problems on the new AMD Zen 2 desktop CPUs (fixed by a systemd patch or fundamentally by a BIOS update) and DragonFlyBSD needed a separate boot fix, FreeBSD 12.0 installed out-of-the-box fine on the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X test system with ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO WiFi motherboard.


        I also attempted to try DragonFlyBSD with its latest daily ISO/IMG following the Zen 2 fix this week by Matthew Dillon. Unfortunately, even with the latest daily ISO I ran into a panic at boot time. So as a result, today are just some FreeBSD 12.0 vs. Ubuntu 18.04 benchmarks for reference. Matthew Dillon did have some interesting comments in our forums about his (great) experiences with these new CPUs, some limitations, and about the original DragonFlyBSD issue.

    • Applications
      • Top GUI Tools for Linux System Administrators

        Let’s have a look into the list of top GUI tools for Linux system administrators. If you are tired of running command and need some change then this post is for you.

      • Millan Castro Vilariño: GSoC: First month working in Pitivi

        Pitivi is a video editor, free and open source. Targeted at newcomers and professional users, it is minimalist and powerful. This summer I am fortunate to collaborate in Pitivi development through Google Summer of Code.

        My goal is to implement an interval time system, with the support of Mathieu Duponchell, my menthor, and other members of the Pitivi community.

        An interval time system is a common tool in many video editors. It will introduce new features in Pitivi. The user will be able to set up a range of time in the timeline editor, playback specific parts of the timeline, export the selected parts of the timeline, cut or copy clips inside the interval and zoom in/out the interval.

        Mi proposal also includes the design of a marker system to store information at a certain time position.

      • Foliate – A Simple & Modern New GTK eBook Viewer

        Foliate is an open-source GTK eBook viewer built with GJS and Epub.js.

      • 15 Free Open source FTP Servers

        FTP (File Transfer Protocol) is as its name suggests a file transferring protocol between two computers, a local computer, and a remote server. FTP servers is a web server that runs on web-servers and uses FTP protocol at the server side to manage file transfers, connections, & users. Some of them come with a modular architecture, security-focused features, and several options designed for the enterprise.

        The FTP server allows users to store their files on the server, through FTP, and access it later. The basic features of usable FTP servers are to manage the file transfers, the connections, the rate limits, the user’s accounts, user groups, & user permissions. Some of the projects on this list do, even more, some of them are built with modular architecture allowing developers to extend their functionalities throw custom developed modules and plugins.

        To connect to the FTP server, you require a client (FTP client), that provide the client-ready interface to connect through FTP and similar protocols. We have covered the best FTP clients in this article for Windows users, Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, macOS). Here is our list of: 10 Recommended Free, Open source FTP Clients for Windows, Linux, and macOS.

      • bzip2 1.0.8

        We are happy to announce the release of bzip2 1.0.8.

        This is a fixup release because the CVE-2019-12900 fix in bzip2 1.0.7 was too strict and might have prevented decompression of some files that earlier bzip2 versions could decompress. And it contains a few more patches from various distros and forks.

        bzip2 1.0.8 contains the following fixes:

        Accept as many selectors as the file format allows. This relaxes the fix for CVE-2019-12900 from 1.0.7 so that bzip2 allows decompression of bz2 files that use (too) many selectors again.
        Fix handling of large (> 4GB) files on Windows.
        Cleanup of bzdiff and bzgrep scripts so they don’t use any bash extensions and handle multiple archives correctly.
        There is now a bz2-files testsuite at
        Patches by Joshua Watt, Mark Wielaard, Phil Ross, Vincent Lefevre, Led and Kristýna Streitová.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • SNES-inspired action adventure game “Ribbiting Saga” going to Early Access, after crowdfunding fails

        Ribbiting Saga from Happy Ogre sadly didn’t pass the crowdfunding test but it’s not the end. This SNES-inspired action adventure game is instead now taking pre-orders, with Early Access coming instead.

        Writing on Kickstarter, the developer noted how they’ve “learned a ton from the process” and so they’re going onto Steam with Early Access in around 2-3 months. They’ve put a pre-order page up, which is clearly stating Linux support.

      • Electronic Super Joy 2 releasing soon with Linux support

        Mixing difficult platforming with some “brain-smashing” electronic music, Electronic Super Joy 2 from Michael Todd Games is releasing soon and like previous games it will support Linux.

      • Progress Report: May 2019

        Welcome to May’s Progress Report! Firstly we would like to apologise for the delay in publishing this report. RPCS3’s progress reports are solely written by volunteers and a few of our regular writers could not contribute to this report due to personal commitments. If you hate seeing RPCS3’s reports get delayed and would like to contribute to them, please apply here.

        This month saw some major leaps by Nekotekina and kd-11 on the SPU and RSX fronts. Nekotekina implemented SPU PIC support while kd-11 improved the surface cache implementation. Meanwhile, Megamouse made multiple improvements to the UI, GalCiv overhauled the DualShock 3 pad handler and ruipin tackled regressions in the SPU LLVM backend when using Mega SPU block size.

      • PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 has the June report out, amount of playable titles continues increasing

        More fantastic work from the RPCS3 emulator team, with the report for May now available that highlights some more recent work done to improve the project. As a reminder, their reports are delayed by months as they’re written by volunteers, you can apply to help here.

        Amusingly, the amount of games playable they’re tracking is now at 1337, making it about 43.71% up from 1258 in April. They really are making quick progress, which is incredibly considering the huge task it is to create such software.

      • Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview

        Preview 1 of the upcoming 4.23 release is available now on the Launcher and GitHub. We are making this Preview available so that our developer community can try our new features and help us catch issues before the final release. As fixes are implemented, we will release updated previews throughout the development cycle.

        Please be aware that preview releases are not fully quality tested, that they are still under heavy active development, and that they should be considered as unstable until the final release. Developers should not convert their projects for active development on preview releases. Please test on copies of your project instead.

        Links to known and fixed issues for this release are provided below. If you discover any additional issues with this preview release, please report them using the guidelines in the link: How to Report a Bug.

      • Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview Brings Virtual Texturing, Other Enhancements

        Epic Games released the first public preview this week of Unreal Engine 4.23.

        Unreal Engine 4.23 Preview doesn’t bring any significant Vulkan or Linux specific work, but there are some rendering enhancements and other features for those interested in game visuals and engine features. Well, there is one “fix” on the Vulkan front worth mentioning and that is tessellation support should now be working correctly with the Vulkan renderer.

      • Dota Underlords gains a prototype Battle Pass in the latest Early Access update

        Valve continue to push out some more interesting updates to their auto-battler Dota Underlords, with it now having the first version of their prototype Battle Pass.

        All beta testers during Early Access are granted it for free and like everything else in Underlords, Valve will be using it as a “learning experience”. With it you can unlock banners, emotes, new board types along with a mix of daily and weekly challenges. You can earn XP (experience points) by playing online against others or against Hardcore level bots.

      • DXVK 1.3 is out with some fun sounding new features for this Vulkan translation layer

        Developer Philip Rebohle just released DXVK 1.3, a fun sounding version of the Vulkan-based D3D11 and D3D10 implementation for Wine with some new features.

        Using the new “VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation” extension from Vulkan version 1.1.113 (released on June 30th), DXVK can use it to “implement the discard instruction in shaders, which may improve performance in some games”.

      • DXVK 1.3 Released With Discard Optimization, Async Presentation

        Philip Rebohle released version 1.3 of DXVK today, the widely-used Direct3D 10/11 to Vulkan translation layer for accelerating Windows gaming on Linux under Wine and most known with Steam Play.

        DXVK 1.3 adds optional support for VK_EXT_shader_demote_to_helper_invocation to implement the discard instruction within shaders and may help the performance of some games. DXVK 1.3 also adds asynchronous presentation support as another performance optimization. There are also resource upload changes to help different games but currently only working with the AMDVLK and NVIDIA drivers.

      • Ubuntu To Provide NVIDIA Drivers Updates To Ubuntu LTS Users

        Ubuntu has been a good choice to switch to Linux from other operating systems. The only thing that has stopped people is the hardware updates. Though there were NVIDIA drivers updates available but through third-party PPAs.

        But no more installation of third-party PPAs in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu is now going to provide the latest NVIDIA drivers updates to its long term release users starting from its latest LTS release Ubuntu 18.04.

        The big news was announced through Ubuntu’s twitter account posting a Youtube video describing how Ubuntu is already testing the feature and will release to the public very soon.

        Let me tell you, updating Nvidia drivers were not difficult but required the installation of third-party PPAs or run several scripts to update NVIDIA drivers.

        As explained in the video, Ubuntu will now provide the latest proprietary drivers updates from its repositories in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and also Ubuntu 16.04 in the near future.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • KDE Usability & Productivity: Week 79

          After a somewhat light week, we’ve back with week 79 in KDE’s Usability & Productivity initiative, and there’s a ton of cool stuff for you!

        • KDE’s kstart5 Now Works On Wayland, No More HiDPI Screen Flickering At Start-Up

          There is less than two months to go until KDE’s annual Akademy conference, which this year is being hosted in Milan, Italy. But even with summer activities, KDE development remains quite busy. KDE developer Nate Graham has written another one of his weekly blog posts highlighting the interesting development work going into this open-source desktop environment.

    • Distributions
      • People of openSUSE: Sébastien Poher

        I got into Linux in two steps, first, in 2007 but I was the only one among my friends to use it so I ended up sticking to the shitty OS I had. My next re-discovery of Linux was later in 2012 when I started professional training in system administration.

      • Reviews
        • Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria Plasma review – Genius in disguise

          Manjaro is a totally bi-polar distro. Utterly genius and silly at the same time. It does some things so well, it offers so much innovation, it has some rather unique features you don’t get to see elsewhere, and then it spoils it with some visual inconsistencies, glitches with its bundled apps and very cumbersome package management. No AUR, fine, but what other options do common users have? How can ordinary non-CLI folks enjoy the likes of Chrome or Skype or whatnot on their boxen? There’s a lot of progress – just read my Manjaro diaries over the years – but it’s still all fragile balance, and the distro still needs to fully figure out its identity and direction.

          The nonfree aspect of the live session should be highlighted. All in all, I’m pleased with the easy availability of everyday conveniences, the installer was neat, and there’s a lot of original goodness in Manjaro, more than most other distros. But the network support needs some rework, there should be better identification or auto-configuration with hardware issues on so-called unfriendly platform, and the package management feels neglected. All in all, this is a very promising system. Manjaro 18.0.4 Illyria deserves something like 8/10, and I’ll be following up with some customization tricks, plus maybe a review of another edition. That would be all for this rather lengthy review.

      • New Releases
        • antiX-19-b2-full (64 and 32 bit) available

          Our second beta build of the upcoming antiX-19 release, based on Debian Buster and systemd-free.

          Changes since beta1.

          * Inclusion of connman-bluetooth-firmware
          * New app – App Select – Quickly find all installed apps.
          * 4.9.182 ‘Sack Panic’ patched kernel
          * New ‘antiX’ category added to menu
          * New themes, icons and wallpaper
          * Various bugfixes.

        • Feren OS July 2019 Snapshot has been released

          It?s been 3 months since the last Snapshot, so? if you don?t know what that means: It calls for a New Feren OS Snapshot, and it?s now released for the 64 Bit Architecture and the 32 Bit Architecture.

          This release comes with a set of minor changes and improvements over the April 2019 Snapshot, with the most noteworthy changes that users will notice summarised below.

      • Fedora Family
        • Fedora To Stop Providing i686 Kernels, Might Also Drop 32-Bit Modular/Everything Repos

          The proposed change to no longer build i686 Linux kernel packages beginning with the Fedora 31 release later this year has been approved. Additionally, they might also begin removing some 32-bit repositories.

          The F31 change proposal to stop building 32-bit x86 (i686) kernels was approved at Friday’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo) meeting. So that’s the end of the road for 32-bit x86 kernels on Fedora and any installation media.

      • Debian Family
        • Debian 10 “Buster” Full Review and My Thoughts
        • Talk: What goes into a Debian package?

          No, I’m not in Chicago. This was a trial run of giving a talk remotely, which I’ll also be doing for DebConf this year. I set up an RTMP server in the cloud (nginx) and ran OBS Studio on my laptop to capture and transmit video and audio. I’m generally very impressed with OBS Studio, although the X window capture source could do with improvement. I used the built-in camera and mic, but the mic picked up a fair amount of background noise (including fan noise, since the video encoding keeps the CPU fairly busy). I should probably switch to a wearable mic in future.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta Cinnamon Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the Cinnamon edition.

        • Linux Mint 19.2 Beta Cinnamon

          Today we are looking at Linux Mint 19.2 Beta, the cinnamon edition. It comes with Cinnamon 4.2 and Nemo 4.2, which is the first point release after Cinnamon 4.0, so as we can expect this whole release is mainly bug fixes and smoothing things out and it is truly a great smooth release, and it is only the Beta!

          It comes with Linux Kernel 5.15 and it uses about 800-1000MB of Ram when idling.

          This Beta release is about a month later than usual as it was a difficult release cycle if you look at their last couple of monthly newsletters, but they did promise a very good release, and that is what we received. So thank you to the Linux Mint team!

    • Devices/Embedded
      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications
        • Fuchsia adds official Snapdragon 835 support, same chip as in Google Pixel 2

          In the past few months, especially during Google I/O, we’ve learned a great deal about Google’s Fuchsia OS and the types of devices it’s currently expected to run on. While Hiroshi Lockheimer urged fans to consider the possibility that Fuchsia may not necessarily be for smartphones, new evidence has come to light indicating that the Fuchsia team is working to support the Snapdragon 835 processor, found in phones like the Google Pixel 2.

        • ODROID-H2 Review – Part 2: Ubuntu 19.04

          ODROID-H2 Review – We’ve thoroughly tested Ubuntu 19.04 on Hardkernel’s Intel Celeron J4105 single board computer.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem

        At Red Hat, our vision of an open hybrid cloud is simple. We believe they should be truly open platforms across any application, environment, and cloud, with portability and operational consistency. This reaches from public and private clouds, to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge), and end-user devices.

        Delivering application portability for development and operations across a diverse set of environments, without vendor lock-in, requires ubiquitous open source technologies as well as commercial offerings based on these technologies. Open source technologies can provide layers of abstraction and offer an ecosystem worth investing in for customers and vendors alike. These technologies deliver a pathway to commercial offerings as stand-alone products or as solutions that help solve customer needs.

        Standardising with open source.

        Standardising on products that use open source technologies can help protect customers by offering an exit strategy. Linux, Linux containers, Kubernetes and Kubernetes Operators are key technologies for these abstractions in modern computing environments. A closer look reveals why:

      • Open Source TriggerMesh Operator Available for Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform for Hybrid Serverless Computing

        TriggerMesh, a multi-cloud serverless management platform company, and Vshn, a DevOps consultancy, have announced the availability of the TriggerMesh Operator for Red Hat OpenShift 4. OpenShift 4 was recently announced by Red Hat to bring additional automation to Kubernetes applications. The TriggerMesh Operator allows OpenShift users to install the TriggerMesh management platform and integrate serverless workloads with other clouds and legacy infrastructure. In addition, TriggerMesh enables serverless function CI/CD as well as access to multi-cloud event sources from AWS and Google Cloud.

      • Are Open Source Active Path Testing Tools Viable for You?

        An open source path testing tool could be an alternative to a commercial product, but you must understand the tradeoffs.

      • What Is Open-Source Software? (+The Benefits and Risks)

        Many open-source applications are also freely distributed. This is referred to as free and open-source software, or FOSS. Often, vendors only ask for donations to help keep them afloat, along with costs for additional plugins, support and services.

        These brands provide a solution they believe in without attaching a price tag or subscription plan to the product. The most successful releases usually generate a profit from a passionate community of users. But the prevalence of zero-cost software goes hand in hand with the transparency of open-source code.

        Not only do these features increase a vendor’s chances of reaching a wider audience, but they also offer opportunities to inspire innovation. It is all about paying it forward.

        There are twists and turns in the timeline of open-source technology, and there is still a substantial place in B2B for proprietary code. But the spread of free, open-source software is a defining story of the 2000s, leading to the rise of many products and careers. Popular products like Blender and MySQL remain free and open source even with millions of downloads. These success stories helped to fortify the movement and rewrite the rules of software development and usership.

      • Zim is a free, open source, text editor with wiki like features

        One unusual text editor which I came across a while ago, was Zim. This isn’t your average text editor. If you have used hierarchical text editors like AllMyNotes Organizer or Tree Notes (commercial), it is sort of similar.

        Zim can be used to create pages, and link to those pages, kind of like a wiki functions, hence the tagline, A Desktop Wiki. The application which is written in Python, is available for Windows and Linux. Both versions are identical in usage and features, though the PC version is a few builds behind.


        Tip: You can use Zim as a text-editor and use it to edit TXT files using the import option. The export options can be used to save the documents to other formats like HTML, MHTML, Latex, Markdown and RST.

        The toolbar has a few navigation options, some formatting styles, and the attach files option. Opening the Calendar option creates a Journal notebook which has automatically categorized sub-pages for the selected year, month and date. The format menu has a lot more options including headings, list styles (numbered, bulleted, checkbox list), scripts, etc. This means can use the program for anything, like keeping a journal, maintaining a record of your expenses, a collection of notes, use it for note-taking in class or meetings, to-do lists, etc. It’s up to you.

        Tip: Though the toolbar says Strong, Emphasis, etc., the program supports universal keyboard shortcuts for Bold, Italics, Underline etc.

      • ThoughtWorks Releases Taiko – A Free and Open Source Browser Automation Tool

        ThoughtWorks, a global software consultancy, today announced the availability of Taiko 1.0, an open source browser automation tool which is available to download for free. Taiko is sponsored by the same ThoughtWorks team that created the free and open source test automation framework Gauge.

      • Open Source’s Role in UC & Networking on the Rise

        Exploring the impact of the software revolution that’s quietly empowering more open source networking and communications solutions.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Qinling

        This week’s SD Times Open Source Project of the Week — OpenStack’s Qinling — allows users to run code without provisioning or managing servers and only pay for the compute time they consume. The release is still under development and the current supported release is Stein.

        According to the makers of Qinling, the project was created to provide “Functions-as-a-Service” for serverless functions such as AWS Lambda. Through plugins, Qinling supports container orchestration platforms such as Kubernetes and Swarm as well as function package storage backends.

      • AMD Picasso Support For Coreboot Appears Finally Ready

        Back in April I wrote about Coreboot seeing AMD Picasso APU enablement work as the first Zen/Ryzen processor target being handled by this open-source BIOS alternative. It now looks like that Picasso support is all squared away and ready for use by future AMD-powered Google Chromebooks.

      • Lessons from the GraphQL Documentary: Never Underestimate the Power of Open Source Communities

        Honeypot, a tech-focused job platform based in Europe, has produced a documentary that offers a fascinating look at the origins of GraphQL. The 28-minute video explores how quickly the project began to have an impact on the wider tech industry after Facebook publicly released it as an open source project.

        GraphQL co-founder Nick Schrock, who was interviewed along with fellow co-creators Lee Byron and Dan Schafer, said the documentary “captured both the urgency and joy of the early months of the GraphQL.” It was filmed over two months in San Francisco and Berlin, where Honeypot runs the GraphQL Conf in cooperation with Prisma.

      • Events
        • The Apache® Software Foundation Announces Program for ApacheCon™ Europe

          The Apache® Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of more than 350 Open Source projects and initiatives, announced today the event program for the European edition of ApacheCon™, the ASF’s official global conference series. ApacheCon Europe will take place 22-24 October 2019 at the Kulturbrauerei in Berlin, Germany.

      • Web Browsers
        • Mozilla
          • How I put order in my bookmarks and found a better way to organise them

            I currently have still a few dozen bookmarks that I need to tag in Memex and delete from my Firefox bookmarks. And a further several dozen in OneTab.

            The most viewed websites, I have in the “Top Sites” in Firefox.

            Most of the “tabs” in OneTab, I have already migrated to Memex and I am looking very much forward to trying to use it instead of OneTab. So far it seems a bit more work, as I need to 1) open all tabs into a tab tree (same as in OneTab), 2) open that tab tree in a separate window (extra step), and then 3) use the “Tag all tabs in window” or “Add all tabs in window” option from the extension button (similar as in OneTab), and finally 4) close the tabs by closing the window (extra step). What I usually do is to change a Tab Group from OneTab to a Collection in Memex and then take some extra time to add tags or notes, if appropriate.

            So, I am quite confident Memex will be able to replace OneTab for me and most likely also (most) normal bookmarks. I may keep some bookmarks of things that I want to always keep track of, like my online bank’s URL, but I am not sure yet.

            The annotations are a god-send as well, which will be very hard to get rid of, as I already got used to them.

            Now, if I could only send stuff to my eInk reader (or phone), annotate it there and have those annotations auto-magically show up in the browser and therefore stored locally on my laptop …

            Oh, oh, and if I could search through Memex from my KDE Plasma desktop and add/view annotations from other documents (e.g. ePub, ODF, PDF) and other applicatios (e.g. Okular, Calibre, LibreOffice). One may dream …

      • SaaS/Back End
        • Cloudera is making all of its software open-source, one month after its CEO’s abrupt resignation

          Palo Alto-based cloud data provider Cloudera, Inc. plans to open-source all of its software, and focus on providing value-added services on top of its platform…

        • Cloudera flips the open source switch in search of consistency, innovation

          A post-acquisition Cloudera, one that is looking to regain its footing after a disappointing earnings report and a CEO departure, sees open source as a silver bullet.

          Making its software products available through open source can help boost adoption amid a Hadoop market contraction, while helping retain customers in the aftermath of its acquisition.

          In turn, broader Cloudera adoption will mean a bigger pool of potential customers that can pay for additional services like dedicated support or consulting.

          This strategy has worked for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and others. Most recently, IBM finalized a $34 billion move aimed at expanding its presence in the open source space: the acquisition of enterprise software company Red Hat.

        • Cloudera will open source all its software, run business like Red Hat

          In June, Cloudera CEO Tom Reilly announced he would resign. Now, Cloudera is announcing a plan it’s worked on since its merger with Hortonworks.

      • CMS
        • 13 Free Open-source Content Management Systems

          WordPress launched in 2003 as a blogging platform. Today, WordPress is a sophisticated content management system, built on PHP and MySQL and running much of the websites worldwide, from hobby blogs to the biggest news portals. Over 54,000 plugins and themes help customize WordPress installations — including robust ecommerce functionality, galleries, mailing lists, forums, and analytics. Price: Free.

        • WordPress vs. Wix vs. Squarespace for SEO: An Interview with Pam Aungst

          Three of the most popular CMSs include WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace. WordPress is an open-source CMS, whereas Wix and Squarespace are not. Aungst speaks on how limiting using a proprietary CMS can be.

          “Closed source options have issues with ownership, portability, extendability, longevity, and namely as far as SEO is concerned, limitations on what you can and cannot edit,” Aungst stated. She has been using WordPress for ten years and has not experienced any of these challenges when working with the WordPress CMS.

          WordPress is a CMS developed by Matthew “Matt” Mullenweg, an American entrepreneur and web developer who also owns the company Automattic. WordPress is now managed by The WordPress Foundation, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Although Automattic is a company that provides products and services for WordPress, it’s important to clarify that they do not own the software. The WordPress software is licensed under the GNU General Public License, which is a widely used software license guaranteeing end-users to freely study, edit, share, and modify their software. That is what makes WordPress open-source software. Squarespace and Wix are examples of closed source CMSs that are owned by corporate entities as intellectual property. Their source code is not fully accessible by the public or even their own paid subscribers.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Data
          • Beth Israel Deaconess’ open-source patient database enabled a decade of AI research

            Since Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston launched the MIMIC compendium of de-identified medical records in 2009, the database has proved essential to the advancement of artificial intelligence research in medicine, STAT reports.

            MIMIC is free to use, with more than 12,000 researchers from around the world granted access to it in the last decade. The database is estimated to have been used in more than 500 research papers and presentations, and is widely considered to be the only open-source dataset comprehensive enough to aid in such advanced research, despite unavoidable flaws such as occasionally incomplete data and the inherent bias due to its being sourced from just one hospital.

          • How To Tell Stories: A Beginner’s Guide For Open Source Researchers

            Many open source researchers rely on journalists to turn data into a narrative that will then reach a wider audience. Yet journalism today is in a crisis! You can trust me as a person who comes from a traditional journalism background — oh, the sheer amount of horror stories I can tell over whiskey.

            In the U.S., for example, the media is facing its worst layoffs since the Great Recession. This is just one of the reasons why it is important for open source researchers to fill in the gaps traditional media outlets are leaving in their wake.

          • Vintage Style Astronomy Maps Made from Open Source Data of the Universe

            Biology graduate student Eleanor Lutz uses her spare time working on Tabletop Whale. This science illustration blog is an outlet for her creativity, allowing her to publish drawings, infographics, and data visualizations relating to science. Her latest project, Atlas of Space, is an exciting set of astronomy maps. Using open source datasets, she’s designed incredibly artistic visualizations that have a vintage feel to them.

            Attracted to the large quantities of data available within the astronomy community, Lutz mined organizations like NASA and the United States Geological Survey to pull together the maps. The graduate student benefitted from her knowledge of Python, a high-level programming language she uses for her Ph.D. research. Using the program, she was able to crunch the incredible quantities of open source data and transform it into something you’d want to hang on your wall.

            Lutz has been working on the project for the past year and a half, just announcing it to the public in June 2019. Since then, she’s been releasing a map each week. Every map is accompanied by an interesting explanation of how she achieved her results, as well as the sources used in the work.

        • Open Hardware/Modding
          • The RISC-V Foundation Receives Donation from Arduino to Further Strengthen its Open Source Community

            The RISC-V Foundation, a non-profit corporation controlled by its members to drive the adoption and implementation of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA), today announced that it received a donation of $5,000 USD from Arduino to advance the RISC-V ecosystem and efforts focused on open source hardware and software development. The RISC-V Foundation is laser focused on accelerating the RISC-V ecosystem, driving tech innovation forward and fostering industry-wide collaboration. This donation will further support the Foundation’s mission in delivering future developments of open silicon and hardware implementations.

          • A PDP Laptop, For Various Definitions Of A Laptop

            Digital Equipment Corp.’s PDP-11 is one of the most important computers in history. It’s the home of Unix, although that’s arguable, and it’s still being used in every application, from handling nuclear control rods to selling Ed Sheeran tickets on Ticketmaster. As the timeline of PDP-11 machines progressed, the hardware did as well, and by the time the PDP was eclipsed by the VAXxen, there were PDP-11s on a single chip. The Eastern Bloc took notice and produced their own PDP-11 on a chip. This is the 1801-series CPU, and like most soviet electronics from the Cold War, they’re readily available on eBay.

            [SHAOS] has an interesting project in mind for this PDP-on-a-chip. It’s a standalone computer built around the Soviet re-implementation of the PDP-11, built into a form factor that could be described as a single board computer.

            This project is the outgrowth of [SHAOS]’ project for last year’s Hackaday Prize, the PDPii. This was a computer built around a backplane that replicated the PDP-11 using a KR1801VM2 CPU, the Soviet not-a-clone clone of the PDP-11. This project is basically a PDP-11/03 system, except it was made in this century, and you can put it in any computer case, with bonus points awarded for RGB lighting and liquid cooling.

      • Programming/Development
        • OpenHMD 0.3.0 ‘Djungelvral’ Released!

          We are very happy to announce that after years of reverse engineering devices, hacking, testing and pushing, we are releasing OpenHMD version 0.3.0 (codename ‘Djungelvral’).We are very happy to announce that after years of reverse engineering devices, hacking, testing and pushing, we are releasing OpenHMD version 0.3.0 (codename ‘Djungelvral’).

          We want to thank each and every one of the 125-150 people who have contributed over the last 3.5 years. Helping out with reverse engineering, writing drivers, testing, donating/lending hardware, building applications and games, showing up at (or hosting) Hack-athons.. we are incredibly lucky to have your support. Thank you!

          The list of features bringing us from v0.2.0 to v0.3.0 is insane and that is despite not all the features and experimental drivers making the cut for this release. Since we have a really long list of changes, lets look at a couple of highlights in this release!

        • OpenHMD 0.3 Released With Support For More VR/AR Devices

          OpenHMD remains focused on a free and open-source API/drivers for immersive technology devices, primarily VR headsets. OpenHMD 0.3 supports the 3Glasses D3, Oculus CV1, Windows Mixed Reality HMD, NOLO, HTC Vive, HTC Vive Pro, Deepoon E2, and GearVR Gen1. While previously supported, the PlayStation PSVR was disabled in the v0.3 release.

        • Glibc’s Slow Turnaround For Y2038 Fixes Is Frustrating

          While there is another nineteen years to go until the Year 2038 problem manifests, the GNU C Library “glibc” is one of the key software components still needing some fixes for this issue where this problem where storing the Unix time as a 32-bit signed integer will wrap around and become a negative number.

          Wolfgang Denk of German software engineering firm DENX put out a “desperate call for help” that even with their resources/money for trying to fix up Y2038 Glibc issues, the review/upstreaming process is taking too long for some of their customers. In particular, even few lines of code patches aren’t being accepted upstream at least in any timely manner.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxxxvi) stackoverflow python report
        • Udemy Class Review: Python For Beginners Complete Python Programming

          Learning to program software can be an exceedingly difficult task, but one that has great rewards if you are successful. If you’ve never heard of Python before, it’s a versatile programming language that is known for being relatively easy to learn. Numerous websites and tools are available online that aim to make learning Python programming easier, but Udemy’s Python for Beginners: Complete Python Programming course ($11.99) doesn’t live up to its promise.

        • Karim Elghamrawy: Best Books for Programmers (The Ultimate List)
        • Debug pytest failures in the terminal
        • Weekly CheckIn 6th
        • Seventh week of GSoC: Just a status report
  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • In memoriam – Corby Corbató, MIT computer science pioneer, dies at 93

        Almost everyone’s heard of Linux – it’s the operating system kernel that’s behind a significant proportion of servers on the internet, including most of Google, Facebook, Amazon and many other contemporary online juggernauts.

        In its Android flavour, Linux powers the majority of smartphones out there, and in one form or another it’s also the kernel of choice for many so-called IoT devices such as bike computers, home Wi-Fi routers, webcams, baby monitors and even doorlocks.

        Most people who use Linux know that the name is a sort-of pun on Unix, the operating system that Linux most resembles.

        And Unix, of course, is the operating system behind a significant proportion of the devices out there that don’t run Linux, being at the heart of Apple’s macOS and iOS systems, as well as the various and widely-used open source BSD distributions.

      • Party like its 1969: What was happening in the world the year man stepped on the moon

        The Apollo 11 moonshot was only the brightest object in the firmament of 1969, a very busy year in space at the height of the technological rivalry between the superpowers. The USSR sent 82 missions out there, including a significant landmark: the first docking of two manned craft in space (Soyuz 5 and Soyuz 4), and the first transfer of crew between them. The Soviets were in a hurry to score, so they did it by a spacewalk. The Americans did a proper, airtight transfer two months later, on one of the 41 missions they launched in 1969. That’s half as many as the Soviets, but they got political bang for buck with Apollo 11. In causally related news, David Bowie released Space Oddity, a pessimistic hit about a helpless spaceman in orbit in a tin can.

      • 15 Most Significant Milestones in the History of the Computer

        When you think about the world’s first computer, it’s doubtful that Stonehenge is the first thing you thought of, but you need to remember what a computer is. All a computer does is take an input and produces a predictable output based on a given condition or state. By that definition, Stonehenge absolutely qualifies as a computer.

        An analysis of the orientation of the stones at Stonehenge and the astronomical alignments that would have been visible around the time of Stonehenge’s construction reveals that the different stones line up and appear to track major celestial bodies that would have been known to the humans who built it. These include the major, visible celestial bodies that dominate the astrologies of the world, such as the sun, the moon, and the five visible planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

        Our ancestors, as well as many modern humans, obsessively charted the course of celestial bodies that they believed had a direct effect on events on Earth and in their lives, and they planned their lives around them.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • Peddlers of Medical Misinformation Are Using Social Media ‘Censorship’ as a Selling Point

        To be clear: There are legitimate reasons, including legal precedent, to restrict medical misinformation, but it’s also important to balance those restrictions with respect for free speech. The line can be sticky: two professors from University of California Hastings College of the Law, Dorit Rubenstein Reiss and John L. Diamond, recently explored whether anti-vaccine groups that worked to convince the Somali community in Minnesota not to vaccinate their kids could be held liable for negligent misrepresentation. (The short answer: possibly, but it’s complicated.)

    • Security
      • Confirmed: Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Exploit Used In Government Espionage Operation

        It has been revealed that a threat actor once best known for cyber bank robbery in Russia has made a move to espionage. The highly targeted attacks against government institutions in Eastern Europe, which took place during June 2019, employed the use of a Microsoft Windows zero-day exploit. In and of itself this isn’t unusual as there have been plenty of Windows zero-days discovered. However, this is the first time that researchers had seen the Buhtrap group using a zero-day attack, although the group has been involved in the cyber-spying business for some years now across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

        Anton Cherepanov, a senior malware researcher at security vendor ESET, explained how the zero-day exploit abused a local privilege escalation vulnerability in Microsoft Windows in order to run arbitrary code and install applications, and view or change data on the compromised systems. As soon as the researchers had properly analyzed the exploit, it was reported to the Microsoft Security Response Center, and a fix was included in the July 9 “Patch Tuesday” update.

        The vulnerability itself only impacted older versions of Windows, specifically variations of Windows and Windows Server 2008. This is because, as Cherepanov explained, “since Windows 8 a user process is not allowed to map the NULL page. Microsoft back-ported this mitigation to Windows 7 for x64-based systems.” The advice, predictably, is to upgrade to a newer version of the operating system if possible. Especially as critical security updates will disappear soon when extended support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1 ends in January 2020. Gavin Millard, vice-president of intelligence at Tenable, warns users not to be complacent seeing as the vulnerability is “now being actively exploited in the wild,” advising that “patches should be deployed as soon as possible.”

      • Microsoft Discreetly Drops ‘Telemetry’ As Part Of Larger ‘Security Cumulative Update’ Without First Informing Windows 7 Users? [Ed: Microsoft being Microsoft and backporting surveillance; With Windows Update any piece of software can become more malicious overnight.]

        Microsoft appears to have once again attempted to sneak telemetry components. The company released security updates for all supported operating systems on the July 2019 Patch Day. However, this month’s cumulative updates, which were supposed to contain only security-related components, contain an unexpected compatibility/telemetry component.

        The suspicious components were hidden in plain sight. Incidentally, this is the second time Microsoft has attempted to insert telemetry components. However, during the first attempt the Windows OS maker had openly mentioned the inclusion of the telemetry components, whereas this time, the company didn’t offer any indication. This methodology appears to an attempt to garner more accurate data about usage and installation patterns of the Windows operating system as Microsoft will soon phase out Windows 7.

        Windows Update delivered several packages of security and reliability fixes for Windows 7 earlier this week. The packages are different for each of the Windows operating system’s versions that Microsoft officially supports. However, the ‘cumulative update’ package contained a rather suspicious component. The security update in question was intended for Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System (OS) which was released as part of the July 2019 Patch Day.

      • Swimlane research team open sources pyattack

        As security teams adopt the Mitre ATT&CK Framework to help them identify gaps in their defenses, having a way to identify what malware and tools are being used by specific actors or groups becomes more critical. Additionally, having a way to identify these relationships programatically is even more critical.

        Today, we are excited to announce the Swimlane research team has released pyattck—a Python package to interact with the Mitre ATT&CK Framework. There are many different open-source projects being released on a daily basis, but we wanted to provide a straightforward Python package that allows the user to identify known relationships between all verticals of the Mitre ATT&CK Framework.

      • Strongbox Password Safe is a free, open-source KeePass client for iOS [Ed: iOS from Apple has back doors (see Vault 7 from Wikileaks for instance), so you should not put any passwords in it]
      • Research Finds Loads of Container Vulnerabilities

        Docker containers are great in that it’s easy to get started building an application using frameworks and components that others have made available via open source projects. The challenge, however, is not all those projects are current in terms of their cybersecurity patches. In fact, a developer of a framework may not even be actively supporting it anymore.

        A new report from vulnerability management platform vendor Kenna Security highlights the extent of the problem in the Docker community. Via the site, Kenna Security is sharing the results of analyses of containers being reused widely that find some of these open source projects have hundreds of unresolved Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure (CVE) issues.

      • A World of Infinite Choice in Open Source Software

        We recently released the fifth annual State of the Software Supply Chain Report in London. This year, we worked with Gene Kim and Dr. Stephen Magill to examine our largest data sample ever. Our goal? To qualify and quantify how exemplary development teams operate.

        As part of the research we identified the top 3% of DevOps teams using exemplary practices. (Take the quiz to see how your team stacks up.)

        Before we could truly understand these practice, we had to have the right context. The report’s first goal was to compare the use of open source in 2019 – to that of years past – and understand the broader environment developers are working in. As anticipated, open source component use continues to rocket upward.

      • France Says Ransomware Attacks on Big Companies Are on the Rise [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Attackers changed strategy in the second half of 2018, ditching smaller companies to go after big corporations, sometimes strategic or vital to the nation’s economy, the ministry said on Tuesday in its 2019 cyber threats report. The trend accelerated this year.

      • New Elections Systems Vulnerable to Hacks, AP Analysis Shows

        An Associated Press analysis has found that like many counties in Pennsylvania, the vast majority of 10,000 election jurisdictions nationwide use Windows 7 or an older operating system to create ballots, program voting machines, tally votes and report counts.

        That’s significant because Windows 7 reaches its “end of life” on Jan. 14, meaning Microsoft stops providing technical support and producing “patches” to fix software vulnerabilities, which hackers can exploit. In a statement to the AP, Microsoft said Friday it would offer continued Windows 7 security updates for a fee through 2023.

      • Unusual Linux Ransomware Targets NAS Servers [Ed: Does not explain how the malware/ransomware gets onto there in the first place and whether it has anything at all to do with "Linux" rather than reckless people who install malware ot very weak passwords. They use a Tux logo/mascot anyway.]

        As for the decision to target NAS, Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, told Threatpost that it isn’t as common to deploy endpoint monitoring to a Linux dedicated network file server — thus, the QNAPCrypt malware represents the evolution and adaptation of an attack to bypass security controls.

      • Why Trump Caved to China and Huawei

        Everything about the trade war between the United States and China is bewildering. The world’s two largest economies entered a titanic struggle with harsh words and high tariffs, sending shudders through the global economy. Hundreds of billions of dollars of goods on either side stood before tariff walls that seemed unbreachable. Truces would come out of nowhere—as at the 2018 G20 meeting in Buenos Aires—but then they would be set aside by U.S. President Donald Trump in a stream of tweets at odd hours.

        In May, Trump went after Huawei, one of the world’s largest technology firms. The attack this time was not on economic grounds. Trump accused Huawei of being an espionage arm of the Chinese government. Firms from the United States that supplied Huawei with software and chips would no longer be permitted to do so. Trump’s diplomats went on the road to strongarm U.S. allies into no longer using Huawei technology in their countries. Pressure on China resulted in the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, on charges of bank and wire fraud in relation to U.S. sanctions against Iran. Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal ‘to spite Obama’

        The paper reports that Sir Kim wrote a memo to Mr Johnson, saying: “The outcome illustrated the paradox of this White House: you got exceptional access, seeing everyone short of the president; but on the substance, the administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons – it was Obama’s deal.

      • Turkey bought Russian S-400 missiles designed to down NATO planes. For the US, that’s a problem

        For its part Washington has been exasperated by prison sentences handed to US citizens in Turkey (Pastor Andrew Brunson being the most prominent example) and Turkish staff working at the US Embassy — seeing them as politically motivated. The Trump administration retaliated by imposing sanctions on senior Turkish ministers.

        There was also tension over the Saudi response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — and over what was perceived as an ambivalent approach in Ankara to confronting ISIS, especially in 2015-16. Sporadic threats by Turkey to close the US airbase at Incirlik have been another irritant.

        But all these difficulties pale in comparison to the fallout from the S-400 deal. Even before the first deliveries, the US warned that Turkey would be suspended from the F-35 combat jet program and stopped training its pilots.

      • ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ Aren’t Starting an Arms Race—Washington Is

        “Fast, effective, precise and unstoppable — these are rare but highly desired characteristics on the modern battlefield.” That’s how the New York Times Magazine (6/19/19) described the hypersonic missiles being pursued by the United States, Russia, China and other countries in a nearly 5,000-word collaborative article that seriously misleads readers on who started and is currently driving the next phase of the global arms race.

        The Times article, “Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable. And They’re Starting a New Global Arms Race,” opened with statements by Michael Griffin, the Pentagon’s undersecretary for research and engineering. Characterized as “an unabashed defender of American military and political supremacy” and the “chief evangelist for hypersonics,” Griffin brags about being an “unreconstructed Cold Warrior” and cites the US’s rapid development of the atomic bomb as a precedent for treating hypersonic missiles as the “highest technical priority”…

      • “This Is Not a Surprise”: U.S. Sanctions and Saber Rattling Led to Iran’s Renewed Uranium Enrichment

        In ongoing fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord, the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Monday that Iran has begun enriching uranium above the level agreed to by the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran has threatened to continue to increase their production of enriched uranium if European signatories of the nuclear deal do not help ease the impact of the U.S. sanctions. We speak with Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the new think tank, the Quincy Institute, and author of “Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy.”

      • Trump’s Version of the Iran Accord: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

        Trump’s Iran policy is akin to that of a schoolyard bully. More worrying is the passivity of the rest of the world and the dangerous drift to another devastating war in the region.

        The U.S., after walking out of the Iran accord, is now shouting foul as Iran has breached the 300 kg enriched-uranium stockpile limit of the accord. Does the U.S. expect Iran to be bound by the accord while it happily reneges on it? Or is its concept of international accords the playground bully’s version of a coin toss, “Heads I win, tails you lose”?

        The Iran accord, or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between six countries and Iran was signed in 2015. The six countries are France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, China and the United States. JCPOA brought down Iran’s stockpile of processed uranium (uranium hexafluoride) from 10,000 kg to just 300 kg or only 2 percent of what it had before the agreement was signed—the same JCPOA agreement from which Trump walked out in May last year, calling it the “worst deal ever.”

      • The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis

        It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II).

        Now, it’s true that the United States no longer relies on imported petroleum for a large share of its energy needs. Thanks to the fracking revolution, the country now gets the bulk of its oil — approximately 75% — from domestic sources. (In 2008, that share had been closer to 35%.) Key allies in NATO and rivals like China, however, continue to depend on Middle Eastern oil for a significant proportion of their energy needs. As it happens, the world economy — of which the U.S. is the leading beneficiary (despite President Trump’s self-destructive trade wars) — relies on an uninterrupted flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to keep energy prices low. By continuing to serve as the principal overseer of that flow, Washington enjoys striking geopolitical advantages that its foreign policy elites would no more abandon than they would their country’s nuclear supremacy.

        This logic was spelled out clearly by President Barack Obama in a September 2013 address to the U.N. General Assembly in which he declared that “the United States of America is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests” in the Middle East. He then pointed out that, while the U.S. was steadily reducing its reliance on imported oil, “the world still depends on the region’s energy supply and a severe disruption could destabilize the entire global economy.” Accordingly, he concluded, “We will ensure the free flow of energy from the region to the world.”

      • Iran Tells US and UK to Leave Gulf Region Immediately as Tensions Soar

        As tensions in the Persian Gulf continue to escalate after British forces seized an Iranian oil tanker last week, Iran on Friday called on the U.K. to release the vessel and demanded that Western powers get out of the region immediately.

        “This is a dangerous game and has consequences,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry. “The legal pretexts for the capture are not valid… The release of the tanker is in all countries’ interests.”

        Mousavi went on to urge foreign powers to “leave the region” to avert a full-blown conflict.

        “Iran and other regional countries are capable of securing the regional security,” Mousavi said. “Iran has repeatedly expressed its readiness to hold talks with its neighbors to resolve disputes.”

        Mousavi’s comments came just 24 hours after the U.K. accused Iran of attempting to block the passage of a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

        British authorities said a U.K. warship trained its deck guns on three Iranian boats and forced them to retreat.

        The Iranian government denied that it attempted to impede the British tanker.

      • If you provoke the entire world, something may happen

        The United States believes that it is so invincible, exceptional and so frightening that no one would ever dare to protest, let alone defend its people against constant humiliation, economic embargos and military threats.

        It used to be like this for quite some time. In the past, the West used to bully the world before and after each well-planned assault. Also, well-crafted propaganda used to be applied.

        It was declared that things are done ?legally? and rationally. There were certain stages to colonialist and imperialist attacks: ?define your goals?, ?identify your victim?, ?plan?, ?brainwash your own citizens and people all over the world?, and then, only then, ?bomb some unfortunate country back to the stone ages?.

      • How Real is the Trump Administration’s New Flexibility with North Korea?

        Although widely derided by the Washington Establishment as an empty photo opportunity, the recent meeting between President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un at Panmunjom produced an agreement to resume working-level talks in the near future. According to the North Korean news agency KCNA, the two leaders discussed stumbling blocks in improving relations and easing tensions, and agreed to work towards a “breakthrough in the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and in the bilateral relations.”

        The resumption of working-level talks comes as welcome relief after months of stalled progress since Trump pulled the plug on the Hanoi Summit due to North Korea’s failure to accede to the demand that it unilaterally disarm. At Hanoi, U.S. negotiators presented a plan that called for North Korea to denuclearize, while promising nothing in exchange. Nothing, that is, other than punishment in the form of “maximum pressure” sanctions. All that was on offer to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, the official name for North Korea) was the vague mention of unspecified economic benefits after it had fully denuclearized.

        In addition to denuclearization, the U.S. side widened the scope of talks at Hanoi by delivering a document to the North Koreans that demanded the dismantlement of chemical and biological warfare programs, as well as ballistic missiles and facilities. U.S. negotiators also wanted a detailed accounting of nuclear facilities, subject to intrusive U.S. inspections. For the North Koreans, to implement such a proposal would allow inspectors to map the bombing coordinates of its nuclear facilities, an obvious non-starter when the U.S. has yet to provide any semblance of a security guarantee.

      • Give Peace a Chance: Don’t Believe the War Profiteers

        Last month I had the opportunity to share some thoughts at a Divest Philly from the War Machine event, hosted by Wooden Shoe Books and sponsored by World Beyond War, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and other anti-war groups. Below are my remarks, slightly edited for clarity. My thanks to everyone involved.

        In late May, Vice President Mike Pence was the commencement speaker at West Point. In part, he told the graduating cadets this: “It is a virtual certainty that you will fight on a battlefield for America at some point in your life. You will lead soldiers in combat. It will happen…And when that day comes, I know you will move to the sound of the guns and do your duty, and you will fight, and you will win. The American people expect nothing less.”

        What Pence didn’t mention that day is why he could be so sure that this will come to pass. Or who the primary beneficiaries will be, if or when it does. Because the winners won’t be the American people, who see their taxes go to missiles instead of healthcare and education. Nor will they be the soldiers themselves—some of whom will return in flag-draped caskets while many more sustain life-altering physical and psychological injuries. The winners also won’t be the citizens of other countries who experience death and displacement on a horrific scale from our awesome military might. And our planet’s now-fragile climate won’t come out on top either, since the Pentagon is the single largest oil consumer in the world.

        No, the spoils will go to our massive and multifaceted war machine. The war machine is comprised of companies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, General Dynamics, and Raytheon, among others, that make billions of dollars each year from war, war preparations, and arms sales. In fact, the U.S. government pays Lockheed alone more each year than it provides in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Labor Department, and the Interior Department combined. The war machine also includes the CEOs of these defense contractors, who personally take in tens of millions of dollars annually, and the many politicians in Washington who help secure their jobs by collectively accepting millions of dollars in contributions from the defense industry—roughly evenly split between both major parties. And let’s not forget the retired politicians and retired military officers, who travel the pot-of-gold pipeline to become highly paid board members and spokespersons for these same companies.

      • Lies About Iran Killing US Troops in Iraq Are a Ploy to Justify War

        One of the many myths that have been used to justify the push for war with Iran led by National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is that Tehran is responsible for the killing of more than 600 U.S. troops during the Iraq War.

        Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook, whose job is to round up international support for the Trump administration’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran, presented the charge at a State Department press briefing on April 2. “I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports,” Hook said, “that Iran is responsible for the deaths of 608 American service members. This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.”

        Navy Commander Sean Robertson followed up with an email to media outlets pushing that same line. When this writer asked Robertson for further clarification of the origins of that figure, however, he acknowledged that the Pentagon doesn’t have any study, documentation, or data to provide journalists that would support such a figure.

        In fact, the myth that Tehran is responsible for killing over 600 U.S. troops in the Iraq War is merely a new variant of a propaganda line that former Vice President Dick Cheney used to attempt to justify a war against Iran more than a decade ago. Reviewing the history of that earlier effort is necessary to understand why the new myth is a palpable lie.

      • The Riptide of American Militarism

        Put up with me for just a moment while I wax literary. It turns out that, if French novelist Marcel Proust lived today, he might have had to retitle his Remembrance of Things Past as Remembrance of Things Present, or even more sadly, Things Future. As an ex-military man who lived through part of the Cold War in uniform, let me make my point, in terms of the Pentagon and an ever-growing atmosphere of American militarism, this way: I love used bookstores. I’ve been browsing in them since my teens. I was, then, an early fan of Stephen King, the famed horror-story writer. Admittedly, today I’m more likely to browse the history section, which has horrors enough for us all, many of which eclipse even the most fevered imaginings of King, though Pennywise the Clown in It still gives me the creeps.

        A while back, speaking of things not past, I stumbled across Senator J. William Fulbright’s 1970 book The Pentagon Propaganda Machine and, out of curiosity, bought it for the princely sum of five dollars. Now, talk about creepy. Fulbright, who left the Senate in 1974 and died in 1995, noted a phenomenon then that should ring a distinct bell today. Americans, he wrote, “have grown distressingly used to war.” He then added a line that still couldn’t be more up to date: “Violence is our most important product.” Congress, he complained (and this, too, should ring a distinct bell in 2019), was shoveling money at the Pentagon “with virtually no questions asked,” while costly weapons systems were seen mainly “as a means of prosperity,” especially for the weapons makers of the military-industrial complex. “Militarism has been creeping up on us,” he warned, and the American public, conditioned by endless crises and warnings of war, had grown numb, leaving “few, other than the young, [to] protest against what is happening.”

        Back then, of course, the bogeyman that kept the process going was Communism. America’s exaggerated fear of Communism then (and terrorism now) strengthened militarism at home in a myriad of ways while, as Fulbright put it, “undermining democratic procedure and values.” And doesn’t that ring a few bells, too? Complicit in all this was the Pentagon’s own propaganda machine, which worked hard “to persuade the American people that the military is good for you.”

    • Environment
      • Trump administration suspends Obama-era fuel efficiency penalties

        After Congress ordered federal agencies to adjust existing penalties in 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued rules that more than doubled fines — from $5.50 per 0.1 mile to $14 for the same distance — for automakers that consume more fuel than standards allow.

        The rules issued under former President Obama called for a fuel efficiency average of 46.7 miles per gallon by 2026, while the Trump administration’s rules call for 37 miles per gallon.

      • Trump administration freezing fuel efficiency penalties

        In September 2017, three environmental groups and some U.S. states including New York and California sued NHTSA for putting the Obama rules on hold.

        Last year, the states said, “If the penalty is not sufficiently high, automakers lack a vital incentive to manufacture fuel-efficient vehicles.”

        Some automakers historically have paid fines instead of meeting fuel efficiency requirements – including some luxury automakers like Jaguar Land Rover, owned by India’s Tata Motors (TAMO.NS), and Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE).

      • We Were Already Over 350 ppm When I Was Born

        Colonialism’s mindset of heedless extraction, greed, and human exploitation not only planted the seeds of today’s climate crisis, it remains visible in the crisis’s central injustice: although the poor are responsible for only a tiny share of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, they generally suffer first and worst from the heat waves, droughts, storms, rising seas, and other effects of those emissions. Most countries in Asia, Africa, and South America that endured centuries of colonization remain relatively poor today, and even countries like India and China whose prosperity is increasing emit much less per capita than do the rich countries in North America and Europe. Extreme weather and other climate impacts strike all over the world, but the rich are better positioned to withstand those impacts. The rich have the money to build sea walls, for example, and to operate satellites that warn about an impending hurricane so coastal dwellers can retreat to safety. And when disaster strikes, nonwhite or non-affluent communities are often shortchanged during relief efforts. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, black homeowners received $8,000 less per family in government resettlement aid than did white homeowners. Which helps explain why, even eight years after the storm, roughly 80 percent of the mostly black residents of the city’s Lower Ninth Ward had not returned.

      • Greenland Was on Fire This Week Amid ‘Unprecedented’ Arctic Burn

        Satellites spotted another wildfire in western Greenland this week. The blaze first showed up on Wednesday. Though already out and not on the scale of 2017′s inferno, this year’s wildfire highlights the increasing risks of fires in high latitudes and comes in a year that’s seeing an “unprecedented” amount of wildfire activity in the Arctic.

        The fire lit up near Qeqqata Kommunia on Greenland’s western flank. It appears near a shelter on the Arctic Circle Trail and it’s possible that hikers started the fire unintentionally or otherwise. Fire crews were able to smother the flames according to the Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation. But forecasts from the European Commission’s Global Wildfire Information System shows that the risk of fires remains high to very high over the next week in western Greenland.

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • We Need a Green New Deal to Defeat Fascism and Reverse Inequality

          Here is why this is the core of the Green New Deal. Last October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a new report emphasizing the imperative of limiting the rise in the global mean temperature as of 2100 by 1.50C [1.5 degrees Celsius] only, as opposed to 2.00C. The IPCC now concludes that limiting the global mean temperature increase to 1.50C will require global net CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions to fall by about 45 percent as of 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. These new figures from the IPCC provide a clear and urgent framework for considering alternative approaches for fighting climate change.

          To make real progress on climate stabilization, the single most critical project at hand is straightforward: to cut the consumption of oil, coal and natural gas dramatically and without delay, and to eliminate the use of fossil fuels altogether by 2050. The reason this is the single most critical issue at hand is because producing and consuming energy from fossil fuels is responsible for generating about 70 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that are causing climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning coal, oil and natural gas alone produce about 66 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, while another 2 percent is caused mainly by methane leakages during extraction.

          At the same time, people do still need and want to consume energy to light, heat and cool buildings; to power cars, buses, trains and airplanes; and to operate computers and industrial machinery, among other uses. It is pointless to pretend this isn’t so — that is, to insist that everyone embraces permanent austerity. As such, to make progress toward climate stabilization requires a viable alternative to the existing fossil-fuel dominant infrastructure for meeting the world’s energy needs. Energy consumption and economic activity more generally therefore need to be absolutely decoupled from the consumption of fossil fuels. That is, the consumption of fossil fuels will need to fall steadily and dramatically in absolute terms, hitting net zero consumption by 2050, even while people will still be able to consume energy resources to meet their various demands.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Social media summit highlights partisan approaches on tech [iophk: lots of groups, left right and center, are censored by social control media]

        Some conservatives are using their bias accusations to push for significant changes to tech’s legal shield, Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, a provision that shields online companies from liability for content posted by their users. Republicans have derided Section 230 as a “sweetheart deal” for tech companies that allows them to shirk responsibility for their content moderation decisions.

        Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who has quickly become one of the Republican party’s most vocal tech critics, set off a wave of controversy last month when he introduced a bill that would require the top tech companies to submit to audits proving they are politically “neutral” in order to receive Section 230 protections.

        Traditional free market and tech groups immediately derided the bill as government overreach and an intrusion on free speech rights, pointing out that Hawley’s proposal would require the Federal Trade Commission — led by five political appointees — to audit the private companies.

      • The Journalists Do The Shouting

        There seems to have been a distinct decline in the quality of war propaganda in the 21st century. It all seems so predictable and calculated now. Maybe the Bush and Trump administrations were and are simply terrible marketers, though the latter certainly advertised his fake populism with a deft hand in 2016. Or maybe the general populace has simply gotten smarter, its overtaxed nervous system weary with propaganda fatigue. To some degree if not a critical mass, the population’s flagging credulity has mutated into an enervated cynicism. It has really only been a couple generations since modern sarcasm was broadly anchored in the mainstream, probably with the tired response of Gen X to the caffeinated optimism of Reaganite consumerism.

        For decades prior, at least looking through the warped lens of hindsight, past generations appear to have been so comprehensively conditioned by the media that they essentially resembled a particularly memorable parody poster. On it was a deeply perturbed middle-aged white man, exclaiming, “Of course I want to fight Communism! But how?” It was evidently an era when the mainstream press was next to godspeak in its authority. When Reefer Madness conditioned entire generations to cower in terror at the murderous effects of marijuana. When the art world hastily transformed itself into Jackson Pollock abstraction, eschewing political content for fear of blacklisting, until even the thought of politicized art seemed to be a corruption of the medium itself.

        Things have changed. Today’s meaningful art is samizdat stickers on wireline poles and spray-canned corporate advertising. Corporate media is no longer considered a sure source of credible reporting. There are no Cronkites at the ready with a reassuring word. Watching the Trump “regime” hector for regime change in vulnerable nations is like watching a scene from Woody Allen’s early slapstick Bananas. In that excellent deadpan satire, “Wide World of Sports” reports from the fictitious island nation of San Marcos, where it is broadcasting the live assassination of the sitting president, who will be replaced with a military dictatorship. A “series of colorful riots” begins with “the traditional bombing of the American embassy.” Then, the local labor leader is dragged from his home and beaten by a frothing mob. Howard Cosell reports from the presidential square where “El Presidente” will be assassinated as he leaves his office. Amid a throng of locals excited to witness the coup d’état, Cosell reports, “The atmosphere (is) heavy, uncertain, with overtones of ugliness.” He compares the event to the first Sonny Liston vs. Cassius Clay fight in 1964. On cue, the president exits his office to walk down the broad stone steps into the square. A gun-wielding hand appears in front of the camera, points at the president, and empties its chamber. The president collapses on the steps. The crowd explodes with excitement. Cosell shouts, “And down! It’s over! It’s all over for El Presidente!”

      • Corporate Team of Rivals: Biden and Harris

        The odds are now very strong that Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee. New polling averages say they account for almost 70 percent of support nationwide, while no other candidate is anywhere near. For progressives who want to affect the news instead of just consume it, active engagement will be essential.

        Biden is the most regressive Democrat with a real chance to head the ticket. After amassing a five-decade record littered with odious actions and statements, he now insists that the 2020 campaign “shouldn’t be about the past” — an evasive and ridiculous plea, coming from someone who proclaims himself to be “an Obama-Biden Democrat” and goes to absurd lengths to fasten himself onto Obama’s coattails, while also boasting of his past ability to get legislation through Congress.

        As he campaigns, Biden persists with disingenuous denials. During the June 27 debate, he flatly — and falsely — declared: “I did not oppose busing in America.” On July 6, speaking to a mostly black audience in South Carolina, he said: “I didn’t support more money to build state prisons. I was against it.” But under the headline “Fact Check: Joe Biden Falsely Claims He Opposed Spending More Money to Build State Prisons,” CNN reported that “he was misrepresenting his own record.”

        Biden used the Fourth of July weekend to dig himself deeper into a centrist, status quo trench for his war on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. During a repeatedly cringeworthy interview, Biden told CNN that what can’t be done includes Medicare for All, tuition-free public college and student debt cancelation. Bernie Sanders quickly responded with a tweet calling Medicare for All, debt-free college and a Green New Deal “the agenda American needs — and that will energize voters to defeat Donald Trump.”

      • U.K. Ambassador to U.S. Quits Days After Leaked Cables on Trump

        Britain’s ambassador to the United States resigned Wednesday after being made a diplomatic nobody by President Donald Trump following the leak of the envoy’s unflattering opinions about the U.S. administration.

        Veteran diplomat Kim Darroch said he could no longer do his job in Washington after Trump branded him a fool and cut off all contact with the representative of one of the U.S.’s closest allies.

        The break in relations followed a British newspaper’s publication Sunday of leaked documents that revealed the ambassador’s dim view of Trump’s administration, which Darroch described as dysfunctional, inept and chaotic.

      • Trump Takes Aim at an Unlikely Target: Fox News

        But the object of his ire was not CNN or MSNBC. It was his favorite outlet, Fox News Channel, and the president issued a not-so-veiled threat about the network’s programming.

        No president has been so closely aligned with a single news outlet as Trump is with Fox News, so his criticism carried added significance. While it was not the first time he has singled out Fox, it was the most pointed, raising the question of how the network, and the president’s supporters, would respond.

        Trump on Sunday night wrote that watching Fox on the weekend was worse than watching CNN and MSNBC, outlets he frequently attacks. He said Fox is “loading up with Democrats” and criticized the network for using The New York Times as a source for a story. He also attacked Fox for hiring former Democratic National Committee head Donna Brazile as a contributor and poked at afternoon host Shepard Smith’s ratings.

      • Their Deplorables and Ours

        Hillary Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” speech at a September 2016 fundraiser probably did her campaign more harm than she claims her favorite scapegoats, “the Russians” and James Comey, could ever have hoped to do.

        But what she said wasn’t wrong; many a Trump supporter back then was deplorable by any and all reasonable standards. Many of them were racists or nativists or twenty-first century fascists; many approached the election in thrall to barely suppressed inner demons yearning to breathe free.

        But this was not the whole story.

        Many, maybe most, Trump supporters were victims of economic dislocation. Clintonite (neoliberal) economic policies had a lot to do with that.

        And then there is the role that identity politics played. It would be too easy to believe, as many do, that white identity politics, the Southern variety especially, just is white supremacism. In fact, white identity politics comes in many flavors.

        Many non- or only minimally deplorable Trump voters were moved more by benign family or regional values than by racist attitudes or convictions.

      • Glenn Greenwald Becomes Focus of Brazil Press Freedom Debate

        Several weeks after publishing explosive reports about a key member of Brazil’s far-right government, U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald was called before a congressional committee to face hostile questions.

        “Who should be judged, convicted and in prison is the journalist!” shouted congresswoman Katia Sastre, an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro.

        And by some accounts that wasn’t an empty threat: A conservative website reported that federal police had requested that financial regulators investigate Greenwald’s finances. The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and his Brazilian husband also say they have been receiving detailed death threats, calls for his deportation and homophobic comments in an increasingly hostile political environment.

        Greenwald, an attorney-turned-journalist who has long been a free-speech advocate, has found himself at the center of the first major test of press freedom under Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1 and has openly expressed nostalgia for Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship — a period when newspapers were censored and some journalists tortured.

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • Trump Voices Support for Social Media Legislation Conservatives Call a Free-Speech Killer

        The “deal” to which Hawley refers is the single most important law protecting free speech online: Section 230 of the Computer Decency Act. It’s what allows sites like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to host content generated by users—to exist. Get rid of Section 230 and any of these companies could at any moment be sued over virtually any post, video, or tweet users contribute. There would be no Wikipedia, no chat rooms, nor user reviews. The internet would become a magazine, a reference section, where readers are prohibited from interacting with one another.

        If website operators could be held liable for everything that their users say, it would no longer be tenable to allow users to speak. Right now, Gizmodo can’t be sued out of existence just because one of our readers decides to libel a public official in the comment section below. If that’s how things worked, there would be no comment section. How many companies would be willing to take on that kind of liability? The answer is zero.

      • Finnish politicians face heat for blocking social media followers [iophk: that's after the filters the social control media owners have applied]

        Earlier this week a federal court in the United States ruled that President Donald Trump couldn’t block his critics on Twitter because his account was seen as a public forum, a virtual town hall where citizens can engage with his comments.

        That same discussion is now developing in Finland, where media researcher Jukka-Pekka Puro said representatives of the Left Alliance and Greens have engaged in the most blocking of followers due to the high volume of inappropriate messages they receive.

      • Talib Kweli Speaks Out After Being Disinvited From Open Source Fest

        The rapper/ host welcomes all of that. He’s a mainstay in the culture and not going anywhere. But there are still downsides. The latest of these is the recent canceling of a German tour, which was meant to kick off at this weekend’s Open Source Festival in Düsseldorf. Kweli’s removal from the festival bill came when he refused to disavow the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) movement. A few days after his invite was retracted by the festival, artists and activists from Boots Riley to Peter Gabriel signed an open letter published in the Guardian, which stated:

        “We hold diverse views on BDS, but we concur with 240 Jewish and Israeli scholars who recently wrote that “the three main goals of BDS – ending the occupation, full equality to the Arab citizens of Israel and the right of return of Palestinian refugees – adhere to international law.”

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Banned Chinese Security Cameras Are Almost Impossible to Remove

        Hikvision is 42% controlled by the Chinese government. Dahua, in 2017, was found by cybersecurity company ReFirm Labs to have cameras with covert back doors that allowed unauthorized people to tap into them and send information to China. Dahua said at the time that it fixed the issue and published a public notice about the vulnerability. The U.S. government is considering imposing further restrictions by banning both companies from purchasing American technology, people familiar with the matter said in May.

      • 300 Californian Cities Secretly Have Access to Palantir

        Motherboard obtained documents via public record requests which reveal that the scope of Palantir’s influence in California is significantly larger than previously documented. Payment records indicate that between January 2012 and March 2017, about three hundred cities, collectively home to about 7.9 million people, had access to Palantir’s Gotham service through the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), which is run through the Department of Homeland Security.

      • FTC ‘Failed Miserably’ in Punishing Facebook With $5 Billion Fine, Democrats Say

        While massive by the standards of tech companies, which too frequently get off with a slap on the wrist of lax data privacy practices which endanger users, the FTC’s fine still represents less than a third of the company’s $15.08 billion earnings from just the first quarter of this year.

      • Here’s why Google thinks you should trust it with unprecedented quantities of your city’s “urban data”

        Central to Alphabet’s vision is the use of sensors of every kind to gather real-time information about what is happening in Sidewalk Toronto. The hardware design is innovative, and uses a new type of “urban USB port” that would provide a physical mount, power, and connectivity to digital devices in the public sphere. These might include Wi-Fi antennae, traffic counters, or air-quality sensors fixed to street poles and traffic signals. They are designed to be easy to install and remove, allowing devices to be constantly added and upgraded.

      • Revealed: This Is Palantir’s Top-Secret User Manual for Cops

        Through a public record request, Motherboard has obtained a user manual that gives unprecedented insight into Palantir Gotham (Palantir’s other services, Palantir Foundry, is an enterprise data platform), which is used by law enforcement agencies like the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center. The NCRIC serves around 300 communities in northern California and is what is known as a “fusion center,” a Department of Homeland Security intelligence center that aggregates and investigates information from state, local, and federal agencies, as well as some private entities, into large databases that can be searched using software like Palantir.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • CIA Torture Unredacted: Four-Year Investigation Reveals What Was Hidden in US Senate Torture Report

        One night in October 2001, shortly after al-Qaeda’s attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, a private jet touched down in Karachi. Masood Anwar, a prominent Pakistani journalist, received an unexpected tip from a friend in the airport: “There were men in masks. They took a hooded man onboard in the early hours. Someone videotaped the entire thing. No one was allowed near the site.”

        Anwar’s story, although no one knew it at the time, would be the start of a thread which led to the heart of the Central Intelligence Agency’s most secret “War on Terror” operation: the “rendition, detention, interrogation” (RDI) programme, a nine-year covert effort which had scores of prisoners flown around the globe to be tortured in undisclosed sites.

        The CIA started by grabbing terror suspects off the streets and transferring them in secret to interrogators in the Middle East. But soon the agency decided it needed to run its own detention facilities, or “black sites”. Over the next few years, it set up a network of prisons and a fleet of private jets to move people between them.

        In December 2014, the Bureau, alongside The Rendition Project, began a major project to trace the history of the RDI programme. The impetus for our investigation came from the long-awaited publication of a report into CIA torture by the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The authors of this report had high-level access to internal CIA documents, which they mined to produce a damning assessment of the torture programme’s brutality, mismanagement and ineffectiveness. But they were compelled by the Obama administration, and by the CIA itself, to censor — “redact” — all parts of the report that could identify specific times and places where abuses had occurred.

      • It’s Not Just About Deportations: Trump Wants to Create a Permanent Underclass

        When the President announced in an ominous tweet two weeks ago that mass immigration raids targeting “millions of illegal aliens” around the country were imminent, those who would suffer the worst did not have the luxury of wondering whether or not he was bluffing. Days later, the worst fears of many were seemingly confirmed as news came in that ICE agents were mobilizing to carry out what they and the DHS chillingly referred to as the “family op,” which was expected to include predawn raids and arrests of up to 2,000 families beginning on June 23. Communities around the country were bracing for impact. And as news broke one day before raids were set to commence that President Trump had abruptly called for a two-week postponement, undocumented individuals, families and communities were once again left with frayed nerves and an unshakeable fear that the nightmare was far from over.

        As some have reasonably argued, this episode demonstrates, at best, a familiar hardline bargaining tactic that Trump is employing to get what he wants from congressional Democrats, or, at worst, a callous publicity stunt aimed at amping up Trump’s base as his re-election campaign launches in earnest. But it must be remembered that the people who are suffering as a direct result of his threats are not an afterthought in this horrid melodrama, nor are they merely collateral damage in some political battle playing out over their heads. They are the primary targets.

        Trump’s advance alerts about the raids, which clearly compromised ICE’s stealth (and rushed) plans to carry them out, and his dramatic declaration of postponement just hours before the “family op” was set to commence, are telltale signs of what these headline-grabbing raid threats are actually about. Like the loud, brutal spectacle of physical home and workplace raids, these threats are a transparent, calculated effort to terrorize people, their families and their communities.

      • New Details of Horrific Child Abuse Cited in Emergency Restraining Order Request for ‘Torture Facilities’ Run by US Border Agency

        A group of lawyers and advocates filed a request for an emergency restraining order aimed at ending the abuse of children in facilities operated by the federal government on the southern border, demanding a federal judge step in and take action.

        The lawsuit (pdf), filed in California late Wednesday, asks U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee to order immediate inspections of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) facilities in Texas, allow medical care to reach the children imprisoned in those facilities, and to create an “intensive case management team” to handle transfers from CBP to Health and Human Services.

        The request cites testimony from children in detention as well as outside observers and offers new details of the conditions and treatment those detained have endured.

        “I have been in the U.S. for six days and I have never been offered a shower or been able to brush my teeth,” one of the imprisoned children said in their testimony. “There is no soap here and our clothes are dirty.”

        In comments on the case to The Los Angeles Times, Peter Schey, president of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and lead attorney on the lawsuit, said that the effects of the mistreatment in the detention centers could last forever.

      • Child marriages spike in Philippines violence-marred Marawi city

        “Child marriage existed in Bangsamoro [officially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao] even before the start of the Marawi conflict, but the Islamist siege exacerbated the problem,” Andrew Morris, head of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Mindanao Field Office, told DW.

        Official data on early marriages in Mindanao is scarce, but a 2010 survey with some 600 respondents in the province’s predominantly Muslim regions showed that 83% of residents aged between 15 and 17 got married in the areas, whereas 17% were between 9-14 years of age.

      • Restricted View: the British Legacy of Eugenics

        Looking across London’s eastern expanse from our staffroom window in the district of E10 – sounds like Eton if you say it fast enough – Sean the sociology lecturer had a sudden urge to blurt out with the crumbs of his Empire biscuit one of those so-called universal truths: “Schooldays were the best days of our lives!” Empire biscuit because that is the way of it in England, though it travels under the name German biscuit in my part of Scotland…or did. It survived the hatreds of wartime and peacetime for a century, but there were indications of change on my last visit home. At the exit-through-the-art-gallery coffee joint at the foot of Edinburgh’s Mound, I was halted by the cake counter gestapo: “German biscuit?” I felt unable to dignify her performance of haughty bewilderment with an explanation – she might even have expected an apology – and merely indicated the cherry-topped choice with my chin. “Oh, you mean Belgian biscuit!” I wondered if perhaps it had crumbled under the weight of censorship, but mid-morning break is too short for discussions about biscuits – there is barely enough time to eat one – and so I left Sean in his sehnsucht zombie state staring beyond the eastern post codes, his mind fixed on the phantom past, whitish crumbs looking like bits of skull stuck to the window pane.

        In England, the German biscuit was rebuked and rebaked as an Empire biscuit at the outset of the Great War – a war that might as well have been about a biscuit. Many muddled by state propaganda continued to call them German biscuits and Empire biscuits interchangeably – some even called them German Empire biscuits. Same recipe. It was always an option to call it a Belgian biscuit – on the basis it is topped a bit like a Belgian bun – but I thought it more likely the Belgian re-brand recently emerged because the tourist-sensitive breed were altering perceptions: German biscuit having negative connotations – Hitler, holocaust, eugenics – and Empire biscuit having associations with British imperialism – colonies, class, slavery, and far right groups that want the Empire biscuit to strike back. The Belgian branding, however, is no more benign than if we said Vichy or Pinochet or Franco or even Al-Qaeda biscuits.

        Before dunking we might consider the brutal orgy of horror suffered by the people of the Congo at the hands of Leopold II of Belgium – a monarchical reign of terror and torture that accompanied the shameful system of travail forcé, (forced labour), lasting over two decades. Its official end was in 1908, when the Belgium government stepped in – just six years before the outbreak of the Great War – though in fact the system of forced labour continued until colonisation ended in 1960. Caught in the net of a ruthless profit maximisation scheme, the Congolese were coerced to labour unpaid in the rubber plantations, and in just one decade an estimated ten million people were worked to death. The incentive scheme for the male population included the routine severing of children’s hands, the rape of their mothers, and the slaughter of entire families. This was vigorously encouraged by investors – both foreign and domestic – throughout the period up to and beyond the rule of Leopold II, many of them leading industrialists and ‘statesmen’ such as Britain’s Lord Leverhulme. According to the research of Jules Marchal, the Belgian system of forced labour reduced the population of Congo by half, thereby accounting for far more deaths than the Nazi holocaust.

        I had been thinking about Proust. Quite apart from all the horror histories, how might he have reacted on learning that his ‘Petites Madeleines’ had been transformed into Tunnock’s Caramel Logs? After Proust a Madeleine ceased to be just a biscuit, of course, and became the means of inner communion: the link between conscious reality and unbidden memory – an instrument of time travel, in a sense. But it was also quite simply a French biscuit named after a woman, and I can think of no reason why the same cannot be achieved for the German Empire Belgian biscuit. Were I to be asked I would suggest a ‘Molly’, after that friendly Scottish actor from my childhood, Molly Weir – a brisk, busy type, as I remember, who liked to reward her efforts with tea and biscuits. The French have Moliere’s Tartuffe, we could have Molly Weir’s tough tarts. Works for me.

      • Kidnappers forced a retired FSB officer to point them to $5 million in hidden cash. While he recovered in a hospital, a court confiscated his house.

        Russia’s Investigative Committee has completed its investigation in a criminal case regarding the kidnapping of Alexander Pastushkov, who was formerly the second-in-command at the Federal Security Service’s (FSB) Capital Construction Division. The retired major general was tortured until he showed his kidnappers a hidden location where five million dollars in cash was stored in plastic containers. That sum is far greater than Pastushkov’s cumulative official income in his 10 years at the FSB.

      • 44 Migrants Die in Airstrike on Libyan Detention Center

        An airstrike hit a detention center for migrants near the Libyan capital of Tripoli early Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens of others in an attack that the U.N. human rights chief said could amount to a war crime.

        The Tripoli-based government blamed the attack on forces associated with Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose Libyan National Army has been waging an offensive against rival militias in the capital of the war-torn North African country since April.

      • Abu Graib at Home in America

        “This is not what America is about” argues a U.S. reporter referring to revelations of misogynist, violent, racist behavior by employees of the U.S. Border Patrol ‘guarding’ migrants held in detention centers.Sorry Mr. Thompson (Pro Publica reporter who broke this story); THIS IS what America is about. Vulnerable people, i.e. women, men and children held in secret or without legal representation:– undocumented migrants, Americans in detention or serving sentences in prison, our indigent and our Black and Brown citizens in general, and foreign prisoners. We witness abuse, beatings and killings by ‘authorized’ armed personnel every day–every day– most of it carried out by our local police officers.

        But that’s another long, sad story. Let’s get back to those border guards and their contempt for their wards. Where did we last see this shameless conduct on the scale of these recent revelations? Was it not Abu Graib in 2004? And Abu Graib was just one Iraqi prison where American excesses were exposed. One can find more references to extreme cruelty and sadistic acts by American and allied troops (all under earlier administrations) directed against prisoners in Afghanistan.

        As much as our naïve public and the noble liberal wing of our press may wish to assign this newly revealed shame to the Trump administration, the ‘problem’ is much deeper.

        I suggest it exists within the training of U.S. troops today and to the license given them in the Iraq and Afghan wars– a license to humiliate, mutilate, shame, torture and murder with impunity— people they have been taught to despise. Recall the report of an American verbally attacking a Muslim woman in the street not long ago proudly proclaiming: “I killed people like you over there!” (This week we had one U.S. veteran tried for just one murder by U.S. troops in Iraq; and he was acquitted.)

        The U.S. is home to more than two million Iraq-Afghan war veterans who, when they announce they are veterans, we are obliged to hail with “Thank you for your service”. A huge percentage of these veterans are ill—little wonder, given crimes they have witnessed and committed. Of those, an undocumented number have become abusers and killers at home. Too often, if one searches through a news story we’ll find that many killings– of families by out-of-control husbands or fathers, or the perpetrators of mass shootings– are by veterans. A local New Hampshire paper carried a story in May about the murder of two enlisted women by a fellow soldier at their military base.

      • Assange Is Trapped in the Web of the US Legal Empire

        On June 13, British Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed off on the United States’s request to extradite Assange from the United Kingdom. This enables the process to move forward to the courts — although the barely concealed political nature of the espionage charges against Assange should disqualify them as grounds for extradition, since political crimes (excepting “terrorism”) are expressly excluded as extraditable offences.

        The Assange case represents the continuation of a longstanding tradition of trans-Atlantic collaboration in injustice.

        In the project of constructing an immense legal and extralegal apparatus for wielding maximum power with minimum accountability, the U.K. has long served as the U.S.’s willing accomplice. The U.K. has shared crucial intelligence for the U.S.’s extrajudicial drone killings, provided territory and even payment for extraordinary rendition flights, and has generally acted as a “junior partner” in the CIA’s torture program (to quote a June 2018 report from the U.K. Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee).

        The U.S.-U.K. treaty under which Assange is facing extradition was revamped in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to facilitate extraditions while dismantling key safeguards against severe rights violations.

        Under the new treaty, the U.K. must demonstrate “probable cause” while the U.S. is only required to meet the standard of “reasonable” suspicion, and so does not even have to provide any prima facie evidence that could be challenged in a court to make its case. The agreement is lopsided in operation as well as formulation: The U.K. has delivered more than twice as many people into U.S. hands as vice versa, even though it has only one-fifth the population.

      • Deconstructing Elliott Abrams on Venezuela

        The first thing that Abrams mentioned was the visit of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. From his remarks, one would think that the visit was entirely focused on condemning what Abrams repeatedly referred to as the Maduro “regime” – a classic of Washington’s Goebbelian dictionary used to delegitimize unfriendly governments. “We hope that her report, which is due out July 5th, will reveal the brutal truths that victims of the regime suffer every day,” he said. By using this kind of language, Abrams is sending a number of implicit messages to his audience. First is that the Maduro government is an authoritarian egregious human rights violator while so-called ‘interim president’ Juan Guaido and his hardline opposition faction are whiter than white and, indeed, the sole hope of saving the country from this tyranny. The reality, however, is that Bachelet was there to hear allegations of human rights abuses from both pro- and anti-government actors, including the numerous credible reports of opposition violence such as setting perceived government supporters on fire.

        Abrams added that he hopes “that the high commissioner’s representatives, who are currently in Venezuela, who stayed there when she left, will visit the country’s most notorious prisons and visit political prisoners.” Here, he is insinuating that the Maduro government gave her the cold shoulder and was uncooperative with her investigation. But far from being a one-sided affair in which only opposition leaders were willing to meeting with her, extensive talks were held with both sides. In addition to meeting Guaido and other opposition leaders, she also met with President Maduro, members of his cabinet, the national ombudsman, the leader of the constituent assembly and the attorney-general along with a whole host of human rights advocates, trade unionists, academics, religious figures and representatives of the business community.

        And far from being uncooperative, the Maduro government actually signed a number of agreements with her delegation. This includes an accord to set up an office for the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which will monitor the situation on the ground and provide technical assistance. As for Abrams implication that Maduro’s government didn’t grant Bachelet access to the country’s prisons, it was widely reported days before his brief that the new OHCHR office in Venezuela will “full access to detention centres to be able to monitor conditions and speak to detainees.”

      • Immigration Officials Use Secretive Gang Databases to Deny Migrant Asylum Claims

        With scant public notice, federal immigration officials are relying on databases run by foreign police and militaries to check whether migrants crossing the United States border have gang affiliations, which would allow officials to detain and eventually deport them.

        The information is being provided through a new “fusion” intelligence-gathering center in El Salvador that is funded by the State Department and works in tandem with the Department of Homeland Security.

        But legal experts and human rights advocates say the government has kept the use of databases at the border largely secret, subverting potential challenges to the reliability of the information in them. An attorney in Texas recently discovered that her Salvadoran client had been falsely accused of being in the MS-13 gang based on intelligence from the center. The man was jailed in a maximum-security facility for violent criminals for six months, and his two children were taken away.

        Government attorneys, pressed repeatedly in court to provide evidence, eventually dropped the allegation of gang membership against him without explanation.

      • Why We Shouldn’t Wish Jail on People

        Way too often I hear somebody wishing that a particular person get thrown in jail, or get a longer sentence, or not be released from prison. I know it can be a figure of speech to say that a person “belongs behind bars” but it’s meant literally too. The target might be a person in the news, or a neighbor, or a politician, but it doesn’t matter. Treating the issue of imprisonment in the US either flippantly or with unthinking acceptance is dangerous.

        Given that the USA incarcerates more people than any other nation, perhaps we could claim that we are uniquely qualified here to judge the institution? I don’t know about that, but let’s take a closer look.

        It’s worth dwelling on the US ranking for a moment, because it’s actually two #1s: raw number of prisoners and percentage of population imprisoned; that is, both the highest total and the highest rate. On the planet. According to data collected by the World Prison Brief, the US has 2,121,600 people in jail, which is a rate of 655 per 100,000 people. That’s ten times the rate of Nepal, five times that of Bulgaria, and double that of Brazil.

        The country with the second highest number of prisoners, China, at 1,649,804, has a far lower incarceration rate of 118 per 100,000, due to their much larger population. The US does not compare favorably with perennial “enemies” Russia (316) and Iran (284), nor with neighbors Canada (114) and Mexico (164). The closest runners-up are El Salvador (604) and Turkmenistan (552), which is nearly 20% lower. By the numbers, then, the position of the US is stark.

        But even if we reformed our system so that our numbers were not so far out of whack with everybody else, that would not solve our prison problem.

      • When We See Him: Trump and the Central Park Five

        In 1989, the New York Times and other newspapers reported the rape of a white jogger in Central Park. Some thirty years later, on the eve of the airing of Ava DuVernay’s “When They See Us,” the Times looked back on the incident in an article entitled “The True Story of How a City in Fear Brutalized the Central Park Five,” conveniently ignoring the role the paper itself – like most of the media at the time – played in their brutalization. After all, this was the same newspaper that ran Donald Trump’s ad calling for the execution the so-called Central Park Five and that ran an editorial wondering “how could apparently well-adjusted youngsters turn into so savage a wolf pack?”

        How indeed? Perhaps if the Times had probed deeper it would have found an answer but one that did not confirm the one implicit in its question: it could happen because these youngsters were black and brown and – thirty years ago as it is today – to be black and brown in America is to be considered pathological, a menace to society. As former educational secretary and wannabe shock jock William Benedict opined on his radio show in 2005, “If you wanted to reduce crime, you could – if that were your sole purpose – you could abort every black baby in this country and your crime rate would go down.”

        Exonerated some twenty-three years later, these men were robbed of years of their lives as a consequence of a corrupt legal system that was more eager to falsely convict them than to seek truth. Ostensibly, they were punished for the rape, but their real offense was insisting on their innocence, something our legal system and the carceral state that sustains it could not accept. Coerced, they confessed. We punish liars, particularly when their lies conceal truths we do not want to face.

        The New York Times, as it now repeatedly reminds us in the wake of Trumped-up “fake news” charges, is sworn to seek Truth. In 1989 that Truth – or what stood in lieu of it – was the false narrative off these boys as fabricated by corrupt cops and iniquitous prosecutors. But Truth, an “enlightened” Times recognized in its 2017 ad campaign, “is hard to find,” particularly when it is obscured by one’s own implicit bias.

      • Lights of Liberty Vigal Remarks

        Many folks have said “this is not who we are.” This is precisely who we are.

        American concentration camps are not new. Look at our criminal justice system, a leviathan devoted to criminalizing, degrading and discarding masses of black and brown people. American torture is not new. Rape. Ripping families apart. This country was founded on genocide and slavery. That is not some rhetorical device. It is historical truth.

        Now the covers are off. The underbelly has been exposed. The crudest forms of white supremacy have resurfaced under Trump. But let’s not kid ourselves. The atrocities we are witnessing today are natural products of our heritage of hatred.

        This is the culture of settler colonialism. This is settler culture—violent, sadistic, and unabashed. Until we recognize that—until we name the problem—we will never be able to seriously address it. We stand on invaded land. This country sprang from military occupation. From conquest. From the ideology of conquest. The demonization and degradation of The Other is part of our DNA. The displacement and containment of subject peoples. The naked cruelty. The cult of guns. We live in a toxic culture. We all breathe its fumes.

        What made you think you were immune? How could you wage your endless oil wars… Iraq… Afghanistan… Syria… Yemen… Libya… all of Africa… how could you rattle your saber at Iran and North Korea… how could you choke the world with your military bases… how could you topple, or attempt to topple, governments in Brazil and Venezuela and Cuba and so many other countries… how could you sell your weapons to ruthless regimes… how could you darken the skies with your drones… how could you hold the entire world hostage to your insatiable lust for domination and believe the venom you were spewing everywhere would not also erupt at home?

      • Faulty by Design: the UN Report on Human Rights in Venezuela

        Following Michelle Bachelet visit to Venezuela last June the official report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR ) on the situation of human rights in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was released on July 4, a day before initially scheduled. Judging by the quick review I made, the mainstream media is gloating on the uncritical details of reported violations. It appears to be the perfect gift for the US Fourth of July celebration. But one that will not stop Venezuela to celebrate the 208th anniversary of its independence from Spain on July 5th and its 20th from US domination.

        The headline of the New York Times said, “Venezuela Forces Killed Thousands, Then Covered It Up, U.N. Says.” Reuters said, “UN details Venezuela torture, killings to neutralize opposition.” The Washington Post said, “UN: 5,287 killings in Venezuela security operations in 2018.”

        The reaction of a typically unsympathetic media towards Venezuela is all too predictable, which makes all wonder if there was a second motive for the release of the report on this date and with this content.

        To be clear, the UNHCHR is an independent entity and its report [1] is not short on details of violations committed by the government of Venezuela. However, we must question the UNHCHR undiplomatic disclosure with uncorroborated facts. Not to imply that the UNHCHR should have hidden the facts it believed to be true, albeit alleged, but also balance those with many other facts that the government of Venezuela claims to have provided but were omitted in the report.

    • Monopolies
      • Trademarks
        • Cloudflare acquired an old Sun Microsystems slogan and I’m feeling nostalgic

          Employees weren’t happy either, with entire teams resigning en-masse. It also lost a huge chunk of its top-tier developers, including James Gosling, the inventor of Java, as well as Tim Bray, who created the XML markup language.

          Sun Microsystems doesn’t exist anymore, but people still regard it with a fond sense of nostalgia.

          So, what spurred this article? Well, it’s not because I’m writing a Sun Microsystems retrospective, fun though that may be.

          Earlier today, Cloudflare announced it had acquired the rights to the phrase “the network is the computer.”

          The phrase was first said in 1984 by John Gage, who was Sun Microsystems’ 21st employee. Although it didn’t really play much in the company’s marketing efforts, the motto perfectly encapsulated Sun’s vision as a company.

        • Freedom of expression transcends morality in US trademark registration

          As the Court of Justice of the European Union is currently considering the role of freedom of expression in trademark law, the Supreme Court of the United States has made a sharp determination on the matter in Iancu v. Brunetti. This follows the Matal v. Tam decision in which the Court held that “the disparagement clause” of the Lanham Act violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment as unconstitutional “viewpoint discrimination”; readers will recall that the Tam case concerned an Asian-American band attempting to register the derogatory term, “THE SLANTS” which they had used as their band name in an effort to reclaim the term. Here, the Court considered the prohibition on viewpoint discrimination with regards to the scandalous and immoral criterion of the Lanham Act, as the mark applied for in this case is FUCT; the Court agreed with the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in this case, affirming that refusing registration as an immoral or scandalous mark would amount to unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

25,500 Blog Posts and Pages

Sunday 14th of July 2019 12:18:47 PM

Earlier today it looked like this (some drafts have since then been published)

Summary: With our thirteenth anniversary just a few months away we’re at a pace of about 2,000 posts per year

TODAY or this weekend is the first time, after months of tidying up, that we properly attempt to increase pace of publication, mostly at the expense of politics and also by improving efficiencies at the back end. Today we pass another important milestone: 25,500. Just the WordPress side of things is shown above. There’s more outside it (tens of thousands more objects).

There are now more volunteers (writers and technical people) involved, which will hopefully improve our capacity to produce good stories and daily links. Following last night's request for suggestions we’ve already received some constructive feedback as well. To a lot of people the site means a lot and this past week too we’ve received nearly 5 million hits, close to an all-time high. It goes up and down, depending on how much we publish and the relative impact of new stories.

With WSL Microsoft is Doing to GNU/Linux What It Did to Netscape

Sunday 14th of July 2019 11:48:09 AM

Remember what Microsoft did to Netscape?

Summary: Embrace, extend, extinguish. Some things never really change even if they become an old and repetitive accusation.

“Innovation has never been Microsoft’s strong suite,” said a Microsoft employee (antitrust trial evidence), “we’re much better at ripping off our competitors. For example we did not invent either ASP or IE – we bought them.”

Microsoft DOJ insider testimonies are quite powerful and they serve to remind us of things that never really changed.

Months ago we wrote about WSL, which we’re seeing more and more of in news feeds when searching for “Linux” (but WSL is actually Windows Vista 10).

“So Microsoft loves Linux. It says so anyway… it will love “Linux” even more when Linux just means Azure and WSL/Vista 10.”“We are going to cut off Netscape’s air supply,” Microsoft’s Paul Maritz wrote. “Everything they’re selling we’re going to give away for free.” His colleague Jim Allchin said that “Windows 98 must be a killer on shipments so that Netscape never gets a chance.”

“Microsoft’s business strategy is copy the products others innovate, put them into Windows so they can’t be unplugged, and then give it away for free,” Larry Ellison (Oracle) famously said.

Nowadays with UEFI ‘secure boot’ it’s already more challenging booting and installing GNU/Linux as a standalone (or dual-boot) operating system.

So Microsoft loves Linux. It says so anyway… it will love “Linux” even more when Linux just means Azure and WSL/Vista 10. The brand “Linux” is already being diluted (not that the Linux Foundation minds) and these tactics from Microsoft go a long way back.

“The fact that there’s some e-mail here at MS that says, ‘let’s go up and beat this guy’…there’s nothing wrong with that. That is capitalism at work for consumers.”

–Bill Gates on Good Morning America, 11-11-98 (covered by The Daily Telegraph, November 13, 1998)

Allowing Bad Guests to Become the Hosts

Sunday 14th of July 2019 10:33:56 AM

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: Why the so-called ‘Linux Foundation’, a nonprofit that acts more like a PAC controlled by proprietary software companies and people who don’t even use Linux, is increasingly becoming a Linux-hostile front group

THE events set up and managed by the Linux Foundation are a big source of income. Not only attendees (or their employer) pay a fortune but also sponsors, who are in effect buying endorsements, “thank you”, “tweets” and even keynote positions. We published hard proof of that earlier this year. It’s all corrupt. The person who oversees these events tried to befriend me online while I was publishing this series, I assume in an effort to gag me with ‘kindness’.

“One might joke that the Linux Foundation and Microsoft now have something in common: the pursuit of total domination.”The way things currently stand, Microsoft has infiltrated just about everything “Open Source” and “Linux”. Using cash (orders of magnitude less than what Microsoft makes from patent blackmail against “Open Source” and “Linux”) they buy their way in. Now there are new rules by which they can exclude or silence Microsoft critics. This is no laughing matter. This is how entryism works and once the “host is infected” (to use terms from biology) it becomes an infection risk. This, to us, renders the Linux Foundation a risk to Linux itself. Some people in our IRC channels have called Zemlin’s PAC the “Linux-destroying Foundation” for quite some time; the people there aren’t even using Linux!

We generally advise people to skip events of the Linux Foundation and instead attend Linux events not controlled (or monopolised) by the Linux Foundation. Earlier this year we published findings on how the Linux Foundation actively worked to undermine Linux events that it did not control. One might joke that the Linux Foundation and Microsoft now have something in common: the pursuit of total domination. Over narratives, events, finances and so on.

“Position responsibilities: demolish competition by knowing everything they do and thwarting their every move in the relevant space.”

–Microsoft employment ad for a ‘Developer Evangelist’

Honesty and Collaboration Make Free Software Stronger, Microsoft is Inherently a Misfit

Sunday 14th of July 2019 09:50:55 AM

And no, Microsoft is not an ally, it’s still suing Linux using software patents

“Software patents are a huge potential threat to the ability of people to work together on open source. Making it easier for companies and communities that have patents to make those patents available in a common pool for people to use is one way to try to help developers deal with the threat.”

–Linus Torvalds

Summary: In spite of all the lies Microsoft and its Web sites spew out on a daily basis, nothing has really changed and Microsoft is still attacking Software Freedom (mostly from the inside nowadays, helped by FUD proxies such as WhiteSource and Snyk)

A few weeks ago we published “Bill Gates Said He Was on a “Jihad” Against GNU/Linux, But GNU/Linux Users/Developers Engaged in Self-Defense Are Foul-Mouthed ‘Microsoft Haters’?

The article has since then been cited quite a few times. It turns out very few people know the truth about Bill Gates and his bad language (this is well documented, but media which he nowadays bribes is busy portraying him as an almost-feminine soft-spoken gentleman looking out for humanity). The Linux Foundation has sadly chosen a side and last night I wrote many satirical things about it. It would be funnier if it wasn’t so serious or so much in tune with reality. Since it’s humour, there’s no point reproducing it here.

Last night Ryan wrote in IRC (he’s a former and disgruntled Microsoft MVP who hangs out in our IRC channels since around 2008) about this article: “Yeah, the exFAT patents aren’t part of the OIN thing. I looked at the news article hoping that they were and that we’d get an in-tree exFAT driver because the file system is becoming ubiquitous. That’s a real problem considering the patent trolling nature of Microsoft. They apparently did not pledge any patents that they thought they could extract any real amount of money from. But it did make it look like they were being quite generous.” And only months after the 'OIN thing' (it felt like a PR campaign) they sued Foxconn over Android/Linux patent royalties.

“And only months after the ‘OIN thing’ (it felt like a PR campaign) they sued Foxconn over Android/Linux patent royalties.”Morality and ethics never played any role at Microsoft. In yesterday’s (and latest) daily links we included the story “Amazon, Microsoft Wage War Over the Pentagon’s ‘War Cloud’” (Azure is militarism and imperialism). Our next batch of links will include “The Riptide of American Militarism” or “Drowning in Militarism” (Microsoft is mentioned because these people profit from it).

To say that Microsoft is changing would be a lie or at least a joke. They try hard to change perceptions without actually changing anything profound or inherent. The company is still run by Bill Gates, a chronic liar with a scam ‘charity’ that he uses for lobbying, media bribery, and tax evasion while doubling his wealth.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about when you say ‘ask.’”

–Bill Gates, in his deposition for the Microsoft antitrust trial

Patent Certainty Waning, But That’s Still OK for Patent Trolls

Sunday 14th of July 2019 05:47:46 AM

They go after vulnerable companies/people outside actual courts (with likely bogus patents like patents on maths)

Summary: Patent maximalism remains a threat to everyone but patent lawyers (and patent office chiefs who measure their own performance only by the number of patents granted); best served are the patent trolls who extrajudicially attack already-impoverished parties behind closed doors

IT DOES not really matter how many software patents the European Patent Office (EPO) and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grant if courts throw these out, as they do in Europe and in the US (citing 35 U.S.C. § 101). It does, however, help trolls because they don’t aim to actually file lawsuits and end up in court. This is why Campinos and Battistelli, by granting loads of fake patents, mostly help trolls.

UDL Intellectual Property’s [sic] Clair Curran has just said:

A recent decision by the EPO Boards of Appeal(T1218/14)highlights the pitfalls of using undisclosed disclaimers in patent claims.

“Seeing that patent trolls are best served by this status quo, we don’t suppose the FCC will allow UPC ratification.”Well, as things stand at the moment the EPO Boards of Appeal do not enjoy any form of autonomy or independence. They habitually say so themselves, even publicly. As long as that’s the case, which it still is, expect not much to improve at the EPO (e.g. in terms of patent scope/quality) and expect the UPC to never get off the ground. In a recent puff piece, published by EPO-bribed media, Bristows admitted they’re just faking progress. “The [UPC] preparatory committee is trying to give the impression of continuing momentum,” they said. There’s no momentum. None. Seeing that patent trolls are best served by this status quo, we don’t suppose the FCC will allow UPC ratification.

GitHub is Microsoft’s Proprietary Software and Centralised (Monopoly) Platform, But When Canonical’s Account There Gets Compromised Suddenly It’s Ubuntu’s Fault?

Sunday 14th of July 2019 05:22:44 AM

One year ago: GitHub as the Latest Example of Microsoft Entryism in Free/Libre Software

Summary: Typical media distortions and signs that Microsoft already uses GitHub for censorship of Free/Open Source software that does not fit Microsoft’s interests

CORPORATE media is toxic rubbish and its business model typically involves serving the companies covered. This is why the media keeps framing the latest GitHub censorship as a GitHub issue (it’s actually Microsoft using its control over GitHub to delete particular ‘naughty’ FOSS [1,2]) and earlier this month Ubuntu received a lot of negative press after its steward’s GitHub account had been compromised. Microsoft was not even mentioned. This is all very typical and we responded to that briefly in our daily links. This is the kind of thing one can expect when Microsoft pays so much money to the media, e.g. in the form of advertising.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GitHub Removed Open Source Versions of DeepNude [Ed: The new company is a Microsoft censorship tool. Every image editor can be used to make fake nudes of people. Even image sequences. Will Microsoft ban image editors too? Don't even think about criticising Microsoft for its crimes in some comments, commits or code at GitHub as they might suspend the account.]
  2. Deepfake DeepNude app’s open source versions removed from GitHub [Ed: Microsoft is doing censorship of FOSS and playing/acting as morality police. Maybe banning encryption software (with no back doors) is next on the agenda because of the terror scare.]

Canonical is Turning Ubuntu Into a More Proprietary Deviant of GNU/Linux

Sunday 14th of July 2019 04:59:56 AM

Summary: Ubuntu is becoming more ‘Ubinary’; binaries without their source code available are packed up and cooked up for (or baked into) the ISO; this may be good for widespread adoption, but it’s not an advancement of freedom, a capitulation rather

SEVERAL weeks ago Canonical said NVIDIA blobs would be added to future releases of Ubuntu. It later clarified that even though the ISO would be accompanied by this proprietary software (running not only in userspace), it would be disabled by default. Days ago the news resurfaced again in the following articles and blog posts:

  • Ubuntu LTS releases (and so derivatives too) to get updated NVIDIA drivers without PPAs

    Good news everyone! Canonical will now be offering NVIDIA users up to date graphics drivers without the need to resort to a PPA or anything else.

    Since this will be for the Ubuntu LTS releases, this means other Linux distributions based on Ubuntu like Linux Mint, elementary OS, Zorin OS and probably many others will also get these updated NVIDIA drivers too—hooray!

    This is really great, as PPAs are not exactly user friendly and sometimes they don’t get the testing they truly need when serving so many people. Having the Ubuntu team push out NVIDIA driver updates via an SRU (Stable Release Update), which is the same procedure they use to get you newer Firefox version, is a good way to do it.

  • Ubuntu Now Offers the Latest Nvidia Graphics Drivers to LTS Users

    Until now, anyone that has wanted to install Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS has needed to make use of a separate PPA, futz around with random packages distributed online, or install the driver manually, by hand, the old-fashioned way.

    But not any more.

    Word on the street is that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users can now install the latest releases of the proprietary Nvidia driver through the regular Ubuntu updates channel.

    The magic is made possible by the SRU (Stable Release Update) initiative. It’s this endeavour that keeps other apps, like Mozilla Firefox and Chromium, up to date on long-term support releases.

  • Ubuntu Will Make it Easier to Install Nvidia Drivers

    It’s about to get easier for Ubuntu LTS users to stay up-to-date with Nvidia’s stable graphics drivers. The Linux Experiment said via YouTube yesterday that Ubuntu plans to make these drivers part of its Stable Release Updates (SRU) program, which means users won’t have to rely on fiddly workarounds to install the latest drivers themselves.
    Ubuntu confirmed The Linux Experiment’s report on Twitter. (The company said it didn’t make an official announcement because it “decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community.”) It also said the change is “coming in an update, to your computer… [s]oon!” in response to another user.
    Ubuntu LTS typically doesn’t offer recent updates to apps, drivers and other software. The operating system is more focused on making sure everything remains as stable as possible than on providing access to the latest-and-greatest features. SRU offers a compromise by making it easy to install new versions of popular apps.

  • Excellent! Ubuntu LTS Users Will Now Get the Latest Nvidia Driver Updates [No PPA Needed Anymore]

    You might be aware of the troubles to install the latest and greatest Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu.

    By default, Ubuntu provides the open source Nvidia Nouveau drivers that some time result in Ubuntu being stuck at boot screen.

    You can also install the proprietary Nvidia driver in Ubuntu easily. The problem is that the Nvidia drivers in the default Ubuntu repositories are not the latest one. To solve this problem, Ubuntu introduced a dedicated PPA a few years back.

  • Ubuntu LTS Linux Distributions Will Now Get The Latest Nvidia Drivers Installed Automatically

    The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.


    The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”

  • Ubuntu To Provide NVIDIA Drivers Updates To Ubuntu LTS Users

    Ubuntu has been a good choice to switch to Linux from other operating systems. The only thing that has stopped people is the hardware updates. Though there were NVIDIA drivers updates available but through third-party PPAs.

    But no more installation of third-party PPAs in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. Ubuntu is now going to provide the latest NVIDIA drivers updates to its long term release users starting from its latest LTS release Ubuntu 18.04.

    The big news was announced through Ubuntu’s twitter account posting a Youtube video describing how Ubuntu is already testing the feature and will release to the public very soon.

    Let me tell you, updating Nvidia drivers were not difficult but required the installation of third-party PPAs or run several scripts to update NVIDIA drivers.

    As explained in the video, Ubuntu will now provide the latest proprietary drivers updates from its repositories in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and also Ubuntu 16.04 in the near future.

There may be more and if I stumble upon any, I shall add them to this page (as comments).

Canonical recently enraged some circles (WINE, Valve and others) because it said Ubuntu would drop i386 support. We didn’t cover this at the time (except in daily links) as it didn’t seem like a very major deal and everyone — even corporate media — covered it on the earliest occasion. At the end Canonical made a much-needed concession, basically caving or surrendering to pressure from users and developers alike.

Canonical isn’t a perfect company. It never was. I’ve used Ubuntu since its first-ever release (at work) and I always viewed it as a ‘pet project’ of a rich tycoon looking to popularise Debian, initially on the desktop. Considering some worse scandals (like Amazon spying inside the desktop), this is hardly the biggest scandal and it’s not unprecedented. People who value freedom probably should not be using this GNU/Linux distribution in the first place.

Links 13/7/2019: Librem 5 July Update, Project Trident 19.07, KDE Frameworks 5.60.0

Saturday 13th of July 2019 07:01:10 PM

  • GNU/Linux
    • Do you need a workstation? Do you care?

      Once upon a time — a long time ago — if you needed a workstation, you knew who you were and you knew how to get it: ask IT. Alternatively: whine, bully, and demand it from IT. And the machine you got would have a RISC-based processor, a customized UNIX operating system, and would likely be a branded model and possibly customized for your job and applications.


      Microsoft allied with Intel to destroy the specialized workstation market, and thus began the long confusing story of Windows workstations.

    • Server
      • IBM
        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Quay v3 Release Update and Road Map

          In this briefing, Dirk Herrmann, Red Hat’s Quay Product Manager walks through Quay v3.0’s features, and discusses the road map for future Quay releases, including a progress update on the open sourcing of Quay.

          Built for storing container images, Quay offers visibility over images themselves, and can be integrated into your CI/CD pipelines and existing workflows using its API and other automation features. Quay was first released in 2013, as the first enterprise hosted registry. Six years later, we’ve celebrated the first major release of the container registry since it joined the Red Hat portfolio of products through the acquisition of CoreOS in 2018.

    • Kernel Space
      • Linux May Gain Protection Against Hyper-Threading Attacks

        Oracle security researchers have been working on security feature for Linux kernels that could protect Linux-based systems against attacks that affect Intel’s Hyper-Threading (HT) feature. Multiple side-channel threats the feature’s vulnerable against, including L1TF/Foreshadow and the MDS attacks, have been revealed over the past few months.

        The Oracle developers didn’t specify whether or not the recent MDS attacks against Intel’s HT would also be mitigated through its Kernel Address Space Isolation (KASI), only that it will protect against L1TF/Foreshadow. Other side-channel attacks seem to be up for debate, as any extra isolation being introduced into the kernel could potentially impact the performance of Linux systems.

      • AMD Releases BIOS Fix To Motherboard Partners For Booting Newer Linux Distributions

        AMD has just alerted us that they have released a BIOS fix to their motherboard partners that takes care of the issue around booting newer Linux distributions on the new Zen 2 processors.

        Earlier this week I mentioned AMD would be working on a BIOS fix to address the fundamental problem with booting newer systemd-using Linux distributions on their new Ryzen 3000 series processors. However, I hadn’t expected the fix to make it to motherboard vendors in less than one week!

      • AMD: Patch On The Way For Ryzen 3000 Customers Affected By ‘Destiny 2′ And Linux Boot Problems

        AMD says it was able to root cause and resolve both issues fairly quickly in its BIOS code with a patch, and the company expects motherboard vendors to distribute the patch (potentially in beta BIOS form) by next week.

        Earlier this week a growing number of complaints amassed from Windows gamers concerning the inability to launch Activision’s Destiny 2 with various Ryzen 3000 CPUs. On the Linux side of the fence, a fairly critical bug emerged that straight up prevented a system from booting with 5.0 or newer Linux kernels.

        It’s nice to have these both addressed and resolved within the first week of launch, and hopefully the motherboard vendors will act quickly to seed this patch to their users. Keep an eye on those BIOS updates!

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 systems need a BIOS fix for Linux, ‘Destiny 2′ issues

        Last week AMD officially released its new Ryzen 3000 Series CPUs and Radeon RX 5700 graphics cards, but there’s a small problem with the CPUs.

      • AMD Ryzen 3000 causes boot problems for some newer Linux distros

        Just last week AMD launched its latest Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs. The third-generation Ryzen chips are the first to be based on 7nm technology, but there is a problem for users of some Linux-based systems.

        For distributions based on newer versions of the Linux kernel, an issue renders systems unable to boot. Some users have managed to patch the systemd component with an older version to allow successful booting, but a BIOS update from AMD is what’s needed.

      • F2FS Gains Native SWAP File Support, Other Improvements

        F2FS remains a very interesting file-system and has seen particularly good adoption on newer Android devices while it continues to shine as well for laptop and desktop SSD storage. With Linux 5.3 there is finally native SWAP file support for F2FS that can make use of direct I/O for better swapping performance. F2FS is also getting the ability to pre-allocate physical blocks in a pinned file to avoid fragmentation in append-only workloads, more sanity checks, and a variety of bug fixes.

      • Linux 5.3 Picks Up Support For Compressed Firmware Files – Measurable Storage Savings

        SUSE’s Takashi Iwai has been working on support for loading compressed firmware files and with the Linux 5.3 driver core patches there is this support. On his own system, he started out with /lib/firmware occupying over 400MB of the disk. When making use of XZ compression, this dropped to around 130MB in total. Thus easily being able to shave off several hundred megabytes from the disk due to all these firmware blobs is an easy win.

        The firmware files remain compressed on disk while at firmware loading time into the kernel the decompression is done. Only XZ compression is currently supported. When the CONFIG_FW_LOADER_COMPRESS option is enabled, the kernel will first try to load a firmware file of the original name but otherwise falls back trying to load any file with the same name appended by the .xz extension.

    • Applications
      • GNU Rush Version 2,1

        Version 2.1 is available for download from GNU and Puszcza archives.
        This version fixes several minor bugs that appeared in previous release 2.0.

      • Customizable Weather Widget ‘Gis Weather’ 0.8.4 Released

        Gis Weather is an open-source desktop weather widget and indicator applet with highly customizable user interface.

      • A Brighter Future is Forecast for GNOME’s Weather App

        A wave of usability improvements are on the horizon for the humble GNOME Weather app.

        The current version of the meteorological must-have might have made my list of the best weather apps for Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but I quipped “aspects of its layout bug me”.

        And it seems I’m not alone.


        Horizontal pagination seems like a logical introduction, as does separating hourly forecasts from the 10 day forecast.

        Relaying “current conditions” remains prominent in the redesign, but not at the expense of the overall layout.

        And while I like that the proposed redesign mentions the weather service that’s used as the backend, I especially like that the client as a whole makes better use of the data that this free service provides.

      • Fork Awesome Sprites for Beast

        The Font Awesome 5 package has some other nice features though, since it’s now based on an SVG icon set, it ships 3 large sprite files that can be used to address individual icons via anchors. For Beast, I decided to stick with the Font Awesome 4 look for now, but since there are good reasons not to use icon fonts and I had the infrastructure for using sprite icons already in place, I looked into ways to generate an SVG sprite file for Font Awesome 4.

        Around February 2018, Julien Deswaef and a few others decided to fork the Font Awesome 4 project as Fork-Awesome. Since then, Fork-Awesome has incorporated new icons and also generated an SVG icon set. Since it is forked from Font Awesome, it has all the Font Awesome 4 icons and can be used as a drop in replacement.

      • Some Cool Applications Developed by TeejeeTech!

        Linux is a kernel that is currently experiencing many developments. As a user, we might want to try other kernels or upgrade the latest kernel to a computer system. Users need to be careful when changing the kernel, because this section is one of the important parts of a computer system.

        But you can use Ukuu to make it easier to install and replace the kernel, because this application is an easy-to-use GUI Tool.

        Based on the information I got on the Teejectech web, Starting from version 19.01, Ukuu turned into a paid license. This is because of the lack of donations needed to continue developing this application. But for those of you who have donated to Ukuu in the past, you can contact Teejeetech via email if you want to request a paid license from this application.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
      • RetroArch will be Steam’s biggest emulation launch yet, coming July 30

        De Matteis tells Ars that this Steam version has been in the works “for a few months now,” and he expresses specific interest in using Steamworks’ Web API for future RetroArch builds. If such features are built, he says, that would create a fork in RetroArch’s build distribution; until then, what you download from RetroArch’s official site will be identical to the builds on Steam. (In a long-story-short explanation, De Matteis says that the Web API may prove necessary for the following red-tape reason: “There are certain licensing ‘how many angels can stand on the head of a pin’ issues that pertain to the Steamworks SDK and how the GPL license interprets what constitutes a system library or not.”)


        In addition to answering our questions, De Matteis coughed up one interesting bit of additional news. The 1997 N64 racing game Extreme-G may receive a retail Steam launch at an undetermined point in the future, and should this come to pass, RetroArch and its Mupen64plus emulator will power the game’s Steam version. (De Matteis described this process as “talks,” as opposed to a confirmed retail launch.) This would be a wholly separate download from RetroArch’s free Steam download, and it would require publisher Throwback Entertainment to abide by a GPL license for the emulator front-end. “We went to great lengths to ensure all involved parties like Mupen64plus were kept in the loop on this and to make sure we got their approval,” De Matteis says.

      • Cortex Command from Data Realms goes open source

        Cortex Command, a side-scrolling 2D action game originally released back in 2012 has now officially gone open source.

        In the announcement, it seems this is part of a marketing drive for their new game Planetoid Pioneers Online. Quite a nice way to do it though, I’m certainly not complaining. I think it would be great if more developers did this to their older games to help them live on.

      • Double Fine Productions have delayed Psychonauts 2 until next year, all versions still planned

        Double Fine Productions announced on their Fig campaign for Psychonauts 2 that there’s going to be a delay, with it now due in 2020.

        Let’s get to the good news first, they continue to confirm all previously mentioned platforms will be delivered which obviously includes the Linux version, just like they said before. As for the delay, they simply said it will be “next year” with no clear roadmap being given out yet.

      • Fate Hunters, another roguelike card-game with Linux support is leaving Early Access soon

        Another possible game to look at if you enjoy the likes of Slay the Spire, as Fate Hunters from Tower Games has Linux support.

      • OpenHMD version 0.3.0 is out, almost three years after the last version

        The team behind OpenHMD have now officially announced version 0.3.0, which comes with a huge amount of changes and new hardware support.

        What exactly is OpenHMD? Its aim is to provide a FOSS API and drivers for hardware like Virtual Reality Headsets and Controllers. They’re hoping to support as many devices as they possibly can, while also being cross-platform.

        From this release they now support: 3Glasses D3 (first-party support from 3Glasses), Oculus Rift CV1 (rotational), HTC Vive and HTC Vive Pro (rotational), NOLO VR (Positional including Controller support), Windows Mixed Reality HMD support (rotational), Deepoon E2, GearVR Gen1. Sadly PSVR is currently disabled due to issues, sounds like it may return later though.

      • Top-down hard sci-fi space game “Rings of Saturn” to launch in Early Access next month

        Kodera Software have released a new trailer for their hard sci-f game Rings of Saturn, with a release date teaser for Steam Early Access included.

      • Ubuntu Will Make it Easier to Install Nvidia Drivers

        It’s about to get easier for Ubuntu LTS users to stay up-to-date with Nvidia’s stable graphics drivers. The Linux Experiment said via YouTube yesterday that Ubuntu plans to make these drivers part of its Stable Release Updates (SRU) program, which means users won’t have to rely on fiddly workarounds to install the latest drivers themselves.
        Ubuntu confirmed The Linux Experiment’s report on Twitter. (The company said it didn’t make an official announcement because it “decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community.”) It also said the change is “coming in an update, to your computer… [s]oon!” in response to another user.
        Ubuntu LTS typically doesn’t offer recent updates to apps, drivers and other software. The operating system is more focused on making sure everything remains as stable as possible than on providing access to the latest-and-greatest features. SRU offers a compromise by making it easy to install new versions of popular apps.

      • Ubuntu LTS Linux Distributions Will Now Get The Latest Nvidia Drivers Installed Automatically

        The Linux Experiment dropped the news on YouTube, reporting that Ubuntu LTS installs will now automatically include the latest proprietary Nvidia graphics driver in its standard system updates. The newest stable Nvidia driver, version 430, is already in the bionic-proposed repository for testing and should land on your Ubuntu 18.04 system soon.


        The only oddity surrounding this announcement? Well, it’s a very impactful change but was seeded through a community YouTuber (albeit an excellent one), and not via a Canonical-penned blog or press release. The company responded to this on Twitter, saying “We decided it better to share an awesome video from a member of the wider community. Ubuntu is all about community, after all.”

      • Excellent! Ubuntu LTS Users Will Now Get the Latest Nvidia Driver Updates [No PPA Needed Anymore]

        You might be aware of the troubles to install the latest and greatest Nvidia binary driver updates on Ubuntu.

        By default, Ubuntu provides the open source Nvidia Nouveau drivers that some time result in Ubuntu being stuck at boot screen.

        You can also install the proprietary Nvidia driver in Ubuntu easily. The problem is that the Nvidia drivers in the default Ubuntu repositories are not the latest one. To solve this problem, Ubuntu introduced a dedicated PPA a few years back.

      • Top 30 Best Game Emulator Consoles for Linux System in 2019

        Everybody cherish those days when we used to play classic games all the time on retro consoles such as Sega, early PlayStations, and Nintendos. With personal computers getting beefier than ever and smartphones packing way much power than people imagined in those times, retro consoles are indeed in decline. However, you’re not the only one who’d like to play such old games on their modern, more recent hardware. There’s many like you and developers have created robust game emulator console systems which enable everyday Linux users to re-live those childhood nostalgias again. It’s our earnest desire to present you the best retro games emulator in this guide.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs
      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
        • The new userbase wiki

          When you find a kool feature in KDE software, you can write a small tutorial or just a small paragraph about it and the KDE Userbase Wiki is the right place to publish it. You don’t need to know how to code, have perfect English or know how MediaWiki’s formatting work, to contribute. We also need translators.

        • KDE Itinerary – Vector Graphic Barcodes

          have previously written about why we are interested in barcodes for the KItinerary extractor. This time it’s more about the how, specifically how we find and decode vector graphic barcodes in PDF files, something KItinerary wasn’t able to do until very recently.

          While PDF is a vector graphics format, most barcodes we encounter in there are actually stored as images. Technically this might not be the cleanest or most efficient way, but it makes KItinerary’s life very easy: We just iterate over all images found in the PDF, and feed them into the barcode decoder.

          It’s of course a bit more complicated to make this as efficient as possible, but conceptually you could script this with Poppler’s pdfimages command line tool and ZXing with just a few lines of code.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.60 Released With Many Changes & Fixes
        • KDE Frameworks 5.60.0

          KDE Frameworks are over 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the KDE Frameworks web page.

          This release is part of a series of planned monthly releases making improvements available to developers in a quick and predictable manner.

        • KDE Plasma5 for Slackware, introducing Qt 5.13 in the July’19 update

          Now that all major components of the KDE software stack have fresh new releases, I bundled them for Slackware-current and voila: KDE-5_19.07.

          I have uploaded KDE-5_19.07 to my ‘ktown‘ repository. As always, these packages are meant to be installed on a full installation of Slackware-current which has had its KDE4 removed first. These packages will not work on Slackware 14.2.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK
        • Andrei Lisita: Getting closer

          Since my last blog post I have been on a short vacation but I have also managed to make some progress on my GSoC project again with guidance from my mentor.


          Every savestate also has a creation date which is displayed in the menu, but that’s certainly not as eye-catching as the screenshots.

          There are still many missing features and things that need improving (such as the date formatting) but with every commit I feel that I am getting closer to the finished project.

        • Friends of GNOME Update – June 2019

          In April we visited FOSS North in Gothenburg, Sweden and Linux Fest Northwest in Bellingham, Washington, USA. Our table at FOSS North was staffed by Kristi and Neil, and volunteers Bastian, Anisa and Stefano. GNOMEie Zeeshan Ali presented on open source geolocation. Molly and Sri were at LFNW, where Molly spoke about following through on a code of conduct. Kristi participated remotely in FLISOL. There were two hackfests in May, Rust+GNOME 2019 Hackfest#5 in Berlin and Gstreamer Spring Hackfest 2019 in Oslo. We’ll be in Portland, OR, USA in July for OSCON. After OSCON we‘ll be hosting a West Coast Hackfest, July 18th – 21st.

        • Google Summer of Code with Pitivi

          This summer I am working under the mentorship of Alexandru Băluț to improve the user experience of the Effects feature in Pitivi.

          In the first phase of my project, I worked on redesigning Pitivi’s “Effect Library” to allow users to easily find, organise and utilize their desired effects.

        • g_test_summary and g_get_console_charset in GLib 2.61.2

          Another short post about new APIs, this time from the upcoming 2.61.2 release. This time it’s two unrelated new APIs, which I’m covering together because they’re fairly short.

          g_test_summary() is a new API along the same lines as the existing g_test_bug() function. It’s to be called from within a unit test to provide a summary of the test to the test harness. In contrast, g_test_bug() provides a bug reference for the unit test. In this fashion, the two can be used to provide documentation within the test code of what the test is testing, how it goes about testing it, and which bug it’s checking for regressions in. The summary passed to g_test_summary() might be printed out as a comment in the test logs.

        • GNOME’s Mutter Picks Up Another Optimization For Helping DisplayLink-Type Hardware

          Collabora’s Pekka Paalanen landed another optimization this week into GNOME’s Mutter for further enhancing the performance of using DisplayLink hardware and similar secondary GPUs under this Linux desktop.

          Over the past few cycles we’ve seen a lot of improvements made for bettering the performance of DisplayLink USB graphics connected displays under the GNOME desktop environment. While the experience has already improved a lot, for GNOME 3.34 due out in September will be more optimizations.

    • Distributions
      • Top 5 Linux Distros That Are Worth Your Attention

        For users who do not know, Linux is a family of open source operating systems which is available in a large number of variations which are often referred to as “distros”. The word “open source” means that every Linux user holds the right to alter or redistribute their very own customised version of Linux with or without a charge.

        To make it easier to understand, the core of the OS which is the “Linux Kernel” can be referred to as a universal engine. While users have the option to choose the type of car body or the features that they desire, as per their wants and requirements. Due to its open source nature, the Linux Core is picked up by several organisations or even small group of computer nerds that have developed their very own “distro’s”. Out of hundreds of registered Linux flavours, we have compiled a list of top 5 options that you must check out.

      • Fedora Family
        • FPgM report: 2019-28

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora Program Management this week. I am on PTO the week of 15 July, so there will be no FPgM report or FPgM office hours next week.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Fedora vs. Ubuntu: Linux Distros Compared

          Fedora is a free and open source Linux-based operating system that has been around since 2003. Red Hat, the world’s largest open source company prior to being bought by IBM, sponsors the project. Fedora serves as the foundation for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a version of Linux intended for companies and servers rather than personal desktop use.

          Ubuntu became the most popular Linux-based operating system not long after launching in 2004. Billionaire Mark Shuttleworth created a company called Canonical whose purpose was to create a version of Linux for general computer users. Ubuntu was that desktop.

      • Debian Family
        • Septor Linux For Surfing Internet Anonymously

          Septor Linux is based on Debian, and uses Tor technologies to make users anonymous online. Septor 2019.4 has Linux kernel 4.19 and customized version of KDE Plasma 5.14.3.

          If you do not know what Tor is, you can read this guide to know Tor in detail. But in short, Tor network transfers users requests through different other Tor clients used by people in other parts of the World which makes users completely anonymous. Due to this nature of transferring requests through many clients, it is also called the onion network.

        • Debian Edu 10 released as a complete Linux solution for schools

          After a few days of the release of the new Debian, the makers announce Debian Edu 10 that comes with updated software and new features.

          Skolelinux, which is another name for the Debian Edu operating system, is a variant of the Debian OS that is aimed at educational institutes. According to the official release notes, this OS can be used to set up a network of servers, workstations, and laptops, provide the Debian stability and configure network services itself, and manage systems and hundreds of user accounts. Thus, it can be beneficial for a significant percentage of schools, even those that have older computers.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family
        • PSA: Ubuntu 18.10 Reaches End of Life Next Week

          But on the off chance that stragglers do exist let me stress, stern teacher style, that if you use Ubuntu 18.10 beyond July 18 you will not receive any further updates from Canonical.

          This means no new Firefox, no new Thunderbird, and no critical security fixes!

          So it behoves — wow, that’s the first time I’ve used that word in my life — those affected to upgrade soon, upgrade sharpish!

          Wonderfully, it’s super easy to upgrade to Ubuntu 19.04 from 18.10. I’m talking “click a button” easy.

          Sure, you’ll need to set aside a spare half an hour, use a reliable internet connection, and queue up some cat videos to pass the time with — but it is eminently doable.

    • Devices/Embedded
    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software
      • London Launches Open Source App for Homebuilding

        Bryden Wood, Cast, and the Mayor of London have launched a new app to speed up the capital’s home building. The freely-available app, titled PRISM, is aimed at the design and construction of high-quality, factory-built homes to address the current demand of 50,000+ houses per year.

      • Web Browsers
      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
      • BSD
        • Towards Guix for DevOps

          Hey, there! I’m Jakob, a Google Summer of Code intern and new contributor to Guix. Since May, I’ve been working on a DevOps automation tool for the Guix System, which we’ve been calling guix deploy.

          The idea for a Guix DevOps tool has been making rounds on the mailing lists for some time now. Years, in fact; Dave Thompson and Chris Webber put together a proof-of-concept for it way back in 2015. Thus, we’ve had plenty of time to gaze upon the existing tools for this sort of thing — Ansible, NixOps — and fantasize about a similar tool, albeit with the expressive power of Guile scheme and the wonderful system configuration facilities of Guix. And now, those fantasies are becoming a reality.

          “DevOps” is a term that might be unfamiliar to a fair number of Guix users. I’ll spare you the detour to Wikipedia and give a brief explanation of what guix deploy does.

          Imagine that you’ve spent the afternoon playing around with Guile’s (web) module, developing software for a web forum. Awesome! But a web forum with no users is pretty boring, so you decide to shell out a couple bucks for a virtual private server to run your web forum. You feel that Wildebeest admirers on the internet deserve a platform of their own for discussion, and decide to dedicate the forum to that.

          As it turns out, C. gnou is a more popular topic than you ever would have imagined. Your web forum soon grows in size — attracting hundreds of thousands of simultaneous users. Despite Guile’s impressive performance characteristics, one lowly virtual machine is too feeble to support such a large population of Wildebeest fanatics. So you decide to use Apache as a load-balancer, and shell out a couple more bucks for a couple more virtual private servers. Now you’ve got a problem on your hands; you’re the proud owner of five or so virtual machines, and you need to make sure they’re all running the most recent version of either your web forum software or Apache.

      • Public Services/Government
        • Sweden’s digitalisation hub adopts open source policy [iophk: DIGG includes a bit of licensing FUD against GPL and copyleft]

          DIGG (Myndigheten för digital förvaltning, or agency for digital government) was founded in September 2018.

          Its open source software development policy aims to standardise and regulate ownership and set the conditions for sharing.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
        • Open Access/Content
          • University of California Loses Access to New Content in Elsevier Journals

            In a statement released Wednesday, UC’s Academic Council encouraged those at the university who might require access to Elsevier’s content to use alternative access methods, such as online repositories where authors deposit free-to-read copies of their papers, and to “refrain from any new independent subscriptions to Elsevier journals.”

            Over the last few months, Elsevier has established nationwide licensing agreements in Norway and Poland, and is close to making such a deal in Hungary. However, it remains in a stalemate in negotiations with consortia of libraries and research institutions in Germany and Sweden. Those groups have also cancelled their subscriptions with the publisher.

      • Programming/Development
        • PyBites: Code Challenge 62 – Women @ Pycon ES

          Coming thursday, the 18th of July 2019, we will organize a special challenge in collaboration with Python Alicante.

        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Coding period: week #7
        • PSF GSoC students blogs: Check in: Week 7
        • Interfaces are forever

          When we have write a function, we can sometimes change it in backwards-compatible ways. For example, we can loosen the type of a variable. We can restrict the type of the return value. We can add an optional argument.

          We can even have a backwards compatible path to make an argument required. We add an optional argument, and encourage people to change it. Then, in the next version, we make the default value be one that causes a warning. In a version after that, we make the value required. At each point, someone could write a library that worked with at least two consecutive versions.

          In a similar way, we can have a path to remove an argument. First make it optional. Then warn when it is passed in. Finally, remove it and make it an error to pass it in.

        • 10 Ways to Filter Pandas DataFrame

          In this article, we will cover various methods to filter pandas dataframe in Python. Data Filtering is one of the most frequent data manipulation operation. It is similar to WHERE clause in SQL or you must have used filter in MS Excel for selecting specific rows based on some conditions. In terms of speed, python has an efficient way to perform filtering and aggregation. It has an excellent package called pandas for data wrangling tasks. Pandas has been built on top of numpy package which was written in C language which is a low level language. Hence data manipulation using pandas package is fast and smart way to handle big sized datasets.

        • Contextual single

          Check out LibreOffice 6.3 release candidate and enjoy the new stuff come with it.

  • Leftovers
    • Science
      • Fernando Corbató, a Father of Your Computer (and Your Password), Dies at 93

        Fernando Corbató, whose work on computer time-sharing in the 1960s helped pave the way for the personal computer, as well as the computer password, died on Friday at a nursing home in Newburyport, Mass. He was 93.

        His wife, Emily Corbató, said the cause was complications of diabetes. At his death he was a professor emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

        Dr. Corbató, who spent his entire career at M.I.T., oversaw a project in the early 1960s called the Compatible Time-Sharing System, or C.T.S.S., which allowed multiple users in different locations to access a single computer simultaneously through telephone lines.

    • Health/Nutrition
      • ‘We Cannot Overstate the Harm This Decision Will Have’: Oklahoma Judge Upholds Ban on Common Abortion Procedure

        The Center for Reproductive Rights on Friday announced its intention to keep fighting after an Oklahoma court upheld a ban on a common abortion procedure.

        “We cannot overstate the harm this decision will have on women in Oklahoma,” said Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), in a statement. CRR filed the suit on behalf of Tulsa Women’s Clinic to have the law stricken down.

        Oklahoma County District Judge Cindy Truong’s ruling upholds House Bill 1721, a 2015 law that “targets a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D and E), which is frequently used during second-trimester abortions,” as Rewire’s legislative tracker noted.

        The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has called D and E “evidence-based and medically preferred because it results in the fewest complications for women compared to alternative procedures.” Efforts to ban any particular type of procedure, the group said, “represent legislative interference at its worst: doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients. This is unacceptable.”

      • US House Applauded for Approval of ‘Sweeping’ Provisions That Target Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

        Public health and environmental advocates celebrated a victory Friday as the U.S. House approved an amendment in the annual defense spending bill that would designate a class of “forever chemicals” as “hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law.

        The amendment was one of several provisions targeting toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—collectively called PFAS—that the Democratic-controlled House passed this week as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020.

    • Security
      • Adjusting the Scope of our Security Vulnerability Disclosure Program

        At EFF we put security and privacy first. That’s why over three years ago we launched EFF’s Security Vulnerability Disclosure Program. The Disclosure Program is a set of guidelines on how security researchers can tell EFF about bugs in the software we develop, like HTTPS Everywhere or Certbot. When we launched the program, it was a bit of an experiment. After all, as a lean, member-driven nonprofit, we can’t give out the tremendous cash rewards that large corporations can provide for zero days. Instead, all we can offer security researchers in return for their hard work is recognition on our EFF Security Hall of Fame page and other non-cash rewards like EFF gear or complimentary EFF memberships.

        Despite the limited rewards, the program has been a tremendous success. As of June 1, 2019, we’ve had over seventy different security researchers report valid security vulnerabilities to us, as you can see on our Security Hall of Fame page.

      • Court: Computer Experts May Examine Georgia Voting Systems

        A federal court in Georgia has ruled that Georgia election officials must allow the Coalition for Good Governance to review the state’s election management databases. The Coalition argued that the databases “provide the roadmap that needs to be analyzed to identify flaws” in the state election system.

      • Hackers breach Canonical GitHub account [Ed: They breached a Microsoft GitHub account, but never blame Microsoft for anything...]

        Hackers compromised credentials to break into a Canonical Ltd. GitHub account…

      • Why recent hacks show Apple’s security strength, not its weakness [Ed: Spinning bug doors as a strength? Apple has its share of liars coming to the rescue of proprietary software (not the first such bug). Moving from Microsoft to Apple "for security" is like swapping vodka for rum to cure one's liver.]

        It might be tempting to follow that line of thinking in light of two recent stories of vulnerabilities affecting the Mac and the Apple Watch. In the first instance, the Zoom video-calling app could be abused to let someone spy on you through your webcam. In the second, a flaw in Apple’s Walkie Talkie app could let a hacker eavesdrop on your iPhone conversations. They’re both troubling security issues.

      • Eavesdropping Concerns Cause Apple Watch’s Walkie-Talkie App to Be Disabled

        Just like any other Internet of things device, it’s important to remember that smartwatches are still devices. And many cool features can also be used for unethical purposes. There is always another side of the coin.

        This is what Apple Watch users found this week when Apple disabled the Walkie-Talkie app when it was discovered that it allowed users to listen in on each other’s iPhone calls without the other person’s knowledge.

      • 250M Accounts Affected By ‘TrickBot’ Trojan’s New Cookie Stealing Ability

        Popular malware TrickBot is back and this time it has learned some new capabilities like stealing cookies. So far, it has infected around 250 million Gmail accounts.

        As per the research firm Deep Instinct, among the affected accounts, some belonging to the governments of the US, the UK, and Canada have also fallen victim to TrickBot.

      • TrickBooster – TrickBot’s Email-Based Infection Module – Deep Instinct

        Seeing a signed malware binary delivered to a customer environment prompted us to investigate further. We analyzed the malware sample and found swaths of PowerShell code in its memory. Analysis of this PowerShell code immediately led us to the conclusion that we are dealing with a mail-bot.

      • A better zip bomb

        This article shows how to construct a non-recursive zip bomb that achieves a high compression ratio by overlapping files inside the zip container. “Non-recursive” means that it does not rely on a decompressor’s recursively unpacking zip files nested within zip files: it expands fully after a single round of decompression. The output size increases quadratically in the input size, reaching a compression ratio of over 28 million (10 MB → 281 TB) at the limits of the zip format. Even greater expansion is possible using 64-bit extensions. The construction uses only the most common compression algorithm, DEFLATE, and is compatible with most zip parsers.

    • Defence/Aggression
      • Amazon, Microsoft Wage War Over the Pentagon’s ‘War Cloud’

        Amazon and Microsoft are battling it out over a $10 billion opportunity to build the U.S. military its first “war cloud” computing system. But Amazon’s early hopes of a shock-and-awe victory may be slipping away.

        Formally called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure plan, or JEDI, the military’s computing project would store and process vast amounts of classified data, allowing the Pentagon to use artificial intelligence to speed up its war planning and fighting capabilities. The Defense Department hopes to award the winner-take-all contract as soon as August. Oracle and IBM were eliminated at an earlier round of the contract competition.

        But that’s only if the project isn’t derailed first. It faces a legal challenge by Oracle and growing congressional concerns about alleged Pentagon favoritism toward Amazon. Military officials hope to get started soon on what will be a decade-long business partnership they describe as vital to national security.

        “This is not your grandfather’s internet,” said Daniel Goure, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a defense-oriented think tank. “You’re talking about a cloud where you can go from the Pentagon literally to the soldier on the battlefield carrying classified information.”

        Amazon was considered an early favorite when the Pentagon began detailing its cloud needs in 2017, but its candidacy has been marred by an Oracle allegation that Amazon executives and the Pentagon have been overly cozy. Oracle has a final chance to make its case against Amazon — and the integrity of the government’s bidding process — in a court hearing Wednesday.

        “This is really the cloud sweepstakes, which is why there are such fierce lawsuits,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
      • This Chrome Extension Calls Out Sponsored YouTube Videos

        Federal Trade Commission guidelines for social media endorsements require that influencers prominently disclose if they receive anything—cash, gifts, or something else—that could affect how users view their mention of a company or product. However, few do. Last year, an analysis of over 500,000 YouTube videos and more than 2.1 million Pinterest pins conducted by the Princeton researchers found that influencers rarely disclose their connections to such affiliate marketing links.

        Even users savvy about influencer marketing can find it hard to identify affiliate marketing links. A new browser extension released by some of the same Princeton researchers makes them more obvious.

        The extension, dubbed AdIntuition, displays a hot pink banner warning users that “This video contains affiliate links. If you click on highlighted links, the creator receives a commission.” The extension was released this week for the Chrome and Firefox browsers. The researchers say they’re interested in applying it to other browsers and platforms, like email lists or blogs, as well. Getting it inside apps—even YouTube’s app—poses additional challenges, researcher Arunesh Mathur said.

      • Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter

        One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.

        Any Assange supporter active on Twitter will be familiar with the Unity4J account, which originated to help boost the wildly successful Unity4J online vigils in which well-known Assange defenders would appear to speak out against his persecution. As of this writing, the account has been gone for a day and a half.

        “About 8:45am CST on Thursday July 11, one of our Unity4J Twitter team members went to retweet on the account and noticed that the account was no longer accessible,” reports pro-Assange activist Christy Dopf, one of the operators of the account. “When each of us also attempted to access the account we all received the same message ‘Account Suspended’. Twitter did not send us a reason or violation for the suspension. So an appeal was submitted. We did receive correspondence that Twitter got our request and the case is currently open. Unfortunately we do not have a timeline on how long this could take.”


        The censorship of political speech on online media platforms is a large and growing problem. Twitter has been better about this than the far more sycophantic Facebook and Google, but the discrimination against anti-establishment political speech is undeniable at this point. I myself was removed from the platform last year just for saying the world would be better off without warmongering US Senator John McCain in it, and was only restored after protests from high-profile Twitter users.

        In a corporatist system of government, in which there is no meaningful separation of corporate power and state power, corporate censorship is state censorship. With giant Silicon Valley corporations aligning themselves with shady state-funded propagandistic think tanks like the Atlantic Council, being admonished on the Senate floor that they must help quash political rebellion, and being targeted for narrative control influence by the US military, there’s vanishingly little difference between what’s happening more and more to political speech with these tech giants and what happens in overtly totalitarian governments. The only difference is the stories people choose to tell themselves about it.

      • EPIC, Coalition Ask Congress to Block CIA Proposal to Limit Agency Accountability

        EPIC and a coalition of government transparency advocates have urged Senate and House leaders to remove a proposed change to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 that would dramatically expand the crime of disclosing the identity of intelligence agents. The CIA has been lobbying Congress to modify the Intelligence Identities Protection Act’s penalties, which could be applied to whistleblowers, public interest organizations, and journalists who try to expose mismanagement, fraud, and corruption in the intelligence community.

    • Environment
      • Indonesia President Joko vows to fight EU palm oil rules

        Brussels wants to limit the materials that can be used in fuel that is counted towards its renewable energy targets.

        It has set a 2030 limit for phasing out palm oil, which environmentalists say drives deforestation and climate change.

        But the plans have angered big palm oil-producing nations like Indonesia and Malaysia, whose economies are dependent on the commodity.

      • The real victims of the palm oil industry are orangutans

        Two nations, Indonesia and Malaysia, provide the world with more than 80 per cent of the palm oil used in everything from biofuel and cooking oil to lipstick and chocolate. Last September, amid concerns over the diminishing habitat for endangered species and dangerous carbon emissions from mass burnings to clear land, Indonesia stopped issuing new licences for palm oil plantations.

        But as Hope’s plight shows, directives issued in air-conditioned government offices can mean little in poor villages. The global appetite for palm oil is still voracious.

      • With funding from palm oil and schools, Indonesia’s terror group Jemaah Islamiah set for resurgence in Malaysia, Singapore

        With members steeped in extremist doctrine and regarded as better trained than the al-Qaeda, the group has found new financial stability with steady income generated from the palm oil industry and a score of private religious schools to revive its militant activities that will likely include reviving its cells in Malaysia and Singapore, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported yesterday.

      • Instagrammers flocking to a gorgeous Siberian lake have been warned not to swim in it because it’s a chemical dump for a coal plant

        Instagram users have been warned against swimming in the body of water, a man-made lake nicknamed the “Novosibirsk Maldives” because its vibrant blue color comes from metal oxides dumped in it from a nearby coal plant, according to recent reports from CNN, The Moscow Times, and Mashable.

      • Instagrammers warned against swimming in toxic Siberian ‘Maldives’ lake

        “In the last week, our ash dump of the Novosibirsk TEZ-5 has become the star of social networks,” it said. “But you CANNOT swim in the ash dump. Its water has high alkaline environment. This is due to the fact that calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. Skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction!”

      • Show Your Stripes: visualizing climate change in your location by displaying 100 years of average temperatures in color bars

        Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist, created Show Your Stripes as a way to easily visualize the past century’s climate change: give it a location and it will render a series of stripes representing a century’s worth of average annual temperatures [...]

      • Government Scientists Warn Americans Should Brace For ‘Floodier’ Future

        A report released Wednesday by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that sunny day flooding, also known as tidal flooding, will continue to increase.

      • Brussels calls on Madrid, Barcelona to do more to combat air pollution

        The European Commission has warned Spain it may face disciplinary action if it does not introduce tougher measures to reduce air pollution. According to sources from the European Union, environmental inspectors are keeping Spain “in the waiting room” while they decide whether to take the country to the EU Court of Justice over its failure to meet EU pollution thresholds.

      • Energy
        • Louisiana Braces for a Storm While Weighing New Fossil Fuel Projects

          Yesterday, I stopped writing another story for DeSmog to get ready for what could likely become this year’s first hurricane in the U.S.

          I live in Mandeville, Louisiana, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain across from New Orleans. My home is above sea level, unlike much of New Orleans, so I’m at a much lower risk for flooding impacts than residents of a city nearly synonymous with flooding.

          However, like most residents in south coastal Louisiana, I’m bracing myself for a sustained barrage from the sky, as bands of rain and wind from Tropical Storm Barry arrived in parts of the state this morning. The entire Louisiana coast could be hit with the season’s first hurricane by Saturday.

        • Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez Unveil Climate Emergency Declaration

          After Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday introduced a resolution declaring the climate crisis a national emergency, grassroots environmental groups pressured members of Congress to back the declaration and heed its call for transformative action.

          “Instead of remaining complicit in worsening the effects of climate change, members of Congress in both the House and Senate must respond to this resolution with the urgency and support that this moment demands,” said climate group Extinction Rebellion, which is holding a rally in Washington, D.C. Tuesday evening to urge lawmakers to sign on to the emergency declaration.

          “Today we stand in solidarity with tens of millions of people from around the world in calling for a mass mobilization of our social and economic resources,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement. “Working to solve the climate crisis will create tens of millions of union jobs, empower communities, and improve the quality of life for people across the globe.”

          The resolution, also sponsored by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), states “there is a climate emergency which demands a massive-scale mobilization to halt, reverse, and address its consequences and causes.”

      • Wildlife/Nature
        • Save the Whales

          Two new documentaries share by pure coincidence the threat to sea mammals posed by venal Chinese consumerism.

          “Long Gone Wild”, which is available across all VOD platforms on July 16th, picks up where “Blackfish” left off. Made in 2013, “Blackfish” exposed the cruel exploitation of orcas at SeaWorld, where they were confined to unnatural, prison-like conditions and forced to perform circus-type tricks until the 12,500-pound Tilikum began to take vengeance on two of his trainers and a hapless trespasser. “Long Gone Wild” demonstrates that while SeaWorld made significant concessions to activists and scientists, it has continued to explore ways in which the killer whale can be commodified. Ironically, the nomenclature “killer whale” seems inappropriate since it is profit-seeking that is the real killer, especially as China has become the new SeaWorld colossus with Russia supplying most of the kidnapped creatures for big money.

          “Sea of Shadows”, which opens at The Landmark at 57 West and Quad Cinema in New York today, concerns the vaquita, the smallest porpoise in existence. It is poised on the edge of extinction largely as collateral damage created once again by China. It turns out that the swimming bladder of the totoaba, a member of the drum family, is prized by Chinese for its medicinal properties and that can command $40,000 on the black market just like rhinoceros horns and other animal organs taken from animals at the top of the food chain. The fisherman of San Felipe, a seacoast village in Baja California, have begun using gillnets to snare the totoaba but the vaquitas are caught as well. Except for a small minority of fishermen in the village who disavow such wasteful practices, the rest are willing to break the law as part of cartel run by local gangsters and their Chinese middle-men.

          “Long Gone Wild” is directed by William Neal, who has a long television career making commercial junk like Unsolved Mysteries for the Lifetime Network but who also considers himself an animal lover, with a particular passion for orcas. What makes the film stand out is his inclusion of a virtual who’s who of experts on orcas in captivity and in their natural state, which is about as far removed from SeaWorld as a Sing Sing prison cell would be from a country home in Vermont.

      • Overpopulation
        • Plant Researchers Brace for Population Explosion

          The global population continues to rise. By the middle of the century, it could reach 10 billion people, according to forecasts. The United Nations (UN) has calculated that between 2050 and 2070, twice as much food will have to be produced than now. Yet the conditions for this are worse than they were during the Green Revolution several decades ago.

          The fact is, in order to avoid exacerbating climate change, the amount of cultivated land should not increase. No new piece of rainforest should be cleared to make way for new fields, according to the UN’s plan. Every additional calorie must, therefore, be created on existing fields and pastures. It may sound counterintuitive, but according to the UN, in order to produce food sustainably in the long term, more intensive agriculture will be needed.

        • The world’s population is nearing 8 billion. That’s not great news

          It took thousands of years for the global population to hit 5 billion, which happened in 1987. Some 32 years later, we’re closing in on 8 billion.

          This explosive growth concerns leaders at the United Nations, who created World Population Day in 1989 to raise awareness about the problems caused by overpopulation. The holiday is observed annually on July 11.

          The planet’s population today is 7.7 billion. How mind-bogglingly huge is that number? If you started now and ticked off 7.7 billion seconds, you wouldn’t be done until the year 2263.

          And by 2050, the world is projected to add another 2 billion people.
          If we have issues with overpopulation now, just image the future impact on the planet. Here’s a closer look at some global population trends.

    • Finance
      • Sanders Joins Union Leaders and Healthcare Workers In Protesting ‘Corporate Greed’-Fueled Private Equity Sale of Philadelphia Hospital

        Sen. Bernie Sanders joined hundreds of union workers and Philadelphia community members on Thursday in decrying the planned closure of Hahnemann University Hospital, whose assets were recently put up for sale by Joel Freedman, the private equity executive who bought it last year.

        The 171-year-old hospital, which has served low-income residents since before the Civil War and which tens of thousands of people rely on for their primary care, will not simply be sold to another healthcare company, but will rather go to the highest bidder, with its real estate likely being taken over to develop luxury condos and hotels in a neighborhood that’s considered a “gateway location” for gentrification.

        Sanders denounced the planned closing in an editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer, while hundreds of people rallied outside the hospital.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
      • Warren responds to Trump retreat on census citizenship question: ‘Wow, he’s going to follow the law?’

        Warren said Trump’s insistence on collecting data on people’s citizenship status fit into a broader pattern of behavior for the president, accusing him of routinely pitting Americans of different races, religions and ethnicities against one another.

      • The White House Social Media Summit Was as Bonkers as We Expected

        The White House did not invite the big social media companies to its event on purported bias against conservatives. There was no constructive conversation around the many and varied problems of social media to be had on Thursday. The public portion of the much-publicized event instead resembled a live reenactment of one of Trump’s early-morning tweetstorms.

      • One day encapsulated everything that’s wrong with Fox News[iophk: it is the only program available in many geographical areas.]

        Tuesday may have been an especially ugly day for Fox News, but it wasn’t particularly unusual. The network regularly comes under fire for spreading conspiracy theories, amplifying white nationalist themes, and pulling out all the stops to demean critics of President Trump.

        Yet Fox News was the most watched outlet on all of basic cable in the second quarter of this year, marking 70 consecutive quarters that it has been the most watched cable news network.

      • [Old] In this town, TV news is often the same
      • [Old] Sinclair Broadcasting under fire for fake news script

        A viral clip highlighting a mandatory promo released by the right-wing Sinclair Broadcasting company, which owns more than 200 local news stations across the country, has drawn widespread concern.

        A video compilation of dozens of local news anchors repeating the same script was released by Deadspin over the weekend, and now the nation’s largest owner of local television stations is facing backlash for its pro-Trump propaganda.

      • Feds allow campaigns to accept discounted cybersecurity services [iophk: fails to note the fundamental cause of the problems: Microsoft products]

        The Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Thursday approved a request from a private company to provide discounted cybersecurity services to political campaigns, saying it did not violate campaign finance rules.

      • Donald Trump accuses Facebook and Twitter of ‘terrible bias’

        Speaking at the Presidential Social Media Summit in the White House on Thursday, Trump – best known for his 1989 appearance in Ghosts Can’t Do It – said: “We’re not going to be silenced,” as he accused social media companies Facebook, Twitter and Google of “terrible bias” against him.

      • Judge allows outside inspection of Georgia voting system

        Voters reported that voting machines failed to record their choices, flipped their votes from one candidate to another and produced questionable results.

      • Georgia’s new voting system actually decreases election security, say experts

        Despite this, the commission ultimately did not recommend measures backed by Lee and his colleagues at places like Stanford, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and Google—including the recommendation that the state return to a system of paper ballots filled out by hand, combined with what scientists call risk-limiting audits. Instead, the commission recommended buying a system that included another, more expensive touchscreen voting machine that prints a paper ballot. Months later, Lee was at a loss to explain: “I don’t understand why they still don’t understand,” he said.

      • Judge: Georgia must allow inspection of election databases

        The lawsuit was filed by a group of voters and the Coalition for Good Governance, an election integrity advocacy organization. It argues that the paperless touchscreen voting machines Georgia has used since 2002 are unsecure, vulnerable to [attacks] and unable to be audited.

      • Al Qaeda releases maiden video on Kashmir; issues threats to army, govt

        The video was been checked by the security agencies who believed that it was an attempt to unite the disgruntled terrorist ranks in the valley, officials said.

      • Why Is The Washington Post Publishing Blatantly False Propaganda About Section 230?

        One of the big points we keep making about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is that we totally get it when grandstanding politicians or online trolls misrepresent the law. But the media should not be complicit in pumping blatantly false statements. While I may disagree with them personally, there are intellectually honest arguments for why Section 230 should be amended or changed. I’m happy to debate those arguments. What’s ridiculous, however, is when the arguments are based on a completely false reading of the law. And no upstanding news organization should allow blatant misinformation like that. However, with all the misguided screaming about “liberal bias” in the media, newspapers like the Washington Post and the NY Times seem to feel like they need to publish blatant disinformation, to avoid having trolls and idiots accuse them of bias.

        Even so, the Washington Post’s decision to publish this op-ed by Charlie Kirk attacking Section 230 may be the worst we’ve seen. It is so full of factually false information, misleading spin, and just downright disinformation that no respectable publication should have allowed it to be published. And yet, there it is in the Washington Post — one of the major news organizations that Donald Trump likes to declare “fake news.” If you’re unaware of Kirk, he’s a vocal Trump supporter, who runs an organization called Turning Point USA that appears to specialize in playing the victim in all sorts of ridiculous conspiracies… all while (hypocritically) arguing that his political opponents (“the libs”) are always acting as victims and are “training a generation of victims who are being trained to be offended by something.” And yet, it seems that it’s really Kirk who is always offended.

      • ‘We Have a President Who Lost the Popular Vote by Three Million’: Sanders Backs Abolishing the Electoral College

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Thursday expressed support for abolishing the Electoral College, arguing it is difficult to justify a system that allows a candidate to become president after losing the popular vote by a large margin.

        “It is hard to defend a system in which we have a president who lost the popular vote by three million votes,” Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said during a town hall hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens. “So the answer is yes.”

      • ‘Visit the Camps Yet?’ Campaign Urges Pelosi to See for Herself the Horrific Conditions at Trump Detention Centers

        Instead of attacking members of Congress who are fighting to end the appalling conditions inside President Donald Trump’s immigrant detention facilities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should visit the camps to see firsthand the abuse taking place at the southern border.

        That’s the message of a new pressure campaign by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC), which slammed Pelosi for agreeing last month to pass a $4.6 billion border funding bill with no safeguards for immigrant children.

        PCCC said in a petition circulated Thursday that Pelosi and other supporters of the legislation—including members of the conservative Blue Dog caucus—should see for themselves the mistreatment they are enabling by continuing to appropriate money for Border Patrol, ICE, and other agencies.

        “Speaker Pelosi, visit the camps!” the petition reads. “And bring the conservative Democrats with you—so you can all see why Trump’s child abuse at the border needs to be reined in now.”

        In an email to supporters late Thursday, PCCC said the border funding bill “gave Trump billions with no strings attached to help the kids and families trapped in dehumanizing camps.”

        “Then,” said PCCC, “Pelosi attacked [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] for standing up for the families—further playing into the hands of Trump, [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, and conservative Democrats!”

    • Censorship/Free Speech
      • The hate-speech law will turn the Internet into television

        The proposed bill from Laetitia Avia claims its ambition to make the “Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel” (CSA, French Superior Council of the Audiovisual) platforms’ supervisor in the fight against online hate speech. Actually, the law goes much further than its proclaimed goal. As feared for several years, it begins the transformation of the authority into a major regulator of the Internet, along the lines of the “Comité Supérieur de la Télématique” (French High Council for Telematics) that François Fillon has proposed since 1996. Entrenching the dangerous conflation of the Internet and television, the Avia bill contributes to the centralisation and the increasing extra-judicial nature of the Internet. It could risk transforming the CSA into a dark version of the ORTF (the French national radio and TV censor body in place from 1964 to 1974).

      • Senator Graham Spreads A Bunch Of Nonsense About ‘Protecting Digital Innocence’ Online

        It starts out with a prosecutor from South Carolina, Duffie Stone, moral panicking about basically everything. Encryption is evil. Children are being sex trafficked online. And, um, gangs are recruiting members with (gasp) music videos. Later he complains that some of those kids (gasp!) mock law enforcement in their videos. Something must be done! The second speaker, a law professor, Angela Campell, claims that we need more laws “for the children!” She also goes further and says that the FTC should go after Google and others for not magically stopping scammy companies from existing. Then there was this guy, Christopher McKenna, from an organization (“Protect Young Eyes!”) dedicated to moral panics, telling all sorts of unbelievable anecdotes about evil predators stalking young people on Instagram and “grooming” them. Remember, that actual data on this kind of activity shows that it’s actually quite rare (not zero, and that’s not excusing it when it does happen, but the speaker makes it sound like every young girl on Instagram is likely to be at risk of sex trafficking). He also asks the government to require an MPAA/ESRB-style “rating” system for apps — apparently unaware that laws attempting to require such ratings have been struck down as unconstitutional, and the MPAA/ESRB ratings only exist through voluntary agreements.

      • Trump accuses Twitter and Facebook of censoring him and conservative commentators during bizarre ‘social-media summit’

        President Donald Trump hosted a freewheeling meeting at the White House on Thursday, where he once again accused social-media companies like Twitter and Facebook of censoring him and conservative voices.

      • The Nazi-Free Alternative to Twitter Is Now Home to the Biggest Far Right Social Network

        Though larger social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have banned neo-Nazi and far-right content outright, Gab has not meaningfully cracked down. The effect has been to drive militant neo-Nazis to Gab and other fringe social media sites like Minds. While Gab says it enforces a strict content policy outlawing extremism and hate speech, neo-Nazi terror groups have enjoyed months-long, unfettered stints posting their content on Gab to a significant audience.

      • Trump slams tech firms at ‘free speech’ social media summit

        Although any censorship of mainstream conservative views has yet to be established, the big tech companies have been under recent pressure to ensure that their platforms are not used to disseminate extremist content. Twitter has banned hate speech targeting someone’s race, gender and other categories, while Facebook has banned extremist figures such as Alex Jones of the conspiracy theory and fake news website Infowars and Louis Farrakhan of the African-American political and religious movement Nation of Islam.

      • If this is the oldest Danish porn, does that make Glenn Ford the earliest fluffer?

        The use of an identified magazine supports the possibility that the blue movie ‘Trøst’ was made in 1946, a year before the current record holder.

      • Laura Loomer Files Defamation Suit Against Facebook For Calling Her ‘Dangerous’ When Booting Her From The Platform

        Having failed to convince a federal court that multiple social media services are engaged in a First Amendment-thwarting conspiracy against far right sideshows like Laura Loomer, Larry Klayman is back with another federal lawsuit featuring his new favorite plaintiff. It’s a defamation lawsuit that attempts to portray moderation explanations by Facebook as malicious statements meant to destroy Loomer’s reputation.

      • President Trump Loses — Government Can’t Block Critics on Social Media

        In a long-awaited ruling, the Second Circuit has found that the replies section on President Trump’s Twitter @realDonaldTrump is a public forum and that the President cannot block his critics from reading his tweets or participating in the forum merely because his dislikes the views they express. This ruling, along with two previous federal appellate court decisions, directly affects thousands of government social media accounts across the country. Government officials and agencies who operate their social media accounts as public or non-public forums must not delete comments or block users because the officials disagree with the viewpoints expressed.

        The President and his advisors had admitted earlier in the case that they blocked the plaintiffs because they disagreed with the viewpoints they expressed in their replies. As a result, the case addressed only the issue of viewpoint discrimination, and not any other reason for blocking, such as harassment.

        The Second Circuit made several important findings.

        First, the court found that @realDonaldTrump is in fact controlled and maintained by the government, and used to conduct official governmental business. The Court relied on the bio in the @realDonaldTrump profile and other public statements and documented how he used the account to announce changes in his cabinet, changes in government policy positions, and even informing the public about talks with North Korea about nuclear disarmament. In finding that the blocking was state, and not private, action, the court rejected the government’s argument that the President still used the account as a private person, and found it irrelevant that he originally started the account as a private citizen.

      • SPLC Asks Court To Toss Proud Boy Founder’s Defamation Lawsuit By Asking ‘Where’s The Lie?’

        A few months ago, Proud Boys founder (and Vice co-founder) Gavin McInnes sued the Southern Poverty Law Center over a bunch of negative things it said about him and the “western chauvinist” group he founded. The SPLC designated the Proud Boys as a “hate group,” citing lots of hateful things its members have said/participated in.

        As is the wont of far too many “free speech warriors” who believe free speech means everyone else shutting the hell up and letting them spew their ignorance, Gavin McInnes decided the opinion of the SPLC was actionable libel. It isn’t. Not even in Alabama. Unfortunately, the state has no anti-SLAPP law, so the SPLC must defend itself against McInnes’ ridiculous claims with almost zero hope of recovering any of its legal costs.

        If you want to know everything wrong with McInnes’ claims, Mike Masnick’s very thorough post goes into great detail about the stupidity of the lawsuit, the hypocrisy of McInnes and his legal rep (Ron Coleman), and disingenuousness of attempting to use government force to silence certain people’s opinions while pretending you’re so very worried about the state of free speech in America.

        To sum up briefly, McInnes claims the SPLC’s “hate group” claim rises above mere opinion because… some people might agree with the SPLC’s assessment of the Proud Boys. McInnes, as the founder of the Proud Boys, claims this has harmed him directly, as have a number of allegedly-defamatory claims made about him directly by the SPLC.

      • Controversial platform Gab slams White House for not inviting it to social media summit

        Gab, the controversial social media platform that has been criticized for hosting white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, on Thursday slammed the White House for not inviting it to President Trump’s social media summit.

        The White House social media summit, set for Thursday afternoon, boasts a guest list of high-profile online conspiracy theorists and right-wing figures who have crusaded against the country’s largest tech companies for allegedly censoring right-wing perspectives.

    • Privacy/Surveillance
      • Sajid Javid ignores critics and backs cops’ facial recognition trials

        The Home Secretary, who recently came runner up in this year’s Britain’s Got Tories, said it was important that police made use of the controversial mug-scanning technology to help them solve crimes, despite the fact that 81 per cent of the time, it’s wrong every time.

        Speaking at the launch of new computer technology aimed at helping police fight against online child abuse, as per the BBC, Javid said it was right for forces to “be on top of the latest technology.”

      • Google’s latest attempt at a social network is called Shoelace and it wants to connect more people in real life

        Shoelace is a product of Google’s internal startup incubator, known as Area 120. For now, the Android and iOS versions are invite-only within “select communities” and available only in New York City.

        A Google spokesperson told Business Insider on Thursday: “One of the many projects that we’re working on within Area 120 is Shoelace, an app that helps people meet others with similar interests in person through curated activities. Like other projects within Area 120, it’s an early experiment so there aren’t many details to share right now.”

      • Microsoft sneaks telemetry into Windows 7 security updates

        Therefore, there’s only one word to describe this sneaky addition – contemptuous. Microsoft has broken its own rules here and been flippin’ sneaky about it – which suggests to these tired eyes that there’s going to be a return to pop-up reminders about why you should upgrade ad nauseum for the next six months.

      • Trump Warns Facebook Over Its Plan to Create a Digital Currency [iophk: tweets in place of official statements ]

        Trump’s Twitter comments add to the political heat that the world’s largest social network is already facing in Washington over its cryptocurrency agenda. Lawmakers are preparing to grill the company on Libra at two hearings scheduled for next week and Facebook executives have been holding meetings across Capitol Hill for days to try to ease their concerns.

      • Google says its workers are listening to and transcribing your Google Assistant commands

        It’s not just Amazon’s Alexa that is listening in on your commands — a new report from Dutch publication VRT NWS reveals that Google is also keeping an ear on our conversations.

        According to VRT NWS, the technology company hires independent contractors around the world to listen to and transcribe audio recordings picked up by Google Assistant in order to improve the technology.

        A Google spokesman confirmed this in a statement to Business Insider and said that its language experts transcribe “a small set of queries” – around 0.2% of all audio snippets – and that this work is “critical” to developing technology that powers products such as Google Assistant.

      • Is Twitter Down? Users Report Issues With Social Media Website

        Twitter confirmed on its status website that there was an active incident, which was described as a service disruption. Twitter informed users that the organization was investigating the issue people were having with accessing the website and promised to keep people updated on the situation.

        Earlier on Thursday, users complained that Reddit had issues as well. When attempting to access the website from a desktop, users saw the “Ow!” error message and were informed that their “CDN” was unable to reach servers. However, it seemed the problem didn’t carry over to the mobile version of the website because users were still able to access it and browse subreddits on mobile devices.

      • London Police Facial Recognition ‘Fails 80% Of The Time And Must Stop Now’

        London’s Metropolitan Police’s controversial trial of facial recognition technology to spot suspects failed to work 80% of the time and could be ruled illegal, according to researchers.

        The researchers from the University of Essex said the problems were so bad that the use of facial recognition by the Met should be stopped immediately.

      • Digital Rights Group Says Facial Recognition Surveillance ‘Simply Should Not Exist’ is the digital rights group’s latest online call to action, featuring an online form that quickly connects people to their local, state, and federal lawmakers. The website makes the case that Silicon Valley lobbyists are “trying to avoid the real debate: whether technology this dangerous should even exist.”

      • ICE and the Ever-Widening Surveillance Dragnet

        Three years ago, the center revealed that nearly half of all U.S. adults are already in the FBI’s facial-recognition database, which is largely sourced from DMV photos. The documents uncovered this week are the first confirmation that states have granted ICE specifically, not just the FBI, access to those databases.

      • FTC Approves Roughly $5 Billion Facebook Settlement

        The Federal Trade Commission has endorsed a roughly $5 billion settlement with Facebook Inc. over a long-running probe into the tech giant’s privacy missteps, according to people familiar with the matter.

        FTC commissioners this past week voted 3-2 in favor of the agreement, with the Republican majority backing the pact while Democratic commissioners objected, the people said. The matter has been moved to the Justice Department’s civil division and it is unclear how long it will take to finalize, one of the people said. Justice Department reviews are part of FTC procedure but typically don’t change the outcome of a decision by the commission.

        A settlement is expected to tighten government restrictions on how Facebook treats user privacy. The additional terms of the settlement couldn’t immediately be learned.

      • WSJ Reports that FTC Agrees to $5B Fine Against Facebook

        The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly approved a $5 billion fine against Facebook, the largest fine in the Commission’s history. EPIC brought the original complaint to the FTC that led to the 2011 Consent Order against Facebook.

      • Is a Big Tech Breakup Coming Soon? Don’t Hold Your Breath

        Last October, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a series of hearings on competition and consumer protection, including one focused on a major concern held by critics: big tech company acquisitions of nascent and potential competitors in the digital economy. In June, reports emerged that enforcement agencies had launched investigations to determine whether big tech companies are violating antitrust laws, with the FTC focusing on Amazon and Facebook and the Department of Justice (DOJ) examining Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Apple.

      • EPIC Urges FAA to Act on Drone ID Broadcast Requirement

        The EU will require real-time broadcasting of the drone operator registration number, the geographical position of the drone, the drone route course, and the position of the drone operator. In a letter to the FAA earlier this year, Senators Edward Markey (D-MA) and John Thune (R-SD) also urged the FAA to establish a rule for the real-time, remote identification of drones.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press
      • Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi heckled in London over press censorship

        Qureshi was attending a press conference on ‘Defend Media Freedom’ in London on Thursday when the incident took place, days after Pakistan Electronic Media Regula­tory Authority (Pemra) suspended transmission of three private TV channels for airing an interview of jailed former President Asif Ali Zardari.

      • All the President’s Trolls

        That online culture has turned into a major tool in Trump’s quest for reelection. Amid the chaos of his first term and his fervent insistence that a second term in office will “Keep America Great,” Trump has looked to his online followers to provide a repeat of their 2016 performance, when they produced copious memes to boost the real estate mogul’s campaign.

        A few months into the 2020 campaign, @CarpeDonktum, who has so far managed to stay anonymous and has said he hopes to stay that way to avoid threats to his family, has emerged as this election cycle’s most influential meme-maker. (@CarpeDonktum did not respond to an interview request from Foreign Policy.)

      • Shireen Mazari promises swift action against online trolls targeting women journalists

        Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari met with representatives from The Coalition For Women In Journalism (CFWIJ) on Thursday and assured them that the government takes the issue of threats against journalists seriously and is working to address it.

      • Amal Clooney Slams Donald Trump Over “Fake News” Attacks On Media

        However, Hunt conceded that his own country itself must “do better”, after being ranked 33rd in the 2019 world press freedom index by campaign group Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

      • Reporters Without Borders Urges Saudi Arabia to Free 30 Jailed Journalists

        A delegation from Reporters Without Borders met with top Saudi officials this year, including the foreign minister and justice minister, the organization said, in a visit that was spurred by widespread outrage about the killing of the Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.

        The main objective of the trip was to urge the Saudi government to free the 30 journalists, but the kingdom’s dismal ranking in the organization’s annual press freedom index also became a focus of conversation, according to Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, who was part of the delegation. Saudi Arabia was ranked 172nd out of 180 countries on the group’s annual list for 2019.

      • Two Ghanaian journalists arrested and interrogated, one allegedly tortured in custody

        On June 27, in Accra, the capital, Ministry of National Security officers arrested Abugri and Britwum at the offices of their employer, the privately owned news website Modern Ghana, interrogated them at Ministry of National Security offices, and confiscated their laptops and phones, according to Britwum, who spoke to CPJ over the phone, and local news reports. The officers questioned the journalists about Modern Ghana’s recent reporting on National Security Minister Albert Kan Dapaah and accused them of obtaining information about Kan Dapaah by hacking an email account, Britwum said. Britwum told CPJ that the officers did not present a warrant at the time of their arrest.

        Abugri told Ghanaian broadcaster Joy News and local news website Citi Newsroom that officers tied his hands, slapped him, and shocked him with a taser during his interrogation. The officers also made the journalists log in to their phones and computers and reviewed their files, Britwum told CPJ.

      • Neutralizing Ngo: The Apologetics of Antifascist Street Violence

        In a vein similar to Orwell’s lexicology of apologetics, criminological theory may help inform an understanding of how speech is used in defense of the indefensible at another level of analysis—that of rhetorical strategies. Specifically, what follows is a look at the online discourse surrounding the recent assault of a journalist by antifascist demonstrators, as viewed through the lens of Neutralization Theory.

    • Civil Rights/Policing
      • Ocasio-Cortez wants to ax Homeland Security. Some conservatives didn’t want it to begin with.

        “When DHS was 1st formed by Bush 17 years ago, many members of Congress were concerned — incl GOP — that we were setting up a ticking time bomb for civil liberties erosion & abuse of power,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter.

      • On Sharia Council and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

        The accommodation of arbitration systems to govern private and family matters had led, arguably, to the greatest human rights violations of minority women in the UK.

        This document aims to respond to some of the most frequently asked questions about Sharia bodies in the UK. They are being published with an open letter by an unprecedented number of women’s rights campaigners and organisations to the government raising serious concerns about it limited inquiry into Sharia courts.

      • Twitter bans religious insults calling groups rats or maggots

        Twitter said it would respond to user reports as well as employ machine-learning tools to automatically flag suspect posts for review by human moderators.

      • [Old] Twitter warns global users their tweets violate Pakistani law

        But after Googling the relevant sections of Pakistan’s penal code, the Toronto Sun op-ed editor was startled to learn he stood accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammad—a crime punishable by death in the Islamic republic—and Twitter later confirmed the correspondence was genuine.

      • Keeping church and state separate does not stifle religious freedom

        Advocates of religious freedom only oppose state/church separation when they are comfortably in the majority and trust their government to favor their particular set of religious beliefs. As was said of the Puritans, they love religious liberty so much that they want to keep it all to themselves. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made the point exceedingly well when she was on the bench: “At a time when we see around the world the violent consequences of the assumption of religious authority by government, Americans may count themselves fortunate: Our regard for constitutional boundaries has protected us from similar travails, while allowing private religious exercise to flourish … Those who would renegotiate the boundaries between church and state must therefore answer a difficult question: Why would we trade a system that has served us so well for one that has served others so poorly?”

      • Girls Captured By Boko Haram Brought Into Focus In ‘Beneath The Tamarind Tree’

        But now, in her first book titled Beneath the Tamarind Trees, Sesay has a chance to explore, in depth, the story most important to her career and closest to her heart: The ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram’s 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok.

        Sesay broke the story and followed it for years, despite government obfuscation and waning international interest after a wave of social media activism (remember #BringBackOurGirls?). For two years, 219 of the girls remained in captivity and 112 are still imprisoned.

      • Don’t ask girls out: North Aceh calls on women to stay home at night

        North Aceh Regent Muhammad Thaib and 28 mass organizations in the regency have called on women not to go out in the evening without their husbands or muhrim (blood relatives) accompanying them.

      • Amazon Teams With Colorado Police, US Postal Service On Sting That Catches Zero Package Thieves

        Cops are handing out hackable doorbells to local homeowners like so much razorbladed Halloween candy. Only it’s not razor blades. It’s surveillance. Amazon’s Ring doorbells are the new party favors, available to citizens at a steep discount. Sometimes, they can actually get them for free from local PDs. And why not? It’s not like the cops spent their money. It seems only fair for citizens to take home some of what they’ve purchased.

        The promise is a bit more security, in the form of a doorbell that watches your doorstep and the yard/driveway/street beyond. The implicit suggestion is that you repay this deep discount by allowing cops to access camera footage at will. Even if you demur, you’ll be added to local law enforcement’s Ring map, showing all the houses cops can approach to ask for camera footage.

        The doorbells are also tied to an app, Neighbors — one that Amazon markets with footage of doorstep thefts. Amazon likes this angle so much it’s hiring staff to produce news coverage of criminal activities with a hyperlocal focus.

      • Pakistani Minister Congratulates Pilot For Miraculous Save In Retweet Of GTA V Video

        Usually, when we’re talking about video game footage being used to attempt to fool others into thinking it’s real footage, it’s been done by nation states looking to either pretend they’re far better at war than they are, that their weapons are far cooler than they actually are, or to frame their adversaries for doing nefarious things far more than they actually are. Those cases aside, it does also happen that news organizations get fooled by this sort of footage too. And we should probably only expect this sort of thing to occur more often, given the leaps in graphical realism the gaming industry takes every year or so.


        I love stories like this. Again, it’s not really about laughing at someone for getting fooled. What interests me more is both how cool it is that video game footage is getting realistic enough to regularly fool people into thinking its real footage, and how terrifying it is to think of the mayhem that might cause in the future. After all, it’s all well and good for a country to promote its military might by using game footage of some terrifying weapon… until it’s believable enough to cause another adversarial nation to react in real life.

      • Despite Congress Providing $4.6 Billion in Additional Funding for Border, Pence Says Conditions Still the Fault of Democrats

        Vice President Mike Pence blamed Democrats on Friday for the overcrowding in camps used to imprison migrants during a visit to the border, an accusation that generated anger from progressives at both the White House and the Democratic congressional leadership.

        “You gotta love it when Pence immediately puts complete blame for the horrors he saw on the Dems even after they threw money at monsters,” tweeted journalist Lori Lou Freshwater.

        In June, House Democrats passed a bill from the Senate that provided $4.6 billion to fund border security and the prisons. The legislation, which was opposed by left-leaning members of the caucus, has exposed a fissure in the party that continues to grow between the new and old guard of the party.

        Conditions at the border, as Common Dreams has reported, are bad and getting worse. During his tour, Pence saw those conditions, including a room where hundreds of men were imprisoned behind fencing.

      • UltraViolet Says Acosta Departure Shows ‘Need to Hold All the Powerful People,’ Like Trump, Accountable

        Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta’s resignation announcement on Friday sparked demands from progressive groups for Congress to “hold abusers and their enablers”—including President Donald Trump—”accountable.”

        Acosta faced calls for his ouster over his role in securing a sweat deal for multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein over a decade ago when Epstein faced possible federal child sex trafficking charges. Those demands were amplified this month after Epstein was arrested. He faces federal charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy.

        While Acosta this week defended the deal, progressive groups did not let up in their criticism. They projected messages onto the Department of Labor building including “Acosta endangers women and girls,” and “Acosta enables child sex trafficking.”

        Shaunna Thomas, executive director and co-founder of UltraViolet, one of the groups involved in the projection, said Friday, “Acosta’s resignation is good news, and demonstrates that people who enable sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein can be held accountable.”

      • Trump’s POS Labor Secretary, Acosta, Out. POS Number 2, Linked to Abramoff, to Fill Role

        After Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announcing his resignation on Friday in the wake of outrage over the deal he brokered for alleged child rapist Jeffrey Epstein, President Donald Trump said the department’s number two, Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella, would now serve as the acting secretary.

        Pizzella, a former member of the Federal Labor Relations Authority and one of Trump’s many anti-labor appointees, had previously come under fire for his links to lobbyist and convicted felon Jack Abramoff and their work in the 1990s to foster worker abuses on the Northern Mariana Islands.

        As the New York Times reported over a decade ago, the commonwealth hired Abramoff in 1995 to help keep out U.S. minimum wage and other labor protections, allowing for the island chain to foster an environment ripe for slave-like labor where clothes can be stamped with a made-in-the U.S.A. label.

      • How to Put an End to Long-Term Unemployment

        For years, economists have been saying that we’re at, or “awfully close” to, full employment. The most recent numbers put the headline unemployment rate at 3.6 percent — the lowest rate we’ve seen in nearly 50 years. This is welcome news.

        Relatively low unemployment means there are far fewer people looking for work who can’t find it. But low unemployment doesn’t affect everyone equally. When the unemployment rate dips to low levels, the people who benefit the most are those who have been at the back of the queue — black workers, Hispanic workers, immigrants and other disadvantaged workers in the labor market.

        If we go back just five years, when the overall unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, the unemployment rate for blacks was 11.4 percent. Today, it is 6.2 percent, a drop of 5.2 percentage points. While this is still far higher than we should accept, it does represent progress.

        The benefits of low unemployment go beyond just allowing more people to get jobs. It also gives more bargaining power to those workers who have jobs. We have seen this impact, as wages have at least modestly outpaced prices for the last four years, allowing workers at the middle and the bottom to see gains in living standards; though it’s barely putting a dent in the decades of stagnant wages for most workers.

        According to the predictions of Federal Reserve officials a few years ago, these levels of unemployment were simply unsustainable. Importantly, this highlights a long and ongoing battle within the Fed over just how low unemployment can go if we are to avoid spiraling inflation.

      • Biden Needs to Explain Why He Threw Black Males Under the Bus

        Last Thursday’s debate among 10 Democratic candidates included front-runner Joe Biden. The high point of the debate was when Kamala Harris pressed hard on Biden about his views in opposition to busing to de-segregate schools. “There was a little girl in California,” she said, looking right at him, “who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bused to school every day. That little girl was me.” She drilled into Biden with her characteristic prosecutor’s intensity. Biden’s response was pro-forma and evasive, emphasizing that it was a local decision she was upset about, not his federal policy views on busing. Much of the matter got lost in the excitement of the personal exchange.

        After the debate was over, a reporter with a microphone and a cameraman in tow aggressively hounded Biden to elaborate on the matters raised by Harris. Biden clearly did not wish to discuss it and reverted to his characteristic aggressive-man thing, moving toward the reporter, putting his hand on the man’s shoulder and, man-to-man, drilling into his questioner’s eyes. He gave the same unsatisfactory response he’d given Harris during the debate. At that point, he was saved by his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, who took his hand and with a smile protectively pulled him away from the reporter. The man knew when he was licked and made a good-natured comment that he didn’t wish to mess with Dr. Jill Biden. She smiled.

      • Progressives Push Back After Congressional Black Caucus Attacks Justice Democrats Over Primary Challenges

        “It just seems strange that the social Democrats seem to be targeting members of the Congressional Black Caucus, individuals who have stood and fought to make sure that African Americans are included and part of this process,” CBC member Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) told The Hill.

        But Justice Democrats executive director board members Alexandra Rojas, Demond Drummer, and Nasim Thompson, in a statement, disputed that characterization.

        “In 2018, Justice Democrats took on the political establishment in New York and Boston by supporting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley—both of whom were taking on more conservative, white male incumbents,” the group said. “Notably, the CBC endorsed Pressley’s opponent even as she was running in a majority-people of color district. Today every single Justice Democrat in Congress is a person of color.”

        “Senior members of the Democratic Party can make whatever false claims they want,” the trio added, “but it’s clear that their bottom line is: no primary challenges.”

      • Horrific Pictures of Drowned Migrants Should not Distract us From the Fact That Far More People Die on EU Borders

        Four years ago, I was standing by the grave of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old child who drowned when the rubber boat carrying him and his Syrian Kurdish family from Turkey to Greece was flipped over by high waves. The picture of his small body in a red shirt and black shorts lying face down on a Turkish beach with his head in the surf was supposed to have focused public attention on the hideous plight of refugees in the Mediterranean.

        Alan’s grave was an ugly stone rectangle in a cemetery beside the ruins of the Kurdish city of Kobani in northern Syria which Isis had ferociously assaulted and nearly captured in a prolonged siege in 2014-15. I found the scene all the more moving because there were no flowers and Alan’s little grave was surrounded by fresh earth gouged out by a bulldozer preparing the ground for more graves.

        I thought of Alan again this week when a photo was published of a father and daughter, also refugees, lying face down in muddy brown water close to the bank of the Rio Grande which they had been trying to swim to reach the United States. Like Alan and his family, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez drowned together with his 23-month-old daughter Valeria on what they hoped would be the last lap of their journey to a better life.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
      • How the biggest decentralized social network is dealing with its Nazi problem

        It’s a hard problem, playing off the deepest limitations of decentralized projects like Mastodon. Mastodon arose from the idealistic open-source software movement, designed to let anybody run their own social media site. But it was never intended to support something like Gab. While Gab has no official political affiliation, it’s known as a haven for far-right or explicitly fascist users too extreme for bigger networks. Its hands-off moderation approach is antithetical to many supporters of Mastodon, whose creator has officially stated he’s “completely opposed to Gab’s project and philosophy.”

      • Facebook and Twitter Suck, So Here’s How to Make Your Own Social Media Network

        The guide outlines why people should consider creating small social network sites, how to solve social problems, ways to introduce new users to the network, and what the future of these small networks looks like.

        The guide also includes information on the technical side: how to set up servers or what to do if you lack the skills to do it yourself.

        Friend Camp uses open-sourced software Mastodon that lets users modify its social network framework. Users can also hard-code bans against other communities—such as Nazis—and essentially removing them from the group’s existence.

      • Trump Can’t Block People He Doesn’t Like on Twitter, Appeals Court Says [iophk: Twitter in place of official communications]

        The 3-0 decision out of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan upholds an earlier ruling that found Trump’s preference for blocking his critics to be unconstitutional.

    • Monopolies
      • FTC Reportedly Hits Facebook With Record $5 Billion Settlement [iophk: that is not even a single month’s revenue]

        Full details of the settlement were unavailable Friday afternoon, and the FTC and Facebook both declined to comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news. It’s unclear how long it will take for the Justice Department to review the terms. In the meantime, important questions remain unanswered, including whether the FTC has opted to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally liable for the company’s privacy violations, and what sort of external oversight Facebook must submit to going forward.

      • Facebook’s $5 billion FTC fine is an embarrassing joke

        That, as the New York Times’ Mike Isaac points out, is the real story here: the United States government spent months coming up with a punishment for Facebook’s long list of privacy-related bad behavior, and the best it could do was so weak that Facebook’s stock price went up.

      • Facebook $5 Billion U.S. Privacy Settlement Approved by FTC

        The FTC’s settlement was approved by a vote of 3-2, according to two people who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision. The agreement still needs approval from the Justice Department.

      • Ninth Circuit grant’s Qualcomm motion to expedite appeal of FTC’s antitrust victory

        That’s a tight schedule for such a complex case, but the FTC’s litigation team has been very efficient and will probably be able to craft a great response to Qualcomm’s opening brief in the eight weeks they will have.

        This schedule slightly increases Qualcomm’s chances of obtaining a partial stay of enforcement while the appellate proceedings are ongoing. The length of such a stay is part of the consideration. However, even with this schedule it may still be spring or so before the Ninth Circuit actually hands down a decision, given the scope and scale of this case.

        By the way, Samsung filed a motion to intervene, but only with respect to the sealing of its highly confidential effective royalty rates under its 2018 deal with Qualcomm.

      • Join the UK IPO working group on IP enforcement [Ed: A few years ago this blog was still mostly OK, but now entirely different people are running it, for different objectives. They’re now promoting IPO’s propaganda group, like those behind indoctrination for billionaires… at schools.]

        The UK Intelletual Property Office is looking for people with first-hand experience and/or a working knowledge of using the IP enforcement framework to protect their intellectual property to join their working group.


        The formation of the working group is part of a project to review the current IP enforcement framework, which was set out in the government’s five year strategy document ”IP Enforcement 2020′. One of the main goals of this strategy is to ensure that rights holders and businesses have access to proportionate and effective mechanisms to tackle IP infringement, or resolve IP disputes.

      • Patents and Software Patents
        • US Utility Patents Granted per Year

          We are about 3/4 of the way through fiscal year 2019 (ends September 30, 2019) and the USPTO is on-track to issue the most patents ever in a single year period — I’m forecasting 330,000 issued utility patents, which is up about 5% from the prior 1-year high in 2017. This rise is consistent with more patentee-friendly attitude of Andrei Iancu who began his role as Trump’s USPTO director in 2018.

        • How Things Snowball: The Consequences of Violating a Rule

          Being disciplined by the USPTO, a state bar, or being sanctioned by a court is, of course, not a good thing for a lawyer and in some instances it can end a career or sharply limit one. Over the past 30 or so years, I’ve seen a lot of somewhat unpredictable consequences flow from discipline or a finding of misconduct by a court.

          For example, the USPTO requires practitioners to update their addresses and, from time to time, it has sent letters to the current address and if the recipient doesn’t respond within (I think it is) a month, the practitioner is “administratively suspended.” If that happens, not a huge deal to correct, but some state bars require reporting administrative suspensions, and if a practitioner fails to do that, then the practitioner has two problems. And, if practitioner later “covers up” either thing, well, then three problems. (I wrote an article a while back called “how things snowball” and it came to mind just now).


          And, as the final example, if you haven’t read the California Supreme Court case vacating a $3m fee awarded to a firm because it had an undisclosed conflict of interest (and, as a consequence of not disclosing the conflict, (a) its arbitration agreement with the client was unenforceable and (b) it also might have had to disgorge more than the $3m award), it’s blogged below.

        • Patent case: Corning v Electroson, Spain

          In the past few years, the Barcelona Courts with jurisdiction over patent matters (Commercial Courts nos. 1, 4 and 5) have acted in close coordination with one another, e.g. holding joint deliberations of the three judges. Now, in a case where one of those Courts refused to join two separate infringement actions pending before Courts nos. 4 and 5 on account of such coordination, the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) has ruled in favour of joining separate proceedings brought against two different defendants, yet based on the same patent.

        • Barcelona Court of Appeal publishes interesting judgment addressing the scope of estoppel

          One of the principles inherited from Roman law is that “venire contra factum propium non valet“. In civil law countries such as Spain, this principle is normally labelled as the “doctrine that prohibits acting against one’s own acts” (prohibición de actuar contra los propios actos). In common law countries, the principle is normally associated with the doctrine of estoppel. As patent aficionados know well, the natural habitat of such doctrine in patent cases is the so-called “file-wrapper” or “patent prosecution” estoppel, whereby the courts of some countries prevent patentees from defending, in the context of infringement, claim constructions that may contradict the positions defended during prosecution to overcome objections of lack of novelty or lack of inventive activity.


          Some years ago, the complainant in this case filed an opposition against patent EP 1.081.284 (“EP ‘284”), alleging lack of inventive activity. The opposition was unsuccessful and the company that had filed the opposition (i.e. the complainant in the case discussed in this blog) then decided to acquire EP ‘284. Some years later, it filed a patent infringement action against a third party. One of the arguments of defence used by the defendant was that the complainant was blatantly contradicting the position taken before the European Patent Office (“EPO”) where, as mentioned, it tried to revoke EP ‘284 for lack of inventive activity when it was owned by another company.

        • Athena Diagnostics, Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          The four-page per curiam Order was accompanied by eight opinions, four concurring in the denial of the petition and four dissenting in the denial of the petition, adding an additional 82 pages to the Order. The four concurring opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Lourie, Hughes, Dyk, and Chen, with Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Reyna, Taranto, and Hughes joining in one of the concurrences and Circuit Judge Chen joining in one concurrence and several parts of another. The four dissenting opinions were authored by Circuit Judges Moore, Newman, Stoll, and O’Malley, with Circuit Judges O’Malley and Stoll joining in one of the dissents and Circuit Judge Wallach joining in three of the dissents. Thus, a total of seven members of the Court (Chief Judge Prost and Circuit Judges Lourie, Dyk, Reyna, Taranto, Chen, and Hughes) authored or joined opinions concurring in the denial, and a total of five members (Circuit Judges Newman, Moore, O’Malley, Wallach, and Stoll) authored or joined opinions dissenting in the denial.

          Before turning to the eight opinions concurring or dissenting in the Order’s denial of the petition for rehearing en banc, it may be helpful to review the procedural history of this case. In February, a divided panel affirmed a decision by the District Court for the District of Massachusetts, holding claims 6-9 of U.S. Patent No. 7,267,820 invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and dismissing under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) a complaint filed by Plaintiffs-Appellants for infringement of the ’820 patent.


          In the panel opinion, authored by Judge Lourie and joined by Judge Stoll (with Judge Newman dissenting), the Court affirmed the District Court’s determination that claims 6-9 are invalid under § 101.

        • Apportionment of Willfulness and Discretion to Reconsider Attorney Fees

          When the Federal Circuit released its eligibility decision in March 2019, I panned the opinion as a “results-oriented decision [that] unfortunately shades-facts and provides no clarity in its legal analysis of eligibility.” On petition, the panel has modified its original opinion. Unfortunately, the court did not modify its eligibility analysis, but rather modified a portion of the remand on attorney fees.

          At the conclusion of the trial, a jury awarded the patentee SRI $23 million in reasonable royalty damages associated with SRI’s network monitoring patents. The jury also found that Cisco’s infringement was willful.

          The jury awarded SRI a 3.5% reasonable royalty for a total of $23,660,000 in compensatory damages. The jury also found by clear and convincing evidence that Cisco’s infringement was willful. The judge then double the compensatory award and also awarded $8 million attorney fees as well as an ongoing compulsory license for any future infringement. (I believe the patents have now expired).


          One example – was that Cisco maintained 19 invalidity theories until the eve of trial — then only presented two of them at trial along with defenses that were contrary to both the evidence and prior court rulings. The district court also noted that the willfulness finding by the jury contributed to the decision to award attorney fees. Because the now-modified willful infringement judgment served as one basis for the enhanced damages, the appellate panel also vacated the enhanced damages for reconsideration on remand.

          In its original opinion, the appellate panel had explained that there was sufficient evidence of bad behavior to justify a fee award even without willfulness — and thus had affirmed an award. In the modified opinion, the court instead vacated the finding of exceptional case — likely because that decision is supposed to be within the discretion of the district court.

        • Patent case: HE Licenties B.V. vs VG Colours B.V., Netherlands

          A patent that is limited during the course of the proceedings (even after the pleadings) is held to have been so limited ab initio if the limitation is duly registered.

          When a European patent is granted and validated, an existing national patent loses its effect only for the invention claimed in the European patent.

        • Venue: “Regular and Established Place of Business” is a Questions of Law

          Westech sued 3M for patent infringement in W.D.Washington. On motion from 3M, the district court then dismissed the case for improper venue under 28 U.S.C. 1400(b). Under the statute, infringement cases can only be brought in a judicial district where the defendant either (1) resides (i.e., is incorporated) or (2) infringed the patent and has a regular and established place of business. Here, the focus is on 3M’s sales activities with vendors, distributors, and sales professionals — and whether those activities constitute a “regular and established place of business.” Two key precedential cases: In Cray, the Federal Circuit held that a “place of business” must be a “physical place in the district.” In ZTE, the Federal Circuit held that it is the plaintiff’s burden of establishing proper venue (burden of persuasion).

      • Trademarks
        • Chanel’s ‘Double C’ trade mark loss in China – an unacceptable conclusion?

          Recently, Chanel Co., Ltd. lost a trade mark infringement case regarding its ‘Double C’ logo in China. The full text of the decision can be visited via here (Google translatable).

          The case has has drawn wide attention and, mostly, negative comments.


          Chanel then filed a lawsuit with the Guangzhou Haizhu District People’s Court (Haizhu Court), seeking an order for Ye, the alleged trade mark infringer, to pay compensation totalling CNY 100,000. Despite the seeming unfairness that lies in the disparity in strength/size/resources between the two parties, Chanel’s protective approach is not surprising, and it is very much consistent with Chanel’s active brand-protection agenda (e.g. ‘no Shanel’, ‘no number 5’).

          Ye responded with two main arguments: (1) his store was merely a franchise store of Zhoubaifu, a brand that belongs to Hong Kong ZhouBaifu Jewelry International Group Co., Ltd (Zhoubaifu Ltd), meaning only the products that had passed the quality inspections conducted by Zhoubaifu Ltd were allowed to be sold in Ye’s store, and those products all contained the registered trade mark of ‘Zhoubaifu’ – far from being similar to any of Chanel’s trade marks; (2) Ye actually had done little damage to Chanel, considering that there were only a total of 8 products with the sum of CNY 6,000 tag price involved, and they were not being sold.

          The Haizhu Court sided with Chanel’s claims and ordered Ye to pay compensation of CNY 60,000 within 10 days from the effective date of the judgement, which was determined in view of ‘the level of harm, nature of business, business scope, scale of operation, time of infringement, infringement area, value of infringing goods’, among other factors.

      • Copyrights
        • Judge Denies $10K Default Judgment Against Alleged Pirate

          Adult entertainment company Malibu Media recently requested a default judgment of more than $10,000 against an alleged pirate. While the accused man didn’t put up a defense, a federal court in New Jersey denied the request, noting that an IP-address alone is not sufficient evidence.

        • Apple Needs to Tackle ‘Pirate’ Music Apps, Labels Insist

          Apple needs to do more to prevent unauthorized apps that deliver music to users in unlicensed ways appearing on its App Store. That’s the demand from the Recording Industry Association of Japan and several other industry groups in a communication sent to Apple recently.

        • Three Years Later: 1st Amendment Challenge Over DMCA’s Anti-Circumvention Provisions Can Move Forward

          Almost exactly three years ago we wrote about how well known computer security professor Matthew Green and famed hardware hacker Bunnie Huang had teamed up with EFF and the law firm Wilson Sonsini to file a fascinating 1st Amendment challenge to the DMCA’s Section 1201. 1201 is the so-called “anti-circumvention” or digital locks provision of the DMCA, that says that it’s infringing to “manufacture, import, offer to the public, provide, or otherwise traffic in any technology, product, service, device, component, or part thereof” that is designed to “circumvent” DRM or other “technological protection measures.” Basically, if there’s a digital lock on something — doing anything to get around it (or to help others get around it) is potentially a copyright violation even if (and this is important) the purpose and result of circumventing the DRM has nothing to do with infringing on copyright.

          Even Congress knew that this part of the law was crazy when they passed it. It knew that this would lead to all sorts of perfectly reasonable activities suddenly being declared infringing — so it came up with a really annoying hack to deal with that. A triennial review, where every three years everyone could go beg the Copyright Office and the Librarian of Congress to grant categories of exemptions from Section 1201. Those exemptions only last for three years, so even if you get one, you need to keep applying.

        • YouTube Finally Demands Specificity From Copyright Claimants

          At long last, YouTube is rolling out changes to its copyright claim system. For years, it has been heavily-slanted in favor of copyright claimants. Concessions made by YouTube to legacy industries screwed the whole thing up, giving claimants credibility they hadn’t earned in exchange for… a free platform to distribute their content with. Win-win for them. Lose-lose for everyone else.

          Add to this the whole “ContentID” clusterfuck and you have a mess. It’s a mess that results in the sort of dystopian outcomes no one ever expected from an online video platform. Straight-up weird stuff that would be considered well past the bounds of suspension of disbelief if it appeared in speculative fiction. Bird calls getting hit with copyright claims. White noise videos being flagged multiple times by multiple (lol) rights holders. Copyright owners nuking other people’s original creations due to flaws in the auto-moderation. Creators being told the best person to take up a copyright dispute with is… themselves.

          Stupid stuff happens. Content moderation at the scale of YouTube (500 hours per minute) is impossible. Software helps but what YouTube uses hurts as often as it helps. The pressure coming down on the platform from major rights holders never eases up. As a result, those facing copyright claims have spent years fighting blind and deaf, with almost no help from YouTube in pushing back against bogus takedown efforts. Abuse isn’t just the name of the game: it is the game.

        • The copyright question that no one wanted: the rights of immigrant minors in their drawings in connection with their detention along the U.S./Mexico border

          It turns out that after their detention, some of the children found their way to the Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas and were asked to make drawings of their experience in detention. As reported (CNN, here and Hyperallergic, here), three of these drawings, one made by a 10-year old and another by an 11-year old, both from Guatemala, and the third, by a 10-year old whose origin has not been determined (as of July 4th), all found their way to Dr. Sara Goza of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The drawings can be viewed as suggesting cages or prisons.

        • Congress Moving Forward With Copyright-For-Censorship ‘Small Claims’ Act

          For a while now, we’ve been explaining why a plan to create a copyright “small claims” process would be a disaster for free speech and a boon to copyright trolling. Unfortunately, it appears that the latest bill proposing this awful idea has a real chance to move forward. EFF has put up an action page urging people to contact their elected officials and ask them not to approve the CASE Act.

          As EFF’s Ernest Falcon details in the latest blog post there are so many reasons why this is a bad idea. Despite all the claims that this is just about “small claims” and therefore can’t be used for trolling/shakedowns, this shows just how insanely out of touch lawmakers are with most Americans.

The Problem Isn’t Women or Minorities in Free Software But Particular Corporations That Exploit or Steer or Hijack Their Agenda

Saturday 13th of July 2019 03:18:50 PM

Summary: If technical issues are being disguised using colours and genders (among other things), then it’s important to highlight who’s behind it (what company/ies) rather than fling back insults at people because it makes things worse

IT’S NOT too uncommon to see terms like “SJW” thrown around to discredit people who potentially cause trouble, borderline troublemakers who call people whom they don’t agree with (on technical grounds) “racist”, “sexist”, “rape apologist” and so on.

“Since corporations can be held accountable for staff that defames senior and prominent Linux developers, rather than take it out on the people who are often unwittingly exploited (taking down critics of some corporate objectives) try to work ‘in reverse’ or go ‘up the chain’, finding out whose agenda is served and why. Show it to them.”Calling such troublemakers names isn’t going to help. The common enemy here is/are the corporations that hijack (and therefore harm/dilute) these social causes to advance potentially harmful agenda, such as back doors, DRM, software patents and so on. We’ve given several examples over the years, even recently in relation to the founder of Linux and his longtime filesystems right hand (Linux and Ted, respectively).

May we suggest something? Since corporations can be held accountable for staff that defames senior and prominent Linux developers, rather than take it out on the people who are often unwittingly exploited (taking down critics of some corporate objectives) try to work ‘in reverse’ or go ‘up the chain’, finding out whose agenda is served and why. Show it to them. Explain how ridiculous a concept it is that Microsoft supports minorities and women (Microsoft faces many lawsuits from those who dispute that to the point of suing) while it’s inserting literally sexist code into Linux, the kernel. I’ve actually seen some Microsoft staff trying to leverage the “sexist” card against Techrights (it didn’t go far as it was baseless) and it’s all too familiar. To the point where it’s better not to name people whom/whose actions you criticise, especially if they’re not male and Caucasian (criticism of a company or an employee’s action can be spun as ad hominem and bigoted). A decade ago a lot of these tactics were leveraged against Richard Stallman, who is a vocal proponent of feminism, equality and so on. We wrote about it a lot back then.

There’s No Such Thing as Cloud Computing, Serverless and All That Other Nonsense

Saturday 13th of July 2019 03:06:50 PM

Just a bubble in the sky, a fictional ‘Heaven’ that’s actually pure Hell

Summary: Buzzwords. Confronted.

What does smart, IoT, AI and cloud even mean? And does “serverless” mean that no servers are necessary any longer? Of course not. But the marketing industry or marketing departments (of companies large enough to be able to afford such in-house departments) are busy hijacking the narratives, replacing technical terms with marketing buzzwords that intentionally misinform and mislead. We no longer have “sysadmins”, now we have “ops”; “servers” become “clouds”; surveillance is “big data” and spies are “data scientists”. The list goes on and on.

We no longer have “sysadmins”, now we have “ops”; “servers” become “clouds”; surveillance is “big data” and spies are “data scientists”. The list goes on and on.Techrights has long rejected these lies and buzzwords, but corporate media works hard to popularise these to the point where people have to rewrite their CVs and sometimes their articles. Novelty is often deduced from one’s use of fashionable lingo, not substance. Patent maximalists are doing the same thing, motivated by patent offices’ embrace of such buzzwords. They’re building up a bubble which courts will later burst, seeing that behind all these seemingly ‘sophisticated’ terms there’s nothing but hype or old ideas/concepts rebranded. Pop!

More in Tux Machines

Programming: Thread Synchronization, Python, C++

  • Thread Synchronization in Linux and Windows Systems, Part 1

    In modern operating systems, each process has its own address space and one thread of control. However, in practice we often face situations requiring several concurrent tasks within a single process and with access to the same process components: structures, open file descriptors, etc.

  • Intro to Black – The Uncompromising Python Code Formatter

    There are several Python code checkers available. For example, a lot of developers enjoy using Pylint or Flake8 to check their code for errors. These tools use static code analysis to check your code for bugs or naming issues. Flake8 will also check your code to see if you are adhering to PEP8, Python’s style guide.

  • Report from the February 2019 ISO C++ meeting (Library)

    Back in February, I attended the WG21 C++ standards committee meeting in rainy Kona, Hawaii (yes, it rained most of the week). This report is so late that we’re now preparing for the next meeting, which will take place mid-July in Cologne. As usual, I spent the majority of my time in the Library Working Group (for LWG; for details on the various Working Groups and Study Groups see Standard C++: The Committee). The purpose of the LWG is to formalize the specification of the C++ Standard Library, i.e. the second “half” of the C++ standard (although in terms of page count it’s closer to three quarters than half). With a new C++20 standard on the horizon, and lots of new features that people want added to the standard library, the LWG has been very busy trying to process the backlog of new proposals forwarded by the Library Evolution Working Group (LEWG). One of the main tasks at the Kona meeting was to review the “Ranges Design Cleanup” proposal. The cleanup involves a number of fixes and improvements to the new Ranges library, addressing issues that came up during the review of the previous (much larger) proposal to add the Ranges library, which is one of the biggest additions to the C++20 library (most of the other significant additions to C++20 affect the core language, without much library impact). In fact, I’d say it’s one of the biggest additions to the C++ standard library since the first standard in 1998. The Ranges library work overhauls the parts of the standard that originated in the Standard Template Library (STL), i.e. iterators, algorithms, and containers, to re-specify them in terms of C++ Concepts. This has been a multi-year effort that has now landed in the C++20 working draft, following multiple proposals and several meetings of wording review by LWG.

  • Save and load Python data with JSON

    JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. This format is a popular method of storing data in key-value arrangements so it can be parsed easily later. Don’t let the name fool you, though: You can use JSON in Python—not just JavaScript—as an easy way to store data, and this article demonstrates how to get started.

Android Leftovers

SysAdmin Day Sale: Get 60% off on Linux Foundation Certification & Training

To celebrate the Sysadmin day, the Linux Foundation is giving 60% off on its training courses on sysadmin, Kubernetes, Hyperledger etc. Advance your career with these certifications. Read more

Raspberry Pi 4 and Raspbian Buster: Hands-On

In my previous two posts I looked at the Raspberry Pi 4 hardware and at the procedure for installing and booting the new Raspbian Buster Operating System on the Pi 4. With those basic steps out of the way, now it's time to look at both the hardware and software in more detail. The first thing I want to mention is that when I wrote the previous post about Raspbian, I had not noticed that there is an updated version of Raspbian Buster (2019-07-10) available. This version was released sort of quietly (without the usual blog post announcing and explaining it), although there are release notes for it if you are interested. This release is extremely good news, because it fixes some of the biggest problems that I mentioned in my previous post... Read more